Best Metal Detector for Gold and Silver 2023

  • By: Admin
  • Date: January 29, 2024
  • Time to read: 13 min.
Best Metal Detector for Gold and Silve

How do you go about finding that gold or silver treasure and more importantly, what is the best metal detector for gold and silver hunting?

Metal detecting is not only a fun way to pass the time and get out there in the great outdoors, but it can also be a profitable pastime too. Now if you were to ask any seasoned detectorist, he will tell you that most of the targets that you find are junk and trash, but just occasionally you hit the jackpot.

You see, buried beneath your feet along with all the ring pulls and foil, are precious and semi-precious metals. They can be found on beaches, in fields, in forests, and on farms. But what is the best way of tracking them down?


What To Look For When Choosing the Best Metal Detector For Gold And Silver 

This is where you need to do your due diligence and hopefully, this article will help you do that. There are many metal detector companies and manufactures out there, but what we want is a machine that is built with our specific needs in mind. And as a quick Google search will indicate, making the correct choice can be confusing and costly, should you get it wrong. But don’t let that put you off, as we go through all the things you need to know before you make that decision.

If you are in a hurry, these are the ones we recommend

Whether it’s the detector’s frequency, its sensitivity, or discrimination, there are plenty of technical decisions to make before you can go hunting for that treasure.

Hopefully, this guide will go some way to overcoming those issues. Read on to discover what you need to be aware of and also some of the things you don’t. Let us help you make the right decision…

A Few Things Before You Get Started

Although finding gold or silver is not restricted to the season detectorists, there are a few skills and techniques that you will have to acquire before you can venture out in search of that life-changing treasure trove.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just a matter of getting that shiny new machine and heading off to the hills, you will have to learn how to use it first. The average detector made for detecting gold or silver is not your Walmart $99 off-the-shelf model, this will probably be a significant investment, so it is a good idea to learn how to use it properly. But on the other hand, just because you spend a large amount of money will not guarantee that you’ll strike it rich on your first session either.

Best Metal Detector to detect gold

Finding the right metal detector for your needs is more about getting the right built-in features that suit your needs than just throwing a lot of money at it.

If we take for example a detector that is specifically made to detect gold, this machine will have very specific settings not only to detect the gold but also to cut out all the false signals that you would encounter with a basic machine. But does that mean you have to be an expert to search for gold?  Luckily for us, the answer is NO. Gold detectors come in all shapes and sizes with different levels of quality and precision. One of the most obvious things to consider is how much time and effort you plan to invest, as this will most likely determine the choice you finally make.


Things To Consider

Your Budget

As we have already said, you can find precious metals with a cheaper machine, but some of the high-end models can identify the target long before you start to dig for it, saving you time and effort. The issue of your budget should also go hand in hand with your level of expertise. I made the mistake in my early days of spending too much on a machine that was in my price range but was way out of my skill set at the time. Remember, you can always upgrade should you really get the bug, then you can really splash out on the best metal detector for gold and silver.

Do Your Research

detecting gold and silver

It is always a good idea to use the internet or the local library to find out some of the history of the places you will be searching. Not only can this help you exclude certain areas but it can also fire up your enthusiasm too, depending on your findings. Another great place to get help is local Metal Detecting Clubs and forums. These can be a great source of knowledge and save you a lot of time in the future

Your Technical Knowledge

What you don’t want to do is rush out and buy the best metal detector for gold and silver, only to realize that it is a bit complicated to operate. Some of the more advanced metal detectors have a very steep learning curve, so your level of experience with the hobby should be paramount. They can also be very technical pieces of equipment, so if you are not great with technical stuff, your time could be filled with frustration and a lot of missed opportunities. Always buy a detector that fits in with your skill level.

What Will You Be Using It For?

Will you be hunting just for gold and silver and precious metals, or do you want more of a versatile machine? Some detectors are very specialized pieces of equipment, while others are a bit more of an all-rounder. These sorts of things will go a long way to helping you make that final decision. One thing to bear in mind, a detector that is designed to find gold, will also have the capability to find silver. Unfortunately, the opposite is not always true.


The Reason Why Gold and Silver Differ

This all comes down to the frequency settings of the machine. And why it is very important to consider what you will be primarily searching for. The frequency is the number of electronic waves that are sent into the ground to find the target. Silver is found with the lower frequency settings, while gold can be detected with the high range of the frequency scale. So it stands to reason that low-frequency detectors are great for finding silver and high-frequency machines are better for unearthing gold. So since the high-frequency detectors can be lowered, it makes sense that a gold detector is the best choice to enable you to find both.

What Is The Difference Between The Two Detectors?

Here we look at some of the crucial features to consider when buying the best metal detector for gold or silver.

  • The Frequency – There are in essence two types of frequencies that detectors operate on: Very Low Frequency (VLF) and Pulse Induction (PI).
  • VLF is more of an all-around frequency and can be used for many types of searches, which makes them great for beginners. They are also a lot cheaper to buy than pulse induction machines.
  • Pulse Induction – Any good gold detector will be a PI machine. These are great for unearthing nuggets especially when they are deeply buried. But bear in mind that this level of technology and precision comes at a cost

So What Should You Be Looking For?

