The Best Kids Metal Detectors: Kids Metal Detector Buying Guide

By Michael Bernzweig

Table of Contents

So the child in your life wants to find buried treasure? Each and every day we are asked what is the best hobby metal detector for a child to get started with? To help you select the best unit for your little treasure hunter, be sure to consider their size, age and attention level. Read our newly revised article below on choosing the best metal detectors for kids. In this article you will find our top metal detector picks and points to consider in selecting a quality child's metal detector.

Product Details and Features to Look For

1. Popular Settings and adjustments

  • Volume adjuster knob or touch pad
  • Sensitivity - You can reduce or increase sensitivity to common targets such as coins, rings, and jewelry.
  • Discrimination control - used to filter out aluminum and other junk metals
  • Battery power indicator
  • All metal mode - locates all targets

2. Physical design

All of the models that we offer feature a waterproof search coil. Many include a target id meter or LCD digital display. The display shows the operation of the detector and the probable identification and depth of the target. These units are all lightweight and feature an adjustable length stem which will expand or contract as needed. Some of the units as noted are fully waterproof and can be used under water and on land.

3. Audio signals and accessories

The hobby of metal detecting is popular with kids. Some models will provide one tone for all targets, while others will offer multiple tones to help distinquish the good targets from junk. Metal detectors can still be fun for kids, even if some adults are more experienced. Children can benefit from metal detector accessories like a metal detector carry bagheadphonestool pouch and a digging trowel, pinpointing probe and sand scoop. A carry bag is helpful if you are hiking to your hunting grounds as well as a great way to store your detector and accessories.

4. Power source

Kids love gadgets. These, coupled with a natural curiosity about the world, make a Kids Metal Detector a perfect gift for a child who loves to explore. They are typically powered by 9-volt batteries or AA batteries that are long lasting, so you don't have to worry about replacing batteries often.

5. Operating frequency

The higher the operating frequency, the better the device will be at detecting gold and other high conductor metals. The lower the frequency the better the detector is at locating iron, brass, silver and other less conductive targets. For that reason, all of the models on this list feature a mid range of conductivity that is suitable to a wide range of conditions and targets.

Watch our Best Metal Detectors for Kids Video

A metal detector is the perfect gift. The hobby is one that adults and children can enjoy together. The hobby is both fun and educational. It presents a great chance for learning about local and national history while researching finds and new sites to explore. From kids and children to retirees and everyone in between, the hobby has so much to offer. Below are our top picks to help your youngster get started in this fun hobby.

Our Top Picks

Our test team has spent hundreds of hours testing all the top kids metal detectors for sale from over a dozen manufacturers. We have narrowed the list down to just the top preforming units in each price range. Each is a quality product designed to provide years of fun and enjoyment. A child’s metal detector is the perfect COVID friendly outdoor activity for young backyard enthusiasts of all ages.

Choose the model below that fits your budget and you're ready to start your treasure hunt in the dirt with your little one!  While each of these detectors is also suitable for teens, tweens and adults, they are moderately priced, feature-packed and simple to operate. These units are not quite as small or compact as the Nokta Makro Mini or Midi Hoard below.

Best Metal Detectors for Kids Ages 4 and up

  • Nokta Makro Mini Hoard Cool Kit (Ages 4 to 8)

Best Metal Detectors for Kids under 10 Years

Below is our top pick for slightly older and more advanced kids and children.  If your child is small for their age we suggest that you start them out with the Nokta Makro Mini Hoard above. This model is genuinely kid sized and NOT suitable for adults or bigger kids.

  • Nokta Makro MIDI Hoard (Under 10 years old)

Best Kids Metal Detector For Under $100

While you will see many inexpensive metal detectors advertised on the internet for under $100, most are of toy quality and typically poorly constructed. All of the units that we offer are of professional quality and built to quality standards. While the lower-priced units on our site may not have as many features as the more expensive ones, the quality is still top-notch. If you cannot budget enough for a professional quality unit, we recommend saving up or choosing a different hobby.

