Metal detectors can be used for a variety of purposes. Everyone from amateur treasure hunters to police professionals employs these devices to find metallic objects that may be obscured by rock, sand, dirt, and other types of ground.
If you run a business or public organization that requires the use of a metal detector, then you want to ensure that you have a device that is reliable and highly functional. There is, of course, a world of difference between trying to find supposedly lost treasure for fun and trying to locate an unexploded land mine on a beach that is crowded with civilians. In both cases, however, you should get good value for your money.
Here are the best metal detectors on the market. These have all been tested by experts.
The Best Metal Detectors
- Garrett Ace 250
- Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
- Bounty Hunter Gold Digger
- Treasure Cove TC 3020
- New Home Innovations Starter Kit
- BARSKA Winbest Pro
- Ground EFX MC1 Youth
1. Garrett Ace 250
This is one of the best metal detectors on the market. It has an automatic ground-balancing feature that enables it to immediately adjust to the mineral content of the surface it is scanning. Whether you are looking for metal that is buried under sand or under water, the Ace 250 will find it.
One of the more important features of any metal detector is its grip and feel. The unit is solidly built and sturdy. It has foam on the handle and armrest with a Velcro strap on the latter. This provides security and makes the Ace 250 comfortable to hold and walk around with.
The unit also has an LCD display that is second to none. On it, you will find a variety of sensitivity features, a headphone jack, a pinpoint feature, and pre-programmed modes that will help you search for different types of metals. The screen is easy to read, and when the device hits upon metal you will see the estimated depth of it.
The one thing to note about the Ace 250 is the price tag. It is on the higher end. If you are on a budget, it may not be realistic for you to purchase this particular brand.
2. Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
This is another detector that tested to the top. This is an excellent all-around unit that is a little less expensive than the Garrett Ace 250. The Bounty Hunter automatically calibrates to the content of the soil it scans. It also has a range of great ergonomic features. These include sensitivity and discrimination features, a headphone jack, target indicator, and a three-position toggle. However, one of the more important features is missing: an LCD.
This is a noteworthy shortcoming of the Bounty Hunter, as it makes things harder for users who are not as experienced and well-trained in hunting for metal. Nevertheless, considering how well the Bounty Hunter performs in finding metal and its relatively low price-tag, it may be suitable for metal hunters who are on a budget.
3. Bounty Hunter Gold Digger
This is a great budget pick. The Bounty Hunter is among those metal detectors that currently dominate the market. During field tests by professionals the Gold Digger proved to be effective and reliable.
Like the previous two metal detectors, the Gold Digger adjusts automatically to the content of the ground. This detector also comes with a pair of headphones that can be plugged into the jack. However, it should be noted that the headphones are rather small and the quality is not the best.
The Gold Digger does have a display that indicates the power level and it has a trash eliminator and sensitivity meter. This may not seem like much, but it gets the job done. In any case, if you are an experienced metal hunter, you may not need or want an elaborate LCD. You may prefer a simpler old-school model that is closer in construction and make as the metal detectors you are used to.
4. Treasure Cove TC 3020
The TC 3020 is a great all-around metal detector. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this unit is the number of options and features on the LCD display. Its display rivals that of the Garrett Ace 250.
The screen contains sensitivity and discrimination meters as well as notch and metal adjusters. The screen also includes a meter that displays the type of metal that has been found. The TC-3020 comes with high-quality headphones. This is especially important if you are searching in an area with a great deal of ambient noise.
The only downside to the TC-3020 is that it struggles to find metals that are more than a few inches below the surface.
5. New Home Innovations Starter Kit
This is one of the more inexpensive models on the market, which is its main appeal. If your budget is severely limited, then you may want to consider this unit.
This unit contains no serious pitfalls or shortcomings. On the other hand, there is nothing that stands out about it. You will not find an amazing range of LCD screen options or some exceptional power of detection. In the latter category, it scored near the middle range of the testing carried out by the experts. The device will help you find most treasures, including those buried underwater or in trash. However, it may miss metal that is buried deep underground or sunk pretty low in water.
The LCD screen includes discrimination and sensitivity features, a target indicator, and a headphone jack. It also contains a pinpoint feature, which is good considering the price. The unit also comes with a forearm rest.
6. BARSKA Winbest Pro
This is another excellent budget metal detector. It scored around the middle range of tests carried out by experienced professionals. It will find most buried metals, if they are not buried too deep in sand, rock, or water. If you are like to spend weekends or days off looking for hidden treasure, then this is a perfectly suitable metal detector. If your job is to search for unexploded munitions or evidence that will be used in a criminal trial, then you should probably go with a model that performs at a much higher level.
Ergonomically, this metal detector tested well. It is comfortable to hold and allows the user to carry it around with a nice firm grip. The Winbest Pro also has a decent LCD screen. It displays discrimination and sensitivity features, a headphone jack, and target indicator. There is also a forearm rest.
7. Ground EFX MC1 Youth
So, you want to make a metal hunter out of your child. How do you go about it? This metal detector is a good place to start. It was made specifically for children. It is shorter and lighter than the metal detectors above and has an adjustable length between 25 and 35 inches.
Although it is a functional metal detector, it tested near the bottom. This means it cannot find relics, coins, and gold that well. The display contains the most basic features, including a power knob, eliminator knob, and target indicator meter. It is without a headphone jack and so there is no way to plug in earphones. There is some limited ground calibration. However, the latter seems to be pre-set, which means it will not automatically adjust to shifting types of ground.
This is the kind of starter-type metal detector. It is most suitable for any small children you want to take with you on a treasure hunt. It will make them feel as though they are part of the search. As it is not a mere toy and does have functionality, your child may actually hit upon treasure using this device.
How the Metal Detectors were Tested
To give you some insight into how the above metal detectors were selected, here is a summary of how the units were tested.
The most popular location for metal hunting is the beach. That is where the testing professionals whose results we relied on carried out their trials. First, they set up a general detection test to search for relics, coins, and gold that had been scattered on the sand. Second, they did a similar test after scattering metal trash around the items to determine whether each detector would discern the junk from the real metal.
Third, they performed a depth test for each metal detector. This involved burying the coins, relics, and gold, several inches deep, and then testing each unit. They then submitted each detector to an underwater test to see how they did in this environment. Lastly, they did an independent evaluation of the look and feel of each unit.
The tests conducted by the experts were developed based on years of experience and expertise in the field. The general detection test is the most important indicator of how well a unit performs. The types of metal scattered along the beach included coins, metal relics, and gold. These are the most common types of metals that metal hunters look for. Once the objects were buried in the sand, the evaluators walked slowly forward, sweeping the unit back and forth over the buried objects. Each object was passed over one time in a natural way. There was no attempt to pause over the location of the item. This was done to determine whether the detector would actually pick up the buried object, and was the best way to get realistic results.
All of the top detectors on our list had good results for this test.
No matter your reason for buying a metal detector, you should know what you are getting before you make your purchase. The detectors in this list have been thoroughly tested by people with the experience and expertise to make good recommendations. Whether you have the money to invest in a top-of-the-line detector or you are limited in your budget and must go with a less expensive unit, it is possible to buy a metal detector that you can rely on.
Not everyone needs the same kind of metal detector. If you are a novice and require the display of more information, then you may prefer a detector with a sophisticated LCD screen. If you are more old school then your focus may be on the raw power of detection rather than the LCD.