11 Best Pinpointers: The Clear and Concise List

Table of contents:

What is a pinpointer metal detector?

Your research has paid off and you just invested in one of the best metal detectors, a top-notch model. Excited, you are ready to begin your new hobby and start searching for treasures. Once you locate the target, most beginners realize that finding it is only half the battle. Locating and retrieving the target quickly and accurately from the plug of dirt you have cut is another challenge. A pinpointer metal detector is a handheld device that will help you quickly and precisely narrow the detection field of the target in the hole. So a great question would be, what is the difference between a metal detector and a pinpointer? And the answer is that the pinpointer is simply a miniature version of a full sized metal detector with a single purpose. The unit has a very small or narrow search coil designed to do one thing, locate the target center. It is not designed for depth or discrimination or any other purpose.

Best Pinpointers: The Top Eleven

Below we explore everything you need to know to pick the best model for you. Comparing the current models, you will learn how they differ in terms of features and performance. Our team of experts did extensive testing and research on over 25 different models to create this guide.

#1 Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Waterproof Pinpointer (Best)

Price: $127.46 Reviews

As we noted in our article comparing pinpointers in the Pro-Pointer Series:

"Also known as the "carrot," this pinpointer is known for its distinct orange color that you will never lose sight of. Waterproof up to 20 feet, you can search rivers and beaches and hunt in the rain — targets will not escape you no matter where they are! Adjustable sensitivity, increased depth, silent mode and waterproof operation have made this model an absolute FAVORITE among detectorists!" This handheld pinpointer pinpointer is among the most popular models and operates at 11.5 kHz.

The key specifications for the Pro-Pointer AT are: 

  • Waterproof to 20 Feet: Fully submersible for shallow-water detecting, snorkeling and diving up to 20 feet (6 meters)
  • Adjustable Sensitivity: Choice of 3 sensitivity levels. Maximum sensitivity for detection of nuggets and small targets
  • Single Button Operation: Easily control power, retune, sensitivity adjustment and Stealth Mode with one button
  • Built-in Ruler: Ruler with inch/cm markings molded into pinpointer to judge target depth
  • Orange Color: Brilliant orange chassis so you can spot the pinpointer in the murkiest water
  • When left without any quick button press for 5 minutes, the pinpointer is set to emit periodic notifications.
  • Powerful led flashlight led perfect for low light situations
  • Audio vibration buzzer alert

#2 XP MI-4 Waterproof Pinpointer Metal Detector (Runner Up)

Price: $119.00 Reviews

As we noted in our Overview section of the XP MI-4 product page:

"The XP MI-4 Pinpointer is for everyone! Use alongside any metal detector. The MI-4 is waterproof to 20 feet, 6 meters for use on land and in both fresh and salt water environments. Includes a built in Rechargeable Battery System, Lanyard and Holster. Premium quality, backed by a full 2 year warranty."

The key specifications for the XP MI-4 Waterproof Pinpointer are:

  • Access all Functions with 1 Single Button.
  • Signal Alerts by Loud speaker and Vibration.
  • LED Light which can be switched On or Off.
  • 6 Program Modes for your comfort - On/Off combinations of the loud speaker, vibration and LED light.
  • Fast Retune.
  • 3 Sensitivity Levels.
  • Rotating Belt Holster.
  • Lanyard with Stainless Ring ensures the pinpointer will always be by your side.
  • Lithium Rechargeable Battery with USB Charger.
  • 2 Year Warranty.

#3 Garrett Pro-Pointer II Pinpointing Metal Detector

Price: $110.46 Reviews

As we noted in our article comparing units in the Pro-Pointer Series:

"Among the most popular pinpointers, the Pro-Pointer II will cut your time in half when searching holes. Targets covered in soil can be instantly located with this easy-to-use pinpointer. One reviewer says, “This pinpointer has saved me hours of time searching. Wish I would have purchased it earlier!" This model is produced by Garrett metal detectors, the same company that makes the popular Garrett Ace metal detectors.

