Top 5 Best Metal Detector for Beginners 2021 – Review & Buyer’s Guide

It is exciting to go online to look for the best metal detector for beginners. There are many detectors you can choose from, and with different price ranges, which can be overwhelming.

That can lead to various questions like how much should you spend or how do you know it is a real metal detector? Even when you get the right one, you still must consider a lot of other factors.

We have developed an article to help you when looking for your first metal detector. It contains a review of the top five products on the market today and tips and tricks of buying a beginner metal detector.

Best Metal Detector For Beginners

The Best Metal Detectors for Beginners

The metal detectors in this review are the perfect ones for a beginner for various reasons. They are the most affordable, come with easy features, and can even take a beating.

1. Fisher F22 Metal Detector

The Fisher F22 is an update of the classic Fisher F2 line. It provides all the features that a beginner and an intermediate detectorist would want to find in a metal detector.

Weatherproof Design

The F22 is a starter machine that provides a weatherproof design and the best features of a beginner’s metal detector. It can allow you to use it when there are showers, and it remains in good condition.

The thing to note is this metal detector should not be submerged underwater as it is not waterproof. It is only the coil that you can immerse in water to find precious metals.

Plug-and-Play Model

At the core, the F22 is the best beginner metal detector since it offers a plug-and-play style. That allows the starters to focus on real hunting and not the complicated features of the detector.   

You get more time to look for small relics, jewelry, coins, and other little treasures. It is the right model for finding gold nuggets, but you might come across some when hunting.

9-Inch Elliptical Coil

One exciting feature of the F22 is the unique 9-inch coil. Instead of having a circle shape, the loop is more of an elliptical shape.

The shape makes it possible to discriminate trash and pinpoint the precise location of the treasure. It also makes it possible to navigate in tight areas where a round coil can get stuck.

Incredible LCD Screen

Another great feature of the Fisher F22 is the amazing LCD screen. It is the best screen of all products in the F22 price range as it comes with unique characteristics.

All the indicators are available on this screen, including iron, battery life, search mode, depth, two-digit category ID, and menu icon for sensitivity, notch, and volume. That makes it easier to learn what you are searching for, how to improve the search, and types of treasures found in your search area.

F2 Upgraded

If you have used the F2 model, then you should have an easy time using the F22 as it has all the simple features of F2. However, they are more advanced to meet the detectorists’ needs.

The things that are updated include search modes, unique coil design, weatherproof and compact control box, and adjustable audio tones and volume.

The product also provides a higher precise rating that ensures you find more treasures.

Lightweight Design

The product weighs less than 3-pound, making it one of the lightest metal detectors in the industry. You can use it for hours without getting tired.

The weight also makes it a superb product for kids as they can easily handle it.

Key Specifications

  • Weatherproof design
  • 9-segment numerical and visual target ID
  • Four modes of operation
  • Five years warranty
  • Four tones audio ID
  • Notch discrimination system
  • Adjustable volume and sensitivity
  • Ultra-lightweight – only 2.3 pounds
  • 69 kHz operating frequency
  • Uses two AA batteries
  • 9-inch waterproof coil
  • Measures 22 x 8 x 5 inches

Pros

  • Classic F2 upgrade
  • Offers advanced features
  • Processes findings quickly
  • Up to five years warranty

Cons

  • No manual ground balancing

2. Garrett ACE 400 Metal Detector

The ACE 400 is the most advanced metal detector in the ACE series, and it replaced the ACE 350. That means you can expect to find advanced features in the ACE 400 that make metal detecting easier.

Very Low-Frequency Detector

The ACE 400 uses the VLF technology to find treasures buried in the ground and has a 10kHz operating frequency. It is an upgrade from the 8kHz of the Garrett ACE 350, so you can expect more sensitivity to tinier objects and ones with medium-conductivity.

The frequency also makes it easier to balance sensitivity and depth when finding relics and coins.

Lightweight Design

All metal detectors for beginners should be lightweight, and that is what you get from the ACE 400. It weighs less than 3-pound, meaning that you do not feel the weight when hunting for treasures.

The model also comes with an adjustable stem that allows you to vary it from 40-inch to 53-inch. You can easily lock the stem to guarantee better stability when looking for treasures.

Battery-Powered Detector

Garrett ACE 400 is a yellow metal detector that is powered by four AA batteries. They provide power for about 25 hours, which is quite a long time for an entry-level metal detector.

One thing about this detector is it comes with a continuous battery-level indicator that notifies you when you need to replace them.

Three-Part Design

Like most metal detectors, you can separate this model into three parts. That means you can move it around without much hassle.

