How Does a Metal Detector Work?

Best Metal Detectors Review

Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, the best metal detector is a great investment. From the forest to the beach, you need the right tool for the highest level of success in metal detecting.

Not all metal detectors are created the same. The biggest mistake you can commit is to choose the cheapest product available. Quality is more important. Choose a detector made using top-notch materials to ensure accuracy, durability, and comfort.

Looking for a high-quality metal detector? You don’t need to look far! Keep on reading and learn from the valuable insights we’ll share in this buying guide.

Metal detectors exist in all shapes and sizes. Nonetheless, they work in almost similar ways. It transmits an electromagnetic field from a search coil to the ground. Once it detects the presence of a metal, the electromagnetic field is energized. It retransmits the electromagnetic field back to the search coil and a response is created, often in the form of an alarm.

Our Top Picks for the Best Metal Detectors

Clueless about the metal detector to buy? Here are some of the top products that should be on your radar. We’ll also talk about some of the things that make them exceptional.

Minelab 3720-0002 Equinox 800 Best highly accurate target identification
Fisher F75 Best detection depth
XP ORX  Best High sensitivity even to small objects
Garrett Ace 400 Best Digital targeting enhances accuracy
Garrett ACE 300  Best  Durable construction for long-term functionality
Fisher Labs GOLDBUG CC Bug Pro CBest for Beginners 
Fisher F22 Best  Lightweight design 
Garrett ACE 250Best Value for money

 Best High sensitivity even to small objects

1. XP ORX  Metal Detector w/WSAudio Wireless Headphones

Lightweight, fast, and rugged – these are some of the best words that can best describe this metal detector.

These are also the main reasons why it is easy to justify the high price of this product. With a coil of 9.5 inches, however, some people might find it to be a bit small. This means that multiple passes might be needed for maximum coverage.

Weight You Can Hardly Feel

If there’s only one reason why you should choose this metal detector, it would be its lightweight construction. At only 870 grams, the manufacturer claims that this is the lightest of its kind. With the latter, you won’t have a problem even if you are using it for a long time. This is unlike others that can easily result in fatigue and discomfort.

Offers Options for Adjustments

Like the other products that are included in this list, it is also worth noting that it offers different adjustments, making it versatile. This is a good thing because you can customize the settings depending on what is necessary for a specific application. You can choose from 99 levels of sensitivity and discrimination. This assures that even the tiniest particles will be easy to identify.

Comes with Different Operating Modes

Speaking of versatility, another good thing about this product is that there are several operating modes to suit the desired application. You can choose from Gold, Fine Gold, Coin Fast, and Coin Deep. To add, there is also an option that allows the creation of user-defined settings depending on the parameters you deem fit for a specific application.

XP ORX Metal Detector w/WSAudio Wireless Headphones and 9.5" Elliptical DD Coil

Completely Wireless Construction

This is another reason why this is one of our favorites in the market. It is completely wireless, which is indicative of its innovative design. There are no cords prone to tangling. This also means that you will have an easy time moving around. More so, this is great if you are looking for versatility. When you purchase this product, it already comes with wireless headphones, which will provide audible notifications so that you can easily identify the target. The power is derived from the battery in the wireless controller. More so, the battery is efficient with an estimated runtime of up to 20 hours.


• Packaged with a wireless headphone
• Extended battery life
• Offers multiple levels of sensitivity and discrimination


• Depth capability can be better
• Small coil

Best highly accurate target identification

2. Minelab 3720-0002 Equinox 800 

The first thing that you will notice in this product is its price. Yes, it is expensive, but that should not be a reason to ditch the idea of choosing this product over others. It is easy to justify the steep price because of its advanced features and superb construction. Even for discerning users, this is an exceptional choice!

Adaptable Functionality for Different Environments

One of the many things that we love in this product is its versatility. It is designed in a way that delivers multiple functions, each as impressive as the other. One of the most notable is its ability to detect gold. More so, it has high single frequencies, which will let you work even on mineralized soils without worrying about false signals. Plus, you can create eight custom profiles depending on the intended application of this metal detector.

