6 Best Metal Detectors for Beach and Water: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

  • By: Chris
  • Last updated on December 16, 2022
  • Time to read: 11 min.
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Summertime is the perfect season for metal detecting. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there’s a treasure waiting to be discovered around every corner. If you’re looking for a metal detector that can handle the beach and water, then check out our list of the best metal detectors for the beach and water.

We’ve got something for everyone, so read on to find out more!

At a Glance – 6 Best Metal Detectors for Beach and Water

ImageProduct TitleFeaturesPrice
Our Pick
Garrett ATX Deepseeker

Garrett ATX Deepseeker

  • Item Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • Waterproof: Up to 10 ft.
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Type: PI
Check at AmazonCheck at Kellyco
Runner Up
Minelab Excalibur II

Minelab Excalibur II

  • Item Weight: 4.6 lbs
  • Waterproof: Up to 200 ft.
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Type: VLF
Check at AmazonCheck at Kellyco
Best Value
Minelab Equinox 800

Minelab Equinox 800

  • Item Weight: 2.96 lbs
  • Waterproof: Up to 10 ft.
  • Warranty: 3 Years
  • Type: VLF
Check at AmazonCheck at Kellyco
Best for Water
Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II

  • Item Weight: 5.1 lbs
  • Waterproof: Up to 200 ft.
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Type: PI
Check at AmazonCheck at Kellyco
Best for Dry Sand
XP Deus

XP Deus

  • Item Weight: 4.56 lbs
  • Waterproof: Only the Coil
  • Warranty: 5 Years
  • Type: VLF
Check at AmazonCheck at Kellyco
Best Price
Fisher 1280X

Fisher 1280X

  • Item Weight: 6.6 lbs
  • Waterproof: Up to 250 ft.
  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Type: VLF
Check at Amazon

What Metal Detector Is Best for The Beach?

There is a lot to consider when choosing the right metal detector for the beach or water environments. The metal detector that is best is a pulse induction (PI) metal detector.

A pulse induction metal detector is the best option for the beach or water because it is not influenced by saltwater or high mineral content in the ground like other types of metal detectors. This is important because the beach is a highly mineralized environment.

Besides the normal things that people lose in the sand, you’ll also have to deal with things like iron and other metals that can give false readings on a metal detector.

Another complication is hunting in wet sand or in saltwater. VLF (Very Low Frequency) metal detectors don’t do well in this situation because the salt in the water will interfere with the detector’s electronics due to its ability to amplify the other minerals you don’t want to detect.

Saltwater enhances interference from other minerals to confuse your metal detector when targeting.

Pulse induction metal detectors are also better at depth. If you’re looking for lost jewelry or coins in the sand, a PI metal detector will give you a better chance of finding them.

Another option is a multi-frequency metal detector. They are generally less expensive than pulse induction but more capable to handle the higher mineralized areas.

So, if you’re planning on doing any beach or water hunting, a pulse induction metal detector is the way to go.

Are Beaches Good for Metal Detecting?

There is no simple answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, such as the type of beach, the types of metal you are hoping to find, and the level of experience you have with metal detecting.

However, in general, beaches can be good places to metal detect because they tend to have a lot of foot traffic, which can result in lost items, and the sand makes it easier to find small objects.

Beaches are a great place to metal detect, as long as you have the right equipment and permission.

If you are new to metal detecting, it is a good idea to start with an easy-to-search beach that is not too crowded. This will help you get a feel for how to use your metal detector and what types of things you are likely to find.

Once you have more experience, you can try searching for metals in different types of terrain, including saltwater beaches.

Even better, the cost of metal detecting on the beach is pretty reasonable. While a PI metal detector would be preferable, VLF is just as accurate on dry sand.

No matter what type of beach you choose to metal detect, always be sure to follow the rules and regulations in place. This includes getting permission from the landowner if necessary and respecting any posted signs or closures.

Metal Detecting on Wet vs Dry Sand

Dry sand is ideal for all metal detectors but with the ‘right’ metal detector, you can have success in wet sand too.

When it comes to metal detecting, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether you should search on wet or dry sand. It really depends on personal preference and what you hope to find.

Some people prefer wet sand because it is easier to identify objects with the right detector and they can get a better idea of where their target is. Others prefer dry sand because you can use your regular metal detector with ease as opposed to a more expensive option.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which method you prefer.

A good idea if you are interested in hunting on both wet and dry sand, go hunting at low tide for wet sand and high tide for dry sand. This will give you the chance to experience both and see what you prefer.

If you are only interested in one or the other, it is still a good idea to search at different times of the day so that you can get a feel for how each type of sand affects your metal detecting.