The three parts lock together using the cam lock, giving you a secure product. It is also easy to assemble the machine without using any tool.

Audio Features

The ACE 400 comes with a 3-tone audio system that emits three unique tones. Metals with higher conductivity produce Beltone, while those with lower conductivity activate low or medium signals.

The device also has the Pulse-Width Modulation feature that provides sharper audio.

Iron Discrimination and Audio

Unlike the previous ACE models, this metal detector comes with iron audio discrimination. It helps you to ignore junk material and even find treasures that are covered with iron.

The machine has also added four segments of discrimination that improve the sifting process. That was not present in the ACE 250 model.

Long Term Warranty

The metal detector comes with a 2-year warranty that covers parts and manufacturing processes. It is a guarantee that lets you use the machine with confidence for about 2-year without worrying.

The brand also provides free things like an instruction manual, search magazines, and catalog. You get everything you would need to start looking for metals.

Key Specifications

  • 5 x 11 inches search coil cover
  • 5 x 11 inches PROformance DD search coil (waterproof)
  • Uses four AA batteries
  • Free manual, catalog, searcher magazine
  • Up to 24 months warranty
  • 10 kHz operating frequency
  • Five search modes
  • Speeds recovery notch discrimination
  • Measures 22 x 15 x 6 inches

Pros

  • Has ground balance
  • Finds various targets
  • Easy to use
  • Waterproof coil

Cons

  • Does not find gold

3. Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector

Garrett ACE 300 is a mid-priced metal detector that replaced the ACE 250 model. It is an entry-level metal detector that is full of unique features that make metal detecting a breeze.

Five Detection Modes

The model has a relic, coin, jewelry, zero-disc, and custom modes. Zero-disc turns all the 12 discrimination pixels on, meaning that the metal detector spots even the trash. 

Custom mode allows you to accept or reject materials to ensure that you increase or reduce your search field.

Digital Target ID

The digital target ID is a feature that separates the Garrett ACE 300 from other metal detectors. It helps to determine the conductivity of the targets and display the result on a screen.  

That allows you to figure out the depth, orientation, and size of the treasure. You get a target ID with a scale of 0-99, with the higher numbers measuring copper, silver, and gold nuggets.

The lower values show you have found steel, iron, and small jewelry.

Iron Discrimination Segments

Although this metal detector does not offer an iron audio feature that is present in the ACE 400, it comes with iron discrimination. It helps you to ignore the iron that can mask a precious target.

Four segment bars can help you to boost iron discrimination. That can allow you to find more relics and coins in old hunting areas that might have lots of iron. 

Effective Pinpointing

Another feature is the in-built electronic pinpointer that allows you to enjoy a precise target location. You only need to turn this feature on and listen for the loudest audio; then, watch for the segment that gets filled on the scale.

The feature can also help you to determine how deep the coin is buried.

Waterproof Search Coil and Shaft

It comes with a waterproof search coil and shaft that can allow you to hunt in wet places. You should be careful when hunting near or in water because the control box is only weatherproof. 

Additional Accessories

You need a metal detector with additional accessories to ensure that you succeed while looking for metals. The package contains headphones and a search coil cover.

The headphones ensure that you save batteries from prolonging your search period. You also find a lot of benefits when using the cover as it keeps the coil safe.

It is a metal detector that was designed to provide you with value for money and allow you to learn how to do metal hunting.

Key Specifications

  • Eight sensitivity adjustments that avoid false signal and control depth
  • Three audio tone ID for low, medium, and high target ID
  • Electronic pinpointing ability
  • 7 x 10 inches concentric search coil
  • Depth indicator to determine the treasure’s depth
  • Weighs about 5.13 pounds
  • Measures 22 x 11 x 6 inches

Pros

  • Able to find coins, jewelry, and other treasures
  • Offers waterproof shaft and coil
  • An affordable model
  • Up to five detection modes

Cons

  • Preset ground balance

4. Minelab X-TERRA 305 Metal Detector

You cannot go wrong with the Minelab X-TERRA 305 when looking for the best entry-level metal detector. It is a unique product that comes with top-quality features, which we have listed here.

Up to 9 Buttons

The machine comes with about nine buttons that can help you to control all its aspects. These are the power button, menu, detect/pinpoint, plus/minus buttons, 123, tick & cross, AM, and ground balance symbol. 

That gives you an easy time when operating your metal detector when you are a first time user.

Ground Balance Feature

The ground balance is not standard in entry-level metal detectors, but you can find it in the 305 model. You get a machine that can work effectively in areas with lots of minerals without a hassle.

