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How Deep Can Metal Detectors Detect and Where to Buy One?

by Lisa Hayden
search with a metal detector in sedimentary sediments

Metal detecting has almost always been touted as the ‘easy rich’ way. At first, metal detecting is interesting—then it gets addicting. If you’ve never tried any gears for finding ‘real’ treasures, it’s a good thing you started here. Let’s go further into details.
It might sound silly, but metal detectors don’t always detect in high depths. It might work for a couple of feet below and will vary depending on the ground you’re using it on.

What Considerations Do I Need To Check To Find A Quality Metal Detector? 

Most hobbyists would agree that it’s more than just depth detection.

  • First, what you’re looking for? Are you looking for jewellery?

Are you looking for precious metals such as gold? 

Are you looking for ‘rare’ finds such as buried watches or art pieces? Some hobbyists are even using metal detectors to detect items from the trash bin. Each metal detector has its strengths (and weaknesses), so it’s best to establish this first.

  • Second, on which ground do you intend to use this gear? Certain metal detectors work best in certain terrain more than others. When you hit the beach, you may want to go for waterproof detectors. Searches off-shore may require gear with the capacity to detect metals during deep dives.
blonde girl in sunglasses with metal detector on the beach
  • Third, how frequently are you planning to use it? The frequency of your use may dictate the price of the metal detector you’ll need.

Needless to say, when you’re not going to use it as frequently (say only for holidays or special occasions), go for high-end gears since they are more durable.

  • Fourth, are you a beginner or a pro? The variety of metal detectors being sold in the market can be daunting.

You might even end up purchasing a gear that could be ‘out of your league’ and not fully utilize it during your first few uses. So the best way to weigh your options is to start with basic features and move up as you accumulate experiences and need more advanced ones.
And lastly, what’s your budget?

From the considerations mentioned above, your level of expertise may dictate the amount of the gear you purchase.

How Much Do Metal Detectors Cost?

Let’s streamline it like this: a metal detector with basic features will command lower prices.

Most metal detectors in the market range from $300 to $1500 with varying features. Figure out first how much you’d be willing to shell out, research what you’ll need, and look for metal detectors that suit your preference.

This will keep you from getting overwhelmed (and may I say, over-budgeted).

Here are a few rough estimates as to the depth detection for certain kinds of metals.

  • Jewellery and coins are often detected from 7 to 30 centimetres below the surface. 
  • Larger pieces similar to a jam jar lid size may be detected from 22 to 40 centimetres. Items larger than a coffee bean can be detected between 30 to 60 centimetres.
  • Bulkier metals similar to a cannon shell or larger may be detected from 60 to 90 centimetres. 

It’s best to not peg your expectations on these rough estimates to avoid deep disappointments. Better you experience it first so you can draw your conclusion. Make this your guide and not your absolutes.

silhuete girl with metal detector on the beach on the sunset

Where To Purchase Your Ideal Metal Detector?

Several physical stores such as Walmart sell these for an affordable price. Brick-and-mortar establishments and several dedicated metal detector shops might be a good avenue for choosing the right type if it’s available nearby.

Choosing from an online platform may give you more variation, but with little to no guarantee in meeting your expectations.

Since you can’t physically see the item, your next best move is to do research first by reading listicle articles metal detectors like the one we have written here. Checking for reviews from big online shopping platforms such as Amazon should give you an idea about the features, drawbacks, and strengths of your chosen product. 

What Elements Should I Be Looking For Before Purchasing A Metal Detector? 

Checking the coil size of the metal detector is essential. The size of its coil will dictate the depth of its detection. However, there’s one drawback: the larger the coil, the less sensitive and accurate it is. Save money and weigh the pros and cons before purchasing.

A metal detector will use beat frequency or pulse inductions to detect metals. If you’re looking for deep-seated metals, go for pulse inductions. Consider also if your chosen metal detector will still work in areas with ground minerals.

Every detector works on different frequencies. Detectors with lower frequencies have great depths but are less sensitive.

High-frequency metal detectors will have greater sensitivity but lower depth capability. If you’re not particular with depth ranges or sensitivity, finding a mid-range metal detector would suffice. 

Amateur archeologist with metal detector in field

Peculiar Hunting Spots fFor ‘Rare’ Finds 

First off the bat: your yard. While it may sound obvious, this is one of the most unlikely places to look for treasures.

This is an excellent place to test your new metal detector (and see if it works, of course). Bury various kinds of metals in the garden and familiarize yourself with the sounds each kind of metal produces.

This way, when you test it out in other places, you’ll easily detect metal based on how it sounds. 

Packed with lots of people, a sports stadium might be another unlikely place for a good find. Hobbyists may find loads of coins and other lost valuables after an exciting game.

With so many distracted people under one roof, what are the odds of finding jewellery, coins, or watches afterwards? But here’s the catch: it’s private property.

It’s best to ask for permission before taking on this type of landscape. 

And finally, head out to the nearest ocean with some lotion, shades, and lots of enthusiasm. Some people lose (or forget) pieces of jewellery and other valuables after a long sunbathing session or dip in the ocean.

But, that’s not all. Some lucky hobbyists do detect relics washed up on the shoreline. While public beaches may allow this type of activity, written permission is needed if you’re planning to do this within a private beach.

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