Which Is The Best General-Purpose Metal Detector?
Hunting for treasure is always entertaining and, provided that you have the proper tools for it, it can also be extremely productive. There are many places where you can go to find gold nuggets, jewelry, or even historical artifacts, and most are just sitting there, buried, waiting to be taken out of the ground. However, not even the best metal detector can guarantee success if you do not know where to look.
If you want to hunt for gold, then your best bet is to go online and download geological maps of your area. Then, simply go to where it is most probable to find gold. On the other hand, if you’re looking for jewelry, then a good place to start would be a local park or the beach. Those who pass bay and lose rings and necklaces don’t always find them. When it comes to historical artifacts, the best source is the site of an abandoned settlement or on an old trade route between medieval cities.
Regardless of what you want to hunt for, you will need a metal detector that can do more than simply let you know when it has found a target. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular metal detectors on the market. We have selected these based on the reviews of both professionals as well as amateurs and we have put them to the test in order to see if they’re worth the money.
What to look for in a quality metal detector?
There are hundreds of models online, divided into several tiers, depending on what advanced features they offer, however, not all features are necessary for all scenarios and if you’re on a budget, you may want to avoid paying close to a thousand dollars on a device that you want to use only on weekends.
This having been said, what is the best metal detector?
When it comes to entry-to-medium-level devices, there are 3 features that you will have to look for, in order to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth:
- Discrimination feature – This is the metal detector’s ability to identify what kind of metal it comes across and ignore the ones that you are not interested in. In the field, the discrimination function can help you avoid getting false positives from trash;
- Waterproof coil – Once you get the metal detector, you will be using it at the beach, after a rainy day, near lakes, etc. Having a waterproof coil is invaluable due to the fact that these devices are normally extremely sensitive to humidity. Although only premium devices are completely waterproof, having a coil that you can stick in water without it breaking is the next best thing;
- Intuitive display – Not everyone likes to listen to the audio signals created by a metal detector in order to figure out what metal they have found. This means that you will have to look for a model that comes with an LCD screen, preferably one that is easy to read and backlit;
Next, depending on your treasure hunting habits, you may want to look for a lightweight model that won’t cause your hand to get tired after a couple of hours, or get a model that comes with a forearm strap.
Top 4 Best Metal Detectors
Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro – A high-quality metal detector that comes with computerized ground balancing
The Land Ranger Pro from Bounty Hunter is simple in design, however, it comes with several advanced features that make it easier to find targets, regardless of what metal they are made from. The grip of the device is made from foam which not only makes it comfortable but prevents your hand from slipping when your palms sweat.
In terms of functionality, the model has 7 detection modes to choose from and a pinpoint mode that also comes with depth indicator. It also features an easy-to-use discrimination mode that can help you ignore certain materials that may have no value to you, such as iron. The Land Ranger Pro comes with a waterproof 11 DD search coil that can detect coins at a depth of up to 10”.
- Waterproof detection coil – The coil of the metal detector will work if submerged completely in water;
- V-break – The variable tone pointbreak is designed to help the user better understand what kind of metal the device has targeted;
- Ground grab – An automatic ground balancing system that can adjust the settings of the device for use in areas with mineralized terrain such as black sand;
- Only the coil is waterproof – Only the detection coil is waterproof, which means that you will have to be careful when taking the detector to the beach so that water doesn’t splash and enter the control box;
- No backlit display – The LCD screen is clear and the information displayed on it is easy to understand, however, it will be difficult to read at night if you do not have source light nearby;
What makes it different
The computerized ground balancing and accurate discrimination feature are essential if you want to have an enjoyable experience hunting for treasure. Overall, the detector is durable enough for any type of terrain and will work great in areas with mineralized soil.
Bounty Hunter PL Time Ranger – A professional metal detector designed for targeting specific metals
The PL Time Ranger is designed in order to make it easier to find target specific metals. it comes with 4 operation modes, a programmable notching system and a Blanker feature that helps eliminate surface interference when looking for targets that are deeper down.
One of the features that we like the most is the fact that the metal detector is fully programmable, which means that the user can control all the details of the scanning process. This makes it easy for experienced treasure hunters who know what they are looking for to ignore all other objects and metals and go straight for the target.
Furthermore, the Sniff function automatically modifies the detection settings of the device in order to look for objects that are similar to your current target.
