In the market for a new metal detector? If you’re looking specifically for a gold-finding machine, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we take a look at six of the best gold-detecting metal detectors currently on the market, in a range of prices and with a variety of features.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gold prospector, one of these machines is sure to help you take your hobby to the next level.
At a Glance – Best Metal Detectors for Finding Gold
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Best Runner Up
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Best Under $650
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Best Priced Alternate
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Best Product Alternate
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Minelab GPZ 7000 – Best Overall
Minelab’s range of detectors is known for its reliability and high-quality build. A trusted brand and leader in the metal detecting industry, Minelab has come up with another top-shelf machine for finding gold in any type of environment.
This top-of-the-line metal detector can help you find those hidden treasures, no matter the terrain. The Minelab GPZ 7000 is for the best of the best. This powerful machine is designed for serious prospectors, and can easily find gold nuggets that are buried up to 40% deeper than other detectors on the market. With its waterproof coil and ZVT technology, it can withstand even the most difficult conditions, while the full-color LCD makes it easy to keep track of your progress. And best of all, it comes with a 3-year warranty, so you can be confident in its performance.
Our Best Overall detector can detect gold in three different modes – High Yield, General, and Extra Deep – so you can be sure you’re finding all the gold that’s out there. And with its Ground Type feature, you can adjust your settings to account for different types of ground, so you’ll always get accurate readings.
However, it’s important to note that this detector is not without its faults; some users have found this Minelab product to produce inaccurate noises even after ground balancing for accuracy. Not to mention, it is one of the more expensive models available.
But with its powerful capabilities and sleek design, the Minelab GPZ 7000 is still one of the best detectors on the market today.
- Easy to use
- 3-year warranty on control box/coil
- Excellent deep gold detection
- Works in all terrains
- Price is a bit high
- Not the best option for beginners
- Some complaints about inaccurate readings
The Verdict: The Minelab GPZ 7000 is a premier gold detector. It is for the most serious metal prospectors and gold hunters. This detector has many features that allow you to find the deepest gold nuggets.
It can handle any environment you throw at it and trust in the readings you get. That is why it is our best overall metal detector for gold.
Minelab Equinox 800 – Best Budget
Ready to hunt for buried treasure like a true pirate? Then you need the Minelab Equinox 800 multi-IQ metal detector. This best budget gold detector is equipped with Minelab's revolutionary new technology that combines the power of multiple detectors into one, for maximum efficiency. Whether you're searching for coins in the park, jewelry on the beach, or gold nuggets in the field, this detector can handle it all. And because it's fully waterproof, you can even use it in up to 10 feet of water. Plus, with accurate target ID and custom search profiles, you'll be able to quickly identify your targets and sort through the trash to find the real treasure.
With two built-in gold programs and an adjustable backlit LED display that works in any light condition, the Equinox 800 is perfect for use in any situation. Whether you're an experienced gold hunter or just getting started, this detector is sure to help you find what you're looking for.
With reported location depths of up to 6 inches for gold nuggets and 16 inches for gold rings, this metal detector is no match for other lesser quality devices. It's easy to use, lightweight and has great balance. Plus, the ability to update firmware makes it great for any newer technology that comes out and not having to buy a new model! With three or four long hunts per charge, you'll be able to explore all kinds of gold patches with ease.
The built-in presets make it simple to get started, and the wireless design makes it easy to explore new areas. Plus, with its ability to detect under the water, sand, and dirt, this detector is perfect for any terrain.
But not everything can come up roses. The detection alert may not be what you were expecting. Rather than emitting a beep, it emits a pinpoint sound, which can take some getting used to.
Also, some users complained that the coil mounts of the Minelab Equinox 800 are prone to breaking in comparison to other similar models.
One other drawback is the lack of a handgrip under the control box. Instead, it’s just a smooth component that can get uncomfortable to hold after a couple of hours
- Adjustable backlit LED
- 2 built-in gold programs
- 4 detection modes
- Fully waterproof
- No grip for comfort
- No standard beep detection alert
- Takes time to learn settings for beginners
- Some complaints of weak coil mount
The Verdict: The Minelab Equinox 800 is a great metal detector and doesn’t break the bank. For all the features it provides for less than $1000, you won’t find a much better choice. So if you’re serious about taking that next step in prospecting, this detector is the best value option around.
