Last Updated On November 12th, 2019

The phrase “metal detector” conjures images of downtrodden souls searching for coins on a beach with metal poles that look more like dowsing rods than high-tech tools. Since you’re here to look for the best metal detector, you’re undoubtedly aware that it doesn’t involve wandering around aimlessly with a magnet attached to a stick. In fact, the pursuit is much more than just a hobby for some – after all, what are modern-day archaeologists doing, other than treasure hunting?

There may be individuals who go looking for hidden jewellery, relics, coins and other artefacts just by using purported psychic abilities. Whether or not they ever find anything of value, of course, is doubtful. In the real world, the hunt for buried treasure requires special equipment. Modern metal detectors utilise a unique combination of technologies that can make the hobby rewarding, in terms of both enjoyment and profit.

A number of inexpensive metal detectors for beginners or children are on the market, with most featuring trigger-shaped handles, aluminium rods with a circular battery-powered electromagnet. However, anyone serious about metal detecting needs at least a little more than that.

We’ve surveyed the best options around, and have all the metal detector reviews you need so you can choose a model which will provide many weeks, months or even years of fun – and hopefully, some profit too!

Our Favourite Metal Detectors Compared

Editor’s Choice
Meterk Metal Detector High Sensitivity High Performance Underground Metal Detector Gold Digger Treasure Hunter Metal Finder Treasures Seeking Tool
Best All Round
Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector
Best For Beginners
TACKLIFE Metal Detector, MMD02 Metal Finder with 41-59 cm Adjustable Stem, Waterproof Coil for Kids and Amateurs, Beginners with Larger LCD Display
Best Mid Range
Garrett ACE 150 Metal Detector
Meterk Underground
Garrett Ace 250
Tacklife MMD02 Adjustable
Garrett Ace 150
Power Supply
2 x 9V batteries
4 x AA batteries
2 x 9V batteries
4 x AA batteries
Weight
1.4 kg
2.03 kg
1.9 kg
1.87 kg
Modes
2 detection modes
5 preset hunting modes
3 tone modes
3 preset hunting modes
Headphone Jack
3.5 mm
1/4"
3.5 mm
1/4"
Waterproof stem & coil?
Editor’s Choice
Meterk Metal Detector High Sensitivity High Performance Underground Metal Detector Gold Digger Treasure Hunter Metal Finder Treasures Seeking Tool
Meterk Underground
Power Supply
2 x 9V batteries
Weight
1.4 kg
Modes
2 detection modes
Headphone Jack
3.5 mm
Waterproof stem & coil?
Best All Round
Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector
Garrett Ace 250
Power Supply
4 x AA batteries
Weight
2.03 kg
Modes
5 preset hunting modes
Headphone Jack
1/4"
Waterproof stem & coil?
Best For Beginners
TACKLIFE Metal Detector, MMD02 Metal Finder with 41-59 cm Adjustable Stem, Waterproof Coil for Kids and Amateurs, Beginners with Larger LCD Display
Tacklife MMD02 Adjustable
Power Supply
2 x 9V batteries
Weight
1.9 kg
Modes
3 tone modes
Headphone Jack
3.5 mm
Waterproof stem & coil?
Best Mid Range
Garrett ACE 150 Metal Detector
Garrett Ace 150
Power Supply
4 x AA batteries
Weight
1.87 kg
Modes
3 preset hunting modes
Headphone Jack
1/4"
Waterproof stem & coil?

Best Metal Detector Reviews – Top 10 Picks

1. Meterk Underground (Editor’s Choice)

Meterk UndergroundThis metal detector by Meterk is our favourite from our top 10 metal detectors and it is, in our eyes, the best metal detector on the market. Importantly, it has two detection modes: All Metal and Discrimination.

Features

Use All Metal to be alerted to the presence of any metal, or if you wish to exclude certain types from your search, set your metal detector to Discrimination. This one is extremely useful for searching in areas where you know there are already metal objects, such as piping, which you do not wish to detect. This makes the metal detector suitable for relic hunting in a wide range of places. The search coil is also fully waterproof, so you can use it while beachcombing. If you want to use it in busy or loud areas and do not want any distractions, then simply plug your headphones into the jack to be able to clearly hear when your detector locates metal.

Another great advantage of choosing this device is its large, easy-to-read liquid crystal display and control panel. At a glance, you can tell the depth of your discovered object, the battery level, which mode you are using, as well as the target ID. Furthermore, to help you to locate your discovery as accurately and efficiently as possible, it uses precise positioning. Simply press the red button to identify the exact location of your target.