The key specifications for the Garrett Pro-Pointer II are: 

  • Best Price: Most affordable Handheld model at $110.46: Compared to other entry-level pointers, it is feature-packed and professional!
  • Water Resistant: Can be used in the rain and washed in running water; it is not waterproof
  • Sleek Black Design: Exclusive to this unit
  • All Terrain
  • Automatic Tuning

#4 Fisher F-Pulse Pinpointer - Waterproof

Price: $129.00 Reviews

As we noted in our Overview section of the Fisher F-Pulse product page:

"Fisher F-Pulse Waterproof Pinpointer - Pinpoint the exact location of buried metal objects in both dirt and soil and also in either fresh or salt water. Waterproof and fully submersible up to 6 feet underwater. 2-year Warranty from Fisher Metal Detectors."

The key specifications for the Fisher F-Pulse are: 

  • Circuitry Type: Pulse Induction
  • Target Alert: Audible Beep, Vibrate or Both
  • Waterproof: Fully Submersible to 6 Feet
  • Lost  Alarm
  • Single Button Operation
  • 3 Sensitivity Levels
  • Proportional Response
  • Retune
  • Adjustable LED Light
  • Auto Shutdown
  • 2-AA Batteries (not included)
  • Belt Holster Included
  • 2-year Warranty

#5 Nokta Makro PulseDive Wireless Waterproof Pinpointer

Price: $101.15 Reviews

As we noted in our article comparing pinpointers in the Nokta Makro PulseDive Series:

"Nokta Makro’s patented design allows their PulseDive series detectors to quickly transform from a Pinpointer in to a Scuba Detector (with optional search head) and back into a Pinpointer in a matter of seconds. IP68 waterproof certification means this unit can handle dives up to 200’ and dive mode locks the keys to keep them from being depressed by water pressure."

The key specifications for the Nokta Makro PulseDive are: 

  • Operating Frequency: 3kHz
  • Pulse Induction
  • Built-in Wireless Module
  • Rapid Retune
  • Dive Mode
  • IP68 Waterproof Rating

#6 Treasure Products Vibra Probe 585 Waterproof Pinpointer

Price: $139.95 Reviews

As we noted in our article comparing units in the Treasure Products Underwater Pinpointer Series Comparison:

"The Vibra Probe 585 is a pinpointing metal detector that features "tip only" detection for precise target locating. This pinpointer offers tip only detection, so you know precisely where the target is. This detector also works with no push button switches thanks to the unique "tilt" on and off technology. The unique airtight design keeps it safe from dust, mud, and water up to a depth of 100 feet."

The key specifications for the Treasure Products Vibra Probe 585 are: 

  • Tip-Only Detection - Enabling precision target pinpointing.
  • Communicates with Vibration
  • Target Distancing - Vibrations increase in frequency as the probe tip approaches the target.

#7 Treasure Products Vibra Tector 740 Waterproof Pinpointer Metal Detector

Price: $179.95 Reviews

As we noted in our article comparing units in the Treasure Products Underwater Pinpointer Series Comparison:

"Featuring the latest technology, the Vibra Tector underwater metal detector helps you find targets fast. This handheld metal detector features a 4 inch searchcoil. Perfect for diving, this unit communicates through both vibration and bright LED light. Enclosed within its waterproof, sealed case is self-calibrating microprocessor-controlled circuitry that requires no external adjustments."

The key specifications for the Treasure Products Vibra Tector 740 are: 

  • Round 4-inch detection head with large detection area
  • Communicates with Vibration and LED Light
  • Easy-To-Use: Self calibrating microprocessor controlled circuitry requires no adjustments of any kind
  • Waterproof - Submersible up to 100 feet / 30 meters
  • Compact Design - Easy to carry
  • The large head allows for the precise pinpointing of larger targets
  • Operates with a single 9V battery

#8 Nokta Makro PulseDive Scuba Detector and PinPointer 2-In-1 Set in Yellow

Price: $160.65 Reviews

As we noted in our article comparing pinpointers in the Nokta Makro PulseDive Series:

"Shipped with both the scuba detector and pinpointer you can make the switch in seconds. The built-in pulse induction technology provides stable operation whether you are searching in saltwater or on any type of soil."

