Best Metal Detector for Beginners: The #1 Buyers Guide

  • By: Chris
  • Last updated on December 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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Do you have a secret desire to become a treasure hunter? Are you considering getting into the exciting world of metal detecting? If so, you’re probably wondering what the best metal detector for a beginner is.

While there is no one perfect answer to that question, there are some great detectors out there that would be perfect for someone just starting out.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best detectors for beginners, as well as give you a few tips on how to choose the right detector for you. So if you’re ready to start searching for buried treasure, keep reading! You might just find the perfect detector for your needs.​​​​​

At a Glance – Top 3

Our Pick
Fisher F22
  • Weatherproof
  • 4 Modes of Operation
  • 9-Segment Target-ID
  • 4-Tone Audio ID
  • Notch Discrimination System
Best Waterproof
Nokta Makro Simplex +
  • IP68 - Fully submersible (10 ft)
  • 4 Search Modes
  • Iron Volume
  • Auto Ground Balancing
  • Notch Discrimination System
Best Value
Garrett ACE 300
  • Fully Submersible Searchcoil
  • Includes 3 Free Accessories
  • Digital Target ID
  • 5 Search Modes
  • Electronic Pinpointing

Fisher F22

Our Pick

The Fisher F22 is the perfect metal detector to kickstart your new hobby and get you outdoors looking for a lost piece of history. This all-purpose metal detector can find jewelry, coins, and artifacts on land and in shallow water. It's perfect for any weather condition, so you can go treasure hunting rain or shine. The easy-to-use features make it a breeze to find gold, coins, or any other metal, even if it's deep underground. The operating frequency is 7.69 kHz and it is ultra-lightweight at only 2.3 lbs. With its useful adjustable shaft, the minimum length is 39.5 inches and the maximum length is 50 inches.

The Fisher 22 is so easy to operate with features like discrimination, sensitivity, notch, and pinpoint, you’ll go from newbie to pro in no time at all.  With the ability to find targets at depths of 9 inches, this machine enables its users to find hidden targets that other devices just may not catch.  Not only is it perfect for beginners, but it’s also a great tool for anyone who wants to upgrade to a more mid-level type of metal detector.

You can’t go wrong with this Fisher product and its accurate and reliable results. The well-balanced design and padded hand grip make it comfortable to use, even for extended periods of time. Plus, the weatherproof construction means you can take it anywhere - the beach, the park, or your own backyard.  With its Target Categories and 0-99 numeric Target-ID, you'll be able to find what you're looking for quickly and easily. Plus, the 4-Tone Audio-ID System boosts your target discrepancy even more reliable.

If you’re worried about picking your first metal detector, there’s no need to stress with the Fisher 22.  It’s a great choice for anyone looking for a quality metal detector. It has adjustable audio so you can set the volume of ferrous targets lower than non-ferrous ones. The large 2-digit numeric target-ID numbers are easy to see, and the iron identifier icon makes sure you don't accidentally miss any trash targets. Plus, the non-volatile memory saves your settings so you can easily pick up where you left off.

Now let’s talk about some of the negatives of this model. While the Fisher F22 is a model great for all sorts of terrains, including the beach, it does not hold up well in salt water and wet sand. 

In fact, some owners have complained that this type of environment will play tricks on your detector and give off all sorts of bad signals. And when it comes to the pinpointer functionality, it would be disingenuous of me to rave about it. 

Picking up a separate pinpointer would probably be better at saving you time and energy. Also, the armrest is a bit difficult to adjust and this item does not come with a coil cover, unfortunately.

  • Works in all terrains
  • Well balanced design
  • Weatherproof and lightweight
  • Great battery life
  • Not great in saltwater
  • Pinpointer feature is lacking
  • Armrest difficult to adjust

The Verdict: The Fisher F22 is a great metal detector for beginners. It’s lightweight and easy to use, and will help you find all kinds of treasures! 

While the lack of functionality in salt water or even the lack of underwater capabilities is disappointing, you can’t really find many drawbacks to this model, especially for a beginner.  In my opinion, this is the top choice for those looking to dive into the world of metal detecting.

