Last Updated On October 20th, 2021
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
Best Metal Detector Reviews – Top 10 Picks
If 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.
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 fewer 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.
The Nokta Makro Simplex+ makes a great choice for anyone seeking a lightweight metal detector that is simple and easy to use. It has all the features you want in a metal detector as well as some upgraded conveniences.
This metal detector comes equipped with advanced detection DD plate technology, and the coil is impressively waterproof up to 3 metres. It has adjustable sensitivity and 4 preset search modes so you can better target treasures depending on the specific area you are hunting.
The Simplex+ features a telescopic rod so you can adjust the height to match your stature. The rechargeable batteries needed for operation come included with your purchase, and they have a lengthy runtime per charge, allowing you to search for extended periods of time without a problem. It also comes with wireless headphones included, so you can start hunting right away.
This device has a slightly smaller coil, and it may have issues detecting gold accurately. It is also single frequency making it less than ideal for use near salt water as it will create some added noise. While you can adjust the sensitivity on this metal detector, you will lose some depth as a result.
This 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.
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.
If 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.
It has a liquid crystal display that 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.
If you are looking for a quality built device that is comfortable to hold, the Garrett Ace 400i metal detector should be near the top of your list. It is easy to use and great for beginner, intermediate, and advanced treasure hunting enthusiasts.
Garrett Ace 400i metal detectors feature 5 preset detection modes that allow you to search for specific items like relics, jewellery, coins, and more. It has a pinpoint detection function to help you extract found items and multi-tone functionality, which enables audio discrimination for better, faster, more accurate search results.
A large LCD screen sits atop the rod, making this device easier to read than most. It also includes a rain cover to keep the control panel protected during rain showers. A disk protector and a pair of Garrett’s Clear Sound headphones also come included with your purchase, so no need to worry about jack compatibility.
While the Ace 400i makes a solid choice for the reasons described above, it does have a slightly heavier design, so your arm may start to tire with extended use. In addition, the batteries it comes with are not rechargeable, and in our opinion, the pinpoint function could be improved as it is highly sensitive.
The 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.
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.
The Hoomya Professional metal detector features a deep detection depth and a quick response time, so you won’t miss a thing while you hunt. It is good for pro and enthusiast use, making it an excellent choice for just about any skill level.
A large 11” coil enables a deeper, 1.5-metre detection depth to help you find items buried further underground. It features a pinpoint function, adjustable sensitivity, an adjustable discrimination mode, and a sophisticated ground balancing system to eliminate unwanted interference and help you find objects with greater accuracy.
It also has an ergonomic design with an adjustable rod length to further enhance user comfort. Conveniently, universal jack headphones and a small travel bag come included, so you should have everything you need to start hunting.
While the coil on the Hoomya TX850 is waterproof, the LCD screen is not, but it does come with a protective cover, so you should still be able to hunt in rainy weather. Other potential cons include the directions not being in English and it lacking an icon for the remaining battery power on the display.
The 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.
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.
In addition to being fun for adults, metal detectors can also be a fun toy for children. If you are looking for a device for kids, the Dr ӦTek Junior is your best bet. It has a fun display and is lightweight and easy to use, even for young ones.
To engage children and pique their interest, it has a user-friendly touch screen with flashing LED lights to alert you when treasures have been located. The lights flash in different colours to help kids determine what type of material has been found. It features a DISC and a pinpoint mode, and the search coil is waterproof, so it can be used on the beach or near streams.
We love that this metal detector has a convenient, low battery alert so you can easily keep track of when the battery needs to be replaced. It also has an adjustable stem, so different sized kids can use it. A sand shovel, sand sifter, and a carry pouch come included to keep you organised and make retrieving items more fun for little ones.
While this metal detector is great for kids, it is not ideal for more advanced enthusiasts. In addition, it has a more shallow detection depth and does not hold a rechargeable battery. Plus, the control box is not waterproof, so you shouldn’t use it in rainy conditions.
The Professional MT-XR metal detector by Dr ӦTek is another fantastic option on our list that is lightweight and straightforward to use. It is also highly adjustable by design and has a variety of different settings to help you locate and extract different types of metals.
The Dr ӦTek MT-XR features a large waterproof coil that enables greater depth detection on different types of terrain. It has five search modes with a pinpointer function and six different metal detection ranges. For improved accuracy, it also features adjustable sensitivity and discrimination.
A convenient memory mode helps this metal detector become more efficient with use. The more you use it, the better acquainted it becomes with your specific type of hunting, allowing you to locate specific items faster and easier. A backlit LCD display screen and the adjustable length of the pole round out the user-friendliness of this option.
You should know, the pinpoint function may not be entirely accurate on this metal detector, and the cable plug on the unit may be a bit less secure, causing it to wobble. Lastly, false readings are possible if you accidentally bump the coil on a surface like the ground or a rock.
What to Consider When Buying a Metal Detector
There 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
When 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.
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.)
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.
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.
Each 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 Garrett Ace 250.
We think this metal detector is the best option for most people, whether they are beginners or seasoned artefact hunters. We loved that you can replace the coils to suit your specific needs and that it comes with eight sensitivity settings, plus five preset hunting modes. Additionally, you’re also provided with information on depth, so you can decide straight away whether or not you want to start recovering what you’ve found.
All in all, we’re sure you’ll agree that the Garrett Ace 250 is truly the best metal detector in the UK, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned artefact hunter!