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The best metal detectors you can buy

Whether you're a longtime metal detecting enthusiast or picking up the hobby thanks to TikTok, we found the best metal detectors to help your treasure hunting.
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer and  Sherin Shibu, Contributor
Reviewed by Kayla Solino
Bounty Hunter Tracker IV | Best metal detector overall
Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
Best metal detector overall
View now View at Amazon
Garrett Ace 300 | Best metal detector for beginners
Garrett Ace 300
Best metal detector for beginners
View now View at Amazon
Minelab Equinox 800 | Best metal detector for relic hunting
Minelab Equinox 800
Best metal detector for relic hunting
View now View at Amazon
National Geographic Junior Metal Detector | Best metal detector for kids
National Geographic Junior Metal Detector
Best metal detector for kids
View now View at Amazon
Wedigout MD-790 | Best underwater metal detector
Wedigout MD-790
Best underwater metal detector
View now View at Amazon

Gen Z is turning to TikTok and Instagram to find and learn new hobbies. The most recent? Metal detecting. Videos of people treasure hunting, popular sites, and impressive finds have racked up almost 3 billion views. 

If you're interested in getting started with a new hobby, there are lots of options for great metal detectors. While a lot of models are designed for experienced hobbyists and can cost several hundred dollars, there are budget and beginner-friendly versions available with simplified controls and lightweight designs for introducing you to metal detecting. There are even starter kits for small children who want to start metal detecting. 

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Experienced coin hunters and search and salvage professionals can spend thousands on high-end, very sophisticated metal detectors capable of finding objects buried several feet underground and even deep underwater. 

What is the best metal detector right now?

To help you figure out where to start when shopping for a metal detector, I've put together a list of the five best available to buy. Our top pick for best metal detector overall goes to the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV, due to its affordable price point, sound features, and detection depth. However, to help you decide which metal detector works best for your experience level and budget, I've broken down their features and price points to help you decide which is the right fit for your experience level as well as your budget.

Keep reading to find our most recommended metal detectors. 

The best metal detectors of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Very affordable
  • Different sound tones for different metals
  • Simplified interface
  • Detects objects up to 2 feet underground
  • Not ideal for meteorite hunting
  • No coil protector or headphones included
More Details

Bounty Hunter Tracker IV tech specs: Detection depth: Up to 2 feet | Weight: 4.2 pounds | Adjustable length: 44 to 51 inches | Power source: 2x 9 volt batteries | Coil size: 8 inches | Waterproof: Coil only

The Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is an excellent metal detector for beginners and seasoned hobbyists. It has a budget-friendly price of about $85, so if you decide that metal detecting isn't your cup of tea, you won't have wasted a ton of money. With its separate modes for ferrous and non-ferrous materials, you can hunt for everything from scrap steel and aluminum to gold jewelry and silver coins. The 8-inch detection coil is water-resistant, so you can search damp areas, streams, ponds, and beaches worry-free. 

Read also: My 5 must-have gadgets for off-grid adventures

The control box has simple dials and an easy-to-read meter for adjusting sensitivity and metal identification of objects buried up to 2 feet underground. It also uses different tones for different metals to help beginners understand what they're likely to find in an area. The Tracker IV features a ground balance filter to help reduce interference from minerals in the soil or sand and prevent false positives. It's powered by two 9-volt batteries and weighs just over 4 pounds, making it easier to use and maneuver. 

Verified customer reviews from Amazon and Walmart both agree that the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is easy to set up and use for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts. They also highlight the lightweight design, which helps with fatigue during long metal detecting adventures.

Pros & Cons
  • Simplified controls
  • Covers and headphones included
  • Waterproof detection coil
  • On the expensive side
More Details

Garrett Ace 300 tech specs: Detection depth: Up to 8 inches | Weight: 5 pounds | Adjustable length: Up to 51 inches | Power source: 4x AA batteries | Coil size: 10 inches | Waterproof: Coil only

The Garrett Ace 300 is a great metal detector for anyone just starting out the hobby. It has a lightweight and telescoping design, coming in at 5 pounds, and extendable up to 51 inches, so it's easier to handle. It also comes with a coil cover, an environmental protection cover, and a pair of headphones. The 10-inch detector coil is waterproof, allowing you to search for metal items in damp soil, streams, oceans, and lakes. It detects objects buried up to 8 inches deep to help you search for coins, jewelry, and other small items. 

With its five different detection modes, you can search for everything from iron horseshoes and silver coins to aluminum scrap and gold. The simplified, push-button controls let you quickly and easily select detection modes, set sensitivity, and adjust detection frequencies to narrow down your sea4 AA batteries power the Garret Ace 300 Series, so you don't need to keep specialized batteries on hand or remember to charge your metal detector before you go out exploring. 

