Best Inexpensive Entry-Level Metal Detectors

Garrett ACE 200i

The Garrett ACE 200i model opens our rating of the best metal detectors. The American company Garrett has been specializing in the production of metal detectors for more than half a century, and the ACE 200i is the «youngest» model in the line, which three years ago replaced the popular, but already thoroughly outdated «one hundred and fifty». The symbol I in the marking means «international», «international» — that is, the metal detector can measure depth not only in «native» inches, but also in centimeters we are used to.

The metal detector is comfortable and lightweight, with a nine-position rod length adjustment. The principle of operation is VLF (that is, it works at a fairly low frequency of 6.5 kHz), the search is only dynamic. But, what is most important and pleasant, it has an indication of the VDI (conductivity index) of the detected object, which will make it possible to determine what is under your feet: a cast-iron hatch or coveted gold. The branded PROformance™ monocoil is completely sealed, so you can safely use this metal detector as a beach one. And, finally, the metal detector has an automatic ground balance, and as a «beginner» it definitely succeeded.

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Main advantages:

  • Simplicity and ease of development
  • light weight
  • VDI indicator
Minuses:
  • Not the best VDI accuracy
  • Small depth of search (that is, he is still more of a «beach» than a «treasure hunter»)
Models in the line:
  • Garrett ACE 200i

    — Detection frequency 6.5 kHz

  • Garrett ACE 300i

    — Detection frequency 8 kHz2

9.7
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

Simple in principle, and a very good model of a metal detector for mastering — then, of course, you will grow up to more accurate and serious ones, but for starters, this is it.

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Teknetics Eurotek

Unlike the bright yellow «Garrett», the Teknetics metal detector, also developed in the USA, looks more serious, but do not flatter yourself — this is also the «youngest» amateur-class model in the line. It weighs only a kilogram, so for novice searchers who are not distinguished by a heroic physique, it will fit just right, it will be comfortable during long-term work.

The search principle is also VLF (7.81 kHz), sensitivity and discrimination by VDI are adjustable. Moreover, for convenience, only low-conductive materials are cut off depending on the setting, the metal detector will always “see” copper or silver. However, there are moments that clearly put it in class lower than the ACE 200i.

First of all, there is no ground balancing. In combination with the expectedly small search depth, we get a typical «beacher». The coil is waterproof, but the connectors on the cord are less solid than those of the Garrett — there they are metal, fixed with a nut, here they are non-fixed plastic plugs. And, finally, the choice of power source is less successful here — instead of AA batteries, a nine-volt Krona type. In general, given the price difference, it is better to add money to the Garrett — it will definitely be worth it.

Main advantages:

  • VDI indication
  • Custom Discrimination
  • Ease of controls
Minuses:
  • No manual or automatic discrimination setting
  • Low accuracy of VDI determination
Models in the line:
  • Teknetics Eurotek Pro

9.3
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

Not a bad model, but purely beginner — you grow out of it quickly. But light and simple, even a child will be fine.

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Bounty Hunter Tracker IV

Next in our ranking is the inexpensive Bounty Hunter Tracker IV metal detector. The arrow indicator and two analog controls of the Bounty Hunter immediately betray its simplicity — yes, you can forget about the digital discrimination setting, as well as about the program modes. But this metal detector costs half the price of the same «Garrett», for example. And in fact, not everything is so scary: there is an auto ground balance, and discrimination, although “analog”, is configurable. It works only in dynamic search mode, and a three-position switch allows you to select a more suitable signal filtering algorithm.

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Main advantages:

  • Reliability
  • Not discrete, but smooth tuning (in this, the «analogue» has its own plus)
  • Response speed
  • Autobalancing
Minuses:
  • Relatively large weight (under 2 kg)
  • Less convenience of initial development in comparison with digital

9.2
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

The metal detector works well in terms of depth for such a price, it is simple as a stick — well, of course, newfangled digital cameras look more interesting, but this one is cheaper, and no worse if you know how to use it.

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RGK MD-10

And what about very budget options? Well, “to try” you can also take the MD-10 analog metal detector, which, with the current price hikes, still remains quite cheap. Naturally, there will no longer be any bells and whistles: an ordinary dial indicator and simple electronics with a maximum search depth of 30 cm (according to the manufacturer) and two operating modes.

