Ok, so before you can answer the question, it’s important to understand that there is no such thing as the best metal detector for beginners . It all depends on a few things. You will need to choose a machine that lines up with your experience, the budget you have available and the sort of things that you will be searching for and where you will be using your detector.
Let us start with your budget. Some of the models listed below are all relatively cheap detectors and are built for ease of use and to be an all round machine. There are great for detecting coins, mislaid items in fields and for finding long lost relics on farm land. And for most beginner metal detectorist, that’s all you really need. But if you want to go looking for gold you need to start to look at specialist machines.
Best Beginner Metal Detector-How to Choose
As we have already stated, your budget will determine which beginner metal detector you can buy. Lucky for us even if you go for a good metal detector aimed at the beginner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find something of value with it. It is ok to start off with an inexpensive detector; in fact it is probably a good thing to do. Prices can range from £80 right up to a few hundred pounds. The lower-end of the market machines tend to be easier to operate. And especially when you are new to the hobby, you don’t want to be blinded by the technology and to give up before you have started.
Where will you use it?
You need to decide what type of metal detecting you intend to do. Will you be heading down to the beach? Will you be approaching farmers, with the intention of detecting on farmland and fields? Or will you want to have an all-around machine, until you find which area you want to specialize in?
What should you look out for?
As you do your research, you will probably notice that most detectors out there look about the same size and shape. But there are a few key things that separate a good beginner’s metal detector and something that will end up stored away in your garage. Things to look for are the coil size, the features it has, and the control box. These things can help in identifying whether a target should even be dug up or not.
The 6 Best Metal Detectors For Beginners
- Garrett ACE 300i Metal Detector
- Bounty Hunter Tracker IV Metal Detector
- Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector
- DR.ÖTEK Lightweight Metal Detector
- Garrett EuroACE Metal Detector
- Nokta Makro Simplex+ Waterproof Metal Detector
Entry-level metal detectors
Below I’ve compiled a list of what I believe to be a few of the best entry-level metal detectors on the market today. A more detailed review is in the link or you can jump over to Amazon to read the reviews:-
Garrett ACE 300i Metal Detector-All purpose machine and simple to operate
Simple to use.
If you are looking for what is the best metal detector for beginners, then the Garrett ACE 300i is the perfect starting place. Even the more experienced metal detectorists love this machine. First off, it’s simple and easy to use and while it might be lightweight it’s also very sturdy and strong. It’s easy to carry over any terrain and also features a padded forearm support, so extended periods of use are no problem.
Impressive range of features.
And for its price, the Garrett ACE 300i Metal Detector also has an impressive range of features which include one-touch treasure hunting, five search modes, all metal, relics, coins, jewelry, and custom setting. It also features a continuous depth indicator, and pinpoint targeting. All in all, giving you better detection abilities and minimizing the amount of digging you have to do.
In the custom mode, you are able to control the notch discrimination and target ID settings. All metal mode can discover all sorts of metals and can be used when searching for all different types of targets. The jewelry mode will identify jewelry, coin mode will identify coins, and the relic mode will detect things such as lead and brass.
- New Digital Target ID: 0 to 99 scale offers target information
- New 7″ x 10″ (18 x 25cm) PROformance™ submersible search coil offers more coverage, depth
- Higher frequency (8 kHz) provides better sensitivity on low and medium-conductivity targets (i.e. gold, lead)
- Increased Iron Resolution: 3x the iron resolution of an ACE 250, to help overcome target masking in iron-laden hunt sites
- Adjustable Frequency to help eliminate interference
- Includes Electronic Pinpointing: precisely locates targets and speeds recovery
- Notch Discrimination: Modify discrimination patterns based on what you are seeking.
- Five Search Modes (plus Pinpoint)
- Eight (8) Sensitivity/Depth adjustments
- Coin Depth Indicator determines target depth
- Includes revised Target ID legend and Mode/Discrimination patterns to better suit the search needs of international users.
Pros & Cons
Verdict on the Garrett ACE 300i
At first glance, it seems that the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV appears an obvious inclusion on our list to find the best metal detector for beginners. Let’s take a closer look and see what this machine has to offer.
The Bounty Hunter brand makes a range of starter scopes and this model is by far its most popular model. And the beauty of this machine is that it has been designed to be easy to operate for the novice detectorist.
This basic level detector comes with three search modes and an adjustable stem. It’s also well made so can stand a lot of rough handling in difficult terrains. It can be used with the built-in speaker although, to avoid annoying people around you, you probably want to buy a set of headphones.
The Control Panel-Simplicity in its Design
It you don’t want to be blinded by technology, then this is the detector for you. There are literally two knobs and a switch on this model. If you are looking for simplicity, you have found it.
On the face of the control panel, there is a knob either side. The knob on the left hand side controls the sensitivity of the machine. This also acts as a on-off switch.
The right hand side knob controls your discrimination. Just below this control there is a mode selection switch. And on the face of the control panel is an analog reader, which also features a low battery indicator.
What is Discrimination?