Nokta Makro Mini Hoard Cool Kit (Ages 4 to 8)

Price: $99.95

Reviews

The specifications for the Nokta Makro Mini Hoard are:

  • IP68 – Fully submersible up to 1 meter (3 feet)
  • Lightweight: 780g (1.7lbs)
  • 2-Tone Audio Discrimination
  • 6” Search Coil
  • Length Extends from 63 cm - 90 cm, 25'' - 35''
  • Child-Friendly Display Screen
  • Pinpoint Button
  • Frequency: 15kHz
  • Auto Shut Off and Alarm
  • Battery: 2 AA
  • Comes With Cool Kit: Treasure marks, sand scoop, and sifter
  • Made in the Turkey - 2 Year Warranty - USA Service

As we noted in our comparison article of the MIDI Hoard and Mini Hoard detectors: "Specifically designed for younger kids between 4 and 8, the Nokta Makro Mini Hoard has large, easy to use icons and one-button operation. With no complicated menus or programs to deal with, it is the perfect way for younger kids to learn the basics of metal detecting."


Nokta Makro MIDI Hoard (Under 10 years old)

Price: $99.95

The specifications for the Nokta Makro MIDI Hoard are:

  • IP68 – Fully submersible up to 1 meter (3 feet)
  • Lightweight: 880g (1.9lbs)
  • 3-Tone Audio Discrimination
  • Depth Indicator
  • Length Extend from 83 cm - 109 cm, 32.5'' - 43''
  • 7” Search Coil
  • Pinpoint Button
  • Frequency: 15kHz
  • Auto Shut Off and Alarm
  • Battery: 2 AA
  • Made in the Turkey - 2 Year Warranty - USA Service

As we noted in our comparison article of the MIDI Hoard and Mini Hoard detectors: "Perfect for older kids under ten years old, this is an easy to use, fully submergible metal detector. It offers a more advanced display than the MINI Hoard with more targeting details. Designed specifically to be both kid-friendly in size and durability and fully functional as a detector, the Nokta Makro MIDI Hoard will help kids fall in love with the adventure of metal detecting." This model is perfect for a young child looking to find coins or become a gold digger of any kind.

Best Kids Metal Detector For Under $159

Fisher F11 (Top Pick)

Price: $159.00

Reviews

The specifications for the Fisher F11 are:

  • Made in the USA - 5 Year Warranty
  • Large Target ID LCD Display
  • Pinpoint Mode
  • 6 Level Adjustable Sensitivity and Volume
  • Operates on One 9 Volt Battery
  • Ultra-lightweight Only 2.3 lbs.

As we noted in our article Comparing the Fisher F11, F22 and F44 metal detectors: "Quality-built and easy to operate, the F11 is dependable- yet affordable. The simple interface is perfect for beginners (both young and old). Large, easy-to-read target ID gives the probable identification of the target detected as well as depth."

Best Kids Metal Detector For Under $200

Bounty Hunter Gold (Top Pick)

Price: $189.95

Reviews

The specifications for the Bounty Hunter Gold are:

  • Made in the USA - 5 Year Warranty
  • Search Coil - Waterproof 8" Concentric
  • 7.8 kHz Frequency - Perfect for an all-purpose detector.
  • Preset Ground Balance
  • Large LCD Screen
  • Audio ID Tones - 3 Tones
  • Lightweight Design - Under 2.5 pounds
  • Made in the USA - 5 Year Warranty

As we noted in our article Bounty Hunter Gold, Titanium and Platinum Comparison: "Bounty Hunter's entry to middle of the line metal detector has all the features you need at an attractive price. It features audio and visual target identification and a large digital LCD screen display. This machine has everything needed to discover coins, jewelry and relics with preset controls and depth reading all in a lightweight, easy to use unit." This VLF type of metal detector is perfect for locating all metal objects with ease. It can be used on the dry sandy parts of the beach and in local parks and school yards for hours of fun. This model is a big step up from the older Bounty Hunter models of yester year. Unlike the  like the bounty hunter Tracker IV which only provided an intensity meter and analog design, this model provides digital LCD display with target identification. This is similiar to the operation of the older Bounty Hunter Junior metal detector.


