Best Metal Detector for Beginners

When you are first starting in the world of metal detecting, picking the best metal detector for beginners might seem overwhelming. While metal detectors vary in many ways, the basic performance of a metal detector is the same.

You do not need to break the bank when starting, and there are times we would actually discourage this. Finding the best entry-level metal detector is quite simple.

Pick out a well-rounded metal detector with good performance, practice with it, and once you have decided you need an upgrade, sell it and get an upgrade!

Keep this in mind: All metal detectors and golf clubs will, respectively, find metal and hit golf balls. You don’t have to have a high-end metal detector to find metal, just as you don’t need a fancy golf club to hit a ball.

Continue reading this guide from the experts at Kellyco to learn about the best beginner metal detectors and the factors that you should be aware of when picking one out so you don’t choose the wrong one for your scenario.

Our Reviews of the Best Beginner Metal Detector

Garrett ACE 300
Best Overall Beginner Detector
Weight: 2.8 lbs.
Frequency: 8 kHz
Waterproof: No
Warranty: 2 Year Limited

The Garrett ACE series is synonymous with budget-friendly, performance-packed metal detectors tailored specifically towards beginners.

The series consists of the Garrett ACE 200, Garrett ACE 300, Garrett ACE 400, and the multi-frequency Garrett ACE Apex. The best overall beginner metal detector is the Garrett ACE 300.

To kick things off, the 8 kHz operating frequency is one of the best all-purpose frequencies you could want in a beginner metal detector.

We like the 8 kHz operating frequency because it provides us with excellent sensitivity and excellent detection depth for general, all-purpose detecting scenarios.

The LCD on the Garrett ACE 300 control box is home to many important features beginners will love. First, there are five different preset search modes you can use to metal detect with.

Each of these discriminates a different type of metal, allowing you to choose between Coin, Jewelry, Zero Discrimination, Relic, and Custom modes. These search modes make it extremely easy when starting so you don’t have to manually adjust the setting.

In addition to the search modes, the digital target ID display allows you to know what type of metal you could be digging up beforehand. Every ACE 300 user, myself included, loves this, as you can see if a target is really worth digging.

Finally, the ACE 300 also features a depth indicator, showing you roughly how deep the target is in the ground.

One problem I’ve encountered while metal detecting is not being able to stay out all day when using heavy metal detectors, as it can cause some serious fatigue. With the Garrett ACE 300, it is not an issue, as the detector only weighs 2.8 pounds.

This budget metal detector is built with an ergonomic design that maximizes user comfort. I’m a big fan of the foam used on the arm pad and handle.

Finally, the selection of ACE series search coils available is what sets the Garrett ACE 300 apart from other starter metal detectors. You can get very small search coils you can use in high-trash areas or when you do not have as much clearance to swing your detector.

If you are trying to cover a lot of ground or get more depth, consider getting a larger search coil! The ACE 300 comes with a 7″ x 10″ PROformance search coil, which is more than adequate for the best starter metal detector on the market!

Fisher F22 Weatherproof
Best Rugged Detector for Beginners
Weight: 2.3 lbs.
Frequency: 7.69 kHz
Waterproof: No; Weatherproof
Warranty: 5 Year Limited

Fisher metal detectors are widely known across the industry for providing performance, value, and a best-in-industry 5-year warranty. The Fisher F22 Weatherproof is a metal detector that was designed to withstand round conditions, as the control box is sealed off from the outside.

While the detector can withstand rain, snow, sleet, or hail, it is not meant to be submerged underwater.

Side note: I personally love weatherproof detectors since they allow you to go treasure hunting in any weather condition you want!

The Fisher F22 comes with a 9″ semi-elliptical search coil that is entirely waterproof. This means that you can take the waterproof search coil into shallow water, wet sand, and other waterlogged areas and you won’t have to worry about your search coil failing you.

I especially enjoy using waterproof search coils whenever I decide to go relic hunting or gold prospecting.

The operating frequency of the Fisher F22 hums along at 7.69 kHz, which is a good setting for an all-purpose metal detector. This provides adequate sensitivity on high conductivity targets, as well as great detection depth.

I mentioned wet sand, so I should mention that the Fisher F22 has fixed ground balance, which means that the machine runs the same regardless of what ground conditions it encounters.

This can lead to signal interference in certain, heavily mineralized areas. The majority of places hobbyists go treasure hunting, particularly when we are new to the hobby, have little to no ground mineralization, so this is not too big of a concern.

If you are worried about more advanced ground balance features, you will have to pay more to get them and could consider the Garrett ACE Apex.

The LCD of the F22 provides several features I happen to use frequently. First off, there are four different search modes: Artifact, Coins, Custom, and Jewelry. In addition, there is also an all-metal mode with no discrimination.

Target identification is easy with both a visual and a numeric ID format. In addition, there is also a pinpoint mode that makes pinpointing exactly where your target is so much simpler.

I love using the pinpoint mode on my detectors, as I feel it speeds up the recovery process, especially for beginners.

Finally, the weight of the Fisher F22 Weatherproof lends itself very well to those who are looking for a lightweight, easy-to-use metal detector.

Weighing in at 2.3 pounds, this detector can be used all day and cause little to no fatigue! It really distinguishes the F22 from many competitors at the best affordable metal detector price point.

Bounty Hunter Lone Star
Best Affordable Metal Detector
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
Frequency: 6.8 kHz
Waterproof: No
Warranty: 5 Year Limited

If this is your first time looking for a metal detector and you are looking to spend as little as possible, the Bounty Hunter Lone Star is the perfect detector for you.

While it might not have the features of other competitors, it is still highly capable of finding treasure! The operating frequency runs at 6.8 kHz, which is great for an all-purpose machine.

I am a fan of the simple LCD screen of the Lone Star. It allows you to have adjustable sensitivity for a variety of situations.

In a high trash area? Turn down the sensitivity. In a wide-open area looking for deeper targets? Turn up the sensitivity. Not only is it user-friendly, but it is effective.

In addition, the discrimination settings are adjustable, allowing you to pick out the different types of metal you want to ignore.

If you are tired of ferrous signals (signals caused by iron or steel), be sure to crank the discrimination up so it won’t pick up these metals.

This Lone Star comes with an 8″ search coil that is more than adequate for beginners and most treasure hunting scenarios. This search coil is waterproof, so as long as you do not submerge the control box, the Lone Star can be used in shallow water.

Finally, the weight of the Lone Star leaves a bit to be desired. This detector weighs in at 3.5 pounds and does not have as many features as other metal detectors of this weight class. This is part of the tradeoff you are making since it is available at such an affordable price point.

If you want a lightweight option, consider the Fisher F22 Weatherproof. Personally, I think that a majority of detectorists will be able to swing 3.5 pounds for a very long time with this machine!

Other than the weight, however, the ergonomics and comfort of the Lone Star are a welcome benefit. The S-rod handle and padded grip are all designed with the end-user in mind.

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