Best Metal Detector for Beginners

You have probably heard about people forming groups to go on treasure-hunting missions. You have no idea how to go about it but your interest in metal detecting seems to be growing as time progresses. By now, you must have visited several detecting platforms and read hundreds of opinions, reviews, and case studies which are most likely to be biased. Do you find that you can relate to this? If so, then this article will speed up your search for the best metal detectors and expand on what to consider before making your final choice.

Unlike other simple gadgets such as computers and phones, metal detectors need to be properly utilized to understand how they operate. You really need to take it for a test-drive to determine if it suits your intended use. For this reason, this article will help you in finding what you are looking for.

To be honest, biased opinions are cash cow entities that just want to convince you into buying their products. The question you should be asking is, “Which is the best metal detector for beginners suited for my treasure hunting and tailored according to my budget?”

This question may attract several answers. Bear in mind that there are a few factors which may or may not affect your decision-making process. This article aims to relate realistic views so that you have a rough idea of what suits your hobby.

Our selection for the best metal detector for beginners

Product Features More info
Entry Level
Fisher F4


  • For detecting coins, jewelry, and artifacts
  • 10 adjustable sensitivity levels
  • Pinpoint mode
  • Detects metals up to 9 in. deep
  • Weather resistant
  • Other selection
Check latest price on Amazon
Midd Level
Garrett AT Pro


  • Pro Mode Audio feature
  • Digital Target ID
  • High-Res Iron Discrimination
  • Can be used in water up to 10-foot depth
  • Other selection
Check latest price on Amazon
High End
Garrett  AT Max


  • Garrett MS-3™ Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones included
  • Automatic Ground Balance Window
  • Backlight: Illuminates LCD screen
  • Adjustable Threshold
  • True All Metal Mode
  • Other selection
Check latest price on Amazon

Factors to consider when choosing a suitable metal detector

How skilled am I?

As a newbie, you probably have no experience as far as metal detecting is concerned. Your best alternative would be to begin with an entry-level machine. You cannot begin to imagine the amount of stress that comes with using a complicated gadget. Ordinarily, all metal detectors are designed to detect metal just like phones are used for interactions. What makes one extraordinary is extra features and enhancements.

To begin with, go for one falling between the ranges of $150 and $300. Anything below that is considered ineffective; more like an amateur. This is your best option if you have never had a first-hand experience with metal detectors. Of course, not everyone has more than that kind of money to waste on something they wouldn’t even utilize.

What do I intend to find with the metal detector?

Depending on the specific activity you would like to participate in, certain machines may be recommended. Nevertheless, most of them are designed to detect metals such as:


The good news is that most machines are built to detect coins and jewelry. You can buy them at only $600 and below. The worst thing that could happen is to buy one meant for digging gold.

In the case that you are going for the gold, consider going for Fisher Gold Bug 2. Besides a three-ground balance setting which can easily be adjusted to suit the environment for which it is designed for, it has an iron disc which rejects any iron or unwanted metals you are not interested in finding. Obviously, they have high frequencies which are cumbersome to work with.

Just in case you are planning on hunting in areas concentrated with minerals, ensure your metal detector is fitted with a balance control feature. Most experts recommend the Bounty Hunter Legacy 1500 as the best entry level metal detector. Of course, you have other options to explore if you are still in doubt.


If you are planning to hunt for jewelry, consider using a machine under 15kHz. Frequency and depth have inverse relationships. In other words, the higher the frequency and depth, the less depth you will acquire on the recommended coin sizes.

For both coin and jewelry, stick to a machine without pulse induction (PI). They are designed for salt water and gold hunting. Alternatively, you can use the Garrett GTI 2500 Pro Package to locate jewelry on any location.


Relic hunting favors most machines as it requires basic rules. If you want to go for complex relics, consider finding machines with the following additional features:

  • Large coil
  • Moderately higher frequency
  • Sustainable threshold
  • Iron audio
  • Combination of manual and auto-ground balance.

Most experts believe the Tesoro Vaquero is the best relic detector for beginners. However, most of them find its price of $450 unusually high since they are new at it. Interestingly, it is quite versatile as the ground balance can be adjusted to suit your purpose.

Where can I find these valuables?

The area you are planning to go on a hunt greatly translates to the type of metal detector you would use. For instance, pulse induction detectors such as the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II are designed for highly mineralized locations. In case you plan on settling for areas with bodies of water, ensure its coil and shaft are waterproof. Children are most likely to go on watery areas, so the equipment they use should be waterproof.