6 Best Metal Detectors for Beach and Water

Below are the 6 best metal detectors for beach and water.

Now that we have some general information about metal detecting at the beach, let’s jump into our 6 recommendations for beachcombers and treasure hunters.

Garrett ATX Deepseeker

Our Pick
Garrett ATX Deepseeker

The Garrett ATX Deepseeker is a metal detector that can handle any terrain and will not let you down! This dependable machine features four settings to accommodate rapidly changing ground mineralization, an LED indicator for each mode so it's always clear what setting you're in (and signal strength), plus a frequency scan with volume control. 

The Deepseeker is a technological marvel with all the features you need to find any treasure, whether it's by sand or deep below sea level. It has an exclusive design for successful small-item searches as well! With its quick Iron Check feature and adjustable discrimination settings (to accommodate most objects), there won't be anything this machine can’t detect – not even RFI interference which helps guarantee optimal performance during your hunt so that every dig gets done right away without delay.

This Garrett device uses advanced pulse induction technology, making it easier than ever to use, more accurate, and sensitive, making it your perfect partner on any beach hunt. It's backed by Garrett's 2-year warranty and patents which have been developed over decades of experience in hunting for precious metals. And don't discount its military specifications that ensure durability no matter what conditions you face or terrain types, where buried treasures await!

This package includes a 20" (50cm) mono coil that can detect deep targets, headphones for private listening, and Garrett cases (soft and hard). It also comes with AA alkaline and rechargeable batteries as well as a cover to keep your coil safe from damage while traveling! Plus the military-grade hard carrying case will ensure all of this great gear arrives at its destination in perfect condition no matter where you're going on vacation.

While this metal detector is ideal for any beach or water situation, those who are interested in this model should be aware that it is rather heavy to carry around for hours on end. And some owners have complained that they do get the occasional false signal being received.

The biggest drawback for most beginners is the price tag.  It is the more expensive metal detector on our list, but if you’re serious about your hobby, it’s a prime choice.

  • Quick iron check feature
  • Waterproof speaker
  • True all-terrain detector
  • Ground tracking with 4 settings
  • Heavier than other options
  • Occasional false signals reported
  • Price

The Verdict: Because the Deepseeker uses PI technology, comes with a number of useful extras, and works well on any terrain, it earns our top pick position. 

Yes, it is a little more expensive than the other choices, but for those metal detector enthusiasts looking to up their game for beach and water hunting expeditions, The Garrett ATX Deepseeker is the best overall option for you.

Minelab Excalibur II

Runner Up

The Minelab Excalibur II metal detector is the perfect machine for anyone looking for a water-ready detector that can move seamlessly between the land, beach, and wet sand conditions - and even underwater depths of up to 200ft! Thanks to its unique Broad Band Spectrum (BBS) technology and superior ground rejecting technology, you'll get accurate results no matter where you are. Plus, you wouldn't think it possible with a non-PI detector, but the added ground canceling technology means you won't get false signals from detecting in salt water!

This versatile machine is perfect for both beginner and experienced relic hunters alike. With easy discrimination and surprising sensitivity, you'll be amazed at what you can find with the Excalibur II. Minelab has created a metal detector that is the perfect tool for any diver looking to explore underwater worlds. It's versatile enough that you can work your way through shallows or dive 200 feet down without worrying about losing any efficiency. 

The Minelab Excalibur II is a top-of-the-line metal detector that is perfect for any treasure hunter or beachcomber. With its durable construction, high-visibility aesthetic look, and slimline coil, it is designed for easy use and ultimate performance. The Minelab's patented BBS 17 frequency technology gives you the ability to find even the most hidden treasures, while the RCB amplifies weak target signals inside the coil, reducing noise and boosting faint, deep objects. The NiMH rechargeable battery pack provides up to 12 hours of operation, so you can enjoy a full day on the beach. And for those who like to discover lost objects in shallow water, the optional side-mount shaft is available to purchase.

And did I mention that this deal gets better? That's right, it's a complete package! This bundle includes the 10" DD submersible coil and cover, a recharging adapter so you'll be able to go anywhere and everywhere in search of that elusive loot, a convenient carrying case, submersible headphones, and a short shaft diving rod. And when you do finally strike gold, the 110v wall charger will make sure you can keep on going. Plus, the Excalibur II comes with a 12-month factory warranty just for peace of mind.

This detector is built to last, with heavy-duty construction that it can withstand some bumps and bruises. However, it should be noted that this detector can be costly to replace cables, some customers have complained is almost a certainty.

Additionally, be mindful of the knobs as they tend to break or fall off too easily. Oh, and be prepared to lug it around. It is probably a bit heavier than the model you are currently using.

