What are the Best Beginners Metal Detectors?

By Daniel Bernzweig

Treasure hunting is exciting for all ages: kids, teenagers and adults alike! There is so much recoverable treasure in or near your own neighborhood; you really don’t have to go far. Even in the city, you can find hidden money caches, buried antique bottles, lost coins and jewelry, historical relics and other valuables. Using a metal detector to locate and dig up these items is becoming a popular hobby and it’s easy for beginners to get started. With just a cost-effective metal detector and a natural sense of curiosity, you will be ready get your treasure hunt on.

Why do People Love the Hobby of Metal Detecting?

Being a treasure hunter is an inspiring alternative to doing the same old thing every day. Finding coins, valuable artifacts and jewelry is both lucrative and adventurous. It brings families together with a hobby that all will enjoy, while teaching important lessons about history and science. Many beginners really enjoy coin hunting with their metal detector. It’s not only fun and easy to do, but it can pay dividends. Finding just one gold piece or any rare coin can easily pay for the cost of the metal detector.

Metal detectors for beginners today can typically locate all metallic objects. This includes gold, silver, iron, nickel, copper, brass, aluminum, tin, lead and bronze. Metal detectors with a target identification display recognize common items such as iron, foil, soda can pull tabs, screw caps, pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Some detectors also provide a target identification number to more precisely identify what you have located.

Parks are great places to start searching. They are readily available no matter where you live and have undoubtedly hosted plenty of activities over time where treasure has been lost or hidden. Successful places to search are areas where crowds have spent a great deal of time, such as open fields, picnic areas, hiking trails, ponds, lakes and streams.

What’s the Best First Metal Detector for Beginners?

Not all beginner metal detectors are created equal. The inexpensive models that are available at toy stores and major retailers tend to be either older, outdated models or inexpensive imported toy quality units. Luckily, a professional quality metal detector for beginners fits easily within most hobbyists budgets. You can find a wide array of entry-level detectors that turn on and go. Basically, they offer just as many features as more expensive models, but they aren’t as advanced. It is best to choose a model made by a major manufacturer that has been supplying quality products to treasure hunters for years. They will be around to service your needs in the future.

If you want to invest a bit more, there are several high-quality models with deluxe features such as LCD target identification displays, visual depth indicators and multi-tone audio discrimination. These models will locate the oldest, deepest targets. In fact, many can actually operate under water.

When searching for relics, a metal detector with a lower frequency will better target old artifacts than a detector with a higher one. This is because iron, brass and steel have a lower conductivity; therefore, a lower frequency model will best locate these items. Among the popular relics to search for in the U.S. include Civil War pieces such as colonial buckles, buttons, swords, and musket balls—as well as arrowheads, jewelry and medallions.

Below are a few of our most popular multi-purpose metal detectors:

Entry Level:

Mid Level:

High End:

Detecting for Kids: For the Fun of it!

For kids, there’s no greater excitement than finding lost treasure! There are specially designed metal detectors for kids- many are turn on and go, lightweight and simple to operate. Quality detectors for children still offer professional features, even without complex controls. Among the best features to look for in a kids’ detector include target identification, a large easy-to-read LCD display, visual depth indicator, and a waterproof search coil. Be sure to read our article on selecting the best kids metal detectors.

Teens: a Better Way to Earn Some Money

Let’s face it-- older kids are harder to captivate and they become bored easily. Metal detecting is the perfect solution; it requires problem-solving skills and offers a potential cash reward! What teen wouldn’t like that idea? There are more coins buried in the soil then there are in circulation, so let the hunt begin! You can find inexpensive, mid-range and high-end detectors for slightly older children. While these detectors are also suitable for adults, they are designed to be simple to operate. Be sure to read our article on selecting the best beginners metal detectors.

Parents: Quality Time-- Alone or with the Family

Time away from work is a hot commodity. Metal detecting is a great way to refresh and clear your mind. You can enjoy alone time while detecting or engage in a fun family treasure hunt. When shopping for a beginner’s metal detector, you should consider comfort, price and the type of terrain you will be searching. There are five common features on most metal detectors. Discrimination is the ability of your detector to ignore certain objects. Sensitivity enables you to set the depth of your search. Ground balance allows you to ignore signals from minerals in the soil, such as iron. The target ID function indicates your target depth and size. Volume control is an important function. A quality metal detecting headphone like the Audiophone II will include dual volume adjustments.

Retirees: A New, Exciting Hobby

Metal detecting offers what your mind needs to stay active and alert-- not to mention it’s good exercise! What could more fulfilling than carrying out a successful treasure recovery project in which you reap the rewards of hidden valuables? You can leisurely search local parks and beaches for interesting items. And with a little luck and experience, you can often find very valuable treasures, such as coins and antiques from the past. If you spend a little time researching your area (in the town room of your local library) you may be surprised at the hidden valuables and treasure caches that may be waiting nearby.

© 2012 Detector Electronics Corp. Revised 11/9/2018

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