They are controlled by the discriminator regulator — when turned all the way to the left to the All metal position, it completely turns off discrimination, but when you turn to the right, you will have to select the position for a more or less accurate choice of metal: for example, according to the instructions, the “10 o’clock” position corresponds to the iron, a nickel 5-cent coin — “for 12 hours” (why this is in the Russian-language manual, however, is not clear), and so on. In general, compared to more advanced devices, RGK significantly loses in ease of setup and use, you can’t argue with that. With non-ferrous metals, as practice shows, the metal detector works really strangely.

Power source — two 9-volt batteries installed in separate compartments on both sides of the case. The solution is also not from the category of practical, and they are spent quickly. But whatever one may say, it is thanks to the affordable price that the MD-10 will allow you to try what it is like working with a metal detector, and then such purchases are either replaced by a more advanced model, or gather dust in a corner behind a cabinet for a long time.

Main advantages:

  • Affordable price
  • Generally suitable for trial work on ferrous metal
Minuses:
  • Mediocre build quality
  • A very conditionally working discriminator
Models in the line:
  • RGK MD-12

8.6
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

Started with this. Then, of course, on a more serious model, everything turned out to be simpler and more accurate, but still …

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The best mid-range metal detectors

Fisher F75

Almost a century old American company Fisher Labs is considered to be one of the world leaders in the development of metal detectors, and one of their most popular models is the good old F75, although classified by the manufacturer as a hobby, it is by no means a “beginner”. It is appreciated for its good detection depth and response speed, the ability to select one of four operating frequencies (standard — 13 kHz). Ground balancing — manual or automatic to choose from, static search is supported. Good protection against electromagnetic interference is also a serious plus, whoever tried to walk with an amateur model under power lines will understand.

The central place on the display is occupied by a large VDI indicator, the rest of the indicators and the menu are, as it were, “spread apart” on the sides. The settings menu is not very legible — you still have to smoke the instructions to remember how the bc mode differs from PF or dE.

Of course, the metal detector also has places that are not entirely clear. Even though the non-switchable backlight does not “eat” batteries (F75 is generally quite good in terms of economy), but sometimes it just gets in the way, and in the grass the metal detector can start to tire the sound with phantom noises. But in general, in its class, this metal detector will definitely become a good choice — and its popularity did not arise from scratch.

Main advantages:

  • Quality balancing and discrimination
  • Abundance of settings
  • Good accuracy
Minuses:
  • There are minor flaws, well «stoned» on the specialized forums.

9.8
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

One of the best metal detectors in its class, if not the best.

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Minelab Vanquish 540

Our review of the best Minelab Vanquish 540 metal detectors continues. Australian gold miners had a hand in the creation of Minelab, but this is rather interesting as a historical fact: but the fact that Minelab products are usually well “sharpened” for working on soils with strong mineralization is worth note right away. However, first of all, the professional line — this is also not to be forgotten.

The Vanquish 540 is a multi-frequency (Minelab’s proprietary Multi-IQ technology) metal detector with a 12″ sealed coil. Due to the double telescopic design (the straight section of the curved bar is folded on one side, the base of the control panel is pushed inward on the other) and the weight of 1.3 kg makes it easy to transport and allows you to work for a long time without much fatigue. There are 4 modes of operation: “Coins” (the discriminator passes iron and small items made of non-ferrous metals like beer can openers), “Relics” (also only non-ferrous metals, but with an increase in the search depth due to coarsening of discrimination), “Decorations” (only iron is cut off, but not non-ferrous small targets) and a customizable «Custom».

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Main advantages:

  • Abundance (but at the same time convenience) of indication and user settings
  • Ease of transport
  • Batteries included
Minuses:
  • On heavily littered ground, the discriminator may already begin to fail, despite the fact that the same “Coin” mode is described as specially created for such conditions.
Models in the line:
  • Minelab Vanquish 540 Pro Pack

    — extended equipment

  • Minelab Vanquish 440

  • Minelab Vanquish 340

9.6
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

A strong middle peasant in the class, but in general it really pleases to this day.