Advanced Modes for Advanced Functionality

This is a great option for people who are looking for advanced features. Among others, one of our favorites is the ability to provide wireless audio. This means that there is no need for using wired headphones, so you are free to move around. It also has Multi-IQ technology, which is the one responsible for combining multiple frequencies to enhance its functionality.

Intuitive Interface Ideal Even for Beginners

Despite being an advanced product, it comes with an intuitive interface. This means that you can enjoy the seamless use of the detector. It has a clear LCD with an adjustable backlight, making sure that you can see the details whether it is day or night. The sleek and compact design, meanwhile, make sure that you are comfortable throughout its use. We also love the automatic target identification, so you will instantly know what is hidden under the ground.

Best Metal Detectors

Dependable Even in the Water

With the waterproof construction of this product, you can use it in multiple environments with the assurance that the readings are accurate. It has a fully-submersible design, which means that you can use it even in lakes and rivers, among other bodies of water. According to the technical specifications, it is submersible at a maximum eth of 3 meters or 10 feet.


• Waterproof design allows full submersion
• Has a backlit LCD with varying intensity
• Fully-adaptable depending on the intended use


• Expensive
• Grip can be improved

Best detection depth

3. Fisher F75 

This mid-range metal detector comes with an ergonomic design, making sure of your comfort even with extended use.

From target separation to multiple search modes, it offers countless benefits that will make it an exceptional product. Nonetheless, while it is a good choice even for beginners, it can be tricky to use at first. It might take a while before you get used to its settings.

Ergonomic Design for Utmost Comfort

Metal detecting is an activity that usually takes hours. Because of this, you need to find one that can ensure your comfort, and that is one of the reasons why you should pick this product over others. It is lightweight, so holding it will not be a burden. It also has a well-balanced design and a two-way adjustable armrest. With all of these things, you can focus more on the target.

Large Screen Keeps You Informed

With many low-end metal detectors, you will often find yourself guessing. Using this product, however, is beneficial because you will always stay updated. This is because of the backlit screen. It will let you see the vivid display regardless it is day or night. On the screen, you can see essential information you need to know, such as the Target ID. Along with the audible notification, you can easily identify what has been detected.

Allows Easy Target Identification

As noted above, another asset of this product is its ability to inform users of the target. This is shown in the center of the screen for four seconds and will change depending on the next target it identifies. You need to know the meanings of the numerical code so that you will know what has been detected. Iron objects, on the other, will show 4 to 12 on the screen. For US quarter, you will see 80 on the display.

Fisher F75 Metal Detector

Easily Eliminate Unwanted Objects

We also love how this model has built-in features that will allow you to easily get rid of unwanted objects in the area. For instance, this is possible because of the double-filter discrimination mode. Even in trashy areas, you can search easily and be confident that you will find only the right metals.


• Comfortable even extended use
• Backlit screen is easy to see in different environments


• Can be quite confusing for beginners
• Not submersible

Best Digital targeting enhances accuracy

4. Garrett Ace 400 

The gold standard in metal detecting – that is how this product is often described by many. True enough, it has some of the most innovative features you will need. This can guarantee its accuracy in different situations. Nonetheless, take note that this isn’t designed for beaches since salt can ruin its performance. Additionally, it is also not for gold prospecting.

Offers Different Search Modes

One thing that makes this a versatile metal detector is the presence of five search modes. With Zero Disc, you can search for any type of metal without discrimination. There are also pre-set search modes for jewelry, relics, and coin. Additionally, there is a custom function, which will also allow you to set the discrimination pattern you desire. This makes it more versatile compared to models that offer only pre-determined discrimination patterns.

Eliminate Interference with Adjustable Frequency

Interferences are frustrating when you are detecting metals! They will result in false warnings. Luckily, this model comes with a built-in feature that allows it to get rid of interferences. This is possible because of the adjustable frequency. It has a maximum frequency of 10 kHz and can be customized depending on what a specific situation calls for.

