best metal detector for gold

Best Metal Detector for Gold

For ages, gold has always remained so precious.  From early forms of civilization to the modern day, gold always seems to fascinate everyone. Can you imagine having the luck of finding gold from the ground? It is every treasure hunter’s dream to land on the real deal when it comes to gold. The excitement has always had people fantasizing and building their own golden kingdoms in their minds.  Well, how can you then land on the gold? Having a metal detector that is dedicated to finding gold can be the first approach.

Gold metal detectors, therefore, are detectors used to probe for gold.  Gold metal detectors can be used both for commercial purposes and by lovers of treasure hunting. There are different manufacturers of metal detectors for gold. Year after year, the manufacturers try to make enhancements to the detectors to ensure that the instruments are competitive and in sync with technology. This competition means that buyers will have better experiences during their search for gold.

For a treasure hunter in search of gold, there are different factors to consider before choosing a metal detector. From the frequency at which one will be hunting to the experience one has. Also important is the kind of terrain that you will be conducting your hunt in. So, just how does one choose the best the best metal detector for a gold treasure hunt?

Buying the best metal detector for gold ? Key factors to consider

Before we dwell into the details of the factors of a getting a the best metal detector for gold, it is worth noting that nearly all metal detectors are able to detect nuggets of gold in the ground. However, the only requirement for this to happen is that the nuggets have to be significantly big. The only special thing about the gold metal detectors is their ability to detect very gold pieces in the ground. Here are the most important factors that manufacturers consider before designing metal detectors for gold.

  • The size of the nuggets that the detector can test
  • The environment for which it will be used
  • Its ability to detect other metals 
  • Customers budget

Given these factors, manufacturers are able to engineer a gold detector more scientifically which then leads us to the scientific factors to consider when buying a metal detector for gold. Here are the most critical aspects of consideration before choosing a metal detector for gold.

The Technology Used

Before you go out to buy a metal detector, you have to be able to identify the technology that the particular detector operates on. The first one is the Very Low Frequency (VLF) technology. The detectors that make use of this technology operate at a frequency in the range of 3-70 kHz. This technology is what you will go for when:

  • You are new to the art of treasure hunting
  • Your budget is below $2000
  • You want to detect for gold as well as relics, coins, and jewelry
  • You intend to hunt for nuggets considered small or medium size at a depth below 8 inches
  • Your hunt will be in an area full of trash such that you will need a detector that is able to discriminate.

The other kind of technology is the Pulse Induction (PI). In this technology, broadcast is in form of pulses. Metal detectors that make use of this technology are more sophisticated. They operate in the greatest of depths when the ground is highly mineralized. Detectors using PI are best suited for:

  • Buyers with a bigger budget (above $2000)
  • Buyers with a long experience are gold hunting
  • Buyers who want to hunt for gold only – no other metals
  • Hunting in grounds with little trash and one which is highly mineralized
  • Hunting for large nuggets of gold at great depths

Operating Frequency

The operating frequency of a metal detector for gold will determine the size of the nuggets that the instrument will detect. Usually, popular gold prospecting VLF detectors operate in the frequency range of 13-50 kHz. Considering the high-frequency range, what will guide you when choosing the frequency is the size of nuggets that you wish to detect.

Nugget size and frequency have an inverse relationship. The same relationship holds for the detection depth. This, therefore, implies that PI and VLF detectors operating at lower frequencies will be able to detect large nuggets found in high depths. However, their ability to detect small nuggets at small depths is limited. Therefore, if your intention is to find small gold pieces at small depths, get yourself a high-frequency VLF detector. 

The same relationship holds for coil size. The larger the detector coil, the better the detectability of large gold pieces at great depths. If you want to hunt for smaller nuggets in nearer to the ground level, go for detectors with small coils. If you are hunting in a rocky place, a small coil detector will come in handy since it can fit in tight spaces. Also, the small coil detector is well suited for a highly mineralized environment.


