Metal detecting had existed since ancient times when people used rocks to find gold nuggets. Today it’s become a trendy hobby for anyone from children to adults.
The Minelab GPX 5000 is considered by many the best all-around metal detector due to its versatility and advanced technology. It is designed for gold prospecting but can also be used for coin and relic hunting.
It features multiple frequencies that can be adjusted to suit the ground conditions and target type. It also has a variety of advanced functions, such as ground balance and depth indication, which help improve detection accuracy and efficiency.
Additionally, the GPX 5000 is highly sensitive and can easily detect small and deep targets. It is also rugged and waterproof, making it suitable for various environments. Overall, the Minelab GPX 5000 is a top-of-the-line metal detector with an outstanding balance of features and performance, making it the best all-around option for many treasure hunters.
What To Look For
There are many different types of metal detectors available. Some look like hand tools in all shapes and sizes but share some standard features. Here we’ll review the basics so you know what to look for as you shop.
Detection Coil Size
The size of your search coil is critical because it determines how much ground area will be covered at any given time. A larger coil means more coverage, but covering a specific location takes longer.
Most modern metal detectors use a single or double D-shaped coil covering about 12 inches horizontally and six vertically.
If you plan on using this device primarily for coin hunting, I’d recommend looking for something between 8 and 10 inches in diameter. If you want to start with a large coil and work down to something smaller later, remember there may be a learning curve.
This feature automatically adjusts the detector’s sensitivity depending on the soil’s iron amount. Ground balancing helps eliminate false positives and keeps you from constantly changing settings throughout your hunt.
Some detectors have this built-in, while others require purchasing a separate attachment called a magnetic field meter.
Depending on the model you choose, battery life can vary greatly. You should always ensure yours lasts long enough to get through your entire session without recharging.
Your display screen is where most of the action happens. It shows what items are being detected and gives you a map showing their location.
The quality of the display depends entirely on the price point you’re looking at. Entry-level devices only have simple LCD screens, while higher-end units usually have color touchscreens.
It’s common to drop your metal detector somewhere during a hunt accidentally. That’s why ensuring it’s fully waterproofed before taking it outside is essential. Otherwise, you could risk damaging it or losing valuable data.
While weight isn’t a factor when choosing a metal detector, it plays a role if you plan to carry it everywhere.
Metal detectors can cost anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars. Plenty of affordable options are available, but spending more money upfront might save you money in the long run if you don’t need anything fancy.
One thing to remember when buying a new metal detector is that no two people will agree on the best one. It’s impossible to say which is perfect for everyone based solely on our opinions. Instead, I’ve compiled my list of the top 5 metal detectors currently on the market, along with some associated pros and cons.
Garrett ACE 250
The ACE 250 was designed specifically for coin hunters not necessarily interested in finding other artifacts such as jewelry. It has a large 10-inch detection coil which is well-suited for covering large areas quickly. In addition to its fast scanning speed, it comes equipped with Garrett’s Automatic Ground Balance technology which eliminates false positives caused by ferrous objects in the soil.
Pros: Great for coin hunting, efficient, easy to set up, automatic ground balancing, durable design, great value for the price, comes with a free magnetic field meter
Cons: Not intended for artifact hunting, difficult to calibrate, limited depth capabilities, low-resolution display, doesn’t include GPS tracking
Minelab Vanquish 440
Another excellent option for beginners is the Minelab Vanquish 440. While it lacks many of the bells and whistles of the higher-end machines, it still offers everything you need to get started in metal detecting.
Pros: Easy to use, reliable, long battery life, compact design, intuitive interface, great value for the price, comes with a free magnetic field meter
Cons: No GPS tracking, lower resolution display, less sensitive than other models, slower scan rate, requires manual calibration.
XP Deus Metal Detector
The XP Deus is worth considering for those who prefer a high-end experience. It boasts a 20-inch detection coil capable of covering a large area quickly. But unlike the other models listed here, it offers no ground-balancing technology.
So if you stumble across a piece of buried treasure, you won’t be able to tell whether it’s a real find or just a rock.
Pros: Great for artifact hunting, robust, durable construction, intuitive interface, highly customizable, automatic ground balance setting, comes with a free magnetic field meter
Cons: Doesn’t track position, relatively expensive compared to other models, slow scan rate, low-resolution display, needs manual calibration
Minelab Equinox 800
The Minelab Equinox 800 is an excellent choice for artifact hunters with much experience with metal detectors. It uses a unique elliptical dual-D shape coil, providing superior performance in shallow and deep water depths. Like the other models mentioned above, it includes Garret’s Automatic Ground Balance Technology which eliminates unwanted signals from nearby metallic objects.
Pros: Great for artifact hunting, versatile, durable construction, intuitive interface, easy to use, automatic ground balance setting, comes with a free magnetic field meter.
Cons: Limited depth capabilities, slow scan rate, low-resolution display, bulky design
Nokta Mini Hoard Waterproof Kids Metal Detector
If you’re considering getting a metal detector for your kids, I recommend checking out the Nokta Mini Hoard. It’s specially designed for young children just starting with metal detecting. It’s easy to assemble and disassemble, making it ideal for storage and travel.
Pros: Great for children, easy to assemble and disassemble, durable design, lightweight, comes with a free magnetic field meter
Cons: Not suitable for older children, low-resolution display, low sensitivity, unreliable, poor battery life
Best Under $200
Don’t let the price fool you! This metal detector is an excellent choice for beginners and experienced users.
Minelab CTX 3030
The Minelab CTX 3030 is an excellent alternative to the more expensive models featured earlier. It utilizes a 3×8-inch detection coil slightly smaller than those on higher-end machines. Despite its small size, it still covers quite a bit of ground thanks to its fast scanning speed. And thanks to Minelab’s patented Ground Balance Technology, you never have to worry about missing a signal due to soil anomalies.