Garrett Ace 200

Price: $169.96

Reviews

The specifications for the Garrett Ace 200 are:

  • Digital Target ID: 0 to 99 scale offers target information
  • Camlocks for increased stem stability
  • Includes Pulse-Width Modulation audio a sharper, more responsive audio tones
  • Light weight at 2.75 pounds with big performance at a small price
  • Three Search Modes - Coins, Jewelry and Zero-Disc for all metals
  • Four Sensitivity adjustments
  • Coin Depth Indicator determines target depth
  • Sensitivity Level Indicator
  • Low Battery Level Indicator
  • Made in the USA - 2 Year Warranty

As we noted in our article Comparing the Garrett Ace 200, 300 and 400 metal detectors: "This beginner’s model is ideal for kids (about 9 and up) who want to get started in this hobby, as well as adult beginners. Garrett is a trusted name in detectors—and THIS is the most affordable model!" This model is noted for precise target identification and provides a high accuracy of accurate results. Just listen for the audio beep to understand what type of targer you have found. 

Best Kids Metal Detector For Under $250

Fisher F22

Price: $229.00

Reviews

The specifications for the Fisher F22 are:

  • Made in the USA - 5 Year Warranty
  • Operates on 2 AA Batteries
  • 9-Segment Visual and Numerical Target Identification
  • 4 Modes of Operation: Jewelry, Coin, Artifact and Custom
  • Four Tone Audio Target Identification
  • Large 2-Digit Numeric Target ID Numbers of 1-99
  • Pinpoint Mode
  • 10 Levels of Adjustable Sensitivity
  • 20 Levels of Adjustable Volume
  • 9-Inch Triangulated Waterproof Concentric Search Coil
  • Ultra-lightweight at Only 2.3 pounds

As we noted in our article Comparing the Fisher F11, F22 and F44 metal detectors: "The Fisher F22 is weatherproof, which means you can use it in inclement (rainy) weather. It is a step up- in that it features 4 modes of operation and a larger elliptical search coil. The “Custom Mode” features programmable tones."


Bounty Hunter Titanium

Price: $229.95

Reviews

The specifications for the Bounty Hunter Titanium are:

  • Search Coil - Waterproof 8" Concentric
  • 7.8 kHz Frequency - Perfect for an all-purpose detector.
  • 2 Preset Modes
  • Large LCD Screen
  • Expanded Depth Reading
  • Pinpoint Mode
  • Preset Ground Balance
  • Audio ID Tones - 3 Tones
  • Light Weight - Under 2.5 pounds
  • Made in the USA - 5 Year Warranty

As we noted in our article Bounty Hunter Gold, Titanium and Platinum Comparison: "Take a step up with Bounty Hunter's premium middle of the line metal detector. It comes with two preset modes and an expanded depth reading. A preset ground balance will help you see past the minerals in the ground to the treasure below. Coming in at just over two pounds, this lightweight unit is easy to use for beginners and more experienced detectorists."

Best Kids Metal Detector For Under $300

Bounty Hunter Platinum (Top Pick)

Price: $299.95

Reviews

The specifications for the Bounty Hunter Platinum are:

  • Search Coil - Waterproof 8" Concentric
  • 7.81 kHz Frequency - Perfect for an all-purpose detector.
  • Enhanced Target Identification - With custom programs
  • 2 Preset Modes
  • Large LCD Screen
  • Expanded Depth Reading
  • Pinpoint Mode
  • Manual or Auto Ground Balance
  • Audio ID Tones - 4 Tones
  • Light Weight - Under 2.5 pounds
  • Made in the USA - 5 Year Warranty

As we noted in our article Bounty Hunter Gold, Titanium and Platinum Comparison: "The Platinum represents Bounty Hunter's top of the line metal detector. This unit features a jumbo screen and easy to use interface and adds custom programs and ground balance control. The Bounty Hunter Platinum is lightweight and easy to use just like the Gold and Titanium models and adds even more features to make it perfect for beginners and professionals."


