How to Start Metal Detecting

beach metal detecting

Those who are aware of metal detecting as a hobby often become excited about the stuff and would love to try it themselves. However, the majority of enthusiasts make just the same bunch of mistakes over and over again, ending up unmotivated, with tons of expensive equipment, and without any idea where to search and what to look for.

One of the main mistakes that everybody does is questioning how to choose the ​best metal detector to find every single item out there. But the best metal detector for what, exactly? What targets are expected? What locations are available? How often will the person metal detect? All these questions are left unanswered, and more often than not, are not even being asked.

best metal detectors

Yet, metal detecting is way more than just swiping around with a metal detector. Check out this quick guide to get a clear idea of what first steps to make. If you want a full expert guide, check out a detailed one by Detect History.

Give It A Try 

How trivial, hey? Yet, this recommendation is so simple and so obvious that many fail to follow it. The very first thing to do for a newbie metal detectorist is to give it all a try! Finding like-minded people and asking to join them one day for their search session is more than natural. One can find a local club in their town, or simply find like-minded people in the social networks. Few detectorists will deny you the opportunity to get your hands on their machine just to get the feel.

In case these options are unavailable, which can be easier than visiting a local metal detecting festival! Just google some events near you, or in the neighboring big city, and spend one day among people interested in the same activities. The best thing about festivals is that you can try the machines out for real, and see how it all feels.

metal detecting festival


After you have tried out two-three metal detectors and decided that yeah, this is probably your thing, buying your own machine is not your next step. Nope!


Your next step is to assess the locations around you, proper for metal detecting. Firstly, you will understand whether you will be able to detect for two-three hours on your weekend, or you will have to organize a three-day trip with some friends to a distant forest because there is nothing proper around.


Please keep in mind that not only deserted places will do for detecting - public beaches, seashore, riverbanks, but town outskirts are also good, as well. And this leads us to the second aspect; the point is, locations available to you, or locations that you wish to explore, will to a certain degree dictate the choice of the metal detecting machine.


After you have decided upon locations, you will need all your analytical skills, googling skills, and maybe some expert advice on what kind of targets can be met at these locations. If location is a decisive aspect for you - for example, you do not want to make long trips to distant locations - you will be limited only to targets that can be met locally. If there is a seashore near you, you can totally purchase an underwater machine that is proper for gold search, and looking for lost jewelry in the wet sand.


If you are specifically interested in certain targets, rather than locations, the type of targets will also define the tech specs of the metal detector. There are, roughly, the following types of targets:

  • coins
  • modern jewelry

  • old jewelry

  • relics

  • weapons

  • gold

  • silver

These are the basic classification of objects, plus gold and silver stand separately because they require very specific technical specifications and settings of the machine.

Now, in case you want special targets, and would like to spot, say, mainly coins or mainly jewelry, this criterion will define what frequency and other settings are needed in your metal detector.

Machine & Accessories 

Only after you have decided upon all the previously discussed things for yourself, it makes sense to go and choose the device. You may also need some additional accessories, like headphones, pinpointer, digger, etc. This depends on your desire and also on your budget. In case you are a complete newbie, don’t rush to get the most expensive machine out there, even if you are excited and passionate. After a short while, you may find out another model that would suit you better, or you need different tech specs and features.


Metal detecting is not easy peasy, but not rocket science either. It is totally possible to learn to detect quickly, and make some exciting finds!

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