Fisher Gold Bug 2 – Best Runner Up
Our runner-up model could easily be considered the best gold detector in its own right. The Fisher Gold Bug 2 is the perfect metal detector for those looking for a powerful and sensitive detector. Thanks to its 71 kHz operation, this detector can pick up even the smallest gold nuggets with its ultra-high frequency. The 'IRON DISC' mode also helps to reject iron (trash) targets and hot rocks, while the Deep Target Audio Boost Mode ensures you hear every signal loud and clear.
Another great feature is the High, Normal, and Low Mineralization modes. These settings let you adjust the detector to your specific needs, while the adjustable Threshold, Volume, and Sensitivity make sure you're always in control. And at only 2.9 pounds, it is a lightweight and hip-mountable design, so you can take this detector with you wherever you go. Also, the dual-knob ground control allows for coarse and fine adjustment, while the audio-tone battery test mode makes it easy to check the battery level.
Better yet, right now you can get this model with 2 different sized coils for any scenario you find yourself in, a 6.5 inch and 10-inch coil. Whether you're searching in tight stream beds or searching for gold nuggets in more open areas, the Gold Bug 2 is perfect for the job. It's also dust and moisture resistant, so you can explore even the most rugged terrain. And the 5-year warranty doesn’t hurt either!
An added benefit to this great-priced gold detector is the capability to manually adjust your settings. Other detectors are known for having auto-controlled settings which help all experience levels, but allowing more experienced hunters to be able to manually adjust is great for better results in the field.
The innovative Fisher Gold Bug 2 features a built-in speaker, is extremely easy to set up and is ergonomically built for easy swinging.
Unfortunately, some of the drawbacks reported by customers are what make this unit the runner-up. Some common complaints include the God Bug 2 being unable to discriminate between gold and other metals consistently, the quality of the product not holding up to regular use, and the 9-volt battery being very difficult to replace after a couple of hunting trips.
Others have complained about the price as well.
- Deep target audio boost mode
- Lightweight and hip mountable
- Comes with 2 search coils
- 3 mineralization modes
- Difficult to change the battery
- Some suggest it is overpriced
- Not the best build material
- Hard to distinguish noises for beginners
The Verdict: While some have complaints about the price or different features, we absolutely love this gold detector. With the adjustability of settings and mounts, the exceptional sensitivity it shows, and the deep target audio boost mode, we would highly recommend this device.
Throw in the 2 search coils and it’s a clear winner for runner-up!
Garrett AT Gold – Best Under $650
This gold detector is our best metal detector for gold under $650. If you’re looking for a versatile and low-cost gold detector that any detector can get behind, then look no further! The Garrett AT Gold is a deep-seeking detector perfect for all kinds of prospecting, from coin hunting to relic hunting. With its highly recommended True All Metal Mode performance and 18kHz frequency, you'll be able to find even the smallest gold nuggets, jewelry, and coins. And don't forget the included 5x8 (14x20cm) PROformance waterproof search coil - this thing is just packed with features! The small coil makes it easy to maneuver in tight spaces, and it's waterproof up to 10 feet. Just be careful, because while it is waterproof, it won’t hold up in saltwater!
And it does come with a set of stock headphones, but these do not work underwater like the detector itself. So look into getting yourself a pair of waterproof Garrett headphones. As for non-saltwater situations like rain, no worries, this detector and headphones work great in these wet conditions.
This reliable device is perfect for beginners and experts alike, offering four frequencies and an interchangeable coil system. Plus, the digital screen makes it easy to keep track of your progress. And if you're searching in a trashy area, the Iron Audio feature will be a lifesaver. Best of all, the AT Gold comes with a two-year manufacturer's warranty, so you can buy with confidence. The AT Gold also boasts interchangeable coils and a battery life of 25 hours, making it a great choice for those long days out in the field.
