Best Metal Detectors for Logs

  • By: Chris
  • Last updated on August 14, 2022
  • Time to read: 13 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post, at no extra cost to you!! Before making a purchase, check the details of an item as one link may lead to a promotion that another link doesn't offer.

When you’re working with logs, whether it’s for woodworking or sawmilling, metal debris can be a huge headache. Nails, screws, and other metal objects can easily become embedded in the wood and cause some serious damage to your equipment.

In this blog post, we will discuss the best metal detectors for logs and answer some common questions about dealing with metal in trees. We’ll also help you navigate the process of removing metal from logs, lumber, and other wood products once you locate the potentially hazardous objects.

So let’s get started!

At a Glance – Best Metal Detectors for Logs

Top 3 Average-Use Metal Detectors

Our Pick
Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro
  • Pinpoint Mode with Depth Indication
  • 5-Year Warranty
  • 10-inch Detection Depth
  • 4-Tone Audio ID
  • All Metal Mode
Best Price
Fisher F11
  • Pinpoint
  • 6 Levels of Adjustable Sensitivity
  • 8 Inch Detection Depth
  • 4-Tone Audio-ID
  • 9-Segment Visual Target-ID
Best Depth
Garrett AT Pro
  • Electronic Pinpointing
  • DD PROformance Searchcoil
  • 10 Feet Detection Depth
  • Digital Target ID
  • Headphones Included

Top 3 Handheld Metal Detectors

Our Pick
Garrett Super Scanner V
  • Self Calibrating
  • Interference Elimination Switch
  • 100 Hour Battery Life
  • Up To 9 Inch Detection
Wood Specific
Lumber Wizard 5
  • Specific For Woodworking
  • Laser Line Visual Indicator
  • Stands Up To Wet Wood
  • 6 Inch Detection Depth
Best Price
Little Wizard II
  • Adjustable Sensitivity
  • Lightweight
  • Stands Up To Wet Wood
  • 1.5 Inch Depth Detection

Can a Metal Detector Detect Through Wood?

A metal detector can detect through wood, even logs.

This is a common question and the answer is yes! Metal detectors can detect metal objects through wood, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, the metal object must be large enough to create a signal that can be picked up by the metal detector, depending on the size and type of technology you are using.

Second, the metal detector will be more effective if the metal object is close to the surface of the wood. The further down it is buried, the more difficult it will be to detect. Again, this will depend on the type of metal detector you are using, which we will get into.

Finally, the metal detector more easily picks up metals that have better electrical conductivity. So, if you’re looking for a metal object that is not very conductive (like stainless steel), it will be more difficult to find.

Do I Need a Metal Detector for Logs?

A metal detector is a useful tool for all woodworkers to keep their equipment and themselves safe.

The short answer is: yes, metal detectors can be a helpful tool when working with logs.

While it’s true that metal objects can sometimes be found just by looking at the surface of the wood, there are many instances where they can be hidden deep within the log. A metal detector can help you locate these hidden objects so you can remove them before they cause any damage.

Tramp metal is a term used to describe metal objects that are not part of the normal product being produced by a manufacturing facility. This can include nails, bolts, washers, and other small metal objects that can become embedded in the wood such as metal dust or scrap metal.

Not addressing the issue of tramp metal in logs or other wood materials can lead to some serious consequences. For example, metal shavings can quickly dull saw blades, making it necessary to replace them more frequently.

In addition, metal objects that become lodged in equipment can cause damage to the machinery and potentially create a safety hazard for workers.

A machine can easily be damaged if the metal has not been removed from the wood.

So if you’re working with logs, it’s definitely worth considering investing in a metal detector. But which metal detector is the best for this particular application? Let’s take a look at some of the options before we make our recommendations.

There are generally three types of metal detectors used for logs or other wood materials (planks, reclaimed lumber, etc.).

  • Handheld metal detectors
  • Average-use metal detectors
  • Conveyor metal detectors

Handheld Metal Detectors

If you’re only working with smaller-sized logs or lumber, a hand held metal detector for wood can be a good option. These detectors are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, making them ideal for occasional metal detection tasks.