Locate Your Target with Frustration

One of the most frustrating situations in metal detecting is when you are unable to locate where exactly the target is. That is not the case with this product as it has electronic pinpointing. It locates targets with precision. This way, you will know exactly where you should be digging.

Includes a Bunch of Accessories

If you are looking for the best value for the money, then you have another good reason to choose this product. It is bundled with a variety of accessories that you can find useful. Aside from the main detector, it is also inclusive of headphones and a search coil cover.

 Garrett Ace 400 Metal Detector

No Option for Setting Ground Balance

Despite all the good things, there are also some problems worth noting with this metal detector. Among others, one thing we did not like is how you cannot adjust the ground balance. This is pre-set, leaving you with no option to customize the setting. This is a problem when you are using the metal detector in places with high mineralization, such as on beaches.


• Intuitive interface simplifies operations
• Offers multiple search modes
• Comes with multiple accessories


• Does not come with ground balance adjustment
• Not for beach hunting and gold prospecting

Best for Beginners

5. Fisher Labs GOLDBUG CC Bug Pro

Wrapping up our list is one option that beginners will love. This is designed for entry-level users who would like to get into the world of gold prospecting. It is specially designed to search for tiny gold nuggets. Although, there are some complaints about how the readings can be inaccurate at times.

Designed with Simplicity in Mind

One of the best things about this product is its simplicity. This is built for straightforward operation. You do not need to be an expert in gold prospecting to figure out how to maximize the functionality of this detector. It is lightweight and compact, making it easy to use. The interface is also seamless.

Outfitted with Two Exceptional Coils

The metal detector comes with two coils. One is 5 inches while the other is 10 inches. If you are looking for small gold nuggets, we recommend that you use the smaller coil, for other metals, the larger coil is more suitable. The size is beneficial because it means that you can cover a wider area with just a single pass.

Search for Metals Even in Highly-Mineralized Soils

A common problem with many cheap metal detectors is that they do not work in highly mineralized soils. That is one issue addressed in this product, it is designed to work well even in soils with high minerals, such as iron. With advanced computer programming and detection capabilities, it can separate metals that are naturally present in the soil.

Best Metal Detectors

Ultra-Lightweight for Your Comfort

Weighing less than 2.5 pounds, we also love this product because it is lightweight. It follows that it is comfortable to use. Even for metal detecting that lasts hours, this is a great choice. It will not add significant weight to your arms, so you will feel comfortable throughout its use.


• Compact to fit even in tight spaces
• Comes with a five-year warranty


• Can be prone to accuracy issues
• Durability can be an issue

Best  Durable construction for long-term functionality

6. Garrett ACE 300 

This is a cheaper and older alternative to the product mentioned above. It shares a lot of common features with other Garrett Ace detectors, so you can expect the same top-notch performance. Nonetheless, some users complained about how the display can be quite difficult to see at times. Plus, iron audio is missing, which is one of the advantages of choosing Ace 400 over the Ace 300.

Top-notch Features at a Bargain Price

If the Ace 400 is too expensive for you, then the Ace 300 is a good alternative. Buyers on a budget will love how economical it is while still offering some of the best technologies Garrett is known for. Even if you are a casual or professional user, it is easy to fall in love with the exceptional features you will find in this product.

Several Adjustments Offer Versatile Functions

You will also love how this metal detector is appropriate for different situations. It offers different options for customization as you deep fit. For instance, you can change the sensitivity and depth adjustments. With this, you can optimize the performance of this tool depending on what it is you wish to unearth.

Excellent Protection from Wear

This is an exceptional option for anyone who is looking for durability. we love how it is constructed using top-notch materials to guarantee a long service life. More so, it comes with a cover-up for the control box, which will protect from the latter from mud and dust, among other things that can speed up wear.

 Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector

High-Quality Headphones for Easy Detection

Metal detectors create an audible sound to let you know that a target is within reach. With this model, you won’t miss the notification because of the ClearSound headphones. The latter was specifically developed to provide a clear sound. It has a coiled cord that extends to up to 82 inches. We also love how you can rotate the earpiece so that it folds flat when you pack it.