  • Perfect for wet and dry sand
  • 17 frequencies
  • 25-hour battery life
  • Waterproof up to 200 ft.
  • Knobs tend to fall off
  • A little heavy

The Verdict: I love what this metal detector offers. The Minelab Excalibur II works just as good on the beach as it does in salt water and for serious hobbyists, you can’t go wrong, given the price and all the extras that come with it.

So, if you’re looking to save some money, but still want a premier metal detector, this should shoot up to the top of your list!

Minelab Equinox 800

Best Value

The Minelab Equinox 800 is equipped with revolutionary new technology to find gold, silver, and other precious metals in your quest for treasure at the beach. It has an impressive ability that combines multiple detectors into one device so you can be more efficient when looking for coins or jewelry on beaches while also being able to handle deep water conditions up to 10 feet underwater! With accurate target ID and custom profiles enabled by you - this metal detecting machine will quickly identify any type of target before sorting through the trash that lies beneath the sand.

This high-tech multi-IQ machine has two built-in programs (gold specific) and an adjustable backlit LED display that works no matter what environment you're in. Get ready to be amazed at all the things it can detect; whether it's coins or something much more valuable like jewelry, this detector will help cut through the sand with ease. 

This metal detector will give you the chance to find some serious booty! Deepest reported location depths are 6 inches for nuggets and 16 Inches with lost rings. This device is easy to use, lightweight yet powerful, and you can easily update the firmware yourself, avoiding the purchase of a newer model. I'm telling you this thing rocks! Plus, you'll get in three or four long expeditions per battery charge so no matter where in your area beaches are located, they'll all get explored without hesitation.

The waterproof design and built-in preset modes make it simple to get started, but the wireless feature allows for the exploration of new areas. Plus this detector is able to detect underwater as well as in sand or dirt which makes any terrain yours!

Unfortunately, there are some things that lower the rankings of the Equinox 800. While the change in detection alert audio is not standard and may take some getting used to, there is a comfortability feature that is hard to get over.

I know it’s a little nit-picky, but there is no grip on the handle.  Might not seem like much, but after a few hours of searching the beach, it’ll get a little uncomfortable.

  • Wide display
  • 2 built-in gold programs
  • 9 detection modes
  • Fully waterproof up to 10 feet
  • Not collapsible
  • Arm cuff feels flimsy
  • A learning curve for beginners
  • Some complaints of weak coil mount

The Verdict: Overall, the Minelab Equinox 800 is a great all-around metal detector that would work well for anyone, not just those at the beach. It’s listed at a fair price and it comes with a lot of great features, regardless of your level of experience. 

Beginners will have to really have patience with learning the controls, but in the end, this metal detector is deserving of our best value choice.

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II

Best for Water

Looking for an underwater metal detector that can withstand the rigors of saltwater and provide accurate results? Look no further than the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II. This tough and durable metal detector is designed for use in all types of waterways, from lakes and rivers to the ocean. It features pulse induction technology for deep seeking results, adjustable audio threshold, user-adjustable discrimination, and discrete trash elimination. Plus, the all-metal deep-seeking mode provides full-range PI discrimination. So whether you're a beginner or a pro, you'll be able to find the treasure you're looking for. The Sea Hunter Mark II also comes with a one-year limited part and labor warranty to give you that little extra protection.

The Sea Hunter Mark II is one of the most advanced microprocessor-driven underwater detectors on the market today. With pulse induction circuitry and an 8″ PROformance submersible search coil, this detector is able to provide excellent depth and performance in saltwater and other difficult environments without the usual interference from ground minerals. Featuring a custom-designed housing, multiple configurations, and extraordinary sensitivity, the Sea Hunter outperforms all others on their level.

The Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II is the perfect treasure hunting tool for any serious or amateur beachcomber or diver. The air-powered Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II also comes with a double o-ring sealed housing that is both durable and lightweight. Plus, the individual O-ring sealed battery and electronics compartments make battery replacement a breeze. The search coil and headphones are also submersible up to 200 feet, making it easy to find treasures underwater. And for added convenience, the detector offers 4 stem arrangements – the long stem with top stem mount, under cuff stem mount, hip mount, and the short stem ScubaMate. What's even better is that this item comes with a Garrett Pro Pointer AT that is submersible up to 20 feet. You'd think your wallet would be scared straight right about now, but don't worry. You'll love the performance of the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II, but you also love the price, as it's one of the less expensive models on our list.

The Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II is a great metal detector, but it can be overly sensitive at times, which is frustrating. Even with discrimination dialed up to ignore the iron in the ground, it will often overcompensate and miss the items you’re wanting to find.

