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A Metal Detector Pinpointer is a Critical Piece of Metal Detecting Gear

Updated on August 21, 2015

The Benefits of Using a Metal Detector Pinpointer

It is no secret that I have become an avid metal detectorist recently. I have purchased all of the gear that allows me to enjoy this hobby to its fullest, and have been unearthing some great finds. My start into this hobby did not go too well though, and I struggled at first to locate the objects that my metal detector had indicated were beneath the ground. I quickly learned that I was missing one piece of critical gear - a metal detector pinpointer.

Locating a buried coin or other relic can be very difficult, even though you have already dug it out of the hole. It can be sitting inside of a dirt clod not much larger than the coin itself, and without a pinpointer you can spend a lot of time breaking apart pieces of dirt to locate the object.

Most pinpointers will vibrate and emit a tone when its tip comes within an inch or so of the metal object. So after you have removed a plug of sod or dirt from the ground, you can use the pinpointer to home in on the actual location of the metal object. When you probe the dirt or around the inside of the hole you have dug, if the pinpointer goes off you know that you are within an inch of the object.

These pinpointers for metal detecting offer several benefits:

  • They speed the recovery of buried objects, allowing you to locate items faster and spend more time searching for other buried 'treasures'.
  • They help to eliminate frustration. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a good signal and spending many minutes sifting through the dirt while attempting to locate the actual object.
  • They can allow you to make less of a mess while digging. You can pop a plug out of the soil, and pinpoint the object, keeping you from doing more digging while searching.
  • They can keep you from digging a deep hole, when all you need is a shallow one. When you get a good signal from your metal detector, you can run the pinpointer over the top of the sod or ground. If it sounds off, then you know that the object is within an inch or so under the surface.
So let's take a look at some of the recommended pinpointers for metal detecting, and I'll give you some tips and tricks to help you utilize your pinpointer to the fullest.

(Image Credit to InterRev - This is a personal photo of the Bounty Hunter pinpointer that I own.)

Pinpointer Metal Detector Recommendations


This Bounty Hunter pinpointer is the model that I purchased and currently use. What did I purchase this model? To be honest, I purchased it because of the low cost. I ultimately want to buy the Garrett Pro-Pointer, but after spending $600.00 on my new metal detector, I couldn't justify the cost of the Pro-Pointer ... yet.

I have been very pleased with this Bounty Hunter pinpointer though. It will detect a coin-sized object in the soil at a distance of approximately 1 inch. I like that this pinpointer also vibrates when it detects metal in addition to emitting a tone. So I don't have to remove my headphones when using it.

This model has a sensitivity knob, which is the same knob you use to power the device on. To make this as sensitive as possible, you simply turn the knob just to the point that the vibration stops and the tone silences. You can then probe the soil, the bottom of the hole, or the edges of the hole to locate the buried item. If it buzzes and vibrates, you know that the buried object is a mere inch away from the end of the probe. For the money, I would definitely recommend this for newbies.

GARRETT Pro-Pointer Metal De
GARRETT Pro-Pointer Metal De

The Garrett Pro-Pointer is definitely the cream of the crop when it comes to pinpointers for metal detecting. It seems like all of the pros and many people who are serious about metal detecting utilize a Garrett pinpointer.

So what makes the Pro-Pointer so good? Well for starters, it has an average customer review of 4.8 out of 5 star. That is a strong rating, and if you believe in the power of social proof, then the Garrett is worth looking at.

The Pro-Pointer has an attached blade on the housing that allows you to scrape through the soil as you search for the object. It has both an audible and vibrating alarm that increase in intensity based on the item's proximity. It allows you to pinpoint your objects more quickly, and dig smaller holes.

The Pro-Pointer also had an LED light that assists in item recovery in low-light conditions or from within a deep, dark hole.

It is water resistant, but not water proof. So you can easily clean it after use by passing it under running water.

You get a woven belt holster with this model, so you can keep it on your hip in ready position at all times.

PEYIZ Ultrasonic Pest Repellent 6 Packs - Indoor Plug, Electronic and Ultrasound - Insects, Mosquitoes, Mice, Spiders, Ants, Rats, Roaches, Bugs Control - Eco Friendly Product, Safe for Human
PEYIZ Ultrasonic Pest Repellent 6 Packs - Indoor Plug, Electronic and Ultrasound - Insects, Mosquitoes, Mice, Spiders, Ants, Rats, Roaches, Bugs Control - Eco Friendly Product, Safe for Human

The Vibra-Probe 580 costs about the same as the Garrett Pro-Pointer, but gives you the added benefit of being a waterproof pinpointer. So if you do a lot of metal detecting in creeks, lake shores, rivers, or other bodies of water, then you will want to give it a closer look. It is waterproof up to a depth of 100 feet.

I like the instant on feature of the Vibra-Probe 580. All you have to do is remove it from its sheath and tilt it upward to turn it on. So there is no fumbling for on/off switches. It will automatically turn itself off one minute after its last detection.

