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What is the Best Metal Detectors For Beginners? Tips on Choosing A Starter Model

Complete Guide on the Best Metal Detectors For Beginners

Best Metal Detector For Beginners

If you've just caught the treasure hunting bug and your ready to take the next step and purchase your very first metal detector then you want to keep reading. If you’re just getting started in metal detecting, or you're just ready for an upgrade, it’s important to find the model that's right for you. Choosing the wrong type when you're just starting out can lead to frustration and choosing the right one can turn a casual interest into a lifelong hobby.

See the difference?

Why is it important to do your research on beginners metal detectors before you start? Simply put, choosing a good model for a newb will ensure that your first experience will be a good one and will create a happy place from the get go.

A good beginners model for a rookie treasure hunter is one that’s easy to use for sustained periods of time, accurate enough to provide satisfying results and affordable enough that you can buy it even if you don’t fall in love with the hobby, although we know you will. That’s why we’ve put together our reviews of the best metal detectors for beginners on the market, as well as a comprehensive buyers guide to explain some of the features of the models we have chosen as our Top 3.

So without further adieu...

Top 3 Best Beginner Metal Detectors


Garrett 250 Ace Review

Garrett Ace 250


fisher f22 review

Fisher F22


whites treasure master review

Whites Treasure Master

Ok, let’s start by looking closely at our choices for the best beginner metal detectors. We have three and all of them are terrific choices, and this review will explain why.

1. Garret Ace 250

Garrett 250 Ace Screen

Our first pick is the Garret Ace 250 Metal Detector and there are a lot of things we love about this product. First of all, it’s easy to use and it comes with some very nice perks and extras that make it a undeniably good model to begin with. Plus if you don't know it yet, Garrett is a very much loved brand in the community...because well its GARRETT and everybody knows you can never go wrong with one of their products.

Features and Specifications

Any time you’re comparing beginner metal detectors, you want to make sure to take a look at the features so you understand what you’re getting in return for the price. Here is the long list of features that comes with the Garrett ACE 250:

  • Waterproof search coil
  • Padded arm support 
  • Garret ClearSound headphones
  • Easy-to-read LCD screen
  • Five search modes
  • Preset discrimination patterns or create your own
  • Instructional DVD and access to online videos
  • Batteries included
  • 2-year warranty

We really like that this product has easy-to-use features and a comfortable design. Any new model will take some getting used to, but this one is very user-friendly and the instructional DVD is a great touch.


The features of any treasure hunter is important, but it’s also essential to look at the benefits you can expect to see. Here are the benefits of the Garret Ace 250 as we see them:

  • Lightweight detector weighs just 5 pounds and can be used for extended periods without fatigue.
  • The padded arm support helps cushion your arm and protect it from pain or numbness.
  • The indicator display shows how deep the item detected is, something that prevents unnecessary digging.
  • The pinpointer feature can help beginners learn to get a feel for the movement.
  • Because it’s so easy to use, this starter model starts to pay for itself almost as soon as you take it out of the box.

Here's a great demonstration video.

Pros and Cons

As is the case with any good starter metal detector, the Garret Ace 250 has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look:

  • This is a full starter kit complete with headphones, batteries and an instructional video.
  • The company provides excellent customer support and the product comes with a 2-year warranty.
  • This is a good-quality detector that beginners can use, but it has enough special features to allow treasure hunters to learn and grow with repeated use.
  • While the coil on this detector is waterproof, the unit itself is not, that means you can’t submerge it unless you want to ruin it.
  • The price is a bit on the high side for a beginner unit, although we think that it’s ideal for someone who needs a starter model but already knows they love treasure hunting.

Our Final Verdict

We like the Garrett Ace 250 because even someone with no treasure hunting experience can have a great time using it. I gave it to a friend of mine who wanted to see what it was like to go treasure hunting. 

She’s a self-confessed technical novice but it wasn't long until she was swinging it like a pro. Watching her pick up the Garrett Ace 250 so easily and having so much success locating finds, it was easy to crown this product as our top choice for beginners.

Man holding hammer

2. Fisher F2 Metal Detector

fisher metal detectors

Next is the Fisher F2 Metal Detector. This is one of the best beginners metal detector because it combines some very nice features that allow new treasure hunters to feel like professionals. Let's take a look at some of the features and specifications, as well as the pros and cons of this product. Then you'll understand why it's made our Top 3 pick.