While some pro metal detectors are fixed height only, the Meterk is adjustable, making it suitable for use by a wide variety of persons. Even your kids can get in on the fun. However, if you are very tall, you may find that it does not extend sufficiently to make very regular use comfortable.

Other areas where improvements could be made, would be the addition of longer battery life. That said, this is an all-around fantastic choice and we highly recommend taking a look at this popular model.

Pros:
  • Two detection modes
  • LCD graphic screen
  • Adjustable height
  • With volume control
  • Accurate location positioning
  • Can submerge the coil & stem in water
Cons:
  • May not be long enough for tall individuals
  • Short battery life

2. Garrett Ace 250 (Best All Round)

Garrett Ace 250If you are in search for the best all-round metal detector, then have a look at the Garret Ace 250. Suitable for use by beginners and those with more experience, the coils can be replaced with higher performance ones, making this a metal detector that can be adapted as you develop your techniques and as your enthusiasm grows.

Features

Complete with eight sensitivity settings, the Ace 250 is suitable for use in a wide variety of areas, while its electronic pinpoint feature and five preset hunting modes make this metal detector a great model. These ensure that it actually assists you in finding, as well as discovering metal objects. They also ensure that you are able to alter your search to provide maximum compatibility with the area in which you are searching, giving you less false results and greater chances of making a discovery.

Out of all of the Garrett metal detectors that we’ve reviewed, the Ace 250 stands out as a highly reliable unit, with an easy-to-understand LCD graphic screen. The screen also features a visual indicator of the metal that has been detected, as well as its depth, so you can decide straight away whether or not you want to start recovering it. With this model, you can even go relic hunting in peace thanks to the integrated plug for earphones.

However, be aware that the jack is not universal, so if you wish to use your own headphones, you will need to buy an adapter. Also, if you intend upon regularly using this model, you may wish to buy some rechargeable batteries as the ones that come with this are single-use only.

Pros:
  • Eight sensitivity settings
  • Changeable coils
  • Five preset hunting modes
  • LCD graphic screen
  • Electronic pinpoint feature
  • Can submerge the coil & stem in water
Cons:
  • Non-standard plug for earphones
  • Comes with non-rechargeable batteries

3. Tacklife MMD02 Adjustable (Best For Beginners)

Tacklife MMD02 AdjustableSearching for the best metal detector for beginners? Search no further, take a closer look at the Tacklife Metal Detector – our top metal detector pick for beginners. The large backlit liquid crystal display is easy-to-read and to understand, making metal detecting fun, even if you have no prior experience.

Features

This beginner-friendly device detects three distinct types of metal with different tones for each type, as well as different icons that show on the display. This allows you to determine whether or not you wish to start digging up your discovery straightaway. There is also an extremely useful discrimination setting that you can use to set your metal detector to ignore certain lower value metals. This can save you a lot of time and effort and will allow you to better focus upon your treasure discovery goals by removing low-value metals such as iron and aluminium from your search.

With its height-adjustable stem, allowing for an 18cm length adjustment and handy armrest, this metal detector has been designed to provide you with comfort when used over long periods. Complete with a universal plug for earphones, you can use any standard headphones so you can focus more on your search. Although if you choose not to do so, bear in mind that this metal detector does not have any built-in tone moderation.

Unfortunately, it can also be a little tricky to assemble, especially when it comes down to initially fixing the two poles together. If you are planning on purchasing this metal detector for a child, be aware that the build quality is a little on the delicate side. Ensure that your child is old enough to treat this model gently to avoid breaking it.

Pros:
  • Three metal types of detection
  • Backlit LCD screen
  • 18cm length adjustment
  • Universal plug for earphones
  • Discrimination setting
  • Can submerge the coil & stem in water
Cons:
  • Assembly can be tricky
  • No tone moderation
  • Delicate build

4. Garrett Ace 150 (Best Mid Range)

Garrett Ace 150The Garrett Ace 150 is easily the best mid-range metal detector, with all the things you need to make your new hobby easy and fun. It has an Ace range interchangeable coil so you can change the coil without having to buy a new detector if you decide to take metal detecting more seriously at a later date.

Features

The Ace 150 has adjustable sensitivity as well as a coin depth indicator, so you will know straight away how far down you will need to go to excavate your discovery.  With three preset hunting modes, this excellent mid-range metal detector features everything you need to get started. Additionally, it will easily accompany you beyond the beginner stages.

Complete with an advanced liquid crystal display for easy target identification, it makes a great choice if you are looking to take up metal detecting or to hone your skills. However, when you’re relic hunting, it does have greater difficulty pinpointing a target as compared to more expensive models. You may have to dig out a wider area than you would with a more pricey metal detector.

