7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (2023)

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (1)

Whether you’ve lost a ring outdoors or have a hankering to go treasure hunting on your beach day, a metal detector will likely help you find a few shiny things. This hobby requires patience and a sizable initial investment if you want a device that can accurately spot goods from a few feet away, which is why it's important to find one that's worth the coin. Next, you'll be wanted to study a little history to investigate your newfound goods.

"You don't have to spend a fortune, but I do recommend [investing in] something you’ll be able to find stuff with because it’s a wonderful hobby," says Chris Turner, CEO of The Ring Finders, an online directory of metal detecting specialists. "It’s the only hobby in the world where you can find money."

Based on hours of independent research and insight from an expert dectorist, we're confident these are the best metal detectors on the market.

Our top picks:

Depending on whether you're hoping to detect gold, jewelry or coins, you’ll want to choose a detector that'll help you suss out what you're detecting and what grounds you’ll be covering. Before heading out, you'll also want to make sure that — if you’re not digging on your own land — you have the permission of the landowner or the state to do some digging. Laws tend to different by stand and by county, so do some research before you buy to make sure it's feasible for you.

Below you’ll find our top picks for metal detectors, the key difference of features, the best places you can go hunting and why you should trust our picks.

1

Best Overall Metal Detector

Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (10)

1

Best Overall Metal Detector

Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector

Pros
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (11)Backlit screen
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (12)Included accessories
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (13)Different iron identification
Cons
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (14)Doesn’t search as deep as expensive models

For the average hobbyist, the Garrett ACE 300 is loaded with a breadth of features and controls to keep you happy and searching. For the $270 price tag, you’ll get expert pinpointing and your option of specifying the iron identification from foil to gold to silver. You view all the details on a large screen, and there’s also a water resistant coil for beach searching and five search modes suitable for different materials like relics for small iron pieces and jewelry for precious metals.

You’ll also get a few accessories, including headphones with volume control, a cover and search coil cover. It has a 8kHz frequency and a range of 10 inches, though you can upgrade it with a larger one, but that should be enough for finding low and medium targets, like coins and your lost rings.

Length40" to 53"
Depth10"
Modes5
Warranty3 years

2

Best Value Metal Detector

PANCKY Metal Detector

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (15)

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (16)

2

Best Value Metal Detector

PANCKY Metal Detector

Now 37% Off

Pros
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (17)Large screens
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (18)Shovel included
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (19)Relatively affordable
Cons
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (20)May not work as well in wet areas

At $150, the PANCKY Metal Detector gives you the best bang for your buck compared to some of the more expensive models on this list. It still offers five mode (including metal, disc, memory, jewelry and pin pointer) and a waterproof search coil that can detect up to 10 inches below the ground and claims to still function in shallow water, although some reviewers note issues with excessive beeping when it comes near wet ground.

The large LCD displays all your stats from how close an object is to the material. It also comes loaded with useful accessories, like headphones, a detection bag, a backpack and a small shovel to dig up your goods.

Length47.3" to 55.2"
Depth10"
Modes5
Warranty2 years

3

Best Metal Detector for Beginners

Nokta Makro Simplex+ WHP Waterproof Detector

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (21)

3

Best Metal Detector for Beginners

Nokta Makro Simplex+ WHP Waterproof Detector

Pros
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (22)Waterproof
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (23)Built-in LED flashlight
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (24)Distinguishes different irons
Cons
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (25)Smaller screen

Novice treasure hunters will appreciate the easy-to-use Nokta Makro Simplex+. Users can quickly toggle through four different modes (metal, field, park and beach), it has notch discrimination designed to more accurately pinpoint items and the search coil is said to detect up to 11 inches deep.

The brand also says it's IP68 waterproof, meaning it can be submerged up to 10 feet of water, making it ideal for searching by the shore. If you plan on using it at night, know that it features a LCD backlight, keypad backlight and LED flashlight for some solid illumination. The small screen may be tricky for some to see, but all in all, it’s loaded with enough bells and whistles for newbies to enjoy.

Length25" to 52"
Depth11"
Modes4
Warranty3 years

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4

Best Metal Detector for Gold

Garrett ACE APEX Metal Detector

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (26)

4

Best Metal Detector for Gold

Garrett ACE APEX Metal Detector

Pros
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (27)Detects different irons
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (28)Helps you avoid scrap metal
Cons
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (29)Can be too complicated for some

It’s every treasure hunter’s dream to stumble upon a gold mine, and with the Garrett Metal Detectors ACE APEX, that goal might be closer than you think. It has a large backlit display and offers a whopping six detection modes, including coins, U.S. coins, jewelry, relics and a custom setting where you can save a different frequency setting that suits your hunts best as well as a pinpoint setting for more precise location targeting.