Its ground balance means that you receive only the right signals on the target ID and hear via the audio.

Noise Cancel Feature

Electrical frequencies can easily interrupt your metal detector signal and cause false signals. That is why this product comes with a noise-canceling feature that helps to reduce interference.

Threshold Adjustment

The threshold adjustment feature of the 305 helps to save settings for the headphones and internal speakers. What that means is you can easily distinguish between the best target and trash, to avoid unnecessary digging up.

Depth Indication

The metal detector also comes with a depth indication, that combines with the target ID, to give you more accuracy. You can find this feature on the right side of the display screen.

The ID helps to provide a clear picture of the metal resting in the ground. That only means you use most of your time searching for the most valuable treasures in the field.

True Digital VFLEX Technology

It is a tech that enables you to change the frequency by changing the search coils. You can get more freedom of finding metals in various conditions without much hassle.

Multi-Frequency Operation

You can use a medium frequency of 7kHz or a high one of 18.75kHz when looking for treasure. That gives you the versatility you desire to ensure that you look for various types of treasures, like coins, jewelry, and relics.

The product also allows for fast recovery that helps you to continue with your hunt without taking a break. That gives you the freedom to look for more treasures and even get a chance of finding them before the day ends.

Key Specifications

  • Uses medium (7.5kHz) and high (18.75kHz) frequency
  • Compatible with up to 6 coils
  • Ground balance with manual adjustment of 0-20
  • Two customizable preset patterns, All-Metal mode
  • 12 Target ID response
  • Threshold adjustment of -5 to 25
  • Noise cancel feature with three settings
  • Target volume adjust 0-10
  • Fast recovery pinpoint
  • Powered by four AA batteries
  • Lightweight model of 3-pound
  • Measures 24 x 11.5 x 3.25 inches
  • For all beginner metal detectorists

Pros

  • Half a dozen coil options
  • Good battery life
  • Lightweight design
  • Effective display option

Cons

  • No headphones

5. Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV

The Bounty Hunter Tk4 is the best cheap metal detector that can find most metals in the ground, including silver and gold. It is a product that comes with adjustable height and is lightweight enough, making it suitable for users of all ages.

It also offers dozens of features that make it a good beginner metal detector, as seen here.

Easy Controls

It is the simplest metal detector you can ever find on the market today. The model has a switch and two knobs that allow you to switch it on/off and adjust the sensitivity.

You can use the right knob to vary the discrimination and the switch when choosing the model. The product also includes an analog meter in the middle that helps to show signal strength.

That meter also portrays the battery indicator.

Sensitivity Adjustment

The feature helps you to set the depth at which the metal detector can spot a precious metal. That sensitivity also plays a role in ensuring that you find smaller or large objects. 

You should set the right sensitivity to ensure that you avoid ground mineralization when searching for treasures.

Iron Discrimination

There is a discrimination knob that lets you ignore all unwanted materials, like steel, lead, iron, and other metals. It is a critical feature that can help you to find a coin in a trashy beach or park.

The low-end side shows that you have found metal with low conductivity like steel, lead, and iron. On the flip side, you find brass, nickel, and gold.

Search Modes

You can switch the ‘All Metal’ search mode on if you are hunting in an area with less trash. That allows you to enjoy zero discrimination. 

It is a great feature that you can use when finding relic since they often come in iron material.  The metal detector also offers the ‘Tone’ that can help you figure out the treasure you have found.

Here you enjoy the auto rejects iron and two other tones.

Allows Headphones Use

The control box has a headphone jack that you can use to insert a 1/4-inch jack. One thing, the package does not come with a pair of headphones.

You can buy the right size accessories to use them when looking for treasure in noisy places.

Uses Batteries

The metal detector comes with two 9v batteries that provide it with the power to run for long. They provide up to 30 hours of operation, and you can quickly recharge them.

There is a benefit of using these batteries as you do not need to keep on buying new ones. That can save you money and time when learning how to hunt for treasures.

Key Specifications

  • Motion all-metal mode
  • Three modes of operation
  • 3-position mode switch
  • Two-tone audio discrimination
  • ¼-inch headphone jack
  • The 8-inch waterproof search coil
  • Weighs around 4.2 pounds
  • Operating frequency of 6.6kHz
  • Uses two 9v alkaline batteries
  • Built-in speaker
  • Automatic ground balance
  • Sensitivity control
  • Target strength meter

Pros

  • Best priced metal detector
  • Comes with rechargeable batteries
  • Waterproof search coil
  • Ideal for all users

Cons

  • Minimal entry-level features

Buying Guide of Best Metal Detector for Beginners

Beginners metal detector

Where do you start when buying your first metal detector? We have the answer to this question in this section. You need to figure out the following things:

1. Recreation vs. Serious Detectorists

Some of the cheapest products can work for recreational hunters who only have a limited amount of time. These metal detectors offer the BASICS that can keep a family busy looking for treasure.