Features and Specifications

Let’s start by looking at the features and specifications of the Fisher F2. Here are some of the things that you can expect to find with this product:

  • Large, LED screen with a two-digit display
  • Ten adjustable sensitivity levels so you can find different kinds of metal
  • Four operating modes: jewelry, coin, artifact and custom
  • Pinpoint mode for helping you hone in on the treasures you find
  • Elliptical search coil
  • Weatherproof model is safe to use in the rain
  • Waterproof coil

Combined, these features mean that this is a machine that’s ideal for rookies but has a great deal of precision and versatility, as well. We especially like the multiple sensitivity levels and the operating modes. It’s nice to have the option to choose to look for coins in the park and then for artifacts at a ruin and the pinpointer mode makes it super easy to narrow down the site of your treasure. These options are rare in beginners models.

Man in rain with equipment


When you’re shopping for the best entry level metal detector, you don’t just want to look at features. It’s important to think about benefits too and here are some of the best benefits of the Fisher F2:

  • This is a very lightweight model at just over three pounds, making it ideal for beginners who aren’t used to wielding a treasure hunter.
  • The various sensitivity levels and modes make it very easy to tell the difference between worthless metal like cans and a real find, like a stash of coins or a piece of jewelry.
  • The lightweight, ergonomic model is easy to use even for kids or those without a lot of arm strength.
  • The pinpointer feature can help newbs learn to get a feel for the process of treasure hunting.
  • The five-year manufacturer’s warranty makes this a great purchase for long-term use because you can get replacement parts and service as needed.

Here's a great video that helps explain why this product is perfect for a rookie.

Pros and Cons

The Fisher F2 is one of our best metal detectors for beginners, but no product is perfect so here are some of the pros and cons of this product:

  • This beginner model is easy to use and lightweight enough for kids to use without difficulty.
  • It has much of the same versatility and precision you would expect from a high-level product at an affordable price.
  • The Fisher F2 can find coins and other valuables up to 9 inches below ground.
  • This model doesn’t come with a user manual, although you can access, download and print one online.
  • This product may be a bit expensive for people just starting out.

Our Final Verdict

I really liked the Fisher F2 for its accuracy. I tested this model on my nephew who had never even heard of metal detecting (millenials ugh). Adam was able to get it up and running pretty easily once I gave him the manual, which was super quick to read, so he didn't lose interest before hitting the ground. 

What he said he liked the most about this model was that it was really light in weight and easy to manoeuvre. If you don’t mind forking out a little extra cash and want an accurate reading that’s got a lot of precision, we highly recommend this model.


3. Whites Treasuremaster

Whites Treasuremaster Screen snd Product

We chose the Whites Treasuremaster for kids just getting started metal detecting because it has some nice features that set it apart from other options on the market and was reported by our guinea pigs that they had a lot of fun using this product and it comes with basically everything you need to get hunting. Here's our full review of this product, after reading it you'll get why it's made our top picks list. 

Features and Specifications

What are the features and specifications that earned Whites Treasuremaster a place on our list? Here are some things that made us select it:

  • Large LED display that’s easy for beginner treasure hunters to read, including very young children.
  • 4 search modes to choose from depending on where you’re searching and what you’re searching for, including a beach mode that’s great for hunting in mineralized sand.
  • 4 audio tones to help metal detecting beginners identify their finds before digging.
  • Automatic ground balance and AutoTrac that adjusts to changes without fuss. 

These features shows that Whites definitely put a lot of thought into the design of the Treasuremaster. It’s versatile enough to give new hunters a chance to explore different areas and learn about metal detecting and it’s the lightest model for beginners on our list.

whites treasure master product review


Now let’s look at some of the benefits that you can expect to enjoy if you choose Whites Treasuremaster:

  • Easy to use model will have you out and detecting just minutes after opening the box.
  • The automatic ground balance feature eliminates guesswork and adjusts when you move from one type of terrain to another.
  • Can go from your backyard to the woods to the beach and find treasure everywhere you take it.

Pros and Cons

As you might expect, there are some pros and cons to consider before buying Whites Treasuremaster for yourself or someone else. Let’s take a look:

  • Lightweight model weighs less than three pounds and is easy to use.
  • Can find treasures up to 12 inches under the ground.
  • Different audio tones make this product a good teaching tool as well as a fun hobby.
  • The price on this model is higher than the others on our list.
  • The coil is not waterproof and you may want to invest in a cover to protect it.