Here are a few things that you should consider before you buy. But please remember that you are unlikely to unearth a life-changing find every time you venture out, so all of these things, while ideal, are not crucial and you’re decision should be based on many of the things we have outlined above.

How Does Sensitivity Affect The Ability To Search For Gold & Silver?

detecting silver and gold

This is one of the most important factors in determining what you will find with that particular detector. Whereas the higher operating frequencies are great to discover metal or targets which are just below the surface, with lower frequency settings, you can drill down deeper and find items buried much deeper. Most models allow you to adjust the frequency and sensitivity settings, but depending on the particular model, these adjustments can differ a lot.

What Is Discrimination?

The discrimination allows the user to adjust the detector to distinguish between different types of metal. You can set the detector to ignore some signals and to focus on others. Even though some detectors don’t have the facility, it is a must-have when you want to focus on a particular target. Incredibly there are still plenty of models that don’t have it. The quality of this feature can vary a lot depending on the price of the device.

What Is Ground Balance? 

Being a piece of electrical equipment, it can and does suffer from electrical interference. The ground balance is how you calibrate the detector to try and avoid this. When set too low the detector can be easily confused by metallic minerals in the different types of soils you will encounter, while the higher the calibration setting, it can help the device to be more accurate. Either way, balancing the detector should be carried out each time you encounter new soil conditions.

What About Coil Size And Shape?

best detector for finding gold

There are numerous designs when we look at the search coils and each development and design has its pros and its cons. And one of the most important considerations that could determine its performance is the type of soil that you are searching:

  1. The Concentric  Search Coil– This is the most common type that you will see on most detectors. Their depth range is usually around 12”. They have very got pinpointing advantages over some of the other coils.
  2. The Spider Search Coil – These are a step up from the Concentric coil. They are a more solid construction, which helps to reduce the interference the user can get from shaking.
  3. The Double D Search Coil –  These give the user a much broader search coverage, and do not require the more disciplined overlapping swing that you need with the concentric coil. That advantage is somewhat canceled out due to their inability to precisely pinpoint the target.
  4.  The Elliptical Search Coil– The Oval shape of this type of coil, gives a broader range while maintaining a good depth range. It also helps to search in tight spots, such as between trees and rocks.

Many relic hunters and those looking for gold tend to prefer the Double D coils, but again, these tend to be found on the higher-priced models.


Fine-Tune Your Metal Detector When Searching For Gold Or Silver

This is where you have to study the manual that comes with your detector. If you want to check before you buy, many of the manuals are available online, so it’s a good idea to read up on the particular model and see how easy it is to alter the standard settings of the machine. The range of settings will be determined by the metal that you will be searching for. You will need to make sure your sensitivity, discrimination, ground balance, and depth settings are all optimized and within the correct range to search for gold or silver, depending on which precious metal you are targeting.

Choose The Right Accessories When Searching For Gold And Silver

the best metal detector to find gold

It is crucial to have the right accessories when you go looking for precious metals. One item that is often overlooked is a good solid pick hammer. This will be important when you have to break through the rocky ground which often comes with the territory when looking for gold and silver.

Another essential item is a really good quality shovel. Try to avoid the cheaper shovels out there, which can easily break or bend. And the same goes for your hand trowel, the better quality ones on the market will last you a lot longer than the cheaper ones will.

The other things are the same for any detecting session, spare batteries, a good handheld pinpointer, snacks, and a first aid kit. Check out the article on what we consider to be the 21 best detecting tips for more information.

Know The Law Of The Land

detecting gold

All the different states in the US will have their own rules and regulations regarding metal detecting. And it is up to YOU to know and understand them before you start detecting a particular area. These Laws include:

  • Federal Laws
  • County Laws
  • City Laws
  • State Laws
  • School District Laws
  • Park Laws

Some areas will prohibit metal detecting completely, so you must do your homework and check with your local entities to find out what those restrictions are. Ignorance is never a suitable defense.


OUR PICK OF THE BEST METAL DETECTORS FOR GOLD AND SILVER


Fisher Gold Bug – Best Budget Gold Detector

fisher gold bugCheck it out on Amazon

Don’t let appearances fool you. This detector may be small in size, but the technology that the technicians at Fisher Research Laboratories have packed into this little machine has made it one of the most sensitive gold detectors in this price range. It is capable of unearthing even the tiniest gold nuggets buried beneath your feet. And packed into that tiny 5” DD search coil is enough technology to help cope with most soil conditions.

fisher gold bug metal detector

Not only is this a great gold detector but with a few adjustments, it turns into a great all-round detector too. This machine is ideal for the keen hobbyist, as it’s simple enough to learn how to use it, but it is also advanced enough to suit the seasoned detectorist, who will be able to take advantage of the various settings and adjustments.