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Nokta&Makro Simplex Plus

This Turkish-made metal detector has already become very popular in our country: its assets include both good quality and declared underwater operation at depths of up to 3 meters (the limit for the IP68 specification specified by the manufacturer). Power source — built-in 2300 mAh lithium-polymer battery. Which, on the one hand, is convenient (autonomy of 12 hours plus the ability to quickly recharge from any power bank or car charger to the cigarette lighter along the way), but on the other hand, it limits the use in the cold. However, in essence, Simplex Plus is a typical “beach man”, which will be used most often only in warmth, looking for values ​​lost by vacationers near the shore or not far from it in the water.

Search modes — 5, displayed by fairly intelligible icons (for example, a village house means the «Field» mode). The indicator of the estimated depth of the target is five-segment (based on a 25 mm coin as a target). Ground balancing is possible in manual or automatic mode. The metal detector works only in VLF at a frequency of 12 kHz.

The firmware of the device is updated by the user on his own, and, by the way, we recommend using not the current 2.77, but the older 2.68 — after it, the manufacturer decided to play with the settings, increasing the search depth, in fact, he drove the discriminator crazy.

Main advantages:

  • Attractive features for the price
  • Water resistance, although the most basic (real «underwater» metal detectors can dive deeper)
  • Fast battery charging
Minuses:
  • Weak bar
Models in the line:
  • Nokta&Makro Simplex Plus WHP

9.3
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

It can be said that it is a “folk” model — I myself used it for a couple of years, until I switched to “purely underwater”.

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The best professional metal detectors

Minelab Equinox 800

If you don’t get completely “into the jungle” like the Garrett Recon-Pro, which, at a price that has long exceeded 600 thousand, is essentially more than professional, since it is designed for military sappers, then we would call the best metal detector still quite affordable , but a very interesting Equinox 800. At the same time, unlike the same Gold Monster 1000 produced by the same company, it is not “sharpened” exclusively for finding gold, but is universal.

The detector is multi-frequency, allowing you to work either in the range from 5 to 40 kHz, or select a specific frequency (5, 10, 15, 20 or 40 kHz). This, by the way, is the fundamental difference between universal metal detectors and «gold» ones, in which the operating frequency is most often the same. And usually from 45 kHz and above (in this case, you can even look for small flakes of gold, but the detector will miss a banal coin). There are 4 preset operating modes, each with two saved profiles — in total, 8 modes can be configured “for yourself”. The standard coil is an 11-inch DD Smart coil that can dive into water to a depth of 3 meters.

In the kit, it should be noted, there is a wireless module, complete headphones are also wireless, in a hard case. A specialized cable with a «proprietary connector» from the delivery set is used to charge the built-in 5000 mAh battery of the metal detector itself (up to 12 hours of operation on a single charge), while the headphones use a regular mini-USB.

Main advantages:

  • Lots of fine tuning
  • Saving two profiles for each mode
  • Wireless headphones included
  • Water resistant up to 3 meters for both the coil and the device itself
Minuses:
  • Proprietary charging cable (we don’t recommend losing it!)
Models in the line:
  • Minelab Equinox 800

    — Detection frequency 100 kHz, 10 kHz, 15 kHz, 5 kHz, 20 kHz, 40 kHz

  • Minelab Equinox 600

    — Detection frequency 10 kHz, 15 kHz, 5 kHz

9.7
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

With this, after the «amateur» one, you can already begin to work seriously — it fully adapts to the situation, is moisture resistant and accurate.

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XP Metal Detectors Deus

The manufacturer describes his Deus as «the world’s first completely wireless» metal detector — and if wireless headphones no longer surprise anyone, then here the coil communicates with the electronics of the control panel «over the air.» In addition, the control panel itself is made in the form of a removable remote control, and the pinpointer is also wireless. And you can also set up the operation of the metal detector from standard headphones, without using the remote control panel at all (I can’t say that this is such a valuable opportunity — on the other hand, the manufacturer even offers cheaper configurations without a remote control, only with headphones). So the presence of a charging cord with three “tails” in the kit should not be surprising — almost every element of the structure, except for the rod, has to be charged here. The author could not help but sneer: who, except the French, could come up with this (and the manufacturer is “registered” precisely in France, not far from Toulouse)?

