We all love finding treasures, and what better way to do this then by using a metal detector? Millions of us own one. On any given day we see people walking beaches and parks searching for hidden surprises buried in the sand or in the ground. Isn't it time for us to take part in this popular hobby and buy a metal detector?
What Is A Metal Detector?
Simply put, a metal detector detects the presence of metal. It is an electronic piece used to find anything made of metal located under the ground or under water. It is a hand held instrument containing a sensor probe which is swept over sand or dirt. The sensor sends off a tone or sets of a needle indicator to alert the user that metal has been located. The closer to the object the user is, the louder the tone or the needle will jump to a higher level. The technology used is one of three of the following:
- VLF is a very low frequency ranging between 2.4 kHz up to 100 kHz.
- (PI) or pulse induction sends short, powerful pulses of current through a coil.
- (BFO) or beat frequency oscillation uses two oscillators that produce a radio frequency. The two oscillators can be adjusted and when there is a variation in the frequency, a beat note will become audible changing when the search loop coil is close to metal.
Metal Detector Settings
To know our metal detector well, we should first read the manual. However, the basic features of a metal detector are “must knows” whether we choose to read the manual or not read it.
- The discrimination setting indicates what kind of object we want to look for. For example, if we're looking for metals only, we can set it to ignore iron.
- The sensitivity setting allows for precision to zero in on finding objects.
- The detection mode helps us filter objects like jewelry to add more precision to our search.
- Ground balance helps us weed out minerals that are common.
Best Seller Metal Detectors
The Whites MX Sport is a weather and water proof unit that includes four search modes used for finding jewelry, artifacts, coins and any metal objects. It also has an automatic ground balance that works in eliminating false signals. Special features include a beach and salt tracking mode. It retails for around $750.00
Fisher F22 is for beginners. the Fisher F22 is easy to use, weather proof metal detector that has four search mode. It's light weight and compact and operates on two double-A batteries. It sells for approximately $250.00
The Bounty Hunter TK4-PL Tracker IV is one of the more affordable trackers selling for around $80.00. It's made to use on land and will find treasures in dirt, rocky soil and beaches. It has gauges and systems that are easy to read and is an excellent starter machine.
How Does A Metal Detector Work
Now that we've purchased a metal detector, what accessories will we need? A must have accessory is the pinpointer. Once the detector locates something, the pinpointer will zero in on the find. It's quite like a mini metal detector but it's no bigger than a cell phone.
It holds a mini coil that alerts the treasure hunter by vibration or sound when it is near metal. The treasure hunter can then place the pinpointer into the hole where the item rests. The pointer will then direct the user to the metal.
The pinpointer has to be small and easy to carry. It should have a sensitivity setting to alert us when we are close to an object. It should also have a built in flashlight and sensors on the sides and tip to allow us to see and easily find an item.
There are also built in pinpointers that come with some of the newer and higher end detectors. To use these, we click a button to enter the pinpoint mode. The closer we get to metal the more sensitive the pinpointer becomes and will begin giving off a constant tone that becomes louder as we close in on our find.
It speeds up the recovery of objects and that means we will find more objects in one day and odds of finding something valuable are increased.
The Best Pinpointers
There are a fairly large number of pinpointers on the market offered at varying prices. We checked on the most popular ones and here is what we found.
- 1. Garrett Pro-Pointer AT
- 2. Whites TRX Bulls-Eye Pinpointer
- 3. XPMI-6 Pinpointer
- 4. Fisher Pinpointer
- 5. Teknetics Pinpointer
- 6. Nokta Pinpointer
Garrett Pro-Pointer AT
This pinpointer works well on all terrain for finding metal targets. It is waterproof and able to submerge in up to 10 feet of water. Its bright orange color makes it easy to see underwater and in thickly wooded locations. It has a belt holster, an easy to hold handle and a well placed action button.
There are three adjustable sensitivity levels that allow users to customize depending on what is being searched for. The fast button return narrows the detection field being searched. It also holds a bright LED light that is valuable in low lighting. It sells for approximately $140.00.
Garrett Pro-Pointer II is great beginners because it is easy to use. Some treasure hunters don't like using it because its black color makes it appear similar to a weapon which can create a problem in public areas. It offers the same components as the AT, but it is not waterproof. We cam search the sand but not the water. It retails for $110.