This machine comes with a limited warranty, so be sure to keep your receipts in case you have any problems. Also, the lack of display is a bit disappointing.

  • Submersible up to 200 feet
  • PI circuitry technology
  • Perfect for beaches, lakes, oceans, etc.
  • Comes Garrett Pro Pointer AT
  • Overly sensitive even with discrimination
  • Limited warranty
  • No display

The Verdict: I love the price, I love what the Sea Hunter does, and I love what you get with it. For beginners, this might not be the first option because the lack of display leaves you with just interpreting the audio tones, which takes some time to get used to.

But other than that, I think it’s an awesome metal detector and maybe one of the cheaper (and reliable) PI metal detectors around.

XP Deus

Best for Dry Sand

With the XP Deus, you'll be able to find all of those pesky coins and relics in no time! This top-shelf VLF metal detector is packed with features that will make your beach hunting experience easier and more enjoyable. The 9″ X35 DD waterproof search coil will help you navigate through any terrain, while the discrimination mode with an extended range ensures that only the desired objects are identified. You'll also appreciate the audio response and iron level features that add to its value. And with 9 pre-configured factory programs, it's easy to get started right away!

This lightweight device weighing under 5 pounds, features multi-tone, notch, ground balance, motion, and 4 non-motion modes – making it perfect for a diverse and unknown search along the beach. Plus, the coil cover and WS4 wireless headphones (with its own storage case) make it safe to travel with and comfortable to wear. Add in the wireless remote control display screen (includes hip mount case), and you have everything you need to get started. Best of all, the XP Deus comes with 5-year parts and labor warranty, so you know you are protected.

It comes packed with 35 frequencies and 5 main modes, so it can be tailored to your specific hunting needs. Whether you’re looking for relics, coins, or beach hunting, the XP Deus has you ready for adventure. Plus, with the expert menu, you can create your own custom programs to best suit your style of hunting. Excitement abounds with this detector! This metal detector has an amazing LCD remote with a low power consumption backlight, intuitive screen functions, and long battery life – up to 27 hours! Plus, it comes with a belt clip for easy transport. And if that's not enough, this detector also has a full graphic display. Talk about impressive! 

There are so many more features I haven't even mentioned that you just have to try it out for yourself.

The XP Deus is a high-end metal detector that offers excellent performance and features. However, it has a slight learning curve for those just beginning to learn. And the machine itself is not fully waterproof, although the search coil is submersible.

Additionally, the search coil assembly can be finicky. When attaching the coil to the shaft, you’ll most likely need a wrench or pliers to tighten it. But be careful, the nut and bolt are easy to break. Despite these drawbacks, the XP Deus is still an excellent choice for serious metal detectorists.

  • Great for dry sand
  • Tons of included features and accessories
  • 35 frequencies
  • 4 non-motion modes
  • Slight learning curve
  • Not fully waterproof
  • Search coil assembly is finicky

The Verdict: If your heart is on the beach and you want a metal detector to match, the XP Deus is your baby. It’s got some pretty advanced features and once you get some practice in, you’ll understand all of them.

While it works best on dry sand, you can still find some elusive treasures in the water. Just know that it’s not fully waterproof so your depth is limited.

Fisher 1280X

Best Price

The Fisher 1280X is an innovative metal detector that can be used in a variety of settings. With its turn-on-and-go operation that auto-adjusts to the current conditions, it's easy to use even for beginners. And its submersible design means it can be used in up to 250 feet of water, making it perfect for beach hunting, shallow water diving, and more. It also features an adjustable sensitivity control, so you can customize your target response. And with its 8" and 10" coil options, you can get the most out of your detecting experience. Plus, with up to 75+ hours of battery life, you can keep going all day long.

You'll want to jump on this deal today because the Fisher 1280X is the ultimate VLF detector for freshwater hunting (still excellent in saltwater)! This detector is easy to use and very rugged, making it perfect for any adventurer. With its air-powered design and collapsible pole assembly, the 1280X is perfect for diving, standing, or wading. You don't have to worry about any fine-tuning, threshold, or ground balancing adjustments - just turn it on and go! The 1280X is known for its ruggedness and lightweight design; it only weighs 6.6 pounds! Plus, it has a collapsible pole assembly that makes it easy to store or transport, or use standing up or diving deeper for sunken treasure.

This amazing product has a 4 kHz operating frequency and a 2-year warranty, so you can be sure it will last. Plus, the arm strap is included, so you don't have to worry about losing your detector underwater.

This Fisher model is a good deal for those specifically looking to take a dive and search for sunken relics, coins, and other lost objects. While it does work perfectly fine on the beach, it’s still a VLF metal detector and any wet sand will hinder your detection efforts.