Nokta Makro Simplex+ (Top Pick)

Price: $254.15

Reviews

The specifications for the Nokta Makro Simplex+ are:

  • Search Coil: 11" DD
  • IP68 Waterproof up to 10ft (3m)
  • Built-in Rechargeable Lipo Battery
  • Vibration Alerts - Perfect for Underwater Use
  • Iron Audio with Volume Control
  • 4 Search Modes - All Metal, Field, Park, and Beach.
  • LCD Backlight, Keypad Backlight, LED Flashlight
  • Auto and Manual Ground Balance
  • Frequency Shift
  • Notch Discrimination
  • Online Firmware Update - Get the latest from your detector with the latest software
  • Made in the Turkey - 2 Year Warranty - USA Service

As we noted in our article Nokta Makro Simplex+ Comparison: "Perfect for those new to metal detecting and those who want the performance and basic features of more advanced detectors at an entry-level price, the Nokta Makro Simplex+ is an impressive option. It comes standard with features often reserved for high-end units like frequency shift, notch discrimination, and a built-in rechargeable Lipo Battery. With an IP68 certified rating, the Nokta Makro Simplex+ is ready for the water and is fully submersible up to 10 feet and protected from mud, dust, and dirt while on land."


Garrett Ace 300

Price: $254.96

Reviews

The specifications for the Garrett Ace 300 are:

  • Digital Target ID: YES, 0-99 scale
  • Adjustable Frequency: YES
  • Target ID Cursor Segments: 12
  • Iron Discrimination Segments: 4
  • Notch Discrimination: YES
  • Search Modes: 5 plus Pinpoint
  • Sensitivity and Depth Adjustments: 8
  • Electronic Pinpointing: YES
  • Frequency: 8 kHz
  • Audio Tone ID Levels: 3
  • Length: Adjustable 42" to 51" (1.06m - 1.29m)
  • Total Weight: 2.8 lbs. (1.27 kgs.)
  • Batteries: 4 AA and are included
  • Made in the USA - 2 Year Warranty

As we noted in our article Comparing the Garrett Ace 200, 300 and 400 metal detectors: "The Ace 300 delivers 2 more search modes than the Ace 200 and enhanced features to help find more treasure. A Larger 7" x 10" Concentric PROformance Search Coil for additional coverage and detection depth. A built in pinpointing mode quickly zeros in on your treasure."

Best Kids Metal Detector For Under $400

Garrett Ace 400 (Top Pick)

Price: $339.96

Reviews

The specifications for the Garrett Ace 400 are:

  • Search Coil: 8.5" x 11" DD PROformance™ search coil. This is the proprietary Garrett AT Series search coil, an upgraded coil which is now included with the Ace 400.
  • Iron Audio™ Discriminate iron targets and alter your mid-tone signal range to cancel out trash targets
  • Frequency: 10 kHz adjustable frequency for more target options and better accuracy
  • Pinpoint Feature: Built-in pinpoint mode to zoom in on target
  • Search Modes: Five search modes (Jewelry, Coins, Relics, Custom, Zero Discrimination) + Pinpointing
  • Included Accessories: Garrett ClearSound headphones, Ace environmental cover, search coil cover
  • Extra Iron Discrimination: Best iron identification in iron or trash-laden sites

As we noted in our article Garrett Ace Series Metal Detector Comparison: "This unit features specialized Iron Audio, headset, an environmental cover, search coil cover and more! The Ace 400 boasts the same deep seeking 8.5" x 11" DD PROformance search coil as the more expensive AT series."