Whites TRX Bulls-Eye Pinpointer
The Whites TRX Bulls Eye has a black and orange color scheme, making it easy to see while treasure hunting in the backyard, beach or woods. It has a large handle and a tiny pointer that easily identifies smaller metal objects. It doesn't have a light turn on when the button is pushed and battery power is good for about 20 hours. Prices run between $40.00 to $160.00.
The XPMI-6 can be used on its own or can be synchronized with our XP DEUS remote and headphones. We'll hear the ping, and the sensitivity target will display on the remote. Should we lose the it, we can turn on the research mode and it will be found. It is waterproof and sells for approximately $175.00.
The Fisher runs around $70.00 and has one knob for adjusting sensitivity levels. It has an audio tone that increases in volume and vibrates as the user comes close to a find. It's about 10 inches in length and very easy to carry.
This is another inexpensive model selling for approximately $60.00. It is less sensitive than other models making it easier to locate an object without having to scope an area several times. The Teknetic is equipped with a vibrating and audio tone.
The Nokta is made by a Turkish that recently started producing pinpointers. It is very well made and has a waterproof rating up to 1 meter in depth for a half hour. It has an vibration and audio setting, excellent batter life and good sensitivity to small targets. The Nokta goes for about $125.00.
Well Known And Functional Metal Detector Applications
Using metal detector applications can make treasure hunting fascinating and fun. All we need is an iPhone or an Android and we can explore the best metal detector applications from the comfort of our home. Because Smartphones and tablets are frequently used, they become a great tool for those who use metal detectors, because knowing how to use them makes enhances the search for treasures.
There are newer OKM three dimensional ground scanners and metal detectors that use applications on Androids and PC tablets. Used as graphical interfaces, they control the detector's functionality that connects through the Internet or Bluetooth. The measured data is visualized in three dimensional graphics. The user can then decide if there are any buried, hidden artifacts by examining the data.
- Rover UC
The Rover UC three dimension detector was the first to use an Android application as the controller and the Smartphone for undercover detecting. The portable device and metal detector combo set new standards in the technology of metal detecting. Data is transferred via Bluetooth from the Rover UC. The user can then refer to and interpret the data and apply to a search for artifacts.
- Bionic X4
This long range gold detector utilizes the Smartphone compass and camera to understand and compare the cross bearings of gold targets. The detector can easily confirm signals visually to help the user carry on a search.
Designed for PC tablets, the Android application allows water and cavity GeoSeeker to follow a step-by-step guide to perform geo electrical resistivity measures. The application then analyzes the data and designs a 3d representation of the underground resistivity distribution. From this, a user can pinpoint where a metal object can be discovered.
iSmartDetect helps metal detector enthusiasts find and record their discoveries. It allows us to take photos at the site and automatically show GPS coordinates. It will also display the time, date and assign an ID number to the find. This can be followed up by adding a project name to the application we have created. Server plan services allows us to store data with login options on an encrypted service, as well as back up our information safely.
This Android application requires the GO-FIND60 or GO-FIND50 that allows detection of metal objects deep within the ground by using ferocious and conductive properties. It targets those pieces that contain metal by flashing a green light. No adjustments are required when changing locations because it has automatic adjustment features.
- Treasure Hunt Metal Detector
This application allows us to track other individuals hunting in the field for treasures. The more people in certain areas, the more likely there are hidden valuables. It requires having a GPS Smartphone and a decent Internet connection and an open account. Our findings can be shared on line by taking a photo, allowing other enthusiasts to comment on our work. This is a free application available at Android and iOS sites.
- Epic Find
Created for the iPhone, Epic Find turns our phone's camera into a metal detecting device offering audio indictors to hone in on objects. The camera will give an audio signal if something is found while scanning. This application has a pinpoint mode that uses tune to target metal material and can differentiate between metals by giving individual target identifications to the interface detector.
- Geo Detecting Treasure
Geo Detecting Treasure has a website that offers a page to save spots for treasure hunting. It will appear on a cell phone in the treasure hunting application that comes with GPS and maps. Along with GPS, GEO Detecting Treasure includes metal detecting, GEO coaching, history data collections and scavenger hunting.
We know that metal detectors are great for treasure hunting enthusiasts, but they are also used in many other ways. With security and safety at an all time high, they are used in courthouses, schools, sporting events, nightclubs, airports and any number of other places where there is a high concentration of people.