Nokta Makro Simplex +

Best Waterproof

Looking for a machine that can handle anything you throw at it? Then the Nokta Makro Simplex + is the perfect option for you! This incredible detector is fully submersible up to 10 feet and protected from total dust ingress with its IP68 feature, so you can take it anywhere. It also features notch discrimination and an adjustable iron volume to help you identify unwanted metals, plus search modes for all types of terrain. And if that's not enough, it has fabulous lighting for night and underwater use.

With its simple turn-on-and-go design and auto ground balancing, the Simplex + is easy to use and covers all the bases. Plus, its waterproof construction means you can take it to the beach with confidence. This Nokta Makro machine is cost-effective yet durable, making it the perfect choice for those who want to get into metal detecting without breaking the bank.  

The Nokta Makro Simplex+ is a top-of-the-line metal detector that comes packed with features for newbies and pros alike, including a waterproof coil and cover, a 6.3mm headphone adapter, and a USB charging option and data cable. Plus, it comes with the latest software to keep you up-to-date with the latest discoveries and you can update it yourself if a newer version is available. While the warranty is for 2 years, allowing you to rest assured that your new machine is protected, the life of the rechargeable battery is an easy 5 years. Weighing in at a mere 4.69 pounds, there’s no need to stress about carrying around your detector for hours on end.

You can’t go wrong with a metal detector as beautifully designed like this. It has a collapsible shaft, making it easy to transport and set up – so you can get started finding gold, coins, or lost keys right away. If you're looking for a detector with great depth and sensitivity, look no further.  Recent advancements made to this model include a handy mineralization bar, a park mode, additional headphone audio settings, and a mute option.

The Nokta Makro Simplex + is very comparable to the Garrett AT Pro in functionality and features. This machine is perfect for use in yards, fields, and parks, and can easily find targets up to 5 inches deep. With its accurate target ID and fast recovery speed, the Simplex + is perfect for use in trashy areas.

The Simplex + is a great machine to get started on but you should know a couple of things before you purchase. 

First, the Simplex + will not work with just any old wireless headphones. You’ll need to use an adapter to connect your headphones to the machine. And trust me, it’s worth it when detecting those deeper targets. 

Second, this machine is not great for beach use. It works best in dry conditions and can’t handle saltwater very well.

Third, the Simplex + is very sensitive to iron and aluminum. While an experienced user can adjust the settings to filter these targets out, someone new to metal detectors will need to play around and get used to the various tones and features.

  • Lighting for night and underwater
  • 5 search modes
  • Fully waterproof up to10 feet
  • Durable and affordable
  • Needs headphone adapter
  • Not great in saltwater
  • Learning curve for beginners

The Verdict: In my opinion, the Nokta Makro Simplex+ is a great device, especially considering the price with all the features you get loaded in it.  It’s easy to use right out of the box but understanding the readings and adjusting for specific metals does require a bit of testing on your part. 

But overall, it’s a great option for those looking to get started in the hobby.

Garrett ACE 300

Best Value

This metal detector isn’t only excellent for those just starting out, it’s also one of my favorite low-cost options. The Garrett ACE 300 is a premium device that comes with a submersible search coil, making it ideal for detecting coins, jewelry, and other small items in any environment. Plus, it features five different search modes, eight sensitivity adjustments, and a coin depth indicator to help you zero in on your target quickly and easily. Plus, it includes three free accessories: volume control headphones, an environmental coverup, and a search coil cover!

With these advanced features, the ACE 300 is perfect for beginners, and those ready to take the next step in their hunting journey.  You won’t have to upgrade to a newer model once you get comfortable with the ins and outs of detecting.  Garrett packs in additional functionality like electronic pinpointing and pulse-width modulation for easier identification and no need for a spare pinpointer. 

Its lightweight build and ergonomic design make it easy to swing, while its deep and responsive detection makes finding treasure an afterthought. Plus, with its copper, silver, and gold levels feature, you can find valuable coins and relics with ease. It weighs only 5 pounds and takes 4 AA batteries, making it super portable. In ideal conditions, it can detect metal objects up to 8" deep. However, soil composition can affect the signal penetration, so keep that in mind when you're treasure hunting. The 5x8" DD coil gives you excellent coverage no matter the environment.