Whites Bullseye II Pinpointer Metal Detector
Whites Bullseye II Pinpointer Metal Detector

The Whites Bullseye II pinpointer is made by Whites Electronics, the maker of popular models of metal detectors.

This pinpointer will either beep or vibrate depending upon which mode you choose. It has a powerful LED light built in, which will allow you to light up your targets in low light conditions. Powered by a single 9-Volt battery, you can get up to 20 hours of operation on a single battery.

The Bullseye II is completely automatic and requires no tuning. You can zero in on the exact spot where your target is located, speeding item recovery.

The Whites Bullseye II costs more than the Bounty Hunter, but is less than both the Garrett and Vibra-Probe.

Wizard Vib Probe II Pinpointing Metal Detector
Wizard Vib Probe II Pinpointing Metal Detector

The Wizard Vib Probe II is definitely the most unique looking of all of the pinpointers available. It almost reminds me of a toy pistol, but don't get me wrong, the Wizard is no toy. With a 4.8 out of 5 star rating, this pinpointer is leaving its owners very satisfied.

The Vib Probe II enable precise pinpoint detection in a design that is ergonomically friendly. This pinpointer has an extra load beep that can easily be heard while wearing headphones.

One of the most attractive things about the Wizard is its price. You can usually find it for around $50.00, this can be a great choice for a beginner or novice.


Which Pinpointer Do You Think is Best?

Pinpointers are great devices, but there are a number of choices available.

Which one would you choose and why?

If you were in the market for a pinpointer, which model would you choose?

See results

Tips For Using a Metal Detector Pinpointer

How to get the most out of it.

(Image Credit to InterRev - Personal Photo)

Like I said before, I honestly don't know how I lived without my pinpointer. I spent way too much time sifting through dirt, when I could have could have easily located the item quickly. Many times, I even gave up on targets that I had dug, because I spent too much time searching only to find nothing.

Here are a few helpful tips that will allow you to get the most out of your pinpointer.

  • If you detect an object with your metal detector, and it indicates that it is shallow, scan the sod or top of the soil with your pinpointer to see if the item is sitting just below the surface. The pinpointer will typically detect objects up to an inch or so away. Doing this can allow you to avoid digging a big hole, when you may need to dig just under the surface.
  • When you pop the plug of sod or soil from the hole, check it with your detector to see if the object is in the plug. If so, start scanning the bottom of the plug with the pinpointer, and then start scanning the edged. If you get no signal, then start removing layers of dirt from the plug with your hand digger and continue scanning with your pinpointer until you locate the object.
  • You can also take the plug in your hands and bend it. This will create crevices in the plug, which you can run your pinpointer through. This is often a quick way to locate an object that is deep within a plug.
  • If the target is not in the plug, then use your pinpointer to scan the bottom of the hole. Then make sure you scan all around the inside edges. This should help you determine if the object is in the wall of the hole or still in the bottom.
  • If you are unable to get a signal from your pinpointer, then dig a little deeper. You can also take layers of dirt off of the interior walls. Place the dirt you removed on a towel outside of the hole. Scan the dirt you removed with your pinpointer, and continue to scan the bottom of the hole and the interior walls.
  • When you have located the object, continue scanning the hole with your metal detector to see there are any additional signals. There may be a pocket-spill of coins in that hole.
  • As you probe around with your pinpointer, make sure that you don't attempt to force it into the ground. Most pinpointers are durable, but they are not designed to be 'digging tools'. Take care of your pinpointer and use it wisely, and it will take care of you.

My Most Recent Metal Detecting Find

My Most Recent Metal Detecting Find
My Most Recent Metal Detecting Find

Video Showing a Garrett Pro-Pointer in Use - See how quickly and easily a pinpointer can help you locate your finds.

Here is a great video that you need to watch if you are considering purchasing any brand or model of pinpointer for metal detecting. You can see in this video exactly how a pinpointer is used to speed the recovery of your objects.

This video specifically shows the Garrett Pro-Pointer model in use, and talks about the features and benefits of this model. I can tell you that the Pro-Pointer typically runs around $125.00, which may seem a bit expensive. They are the best of breed though, and if you are looking for a top of the line pinpointer, then you should be looking at the Garrett. If you are looking for a more economical pinpointer, then take a look at the Bounty Hunter pinpointer, which usually runs less than $40.00.

No matter which pinpointer you choose, it is definitely a crucial piece of gear that any metal detectorist should have on them. I honestly don't know how I ever lived without one.

Pinpointer Duel

Do you agree that a pinpointer is a vital piece of gear for a metal detectorist?

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Thanks for stopping by. I welcome any questions or comments that you may have.

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      5 years ago

      I just ordered a Garrett Pro-Pointer from Amazon. I figured I got the digger with my AT Pro kit I ordered on your recommendations and review, would put at least $40-50 on another so I splurged. I will wait for a while on the nicer digging tool and have to sacrifice my knees......


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