With its innovative computer-enhanced ground balance, which helps keep a steady signal and the capacity to detect an object as deep as 12”, this metal detector has a steep learning curve, to get the best from it, but once mastered it will be striking gold in no time.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • • Very Light-weight.
  • • Highly sensitive.
  • • Great search depth.
  • • Picks up grain sized gold nuggets
  • • Great automatic ground balance
  • • Easy to use
  • • Large LCD screen
  • • Moderately priced
Cons
  • • None found at this Price

Manual

To read the manual Click HERE

Verdict

Fisher Labs Gold Bug Metal Detector, Black (GOLDBUG)
The Gold Bug Metal Detector from Fisher is a great, reasonably priced gold prospecting machine. It can detect even the smallest gold nuggets that other detectors will miss. It has great automatic ground balancing and its lightweight build along with its 5” DD search coil makes it especially user-friendly. And given its mid-range price tag, what you get is a high-performing, powerful gold finding machine. Check it out over on Amazon.


Garrett AT Gold Metal Detector- Best Mid Range Gold Detector

garrett at goldCheck it out on Amazon

The Garrett AT is a truly versatile machine that is adjustable to run at 18kHz, an ideal setting to find gold. But its versatility means that it can be used for finding coins, relics, and other metals too. This detector allows you to fine-tune the settings so you can optimize its performance in whatever environment you find yourself in. It comes into its own in freshwater creeks and rivers, luckily for us, a hotbed for gold nuggets.

garrett at gold metal detector

The Garrett AT Gold is fitted with a small but powerful 5” x 8” DD search coil, which allows the detector to focus its power on unearthing those tiny nuggets that other detectorists have missed. And there are other Garrett range of coils that will fit this machine if you fancy searching for something other than gold.

Even though the AT Gold was first released back in 2011, it has stood the test of time for one reason, it’s a solid machine capable of finding even the smallest gold nuggets. It is ideal not only for the keen novice but is also suited to the more advanced detectorist too. It is easy to use and operate and is highly recommended.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • • Fully submersible up to 10 feet (3 Meters)
  • • Lightweight and durable.
  • • Iron Audio.
  • • Target Identification.
  • • 2 Year Warranty
Cons
  • • No Backlight on the LED screen.

Manual

Click HERE to read the manual

Verdict

Garrett at Gold Waterproof Metal Detector with Headphones and ProPointer at PinPointer
If you want to get seriously into gold prospecting you won't go far wrong with the Garrett AT Gold. It is a lightweight, well-thought-out machine that is easy to operate. Its reliability and accuracy are well known among seasoned detectorists. Many high-end machines, specifically developed for gold prospecting, seem to be out of reach of the average buyer. This is where the AT Gold comes in. Check it out over on Amazon.


Minelab Gold Monster 1000 – Best High End Gold Detector

minelab gold monster Check it out on Amazon

What the guys at Minelab have created here is an easy-to-use performance metal detector especially for gold prospecting. If there is gold beneath your feet, this machine will find it.  It has a fully automatic operation and can be adjusted to suit the individual, with a choice of coils, shaft configurations, and much more.  As Minelab states on their website, “ This detector will quickly turn beginners into experts”

Minelab Gold Monster 1000

One of the most impressive features of the Gold Monster is something called Gold Chance Indicator. This is a discrimination feature that allows the user to ignore signals from iron and other trash, thus making the search more effective. This detector is pretty much fully automatic, with all the user having to do is manually adjust sensitivity and volume. This allows you to start detecting in any environment they find themselves in.

But the best feature of this machine has to be the Gold Search Mode. This setting allows the detector to be optimized for the most productive prospecting possible. Even a novice detectorist can be confident that with this setting, the machine is in an optimal state and they can start searching.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • • Fully automatic machine
  • • Easy to Operate
  • • Highly Adjustable to suit the Individual
  • • Highly sensitive 45 kHz frequency setting
  • • Two coils in the kit
  • • Length is Adjustable
  • • Lightweight
  • • Discrimination set up for detecting just gold
Cons
  • • Only one frequency which puts some detectorist off
  • • Price is pretty high

Manual

Click HERE to read the manual

Verdict

Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Professional Metal Detector
The Minelab Gold Monster is a great detector. Not only suitable for beginners, but also for experienced detectorists who want to start searching for gold and other precious metals. It is a simple, easy to operate, fully automatic machine that can find nuggets at incredible depths underground. If you are searching for a high-end sensitive detector that will find gold, better than most detectors out there, then this is the machine you’ve been waiting for. Check it out over at Amazon.


Conclusion

So now you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Even though these detectors we have looked at have been specially developed to detect gold and other precious metals, they can find a lot more than that.

If we had to choose one it would probably be the Fisher Gold Bug.

Fisher Labs Gold Bug Metal Detector, Black (GOLDBUG)
  • Threshold and gain adjustments - 1/4 and 1/8 inch headphone jacks - lightest weight / best ergonomics in the industry
  • 2 search modes: all-metal and discriminate - large lcd screen with 0-99 numeric target identification display - large target alert - depth readout and running signal strength indicator
  • No-motion pinpoint - computer assisted ground grab and ground balance - continious ground phase and ground mineralization readout
  • 2 Tone VCO - Super Sensitive
  • Recommended for gold nugget / prospecting

Given the price you can buy it for, it is a very high spec and high-performance machine, which is ideal for the novice detectorist as well as the more experienced hunter. and could pay for itself on its first outing.