Also, like other Garrett metal detectors, it has a clear tone speaker but keep in mind that that the plug for earphones is not universal. If you wish to use this one with your own headphones, you will need to buy an adapter. However, if you are looking for a high-quality, reliable metal detector within the mid-range price bracket, you will struggle to find a better model than the Ace 150.

Pros:
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Three preset hunting modes
  • LCD graphic screen
  • Coin depth indicator
  • Interchangeable coils
  • Can submerge the coil & stem in water
  • 3 levels of tone ID
Cons:
  • Plug for earphones not universal
  • Difficulty pinpointing target

5. Amzdeal Lightweight (Best Cheap Option)

Amzdeal LightweightOur best cheap metal detector pick is the Amzdeal Lightweight Metal Detector. While understandably, this budget-priced model doesn’t quite measure up to the more expensive ones in our list, it does nonetheless offer an affordable way to take up metal detecting without a large initial outlay.

Features

With two detection modes, you can either opt to be alerted to the presence of all metals or to discriminate against certain types. This capability is extremely useful and allows you to search more effectively and efficiently depending upon your goals and location. Likewise, the adjustable sensitivity is also an excellent feature that you will be able to make full use of, even as a beginner.

Unlike many more expensive models, this budget metal detector features adjustable volume, so you can search in both busy and quiet places without straining your hearing, ruining your concentration or disturbing the tranquillity or your surroundings. Furthermore, there is also a universal audio jack so you can use your headphones anytime.

However, as this one is a budget model, bear in mind that there is no liquid crystal display available. Additionally, this metal detector can be a little fiddly to assemble and you should be aware that there are no batteries included with your purchase.

On the upside, with no display and slightly less functionality, this metal detector boasts a substantial battery life when compared to other more power-hungry models.

Pros:
  • Two detection modes
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Universal audio jack
  • Adjustable volume
  • Waterproof coil
Cons:
  • No LCD screen
  • Fiddly to assemble
  • No batteries included

6. Dr Ötek Pinpoint (Best Value)

Dr Otek PinpointThis pinpoint metal detector by Dr Ötek is our best value metal detector pick. Thanks to its adjustable height, It is suitable for use by both older children and adults. This inexpensive metal detector would be a great choice if you are looking to start a new hobby.

Features

The adjustable sensitivity allows you to focus your search according to your aim and location, while the pinpoint function helps you to efficiently retrieve your target without having to dig up an unnecessarily wide area. Thanks to its waterproof coil, you can also use this at the beach or in shallow waters, expanding the areas in which you can use it.

With its universal jack, you can simply plug in your headphones for greater concentration while in busy areas or to keep the noise down when other people may be relaxing.

While this metal detector is a great value buy, bear in mind that it is naturally a little less accurate than more expensive models. Also, it does not come with any batteries included and the battery connectors themselves are rather fiddly to connect and disconnect. However, as the best value metal detector in our selection, if you want to get started on a new hobby without a huge expense, we recommend this model. It will help you discover if you want to progress beyond a beginner’s level.

Pros:
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Universal plug for earphones
  • Adjustable length
  • Pinpoint function
  • With a waterproof coil
Cons:
  • No batteries included
  • Not very accurate
  • Fiddly battery connectors

7. Garrett EuroAce (Best For Gold)

Garrett EuroAceIf you are primarily hoping to discover gold nuggets with your metal detector, then we recommend purchasing the EuroAce by Garrett – our best metal detector for gold. The EuroAce has been specifically optimised for European soil conditions, making it one of the best metal detectors for gold in the UK.

Features

It has a liquid crystal display which features a useful coin depth indicator, so you can see just how deep you will need to dig. With its adjustable sensitivity and discrimination mode, you can detect the metals that you want with greater efficiency. Simply cycle between all-metal or discrimination mode to broaden or narrow your search criteria at will.

As all other Ace Range Garrett models, this metal detector features an interchangeable coil. If your needs and metal detecting skills and desires change over the course of time, you can simply purchase another Ace coil for use with your EuroAce metal detector.

While this has been developed for Europe, unfortunately, the information DVD that’s included only works with DVD players that are made for the American market. So, you may have to search for extra information online. Also, there is no tone moderation, meaning you may struggle to hear this model in very busy areas. While we highly recommend this device for detecting gold, you may find that is slightly less accurate over wet ground. So if you are looking for a metal detector to use at the beach or if you have a very damp climate – you may prefer to take a look at some of our other selections.

