What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach?

By Daniel Bernzweig

So you have decided to take a trip to the shore. What better to bring to the beach than a metal detector? The beach is actually the first place that most people think of when they think of metal detecting. A saltwater beach can be one of the most rewarding yet challenging places to use a metal detector. With this in mind, we will discuss the points to consider when choosing a metal detector for treasure hunting at the beach. We will also discuss some of the exciting things that you can find on the beach. Finally, we will review the best metal detectors to consider for hunting on the beach.

Choosing your Beach Hunting Equipment

Let's get started picking out the best equipment for the beach. The most important consideration for hunting on the beach is to understand how to deal with the minerals that you will find there. Like relic hunting and gold prospecting, minerals play a role in being able to locate targets easily. Saltwater and the so-called "hot rocks" that you will find at the beach are necessary evils that must be dealt with. Saltwater amplifies the normal ground minerals causing many land-based detectors to chatter and provide false signals. This can be downright frustrating when you are just trying to have fun! Thankfully there are two ways to combat this. If you are on a budget, you will want to consider a Very Low Frequency (VLF) metal detector with a ground adjust control.

Beach Hunting Features and Controls

The ground balance feature will allow you to essentially tune your detector for the level of mineralization on the beach. Most entry-level metal detectors feature a preset ground adjust. While these units are good for most conditions on dry land, they will prove frustrating to use at the beach. A metal detector with a VLF circuit and a ground adjust control will give you a fighting chance at the beach. The absolute best units for the beach feature circuitry use Pulse Induction (PI) technology. These types of units simply ignore the effects of minerals and allow you just to pick up your detector and start finding treasure. If you will spend the bulk of your time at the beach, this is the best type of metal detector for you.

Why Detect on the Beach?

Metal detectorists love the beach for many reasons. The wet sand is easier to dig in, there are usually more people around to help if you need it, and of course, there's the potential for treasure hunting. Most beaches around the United States allow metal detecting as long as you follow the rules set by each state. If you're new to beach detecting or just thinking about trying it out, you may be wondering what kind of equipment you need. Starting out doesn't require you to worry about the cost of equipment. A basic beach metal detector will do the trick. Some important features will make your treasure hunt more successful, and we will highlight them here.

What Metal Detectors Do I Need for Beach Detecting?

A waterproof metal detector is the most important piece of equipment you'll need for beach metal detecting. You want a detector that can withstand elements, including saltwater and dry sand. Look for a metal detector that is specifically designed for use in saltwater environments.

For beach detecting, the best metal detector is a Pulse Induction metal detector. A PI detector is ideal for seaside saltwater swimming and scuba diving. The Pulse circuit's depth-seeking abilities are excellent in difficult ground mineral situations.

Unlike a VLF detector or Very-low frequency detector, a PI will not be influenced by the wet salt sand or salt in the air. VLF detectors are more common and can be used for beach detecting, but they may give false readings in salty environments. A pi metal detector will generally not filter out or discriminate against unwanted trash items, all in your quest for uncovering buried treasure.

Hunting in the Surf and Underwater

Underwater metal detectors are also available, but they are more expensive and not necessary for most beach detecting. If you're interested in scuba diving and treasure hunting, an underwater detector may be a good investment. Black sand beaches are also great places to look for lost treasures. The sand is dense and often contains a high concentration of minerals, making it difficult to find targets. However, black sand beaches are also some of the most beautiful places to metal detect.

Search Coils for Beach Metal Detecting

The common treasure hunter will want a smaller-sized search coil for better maneuverability in the sand. A smaller coil will also help to reduce fatigue while you're scanning the beach for treasures. For beach detecting, we recommend using a small or medium-sized search coil. The most popular is a double d waterproof coil, which is great for finding small targets in the sand. A submersible search coil is also a good choice for beach detecting.

How to Metal Detect on a Beach

Now that you have the proper equipment, you need to know how to use it. Metal detecting on a beach is slightly different from other types of detecting, which is why there are a few things to remember when searching for treasure at the beach. As a result, I would like to share with you some beach metal detecting tips that will help you succeed in your search.