That means a simple user interface, adjustable shaft length, and lightweight construction. You do not require to have prior experience to use such a metal detector.

On the flip side, beginner serious metal detectors need to define their goals before they settle for any machine. For instance, gold finders need the best ENTRY-LEVEL metal detector that can find gold nuggets.

2. Features of Beginner Metal Detector

Most beginner metal detectors are all-purpose products. They can be entry-level or basic models as defined above or even have some customizable features.

The beginner’s products often focus on finding three kinds of treasures, which are relics, coins, and jewelry. An ENTRY-LEVEL DETECTOR will offer one or more audio tone, some form of discrimination, and preset ground balance.

These products also come with a digital interface as it is quite affordable these days. A MIDDLE ENTRY-LEVEL DETECTOR might offer several tones, notching, and adjustable sensitivity.

The TOP-END ENTRY-LEVEL DETECTORS often come with more variable features like manual ground balance, different tones, frequency shift, improved notching/discrimination, and iron audio feature.

A product with many features often costs more than the one with the basics.

3. Metal Detector Terms to Know

You also need to understand the various terms of a beginner metal detector to know what you are buying. They include the following:

  • Tones/Audio: It is the sound your metal detector produces when it spots a treasure. An entry-level product should have at least a low (iron) and a high tone (other metals).
  • Detection Modes: These are preset programs that help to set the detection parameters. The primary metal detectors should have an All Metal Mode – also consider a pinpoint and discriminate mode. You can also get machines for coins, relics, and jewelry.
  • Discrimination: It is a feature that can allow you to ignore certain items like screws and iron.
  • Frequency: It determines the number of times electric energy is sent to the surface to detect treasures. Beginner products often come with 5-12 kHz.
  • Ground Balance: It ensures that your metal detector adopts to the minerals in the ground. Some products come with preset ground balance, while others can allow you to vary it.
  • Search Coil: It is the accessory that produces the magnetic field that is sent to the ground to detect the object. They come in multiple shapes and sizes.
  • Sensitivity: The sensitivity helps to detect an alteration in the magnetic field to give you an idea of the object you have found.
  • Target ID: The beginner models either comes with a Target ID or Notch ID. Notch offers a value within a given metal category while the ID ranges from 0-99.

Your Hunting Grounds

The ideal ground to begin metal hunting must experience high foot traffic because treasures get replenished. These places include:

  • Public schools
  • Beaches
  • Churchyards
  • Private land
  • Public parks
  • Woodland
  • Land surrounding resorts
  • Vehicle parks
  • Campsites
  • Own backyard

Seeking Permission

It is vital to ensure that you get permission to enter these places. You can get authorization as follows:

  • Private Land: Talk to the owner before you take your metal detector for metal hunting. Also, ensure that you know the land’s boundaries to avoid entering the neighboring property.
  • Government Property: They include public parks and other state-owned properties. You need written permission from your local government before you start using your new metal detector.
  • Beaches: Beaches can be private or state properties. That means metal detecting is not allowed if you do not seek permission from the necessary institution.

Good Hunting Location

Choosing the perfect location to hunt for precious metals can ensure that you succeed in this industry. You need to research for the right grounds before you even buy your beginner metal detector.

The important thing is to select a site that has not been searched for a long time or one that is replenished regularly. Some ideal options are:

  • Private Land: Although it might be hard to get permission, private land can be a great place to start. Such properties are fresh, almost zero persons have gone hunting there before. You can find rare items and artifacts in these places.
  • High Activity Locations: Areas such as sports fields, parks, and fairgrounds are always supplied with good treasures. Visitors lose items when visiting these places, including coins and jewelry.
  • Beaches: Professional metal detectors love to visit the beach (check beach metal detector) regularly, and there is a reason why they do that. They are full of coins, jewelry, and other new items lost by visitors.
  • Old Sites: You can also make ancient sites to be your hunting grounds. Such a place should have been used for years.

Researching for Better Hunting Grounds

As a beginner, you should stick to familiar places when hunting metals. You should also conduct thorough research to boost your chance of finding these treasures, in places like:

  • Google: You can find dedicated hunting areas from google and similar sites.
  • Maps: There are also historical sites that you can find from old maps. If you can find one, try looking for treasures in these places.
  • Historical Books: They contain information about these treasures.