• Provides different depth and sensitivity adjustments
• Has an adjustable frequency
• Comes with high-quality earphones


• Does not come with iron audio
• Display can be brighter

Best  Lightweight design 

7. Fisher F22 

From durability to comfort, there are countless reasons to pick this option in your search for the best metal detector. It has turn-on-and-go settings, making it a great option even for beginners. You will be happy with how straightforward and comfortable it is to use. Plus, for your peace of mind, it is also worth noting that the detector comes with a five-year warranty from the manufacturer.

High-quality Waterproof Search Coil

Among the different parts of this metal detector, one of the most notable is the waterproof search coil. The 9-inch triangulated elliptical concentric search coil will let you hunt even in inclement weather. Nonetheless, take note that the other parts are not weatherproof, so they should never be submerged.

Offers a Lot of Options for Customization

Another reason why this product stands out is that it offers multiple settings so that you can customize it as necessary. Among others, you can set the operation mode depending on the discrimination pattern required for a specific object. You can also adjust the sensitivity and volume.

Quick Target Identification

There is a numerical target ID from 1 to 99, which will let you know what it is that the tool detects. Whether it is aluminum, iron, silver, or nickel, among others, the screen will quickly show what is on the ground. There is also a four-tone alarm that will provide an audible warning on the target that is locked. Whether the tone is low or high will give you a quick idea of what is on the ground.

Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector with Submersible Search Coil

Designed for Your Comfort

No need to worry about your comfort when you are using this metal detector. With an operational weight of only 2.3 pounds, you will not easily be fatigued, even when using the product for a long time. Not to mention, it comes with an ergonomic design to guarantee your comfort. holding the metal detector will not be a burden to its users.


• Offers four search modes
• Has a non-volatile memory


• Does not come with manual ground balance
• Depth reading can be inaccurate

Best Value for money

8. Garrett ACE 250 

Out of the three Garret Ace metal detectors mentioned in this buying guide, this is the cheapest. This is a given since this also has the least features and technologies. This is designed only for entry-level users. For more experienced buyers, you might find that it lacks the bells and whistles that you will often find in its higher-end counterparts.

Built with the Needs of Novices in Mind

Is it your first time buying and using a metal detector? If that’s the case, then this product is an excellent option. Aside from being economical, it comes with an intuitive interface that is effortless to navigate for newbies. You don’t have to suffer from complications, and hence, you will have a good time searching for metal!

Offers Pre-Set Modes for Different Situations

Like the two other products mentioned above, it also has pre-set modes depending on what you would like to search for. You can choose from the available discrimination patterns or you can also customize depending on what you assume is best for a given situation.

Large Scan Coverage

In the case of other metal detectors, it takes a lot of going back and forth before you can attain the largest possible coverage. The good thing about this product is that it covers an area of up to ten inches within a single pass. This way, you can scan a larger area in one pass, which is also a great way to save time and effort.

Stay Informed about the Battery Level

Anyone who has used a metal detector in the past will agree when me when I say how frustrating it is to run out of battery. This can ruin your mood in an instant. Luckily, that does not have to happen when you are using this product. One thing that we love the most is the battery condition indicator. This will provide continuous notifications about the battery level, so you will know exactly when there is a need for a replacement.


• Comes with pre-set modes
• Has a waterproof search coil
• Rugged design
• Intuitive interface that is ideal for beginners


• No adjustment for heavy signal
• Sensitive to cold temperatures


Metal detecting is a fun hobby. Not to mention, it is a rewarding profession. Regardless if you are a casual or professional user, you need the best metal detector, including the products mentioned above. They can help unearth treasures hidden beyond the ground!

Best Metal Detectors

The Different Types of Metal Detectors

For a better understanding of a metal detector and how it works, you should be familiar with the different types available.

  • Very Low Frequency (VLF) Metal Detector

This is one of the most popular metal detectors you will see in the market. This is a common choice amongst hobbyists hunting for relics, coins, and jewelry. It is a great option for anyone who is starting to discover how fun metal detecting is.

