Best Metal Detectors

When you see someone using a metal detector at the park, you might dream about finding treasure in your own yard. Metal detecting is a popular hobby with many fans. People use metal detectors to find things like lost jewelry on beaches or to compete in contests.

Even if you don’t plan on doing it as a hobby, a metal detector can help you find things you’ve lost. But let’s hope you don’t lose anything important.

Before you buy a metal detector, it’s important to know how you want to use it. There are different types for different purposes, like finding gold or searching beaches. Once you know what you want, we can help you find the right metal detector for your next adventure.

Best Metal Detectors 2024

BEST OVERALL
  • Minelab Vanquish 440
BEST VALUE
  • Garrett ACE Apex
SIMPLE AND PORTABLE
  • Garrett ACE 300
MOST POWERFUL
  • Minelab Equinox 800
BEST FOR KIDS
  • Nokta Mini Hoard Kids Waterproof Metal Detector

Let’s delve into the details

Minelab Vanquish 440
PROS
  • Simple, yet full-featured
  • Multi-frequency support
  • Lightweight
CONS

Not as water-resistant as more expensive models

TypeMulti-frequency
Coil Size10 in.
Weight2.6 lb
WaterproofYes, up to 3.3 ft

The Minelab Vanquish 440 offers a tremendous amount of functionality for less than the cost of some less powerful VLF detectors. For just under $300, it’s a little more expensive than true entry-level models, but it offers a lot of features that enthusiasts look for.

Its four find modes support all different types of terrain, from turf to fields, and its multi-frequency technology allows it to search saltwater beaches without any problems. You can set and save your own frequency settings to figure out what works best for your area and search style. Perhaps best of all, it weighs only 2.6 lbs. The Vanquish 440 is a true hobby-grade machine that you can grab for a great price.


Garrett ACE Apex
PROS
  • Good depth penetration
  • Weatherproof
  • Large backlit display with six modes
CONS
TypeMulti-frequency
Coil Size11 in.
Weight2.5 lb
WaterproofYes, “water resistant”

Lubbert called the Ace Apex one of the best value machines on the market. The flagship of Garrett’s Ace detector line, the Apex has a large backlit display and six detection modes, including specific finder settings for coins, US coins, jewelry, relics, and a custom setting.

The most interesting option is its “iron audio” feature, which helps you identify complex iron objects that you probably don’t want to dig up, such as bottle caps. Likewise, the notch discrimination feature lets you filter out certain frequencies if you’re trying to avoid metal trash.

The Garett Ace Apex is priced for knowledgeable enthusiasts, so it isn’t exactly cheap, but you’re getting a very powerful detector for a very appealing price. For a veteran hobbyist or a pro, it’s a great bargain.

One pro tip if you pick one up: Make sure to install the latest firmware update, as reviewers say it really improves the machine’s performance in the field.


Garrett ACE 300
PROS
  • Five search modes
  • Notch discrimination
CONS
  • Less feature-rich than other models in price range
TypeVLF
Coil Size10 in.
Weight2.9 lb
WaterproofYes, “water resistant”

Considered an “old reliable” by hobbyists, the Garrett Ace 300 is an entry-level metal detector with meat-and-potatoes features. It has a large screen, a water resistant coil, and five search modes suitable for a variety of terrain, including dry beaches. It also has better pinpointing and iron identification modes than several other models in its price range.

Given its relatively low price, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Ace 300 lacks some of the finer flourishes found on premium detectors, such as a backlit screen and specific water resistance. Its default coil is also only 10 inches, though you can upgrade it with a larger one. Garrett is a name that detectorists trust, so it’s an easy recommendation to give to new hobbyists who aren’t too concerned about fancy bells and whistles.


Minelab Equinox 800
PROS
  • Lightweight
  • Supports all terrains and detecting types
  • Good display backlight
CONS
  • Some portability concerns
  • Not as good at gold prospecting as PI machines
TypeMulti-frequency
Coil Size11 in.
Weight2.06 lb
WaterproofYes, up to 10 ft

Described by Ross as the best option for the “dedicated enthusiast,” the Minelab Equinox 800 is a multi-frequency detector capable of doing almost anything you’d want, especially at the beach. Its coil can pick up metal on wet sand and even while wading in saltwater, and its four detection modes can find coins, jewelry, “relics,” and even gold nuggets on the most mineralized soil.

Though it has fewer modes than some similar detectors, such as the Vanquish 440, a machine like the Equinox will likely find more metal and at a greater depth.

Ross uses the Minelab Equinox 800 for many of his jobs, and he’s used it while wading up to his neck in the ocean. Though it is lighter than most detectors, the fixed shaft length may make it hard to carry around, and reviewers say the length may make it hard to use for anyone shorter than 5-feet-6-inches. At more than double the price of our beginner and best overall picks, the Equinox 800 is definitely made for a discerning detector fan with a lot of experience.


Nokta Mini Hoard Kids Waterproof Metal Detector
PROS
  • Child-sized
  • Useful display
  • Actually works
CONS
  • Only $100 less than true entry-level models
TypeMulti-frequency
Coil Size6 in.
Weight1.7 lb
WaterproofYes, “water resistant”

If your kid expresses interest in metal detecting, it might be tempting to buy a really cheap one on Amazon and hope for the best. Lubbert says that kids might enjoy playing with these toys, but they’re just that – toys. If you’d like your child to actually get a taste for the hobby, we recommend paying a few dollars more for the Nokta Mini Hoard, which is the rare metal detector for kids that works well.

The Mini Hoard has three tones for different kinds of metal and a display that indicates a good or bad find. It’s small enough for children as young as four to use without much trouble. It’s really made for young kids, though, so look into an entry-level model for a tween or teen.

About Emily

Meet Emily, your go-to product review expert! With a passion for finding the best deals and sharing valuable insights, Emily has become a trusted voice in the world of consumer reviews. Armed with years of experience in testing and evaluating various products, from Metal detector to kitchen appliances, Emily has honed her skills in providing honest and detailed assessments.

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