The key specifications for the Nokta Makro PulseDive Scuba are: 

  • Operating Frequency: 3kHz
  • Comes with Pointer and Scuba Coils
  • Pulse Induction
  • Built-in Wireless Module
  • Rapid Retune
  • Dive Mode
  • IP68 Waterproof Rating

#9 XP MI-6 Waterproof Pinpointer Metal Detector

Price: $159.00 Reviews

As we noted in our Overview section of the XP MI-6 product page:

"The XP MI-6 Pinpointer is for everyone! Use alongside any metal detector with seven (7) easy to use modes. The MI-6 is the World's First Connected Wireless model. Unlock many additional features when you wirelessly connect the MI-6 to a DEUS metal detector (mode 7) Includes Lanyard and Holster."

The MI-6 has all the features of the #2 ranked MI-4 unit above plus the following:

  • Wireless connection to the XP ORX and DEUS metal detectors.
  • Five advanced XP Plus settings.
  • Adjustable audio tone.
  • Audio output to ORX or DEUS headset.
  • Anti-Interference when used with ORX or DEUS detectors.
  • Recover lost MI-6 mode.
  • Target zoom on ORX or DEUS LCD screen.
  • 50 levels of sensitivity.
  • Battery life of up to 90 hours.

#10 Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Waterproof Z-Lynk Wireless Pinpointing Metal Detector

Price: $144.45 Reviews

As we noted in our article comparing models in the Pro-Pointer Series:

"The Pro-Pointer AT with Z-Lynk is built to go wireless! Hear the signals from your pinpointer through the MS-3 wireless headphones. You can connect the wireless capability through any Z-Lynk wireless device. So, even if you don't have the AT Pro Metal Detector or the At Max or Apex detector models, the optional Z-Lynk wireless kit can be purchased separately. Get ALL of the advanced features of the Pro-Pointer AT and add wireless convenience!"

The key specifications for the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT are: 

  • Built-in Z-Lynk Wireless Technology: Automatically transmits audio to your MS-3 wireless headphones. Hear both your pointer and your detector
  • Get the MS-3 Wireless Headphones with Z-Lynk Transmitter module to connect with any Z-Lynk Wireless Device: This kit converts any detector to Z-Lynk so that you can utilize the Pro-Pointer AT with Z-Lynk Wireless
  • One-Press Synching: Simple pairing to the Z-Lynk wireless receivers. Solid red light indicates proper pairing with the device
  • Lost pro-pointer alarm
  • Scraping blade digger with measurement built-in

#11 Treasure Products Vibra-Quatic 320 Waterproof Pinpointer

Price: $179.95 Reviews

As we noted in our article comparing units in the Treasure Products Underwater Pinpointer Series Comparison:

"The Vibra-Quatic 320 is Treasure Products' latest pinpointer. It is excellent for divers as it is waterproof up to 100 feet and signals with both vibration and light. It also features a 2-inch detection tip for deeper detection depth and higher sensitivity.  The Vibra-Quatic 320 features Depth Stability that maintains the unit's detection distance throughout the life of the battery and "tip only" detection for greater accuracy."

The key specifications for the Treasure Products Vibra-Quatic 320 are: 

  • Communicates with Vibration and LED Light
  • Large 2-Inch Detection Tip - For deeper detection depths, and more sensitivity to large objects.

How to use a metal detector pinpointer?

Using Pinpointer metal detectors is easy and fast. We are often asked, what is the best way to use a pinpointer? Just follow these quick-start steps:

  1. Turn the device on.
  2. Next, cut your plug of grass and run the unit along the sides of the hole, in the center of the hole, and finally at the bottom.
  3. Finally, once you have located the signal in the hole, criss-cross the unit across the target to locate the exact center.

Pro Tip! Be sure to check the plug itself if you're still coming up empty handed.

Can you metal detect with just a pinpointer?

The short answer is no. Overall a full sized metal detector is the best device to locate the general area of your target. Most will detect items from the surface down to to one foot or more. The hand held pointer is then used to isolate the target precisely once you start digging.

What are the best pinpointers for diving?

When it comes to diving, you should look at a unit from Treasure Products. Check out the Vibra Probe 580, Vibra-Quatic 2 Pinpointer, or Vibra Tector 740. These units are snorkeling and diving certified to 100 feet (30 meters). 