Another reason that this detector is perfect for those just getting into the hobby, it features an optional automatic ground balance that makes things a breeze. It's also lightweight and collapsible, so it's easy to take with you on your adventures. Whether you're exploring new territory or revisiting an old favorite spot, you'll be able to find all the hidden gold with the Garrett AT Gold Metal Detector. Plus, this detector has a fast refresh rate, so you can find and discard those pesky coins and tabs in no time!
This outstanding device can not only detect metal buried deep beneath the ground but also discriminate between different types of metal. With just a touch of a button, you can switch between three modes, including an all-metal mode, to suit your needs. The depth display and iron discrimination (1 through 40) controls are easy to use and understand. But if you’re a beginner, do yourself a favor and watch the “how-to” DVD that comes with your purchase. It will save you a lot of time and confusion.
Now for the downside perspective. This Garrett AT Gold metal detector is not for everyone. If you’re looking for a tool to use in saltwater, this is not the one for you.
Additionally, it doesn’t come with a coil cover or storage bag, so you’ll have to purchase those separately. Some people may also find the chatter annoying and hard to understand if you’re a beginner.
However, if you can look past these shortcomings, the Garrett AT Gold can be a great tool for your next treasure hunt.
- Priced perfectly
- Excellent battery life
- Automatic ground balance
- 18kHz frequency for enhanced detection
- Does not work in saltwater
- No coil cover included
- No storage bag included
- Inconsistent chatter reported
The Verdict: The Garrett AT Gold is an excellent choice for those looking to up their game without breaking the bank. It has all the features of a top-notch gold detector with only a few drawbacks. But you can’t beat the price for what you’re getting.
Garrett ACE 400 – Alternative 1
If you’re interested in an alternate gold detector that is priced favorably but still packs a punch, then check out the Garrett ACE 400. This powerful metal detector comes with a number of extra accessories, including an 8.5 x 11-inch search coil cover and clear sound headphones, so you can maximize your chances of finding buried treasure. It also features electronic pinpointing, which makes it easy to locate targets, and notch discrimination, which allows you to modify discrimination patterns based on what you're looking for. The Garrett ACE 400 also comes with a free catalog and exclusive 2-year warranty, which never hurts.
The Garrett ACE 400 has been redesigned with new features that will make hunting for gold even more fun and rewarding. With 5 search modes, a 10 kHz frequency for better sensitivity to low and medium conductivity targets, and an adjustable frequency to eliminate interference, you'll be able to find gold wherever it may be hiding.
This machine is designed to work in even the most mineralized environments, and its lightweight construction (actual weight is 2.9 lbs) makes it easy to transport from one spot to another. Plus, with its adjustable length, it's perfect for users of all sizes. When it comes to hunting at the beach, this detector was made for it. Just know that it doesn’t operate as well in the wet sand as it does in dry sand. You can still search in wet sand, just be sure to jack up the discrimination setting for better readings.
The included DD coil makes it easy to distinguish between iron and the gold that you are seeking. Plus, the Garrett ACE 400 is specifically designed to be more accurate and discriminating, so you can avoid digging through unnecessary junk. Plus, it features a water rain shield to keep your controls dry, even in bad weather. And if you have any questions or problems with your detector, Garrett's excellent customer service department is always happy to help.
The ACE 400 can easily detect small objects at a depth of 8-9 inches, making it perfect for finding treasures that have been missed by other detectors. Plus, the included headphones are small and comfortable, so you can enjoy your treasure hunting experience without worrying about bulky headphones getting in the way. And with the volume control feature, you can adjust the sound to your liking.
Now, while this detector is a great deal and has tons of benefits, they can’t all make the list above. Finding treasure is hard enough – especially when your detector keeps going crazy on wet surfaces or randomly drops down to a lower frequency range.
At least that is how some owners have described their experience. While the device is fairly lightweight, for those with bad backs, you might want to consider a different option as the head of the detector carries the bulk of the weight.