Our Final Verdict

The Whites Treasuremaster made our top 3 because of its versatility and it was super easy to get the hang of. We love that you can use it on your backyard and on the beach near water. The verdict from our test dummies who tried this product with us, was they found it to be easy to use and a lot of fun. 

Its light weight and automatic ground balance makes it a good choice for people who want to give metal detecting a try without feeling intimidated. It was a crowd favourite among our newb friends and the vote was unanimous to add this product to our list.

Final Verdict

The Difference Between Beginner and Advanced Models

Man in Sand Treasure Hunting

So, we’ve just revealed our picks for the best metal detector for beginners and we have explained why we chose Top 3.

Now, let’s talk about what differentiates a beginner from an advanced model and why you should know the difference before buying. There are several key differences to explore.

The first is how much time and mental energy is required to learn how to use a metal detector.

Beginner machines tend to be simple. Most have only a few settings and they also have easy-to-read displays and clear audio signals. Even someone who has never handled a metal detector before can usually have success with one a good beginners model as soon as they take it out of the box and put in the batteries.

The second key difference is the weight of the machines. It is very common for models for beginners to be lightweight. 

Man in park with treasure hunter

If you’re not used to swinging a metal detector, even the weight of a starter model can feel like a lot to handle. When you buy the best metal detector for beginners, you should be able to use it without worrying about your arm tiring out too quickly.

Man with treasure hunting tools

The third difference is in their sensitivity and accuracy.

A good beginner model can find treasure reliably, but it may not be able to locate worthwhile items with as much accuracy and precision as an advanced piece of equipment. 

People who use a starter model may have to deal with more false signals than people who use an advanced model.

The fourth difference is likely to show up in the special features built into some advanced metal detectors. Most beginner products don’t have many bells and whistles. 

The pinpointing figures of advanced models, for example, tend to be finely tuned and very accurate.

Beginner metal detectors sometimes have basic pinpointing capabilities, but they are usually not as precise as those more advanced products.

The final difference of course is the price. It’s possible to find a decent rookie metal detector for less than $100 and nearly all beginner models are less than $300.

However, advanced products usually start at $500 or more and may even cost as much as $1000. In return for the price, you get a very precise, finely-tuned piece of machinery with advanced features suited to a professional treasure hunter.

Treasure Finder

As you can see, the differences between the best metal detector for beginners and a model for advanced treasure hunters are significant.

When you’re shopping for the best metal detector for beginners, you’ll have to weigh these things against the costs and benefits of going for an advanced model.

What to Think about When Buying Your Equipment?

Now that you understand the most important differences between beginner and advanced metal detectors, let’s review some of the key considerations to keep in mind when buying a beginner model. 

We think there are three big questions that you need to ask before making a purchase. It’s essential to ask yourself all three questions to minimize the chances that you’ll end up choosing the wrong product for your needs.

1. What Kind of Treasure Do You Want to Find?

Man searching for treasure

The first question you should ask yourself before buying the best metal detector for beginners is what kind of treasure do you want to find? If you’re like most rookies, you may be thinking, “treasure is treasure”. However, this is an important question to consider.

For many hunters just starting out, any treasure is a good treasure. Some of our picks for the good beginner metal detector for gold have a variety of settings to help newbies find different kinds of treasure. 

For example, a gold setting is ideal if you hope to find valuable jewelry. Detecting gold requires a level of sensitivity that isn’t needed for finding coins made of base metal.

The best beginner model should certainly be able to help anybody find clad coins, scrap metal and other valuable but not precious, metals. If you’re determined to hunt for jewelry, then you’ll want to pick a product that has a gold or fine jewelry setting.

If your intention is to search for artifacts, then the beginner model may not have the features you need. Artifacts tend to be buried at depths that are deeper than a model for rookies can handle.

Whatever your treasure hunting intentions are, we highly recommend giving some thought to what you hope to find with your good beginner metal detector. 

Make a list and then you can use it to review our Top 3 choices to decide which model is best suited to your needs.

2. Where Will You Be Hunting for Treasure?

Man digging in sand

The next major question you need to ask yourself before buying the best metal detector for beginners is, “where will I be hunting for treasure?”

Experienced treasure hunters often develop a sixth sense that tips them off to good treasure-hunting locations. You don’t have to be as specific as that before buying a beginners model, but you do need to be thinking about where you think you might like to hone your treasure hunting skills.

Do you plan on taking your beginners detector no further than your backyard? You may not be satisfied with such a limited scope for trying out your detector, but if you are, it means that you can choose almost any model for beginners and use it where you want to use it.