Ground mineralization is key to determining the type of detector you will require. If the ground is highly mineralized, go for a low-frequency PI or VLF detector. If you are hunting in black sand, stream bed or any other area of high mineralization, consider going for a PI detector.

Ground balance is another critical aspect of a gold detector. Despite the fact that most gold detectors are equipped with automatic ground tracking, not all have a manual ground tracking option. If you want a better ground balance experience, go for a gold detector that has both the manual and automatic ground balance options.


Is your prospect area full of trash? Well, this is also very important to consider before buying a metal detector for gold hunting. You do not want a detector that will give false alarms all the time after detecting non-gold metals.

VLF detectors have the best discriminating ability. PI detectors are very poor when it comes to discrimination and they are likely to give you false hopes all day long.

Best (in Class) Metal Detectors for Gold

Minelab GPX 5000 – Best in Diversity

This is the detector that uses the best or – we can say- the latest technology. Instead of the VLF and PI, the Minelab GPX 5000 uses MPS, DVT &SETA. These make the detector an unmatched ability at target sensitivity and accuracy. It features six already set search modes. The modes are flexible in that you can adjust them to suit your preference.

For accuracy in sensitivity, there is the option to adjust the RX Gain which has a wide range. For gold prospecting, it has the Fine Gold and Salt/Gold timings. The Fine Gold timing finds gold in great depths while Salt/Gold timing will find gold in highly mineralized shallow depths like in beaches.

Garrett 1140680 AT Gold Metal Detector – Best in Value   

The Garett AT Gold metal detector has a wide search scope. It works with coins, jewelry, relics, and cache. It has the unique capability of hunting in water thanks to a submersible coil. At 18 kHz operating frequency, the Garett AT Gold is well adapted to detect small gold nuggets, coins, relics, and jewelry. Unlike many gold detectors, it is prompt in detection since it has three sensitivity levels.

Bounty Hunter Tracker IV – Best Budget

This is the most user-friendly gold detector. Its simple user interface makes it a great choice for beginners. With only two operating controls and a dedicated switch for mode selection, the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV can even be used by a kid. The minimal controls mean that you can hunt in many environments with the same machine settings. It also features an automatic ground balance.

It is able to detect large nuggets located up to three feet below the ground. It has the ability to discriminate targets by using the Disc/notch control making your search very pleasant.

Garrett ATX Pulse Induction Military Grade Metal Detector – Best in All Terrains

You definitely want a detector that will sweep all terrains hunting for gold. The Garrett ATX Pulse Induction Military Grade metal detector is the machine you will need in that case. It will scan through trash, water, and dust to find the treasure you are after. Its ground tracking ability is also top notch. The user interface is also very friendly and you can scan different environments without switching the modes. It can be folded even when in use thus making it very portable.

Fisher Gold Bug-2 Metal Detector – Best for Small Nuggets

For those who want to take treasure hunting to a more advanced level, then the Fisher Gold Bug-2 is definitely what you need. At 71 kHz operating frequency, it is the best detector in the ultra-high frequency class of detectors. In fact, its frequency is currently unmatched in the entire metal detector market. It would, therefore, be safe to say that it ranks among the most sensitive metal detectors for gold in the market.  The ultra-high frequency enables it to detect even the smallest of gold nuggets.

It is well adapted for most environments as it is able to resist moisture and dust. It is good at discriminating against iron. Owing to the presence of a dedicated mineralization switch, the Fisher Gold Bug-2 works exceptionally well in mineralized grounds. 

Final thoughts

 Whether you are new to gold hunting or whether you want to spice up the hunting experience, there are plenty of choices when it comes to metal detectors for gold. All you have to identify is your gold hunting needs. First, establish the geography of your hunting environment and know the sizes of the gold nuggets you want to detect. This will help you in choosing a suitable metal detector for gold that will make gold hunting a worthy hobby.

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