Other uses include construction sites to detect debris metal, They are found in the medical field to find metal objects embedded in a person's body. In many cases, metal detectors are more effective than the traditional x-ray machine. Because they are free of radiation and relatively easy to use.
There are many brand name metal detectors used in other industries. For example, the Garrett Super Wand is a popular choice in the homeland security and law enforcement fields. This wand enables law officers to search individuals for illegal metallic weapons by sweeping the wand over a human body.
It boasts a search area of 350 degrees and runs by pushing a button for intermittent or continuous operation. 360 degree search area provides uniform sensitivity along the entire scan area. Prices start at around $150.00.
The Matrix 100 made by White is perfect for both indoor and outdoor security. It is used in correctional institutions, schools, airports and other private and public buildings. It is made in the United States and complies with the National Institute of Justice standards for operations. The sensitivity control can be set from high to low for detecting objects of different sizes. The Matrix 100 is priced at approximately $100.00.
The Adam, AMR-11 “DEEP TISSUE” metal detector is designed to detect objects concealed or swallowed within body cavities on in skin tissue. It is one of the most sensitive hand held sweeping detectors available and is relatively new to the scanning market. It's used in hospitals, correctional facilities and for other applications that require high sensitivity. Prices range from $150.00 (e-bay) to $500.00.
How To Properly Use A Wand Detector
Handheld metal detector wands are portable and light weight. They work to find objects made of metal. The components include a shaft, search coil, stabilizer and a control box. The control box creates space for the circuitry, microprocessor, speaker and batteries. The shaft connects the control box to the search coil and the stabilizer keeps the wand detector stable while being used.
The wand detector has various uses for the detection of metal. Aside from personal use such as treasure hunting, they can detect weapons and other dangerous or unwanted metals. They are utilized in government buildings, event venues, schools, airports, train stations, factories and other heavily traffic areas.
Using the wand isn't difficult but it does take practice. Once the device is turned on, the user. Using these devices is not a hard task though it need some practice to learn how to sweep the wand to successfully find metal. Sweeping is simply moving the wand in a sweep like, side to side motion over the search area to better target a an object buried beneath the surface or on a person or structure.
When sweeping in order not to miss a target, the area should be covered more than once in order to hone in and find the piece. When a signal is indicated, the wand should not be lifted because the target could be lost. The audio response can be a sound, a visual signal or a vibration. Headphones are also sometimes used.
Try to use a double D search coil as they offer the strongest detection. The target should be detected on the sweep line. Clear the area around the target and recheck by sweeping over the signal again. If the signal disappears, check the material that has been cleared as the object could have been brushed aside. Otherwise, the signal should sound over the target ground that has been cleared. When digging, be careful not to damage the object being recovered. Once recovered, run the wand over the area again to make sure no other pieces remain.
When there are low light conditions there are wands that have a flashlight accessory to increase visibility. There are also waterproof wands. The three types of wands on the market are the beat frequency oscillator, pulse induction and very low frequency.
The Garrett Pro-pointer wand is considered one of the best wands available and can be used in all settings. It is waterproof, study and comes with a flashlight attachment.
The Wizard detectors 25506 Lumber Wizard 3 metal wand is used by wood workers to find metals embedded in lumber. It easily detects nails, aluminum, zinc, steel and magnesium.
Mitaki Handheld Wand Detector is made in Japan and features adjustable sensitivity to boost precision and accuracy and adjustable tone settings. It is used for treasure hunting, and security checks in public places.
Rental Metal Detectors
Some of us may be fascinated by the idea of exploring terrain using a detector, but we're just not sure how much time we can devote to it or if will become a hobby great enough to spend a lot of money investing in it. That's where renting a metal detector comes in to play. Renting a detector is a great alternative to immediately buying one. It gives us time to decide if this is a hobby we really want to pursue on a long term basis, or do we just want to spend a few days here and there to have some entertaining fun.
It also gives us the opportunity to see what's available and what options are featured for the type of treasure hunting we are interested in. It's a great entertainment source while on vacation, especially at a beach where the possibility of finding coins or jewelry is greater than in most places. When the decision has been made to rent a metal detector, where do we go?
