Beginner’s Guide to Metal Detectors

Metal Detector Review
IMG Source:

For beginners to the hobby in finding coins, relics, and lost jewelry, you need to consider several factors when buying a device. You certainly don’t want to jump into some product, just because you saw your friend use it on the beach.

Even if they may have succeeded in finding a golden necklace buried in the sand, while you only found a dime, you should also think that they may have specialized type of metal detector, not just an entry level device. Another thing, experienced hobbyists in the activity may already have a good collection of detectors, not just one; while at the same time they have developed the skills and ability to tell which targets are highly valuable.

You may want to work your skill in the game and start with the basics. You will actually experience some failures at the start, such as you will find more trash objects, than true jewels. It is quite normal that you mistake a ring to a worthless rounded wire.

However, keep in mind that as you use the metal detector more, you would be able to tell through the emitted signals and readings on the LCD screen which targets you should dig while moving away from false signals and garbage metals.

metal detecting
IMG Source:

You should also realize that expert detector users can sometimes be committed to a certain search and category. For instance, some would commit to going hunting underwater, while others prefer to just search for the coastlines. You may also encounter other people who use their metal detector in parking spaces, open parks, and playground. As mentioned, as you get used to the metal detector, you will sometimes be inclined into a certain type of area.

There are times you will then meet a metal detector user who only use one particular brand, while another would be using a home made detector. Sometimes they will be unfamiliar with new models, with advanced features. Some beginners would sometimes ask if that’s okay, well the truth is they may have been long time hunters, so they may have developed the skill in distinguishing the objects.

Here are some of the common questions for beginners before they get their first metal detectors:

How often would you use the device?

metaldetecting hobby
IMG Source:

If you’re planning to learn about metal detection in your spare time, more so as a hobby, then you may want to get the entry level metal detectors. You certainly don’t need fully featured devices just yet. It shouldn’t be an issue on what brand you should get. More so, it’s perfectly fine if you get an affordable metal detector to get you started.

Where would you often search?

You should take into consideration on where would you often go in your treasure hunting. Some of the typical places people use their detectors are the beach, lake, coastlines, parks, field, parking lots, backyard, and lawn. Remember that not all metal devices can work in all places. Some detectors don’t work on sandy areas, near water, solid pavements, etc.

What features would you want in the device?

Companies often develop their products with advanced features to help the user. Some of the common features in devices are the LCD screen, discrimination settings, metal indicator, audible tones, sensitivity controls, depth indicator, etc. It may take familiarity to learn the features, so keep that in mind. Some of the parts that make up a metal detector are the shaft, control box, search coil and stabilizer.

What type of metals would you search?

metal detector treasure
IMG Source:

Most beginners start in their hobby by searching all types of metals that they can find. At the start, you may find a wide variety of stuff such as old coins, rings, pendants, pieces of bracelets, etc. Also, more often you will pick up trash metals such as nails, bottle caps, chains, bolts, among many others. Don’t be discourage if you don’t find a gold nugget. You will actually gain experience and skill in metal detection by starting out on a variety of metals.

How do you use a metal detector?

IMG Source:
IMG Source:

You hold the device, quite similar as to how you hold a vacuum cleaner or floor polisher; but you do not lay down the coil. When you make your search, you will have to move the coil in a sweeping motion, moving it slowly, slightly above the ground. You walk slowly until you get a reading and an electronic tone signal. This indicates that you’re hovering on some type of metallic element, just under the area swept by the device coil.

How do you searching for coins, jewels, and relics?

In the first days of use, you may have found some worthless stuff and objects. However, don’t be discouraged, since it takes a while before you get your hand on some great targets. As you learn to use a detector, you should be able to determine which are good stuff or just garbage. The devices usually have functions and modes to help you filter your targets. A significant feature you should take the time to learn is the metal discrimination function. This can quickly separate items as well as measure target properties, such as conductive and ferrous properties. In time, you should be able to dig some golden ring and you can thank the metal detector for that find.

How about gold prospecting?

Most beginners get excited by prospecting gold. However, keep on mind that gold field is typically located in areas with higher mineral levels. These ground with minerals actually refers to the magnetic properties of the soil. The minerals on the ground don’t necessarily produce the magnetic fields, but it only means that the soil grains and particles can be attracted to magnets. By using metal detectors, it picks up signals from the mineralized ground as a target, which makes it difficult for you to detect the buried items in the mineralised ground. You can solve this problem by using specific a gold prospecting metal detector with superior ground balancing system that counters the ground mineralization.

How much is your budget?

Some people are discouraged to get metal detectors because they think that products are expensive. However, the good news is that prices of metal hunting devices have gone down, partly because of the increased competition from manufacturers. The price range of basic metal detectors can range from $50 to $300. Top of the line products, which are used by professionals, can be priced from $300 to $900. Whatever your budget, you can consider the company who made the device, included accessories, and of course the main features.


A final tip, you can use dual purpose metal detectors with both grounds balancing abilities. This compensates for the ground mineralization while the discrimination abilities separate the metal trash from jewels, coins, and treasures.

We hope that resource helps you in a way to start finding lost coins, jewelry, or other types of metals. This activity is rewarding since it makes you explore your environment as well learn something about the metals.