How to Compare the Differences in Metal Detectors

Written by chris miksen
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How to Compare the Differences in Metal Detectors
Choosing the right metal detector to fit your needs will save you money. (detector de metales image by Marco Antonio Fdez. from

Metal detectors provide both hobbyists and the serious detector with enjoyment and the chance to find interesting metals. All metal detectors are different and made with different uses in mind. You probably won't want an all-equipped detector if you're only a hobbyist looking to use the metal detector only once in a while. Conversely, serious metal detectors will want a detector that can do it all. Comparing and choosing the right metal detector to fit your needs will save you both time and money.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Compare the prices. As with most things, and especially with metal detectors, a higher price usually means higher quality and more gadgets, options and better overall function. A higher priced metal detector may not suit your needs if all you wish to do is find coins in your backyard, as a low priced one will do that just fine.

  2. 2

    Consider if you need a waterproof metal detector or not. Waterproof metal detectors are an obvious necessity if you are planning to use your metal detector in water. There are two types of waterproof metal detectors: VLF and a PI. A VLF will discriminate against nails, bottle caps, and other assorted junk, whereas a PI will detect metal deeper in the ground, but it does not discriminate as well.

  3. 3

    Consider the differences of a gold finding metal detector and a metal detector that simply detects all kinds of metals. Gold specific metal detectors use precise discrimination, which means they will not pick up metals such as iron, silver, copper or anything except gold. Normal metal detectors on even the highest discrimination setting will pick up copper, silver and other metals.

  4. 4

    Compare how far underground each metal detector will detect. If you're planning to search for metals deep underground, then a metal detector that can only penetrate five inches underground isn't going to cut it.

  5. 5

    Compare the gadgets. Some metal detectors offer an LED screen that outlines the shape of what is being detected, how far underground it is, and in some cases if it's a quarter, dime, nail, etc. Other metal detectors offer different settings of discrimination, which allows the metal detector to ignore junk like nails.

  6. 6

    Consider the option of headphones. Metal detectors give off different sounds, depending on the type of metal detected. Metal detectors that offer the use of headphones allow you to better hear the sounds and whether or not the detected metal is worth digging for.

  7. 7

    Consider each metal detector's comfort. A heavy metal detector will become bothersome to lug around if you plan on using it for hours at a time. Ensure that the metal detector has an arm and wrist comfort pad as well, as they ease the stress for both your arm and wrist when carrying around the metal detector.

Tips and warnings

  • Even the cheapest metal detector will work for finding coins buried just beneath the dirt.

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