A waterproof detector does not necessarily have to be placed on the surface of the water. Therefore, feel free to dive under the water to find what you are looking for. Detectors which can easily be submerged are a plus.

Areas with a lot of waste require use of detectors that can separate them from the hidden pressure. The last thing you want is getting signals each time it detects an unusual object. The Garrett AT Pro is considered the best at unearthing treasures among the junk. Moreover, it can still be used on salty water and still help you find what you are looking for.

Who is going to use it?

Treasure hunting is best done as a group. Therefore, if you are planning to go at it with your family members, consider getting a flexible detector to match everyone’s needs. Thanks to technology advancements, new gadgets contain extra features which can easily be adjusted to suit your needs. Remember, it might feel heavier than usual as it is your first time using it.

What size coil do I want for my metal detector?

Having a bigger coil will guarantee a wider search with each pass. For a newbie, it may seem cumbersome to detect where the object is situated at one instance. The most appropriate coil size should be around 8”. This is big enough to cover a wider area and it will also give a clear picture of where the object is situated.

How much money am I willing to spend on a metal detector?

Thanks to online platforms, metal detectors can be bought at a price as low as $50. The most you can part with is $1,000. The worst decision to make is to part with so much yet fail to get value for your money. The Treasure Cove Sand and Surf is one of the cheapest metal detectors found under the Best Under $100 designed for newbies. Not only is it affordable, but it is also efficient enough to separate iron and silver from silver and gold. Before making your decision for your purchase, ensure it has all the features you require.

How to find the best metal detector for a beginner

By now, you probably have an idea of what a good metal detector looks like and what features it has. Finding it becomes the biggest assignment. Your best and cheaper option is to seek opinions from close friends and family to find out what they use. Veteran hunters have specific preferences depending on the features they are looking for. Do not ignore a good piece of advice.

So, none of your close loved ones have ever gone for treasure hunting? Not to worry! The internet is there for you. Simply find a site whose members share your interest, and pose a question. Of course, they will respond. Now, use opinions from people who have had a first-hand experience with the devices you want to know about. Again, their opinions will be biased depending on experiences they have had.

Still unsatisfied with their answers? Consider going straight to the sites that sell metal detectors. Most of them give you an opportunity to compare and contrast where two to three metals will be highlighted. Go for one with positive reviews as they are likely to make the grade. Once you have narrowed down your search, consider making a physical visit to these stores to test the gadgets. Sounds old-fashioned but you are justified to do so!

The top multi-purpose metal detectors for beginners

When looking at the best metal detectors for beginners you can categorize the metal detectors  into three basic levels:

1.             Entry Level metal detectors for beginners

Fisher F4

Fisher F4 is our favorite pick for an entry-level metal detector.  For more than 85 years, Fisher has been one of the biggest names in the metal detecting world.

beginner metal detectors fisher f4

Whether you plan to look for coins, relics or spend a day hunting for pirate’s gold on the beach, the F4 can handle it. It’s a good overall multi-purpose machine.

The Fisher F4 has several features detectorists need in a quality detector, including:

  • Manual ground balancing
  • Easy-to-read screen
  • A visual target identification based by category
  • Numeric target identification that ranges from 0 to 99
  • 4 different audio tones to help you identify metals
  • A discrimination mode
  • An 11-inch bi-axial coil
  • weighs under 3 pounds

Fisher F22

The Fisher F22 has a 9-inch search coil that’s waterproof and a superfast re-tune speed. Fast re-tune speed means once you’ve found and rejected a signal you can move onto the next without fuss.

beginner metal detectors fisher f22

Fisher F22 retunes itself quickly and does it with ease. It’s a major plus point that reduces boredom, which makes it one of the best entry-level metal detectors.

  • A waterproof search coil for all weather
  • Fast retune capability
  • A large easy to use LCD screen
  • Multi tone audio
  • Good discrimination modes

Garrett Ace 300 

The Garret Ace 300 is recommended everywhere as ‘hands-down’, one of the best beginner metal detector.

