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Best Metal Detectors for Beginners

Updated on November 10, 2013

If you have always fancied your hand at metal detecting, you may be interested in knowing what are considered the be the best metal detectors for beginners.

If you've never tried a spot of treasure hunting, you may not be aware that there is a bewildering array of metal detectors on the market.

With prices ranging from just $25 to well over $1,000, you want to make sure you buy the detector most suited to your needs.

To know what suits you best, you have to be aware of the capabilities of modern metal detectors, of which even the cheapest comes with huge advancements over earlier models.

Basically, the more expensive the machine, the greater its abilities to not only discriminate between metals, but to accurately predict the depth of the object, and on the higher scale models, the shape of the object too.

This is a wonderful help and will save the serious metal detectorist hours of back-breaking digging. Something shaped like a pull tab probably is a pull tab, and a squashed metal can could never pass for a gold ring.

This cutting-edge technology wrapped up in a lightweight, easy to manoeuvre package comes at a price most of us cannot afford, or at least until we have learned whether or not treasure hunting is a hobby we would stick at.

Serious hobbyists have become semi-professional through using top-of-the-range metal detectors, frequently earning more from their 'finds' than most of us could dream of.

We all have to start somewhere, and for most of us, a higher end machine would be too complicated to understand, without having the benefit of experience in the field of metal detecting.

The best metal detectors for beginners are those from trusted brand names with at least some of the extras offered by high end machines.

A cheap detector is cheap in more ways than one if we can't detect underground or beach treasures simply and easily.

All experienced detectorists advise against buying the really cheap models, as they are likely to miss more treasures than they find, which would quickly lead to apathy and disinterest in what is an exciting hobby.

Cheap metal detectors are probably best suited to children as toys, unless someone knows of a really good one that consistently outperforms the mid-range models.

Garret Ace 150
Garret Ace 150

Garret Ace 150

Many experienced metal detectorists rave about the Garret Ace 150 as being an excellent starter model.

I haven't personally used it, but there seems to be very little difference between it and the White's Coinmaster Pro which I bought instead, because I liked the color better.

It features:

  • an adjustable arm
  • depth indicator
  • metal discrimination
  • smart notch button
  • pinpointer
  • headphone jack
  • adjustable sensor
  • is lightweight

The Garret Ace 150 is a super metal detector for both beginners and experienced users alike.

White's Coinmaster Pro
White's Coinmaster Pro | Source

White's Coinmaster Pro

I absolutely love this metal detector. It keeps on finding coins no matter where I look! I've also found a silver spoon, a silver thimble, and several Matchbox miniature cars.

It features:

  • an adjustable arm so that you can easily set it to suit your height
  • a depth indicator
  • metal discrimination
  • smart notch button
  • pinpointer
  • headphone jack
  • low battery warning
  • adjustable sensor
  • automatic ground balanciing

It is also an extremely handsome machine in a dark maroon colour. Not to mention that it too, is lightweight, and so is not a strain on the arms to use.

The only downside I can say to the Coinmaster Pro is that it seems to lose sensitivity very quickly when the batteries start to get low.

Garret Ace 250
Garret Ace 250 | Source

Garret Ace 250

This could be the only metal detector you ever need to buy.

The Garrett Ace 250 is one of the world's most popular metal detectors, and for the very good reason that it is a great all-rounder when it comes to finding targets.

It is so good, it will pay for itself in no time at all, as you find all sorts of lost jewelry and coins dropped by other people over the years.

It has:

  • adjustable sensitivity
  • built-in pinpointer
  • headphone and jack
  • low battery indicator
  • notch discrimination
  • adjustable arm to suit all heights
  • is lightweight
  • full discrimination
  • depth readings
  • Graphic Target ID
  • 5 hunting modes

Uses 4 AA batteries in a waterproof housing, and these will last longer if you switch off while digging. The Garrett Ace 250 is great on the beach, or in the park, or even out on the field. It is a superb all-rounder metal detector that won't let you down.

Garrett AT Pro
Garrett AT Pro | Source

Garrett AT Pro

This might seem a high price to pay for a starter model, but the Garrett AT Pro is everything you would need in a metal detector.

The most important thing is to read the instruction manual that comes with it, and learn how to use it properly.

It is very, very good at discriminating and pinpointing targets, so that you don't spend ages digging up bottle tops at 12" deep.

With this machine you can choose to discard undesirable metals, so most of the time you will dig up something worthwhile.

This is a big plus over many of the cheaper models.

  • It's waterproof and can be used in fresh or salt water.
  • The batteries last and last, plus there is a low level indicator warning.
  • Has a large coil that allows you to find things deeper down.
  • Ground balancing is offered in both automatic and adjustable modes.
  • Graphic Target Analyzer tells you conductivity of the metal.
  • Weatherproof housing - submersible to 10 feet.
  • 40 level discrimination with audio tones
  • Coin depth indicator.
  • All terrain versatility.
  • Great for finding small objects like gold nuggets or even shotgun pellets.

User reviews of the Garrett AT Pro

Early video of the Garrett AT Pro


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    • Christmas Shopper profile image

      Christmas Shopper 4 years ago from the Milky Way

      They are reasonably priced for what you get, and as you say what you can find can be beyond your wildest dreams.

      A man called David Booth used a Garrett Ace 250 and found £1M worth of gold on his first day out -

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      These metal detectors are reasonably priced considering the fact that if you happen to discover a single old coin it could be worth thousands of dollars. Terrific gift idea and I wouldn't have thought of it!

    • Christmas Shopper profile image

      Christmas Shopper 5 years ago from the Milky Way

      Why not start now? lol you could make a fortune! I wish I had taken it up when I was younger - it's so much fun! The younger and fitter you are, the easier it is to dig up finds.

    • krillco profile image

      William E Krill Jr 5 years ago from Hollidaysburg, PA

      Thanks, great review. I want to do this when I retire!