Teknetics Omega 8500

Price: $389.00

Reviews

The specifications for the Teknetics Omega 8500 are:

  • Search Coil: 11" Waterproof
  • Ground Grab® Computerized Ground Balancing
  • Selectable All Metal Tones
  • Expanded Iron Range
  • Phase Error Readout
  • Analog Controls
  • Superior Pinpointing & Wide Sweep
  • Backlight
  • Notching Controls – Discrimination & Variable Volume by Category
  • Independent Gain and Threshold Control
  • Ground Mineralization Readout
  • Ground Phase Error Readout
  • Choice of 3 Tones plus V.C.O
  • Frequency Shift to Eliminate Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
  • Visual Background Iron-ID
  • Enhanced Multi-Level Depth Boost
  • Static Pinpoint

As we noted in our article Teknetics Metal Detector Comparison "The top of the line in the series, the Omega 8500 is an easy to use, fully-featured detector for locating coins, relics, and jewelry. Like the other models, it is also easy to use right out of the box, making it the perfect device for new detectorists to grow into. It comes with an 11” DD search coil, which provides excellent depth and pinpointing." This is easily a best metal detector for kids as they gain experience with the hobby. This model has great sensitivity to gold nuggets when used with the small coil for prospecting.


Nokta Makro Simplex+ WHP with Wireless Heaphones

Price: $339.15

Reviews

The specifications for the Nokta Makro Simplex+ WHP:

  • Search Coil: 11" DD
  • IP68 Waterproof up to 10ft (3m)
  • Built-in Rechargeable Lipo Battery
  • Vibration Alerts - Perfect for Underwater Use
  • Iron Audio with Volume Control
  • 4 Search Modes - All Metal, Field, Park, and Beach.
  • LCD Display with Backlight, Keypad Backlight, LED Flashlight
  • Auto and Manual Ground Balance
  • Frequency Shift
  • Notch Discrimination
  • Online Firmware Update - Get the latest from your detector with the latest software.
  • Wireless Audio with included 2.4 GHz Nokta Makro Wireless Headset.
  • Made in the Turkey - 2 Year Warranty - USA Service

As we noted in our article Nokta Makro Simplex+ Comparison: "The Simplex+ WHP has all the same features as the Simplex+, including auto and manual ground balance, online firmware updates, and a built-in wireless audio module. The Simplex+ WHP also comes with 2.4 GHz Wireless Headphones to complete your Simplex+ experience." The Simplex is a best seller and the control box layout is de designed with ease of use in mind.

Best Kids Metal Detector For Under $450

Garrett Ace Apex Basic Package (Top Pick)

Price: $424.96

Reviews

The specifications for the Garrett Ace Apex are:

  • 6"x11" DD Viper Searchcoil
  • Multi-Flex Technology
  • Fully Waterproof Grip
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Camlocks for additional stem stability
  • Iron Volume
  • Six Detection Modes
  • Hi-Resolution Ground Balance
  • 5-Tone Audible Target ID
  • Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Built-In Z-Lynk Wireless Technology (Headset Sold Separately)
  • Made in the USA - 2 Year Warranty

As we noted in our article entitled Garrett Ace  Apex  Multi-Frequency Weatherproof Metal Detector Basic Package vs. Wireless Package Comparison: "Powered by a cutting edge broad bandwidth digital platform, the Ace Apex Multi-Frequency Weatherproof Metal Detector offers you the power of choice on every hunt. When searching for specific types of treasure, the choice of 5kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, or 20 kHz offers the precision to tune in on your desired targets. Or, choose multi-frequency mode for excellent detection of all targets in all soil conditions. The 6"x11" DD Viper Searchcoil is designed specifically as a low impedance, broad-bandwidth coil to support the newest Garrett multi-flex technology."