Where we live has somewhat of an impact on how many rental detector opportunities there are. If we live near a beach or near an area where a metal detector club exists, there may be many places that rent them. There are also some tool, garden or hardware stores that rent detectors. Living on the Gulf coast or in a tropical area usually has many rental options, because there are so many beaches to explore.
There are even coastal areas that boast of sunken ships in the waters and metal detector rental shops will more than likely be located in the area with the hopes that divers will rent waterproof detectors to find gold and other hidden treasures. We also find rentals in desert and mountainous regions where people go in search of gold flakes and nuggets..
Another option is when in doubt, google “metal detector clubs or rental shops“, We might also check with some of the local residents in the area. They usually have a wealth of knowledge about what's around.
A popular place to look for metal detector rentals is the Internet. There are dozens of online websites that are dedicated to metal detecting and will supply all kinds of information about the detectors they have available. They will help in making an informed choice about what to rent.
One excellent site to check out is Serious Detecting. They offer brand name metal detectors in several rental packages including the Garrett ACE 400 starting at $35.00 for 24 hours or $70.00 for a weekend. Their Garrett AT PRO Waterproof Metal Detector comes with headphones and priced at $45.00 for 25 hours or $90.00 for a weekend. They also offer digging and water package add-ons.
Myers Metal Detectors located in Tampa Florida has Whites Coinmaster detector rentals for a $100.00 deposit and $50.00 per day. They also offer the waterproof Tesoro Sand Shark for $75.00 per day and a $400.00 deposit or $150 for the week with the same deposit. They can be reached at 813-237-1939.
Metal Detecting Stuff store in The Woodlands, Texas has the Garrett AT Pro, Garrett ACE 250, Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II, Whites Beachhunter 300, beach scoops, headphones and digging tools for rent. They reserve online and pick up is at the store. For rates and reservations call 832-928-9135 or go online to the rental page. A security deposit is required.
Renting As Opposed To Buying
When deciding whether to buy or rent a metal detector pricing does come to mind. If we plan on using the detector a good deal of the time, it probably makes sense to buy. However, buying is a lot more expensive than renting and should it break down, the repairs will fall on our shoulders. Likewise, if we decide we no longer want to pursue the detecting hobby, we are stuck with an expensive machine. If it's an “every now and then” hobby renting also makes sense because we'll pay for the days we use it and no more.
What Is Needed To Rent A Metal Detector
Like any big ticket rental item we will need a deposit and a form of identification (usually a license or state ID). Make sure the metal detector is checked out for damage because we do not want a defective detector or, more importantly, we don't want to be blamed for damages we did not incur. Replacing one can be expensive. However, if we follow the above protocol and return it at a designated time, it is an affordable short term investment.
Newcomers to the detecting sport are often times very excited at the start of their searching, but the excitement can quickly fade if the treasures found are far and in between. That makes renting a metal detector on a trial basis perfect sense.
And renting also allows us to get to know all about detecting without spending a ton of money. If we find it's something we really enjoy and want to pursue then the decision to purchase a machine will be an easy one, and we will be equipped with the knowledge to know what to buy.
Finding Gold and Jewelry
Assuming we are at the beginners level for prospecting for gold or jewelry with a metal detector, we probably want to use one that is easy to use but will get the job done. It's good to know there are basic metal detecting machines out there that are capable of spotting gold and jewelry of all shapes and sizes. There are also many out there that focus on coins and other targets but are not made to detect gold or jewelry and don't work well on ground that is mineralized where gold is often found.
The detector we use should state that it's made for gold and jewelry detecting and equipped for (VLF) very low frequency technology, also called continuous wave or induction balance methods. This type of technology is used because it is accurate and indicates the differences between metal and iron. Most of the trash in a gold field is iron. Technology employing VLF does very well on small gold nuggets. What is not so great about VLF is it is so sensitive it also picks up on rocks that are reactive minerals made of iron. Known as “hot rocks”, they can cause a prospector headaches.
Two separate coils are used in a VLF metal detector. One is a transmit coil that receives it's electricity into the coil, switching currents created from side to side hundreds of times every second. The number indicates the detector's frequency and the more cycles, the more sensitive the detector responds to gold. Coil two receives, accepts and collects signals from conducive objects located in the ground. The current makes a field which is electromagnetic and a conductive target is formed creating its own magnetic field. The coil recognizes the magnetic field from the target and sends a signal to the prospector. The bigger the target and the deeper it is determines the strength of target's signal.
