Metal Detecting

Understanding metal detectors: You get what you pay for . . .

March 31, 2022

We get many customers who come in to ask about metal detectors. In their mind they want to get started, but don’t want to invest a lot of money.  When looking online, they see prices under $200, and think that’s doable.

Not so fast.  There are a few things to understand about metal detectors to make even that small amount worth while.  No need to spend money only to set yourself up for difficulty.  Read on to learn more.


This is one of those “You get what you pay for…” moments.  Currently the prices for machines we carry range from $199 to $7999. Which is quite a range, but don’t worry, there is no pressure to buy the $7999 machine.  Which to be honest is overkill for most treasure hunting our customers do.  Most go with machines ranging $699 to $999.

This difference in price is due to the level of technology in the product.  At the very basic level, the machine uses a single frequency which is emitted from the search coil. This electromagnetic field comes in contact with metal objects in the ground causing a disturbance the machine detects.  Any frequency use will search best at a certain depth.  High frequencies search well near the surface, and low frequencies do well deeper.

A single frequency machine will use a middle of the road frequency.  Think of this in terms of fishing with one hook in the water.  It does its best work at the depth it is, but can catch fish above and below it.  If one pays more for a multi frequency detector, it’s like multiple hooks in the water at different depths.  The extra investment increases the chance of finding an object.

This is not to say you won’t find anything with a $199 detector, but someone searching behind you with a $699 detector could find the things you miss.  Multi frequency is only one of the technologies which are involved in making the machine more productive. The detectors ability to ignore the ground is another.  This is called ground balance.  Sometimes the detector will sense the ground like it’s a target leading to false signals.  Having a machine that compensates for that is important.  It’s frustrating to dig, only to find that it beeped at the salt water underneath the surface.

Detecting on a budget:

Not every one can afford hundreds of dollars for a metal detector.  We get that.  There’s no need to just give up.  Buy what you can. Just understand the limits.  That $199 detector can find treasure, but it does its best work in the dry sand at low tide.  Set yourself up for success by going to the right place at the right time. Low budget machines can still do well searching the beaches blanket area and volleyball courts.  Searching the waters edge will mean you will have to turn the sensitivity down (does exactly what it sounds like, less sensitive), and be patient.  Also, the beach isn’t the only place to look.  Consider other places things can get lost like parks and fields where events take place (Midway after the fair).  As always, get permission of the person or agency responsible for the ground you wish to search.

To learn more, visit us or your local dealer (if outside the Tampa Bay Area).  Dealers know the in’s and out’s of the machines they sell.  Let us/them help guide you to the best detector you can afford.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 727-576-4169 or email