Essential Gear Needed To Start Metal Detecting

Metal detecting is a fun way to find various items that have been dropped or buried and lost to the element of time. In the past, it was difficult to find lost items, but with current advanced technology, anyone interested and able to operate a metal detector can hunt for hidden and forgotten items with metallic properties.

Gold, silver, aluminum, copper, and iron are the base for numerous objects frequently found with the use of metal detectors. Thanks to the durability of the material, a large number of things are capable of surviving long periods beneath the Earth’s surface without suffering severe damage.

It is essential for professional detectorists and hobbyists alike to have a general knowledge of the different tools needed to detect an area or site safely and properly. While it might sound easy, knowing how to use a metal detector and understanding the noise each metal makes may not be as simple. The technology makes it possible, but knowing which tools are better suited for what, where, and when is necessary.

Fortunately, there are multiple resources readily available for beginners to seasoned professionals. Online libraries, metal detecting forums, metal detecting groups, maps, notes, public record offices, and the help from friends and family are all tremendous intellectual tools to aid in the hunt and know the rules and regulations of a visited area.

Manufacture brand how-to books and guides are also available online for instructions and recommendations on using a specific brand’s metal detector. Most of these valuable resources are free and accessible worldwide.

Keep reading to learn more about the appropriate physical tools associated with metal detecting. We have put together a small list of necessities to have ready for your next outing.


Headphones are an essential piece to keep with a metal detector. As a detector is swept across an area of land, any metal that the coil finds will cause a loud beeping noise to occur. The unique beeps that each metal will sound off can often be missed in populated areas with a high level of interference noise.

When nobody is around, this may only be annoying to the animals. Still, to keep everyone happy, furry friends included, headphones make the noise only audible to the one wearing them. Headphones allow a semi soundproof isolation of each beep to alert a detectorist to a potential find.

The market for headphones is vast. It can feel overwhelming at first when deciding which brand or model to purchase. Headphones can be wired, wireless with Bluetooth capabilities, earbuds, over the ear, small, medium, or large. Then there is the option for color choices too.

The best approach to finding a set of headphones is to stick to what is comfortable for you and in your budget. Also, note if your metal detector has a Bluetooth connection or requires a wired set-up to simplify your headphone search further.

Waterproof headphones are an excellent option to consider since they allow a more extensive search area and can be worn if weather conditions change from sunny to rain or snow. Rain can unexpectedly start failing at any time, even during a sunny day, so a waterproof feature is ideal. Usually, the best brands and models have higher price tags. However, a good pair of headphones do not need to be expensive if a less expensive brand meets your needs.

Metal Detector Pinpointer

It is not a secret that metal detecting can sometimes be challenging and require a decent amount of energy and strength. There are times it can take hours to locate a strong beep, dig to the appropriate depth, find the item setting off the metal detector, remove the item from the ground, and refill the hole. Sometimes, discovered objects are buried deep below the surface, so it is not easy to determine an exact location from the initial detector readings. That’s the moment when a pinpointer comes in.

You can use it simultaneously while digging and searching until the target object has been located. Pinpointers can save you time if a considerable depth is dug, an item is similarly colored to its surroundings, or if the item’s size is smaller than expected and hard to see with just the eye. A good quality pinpointer helps create a more effective and efficient metal detecting process that is beneficial for covering more ground and discovering more finds.

Like headphones, it is always a good idea to find a waterproof pinpointer. Of course, not all the pinpointers are the same, and some provide extra beneficial features. A waterproof feature offers the opportunity to explore beaches, streams, lakes, rivers, shorelines, bays, and even in the ocean. LED lights are another feature that helps shine a light on the ground in the immediate area where you are detecting. LED lights are fantastic in the early morning hours, evening sunset, or trying to find a tiny target object.

Batteries power the majority of pinpointers. They do not use much power when on and are only used when needed, so the batteries in these devices tend to last longer than others. A pro to being battery-powered is the ease they can be replaced should the pinpointer quit working while out on a hunt. The price of pinpointing devices can be slightly higher than headphones but much less than a full-sized metal detector.

Shovel And Bag

A metal detecting shovel is also a necessary tool for metal detecting. The detector and pinpointer can help you discover and precisely locate the object in the ground; however, these devices are incapable of digging a hole when needed. You will have to do this separately, and that’s not always possible with bare hands.

Shovels used while metal detecting does not need to be big. A smaller, foldable shovel traditionally used while camping is plenty big enough for the size of holes made when metal detecting. Lightweight shovels are best to avoid excessive weight and save your energy and strength while carrying it around.

The shovel needs to be made from durable materials to handle the pressure of digging holes on multiple terrains. Stainless steel shovels are most likely the best you can find on the market. Some models have pretty unique shapes and are developed in such a way to provide better results.

Some shovels are multipurpose, too, acting like a shovel or folded into a pick. Luckily, metal detecting shovels are not an expensive part of the equipment so you can find great models at low prices.

Collection bags are crucial to have at every outing. Whether it is a large number of valuable coins, jewelry, small toys, keys, phones, cameras, or even pull tabs and trash, a collection bag provides a place to store your finds without having to go back and forth to a vehicle and detection site.

These bags can be worn around the waist, attached to the upper thigh, worn like a backpack, or accessorized in many other comfortable ways to the detectorist. Additional baggies inside your pouch, or collection bag, will help you keep dangerous items, trash, and valuables separated until you are ready to examine.

Collection bags and pouches are sold with unique features that appeal to people differently. Some pouches are worn around the waist with an adjustable strap and a long rectangular pouch for holding items. Other bags resemble the infamous fanny-pack that was popular in the 1980s and 1990s.

Smaller travel backpacks work well for some, while others prefer a messenger bag style. Regardless of your size and carrying method, find a bag or pouch made from durable materials, is washable or water-resistant, has a zipper closure, and has as many internal or external pockets as you need.

Additional Batteries And Trash Bags

As you know, metal detectors and pinpointers are battery-powered devices, so they can generally work until the batteries die. Once the batteries die, they will need to be replaced to continue looking for more treasures. Without a power supply, trips will need to be cut short or not happen at all in the worst case. Forgetting to pack extra batteries when metal detecting is just as bad as forgetting to pack the tent when you go camping.

Trash bags are another item that should be considered mandatory as part of the tool collection for metal detecting. Bringing along trash bags not only ensures that your trash and the trash of anyone out with you will be collected and adequately thrown away, but it also provides a safe place to dispose of dangerous objects that are found along the way. Rusty nails, screws, pull tabs, sharp aluminum cans, glass bottles, and any other item deemed unsafe can be disposed of and protect the environment, animals, and people.

When handling trash and other items while metal detecting, it is recommended to wear durable gloves rated high for non-tearing and non-slicing. Gloves not only keep hands safe while disposing of trash, but they keep hands clean and cut free while digging around on the ground.

Knee pads are another helpful tool for making being on the ground more comfortable and protecting the legs from cuts and scrapes. Aside from being a pain for metal detectors and a safety issue for other humans, it is a big problem for nature and the environment when the trash is left uncollected.

Jason Smith

I am a Marine who now works as a Web Developer. I have five US States left to visit. I like whiskey, wine, and coffee, soaking in hot springs or in my hot tub.

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