Verified customer reviews at both Amazon and The Home Depot highlight the Ace 300's easy assembly and operation, which is perfect for anyone just starting out and doesn't want to fuss with a complicated metal detector. 

Pros & Cons
  • 12-hour battery
  • Rechargeable
  • 8 user profiles
  • Waterproof
  • Very expensive
  • Sharp learning curve
More Details

Minelab Equinox 800 tech specs: Detection depth: Up to 18 inches | Weight: 2.96 pounds | Adjustable length: 47 to 57 inches | Power source: Rechargeable battery | Coil size: 11 inches | Waterproof: Submersible up to 10 feet

If you're a serious metal-detecting hobbyist or a search and salvage professional, the Minelab Equinox 800 is an almost perfect option. It's a high-end, exceptionally precise metal detector that can sense objects buried up to 18 inches underground so you can hunt for everything from coins and rings to scrap iron, aluminum, and even meteorites. The entire unit is waterproof and can be submerged in water up to 10 feet deep, so you can search rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans for relics. 

With its four different detection modes, you can accurately search terrains like sandy dunes and beaches, grassy fields, and rocky hills. You can also set up eight different detection profiles for faster gold, silver, and iron identification or for multiple users of the same unit. It's powered by an integrated, rechargeable battery that can give you up to 12 hours of use, so you can explore all day worry-free. The Equinox 800 also comes with a pair of headphones for more accurate and distraction-free listening to differentiate between tones for gold, silver, brass, and iron or steel. 

Verified reviews from both Amazon and Walmart both praise the accuracy of the Equinox 800, many showing off photos of some pretty cool finds like coins, jewelry, and even a few die-cast metal toys.

Pros & Cons
  • Great for small children
  • Waterproof coil
  • Starter kit includes replica coins
  • Doesn't fold for travel
  • Can't differentiate between ferrous and non-ferrous material
More Details

National Geographic Junior Metal Detector tech specs: Detection depth: Up to 6 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds | Adjustable length: 24 to 39 inches | Power source: 3x AA batteries | Coil size: 7.5 inches | Waterproof: Coil only

If you've got young children who are interested in getting into metal detecting as a hobby, this starter kit from National Geographic is a great option. It features a very lightweight design to be easier for little ones to carry. It can be adjusted up to 39 inches in length so your kids can continue to use it as they grow. The 7.5-inch detection coil is fully waterproof, allowing kids to look for coins and other treasures in sand, dirt, and streams; it can detect metal objects buried up to 6 inches deep. 

The starter kit comes with the metal detector, guidebook, and even five gold doubloon replicas to bury and find. It also includes a small trowel shovel to help dig out found objects. 3 AA batteries power the Junior Metal Detector, so you won't have to worry about keeping special batteries on hand or your kids remembering to charge the metal detector. Verified customer reviews from Amazon highlight the NatGeo Junior Metal Detector's appeal to a wide age range of kids, as well as the fact that it makes a great gift for kids interested in metal detecting, or exploration in general.

Pros & Cons
  • Fully waterproof
  • Submersible up to 100 feet
  • Vibration detection alert
  • LCD battery and detection indicator
  • Shallow detection depth
More Details

Wedigout MD-790 tech specs: Detection depth: Up to 3 inches | Weight: 11.4 ounces | Dimensions: 14.7x 6x 2.6 inches | Power source: 9-volt battery | Coil size: 5.5 inches | Waterproof: Submersible up to 100 feet

Not all treasures are buried on land, so if you want to do a little underwater exploration for coins and other relics, you'll need the Wedigout MD-790. This metal detector is incredibly compact and lightweight, weighing less than a pound and measuring just 14 inches long for easier travel and one-handed use. The 5.5-inch detection coil is filled with resin to protect the electronics from water damage and can detect objects up to 3 inches deep. The top of the coil also has a small LCD screen to show you battery life and signal detection strength. 

The MD-790 also vibrates to let you know when it has detected something, and with the built-in flashlight, you'll be able to use the metal detector in dim environments. It's powered by a single 9-volt battery, so you won't have to worry about remembering to charge it up before you go exploring, and the built-in lanyard keeps the detector from floating away if you accidentally drop it or lose your grip. The entire unit can be submerged in water up to 100 feet deep, so you can take it snorkeling or scuba diving or even just search river banks and shorelines without worrying about water damage. Verified customer reviews from Amazon highlight the compact size of the MD-790, which makes it ideal for exploring underwater areas like tide pools and river banks.

What is the best metal detector?

My pick for the best metal detector is the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV. It has a budget-friendly price for beginner hobbyists while still providing plenty of features for seasoned relic hunters to take advantage of. It detects objects up to 6 inches underground with the 8-inch, waterproof coil, letting you search in almost any type of terrain. It's lightweight, coming in at just over 4 pounds, so it won't be a burden or uncomfortable to use on long searches. The simplified interface makes it easy for beginners to learn with and for seasoned pros to quickly dial in specific metals they want to look for.