The drawbacks (there aren’t many) include the slight learning curve a new user is going to have with this device.  With its digital technology, DD coils, and advanced tuning features, you’ll have to really take the time to learn the inner workings of your new metal detector. 

But after the honeymoon period, you’ll feel glad that you went with this excellent Garrett model.  However, some customers have complained about the durability of the product, specifically the thin plastic that connects the head to the wand.

  • Submersible searchcoil
  • 5 search modes
  • Pulse-width modulation
  • 3 free accessories
  • Inconsistent durability
  • Learning curve for beginners

The Verdict: I love this choice. If you are willing to take the time to learn about the tones, settings, and really make an investment in your hobby, then this is the perfect option for you.  It allows you to grow along with your technique and not get bored due to lack of features. 

You could opt for the upgraded Garrett ACE 400 that we covered in another article, but for beginners, the 300 should do just fine.

Some Other Choices

While these next 2 detectors didn’t make the top 3 cut, they certainly deserve some attention. If you aren’t in love with any of the metal detectors above, maybe the next 2 will spark some interest. So, without further ado!

2 other options are below if you haven’t fallen in love yet.

Bounty Hunter Lone Star

Low Cost Alternative

Introducing the Bounty Hunter Lone Star metal detector! Whether you're a seasoned treasure hunter or just getting started, this detector is perfect for finding anything buried beneath your feet. It features an 8" interchangeable, waterproof search coil and three modes of operation: all-metal, discrimination, and auto notch. With three-tone audio discrimination and touchpad selection, it's easy to find what you're looking for. The sensitivity control and progressive discrimination modes make it easy to find even the smallest metals. And with a 6.5 kHz operating frequency, you'll be sure to find those hidden gems.

With the Bounty Hunter Lone Star, you can detect small items up to 8 inches below and larger items up to 3 feet under! This detector is perfect for anyone getting started that doesn't want any limitations. It operates on 9V alkaline batteries, so it's easy to take with you wherever you go. The "auto notch" and "discriminate notch" options get rid of all your iron and trash sounds. You'll be able to see your target's metal composition both visually on the LCD screen and audibly with a tone through the built-in speakers.

Bounty Hunter Lone Star Metal Detector is perfect for treasure hunting right in your own backyard! It's easy to use, with a low, medium, and high tone indicating the different types of metal you're likely to find. You'll be able to detect nails, bottle caps, gold or nickel as well as pull-tabs, and different types of pennies. This 4.1-pound detector is made in the USA and comes with a five-year warranty that you can trust.

The coil is waterproof and you can submerge it underwater.  In fact, short of a tidal wave, this thing works great!  While it comes with its own search coil, it is compatible with other Bounty Hunter coil products. The battery life is impressive, so you can enjoy hours of searching before needing to replace the batteries.

For those wondering if this is too good to be true, the Bounty Hunter Lone Star is an entry-level metal detector that is great for someone who is just starting out.

However, for someone who plans on taking the time to really dive into this hobby, I would spend more for a better quality detector. The screen itself is a little small and despite the coil is waterproof, the rest of the metal detector is not.

  • Affordable price
  • Waterproof 8" coil
  • 3-tone audio ID
  • 7" max coin depth
  • Smaller screen
  • Not the best build quality 
  • Not ideal for serious users

The Verdict: If you’re a beginner looking to test the waters without having to dish out a fortune, this is the best deal you are going to find.  The detector is reliable and holds up well in most terrains.  But if you want something more serious, I’d keep looking if I were you.

Garrett AT Pro

Mid-Level Alternative

The AT Pro, designed by Garrett, is one of the most versatile metal detectors on the market. This tough and rugged machine can go anywhere you want to take it, from the backyard to the beach. It is fully submersible up to 10 feet, making it great for looking for lost jewelry and other objects in the water. The High-Resolution Iron Discrimination feature gives you the ability to eliminate unwanted iron trash signals with the push of a button.

Even better, the electronic pinpointing feature allows you to quickly zero in on your target. The 8.5" x 11" PROformance DD searchcoil provides excellent coverage and depth detection. The unit also comes with headphones so you won't have to spend any extra cash for this added convenience. The entire unit is just 3.02 pounds and 4 AA batteries included are enough to keep you hunting for plenty of time. There is also a 2 factory included a 2-year warranty on the Garrett AT Pro to keep your confidence level high in your purchase.