This useful device allows you to distinguish between the metals you want to find. Low-end grade ore, middle-of-the-road grade ore and high-end grade ore. Let’s take a quick look at these and where the different things you will find fit into these catagories.
Low-end then to be low conductivity items such as iron, lead and steel. The middle-of-the-road have a little more conductivity than the lower end metals. These are things such as gold, nickel and brass. And finally the higher end metals include things such as silver, zinc and copper.
Set up a Test Garden.
The best thing to do with this detector is to create a test garden, so you can adjust the discrimination to determine the metals which you want to find. Failing that you can always just use the all metal setting if you don’t want to miss anything.
The Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is extremely easy to use and offers real value for money. It also gives a good performance over a wide range of terrains and conditions.
- Detects all kinds of metal from iron relics, coins and household items to precious metals like silver and gold
- Quickly switch between Discrimination, All-Metal and Tone modes with a flick of the mode toggle
- Renowned ground balancing capability for the best results in all kinds of soil
- 8-inch Waterproof Open Face Searchcoil
- Target Strength Meter Display
Pros & Cons
There are not many beginner metal detectors on the market that can match up to the Garrett ACE 250 when it comes to metal detecting. This model is packed full of great features, is very sensitive and extremely easy to use.
For the price the Garrett ACE 250 is hard to beat. It has a lot of features that you will only find on high end machines. Its very light yet sturdy as well and is easily one of the best entry level metal detectors on the market.
This little machine from the people at Garrett, puts previously expensive features in the hands of the newcomer. As you hold the ACE 250, you will notice that the controls are all in touching distance for the fingers and thumb, making any adjustments you need, very easy indeed.
Built within the housing is the speaker and there is also a very convenient headphone jack. One word of warning though, the Garrett ACE 250 speaker volume is not adjustable, so when you buy some headphones to use with the detector, go for a set with a volume control built in.
Easy To Use.
The Garrett ACE 250 can be used right out of the box. You can just switch it on and the machine does the rest. You can start out in the factory set coin mode and go hunting. Or as time goes on you can learn a little more about the controls and there settings and adjust them accordingly.
- Graphic target ID cursor (12 segments)
- Interchangeable Ace series search coils
- Discrimination, accept/reject notch
- Large LCD display
- Electronic pinpoint
- Microprocessor controlled
- Sensitivity & depth adjustment (8 settings)
- Push button controls
- Battery power indicator
- Clear speaker tone
- Coin depth indicator
- Tone ID (3 levels)
- Headphone jack output (6.3mm stereo)
- Easy to use touch & go operation
Pros & Cons
This machine is designed for both beginners and serious metal detectorists as well. The DR.ÖTEK Lightweight Metal Detector has a range of useful features. From a handy back-lit LCD display, which really comes into its own as the light starts to drop, it even works in total darkness, to a large waterproof coil, this detectors great for any conditions and any terrain you might come across.
Eliminating Unwanted Signals
The ability to adjust the sensitivity of the detector, makes the DR.ÖTEK Lightweight Metal Detector a highly versatile machine. This feature comes into its own when you are being plagued by false readings. You can simply adjust the controls to eliminate these unwanted indicators.
Amazing Depth Locator
This unit gives you one of the best ‘coin depths’ locators you can find. Due to the quality of the electronics built into the model, you are able to locate coins and other metal objects to a depth of 25cmm, outdoing many other detectors on the market. They also allow you to adjust this setting based on your particular aims and objectives.
The DR.ÖTEK Lightweight Metal Detector is equipped with five search modes, which makes it hard to beat when it comes to tailoring your detecting. You can choose from pinpoint mode, discrimination, all metal, jewelry and memory modes to make your searching more structured.
The Search Coil-Its A Big One.
The detectors amazing functionality is mainly due to the 9.8″ search coil fitted to this machine. And with its ability to detect metal objects up to 25cm under the surface,due to its impressive size, the coil is more than capable of finding much larger objects even deeper than that.
Now even though the DR.ÖTEK Lightweight Metal Detector is not actually waterproof, the coil is. So if you are looking for a metal detector to take to the beach or to search along river banks and to search in shallow water, this could be the machine for you.
Whether you’re an seasoned detectorist or a complete beginner, the DR.ÖTEK Lightweight Metal Detector is a great choice. With the ability to find a range of materials at impressive depths and the option to use it in and around shallow waters, you’ll have endless fun with it, wherever your detecting takes you.
- Top of the DR.ÖTEK range this is a great machine. 5 upgraded modes including Pinpoint Mode, All metal, Discrimination, Memory, and Jewelry.
- LARGE LCD DISPLAY has a clear 3″ x 2.2″ screen with a back-light that is easy to see, even in the dark
- POWERFUL LARGE 9.8″ WIDE SEARCH COIL can detect a coin up to 10″ beneath the surface
- ADJUSTABLE DEPTH & SENSITIVITY. Spend far less time digging for false signals and find more exciting objects instead.
- LIGHTWEIGHT and portable, making it great ans easy to use.
