Metal detectors for beginners are great for anyone who’s ever dreamed of stumbling on a secret goldmine. You don’t need to invest hundreds of dollars to catch the treasure-hunting bug, and there are plenty of devices that are so easy to use that even kids can get in on the action. Unsure what device to get? Rest assured, this guide will help you find the best metal detector for beginners for your needs.
— Best Overall: Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker
— Best for Gold: PANCKY Professional Higher Accuracy Gold Detector
— Best for Kids: Bounty Hunter Junior T.I.D. Metal Detector for Kids
— Best Waterproof: SUNPOW Foldable Metal Detector
— Best Budget: Kuman Pin Pointer Metal Detector
Things To Consider Before You Buy a Metal Detector
You Have To Love It: Like many get-rich-quick schemes, don’t expect the cash flow to roll in after you start your metal-detecting adventure. There just aren’t that many doubloons buried underground at this point, and certainly not at a public beach. If you’re buying a metal detector to get a secondary cash flow going, you may find yourself disappointed after a few uses. After all, many things found underground are old, but not always valuable. If you’re a fan of history, though, this is where a metal detector for beginners pays off, finding objects from the past including old coins, tools, and maybe even discarded Atari cartridges.
Optional Accessories (Including the Obvious One): Just about every one of our best metal detectors for beginners runs on batteries, and depending on how much you use them, there’s a chance you may run out of juice in the wild. Luckily, taking a few spare batteries along with you is fairly simple, as most fit in any front pants or backpack pocket. Metal detecting requires an additional tool: a shovel. Once your device scopes out something, a good portable shovel like the RHINO USA Folding Shovel will dig it out of the ground.
Best Metal Detectors for Beginners: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker
Why It Made The Cut: This easy to use metal detector is perfect for anyone new to the treasure hunting hobby.
— Dimensions: 28.25 inches L x 10 inches W x 6.25 inches H
— Weight: 4.2 pounds
— Batteries Required: Two 9V (volt)
— Coil Size: 8-inch
— Easy knob controls
— Great for coin hunting
— Requires adjusting for false positives
The Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker is a simple metal detector for beginners, but sometimes, simple is best.
The interface is fairly standard, especially if you’ve ever seen a metal detector before. It allows you to adjust the depth for what you’re looking for, so you can pinpoint just what you’re searching for, whether it's buried antiques or old coins. The eight-inch coil is even submersible in shallow water, so the Bounty Hunter is ready for all-terrain searching from the woods to the beach. After setting it up and toggling settings to minimize false positives, the Bounty Hunter TK4 is a solid starter metal detector that can last for years. It may account for why this metal detector for beginners ranks among the most popular models with serious treasure hunters.
Best for Gold: PANCKY Professional Higher Accuracy Gold Detector
Why It Made The Cut: A great battery life and a mode made to scope out jewelry make this metal detector a fantastic option.
— Dimensions: 14 inches L x 8 inches W x 5 inches H
— Weight: 2.75 pounds
— Batteries Required: Two 9V
— Coil Size: 10-inch
— Great LCD screen interface
— Runs up to 20 hours
— Works practically anywhere
— Challenging assembly
While you don’t need a gold detector to scope out the shiny stuff, the PANCKY Professional Higher Accuracy Gold Detector may just provide you with a gold-digging edge.
Firstly, the user interface in this metal detector for beginners is one of the easiest to read because of its bright LCD screen. Five different modes optimize not just how the detector works, but what it detects, including a mode just for jewelry such as bracelets, rings, and earrings. Like many other metal detectors in this price range, the device runs on batteries. Unlike other detectors, it can run for up to 20 hours on two new 9-volt batteries. Not too shabby. Its versatility allows it to be used practically anywhere, including backyards, beaches, and even by rivers. That is if you can manage to assemble it. Users reported a tricky assembling process, but once it’s up and running, the treasure-hunting potential is almost limitless.
Best for Kids: Bounty Hunter Junior T.I.D. Metal Detector for Kids
Why It Made The Cut: This kid-friendly option gamifies treasure hunting, and may just pull away the most staunch indoor kids outside.
— Dimensions: 20 inches L x 10 inches W x 5 inches H
— Weight: 1.5 pounds
— Batteries Required: 2 AA
— Coil Size: 6-inch
— Cute LCD screen
— Very user-friendly
— Adjustable length for all heights
— A few too many false alarms
If you’re new to metal detectors, you’d be surprised at just how many devices are made specifically with kids in mind. The Bounty Hunter Junior packs stellar features, considering it’s a kid-friendly version of our overall best pick, the Bounty Hunter TK4.
This device cleverly makes its interface as kid-friendly as possible. When the treasure is close, three different smiley faces will flash as little adventurers get closer and closer. It can even be programmed to search for specific metals if your kid is really into copper or aluminum for whatever reason. The Bounty Hunter Junior will even tell you what kind of treasure the device is detecting, so there’s no need to waste time digging for less-than-awesome treasure. Best of all, it’s got an adjustable height to suit kids of all ages and sizes. The way it turns treasure hunting into a game may even get adults hooked. Of course, if your kid gets discouraged easily, this may not be the best device, considering it’s notorious for false alarms. Still, it may get them outside, and that alone is worth the investment.