Pros:
  • Enhanced for European soil conditions
  • Coin depth indicator
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Discrimination mode
  • Interchangeable Ace Range coil
Cons:
  • Information DVD not for UK players
  • No tone moderation
  • Less accurate over wet ground

8. Intey Pinpoint Adjustable

Intey Pinpoint AdjustableThis metal detector by Intey is a good low-cost choice if you are a beginner to metal detecting. It has all of the main functions that you would expect, including adjustable sensitivity, allowing you to tailor your searching to correspond with the area you are in simply by turning a dial.

Features

Thanks to its discrimination mode, you can use this metal detector to search for specific types of metal. Just follow the instructions in the included user guide to discount low-value metals from your search. It is excellent at searching more efficiently. You will also find it particularly useful in areas where your metal detector senses a lot of potential targets. The pinpoint function is invaluable and will save you from digging up large areas unnecessarily since it can guide you directly to where your target is.

Unlike many more expensive models. This metal detector has an adjustable volume. You can use it at will in your garden without disturbing your family, or take it to a busy area and turn up the volume, so you won’t miss a beep. Unfortunately, it is made of plastic. Although it is relatively sturdy ABS plastic, for longevity, metal construction is generally preferred.

There is no liquid crystal display. While not a big loss, this means that it does lack some of the functionality of more expensive models. No batteries are included, so be sure to buy the correct ones when you place your order. On the other hand, a shovel and handy carry bag come with this metal detector as standard.

Pros:
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • Discrimination mode
  • Pinpoint function
  • Adjustable volume
  • Includes carry bag and shovel
Cons:
  • No LCD screen
  • Plastic construction
  • No batteries included

9. Bounty Hunter IV

Bounty Hunter IVThe Bounty Hunter IV Metal Detector is an excellent choice for anyone looking to get started metal detecting or to expand their searches. It detects coins up to 18cm deep and has a durable, reliable design and construction.

Features

It makes use of Analogue Discrimination Technology to enable you to discount any low-value metals. With its three operating modes: discrimination, all-metal and tonal, it provides you with all of the basic functions that you would expect and need during your adventures. Additionally, it comes complete with two-tone target identification and a ground balancing capacity which can make your searches quicker and more efficient. If you don’t want to pay a lot for a new metal detector but are unwilling to compromise too much on accuracy and reliability, then this device is your ideal choice.

Unfortunately, this model is not height-adjustable, so while it is a good size if you fall within the boundaries of an average height person, if you are especially tall or short, you may prefer to look at one of our adjustable height metal detector reviews.

Also, be aware that this model only features instructions in German, so you will have to do some online research if you have any doubts about how to use it or any questions. Note that this model does not feature a liquid crystal display which may be a negative for some users, although the lack of it does help to extend battery life.

Pros:
  • Detects up to 18cm deep
  • Uses Analogue Discrimination Technology
  • Three operating modes
  • Two-tone target identification
  • Ground balancing capability for enhanced accuracy
Cons:
  • Not height adjustable
  • Instructions not in English
  • No LCD screen

10. Viewee Lightweight Junior

Viewee Lightweight JuniorIf you have a child or young relative and you’re wondering which metal detector to purchase for them, try out the Viewee Lightweight Metal Detector.

Features

This inexpensive and simple looking metal detector would make a great child’s birthday or Christmas present thanks to its adjustable height and low weight. Even very young children can use this fun device but with supervision, of course. There is also a convenient carry bag and beach shovel included with your purchase, so you’ll have everything you need to get started. That is, except for the batteries that are not included.

This lightweight metal detector has a waterproof coil for use in wet areas or for long days spent beachcombing. While it could be used by an adult, it is not terribly accurate and anyone looking to get seriously involved in metal detection would soon tire of it.

However, for children or just to test your enthusiasm before spending a large amount on a more reliable model, this metal detector makes a good, fun choice.

Just be aware that it is of slightly flimsy construction. Even with the greatest of care, it is not going to be a very durable product. That said, given its low price, it would make a great child’s gift or a novelty present for an adult who is thinking about trying out metal detecting.

Pros:
  • Inexpensive
  • Adjustable height
  • Waterproof search coil
  • Lightweight
  • Carry bag and shovel included
Cons:
  • Poor accuracy
  • Flimsy
  • No batteries included

What to Consider When Buying a Metal Detector

man searching for treasuresThere are many things you can do outdoors. You can go camping in your family tent, fire up your charcoal BBQ to cook a feast, brave the rapids in your inflatable kayak or go bird watching with your binoculars. Metal detecting is another outdoor option that could prove to be both entertaining and profitable. If you want to try it out but are still unsure which metal detector is best for you then we are here to help. Let’s take a look at the most important considerations to bear in mind when buying a metal detector.