- Works great in more mineralized terrains
- Adjustable length
- Can't beat the price
- 5 discrimination modes
- Difficult to use on wet sand
- Erratic pinpointer button
- Head of the detector is a little heavy
The Verdict: If you’re looking for an exceptional mid-level metal detector, the Garrett ACE 400 is an excellent choice. It’s accurate and easy to use, and if there’s an object buried in the ground, it will find it.
Minelab Gold Monster – Alternative 2
Looking for a fully automatic, easy-to-use gold detector? Look no further than the Minelab Gold Monster! This detector is perfect for beginners and experienced gold hunters alike. It features auto noise canceling, auto ground balance, and automatic sensitivity – so you can focus on finding that next big find! The telescoping shaft makes it adjustable to fit any height, while the waterproof coil enables detecting in all weather conditions. Plus, with three detection modes and adjustable volume controls, you can customize your experience to match your hunting style.
The Minelab Gold Monster is one of the most advanced metal detectors. With its discrimination and ferrous/non-ferrous identification features, it can easily distinguish between valuable targets and iron. This can help when detecting objects buried deep in the ground. And if that wasn't impressive enough, it can even be used to find gold nuggets over a foot deep! It's perfect for the casual treasure hunter who wants to make their fortune or just have some fun outdoors or the serious pro needing a reliable gold detector for their arsenal.
This VLF machine is incredibly sensitive to small gold, making it ideal for those hoping to find every ounce of gold below them. The battery lasts all day, even with intermittent use, and the fast ground balance feature is perfect for highly mineralized soil. The lightweight and compact design make it easy to carry in a backpack, and you'll never have to worry about arm fatigue.
It also features replaceable coil covers, so you can customize your experience. Plus, it feels solid in your hand due to the high-quality materials used by Minelab.
I have to be honest with you, there aren’t many drawbacks to this beautiful machine, besides the price. But if you’re serious about your craft, it’s far from the most expensive on the market. It was hard to not include this detector in our top 4 but it absolutely deserves to be the first alternate.
- Waterproof coil up to 3 feet
- Adjustable telescope shaft
- Easy to use controls
- Gold chance indicator for discrimination
- Pricier than other models
The Verdict: If budget isn’t a big concern and you aren’t set in stone on your decision yet, the Minelab Gold Monster deserves your consideration. With its unique and advanced features, you will be better equipped to find the gold you are looking for, no matter the obstacles.
FAQ about Metal Detectors for Gold
Can Metal Detectors Detect Just Gold?
Gold is a metal that is revered for its value, but it is not the only metal that can be detected by a metal detector. Metal detectors come in a variety of types, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, but all with the ability to detect more than just gold.
For example, VLF (Very Low Frequency) detectors and PI (Pulse Induction) detectors are common in gold prospecting because they are sensitive to small pieces of gold, but they can also detect other metals like copper and silver.
Metal detectors are also used in industries like security and woodworking to detect anything from dangerous weapons to metals that can harm industrial equipment.
However, gold is easily identifiable with the right metal detector because of the highly conductive nature that its properties make up.
How Deep Can Metal Detectors Detect Gold?
The average depth at which a metal detector will register gold is 12 inches with the exception of some models that claim up to 40 feet detection range! This will fluctuate based on the environment and quality of the detector being used.
For more information, check out our article on metal detectors detecting gold.
Do All Metal Detectors Detect Gold?
Metal detectors can be found in many shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing that matters – the ability to find gold.
While any metal detector can find gold, there are those that excel at finding it.
The Minelab Gold Monster and GPZ 7000 series of machines were made to be specifically designed for small pieces like rings or necklaces because most naturally occurring metals emit signals which make them easier targets in general; however, this doesn’t mean you won’t get lucky with any old machine!
I hope this article has helped you in your decision-making process. Choosing a metal detector specifically for finding gold is no easy task as there are many out there, but only a few that deserve your consideration.
The gold detectors we have covered are perfect for a wide range of experience levels and budgets. Whichever you decide, you’ll be ready to get the most out of your hunting adventures.