- Waterproof search coil – The coil of the metal detector can be used underwater, which is great for when you’re hunting for treasure at the beach or after it rains;
- Fully programmable operation – The amount of control that the model gives the user is far greater than that of other models, which is great if you want to look for a specific target;
- 3-tone discrimination – The discrimination function produces different tones depending on what kind of metal the device finds;
- Sniff function – If you find something of value, you can use the sniff function in order to tell the detector to only look for similar objects;
- Not intuitive – Do not lose the directions that come with the detector. The model has a lot of features and understanding what they all do can be difficult just by looking at the screen;
What makes it different?
The PL Time Ranger from Bounty Hunter is designed for individuals who know what they are looking for. All the customizable features that it offers are better for finding specific metals and objects rather than for general searches.
Garrett Ace 400 Metal Detector – A metal detector that has a waterproof coil and comes with additional accessories
Most metal detectors reviews have a hard time establishing If the ACE 400 is a mid-range model or a device that is designed for professional use. The detector comes with several accessories, including an extra detection coil, making it seem more like a kit than a single product.
In terms of functionality, the model comes with an electronic pinpointing system, a discrimination feature and the ability to modify the detection frequency. Furthermore, Garrett has the ACE 400s detection capabilities by adding a high-resolution iron discrimination setting, which is great for heavily mineralized soil.
- Waterproof coil – The waterproof coil is great if you want an all-terrain metal detector that will still work if it gets slightly wet;
- Advanced Discrimination Feature – the 5 discrimination modes are perfect for finding specific types of metals and objects;
- Pinpointing feature – Most models in this price range require you to buy a pinpointer as a separate device. The fact that the ACE 400 model has one integrated into it means that you’ll have less to carry and worry about;
- Great accessories – Not many devices come with an extra coil, headphones, a rain cover, and a free magazine. These are all great to have especially if you’re on a budget and don’t have the money to buy them separately;
- Not the best headphones – The included headphones work great, but they will become uncomfortable after a couple of hours;
What makes it different?
The ACE 400 model is considered to be the best metal detector for individuals who are ready to move on to a more advanced device. It focuses on efficiency and speed, rather than on exploration, and it works great if you are looking for objects of specific sizes, such as coins or rings.
Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector – An affordable metal detector that comes with a pinpoint function
The Ace 250 Metal Detector from Garrett is the smaller, brother of the ACE 400 model presented above. The manufacturer focused on creating a device that is as affordable as possible without sacrificing any quality-of-life features. Although the detector does not offer the same flexibility that more expensive models do, it does come with a pinpointer feature as well as a discrimination system that helps the user ignore unwanted items.
As far as design is concerned, the model has a rugged construction and can be used in any land environment. The control box is placed at the upper end of the stem, which means that you don’t have to worry about water splashing on it if you want to take it to the beach. The coil is waterproof, so you can dip it into puddles or shallow water without having to worry that it may stop working.
- Submersible research coil – The included coil will work underwater, so you can take the detector to the beach;
- Great sensitivity control – The device comes with 8 sensitivity levels, which makes it great for pretty much any kind of soil, mineralizer or otherwise;
- Electronic pinpointer – The pinpointer system is great because it allows you to see exactly where the object is located. Also, the continuous target depth indicator will also tell you how far you have to dig in order to get to it;
- Discrimination feature – While not a fully-fledged discrimination system, the detector does come with the option to ignore targets similar to the one that you are currently targeting, basically allowing you to ignore trash or objects that you have already found;
- Confusing audio signals – Understanding what each signal means can be confusing until you get the hang of it. This is not a dealbreaker, but keep in mind that you will need to train yourself for a few days in order to use the detector properly.
What makes it different?
The ACE 250 is great if you’re on a budget but still want a metal detector that you can use on a regular basis. The model comes with all the features that you need in order to go treasure hunting, but don’t expect any advanced functionality. Pretty much all metal detector reviews online place it between budget models and advanced ones, so it’s a great choice if you’re still learning how to use these devices.
All the models included above are great for hunting for a wide variety of metals and objects, however, finding the best metal detector for you means looking at how you intend to use it. Consider the types of metals or objects that you want to look for, and then go through the models presented above and find the one that fits best.
Also, keep in mind that, there is no use paying for features that you won’t use, especially if you’re on a tight budget. However, getting a more expensive metal detector may in some cases help you find more valuable items, essentially helping you put the money back. Getting the right device is a matter of finding the right balance between price and useful features.
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