Sunday, October 30, 2011

Metal Detectors: How do I buy one?

The right way to arm yourself with the right metal detector is to know exactly what your goals are, what your abilities are, and what opportunities are available to you in the area in which you reside. Different detectors are good at different things and so knowing a little about what you will be using it for is important.

Here are some tips for buying a metal detector.


1) Talk to detector owners and dealers about metal detectors and try to average what they say.
2) Ignore unsubstantiated advertising claims that are simply "sell statements" and do not increase your knowledge of detectors.
3) First check out a machine built by a progressive company that has a continuing program of detector improvement.
4) After you narrowed your search to a few models, visit a local dealer and try them out to determine which is the most comfortable for you.
5) If possible, rent a detector and try it in real metal detecting conditions.
6) Be aware of the price changes during the year. The best time for purchasing a metal detector is from Christmas to the end of January.


1) Shop around by obtaining prices from different dealers, checking out listings in Classifieds, local Metal Detecting Clubs and on Internet.
2) Check for special deals on packages that include essential accessories (headphones, extra battery packs, detector bags, digging tools, etc.)
3) Check with major distributors and dealers for availability of demo detectors, usually they are sold for lower price.
4) Be careful when buying a detector on eBay.


When comparing metal detectors, consider factors such as size and weight, features, depth penetration and display quality to help you make your selection.

Visit a store and pick up different metal detectors to find one that's a good fit. Consider the weight, height and balance of each unit. Choose a small and more compact unit if portability is a primary concern, or if younger family members will be operating the device.

Ask about the different features offered for each model. Do you want to be able to search for specific types of metal while ignoring others? Would you prefer that the detector emit a different tone for each material found, or a single tone for all metal? These types of features are known as "Target ID" features, and can vary from model to model.

Compare water-tight to unsealed metal detectors. The average metal detector is designed for dry land, and will malfunction if used on the beach or for underwater searching. If you want to take your detector in the water, choose one with sealed coils and water-tight controls.

Inquire about the depth penetration levels of each unit. The most basic metal detectors can seek out objects just a few feet below the surface, while "deep-seeking" units can spot metal buried many feet underground. Think about where you will use the detector and what items you hope to find, then ask the dealer to help you choose the right depth level.

Choose the best technology based on your searching criteria. Are you going to be beach combing or underwater searching; looking for coins, relics and meteorites; or are you going to be looking for gold. Different detectors are better for different applications.
A metal detector intended for underwater use by scuba divers, for example, will have different capabilities from one used to find old coins on land. If you plan to hunt primarily for one type of material, you might consider a specialty detector.

Check what type of accessories are included. You will often need headphones to use a metal detector successfully, and these may or may not be included with the unit. Ask about extra battery packs, carrying cases, digging tools and other accessories to help you compare different models. Sometimes these accessories will be included in a package that comes with the detector.

Examine the display screen and controls for each detector. Look for back-lit screens for viewing in all types of lighting. Hold the detector as you would during regular use and make sure the screen is easy to read from this angle. Make sure the display provides all information you plan to use, including object type, size and depth.

Consider the ground condition where you will be hunting. If you plan to encounter a variety of ground conditions in your hunts, an all-purpose detector might be a good choice, but this detector will probably not perform so well in extreme conditions.

Know exactly what you are rating when you rate detectors by price. The most expensive units are not necessarily superior in performance to less expensive units. They may cost more simply because of a special function that might not really improve their ability to detect. Identify your needs before you spring for a fancy model.

Know your skill level. Detectors for beginners are often suitable for use in different environments and conditions, which will help determine where you are most comfortable and what you prefer to hunt for. More features will not help you learn and might even be a hindrance.

Read catalogs, request data sheets from manufacturers and read as much literature as you can on your prospective purchase. Read this information with a critical eye and make your own comparisons based on your own usage and needs. Don't be afraid to call a manufacturer and ask some questions.

If you are purchasing a metal detector online, here are a few things to remember.

If you are planning to buy a metal detector online you should first read product reviews to get an idea of what you want, then search online stores featuring or specializing in metal detector sales.

To read product reviews, browse metal detector message boards and read about the latest models, online shoppers should visit a site devoted to metal detector tech reviews, like

Online metal detector stores like have a variety of detector types, brands, prices and accessories. With the search bar, you can quickly locate models with the favorable reviews you've read.

Hundreds of metal detectors are available through online department stores like Discounts may apply to some purchase and user reviews are available for most products.

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