Specifically, if you work with reclaimed wood, general construction lumber, or logs where only the outermost layers are needing to be scanned, then a handheld metal detector can be a helpful tool for finding metal objects that might be hidden within the wood.

Handheld metal detectors can be a very effective portable option.

What is great about these metal detectors is their lightweight and convenient design so whether you are scanning metal in a small area or need to do a more thorough scan of an entire log, these handheld devices offer great portability to take them where they are needed.

Just be aware that the detection depth of a handheld metal detector will be more limited when dealing with thicker logs. If you’re working with larger logs or need to scan more than just the surface of the wood, you may want to consider one of the other metal detector options.

Average-Use Metal Detectors

An average use metal detector is what you imagine when you think of treasure and relic hunters, coin collectors, and beachcombers when they are in search of metal.

Or maybe you’ve seen your neighbor using one in their backyard, which is a great starting point for the beginner hobbyist.

A standard average-use metal detector can be just as effective on wood as it is on the soil.

An average use metal detector is a good option if you work with a variety of different sizes and types of logs.

These metal detectors offer more features and power than a handheld metal detector, which means they can scan thicker logs more effectively, be used in a range of environments, and easily relay the kind of metal you are dealing with and the exact depth of its location.

While these metal detectors come loaded with more technology to boost their power and detection capabilities, they are also more expensive than handheld metal detectors and still may not be what you are looking for if you’re talking about sawmill level production.

Conveyor Metal Detectors

The third and final type of metal detector we will discuss are conveyor metal detectors. As the name implies, these metal detectors are designed to be used on a conveyor belt and can scan wood materials as they move along the belt.

This is ideal for manufacturing purposes when dealing with large amounts of logs or lumber that need to be metal-free.

Conveyor metal detectors are often used in sawmills to reduce efficiency loss.

Conveyor metal detectors can scan logs of all sizes quickly and effectively, making them ideal for high-volume production. These metal detectors are also able to withstand tough environments and can operate in a wide range of temperatures.

These whole log detectors are usually designed to scan around and through the entire log, which is helpful for detecting metal that might be hidden deep within the wood, without compromising the desired optimal performance that mills usually require.

You see, if it weren’t for these large industrial metal detectors, metal hidden in lumber could easily go undetected and wreak havoc on the machinery it comes into contact with. It also prevents mills from slowing down production to look more closely at each individual log with smaller devices.

For instance, a technical manager of a large German chipboard factory was quoted as saying “one hour of downtime costs around 5,000 euros“, which is equivalent to $5,394.30 in US dollars.

3 Best Average Use Metal Detectors for Logs

Below are our 3 best average-use metal detectors in 2022.

Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics when looking to metal detect logs and other wood materials, let’s take a look at three of the best metal average use detectors for this job.

Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro

Our Pick
Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro

The Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro is the overall best value metal detector for anyone looking to locate and remove metal from logs and other wood materials! With its V-Break variable tone breakpoint, pinpoint mode with depth indicator, and ground grabs computerized ground balancing, you'll be able to find hazardous metal debris easily and accurately. And its ideal feature-laden design offering 0-99 Target-ID, the 4-Tone audio ID, and 7 modes of operation, you'll be able to customize your detecting experience however you like. Plus, the discrimination, motion, and no motion modes make it easy to detect targets even in difficult environments. Finally, the Variable Notching feature ensures that you'll always get the right tone for each target. So trust in this innovative technology and make some discoveries inside your logs that you might have previously missed before.

We all know how frustrating it is to be constantly searching for hidden scraps of metal. Well, say goodbye to those days with the Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro! This nifty little device is perfect for woodworkers and sawmills looking for results, as it can help you locate elusive metal items quickly and easily. Weighing in at just 2.4 pounds, the Land Ranger Pro is highly portable so you can take it with you wherever you go. Plus, it features an adjustable length and an 11-inch DD waterproof search coil for maximum accuracy in any environment. Best of all, it comes with a 5-year warranty so you can be assured of its quality.