The pulse induction (PI) method has one coil working as both the receiver and transmitter sending electricity pulses electricity into the below creating a magnetic field hitting the metal object. If we plan to hunt gold and run in to hot rocks, the PI detector is the best one to use to distinguish between magnetite hot rocks and real gold nuggets. The PI can also pick out smaller gold pieces and find different types of metals.
Metal detectors are often subjected to electrical interferences, and most have controls to temper the interference. All metal detectors have sensitivity controls to help reduce the response to electrical disruptions. Some higher end metal detectors feature frequency shifting to lessen or eliminate electrical interferences like power lines, thunderstorms and electric fences.
The discrimination and motion all metal mode responds in a smoother and slower way than does the discrimination mode and the all metal mode is undoubtedly the best to use.
The Best Metal Detectors For Gold Exploration
- 1. Fisher Gold Bug® Pro
- 2. Garrett AT Gold
- 3. Minelab Gold Monster 1000
- 4. White’s Electronics GMT
Fisher Gold Bug® Pro is very light and easy to use. Released in 2010, it is a mid-frequency VLF. It has a “ground grab” button and a user interface that is easy to understand. The threshold and gain can be independently adjusted. It is offered with a five inch round coil or a 7″ by 11″ elliptical coil that are both waterproof. It sells for around $650.00
Garrett AT Gold is also waterproof and easy to use. It is a mid-frequency unit running at 18 kHz. It has automatic and manually adjustable ground balance. Released in 2011, it is a modification of AT Pro platform specifically geared to gold searching. The Garrett AT has several adjustments to customize operations. It sells between $650.00 and $750.00 depending on the model.
Minelab Gold Monster 1000 is one of the newest model on the market. It is a lightweight, high frequency metal detector running at 45 kHz with excellent sensitivity to small gold flakes and nuggets. Unique features include automatic gain that can be adjusted manually or will adjust automatically depending on the ground mineralization. The unit will make a beeping sound when is hits a target. It comes with a five inch coil and a 10 inch by six inch coil. The coils are waterproof but the electronic box is not. The machine cannot go underwater. It sells for around $800.00.
White’s Electronics GMT is a version of Gold Master metal detectors. This 48 kHz unit is sensitive to tiny pieces of gold and gold flakes. It features manual and automatic ground balance and an ID (metal identification) feature that lets the prospector know the percentage probability of iron in the area. It also has VSAT (variable self adjusting threshold) that allows the user to modify the auto tine rate in the detector's threshold. The GMT control box is not waterproof but the coils are.
Searching For Jewelry
Metal detectors are great for finding watches, diamonds and rings. Beaches are hot spots to search for bracelets, necklaces and rings hidden beneath the sand. Storage areas and homes that have been abandoned are other prime hunting areas for jewelry.
The metal detector used for jewelry hunting must have certain features to pinpoint a piece. It should have quality discrimination in order to avoid targeting trash.
It should also have visual target ID as well as a depth display to avoid wasting time on unwanted trash. If ground mineralization is a problem, it may interfere with signals and the ability to identify a piece of jewelry, so patients and time and a good deal of digging will be necessary before a gem is discovered. So what is the right detector for the job?
Bounty Hunter Legacy 2500 is a good choice and a reasonable price ($260.00) the Legacy 2500 is a great jewelry finding metal detector. It works well on beaches and in parks or abandoned homes. It has expanded reading, enhanced target identification and an LCD oversized display.
If an area is filled with trash, the Legacy 2500 easily sifts through it to find jewelry making the search a piece of cake.
Garrett Ace 350 is user friendly and works perfectly in areas that are highly mineralized with enhanced iron resolution. It filters out junk allowing gold jewelry or other gems to be located. The Ace 350 has electronic pinpointing and five search modes. It sells for approximately $300.00.
The Tesoro Compadre sells for $160. This machine was designed with less is more in mind offering some of the same features that more expensive metal detectors have. It's great for jewelry hunting working on an all metal, silent search mode. It has one knob that can be turned to bring on discrimination in trashy sites. Its 5.75 concentric coil reduces the chance for target masking in cluttered areas and works well around fences, bushes and other equipment. It is a great entry level detector for jewelry hunting.