Are cheap Pinpointers any good?

Investing in a quality unit will provide you with years of trouble free service. Although it might seem attractive to purchase a cheap device, our investigation and testing have shown that these units contain inferior components. The majority of these units are made in the orient and we have found that with minimal use, they fail. Of the least expensive pinpointers, we have found the Bounty Hunter pinpointer to be of the best quality.

How much is a Garrett pro pinpointer?

A genuine Garrett pro-pointer AT is $127.45 when purchased from an authorized retailer. The next model up in the series the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Waterproof Z-Lynk Wireless is $144.45. The base model in the series, the Garrett Pro-Pointer II is $110.46. If you see pricing below this, that is a clear sign that the unit is a knock off from the orient. 

How can you tell a fake Garrett pro-pointer?

All legitimate Garrett products are produced at the company headquarters in Garland Texas in the United States. Their products are sold only through authorized retailers which are listed on their website. As noted in the Garrett counterfeit notice "Don’t be fooled by impostors. All genuine products are designed, assembled, tested for quality control and shipped from the company headquarters in Garland, Texas, USA. Garrett’s ISO 9001 certified Quality Management System emblems are an outward reflection of the true quality within."

How do you use a pinpointer metal detector?

The pinpointing device will help you precisely isolate the target in the hole and zero in on it quickly. Your coins and other treasures won't be damaged in the recovery process if you use an electronic pointer. This will help you maintain the full value of your find. It has been said by NGC, the world's largest and most trusted third-party grading service, that "Many coins have surface conditions that preclude numeric grading from NGC.  Coins that have been improperly cleaned, are holed, have scratches or certain other issues cannot be assigned a numeric grade from 1 to 70." 

How does a pinpointer work?

If you are wondering how does a pinpointer work? At the simplest level, this mini metal detector transmits a signal over the air via low frequency radio waves. When the signal hits the piece of metal, the signal is stopped. The signal is then bounced back and detected by the receiving circuit of the detector. How quickly the signal returns and the shape and other details of the returned signal help to paint the picture of how large, how deep the target is. Other characteristics of the signal can help to provide more clues to what lies below the ground before you begin digging. You may be saying to yourseld, so then, what is the relationship between a pinpointer and a metal detector? This is a great question and the answer is, they work hand in hand. With the full sized metal detector you can easily locate your target. With the hand held device you can then zero in on exactly where the target you just found is located. They work together in harmony like a hand and a glove.

How deep can a pinpointer detect?

When it comes to pinpointing a target, more depth is not always better. Many current models allow the user to adjust the depth or sensitivity of the unit to increase or decrease the target depth range. While each make and model will differ, average depth on coin sized objects will be between 1 and 2 inches. You can usually zero in on the target to within a quarter inch when the setting is on low and between 2-3 inches on a high setting.

Can a pinpointer find gold?

Our top 11 picks are "all metal" units that will surely find gold. Therefore, it is important to identify what type of gold you are looking for when asking the question does a pinpointer find gold? If you want to find small gold nuggets, a model like the XP MI-4 or MI-6 would be the best choice. Each of the two models can detect gold from 1/10th of a gram and above. The Garrett Pro-Pointer AT and Pro-Pointer AT with Z-Lynk can detect gold from 2/10th of a gram and above. The majority of other models in the list are built to detect gold jewelry and coin sized targets.

Do I need a pinpointer for metal detecting?

Modern metal detectors are packed with features. Many detectors have pinpointing controls or modes. Hence the question of why would you need a hand-held unit? Quite simply, your metal detector uses a larger search coil to locate the target. When it comes to finding the target, a small hand-held unit works best. You can isolate the target on the top, bottom, or sides of the hole you just dug. It will help you recover the target quickly and safely.

What is the Garrett pro pointer?

Garrett's Propointer is the most popular model in the world. It was designed and patented by Garrett Metal Detectors in Garland, Texas. The model line up currently consists of three models: Pro-Pointer AT, Pro-Pointer AT with Z-Lynk Wireless, and Pro-Pointer II. A popular accessory to use along with this model is the Garrett Camo diggers pouch.