Best Waterproof: SUNPOW Foldable Metal Detector
Why It Made The Cut: Many metal detectors are waterproof in name only, but SUNPOW can get a little wet and still scope out treasure with the best of them.
— Dimensions: 17.32 inches L x 10.43 inches W x 6.3 inches H
— Weight: 0.2 pounds
— Batteries Required: One 9V
— Coil Size: 11 inches
— Very travel-friendly
— No assembly required
— Backlit LCD screen
— Not optimized for taller folks
Just because a metal detector for beginners claims to be waterproof, we wouldn’t suggest you go taking your devices out for a swim. The SUNPOW Foldable Metal Detector does provide a little more leeway when it comes to waterproof devices.
Its massive coil means you won’t have to worry about missing a spot, even over puddles or shallow bodies of water. Unlike other devices that have to be assembled, this one is collapsible so it fits in most backpacks or even under your arm when you have to lug it home. The LCD interface is big, but it’s also bright, so you can try treasure hunting at night, spooky as a prospect that may be. It’s one of the most powerful metal detectors out there, and under normal conditions, can detect treasure up to 10 inches underground. It’s practically perfect, but sadly, the experience isn’t universal. If you’re taller than the average bear, you may find yourself slouching to get this device close to the ground where it needs to be.
Best Budget: Kuman Pin Pointer Metal Detector
Why It Made The Cut: It’s small, it’s portable, and it’s a little more cumbersome to use, but it’s well within most treasure-hunting budgets.
— Dimensions: 9.1 inches L x 1.6 inches W x 1.71inches H
— Weight: 0.2 pounds
— Batteries Required: 1 9V
— Coil Size: N/A
— Easy to use
— Built-in LED flashlight
— Vibrates when it senses something
— Incredibly barebones experience
So you want to start a treasure hunt adventure but you’re not ready to make an investment. No worries: the Kuman Pin Pointer Metal Detector lets you get a taste of thrill for a very affordable price.
It doesn’t get too far underneath, and getting this device close to the ground may require you hunching over, or getting on your knees. But aside from that, the device is fairly good at detecting metals just like the more expensive devices in this roundup. You can adjust sensitivity settings on the fly, and feel a buzz or vibration every time it senses something. Considering how easy it is to use, it’s another great option for kids. A built-in LED light comes in handy when you want to truly pinpoint spots to dig, especially at night. That said, because it’s more annoying to use, using it for serious treasure hunting isn’t recommended. The price point truly can’t be undersold though.
How We Picked the Best Metal Detectors for Beginners
If you’ve seen a sitcom in the last 30 years, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a metal detector. Why? Because it’s impossible to not look a little goofy trying to use a weird divining device to find treasure at the beach, in the woods, or even in a backyard. Still, that doesn’t mean that using a metal detector can’t be a fun way to spend a few days, and after you’ve found your first piece of treasure, you may find yourself becoming addicted. Here are a few things we considered when picking out the best metal detectors for beginners.
Weight: It’s not fun carrying a heavy device, especially when it’s also large and cumbersome. Metal detectors should look heavier than they actually are, and holding them over the ground for hours should cause minimal strain.
Effectiveness: The earth beneath us runs fairly deep. And while we can’t expect any metal detector for beginners to be able to detect what’s happening on the other side of the globe, they should be able to detect metals below the surface, especially precious ones like silver and gold. The better machines will have modes to detect specific metals, which is always a bonus.
User-Friendliness: Do you need to have a geology degree to understand the readouts on your metal detector? That’s not exactly friendly for beginners, is it? When a metal detector senses treasure, there should be little in the way of second-guessing. This doesn’t mean interfaces have to be bogged down with tons of information, but they should at the very least be easy to understand.
Battery Life: Even basic metal detectors should be able to operate all day on just a couple of batteries. Replacing batteries in the wild isn’t impossible, but it is annoying. The longer a device can run on a single set of batteries, the better.
Q: Can metal detectors find diamonds?
No, metal detectors cannot and will not detect diamonds, pearls, or precious gems.
Q: Is it worth buying a metal detector?
Whether or not you want to buy a metal detector depends wholly on how often you are going to use it. Just be sure to keep your expectations realistic when you’re using it in the wild.
Q: How deep do most metal detectors go?
Most commercially available metal detectors are able to detect things anywhere from four to eight inches underground. Under ideal conditions, pricier models can detect as deep as 20 inches.
Q: Can a cheap metal detector find gold?
Yes, even cheap metal detectors can find gold, though some devices are better at scoping it out than others.
Q: What is the difference between a gold metal detector and a metal detector?
A gold metal detector is the same thing as a metal detector. Both are capable of finding different kinds of metals underground, precious or otherwise.
Q: What is the best brand of metal detector?
Final Thoughts on Metal Detectors for Beginners
You don’t need to drop top dollar on a fancy device if you caught the treasure-hunting bug. The best metal detectors for beginners are not just user-friendly, but fairly affordable. The Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker is our best overall pick because it’s reliable and user-friendly, but the SUNPOW Foldable Metal Detector comes a close second with its intuitive LCD control screen. For kids, the Bounty Hunter Junior T.I.D. Metal Detector for Kids turns treasure hunting into a game, and may just pull them off the couch and outdoors.