The Best Metal Detector Options for Finding Treasure - Bob Vila

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A metal detector is a device designed to find metal buried in dust, sand, grass or even water. The working principle of the metal detector is to generate a magnetic field around the electric search coil, which spreads to an average depth of about 10 inches. If the conductive material is within the range of the detector, the electromagnetic characteristics of the material will disrupt the magnetic field. The visual and audible alarms of the detector let you know that something has been found.

For individuals or families with children, metal detection is a great hobby-some dedicated and skilled practitioners even consider it as a profession. The most suitable metal detector for you will depend on how and where you want to use it, and whether you want a simple, straightforward model or one with many fancy.

Based on customer satisfaction, product efficacy and overall value, the following products were selected as the best metal detectors in their respective categories.

Metal detectors are classified according to how they are used and what they detect. There are three main types of metal detectors: very low frequency (VLF) detectors, pulse induction (PI) detectors and special detectors.

Very low frequency (VLF) detectors are the most common and economical type of metal detectors. The VLF detector has two coils: a transmitter coil that generates a magnetic field and a detector coil that detects any interference in the magnetic field generated by conductive materials.

The VLF detector is not only inexpensive and easy to find, but also lightweight and durable, making it an excellent choice for beginners and children. This metal detector is usually used to find coins, jewelry, artifacts and other metal deposits. Although there are waterproof and waterproof VLF detectors on the market, impulse induction (PI) detectors are more suitable for underwater metal detection.

Compared with the two-coil design of the VLF detector, the impulse induction (PI) metal detector has only one coil. This coil propagates a magnetic field and detects conductive materials. The single-coil design of the PI detector is less affected by ground mineralization than the VLF detector, which is why it is best to use the PI detector when searching on beaches, rivers or underwater (if there is a waterproof detector). PI detectors are not the best metal detectors to use in cities because they cannot distinguish between iron trash (such as nails) and treasures (such as coins or gold coins). Another disadvantage of PI detectors is that they are more expensive than VLF metal detectors. Novice metal enthusiasts may not want to make such a large investment.

Special metal detectors such as multi-frequency detectors, gold detectors and waterproof detectors can be VLF or PI detectors, but they also have functions that enable them to perform special tasks.

Before choosing a metal detector, please take a few minutes to think about how to use it to discover hidden treasures and the features that can help you complete this task.

Before deciding on the right product, consider where the metal detector will be used and the type of target you are looking for. If you live near the ocean, lake or river, and want to use a metal detector to explore the seashore, it is wise to invest in a waterproof membrane or even a product that is fully submersible.

If you are going to the desert to find gold, then waterproofing is not a problem. Instead, buy a metal detector with a gold-specific detection range. For history enthusiasts seeking civil war or other historical relics, VLF detectors are usually a viable option because they can distinguish between screws and coins. However, some relic hunters choose PI detectors because they will detect most metal objects in an area, allowing them to sort all the metal bounties they find.

The difference in metal detectors lies in their ability to distinguish between material types. For example, a detector with good discrimination will be able to distinguish the difference between a coin and a bottle cap.

Using a detector with excellent discrimination can save a lot of time, because you don't have to stop to dig the target, but just find its garbage. Instead, the detector will only sound an alarm when it finds an object that meets the selected criteria. For some relic hunters, it may not be necessary to distinguish between metal detectors. They prefer to find everything and sort them by themselves, rather than let a piece of equipment decide what is garbage and what is treasure.

The soil contains trace amounts of metals and metal alloys. No matter where the metal detector is used, these traces will interfere with the metal detector's ability to locate coins, jewelry and other metal objects. However, metal detectors with a function called ground balance can ignore these metals, thereby effectively reducing false readings. There are four main types of ground balance:

Having a metal detector with target recognition function will further improve the discrimination. This metal detector will not alert you when there is something worth digging, but will actually indicate what the object is within an acceptable range. Metal detectors with target recognition function can usually distinguish jewelry, garbage, gold, and even coins of different denominations.

