Metal detectors have become commonplace these days in many households across the world. Whether it’s your grandfather or father who has one, maybe even yourself, chances are you’ve played with one.
But what if you’re looking to get back into metal detecting after years away from the hobby, or perhaps you want to learn more about this fascinating pastime?
Regarding metal detecting on the beach, you’ll want a detector specifically designed for this terrain type. The beach environment can be challenging for metal detecting, as there is often a lot of mineralization in the sand, and the saltwater can also affect the performance of some detectors.
One option to consider is the Minelab Excalibur II. This detector is specifically designed for saltwater environments and can handle the common mineralization on beaches. It has a multi-frequency detector that can detect a wide range of metal types, and it’s fully submersible, which means you can use it in waist-deep water, making it perfect for shallow diving and beachcombing. It has a built-in ground balance feature that helps to improve its performance in mineralized soils.
Another option to consider is the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II. This detector is also designed for saltwater environments; it’s fully submersible and can be used in up to 200ft of water. It has a high-resolution discrimination feature that allows you to identify and ignore junk metal while detecting valuable targets quickly. Additionally, it has a built-in pinpoint mode that helps to quickly and easily locate the exact location of a target.
Ultimately, the best metal detector for the beach will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Still, the Minelab Excalibur II and the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II are excellent options for beach metal detection. They are both built to handle the unique challenges of saltwater environments and have features that can help you find valuable targets while ignoring junk.
What You Need To Know About Saltwater
If you plan to spend time searching for treasures along a sandy beach, you must know how important salt is in metal detection. If you don’t understand why salt is so vital, you won’t be able to make sure you purchase the right metal detector for the job.
Saltwater is quite corrosive towards most metals (such as gold), which means they can quickly become useless pieces of junk once they come into contact with seawater.
You must choose a metal detector for fresh and saltwater use. Even though there may not seem like much difference between the two types of water, there is. Liquid density makes a massive difference in how each reacts with various metals.
So while a freshwater metal detector might work perfectly well on land, you should avoid using it underwater since it could damage delicate equipment inside its casing.
The type of metal detector you buy depends on where you plan to hunt. If you live near a coastline, you’ll probably want to invest in a saltwater metal detector. But if you live inland somewhere, you’ll likely want to buy a freshwater model instead.
What Kind Of Metal Detector Are You Looking For?
Before purchasing a metal detector, you must decide whether to hunt freshwater or saltwater. Once you’ve decided upon the type of water you wish to detect, you can choose precisely what metal detector you’d like to purchase.
Today, three main categories of metal detectors are available: average metal detectors, saltwater beach metal detectors, and freshwater models.
Average metal detectors are usually used by amateur hunters who are not interested in spending too much money on their hobby. These devices typically cost around $100-$200 and are built to withstand normal wear and tear without being damaged.
They are also reasonably easy to operate and aren’t as sensitive as other metal detectors. However, due to their lower sensitivity, they often miss smaller items buried deep underground.
Saltwater beach metal detectors are designed specifically for detecting small objects such as coins, jewelry, and watches under the surface of saltwater. This type of metal detector is generally only suitable for shallow depths but still works well enough to find more oversized items lying farther below.
It’s ideal for those who enjoy searching beaches for buried treasure, although it doesn’t offer much protection against corrosion.
Freshwater metal detectors are made for detecting artifacts underneath freshwater lakes and rivers. Unlike saltwater models, these devices are specially designed to resist corrosion caused by freshwater environments.
Since they’re not intended to be used in saltwater conditions, they cannot pick up signals from deep within the ocean floor. However, they provide adequate protection against corrosion thanks to their special coating.
Best Waterproof Metal Detectors
Now that we’ve covered the different kinds of metal detectors available let’s look at our recommended picks for each category. Before making a final decision, remember that every metal detector will vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. So, it’s always worth checking reviews online to see what others think of them.
For beginners, we recommend choosing a basic metal detector that offers decent performance without breaking the bank. Our top choice for this category is the Etekcity ETX-300, which costs less than $200 and features a simple user interface.
We also like that it weighs just 11 ounces and isn’t too heavy to carry around. Another excellent option for newcomers is the Minelab Go-Find, which provides users with plenty of extra features, including adjustable sensitivity levels.
For more experienced metal detectorists, we suggest trying out the Minelab Equinox 600. This advanced metal detector features a large LCD screen, allowing users to view detailed information about their targets.
Users can adjust the sensitivity level to suit their needs, including a powerful magnetometer for detecting magnetic anomalies beneath the ground.
If you would instead opt for something cheaper, consider the Minelab Explorer SE. This budget model is lightweight and compact, capable of detecting metallic targets over distances of up to 50 feet. It also sports a 3.5” display and has various useful functions, such as multi-target tracking, target ID, and a built-in USB port. This model has been discontinued, but finding a well-cared-for used unit shouldn’t be challenging.
For those who love hunting for treasure in freshwater and saltwater waters, we highly recommend picking up the Minelab GO 44 or 66. The fantastic technology combines a high-sensitivity metal detector with waterproof housing, meaning you can easily walk through streams and rivers without worrying about damaging your expensive equipment. It also boasts a 4” color touchscreen and a powerful magnetometer, giving you access to various helpful features.
When selecting a metal detector, there are several additional factors besides the obvious ones to consider. Here are a few things to check out before making your final decision.
Size And Weight
The size and weight of a metal detector can significantly impact its overall performance. If you plan on carrying your detector everywhere, ensure it’s light enough to fit comfortably in your bag. Otherwise, you could accidentally drop it and cause irreparable damage. On the flip side, if you intend to use your detector frequently, you’ll want to ensure it’s durable enough to withstand constant abuse.
Another vital factor to consider is the size of your display screen. While bigger screens give you better visibility during operation, they also increase the power required to run them. Therefore, you must ensure that your metal detector uses minimal battery life.
Additionally, some people prefer having closer displays, whereas others prefer a wider spread. Pay attention to your desired display size and try to match it accordingly.
You should also consider the type of display screen your metal detector uses. Some newer models feature a touchscreen display, which allows you to control certain aspects of the device via gestures. Others include a standard 2D display, which gives you complete control over your settings without pressing buttons or navigating menus.
Most modern metal detectors use lithium-ion batteries, which allow them to last longer than older nickel-cadmium batteries. However, you’ll need to monitor the battery life closely to ensure that it lasts long enough to finish your searches.
Some models automatically shut off after a set time, whereas others require you to switch them off manually. Either way, it’s a good idea to test your detector beforehand to ensure it shuts off properly after a given period.
Many modern metal detectors boast impressive detection ranges, especially those that utilize the latest technology. However, don’t forget that detection distance varies based on the type of soil you’re searching for.
For example, sand absorbs sound waves much faster than clay, so you must be careful when choosing a location to dig. Also, some areas contain artificial barriers, such as concrete walls, which can interfere with signal reception. In this case, you must perform multiple passes until you reach the desired depth.