It has a large 7 x 10-inch search coil for better depth and discrimination and runs on an 8kHz frequency that you can adjust. Means you’ll pick up pretty much everything if you listen closely, but upping the kHz finds objects with greater conductivity such as gold.

beginner metal detectors garrett ace 300

The Garrett ACE 300 has five search modes to choose from jewelry, custom, relics, coins, and no discrimination. The modes work by turning off segments from the Target ID scale.

The digital target ID function is really handy and not always featured on beginner models. Target ID will provide you with a numerical scale from 0 to 99.

  • Great for beginners
  • User-friendly
  • Depth Indicator
  • 5 search function to help pinpoint the finds you want
  • Multi-tone audio

2.             Mid-level metal detectors for beginners

Fisher F5

PHASE LOCK:  This outstanding idea allows the user to quickly grab the current PHASE reading on the F5 LCD while metal detecting. 

The tones button allows the user to choose between 1 tone, 2 tones: Iron low tone, foil and above high tone, 3 tones and 4 tones. 

 The Fisher F5 uses a nice VCO style pinpoint which varies the audio pitch and volume based on the strength of the target signal.

Frequency allows you to slightly alter the Fisher F5’s transmit/receive frequency when facing interference from various sources including other detectors, power lines, etc.

With the F5, each press of the NOTCH button advances a line that strikes through the target designation in the top ID arc. 

  • Recommended for: coin shooting, relic hunting, beach hunting
  • Visual target id by category 
  • numeric 0-99 readout 
  • frequency shift
  • Target id confidence bar graph, one-touch notch 
  • 4 Tone Audio ID
  • push button static pinpoint with variable audio pitch and depth reading
  • Threshold and gain adjustments 
  • Continuous ground mineralization phase readout

Garrett AT Pro

The Garrett AT Pro is a mid-level detector but has many of the highly sought after features typically found in advanced machines, without being difficult to learn and master.

beginner metal detectors garrett at pro

The Garrett AT Pro is a fully waterproof metal detector packed with expert-level feature. This metal detector can be used in all terrains and can uncover targets ranging from platinum rings on a salt water beach, to gold nuggets on a claim out West.

  • High-Res Iron Discrimination
  • Digital Target ID
  • Pro Mode Audio feature
  • Can be used in water up to 10-foot depth

Read our review here

3.             High-end metal detectors for beginners

Garrett  AT Max

Garrett AT Max is a solid option for metal detectorists who are planning to hunt in a variety of soil types and terrains. It’s a heavy-duty detector aimed at the serious coin, jewelry, and relic hunters. The AT Max  is an all-terrain detector that can stand up to the rigors of rough conditions.

beginner metal detectors garrett at max

Garrett AT Max features built-in Z-Lynk wireless technology and it also includes new Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk wireless headphones. With the AT Max, you’ll get even greater depth detection because of increased transmit power and enhanced electronics.

  • Garrett MS-3™ Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones included
  • Backlight: Illuminates LCD screen, for improved visibility in low-light situations.
  • Automatic Ground Balance Window
  • Adjustable Threshold
  • True All Metal Mode

XP Deus

XP Deus is a super effective metal detector that is also very lightweight and easy to use which makes it perfect for anyone looking to spend more time out in the field and less time resting their arms.

beginner metal detectors xp deus

The XP Deux marks a technological breakthrough and is a real innovation in metal detector design. All of its major parts, the coil, the remote control and the audio headphones are totally unique this model, and in the way that they communicate with each other via the digital radio link.

  • The XP DEUS is the next generation in detecting technology.
  • New Gold Progam with 10 included programs and room for 8 user customizable programs. 18 in all.
  • Backed by a 5 Year USA parts and labor warranty performed in the new US repair facility.
  • 9″ Double D wireless coil with lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • No memory loss, unlike older rechargeables.
  • Fully waterproof and coil cover included..
  • Wireless rechargeable Control unit with backlight for day or night time operation, all fine tuning adjustments can be made with this controller.
  • Mount it to the shaft, wear it on your belt or carry in your pocket.
  • Wireless rechargeable WS4 lightweight headphones with volume controls and program selection.
  • Includes headphone carrying case.

Summary : what makes a good metal detector for a beginner?

This article presents a clear idea of what an ideal metal detector for newbies should look like.  The decision to get the best and get real value for your money is in your hands. If you are still unsure of what you should look for, consider consulting the right experts. With the number of gadgets flooding the market, it is evident treasure hunting will not go away anytime soon. Who knows? You might be the lucky newbie who walks away with some of the most prized treasures!

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