When a metal detector with a target logo finds an object, the machine will emit an audible sound or display a visual notification. For valuable items, the audible sound is usually higher, while for garbage it is lower. The visual notification will display an icon of the assumed object type. Most detectors have 5 or 6 indicator symbols for typical discovery, such as coins.

The working frequency of the metal detector is the number of times the detector sends and receives signals per second. Low-frequency metal detectors can scan deeper into the ground, which is why they are very suitable for finding large buried objects. Generally, most metal detectors have a low to mid frequency range.

If you are looking for gold or small objects, you may need equipment that runs more frequently. Although the penetration depth of these high-frequency metal detectors is less than that of low-frequency detectors, the high-frequency frequencies emitted enable these detectors to identify small objects that avoid low-frequency detectors.

The sensitivity of a metal detector refers to its ability to detect conductive materials from a specific distance. Most metal detectors are marked with a recommended sensitivity level suitable for most applications. In some cases, the user may have to reduce the sensitivity level of the device to make it work effectively. For example, if the mineral content in the search area is high or close to power lines, the level may need to be adjusted.

On the other hand, if you find that the device does not respond correctly to the presence of conductive materials, you may have to increase the sensitivity level. Please note that if you set the detector sensitivity too high for the application, you may receive a lot of distortion and static electricity instead of a clear indicator sound. Decreasing the sensitivity should solve this problem.

The depth at which a metal detector can search for conductive materials is called its search depth. Typical search depths vary widely between different products: they range from about 2 inches to 15 inches. Low-frequency detectors have a better maximum depth rating than high-frequency detectors.

Remember, the search depth depends not only on the metal detector you use. Your location, the type of ground used, and interference above or below the ground can reduce or improve the search depth of the metal detector.

The weight of metal detectors is a factor that is often overlooked but should not be overlooked. You will drag the metal detector for a long time. Choose the one that you don’t have to struggle with, so you can focus on reading and discovering.

If you are buying a metal detector that you want to share with others, please carefully consider who you want to share with. Children will need a metal detector that is not too heavy, preferably one that can be adjusted to a suitable height. Sharing a metal detector with another adult of a different size or strength will also affect the detector you choose. Those with back or shoulder injuries should avoid using bulky detectors to avoid exacerbating existing health problems.

These high-quality equipment can help you find metal treasures in woods, beaches and other places. With these shopping considerations in mind, choose the best metal detector for your next outing.

With this VLF metal detector, you can go straight down to the beach or river and get a little wet because it is water-resistant to 4.5 feet. The SUNPOW Professional metal detector weighs 5 pounds and has an adjustable stem. Although a bit heavy, being able to adjust it to the correct length is a plus. SUNPOW comes with a bag and a metal shovel, which will help you dig out your own treasure.

The maximum search depth of the metal detector is 8.7 inches, and it has three working modes, including all-metal, notch and discrimination modes. The all-metal mode will detect all metals in the area, including iron, aluminum, gold, bronze, and silver, without any filtering. The notch mode allows users to ignore unwanted metals, so you can focus on the desired goal. The discrimination mode allows you to select the type of metal object you want the detector to detect and ignore all other metals. The metal detector also has a manual ground balance adjustment function, so you can determine what is included in the search and what is not.

If you are not familiar with metal detection, but don't want to spend a lot of money, TACKLIFE metal detector is a good choice. It has a light wallet but heavy functions. The VLF metal detector has three audio tones and three visual icons to alert you when an item is found. These icons let users know the basic categories found: ferrous metals, precious non-ferrous metals, copper and silver coins.

This metal detector can be immersed in 4.5 feet of water, has an ergonomic design, adjustable length, and has a recognition mode that eliminates target categories. The Tacklife 2 pound detector can be easily stored in the tote bag that comes with it.

Novice users of metal detection have no reason to spend a lot of money on the device for their new hobby. The Bounty Hunter TL4 Tracker IV metal detector is an excellent entry-level metal detector that will not drain your wallet. This VLF metal detector has a pre-set ground balance and comes with a large tote bag that is easy to carry.