Not that you’ll need it!  Garrett is a trusted and popular brand for all levels of metal detector users.  The Garrett AT Pro is a great metal detector for both beginner and seasoned treasure hunters alike! This detector is incredibly rugged and owners rave about the extended battery life they get from regular use.  This feature-packed machine is an outstanding all-terrain depth machine that allows you to easily find coins and other objects deep in the ground. With a depth of 6-8 inches on coins and 10+ inches on iron objects, it is easy to use and very precise. The screen also shows you how deep the object is, and what it is, so you can easily identify the objects below your feet.

The Garrett AT Pro is a great metal detector for anyone looking to get into the hobby. However, it’s worth noting that it struggles a little bit with saltwater. This isn’t a big deal if you’re just getting started, but if you plan on doing any serious detecting, you’ll want to consider another option.

The AT Pro is also on the heavy side compared to other options, so make sure that is something that isn’t a major drawback for you. The price tag is higher than some other beginner models, but you get what you pay for with this top-of-the-line product.

  • Perfect to grow (in experience) with
  • Amazing battery life
  • Submersible up to 10 ft.
  • High-resolution iron discrimination
  • Priced higher
  • A bit heavier than other models

The Verdict: The Garrett AT Pro is an excellent metal detector and works great for any experience level.  With all the features like electronic pinpointing and high-resolution iron discrimination, the metal detector should be at the top of anyone’s list. 

The only reason it’s an alternate for me is the price.  While it is relatively inexpensive for the type of metal detector it is, if you are just starting out and you aren’t sure how far you’re going to take this new hobby, there are certainly less expensive options for you to choose.

FAQs for Beginners

A beginner to the field will have a lot of questions when making a purchase.

What Is the Easiest Metal Detector to Use?

The easiest metal detector to use, in my opinion, is the Fisher F22.  It’s super user-friendly, ready to use right out of the box, and it’s not limited in functionality, so you can still use it as you grow in metal detecting skills. 

The Nokta Makro Simplex + and the Garrett ACE series are clear alternative options as they also come with an abundant amount of features but won’t overwhelm a beginner looking to learn from scratch.

What Should I Look for When Buying a Metal Detector?

There are a few things you should look for when purchasing a metal detector. First, consider what type of terrain you’ll be using it in – if you’ll be searching in sandy or wet areas, make sure to get a detector that is waterproof and can filter out false signals.

Second, think about what types of objects you’re hoping to find – if you’re interested in gold nuggets, look for a detector that is specifically designed for gold prospecting.

Finally, consider your budget – while higher-end models may have more features, they also tend to come with a higher price tag. By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be able to choose the best metal detector for your needs.

Electronic pinpointing is another added benefit to many models.

Once you narrow down these factors, you can start looking at more technical aspects to consider like the size of the coil, detection depth, and additional features like electronic pinpointing and automatic ground balancing.

How Much Should I Spend on A Metal Detector?

If you’re just starting out, I wouldn’t spend over $600 on a metal detector, and that is pushing it.  You just don’t know if you’re really going to catch on and develop a real interest in the hobby.

Once you’ve had some time to get used to your metal detector and feel more comfortable with the ins and outs of metal detecting, you may want to upgrade at that point.  Then I’d say your budget should increase to a more advanced machine in the range of $1000+.

Is Buying a Metal Detector Worth It?

Buying a metal detector, regardless of your reasons is definitely worth it.  Whether you’re just interested in starting a new hobby, spending more time outdoors, finding some lost items, or making friends with a group of adventure-seeking individuals, buying a metal detector will bring a variety of benefits to it. 

And with the price of good quality metal detectors being so affordable, you will never have to stress about spending the money on a new great investment.


Now that you know about the different types of metal detectors and what to look for, it’s time to get excited! You’re about to embark on a new hobby- or maybe even turn it into a career.

Detectorists find all sorts of treasures buried in the ground- from coins and jewelry to historical artifacts. But don’t forget, as, with any other activity, it takes time to truly master the craft.

Make sure you always read the owner’s manual thoroughly before use and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. And most importantly, have fun!

Still not sure where to start?  Check out the Fisher F22 and let yourself get pumped for an adventure!

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