Selecting & Buying a Metal Detector, page 2

What You Should Do Before and When Purchasing Your First Metal Detector

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1) Once you have decided what type of metal detecting activity you are going to carry out, you need to determine what metal detector may be the most suitable for your metal detecting tasks. My Guide to Types of Metal Detecting Activities will help you as it lists representative metal detectors and equipment required for every major type of metal detecting activities, whether it is done on land or underwater.

2) After you narrow your choices to a group of metal detectors, talk to detector owners and dealers about these machines and try to average what they say.

3) Ignore unsubstantiated advertising claims that are simply "sell statements" and do not increase your knowledge of detectors.

4) First check out metal detectors built by leading manufacturers that have a continuing program of detector improvement. If you would like to visit any particular metal detector manufacturer's website, you can find its link on my link page - "Websites of All Manufacturers of Metal Detectors Worldwide". MY ADVISE: If you do not find the manufacturer's name on that page, it means that I could not find any reliable information on that manufacturer and its products, or the manufacturer is known for producing either gimmicks based on outdated technology or feeble semblances of well-reputated metal detectors, or its metal detectors are poorly built from cheap materials in Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe. Or the manufacturer simply ceased production. If you are still in doubt, try to do your own research, but you better stick with the well known, tested, proven and trusted name brands!

5) Educate yourself in latest technologies and advanced features incorporated into the latest models of metal detectors, which nowadays make a big difference. Some of my articles and sections contain a wealth of invaluable information. One, for example - "Quieter Operation of A Metal Detector vs. Detecting More Deep Coins" gives details on myths about Sensitivity, Discrimination and Detection Depth. This article is included in the "Search Programs for Minelab FBS Metal Detectors" section where ALL SETTINGS and MODES of E-Trac and CTX 3030 metal detectors are explained in details. Another helpful technical article - XPlained Deus' Settings, Features and Modes, explains key-settings, features and modes of the XP Deus (versions V2.0, v3.0 and subsequent firmware versions) - one of the most efficient metal detectors on today's market.

6) Try to find and read as many reviews for detectors in focus, but exercise some caution against fake reviews and field tests. Such reviews can be characterized by a simple peculiarity: most of their space being taken by itemization of the detector's controls and features while lacking descriptions of actual performance, or being inconlusive about it. If you come across a statement like "I found a gold ring within first 15 minutes of metal detecting!", this review is rather suspicious than an unbiased review from a real user, especially a novice. Usually, it takes a beginner a few weeks to learn the search coil discipline alone.

7) After you narrowed your search to a couple of models, visit a local dealer and try them out to determine which is the most comfortable for you.

8) If possible, rent a detector and try it in real metal detecting conditions.

9) 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. In case of a used metal detector, you will never know how badly it may have been abused (dropped onto the hard ground surface, exposed to heat and moisture, or even drowned). The detector's search coil will never tell you how it was bumped hard against rocks and roots. But you likely will hear something like "Oh, I used this detector only once or twice a week in my backyard!"

If you are getting a new metal detector, be aware of cheap deals, and better skip them! Otherwise, you will end up getting junk, and waste your money. Same goes for buying discounted items from large sellers/distributors of metal detectors and equipment. For example, they may sell cheap Chinese-made detectors for prices that are three or four times higher than the prices they got them for: $50 a piece when bought in bulk. And eBay is full of those cheapos!


I would not advise to anyone to buy a cheap detector. Not only a good metal detector is a vehicle back through time, it is an investment. As a novice to the hobby begins metal detecting, he/she goes from curious to intrigued. From intrigued a beginner goes to serious, and from serious to addicted, and there is no backing out.

Now a detectorist has got a growing appetite for more profitable sites, more time to be in the field, and for better finds. A cheap detector would hardly provide the latter, and a treasure hunter would have to spend more money upgrading to a better machine. As an old saying goes, "A stingy person pays twice."

Today the technology is developing so fast that a number of new models appear on the market every year. And they all have some new features which give them an advantage over previous models of the same class. Metal detectors of a new generation are capable to detect those targets that have not been detected by machines of preceding generations. And if you get a detector from the latter group, chances are that you will be two generations behind next year. It means that, at any given "searched-out" site, you will be getting bored while others with advanced machines will be pocketing "goodies" and would not think of this site as "searched out" at all.

If you are not sure whether or not to invest over $1,000 into an advanced metal detector in focus, rent such a metal detector from your local dealer, or borrow it from your friend (best if he/she comes along), and try it out at any metal detecting site for a few days. After you get some feel of the process, it would be easier for you to decide whether you seriously want to pursue the hobby or not.

I hope that in the near future, the engineers will design a metal detector that could be easily updated every time the technology leaps forward. It would be nice if the detector's design would incorporate some easy removable electronic boards or microprocessor chips into the control box, so anyone could modify one's metal detector at home. And then a detectorist would be able to continue using the machine to which he/she has already been accustomed; thus, achieving greater results.

Or by switching one microchip, a detector user could change his/her metal detector's type, let's say, from a coin shooting machine to a gold-prospecting detector! Oh well, before such a detector comes into existence, inevitability of upgrading to a more capable detector will remain a big factor. That is why it should be seriously considered when you are in the process of buying a metal detector.

And finally, never forget that what makes one detector more productive than another is not only the detector's ability to correctly "recognize" many "difficult" targets, but also is a person who operates it. Choose the most advanced detector you can afford, learn its "language" well, do hard work, and then you will enjoy the fruitful results.

Happy metal detector shopping!

Buying a New Metal Detector

You can find and compare Specifications, Features, Prices, Users' Reviews and Ratings - all helpful Information, for all metal detectors available on the market today in my Metal Detectors' Reviews Worldwide section.

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Sources: Detectorist by Robert H. Sickler, Buried Treasures You Can Find by Robert F. Marx, Cache Hunting by H. Glenn Carson.