Metal detector



Coil size

Bounty Hunter Tracker IV



8 inches 

Garret Ace 300



10 inches

Minelab Equinox 800



11 inches

National Geographic Junior Metal Detector



7.5 inches

Wedigout MD-790



5.5 inches

 *Lowest price at the time of writing. Please note that prices may vary based on retailer and available promotions, sales, or discounts.

Which is the right metal detector for you?

If you're looking to get into metal detecting as a hobby or upgrade your current setup for more serious treasure hunting, it can be difficult to know where to start. But you don't have to spend a fortune to get a great metal detector. Beginners and casual hobbyists should look for a metal detector with a decently sized coil for a wider detection range as well as different tones for different metals to help you understand what you're looking for and what you'll find in different areas. 

Seasoned treasure hunters should invest in more high-end and durable metal detectors that can handle being in the water, detect materials very deep in the ground, and allow for pinpoint accuracy when making sweeps with the coil. 

If your young child is interested in metal detecting as a hobby, there are several starter kits like the National Geographic Junior Metal Detector that introduce them to the basics and may even include fun "treasures" for you to bury and children to find.

Choose this metal detector...

If you need…

Bounty Hunter Tracker IV

A well-rounded metal detector for beginners and pros alike. It's budget-friendly at $85.

Garrett Ace 300

An easy-to-use metal detector for beginners. It is lightweight, at 5 pounds, and extendable up to 51 inches.

Minelab Equinox 800

A high-end, heavy-duty metal detector for seasoned relic hunters. This precise metal detector can sense objects buried up to 18 inches underground.

National Geographic Junior Metal Detector

An affordable and easy-to-use metal detector for kids who are interested in the hobby. It's lightweight and it can extend up to 39 inches in length.

Wedigout MD-790

A rugged and waterproof metal detector for underwater searches. The detector can be submerged underwater up to 100 feet deep.

Factors to consider when choosing a metal detector:

Whether you're just starting out, or an old pro, there are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping for a metal detector:

  • Price: We took into account metal detectors that meet different budgets. In addition to higher-priced models for professionals, we included budget-friendly options suitable for children or adults who want to explore the hobby without breaking the bank. 
  • Use cases: The best metal detector for you will depend on what you want to use your metal detector for and your preferences. We included detectors suitable for different types of treasure hunting, such as coin shooting, relic hunting, gold prospecting, and more. 
  • Quality and Performance: We prioritized metal detectors known for their quality, durability, and reliable performance. We also took into consideration their features, such as depth capabilities, target identifications, and 
  • Portability: There is no point in having a metal detector if you can't take it around where you want to. We considered metal detectors that were lightweight, easy to transport, and comfortable to use during your quests. 

How did we choose these metal detectors?

When selecting the best metal detectors I and other ZDNET experts kept these criteria in mind: 

  • Ease-of-use: The best metal detector in the world doesn't do anyone any good if they can't figure out how to use it. Each metal detector on this list was selected due in part to customer reviews that highlight ease of use for both beginners and experienced hobbyists.
  • Dual-metal detecting: A good metal detector should be able to find both ferrous (Iron, steel, etc.) and non-ferrous (aluminum, brass, precious metals like gold and silver). Each metal detector on this list has been ensured to be able to search for both types of metals.
  • Size and weight: Metal detecting is a slow process, making it important to choose a model that is comfortable to use for long periods of time. This is especially important for kids. Each metal detector was chosen for its relatively lightweight design.

What are the different types of metal detectors?

There are three main types of metal detectors: The big handheld models you may see people using to comb beaches for coins and relics, pinpoint detectors for precision digging, and submersibles for underwater searching. 

While many metal detectors have water-resistant detection coils and may be able to be submerged in water for a short time, submersibles are specifically designed to be used by divers to look for relics underwater. Pinpoint detectors are great to have on hand with your traditional metal detector to help you figure out exactly where you need to dig when you find something.

How much should I spend on a metal detector?

The price of entry to the metal detecting hobby can get pretty steep pretty quickly. But there are some solid, budget-friendly options like the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV, which sells for around $100. If you're more experienced, you can spend between $200 and $500 for a more advanced metal detector that can differentiate between gold, silver, brass, copper, and iron-based metals. Search and salvage professionals easily can spend thousands of dollars on exceptionally precise metal detectors for tracking down artifacts in dangerous environments.

How deep do most metal detectors go?

The vast majority of metal detectors can sense metal objects up to 6 inches deep in the ground, which is where you'd expect to find the most sought-after things like coins, rings, and other jewelry. The more advanced models can sense objects several feet underground, where things like gold and silver nuggets and larger relics may be found.

More metal detectors to consider

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