Pros & Cons
With a 75% 5 Star Rating over at Amazon, it’s easy to see why this detector from Garrett is the perfect beginner metal detector. Even if you are upgrading from a much cheaper machine, you will find very little problem with the Garrett EuroACE Metal Detector. This machine will allow you to get started in this hobby at a really good price. This is not a jumping off machine, it should last you for many years to come.
For people out there who want a great metal detector, that will help them discover many great finds, without spending a fortune, this is the machine for you. It’s so easy to set up and you could be out exploring you back garden in around 10 minutes of opening the box.
This machine was built by the people at Garrett with the unique conditions of European soil in mind. It has a good all-round frequency of 8.25 kHz giving you the ability to discover smaller object that need good sensitivity as well as deeper buried objects.
This machine has a great coil fitted. The coil is a 28cm by 22cm PROformance Double-D search coil giving you an amazing range of detecting capabilities. There are also other coils in the ACE range that are compatible with the Euro Ace making it a very versatile detector.
5 Preset Search Modes
The 5 pre-set modes are one of the Garrett EuroACE best features. These allow the user to choose a specific setting depending on the conditions and their intended target. Also another bonus of this incredible machine is the new “enhanced Iron Resolution” feature. This will give you more control over separating good targets from trash targets.
The panel is laid out very simply and is easy to navigate. It feature just six buttons and even a totally novice will have no trouble adjusting the settings. It also features a depth indicator, so you know how much digging you need to do to reach the target.
One of the major issue we have in Europe apart from the inclement weather, is the problem of highly mineralised soils. Many detectorists commented that previous models from the Garrett stable struggled with this issue, but the Garrett EuroACE really excels in this environment.
- Powerful, large 28 x 22 cm PROformance Double-D search-coil. This DD configuration coil provides greater detection depth and performance by significantly reducing the negative effects of heavily mineralised ground and saltwater interference. Garrett’s blunted tip and tail design further extends the coil’s search area and offers improved searching along obstacles.
- Enhanced Iron Resolution™—Coin and relic hunters will appreciate the more precise control over how much iron discrimination to apply. This feature is used to help separate good treasure targets from adjacent iron trash.
- Higher Frequency—New 8.25 kHz frequency offers improved ability to detect small, conductive targets (such as small gold nuggets) than previous ACE detectors
- Improved Audio—Tone ID optimized to indicate distinctions between ferrous and non-ferrous targets.
- Volume-control headphones—Garrett’s ClearSound Easy Stow headphones are included
- 5 pre set hunting modes – All Metal / Jewellery / Custom / Relics / Coin
- Pinpoint feature
- Coin depth indicator
- 8 sensitivity settings to ensure optimum performance
- Advanced LCD graphic screen for a quick and easy identification of the target.
Pros & Cons
In my opinion we have saved the best till last. The Nokta Makro Simplex+ Waterproof Metal Detector is completely waterproof…not just water resistant but waterproof. There is no other detector in this price range with that ability and with these features.
What makes this detector stand out from the rest and makes it an ideal beginners machine, is the fact that I can not believe you can get a metal detector of this standard, with these features for the price.
The design of this detector is impressive. From its rubber treated handle to the flashlight facility on the rear of the unit, this is a well thought out piece of equipment. Built for both ground and water searches, up to 10 feet in depth!!!! it is simple to use and is compatible with wireless headphones. The machine is power by a rechargeable LiPo battery which is charged via USB.
Built in Vibration Feature
It has a vibration feature built in which is ideal for public places, but is paramount when searching underwater. Although this option is not unheard of, it is in a machine in this price range. And with the addition of the back-light this is one serious contender for an all-round metal detector for beginners.
The shaft of the Nokta Makro Simplex+ Waterproof Metal Detector is compact and collapsible. This helps not only with transportation but makes it adjustable to suit the height of the user. It is also lightweight so is suitable for everyone to use.
The coil that comes with the machine is an 11 inches DD one, but if you want to invest in other compatible coils by the manufacturer, they can easily be found. All software built into the machine is updatable online.
The panel is back-light and contains six buttons. The screen gives you all the information you need to know, even down to the battery life indicator. And as we have said, to the rear of the unit is a very handy LED flashlight. And with many other advanced features built into this incredible machine.
The Search Modes-Basic
Let’s take a look at the search modes. The Nokta Makro Simplex+ machine has only four modes, seemingly pretty basic – Park, Field, All Metal, and Beach. However the Beach setting is set up for Saltwater and Freshwater searching as well. This means you will be able to use this made for river bank searching, out on the beach, in fact anywhere there is water and even in it!
- Operating frequency is 12 kHz
- Search Modes 4
- Search Mode Types: All Metal / Park / Field / Beach (Saltwater)
- 11″ DD coil
- Waterproof (10 feet depth)
- Lithium-Polymer battery (2300mAh)
- Wireless Headphones
- pinpoint mode
- other coils are compatible
- software is updatable online
- has LED flashlight
- backlit screen and controls
- has 4 search modes
- notch discrimination is available
- adjustable ferrous metals volume
- volume is adjustable
- 3 audio tones
- depth indicator
- 6 levels of sensitivity