The Bounty Hunter TK4 weighs 4.2 pounds. It is not heavy, but you may start to feel heavy after carrying it for a few hours. Its maximum search depth is 6 inches, and the dial allows you to select the target metal and adjust the sensitivity of the signal. In the all-metal mode, you can detect all conductive metals in a given area. However, this product does not have precise functions, so it may be difficult to narrow down the exact location of the metal you find.

The RM RICOMAX professional metal detector has a discriminative mode, and cultural relic hunters will especially appreciate its all-metal and precise mode. When looking for ambiguous artifacts that may be bypassed by the automatic identification system, it is best not to let the metal detector determine what is valuable and what is not.

The RM RICOMAX detector can be fully immersed to a depth of 4.5 feet, weighs only 2.3 pounds, and has an ergonomic forearm grip that can reduce fatigue during long-term use. This VLF metal detector has a maximum search depth of 6 inches, and has a large LCD display and visual indicators for target recognition, recognition mode and sensitivity adjustment. The device requires two 9-volt batteries (not included).

When swimming with you, long-handled metal detectors may be difficult to manipulate. Metal hunters searching for shallow waters in rivers, lakes and oceans should consider the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT metal detector, which is only 9 inches long and weighs 6.9 ounces. The model can withstand submersion in 10 feet of water, and if you lose it in the dark depths, the bright orange shell is easy to spot.

Another great feature of Garrett Pro-Pointer is that it has a locator alarm, which will make a sound if it is lost. If the user does not press the button on the detector within 5 minutes, the sound will automatically activate after 5 minutes. With this VLF metal detector, you can scan to a depth of 3 inches using one of three different sensitivity settings. Its precise tip, scraper and LED light will help you find objects buried in soft sand and turbid waters.

Pick up your child's first metal detector to help them participate in something you like, or start a new activity together. The Bounty Hunter Junior TID Metal Detector has an attractive appearance and is specially designed for children, but its function is similar to an adult product. This VLF metal detector weighs only 1.5 pounds, is light in weight, and has an adjustable handle, which is convenient for children to carry and use.

This metal detector has a maximum search depth of 6 inches and has adjustable identification controls that allow users to exclude specific materials from the search. One of its coolest features is that it has three audio tones and three visual indicators that will notify you when an object is detected, and can even show you in general terms what the object is. The Bounty Hunter Junior’s target depth indicator will also let the children know how deep they need to dig for the treasure. However, when using this model, please keep it in a dry place. It is not waterproof and may be damaged by water in shallow water and light rain.

The Fisher Gold Bug Pro metal detector has many useful features to detect and identify gold. The VLF metal detector uses a continuous ground condition sensor system that provides updated readings whenever the metal detector moves to a new location. When you are interpreting the readings on the display, the metal detector will automatically adjust the ground balance system to optimize the next wave of wands to your new position.

This metal detector also has a high maximum operating frequency, is most suitable for detecting gold and very small materials, and weighs only 2.5 pounds, which is easy to carry for a long time. It has the bells and whistles of enthusiasts, including recognition mode, all-metal mode and precise mode with depth indicator. Fisher Gold Bug Pro has a maximum search depth of 6 inches. When a metal object is detected, it will alert the user with a tone and visual ID system. Although this metal detector is designed to discover gold, it can also be used to discover other materials.

Before purchasing a new metal detector, please review the following frequently asked questions and their answers.

A high-quality metal detector should have functions that can help users get the most accurate readings. These features include ground balance settings to focus the detector on specific materials, and high-quality sensitivity control. Look for models with fast response times so that you can pinpoint or pick up multiple objects in one scan.

Most metal detectors can detect materials between 2 inches and 15 inches in depth.

Most metal detectors should be able to detect various types of metals, although the type of detector will affect the signal emitted by metals with weaker conductivity (such as aluminum, iron, zinc, lead, heavily corroded or coated metal objects) strength. This kind of metal has less electromagnetic characteristics for the absorption of the detector's magnetic field.

If the metal detector is within the depth range specified by the device and the gold nugget is large enough, all metal detectors can find the detector. The gold metal detector is a special device specially designed to find gold.

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