Treasures Found Using Beginner Metal Detectors

It is a common myth that you can only find gold using the most expensive metal detectors on the market. Many people also believe that they cannot find valuable treasures using beginner’s metal detectors.

That is not true because all metal detectors can detect all metallic materials, including nickel, bronze, lead, tin, aluminum, silver, and iron. With that in mind, an entry-level device is developed to look for jewelry, relics, and coins.

These materials can be found about 6-8-inch deep in dry sand, fields, woodland, and parks. Although entry-level metal detectors can detect gold, they are not the best model for using in the hard ground where you can find these nuggets.

The operating frequency of your beginner metal detector can also determine the type of treasure you find. A lower frequency can provide better depth but reduce the sensitivity of tiny objects.

That can mean you can find relics with such detectors, but you will have a hard time finding jewelry. A higher frequency leads to better sensitivity to allow you to detect smaller targets.

In summary, you can find the following using your beginner metal detector:

  • Coins – They are the most common treasure found in most places using metal detectors.
  • Jewelry – You can find jewelry coated with different metals, including gold.
  • Relics – These are traditional items that are of value.
  • Gold nuggets – There are metal detectors that are specifically designed to find gold.

Other metals include Iron, Silver, Lead, Aluminum, and Bronze.

Metal Detector for Beginners FAQs

Let us look at some of the commonly asked questions about beginner metal detectors.

Q: Should I Buy a Beginner Metal Detector?

A: Metal detectors are worth your money even if you intend to use them for recreational purposes with your friends and family. If you wish to become a committed hobbyist, you should consider investing in a more durable product.

There are also metal detectors for finding gold, which means you need to choose the right model for such projects.

Q: Are there Metal Detectors for Kids?

A: There are metal detectors suitable for kids, which are often the entry-level or beginner models. Such products are easy to use, cheap, and lightweight.

The important thing is to consider your child’s age and strength when buying a metal detector for a kid. These are the two primary considerations that you should consider when choosing a detector for children.

Q: What is the Best Beginner Metal Detector for Money?

A: Your personal preference should determine the metal detector you choose. The one that meets your needs is often preferred, no matter its cost.

There are hundreds of metal detectors for beginners, and they all cost differently. You can get a product that goes for about $100 and another for over $1,000.

Q: Where Can I Go Metal Hunting?

A: You can detect metals in different places, but you might not be allowed to dig them. They include beaches, goldfields, parks, old mines, and other sites.

While it is legal to detect metals, you might require permission to dig them up. You can also find treasures from local lands.

Q: What Names are Given to People who Hunt Treasures Using Metal Detectors?

A: Many names refer to people who hunt metals, including detectorists, serial hobbyists, hobbyists, enthusiasts, coin shooters, treasure hunters, relic hunters, gold prospectors, and prospectors.

These people are also referred to as sand diggers, gold diggers, dirt diggers, or diggers.

Q: What Type of Beginner Metal Detector Should I Buy?

A: That depends on the type of treasure you want to hunt, and the place you want to go searching. Here is a guide that can help you when choosing the right detectors.

  • Underwater and beach hunting: You need a rust-free metal detector that is robust enough to handle the severe conditions, such as saltwater and sea air. It should also be waterproof to allow you to find treasure in wet conditions.
  • Gold detectors: These products come with a higher frequency that allows them to spot gold. You need such a product if you stay in a gold-rich area
  • Multi-purpose detector: It is the right type of metal detector for a beginner. Such a product can find coins and other metallic materials with ease.

Q: How Can I Make My Beginner Metal Detector More Powerful?

A: You can achieve more power if you shorten the swinging distance. That gives you better control over your machine as you only need to lift the coil when you are done.

You should also ensure that you fasten your metal detector to ensure that you do not get tired quickly. It will allow you to find metals for an extended duration.

Our Top Pick: Fisher F22

It is a weatherproof metal detector that you can use to find treasures in various places like beaches and dry land. You can also use it for hunting in shallow water as it comes with a waterproof coil.

The product requires two AA batteries that can provide power for between 25-30 hours. You also get a visual ID that helps you to figure out the type of metal you have found.

Final Verdict

The best metal detector for beginners can vary from individual to individual. Every person requires the right product that can meet his/her specific need.

You can find metal detectors for finding relics and coins, for hunting underwater and beach, and for finding gold. There is also a multi-purpose metal detector that is often recommended for beginners.