Best Kids Metal Detector For Under $500

Garrett Ace Apex Wireless Headphone Package (Top Pick)

Price: $492.96

Reviews

The specifications for the Garrett Ace Apex with Wireless Headphones are:

  • 6"x11" DD Viper Searchcoil
  • Multi-Flex Technology
  • Fully Waterproof Grip
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Camlocks for additional stem stability
  • Iron Volume
  • Six Detection Modes
  • Hi-Resolution Ground Balance
  • 5-Tone Audible Target ID
  • Built-In Z-Lynk Wireless Technology with Garrett MS3 Z-Lynk Wireless Headset included
  • Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Made in the USA - 2 Year Warranty

As we noted in our article entitled Garrett Ace Apex Multi-Frequency Weatherproof Metal Detector Basic Package vs. Wireless Package Comparison: "With all the features of the Garrett Apex (above), add even more power and flexibility to your Ace Apex Multi-Frequency Weatherproof Metal Detector with the wireless package. The package includes the Garrett MS3 Z-Lynk wireless headset and offers big savings over ordering the detectors and headphones separately. Z-Lynk technology offers a near 0 delay of 17-milliseconds, six times faster than Bluetooth. That means you will be hearing signals from your detectors in real time."

For under a couple hundred dollars, you can certainly try out an entry-level metal detector to see if they enjoy the thrill. Or, consider spending a bit more and getting them a model with some additional features for shallow water detecting so they can hit the beach with confidence. Regardless of where you start, all the models on our site are lightweight and built to last. There is nothing better than spending time with your family together while you enjoy the sport of metal detecting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What's the Best Kids Metal Detector?

The best kids metal detector will depend on your child’s age and level of experience. We have included our top picks to help you sort through the hype.

What is the best metal detector for a child?

Not all kids' metal detectors are created equal. The age and experience of the child should be factored into your purchasing decision. When selecting a metal detector for a child over 10 years old, you will want to check out our top picks by price.

Is a metal detector safe for kids?

To answer this question it is important to understand how kids metal detectors work? Metal detectors for kids operate much like adult models. When your child gets a signal, they find the treasure and dig it up. These units operate on a very low frequency similar to radio and television. We always suggest paying careful attention to the instructions provided with your metal detector. All are battery operated and you should supervise their care and use of the device.

Do they make metal detectors for kids?

The answer is YES! Many commercial metal detectors are designed with kids in mind. Many have fully adjustable shafts that will expand or contract with ease. All of the models in this article are relatively lightweight. 

Can kids go metal detecting?

They sure can! In fact, many adult metal detector hobbyists got started when they were just a child. Kids get to see what it's all about at an early age and may develop an interest in history, archaeology and research.In fact,it is great exercise and a fun way to get them off the couch and their devices. Many kids will naturally want to explore the details and values of the finds they make. Researching the best spots to go metal detecting leads kids to do additional research as they get more involved in the hobby.

How much does a kid metal detector cost?

Selecting that perfect model for your youngster can be a challenge. As a parent or relative, you want to be sure that you are getting the most for your money. You also want to be sure that you are getting them started on the right foot with this fun new hobby. We have organized our top picks by price to help you find the perfect model. Select from models under $100$159$200$250$300$400$450, or under $500.

How much time does it take to learn to use a metal detector?

Like any new hobby, the more they do it the more they will learn. We have found that those families that gets out enjoy the hobby together pick things up the best. It is a great learning experience and one that you can share together. Researching the finds, locations to hunt at and the best equipment for the task is fun to learn together. Joining a metal detecting club in your area and getting out with other families is a great way to learn the ropes quickly.

How do I teach my child to use a metal detector?

Kids love technology and the one thing that is for sure, we see kids pick up the hobby quickly. You will find many videos on Youtube and lots of details in the instruction guide that came with your unit. Getting involved in the local metal detecting community is a great way to get involved. You will find a great volume of books, videos and kids learning guides on metal detecting on our site as well. Check out the community section for lots of great resources to learn about the hobby. 

© 2006 Detector Electronics Corp - Revised September 30, 2022