Best Metal Detector for Beginners
I am NOT a dealer and do not make any money from my recommendations about the Best Metal Detector for Beginners. I update this page as things change or improve, so please check back.
Here is a metal detector that I would recommend as a metal detector for the beginner in most turf environments. I don’t have experience on the beach, so cannot speak to that environment. This machine will still have a learning curve, but I believe that turn-on-and-go machines often sacrifice performance. This machine will operate that way, but also has plenty of adjustments as you advance.
Best Metal Detector for Beginners – SETUP
- Garrett AT Pro metal detector (~$550-600) – rugged, light, waterproof and quick to learn. Holds its value well. This detector “holds its own” with $1500-1800 metal detectors and thus is my current best metal detector for beginners.
- Gray Ghost Original metal detecting Headphones (~$80) – rugged and comfortable. Last for years. Worth the extra $40 or so over the cheap alternatives.
- Garrett Pro Pointer pinpointer (~$115-125) – This makes detecting so much more fun. Rarely available used. The alternative brands are not as good. This is the one to buy. It can be resold in a day if you don’t continue the hobby.
- Extra battery – ~$80 – not necessary but can be a lifesaver in the field.
- Nail apron or belt bag – anything will do as long as it has two compartments (one for treasure, one for trash.)
- Small digging tool (maybe in your garage. Please don’t use a full-size shovel – these make people nervous) Also, getting caught with a broken digging tool can ruin your day, see below for some “buy it for life” alternatives.
“KITS” AND CONFUSION
Unfortunately, most metal detector manufacturers have a “Minimum Advertised Price” (MAP) that really limits what the detector dealer can show online, so you really need to speak to someone about the Best Metal Detector for Beginners. So many will try to add “perceived value” with add-on accessories, which are often very cheap and poorly made. I would not take this stuff into account unless it’s basically free. This is my experience, and my opinion – I’m sure there are some good kits out there. My recommendation: BUY THINGS SEPARATELY.
- detector bag (they never get used and are cheaply made with horrible zippers – they are not airline friendly.)
- backpacks (junk… especially the zippers) … just buy a well-reviewed backpack on Amazon if you need it.
- hats (they are often very cheaply made)
- belt bags (ditto, buy one separately.)
- cheap headphones (junk!)
Tip: “Buy it for life” Metal Detecting Digging Tools
- Lesche 31T Serrated T-Handle Shovel ($65) – these are awesome “small” shovels (31″) that are a pleasure to use and cut very clean plugs. Here’s my review of metal detecting shovels if you’re wondering about them. You’ll see them in all of my videos. Easy to sharpen.
- Lesche Model 76 Digging Tool ($60) – this is the “standard” hand digger used by 50% of detectorists. It is the size of a garden trowel, but it is strong. Easy to sharpen.
Tip: Learn first, buy second – the metal detecting forums are great.
Don’t take my word for it about the Best Metal Detector for Beginners. Hit the forums and interact with other diggers for a few weeks before buying anything. Friendly metal detecting forums “all about detectors” section is good for discussing your upcoming purchase. Register and join, ask questions, ask opinions! But remember everyone has their favorite machine and people are biased… you should always ask people if they sell detectors when they offer a recommendation.
Tip: Used older machines may look perfect, but have horrible battery life or no parts available.
Most machines came with rechargeable batteries, but those will have long died – and replacements may not be available. This will leave you running expensive batteries. Some older detectors will work 2-3 hours max. The only way to know the real battery life of a machine is a field test. I don’t think these are always the Best Metal Detector for Beginners
Metal Detecting Dealers who have earned my trust in 2016/2017/2018 (please shop around!)
- Treasure Mountain Metal Detectors – I ordered 5-6 things from Ed Huffman in 2016 and they all arrived fast and at good prices. Ed was great at communicating about my order and all went well. I think I would go to Ed for a new detector, even if I was shopping for a detector for beginners.
- Kellyco – If you know exactly what you want, they can be very competitive on price, but beware the pressure “cross sell” or “kit upgrade.” They have a lot of cheap crap also, which would not be a good beginner detector choice unless you want to be frustrated.