That changes if your plans are to take your detector to the beach. Hunting treasure on the beach is tricky because of the minerals in sea water.

If you take a regular beginner metal detector to the beach, you will likely end up with many false signals due to the mineralization of the water. You also run the risk of the salt in the sand and water damaging the coil of your beginner metal detector beyond repair.

Many of the same considerations apply if you want to hunt for treasure with your beginners metal detector in heavily mineralized soil, such as the soil where gold dust is commonly found.

Searching in any area that is home to the mineralized soil is a challenge even with the very best beginners metal detector. You will need a good beginner metal detector with a setting that can handle hunting in these locations if you want to have success.

It’s also worth thinking about the overall condition of the terrain where you plan to use your detector.

If you plan on hunting in your backyard, parks and other areas where the terrain is relatively level and easy to navigate, you probably won’t need to worry too much about the toughness of the coil on your beginner metal detector.


However, if you think you might be taking your metal detector onto rough terrain, then you’ll want to seek a beginners model that comes with a protective cover for the coil or else, you’ll want to buy a separate protective cover to prevent your product from being damaged by the terrain.

Finally, you should give some thought to whether your beginner metal detector should be waterproof. It’s rare for a starter model to be completely waterproof (meaning completely submersible), so you shouldn’t plan on diving with your beginner metal detector. 

But some of the items we chose in our Top 3 have waterproof coils so you can use them on wet grass or in shallow streams. Keep in mind that waterproof is not the same as salt waterproof. Using a beginner metal detector in salt water is usually not a good idea.

If you want a lot of versatility, you might seek out a best beginner metal detector for gold that has a beach setting and a gold setting for mineralized soil.

3. How Serious Do You Plan to Get in Metal Detecting?

Treasure Hunting Tools

The third and final question to ask yourself before choosing the best metal detector for beginners is how serious you plan to be about metal detecting. This is an important question because it can make a big difference in how much money you spend on the best beginner metal detector for gold.

A beginning treasure hunter who has read a lot about treasure hunting or has possibly tried out a friend’s metal detector may already know that they’re very enthusiastic about treasure hunting.They plan to spend a significant amount of their free time out hunting and they’re eager to have the best beginner metal detector for gold  to help them pursue their goals.

By contrast, a beginning treasure hunter who is intrigued by this hobby but have never tried metal detecting, or a beginner who has previously picked up and discarded other hobbies after a short period of interest, might honestly say, “I just want to see if metal detecting is for me. I’ll just get the good beginner metal detector and give it a shot and if I don’t like it, it’s no big deal.”

Guy with detector equipment

You can see why this question is an important one to consider. Someone who has already tried metal detecting and received some metal detecting tips for beginners might be very confident that they will enjoy treasure hunting. 

Their conviction might result in a willingness to splurge on one of the higher-priced beginner options instead of opting for a lower-priced model. They know they’ll get their money’s worth if they spend a bit more.

By contrast, a person who has never tried metal detecting or isn’t sure that they’ll like it might want to opt for spending a bit less, focusing on getting the best beginner metal detector at a low price. That way, if they try out treasure hunting and it turns out they don’t like it, they haven’t spent an amount of money that they’ll end up regretting after the fact.

Money isn’t the only consideration here. You may also decide if you’re reasonably certain that you’ll be serious about treasure hunting, that you want to opt for a beginner metal detector with some versatile features and options.

It can be beneficial to choose a metal detector that’s easy to use at first, but that offers beginner treasure hunters a chance to grow as they use it. You may be willing to put in some time learning various settings and familiarizing yourself with audio tones if you already know that you’ll be a serious treasure hunter.

It may also be helpful for some beginners to make a list of their most important considerations and concerns before buying. For example, if you live near a beach and that’s where you intend to do the majority of your metal detecting, then you’ll have to seek out the best metal detector for beginners that are suitable for use on the beach. It's not rocket science. 

What is the Best Metal Detector For Beginners?

Man holding a treasure hunter

The best metal detector for beginners is the detector that’s best for your personal needs. You are the person who will be using the best beginner metal detector you buy, so we recommend thinking about what you want, need and expect from your new metal detector before making a buying decision. That way, you can be reasonably certain that you end up with the best beginner metal detector for you.

Do your research by reading reviews from trusted experts such as ourselves so that you have the knowledge to identify different features when it comes to treasure hunters. If you're looking for more reviews to compare your top choices head to our homepage for more reviews.

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