It uses Multi-Flex technology that swaps from a low to higher frequency to help you detect larger coins or pinpoint gold nuggets. Targeting certain materials gets more specific with the “iron audio,” which can determine if you’ve just encountered a bottle cap. There’s also the notch discrimination features that filters out certain frequencies in order to avoid flimsy scrap metal. With the amount of features, it might be a bit complicated for the average users, though

Length40" to 53"
Depth11"
Modes6
Warranty3 years

5

Best Metal Detector for Beaches

Minelab Vanquish 440 Multi-Frequency Pinpointing Metal Detector

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (30)

5

Best Metal Detector for Beaches

Minelab Vanquish 440 Multi-Frequency Pinpointing Metal Detector

Pros
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (31)High range frequency
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (32)Lightweight
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (33)Easy to transport
Cons
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (34)Not very waterproof

Beach trips quickly become an adventure with the Minelab Vanquish 440. Its multi-frequency technology is said to work well searching along saltwater, meaning you’ll quickly discover lost items that scatter the vicinity. However, it’s only waterproof up to a little more than three feet, so you want to be careful not to submerge it.

It also has four find modes that employ different frequencies for the area. For example, park mode is great for helping to cut through high-trash areas while field mode is more suited for coin searching. Once you find the best setting for you, you can save it for future use. Additionally, it weighs only 2.6 pounds, so it’s easy to transport and use for extended periods of time.

Length30" to 57"
Depth10"
Modes4
Warranty3 years

6

Best for Metal Detector for Pros

XP DEUS Metal Detector

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (35)

6

Best for Metal Detector for Pros

XP DEUS Metal Detector

Pros
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (36)35 different frequencies
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (37)Longer warranty
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (38)Multiple modes for different terrains
Cons
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (39)Expensive

If you want to go deeper than a standard metal detector, the XP DEUS Metal Detector detects up to 11 inches deep. It uses 35 frequencies to detect objects of a wide variety of sizes and materials with nine modes to shuffle through.

It’s a bit more expensive than other models on this list, but well worth it if you want to go hunting underground thanks to the extended notch discrimination range. You’ll also get a remote control, a hip-mount case for the remote and full-sized wireless headphones with your purchase. Plus, there’s a 5-year warranty if you encounter any issues.

Length24" to 50"
Depth11"
Modes9
Warranty5 years

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7

Best Pinpointer

Garrett Garrett Pro-Pointer II

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (40)

7

Best Pinpointer

Garrett Garrett Pro-Pointer II

Pros
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (41)Small and portable
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (42)Pinpoints objects
Cons
  • 7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (43)Not waterproof

While not technically a full metal detector, this pinpointer is incredibly useful for pinpointing your treasure before you start digging. When you turn it on, it uses a shrink detection field, which tunes out mineralized ground, wet beach sand and the like that might otherwise interfere with detection, to precisely pinpoint large targets. When used in tandem with your metal detector, you’ll waste less time sifting around the area and add more found goods to your pocket. This model claims to be weatherproof; you can dip the tip in water but not the entire device.

Length9.7"
Depth N/A
Modes1
Warranty3 years

How we chose the best metal detectors

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (44)

To choose the best metal detectors, our editors did extensive categorical research on different models of different capabilities and price points. When choosing a metal detector, we considered factors such as:

✔️ Type: There are two main types of metal detectors: Very low frequency (VLF) and multi-frequency. VLF transmits lower frequencies and measures the return of the frequency from and object to determine where and how far an object is. This is good for detecting objects close by, but it can get interfered by natural occurring metals in the ground. Multi-frequency have a larger frequency range, which can make it easier to pinpoint smaller objects, while also having the option to use lower frequencies as well. However, these can be more expensive. We considered both kinds when choosing metal detectors.

✔️ Coil size: Typically with coil size, the larger the coil the deeper and more sensitive a metal detector will be. This may seem that larger is better, but large coils tend to be less sensitive to smaller targets and more at risk to electromagnetic interference (EMI), according to MineLab. Smaller coils may not have a deep depth but can track those smaller targets. We choose metal detectors close to 10-inch coils for a happy medium of the two.

✔️ Portability: We considered both how easy the metal detector would be to transport as well as the weight of each to determine how hard it would be to carry over time. Most metal detectors have a range of adjustable lengths to accommodate people of a variety of heights and make it easier to fold up for storage. Some also come with a carry bag.