With this metal detector, there is a pair of coils working together. The first is the transmitter, which is what releases an intense electric current. The second is the receiver, which picks and amplifies the signal from the main coil. As the name implies, it uses a single and very low frequency that is anywhere from 6 to 10 kHz.

  • Pulse Induction (PI) Metal Detector

If you are looking for a metal detector that you can use in places with high mineralization, this is an exceptional option. This is also the same technology that is used by security guards to detect concealed weapons.

This type of metal detector comes with a single coil, which acts both as the transmitter and receiver. This is unlike in VLF metal detectors wherein you have a pair of coils. It sends powerful and short current bursts through the integrated wire.

Best Metal Detectors

  • Beat Frequency Oscillator (BFO) Metal Detector

The most basic form of metal detector available, it has two wire coils. The larger coil acts as the search head while the smaller head is hidden in the control box. An oscillator connects the coil, which produces thousands of pulses of currents per second.

Choosing the Best Metal Detectors

With too many brands and models available, making the right choice isn’t a walk in the park. To help you decide, consider the things mentioned below.

  • Discrimination

This helps to distinguish trash from treasure. It will save you from headaches and frustrations as it improves the accuracy of the metal detector. Having good discrimination will let the detector alarm only when the metal detected meets specific criteria. This means that you don’t have to dig up anything the tool detects.

  • Ground Balance

It is natural for soils to contain metal traces, which can interfere with the functionality of the detector. Ground balance is an innovative feature that prevents your equipment from bypassing the detection of metals like irons. It can be automatic, pre-set, or multiple depending on the specific product you are using.

Best Metal Detectors

  • Frequency

As you look at the technical details of the metal detectors, frequency is another factor you should not miss. For better depth penetration, you should choose one with a lower frequency. Meanwhile, if you want to detect gold and small metals, then you should choose a metal detector with a higher frequency. In most instances, metal detectors will have low to medium frequency.

  • Sensitivity

The sensitivity of the metal detector is one more thing that impacts its accuracy. It is the ability to detect a conductive material at a distance. There is a control that will let you adjust the sensitivity level based on the recommendations from the manufacturer. If it is too low, you will not hear the alarm. On the other hand, when it is too high, there is a possible distortion.

  • Depth

It is also crucial to consider the maximum depth the metal detector can handle. Typically, detectors can scan metals that are up to 15 inches deep. As earlier mentioned, if you want a tool that can detect metals deeper, then you should choose one that comes with a low frequency. Take note, however, thatother things impact the performance of the metal detector, not just its depth rating. The type of soil, for instance, is crucial.

  • Size and Weight

One common complaint amongst users of metal detectors is discomfort. To prevent this, you should choose a compact and lightweight tool. This means that you can handle it easily and will minimize fatigue. It should have an ergonomic grip, making sure that carrying it around is never a burden.

How Does a Metal Detector Work?

Tips and Tricks for Using Metal Detectors

Even if you have the best metal detector, it is useless if you do not know how to use it properly. To make the most out of its performance, below are some of the most important things.

• Hunt at the right time.This way, the ground is wet, which also means that it has better conductivity, allowing you to detect metals buried deep. Not to mention, this also makes digging easier.
• Find the right location. The most important is to avoid trespassing. Research about the place to know if it is off-limits to the public. If necessary, secure the necessary permit before you start metal detecting.
• Be systemic when it comes to your hunting patterns. Make sure that you cover most of the area. Start by walking a straight line. When you reach the end, turn back, move a little to the side, and go back to the direction of where you started.
• Pack the right kit. A good metal detector is just one of the many things that you will need. Extra batteries are must-haves. Digging tools are also important. You also need gloves and boots. More so, you need food and drinks to stay energized.
Use a pinpointer for more accurate detection of the exact location of the object detected. Without a hand-held pinpointer, it is difficult to determine where you should be digging to get the metal off the ground.
• Be patient. This is perhaps the most important, especially if you are a beginner. Looking for metals is not as straightforward as it seems. It takes time. You should not give up. Stay determined, and soon, you will be rewarded.

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