Keep in mind that the ground is constantly changing. Because the tide constantly comes in and out, the sand will constantly move. Due to this, you may have difficulty finding what you are looking for. Low tide is the best time to metal detect on a beach. This is because more of the seabed is exposed, and there is less water for targets to be buried in.

When you're metal detecting on a beach, it's important to scan slowly and methodically. Be sure to cover the entire area, and don't forget to go over areas that have already been scanned. Whenever you search, it is a good idea to use a grid pattern to ensure you don't miss any spots. The ground balance on your metal detector will also need to be adjusted for the beach. The sand can contain high levels of minerals, which will throw off the ground balance on most detectors.

Scoops and Beach Hunting Etiquette

Although beach detecting can be a lot of fun, it is important to remember to respect the environment while doing it. Make sure that any holes you dig are filled in and that you do not remove anything that does not belong to you. Be sure to bring along a stainless steel or aluminum sand scoop, so you can easily dig up targets. A pinpointer is also a helpful tool for beach detecting. This small handheld device will help you to locate targets that are buried in the sand. With the proper equipment and a little know-how, you'll be ready to start beach metal detecting in no time. So get out there and start looking for lost treasures.

Selecting the Best Beach Metal Detectors

Here is a list of the most popular beach metal detectors that we suggest for use at the shore. If you will be snorkeling or diving, a true underwater metal detector is needed. Be sure to read our article entitled Underwater Metal Detectors - Reviewing the Best Options.

Entry Level Beach Hunting Metal Detectors:

Mid Level Beach Hunting Metal Detectors:

Shallow Water Beach Hunting Metal Detectors:

Diving Metal Detectors for use at the Beach:

Top Beach Hunting Metal Detectors:

When hunting at the beach, it is not uncommon to find any metal object, including jewelry, while coin hunting. It is a simple fact that when exposed to salt water, the skin shrinks, and the jewelry inevitably falls off. We hear of many of our MetalDetector.com customers who pride themselves as ring finder detectorists finding rings with inscriptions and returning them to their owners. I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing more exciting than returning a gold ring or wedding ring to someone years after they lost it.

The look on an individual's face when a diamond ring is returned is priceless. Unfortunately, many times, there is just no way to track down the owner. Every day the beaches are restocked with newly lost rings, earrings, chains, and other lost valuables. Some treasure hunters with easy access to the beach search these areas daily. A good target can be found at the low or high tide line with ease in the beach sand with the right equipment. 

Compare the Beach Hunting Detector Options

One of the nice features of the MetalDetector.com website is our shop-by-product feature tool. Just add the beach detector that you are considering to the comparison basket and select compare. You will be able to see all of the metal detector features in a side-by-side comparison chart produced just for you! Let's take a look at some of the features that you will see offered in today's popular beach and underwater metal detectors. The first thing to consider is how and where you will use your new metal detector. All models that you will find on the MetalDetector.com website include a waterproof search coil.

If you are simply hunting along the beach and not going into the water deeper than your ankles, any of these models will be fine. You will just want to be sure that the unit you select includes a ground balance adjustment. If you go deeper than your ankles into the water, you will want to select a completely waterproof metal detector. Some of these models are certified for use in shallow water, typically down to 10 feet. These units are great for treasure hunting up to your waist or for shallow water snorkeling. If you are driving, you will want to select a pressurized model for diving.

Reasons to Explore Beach Metal Detecting

With the price of precious metals rising, the incentive to grab a metal detector and head to the shoreline is increasing daily. While treasure hunting can be lucrative, it is also very relaxing and great exercise. Many people find that when they slip on their metal detecting headphones and power up their detector, they are transported to another world. Treasure hunting can be whatever you make it out to be. For some, it is a social activity that they share with friends. For others, it is a great escape and a fine way to spend some time in personal contemplation.

Whatever your take on the hobby, now is the perfect time to start. If you would like some personalized guidance on picking out the best model for your needs, pick up the phone and speak to one of our experienced product specialists. We are happy to discuss the options with you to help you pick out the unit that you will enjoy for years.

© 2011 Detector Electronics Corp. - Revised September 2022