Looking for a top-of-the-line metal detector but don't want to break the bank? Look no further than the Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro. This unit offers all the features you need for a successful scan, including a functional design with a padded arm support and ground stand, as well as a locking stabilization collar. The LCD display outputs visual and numeric depth indicators, so you can always stay on top of your search. Plus, the Bounty Hunter LRP is collapsible and breaks down into three parts - the S-rod, lower shaft, and search coil - so you can easily transport it to your next destination. When it comes to value, the Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro is a more cost-effective option compared to the feature-rich Garrett AT Pro.

The Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro is an excellent choice of metal detector that offers professional results and a reasonable price. But I’d be remiss to mention that some users have found that the buttons tend to stick, and require a bit more pressure to hammer down.

However, I can’t say that I’ve had this experience.  Also, it can be difficult to use for beginners compared to other more user-friendly devices that offer immediate use right out of the box.

Additionally, if you’re looking to expand your search for other metals in non-wood-related environments, it’s not the best choice for gold detecting or for highly mineralized areas as well as other detectors might be.

Despite these drawbacks, the Land Ranger Pro is still a powerful and useful tool for any serious woodworker in need and metal detectorist starting out.

  • Pinpoint mode with depth indicator
  • 5-year warranty
  • All-metal mode
  • Up to 10-inch depth detection
  • Buttons tend to stick
  • Not as beginner-friendly as others
  • Not ideal for gold detecting

The Verdict:  The Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro is our top pick because of the features you get access to at an outrageously affordable price. The depth at which you will find metals in your logs is far deeper than a handheld option and equally so than other options comparable to average-use metal detectors.

Unless you really need a machine that can detect more than a foot, I recommend going with the Land Ranger Pro for its versatility and overall value.

Fisher F11

Best Price
Fisher F11

Looking for an accurate and affordable metal detector that can find just about anything? Look no further than the Fisher F11! With three modes of operation, this amazing device can handle just about any kind of search, from jewelry to coins to artifacts. But if searching for the metal in logs is your intent, the 9-segment visual target ID and 4-tone audio ID make it easy to identify what you've found, while the pinpoint feature ensures that you'll never lose track of your target. Plus, the sensitivity and volume are adjustable, so you can tailor your search to your specific needs. And at only 2.3 pounds, the Fisher F11 is ultra-lightweight and easy to operate.

This amazing device is perfect for anyone, whether you're a beginner or an experienced user. With its superfast retune speed and excellent target separation, you'll be able to find anything you're looking for, quickly and easily. And the best part is that it's all displayed graphically on the screen in real-time, so you always know exactly what's going on. 

This little powerhouse can pick up coin-sized objects 8 inches beneath the surface, making it perfect for treasure hunters of all levels and for woodworking professionals looking to protect their saw blades. Plus, it works great on a variety of terrains - perfect for those who find themselves in different and sometimes difficultly traveled areas! The best part to be honest with you is the price. You'll be hard-pressed to find a metal detector of this caliber at so low a price. And this isn't a Fisher-Price product you buy for your nephew, this is a machine made for serious detectorists.

The Fisher F11 is a great metal detector for those wanting to find metal in logs to protect their equipment from damage. However, it is important to note that highly mineralized areas will cause false signals.

In addition, nearby electrical fields from other machinery, buried power lines, and even other metal detectors will cause your detector to malfunction.

And I should mention to those with more expanded interests, that if you are looking to detect metals like gold, there are better metal detectors that are more suited to that purpose.

  • 9-segment visual target-ID
  • Excellent pinpoint feature
  • Can't beat the price
  • Up to 8-inch depth detection
  • Not ideal for gold
  • Struggles in high mineralization
  • Nearby electrical devices cause detection issues

The Verdict:  If price is a major factor, you can rely on the Fisher F11 without having to worry about sacrificing performance. While it doesn’t detect metal as deep as other models, you can feel more secure in knowing that you found metals buried under a foot deep into your log.

If you’re looking to dive deeper into the hobby of metal detecting, this is a good device to start with, but for a little bit more money, you can really come away with a solid upgrade to use for years to come.