Pinpointers: Why We Use Them

You can use the pinpointing device to precisely learn where the target is in the hole so that you can zero in on it quickly. If you've never used one, you'll wonder how you survived without it. Many treasure hunters note that a pinpointer is the most important tool.

Best 10 Features To Look For In A Pinpointer

Here are the types of features you can choose from. Metal detector pinpointing probes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Higher-priced units are genuinely built with more rugged materials.

Best Identifying Feature #1: Power Source

Most units are powered by alkaline batteries. A single 9 volt battery or one or more AA batteries are most common. XP MI-4 and MI-6 models feature rechargeable batteries. In the long run, rechargeable models will save you money if you spend a lot of time in the field.

Best Identifying Feature #2: Waterproof Rating

If you will be near or in the water, choose a unit that is waterproof or at least water-resistant. IP Ratings (Ingress Protection Ratings) denote the degree of protection provided by electrical enclosures against foreign bodies such as items, water, dirt, etc. Units that are considered simply weatherproof will have lower ratings such as IP 65 or IP 66. Units that are fully submersible will have higher ratings of IP 67 or higher.

Best Identifying Feature #3: Total Depth Rating

The most common question we receive is about depth. IP ratings (Ingress Protection Ratings) determine the waterproof depth rating of the unit. Target depth is determined by the size of the search coil and the level of sensitivity. Larger coils will detect deeper. High-sensitivity units will also find deeper targets. You will struggle to locate the precise location of the target if you have too much depth.

Best Identifying Feature #4: Price

Popular models vary in price depending on the quality and quantity of features they have. These units are all of the highest quality and are manufactured by reputable companies. All are produced in state-of-the-art facilities. Our list of top models ranges from a little over $100 to a little under $200.

Best Identifying Feature #5: Warranty

All of the models on the list feature warranties from 1 to 2 or more years. Each unit is warranted against defects in materials and workmanship. Care for each unit as you would any fine electronic device. Follow the instructions that come with each unit to ensure proper use and care.

Best Identifying Feature #6: Sensitivity

Most units have the ability to adjust the sensitivity. It is possible to detect targets at a greater depth by increasing sensitivity. As the sensitivity is reduced, the range is reduced and the unit will better locate targets. Typically, users can select from a range of sensitivity levels.

Best Identifying Feature #7: Size

Dimensions will vary from one brand to another depending on the unit. The size of the search coil will also affect the unit's dimensions. The larger the search coil, the deeper the unit can detect. For example, the Treasure Products Vibra Tector 740 has a 4" coil. Consider both the unit's length and diameter as well as the overall weight.

Best Identifying Feature #8: Target Response

An audio tone is helpful when using the device on land. Under water, you will prefer vibrations or light signals to indicate your target response.

Best Identifying Feature #9: Design

So that leads us to the question, what is a pinpointer made of? All of the models evaluated are built out of tough ABS plastic. All contain electrical shielding built in to the design. Our list includes units that have several unique and thoughtful design elements. The design of pinpointer metal detectors differ greatly from one manufacturer to another. Compare the many designs to find the one best suited to your treasure hunting style. A belt holster secures the unit to your belt for easy access. Some models feature a scraping blade attachment useful for loosening soil. Another great feature some models include is a lanyard. Some come with an accessory lanyard or an included mount so that you can attach a retractable lanyard. Lanyards prevent you from losing equipment in the field. Some models even come with a ruler so you can measure the size and depth of targets in real time.

Best Identifying Feature #10: User Interface

The features on most models are accessed through a single button. By pressing this button, you can adjust the unit's sound, target response, sensitivity, and other features. With Treasure products, you can turn the unit on and off using a clever tilt on/off feature.

In summary, with the right device by your side, you will soon see why so many treasure hunters swear by using a pinpointer. Using a hand held unit, you will be able to locate your target much faster and easier. With pinpointer metal detectors, you can locate the target in the hole very precisely so you can locate it with ease. The device to pick will depend on your style of treasure hunting and budget. Finally, be sure to pick out a good recovery tool and a finds pouch  to go along with your new unit. If you are lucky, you might pay for your unit the first time out!

Copyright 2019 - Revised October 13, 2021