Price

Let’s get this out of the way upfront. You’re not going to pick up a high-end detector that’s going to find real treasure by spending a few quid. That might buy you a toy to entertain your six-year-old while he plays on the wet sand and salt water for a few hours, but nothing more.

Even though it’s a lot of fun, metal detecting is a serious hobby and you’ll need modern equipment that uses advanced techniques for searching valuable metal. Even entry-level gold detectors aren’t cheap. However, there’s a huge range of features and a wide variety of price tags to choose from. We’ve provided a good selection in our above list, so there should be an option for every budget.

Functionality

As with most purchases, the first step in the buying process is thinking about what you’ll be using the product for. What is the best metal detector for your needs? The truth is, gold prospecting for coins and other treasure is usually done in areas that are likely to be filled with junk as well as valuables unless your gold detector can ground balance.

Trash vs Treasure

The best models can ground balance. This means they are able to distinguish between the trash and treasure through a process called “discrimination”. To separate trash from treasure, when they discover a digital target item, they’ll determine how much iron it contains. Specifically, items with high iron content are more likely to be a nail than a diamond ring. The best detectors are also able to determine how well the targets conduct electrical current because that allows them to tell the difference between coins and foil.

Precious Metals

Treasure hunters know that searching for gold, on the other hand, requires very different technology. A detector used to find gold or precious metals will normally be used on ground that’s highly magnetized. Gold detectors should have good ground balance. It means they will be able to compensate for ground mineralization (the fancy name for saying that almost all areas of the ground will appear to house precious metals).

You can find metal detectors with good ground balance which will provide both extraordinary trash-vs-treasure gold prospecting features, but they’ll be quite dear. And since most metal detectors don’t have gold fever, we’ve focused on the models which are great at finding coins and other valuables buried in ordinary ground.

Discrimination Settings

Other features to look for are “discrimination” settings. These allow you to ignore digital target IDs that are lower on the scale and likely to be returned by nails, bottle tops or other useless items. A “notching” capability is also desirable, as this allows you to choose specific target IDs that you’ve identified as being the metals you’re most interested in.

Coil Type & Quality

man beachcombing for treasuresWhen you look at a metal detector there will usually be large rings on the end of the rod. They’re called search coils, and they’re responsible for sending out the magnetic fields that detect valuable metals (or sometimes, trash). There are two primary types of search coils which are concentric coils and DD coils.

Concentric Coils

Lesser models of metal detectors use round, concentric coils that send and receive magnetic fields, but the search field will only be as wide and deep as the circumference of the outside coil (the one that generates the magnetic search field).

The search field is shaped like a cone, wide at the top and ending at a point. That means the detector can’t distinguish between all of the objects it might find near the wide top of the cone, and that you’ll have to make a “direct strike” with the point to find anything buried deep in the ground. (The inside coil is used to receive the more sensitive magnetic signals sent back by any objects that are found.)

DD Coils

More desirable are “DD” coils, which look sort of like two capital “D’s” placed back-to-back. They create a much deeper search field that’s shaped like a blade rather than a cone. The narrower field prevents the metal detector from being confused by objects close to the surface and allows the detection of treasure much deeper than a concentric-coil model could find.

Frequency

Most detectors use very low frequency (VLF, also called induction balance) technology to find valuables. The signals returned to the searcher can be simple audio tones that generally correspond to the types of metals found, but better hobbyist units utilise target identification (target ID) systems to show what’s been found on a meter or liquid crystal display. The very best professional metal detectors (that cost exorbitant amounts of money) will display a numeric output, with each number corresponding to a different type of metal.

Conclusion

man using the MeterkEach of the models in our metal detector reviews would make excellent choices for different types of treasure hunters, but our overall favourite has to be the Meterk Underground.

The worthy winner of our Editor’s Choice badge, this metal detector is head and shoulders above the competition. We loved how it’s easy to use, fully waterproof so you can o searching on salt water or wet sand. Additionally, it is very effective at discriminating between time-wasting junk and potentially valuable items.

The included plug for earphones allows you to focus in on your target, even in loud and busy spaces – while the liquid crystal display, precise positioning and control panel make controlling and fine-tuning your search effortless.

As if that wasn’t enough reasons to choose the Meterk Underground, this model is also fully adjustable, unlike other detectors on the market. This means a much more comfortable search, so you can find your treasure without suffering backache. All in all, we’re sure you’ll agree that the Meterk Underground is truly the best metal detector in the UK, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned artefact hunter!

Additional Resources

 

Sign up for exclusive discounts and product giveaways!

100% value and no spam, always.

You have Successfully Subscribed!