Garrett AT Pro

Best Depth
Garrett AT Pro

The Garrett AT Pro is a top choice for metal detectorists looking for a versatile device. It boasts superb depth and high-resolution iron discrimination, making it ideal for scanning logs and other potential hiding places for metal debris. The 8.5" x 11" PROformance DD Searchcoil and headphones are included, making it easy to get started right away. Plus, the electronic pinpointing feature ensures you can zero in on your target with ease. Best of all, the AT Pro is submersible up to 10 feet, so you can use it in a variety of conditions. It also comes with a two-year warranty for added peace of mind.

With all the features loaded into this all-around excellent metal detector, you aren't just limited to logs and other wood materials. Treat yourself to a beach excursion of some relic hunting as this device is ready for any environment and can target a variety of different metals. This detector is lightweight and rugged, making it perfect for all sorts of terrains. The battery life on this thing really stands out to anyone who uses it!  And I'm confident in saying this is a great choice if don’t want something too heavy but still need serious searching power.

Finding buried nails and long-forgotten bullet shots in larger-than-life logs have never been easier. The Garrett AT Pro is the perfect metal detector for anyone who wants to take their hobby to the next level or feel comfortable that you uncovered every piece of metal in your log. With its advanced digital target identification system, you can easily identify the type of metal you're detecting, no matter how small it may be. Plus, with its proportional audio mode, you can hear even the subtlest changes in a target's response, so you can judge its size and depth more accurately. And with its fast recovery time, you'll be able to detect adjacent targets quickly and easily. So if you're looking for a top-of-the-line metal detector that will help you take your hobby to new heights, then look no further than the Garrett AT Pro!

I love this metal detector, not just for logs, but for everyday use. But buyers should be aware of some of the less-than-ideal experiences it may offer them. This metal detector is more expensive than other models if all you need it for is detecting metal-ridden logs, but it is well worth the investment.

The screen on the Garrett AT Pro is not as large as I would like it to be, but it is still easy to use. Also, you can’t adjust the volume without using headphones, but that’s more of a minor inconvenience than anything.

Beginners to metal detector use should be ready for an adjustment period while learning the various feature settings that come preloaded, but once you learn how to use them, you will be able to find anything you are looking for.

  • Digital Target-ID
  • Great battery life
  • Advanced auto modes
  • Up to 10 feet of depth detection
  • More expensive than other suggested models
  • Smaller screen
  • Learning curve for beginners

The Verdict:  If you are looking for a metal detector that not only gives you the best detection of metals in logs but also allows you to adventure outside your comfort zone, the AT Pro is perfect for you.

While it is more expensive than some other models, it is still a steal for everything that it provides. The only reason it didn’t win our top pick was the price. Because, if you will only ever need it for logs, you’re probably better off with a more affordable model.

3 Best Handheld Metal Detectors for Logs

Below are our 3 best handheld metal detectors for 2022.

Sometimes a larger metal detector isn’t needed for finding metal in the wood. Usually, a nail detector for wood planks only requires a few inches of detection depth at most.

If that is the case, then save yourself some money and consider one of these three best handheld metal detectors.

Garrett Super Scanner V

Our Pick
Garrett Super Scanner V

The Garrett Super Scanner V is the perfect tool for anyone who needs to quickly and easily scan large areas for hidden metals. This scanner is designed with comfort and performance in mind and is made of high-quality materials that will withstand even the toughest environments. It's lightweight at only 1.45 pounds and easy to use, making it a great choice for anyone who wants the best possible scanning experience.

While this metal detector has many uses in the world of military personnel, public events, and even schools, woodworkers will find it especially useful. It can really help sawmills and woodworking professionals alike to locate nails, screws, and other metal objects that may be hidden in the wood.

Are you tired of constantly adjusting your metal detector? With the Garrett Super Scanner V, you'll never have to worry about that again! This scanner is just as sensitive as the Wizard but without the need for constant adjustments. And at a price that's comparable to similar but inferior products from other vendors, the Garrett Super Scanner V is a great value. Whether you're scanning fresh logs or reclaimed wood, this scanner will do the job. It's even sensitive enough to detect metal up to 6 inches deep. So don't miss out on this amazing product - get your Garrett Super Scanner V today!