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Main advantages:

  • The abundance of settings allows you to precisely adjust the mode of operation to the situation
  • Availability of oscilloscope indication
  • Coil water resistant up to 6 meters
Minuses:
  • The need to charge each element of the detector
  • Expensive regular coils without alternatives for installing others
  • Dreary setting

9.3
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

Looks… weird. But it works for five plus, if you get used to it.

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The best underwater metal detectors

Minelab Excalibur II

Usually, the «underwater» declared in the characteristics of metal detectors is rather conditional. But not in the case of Excalibur II — it is able to work at depths up to 60 meters. For this reason, his design is somewhat atypical: the fragile liquid crystal display had to be abandoned, and all the “twist” controls were placed along the bar. With it, you can really feel like a hydroacoustic submariner — after all, all information is transmitted through the complete waterproof headphones.

The proprietary multi-frequency search technology is also used here, the metal detector operates on 17 frequency bands, and it makes no difference to it whether it is immersed in salt or fresh water. So, if you are interested in a serious underwater search, including gold and coins, then you should pay attention to this model of a metal detector if possible in the budget.

Main advantages:

  • Ability to work at depths up to 60 mm
  • Multi-frequency search
Minuses:
  • «Blind» settings with knobs without a display

9.9
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

A truly full-fledged marine model, it has been repeatedly tested on the Black Sea, and with interesting finds.

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Nokta&Makro Anfibio Multi

This metal detector, created by the merger of two Turkish companies, is already more compromise in terms of characteristics — it can “swim” only at depths of up to 5 meters, but it has a more familiar “user interface” and is quite suitable for working on land. The principle of operation is a three-frequency VLF (5, 14 and 20 kHz), there are also more affordable versions with a fixed frequency on sale. A nice bonus from the manufacturer is that wireless headphones are immediately included.

The display of the metal detector is informative, and it is not difficult to figure out the settings. Ground balance is set manually or automatically. The control buttons are small and not very convenient, but this is a certain retribution for the waterproof design — the board with them is covered with a dense rubber insert.

Built-in batteries are responsible for power, which is both good and bad at the same time: yes, you don’t have to buy batteries, but on a long trip you will have to take care of charging. Fortunately, the metal detector is charged through a regular USB port (albeit “mini”, not “micro”) — a power bank will help out. Headphones, by the way, are also charged via “mini” and not “micro” USB.

Main advantages:

  • Good water resistance
  • Readable and informative display
  • Accuracy
  • Wireless headphones
Minuses:
  • Not the most comfortable buttons
  • Inability to quickly replace dead batteries
Models in the line:
  • Nokta&Makro Anfibio Multi

    — Detection frequency 5 kHz, 14 kHz, 20 kHz

  • Nokta&Makro Anfibio 14

    — Detection frequency 14 kHz

  • Nokta&Makro Anfibio 19

    — Detection frequency 19 kHz

9.6
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

Of course, it is not a professional diving metal detector, but it is not at all scary for him to swim near the beach, or just accidentally get caught in the rain.

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Garrett AT Max Lite

Garrett, alas, lost this time: its maximum diving depth is only 3 meters, and the search is carried out at a fixed frequency of 13.6 kHz. It works only in dynamic mode, without static search — so, despite the pleasant additions in the form of radio headphones, the metal detector is still inferior to less famous competitors, although it is generally quite acceptable for a waterproof model with a good search depth.

Tuning is manual or automatic. There are four software discrimination modes, there is also the possibility of self-configuring the discrimination mask. The indication and control are not the most understandable, so do not forget about the instructions.

Main advantages:

  • Manual Discrimination Mask Setting
  • Good «range»
  • light weight
  • Radio headphones included
Minuses:
  • Fixed frequency operation
  • Limited immersion depth
Models in the line:
  • Garrett At Max

    — with headphones

  • Garrett AT Max

    — with headphones + Pro Pointer AT

9.5
/ ten
Rating

Reviews

First of all, I took a metal detector not only for diving, but for the sake of real moisture protection: “in the field” anything happens.

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