✔️ Notch filter discrimination: We prioritized metal detectors that have notch filter discrimination, which allows the device to “notch out” or remove a certain kind of metal or iron from the radar. This means the user can pinpoint what metal they are searching for and avoid more basic metals that you would find in a bottle cap. Turner warns not to discriminate against anything but irons, as you could be missing out on striking gold and other valuables.

✔️ Modes: Metal detectors typically come with several pre-set modes that use a specific frequency based on what you’re looking for and where you're searching to increase the likelihood of finding some goods. We compared the different options and prioritized models with more modes that would make it easier for the average user.

What to look for when shopping for a metal detector

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (45)

Aside from making the decision to look for treasure, there are a few things to think about before making an investment in a metal detector. You’ll need to think about where you’ll be using it and how often as well as any accessories you’ll need. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a metal detector:

✔️ Location: "Some people are relic hunters who like to look for old coins," Turner says. "Some people like beach hunting," he continues, so depending on your interests, "there’s different ways you want to hunt." You can’t just take out a metal detector and use it anywhere and expect good results. For example, a metal detector that uses VLF would pick up on the minerals on a sandy beach, giving you too many inaccurate results. Make sure that the metal detector you use has a mode or setting allowing you to use it where you plan on using it most at the very least. Beaches where salt water can interfere with detection should use a lower frequency (around 5 kHz). Coins and jewelry that are usually closer to the surface and are of a higher conductivity will benefit from frequencies of about 10 kHz.

✔️ Metals: Metal detectors can pick up on a range of materials from iron to silver and gold. However, some have more specific detection for certain items like coins or jewelry. A metal detector with a larger range of this will allow you to know what you’re getting into before you start digging.

✔️ Duration: Think about how long you will be using your metal detector for. If it’s longer than an hour, double-check that the model of your choice will last for your entire treasure hunt. Most metal detectors use lithium batteries that last for about 20 hours or need to be charged, and you can usually view the remaining battery life on the included screen.

✔️ Pinpointer: Some metal detectors have a built-in pinpointer to help you narrow down the exact location of the target, which Turner recommends having when looking for a target from a plug. These gadgets work by using a combination of beeps and vibration to show a more precise spot of the target that your metal detector has found. If the model doesn’t have one, you can always purchase one separately to make your search a little easier.

✔️ Accessories: Headphones are needed to hear the buzz of the metal detector that will indicate how close you are to an object. Some come with headphones included, as well as carrying cases, a cover-up or a search coil cover.

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Where should you use a metal detector?

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (46)

You can use your metal detector in a variety of spaces. Fields with little interference (i.e. the minerals in the ground that your metal detector can get confused with a solid target) are great for looking for coins and beaches are great for discovering lost items. Just be careful that you can be there. It's illegal to use a detector in U.S. National Parks and historic battlefields, according to the Society of American Archeology, and you should check local city and county laws to determine where you’re allowed to metal detect and if you’ll need a permit to do so.

Tuner also recommends leaving the spot you're hunting in just as good if not better than you left it. That means bringing a separate bag for any trash you may find and covering up and digging marks. "You’re finding treasure for yourself and you’re cleaning up the beach at the same time," he says. "Plus, that way you’re not finding the same trash next time around."

How do I get what I find with my metal detector?

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (47)

Once you’ve found an object, you’ll need to uncover it. Since metal detectors can’t sense more than a few inches into the ground, you shouldn't need to dig too deep to find your loot. A large shovel might make too much of a dent on public and private property, but using something like a sand scoop on dry sand or trowel on hard dirt is best.

For land, Turner recommends something called a dirt plug, which is essentially achieved by cutting a square with your shovel and then pulling out the earth to inspect. "You lift it up, retrieve your target and put the earth and the plug back," he says. "It should never look like someone has been hunting in a park, so cover it up.

7 Best Metal Detectors of 2023, Reviewed by Experts (48)

Courtney Campbell

Courtney (she/hers) has spent the past 5 years testing everything from reusable straws to standing desks to homemade kombucha kits. A longtime reviewer, deals hunter, and lifestyle writer, she currently heads up the American Kennel Club's product review site Retrievest and previously worked as the Shopping Editor for USA Today’s Reviewed. Additionally, she has covered design and lifestyle trends for Apartment Therapy, Domino, SELF, and more. A graduate of Elon University, she loves telling everyone about what race she’s planning on running next while raving about her favorite running headphones (they’re bone conducting!).

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