As far as a handheld metal detector goes, the Garrett Super Scanner V is reliable and trusted among many industries.  However, we should mention some of the drawbacks that come with this device, but there aren’t many.

First, it’s not specifically designed for detecting wood materials, but that doesn’t stop it from being successful at it. Also, the Super Scanner requires batteries and does not come with a charger, which would really make it that much more of a steal. 

While the results generally speak for themselves, there are some factors that can alter the expected performance of this wand, like the density and wetness of the wood. 

Finally, for beginner users, be aware that this detector uses a motion-activated sensor so just hovering over a piece of wood may not produce any response.

  • Lightweight
  • Auto-tuning feature
  • Very sensitive to hidden metals
  • Up to 6-inch detection
  • Charger costs additional
  • Wet wood may affect detection capabilities
  • Not specifically designed for wood

The Verdict:  I get that this handheld metal detector isn’t specifically designed for detecting wood materials but there are so many users that rave about this device, it’s impossible to ignore its effectiveness and accuracy. 

The price is far and it’s hard to find many (if any) downsides to using the Garrett Super Scanner V. So if you’re on the go and need a portable, lightweight metal detector, this should be your pick.

Lumber Wizard 5

Wood Specific
Lumber Wizard 5

Looking for a fast and easy way to find nails, screws, and other metal objects in your recycled wood, stump, or recently cut log? Look no further than the Lumber Wizard 5! This accurate device is perfect for quick, one-handed operation and comes with a one-year warranty to reassure you of your purchase. The best part?  The Lumber Wizard 5 boasts an auto-tuning feature that will make it easier than ever to get accurate scans of wire, nails, or any other kind of metal in your wood.

The next time you're working on a woodworking project, make sure you have the Lumber Wizard 5 on hand. This multi-purpose metal detector helps you pinpoint the location of metal objects in your material, so you can avoid hitting them when drilling or sawing. It's easy to use - just buy a new Duracell 9 volt battery and turn it on. The 6" wide scanning area makes for quick and efficient scanning, while the durable plastic casing ensures years of reliable use.

The Lumber Wizard 5 is the latest and greatest in metal detection technology for sawmills and woodworkers alike. This innovative tool can detect even the smallest pieces of lumber, making it perfect for your portable sawmill business. The best part is that it doesn't produce false positives thanks to the built-in features, so you can feel confident that you're getting the most accurate results possible.  And if you ever have any questions or problems, the great customer service team at Wizard Industries is always happy to help.

The Lumber Wizard 5 is definitely an upgrade over our next metal detector but there are some flaws that come along with it.

While some owners have complained of disappointing sensitivity and hit-and-miss results when it comes to finishing nails in particular, I still think this detector should be considered for woodworking professionals.

  • Lightweight
  • Auto-tuning feature
  • Specifically designed for woodworkers
  • Up to 6-inch detection
  • Sensitivity could be better
  • hit and miss results with smaller metals

The Verdict: With the Lumber Wizard being specifically made for woodworkers and having a pretty reliable detection consistently at 6 inches, I’d highly recommend this metal detector. It’s reasonably priced and popular among many woodworking professionals.

Even better, the auto-tuning only improves the detection prowess with each new log or board scanned.

Little Wizard II

Best Price
Little Wizard II

Introducing the Little Wizard II, the perfect tool for anyone who works with wood! This compact handheld metal detector is super precise, making it easy to locate nails or screws in recycled wood and other materials. Use it before working with any type of wood or simply anytime you need to detect metal. The Little Wizard can pinpoint the exact location of metal, so there are no surprises when you're working on your next project.  It's lightweight (weighing only 0.25 pounds) and easy to use, so you'll be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Plus, woodworkers swear by this little tool for its easy handling and accurate detection.

The array of LED lights will make your location efforts easy to understand and waste little time clearing your log or plank free of old nails or screws. If you happen to work a lot with framing, drywalling, or other builder-related careers, this baby can really come in handy when trying to locate screws within the studs holding drywall up.

The Little Wizard II is perfect for woodworkers on the go who need something reliable to spot-check their materials for stray pieces of metal. It comes with a built-in sensitivity adjustment that can help you scan for objects like nails, screws, and steel shots without fiddling with dozens of knobs and sensors. And you can't beat the price compared to other popular handheld metal detectors.

