Metal detecting can be an exciting hobby, but it takes some practice before you become proficient in locating buried treasure.
If you’re new to the game or want to upgrade your current setup with something more efficient, many options are available to help you find various precious metals.
The Garrett Ace 250 is considered the best metal detector for beginners due to its ease of use and user-friendly features. It is designed to be straightforward, making it easy for novice treasure hunters to use it immediately.
The Garrett Ace 250 also has a depth indicator that helps to determine the depth of the target and a sensitivity control that can be adjusted to suit the ground conditions. It features a large LCD screen with a digital target ID that ranges from 0 to 99, which helps beginners identify the target and its depth. It also has a discrimination control that can be adjusted to eliminate unwanted marks such as trash and iron.
The device is also lightweight and easy to handle, making it comfortable for extended periods. Additionally, it is affordable and offers excellent value for money for those just starting in the hobby of metal detecting.
Overall, the Garrett Ace 250 is a superb option for beginners who want an easy-to-use metal detector with good features and performance while not spending too much.
What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Metal Detector
There are several factors to consider when making your choice. This guide will cover significant aspects in detail so you know exactly how to pick a suitable metal detector.
How Often Do You Detect?
Every piece of metal has a unique electromagnetic signature. That means every type of metal has a specific frequency associated with it. If you dig up a small coin, even if it’s made from copper, gold, silver, or bronze, it will resonate differently than a more oversized item like a barbell.
The higher the frequency, the faster the signal travels through the ground, allowing the detector to locate smaller objects. However, while high frequencies enable you to detect smaller targets, they also make it harder to pinpoint their exact location.
For example, you’re searching for coins near a streambed. You might have no trouble finding a few coins hidden under rocks, but once you start digging around other debris, it becomes difficult to tell whether you’ve found another coin or just a rock. So depending on where you plan to use your metal detector, you should choose one with either a high or low frequency. Conversely, lowering the frequency allows you to better distinguish between similar types of metals, such as gold vs. silver, but it makes it much easier to miss smaller targets.
Another critical aspect of any metal detector is its detection range. Most modern units offer a maximum depth rating of 10 feet (though some go deeper), while some older models only reach 5 feet. This figure represents the maximum distance that a metal detector can accurately identify a target in 3D space.
You must keep the frequency and detection range in mind when buying a metal detector. Higher frequencies require shorter ranges, while lower frequencies work well over longer distances. Generally speaking, you want to pick a unit with a large detection zone to give you greater flexibility when hunting for buried treasures.
Many advanced features are standard on today’s metal detectors, including adjustable sensitivity settings, automatic gain control, tone suppression technology, and more. These features provide increased accuracy and save time by eliminating common mistakes caused by human error.
Some models feature multiple detection coils instead of just one, which increases the overall coverage area without sacrificing depth perception. Others include a built-in locator beacon, which helps you easily track lost items after exploring. Some units even contain a GPS module, enabling you to log your finds directly into Google Maps.
While the battery life isn’t necessarily an issue for beginners, it can quickly become problematic as you advance your skills. Many professional hunters prefer to carry portable power supplies whenever possible, especially since batteries rapidly lose their charge during long hunts.
That said, the battery life depends mainly on two things: 1) the size of the battery pack and 2) the amount of metal being detected. While heavier targets drain less energy than lighter ones, it doesn’t take too many coins to reduce the battery life significantly. Therefore, unless you intend to hunt for buried treasure 24/7, you shouldn’t worry about battery life too much.
Cost & Portability
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get started with metal detecting; you don’t need a vast metal detector to enjoy the sport. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you can usually find a decent metal detector for less than $200.
Portability is often overlooked when comparing metal detectors, but it’s a significant factor. Not everyone wants to lug a heavy machine around town, so you should always check the weight of your potential purchase before purchasing.
Ease Of Use
Finally, ease of use is arguably the most crucial factor when shopping for a metal detector. After all, if you can’t operate the device properly, it won’t matter how well it performs.
To gauge the usability of your prospective metal detector, ask yourself these questions: Can I adjust the sensitivity level? Are there enough buttons and knobs to navigate comfortably? Is it easy to set up my target? Are the instructions clear? Do I feel comfortable using the metal detector?
After researching dozens of metal detectors, we found three excellent choices for anyone looking to get started with the hobby.
Garrett ACE 300
In our opinion, the best overall metal detector on the market is the Garrett ACE 300. This metal detector delivers everything you could want from an entry-level model. It boasts an impressive 6-inch detection coil, which gives it superior coverage compared to most other machines on the market. The ACE 300 has various advanced features, including automatic gain control, tone suppression technology, and a locator beacon.
At roughly 4 pounds, the ACE 300 is a bit heavy for some people, but it’s still manageable enough to fit inside a backpack. Plus, unlike many other models, the ACE 300 includes a 12-volt DC adapter, enabling you to recharge batteries while on the move.
Minelab Equinox 600
This mid-range model combines affordability with incredible performance. With a 4-inch detection coil and a maximum depth rating of 20 feet, it’s perfect for those who aren’t interested in going pro but still want to maximize their search efficiency. It also includes several advanced features, including automatic gain control, tone suppression technology, and a locator beacon.
At 4 pounds, the Equinox 600 is slightly heavier than the Garrett ACE 300, but it’s still relatively light, considering its incredible performance. It’s also incredibly versatile thanks to its ability to run off of both 9 volts and 12 volts DC. Furthermore, the Equinox 600 includes a magnetic compass, providing additional directionality information.