Plus, I’m not in love with the no-display aspect. Most beginners will have a harder time understanding what each tone represents. But you can’t beat the price. There are still a ton of good features with this metal detector that needs to weigh into your decision.

  • Price
  • Submersible up to 250 feet
  • 75 hours of battery life
  • 2 coil options
  • No display
  • Works best in freshwater
  • Not PI technology

The Verdict: If you’re on a tight budget but you’re itching to search out a new water hole you found or dip your toes into the surf to discover some lost booty, this is the metal detector for you.

It’s sturdy, compact, and comfortable while also providing a very user-friendly and accurate experience. If you’re a more experienced beachcomber and detectorist, you might want to try a different option, but you can’t really beat this price and its depth capabilities.

FAQs About Metal Detecting at The Beach

Below are some more questions about metal detectors and the beach.

Do Metal Detectors Work on Wet Sand?

The answer is yes, metal detectors can work on wet sand, but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind in order to ensure that they work properly.

First, make sure you are using the right equipment. VLF metal detectors, as we previously stated, don’t do well with wet sand due to the high mineral content. You will need a special metal detector that is specifically designed for use in wet sand, such as a PI metal detector.

Do I Need a License to Metal Detect on The Beach?

The regulations vary from state to state on licenses and permits for beach detecting.

There’s no single answer to this question since beach metal detecting regulations can vary from one location to the next. In some areas, you may need a permit or license in order to use a metal detector on the beach.

However, in other areas, there may be no restrictions at all. It’s always best to check with your local authorities.

A good way to look at this is, as long as you have permission, you can metal detect on a beach. So, it’s good practice to check with the state or country to verify what regulations they require for you to metal detect in any given area if any at all.

What Other Tools or Supplies Do I Need to Metal Detect on A Beach?

Besides the normal supplies for a metal detecting adventure, the beach and water provide additional needs.

When preparing for a new hunt, there are a few things you generally bring. But what about when the intended location is the beach? Well, there are a few more items you should be adding to your list.

Besides your carefully selected metal detector and trusty digging tool, you’ll want to consider the following items.

  • Sand Scoop – You’ll want something to help you quickly and easily dig up items from the sand. When picking a sand scoop, it’s better to choose one with a longer handle to save your back the pain of constant ups and downs.
  • Shoulder or Hip Harness – This will help you distribute the weight of your metal detector and other gear so you can hunt for longer periods of time without getting too tired.
  • Pouch for Found Items – A small pouch will help you keep track of the things you find and prevent them from getting lost in the sand. Plus you can attach your pouch to the harness mentioned above to make it more convenient to carry while still hunting.
A pouch is a great lightweight tool to carry all your beach finds in.
  • Waterproof Headphones – If you want to be able to hear your metal detector over the sound of waves crashing, you’ll need a pair of these.
  • Sunscreen – Don’t forget the sunscreen! You’ll be out in the sun for hours, so it’s important to protect yourself from harmful UV rays and a ruthless sunburn the next day.
  • Hat – A wide-brimmed hat will also help keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes.
  • Beach Chair – A comfortable place to sit will make metal detecting a lot more enjoyable, especially if you plan on spending several hours at the beach. Granted, most of your time will be spent on your feet, but during those small breaks to look over your finds, you’ll be glad you brought one.

With these items in tow, you’ll be ready for a fun and successful day of metal detecting on the beach.

Tips for Metal Detecting on A Beach

Below are just a few tips to consider when metal detecting at the beach.

Assuming you have a metal detector and are ready to start combing the beach for buried treasure, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to make the most of your time and increase your chances of finding something valuable.

  1. Check local regulations for permits and license requirements
  2. Be prepared for inclement weather
  3. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for any situation
  4. Bring snacks and drinks, as well as sunscreen and insect repellant
  5. Pack a first-aid kit, just in case
  6. Start at the waterline and work your way up the beach
  7. Learn about the tides and look for areas that may have been recently exposed
  8. Be patient and methodical in your search
  9. And finally, have fun! After all, you’re on the beach with a metal detector! Who knows what you might find.

For more tips and tricks for metal detecting at the beach or other popular areas, be sure to check out our post with 7 tips for every situation.


If you’re looking for a great metal detector to use at the beach, our favorite is the Garrett ATX Deepseeker. But we’ve listed five other options for this environment and shared some tips on how to get the most out of them. No matter what you decide, have fun and enjoy the hunt!

And if you’ve been bitten by the metal detecting bug by finding some lost jewelry on the beach, you might also like our article on treasure hunting metal detectors.

Until next time…

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