It’s certainly a handy little device to have available in your toolbox but there are some downsides that I just can’t ignore. When dealing with thicker pieces of wood or larger projects, it really isn’t the best option in my opinion.

Owners have complained about constantly having to adjust the sensitivity to avoid getting false signals and pinpointing the metal with accuracy.

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable Sensitivity
  • Price
  • Up to 1.5-inch detection
  • Doesn't work well with used batteries
  • Depth detection is limited
  • Not the best option for larger logs
  • Adjusting needed frequently

The Verdict: Ok, I like the Little Wizard II if you’re working on some reclaimed wood and need to get all the old nails out before making that new headboard or custom statement piece.

But other than that, I’d rather pay a little bit more to get deeper detection and a little more reassurance that I’ve found all the scrap metal inside my log or wood material.

FAQs About Metal Detectors and Logs

Below are some common questions about metal detectors and logs.

How Do Trees Get Metal in Them?

You’d be surprised at how many metal objects can be found in trees of all sizes. Everything from metal fencing, bullets, nails, and old coins can be found in trees. There are a number of different ways that metal can get into a tree. Some are more obvious than others.

For instance, bullets are often shot into trees by accident or for target practice. If left alone, the tree will continue to grow with the bullet lodged inside.

However, besides bullets, nails, and screws being forced into the bark, the most common way metal finds its way into a tree is by being swallowed by the growth of the tree over time.

For example, if a metal fence post is driven into the ground and then the fence is removed, the metal post will be left behind in the ground. Over time, a tree may grow around the metal post.

Trees can actually grow around a metal object, effectively absorbing it.

Nails and other small metal objects can also fall into the cracks of a tree’s bark. As the tree grows, the metal object will become embedded in the bark.

In fact, most metal objects will not deter a tree from continuing to grow around them. In some cases, the metal can actually act as a support for the tree.

How to Get Metal out Of a Log

The best way to get metal out of a log is by first using a metal detector to locate the metal. Once you have found the metal object, you can use a chisel and hammer to remove it from the log.

There are a number of different tools to get metal out of wood.

If the metal is easily accessible on the exterior of the wood, you can use the chisel to clear away some of the bark so that your hammer can get a good grip on the metal object for removal.

If the metal is embedded deeper into the log, you may need to use a saw to cut into the log and remove the metal object that way.

Some other really helpful tools that can be used to remove common metals from a log or other pieces of wood are a pry bar, a nail puller, an air pressure nail remover, or even a set of pliers.

Will a Metal Detector Detect Metal in Wet Wood?

The answer will depend on the kind of metal detector you are using and the kind of experience you have with metal detecting.

A metal detector can detect metal in wet wood.

There are differing opinions about metal detecting in wet vs dry areas. Some argue that the wet soil, or wood, in this case, is better for metal detecting because it amplifies the metal signal.

On the other hand, others complain about false signals and missing metal pieces entirely when dealing with wet conditions.

There are plenty of articles that argue a VLF metal detector with discrimination settings is better for metal detecting in the wet than a pulse induction (PI) metal detector. Honestly, for metal detecting a log or piece of wood, a VLF metal detector should be fine.

The PI metal detectors are designed more for depth, greater than your average log not being processed by a sawmill.

In regards to experience playing a factor, in my opinion, if are more familiar with a metal detector and reading the signals that wet environments give you, you are more likely to know the modification of settings needed to feel comfortable with the signals.


All in all, metal detectors can be a really helpful tool when working with logs or lumber. By using a metal detector, you can avoid any accidents that could occur from nails or other metal objects being embedded in the wood.

While there are different sizes and uses for metal detectors used on wood, the most important thing is to be familiar with the metal detector you are using and the settings needed for different types of environments. This will ensure you don’t miss any objects along the way.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the read and it helped you make a decision. For more information on using a metal detector, we suggest starting with the basics!

Until next time!

Best metal detector for beach

Previous Post

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

Next Post

Top 3 Best Metal Detectors for Property Pins

best metal detector for property pins