Cheap Metal Detectors – Best for Beginners

To all complete beginners or who is just starting to explore the treasure hunting industry, I best recommend that you should first start by buying yourself an important equipment which is “cheap metal detector”.

But of course, don’t simply stick to the word “cheap” because there are indeed a lot of low-priced metal detectors that aren’t reliable.

In order for you to choose the right MD, it must fit your budget and it must be the perfect tool that you intend to use in your treasure hunting ground. So if you simply intend to search for lost coins or small objects that aren’t buried too deep from the ground then its best to choose those with discrimination features.

On the other hand, if you intend to search for large objects that are deeply buried down the ground then you need a 2-box type of metal detector.

The main reason why I urge beginners to start with a cheap MD is that, it trains you the required skills in detecting. So if the time comes that you have enough budget to buy one of those expensive and more sophisticated MD, you won’t have a hard time handling it.

Other than training your basic skills of detecting, owning a cheap MD from the start will also teach you proper maintenance. You have to know that most MDs can easily get broken especially if not handled carefully and well cared. It is also important that your tool requires a place for it to store.

3 Recommended Inexpensive MDs for Coin Hunters

If you intend to search for lost coins, rings and other metallic collectibles that aren’t buried too deep from the ground, the best metal detector for this job are those with discrimination features. This feature will actually allow you to distinguish trash (such as metal scraps, cans and etc…) from your intended target objects.

Here are the top 3 best inexpensive MDs that I recommend for coin hunters:

1. Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector

What made “Bounty Hunter TK4” on the top 1 spot on my list is its simplicity or user-friendly feature. Unlike other MDs that requires constant adjustments into their sensitivity, Bounty Hunter TK4 is already equipped with automated circuitry that does the job for you.

Aside from being able to maintain its sensitivity, Bounty Hunter TK4 operates in three different modes:

a. Motion All-Metals Mode

– This setting will enable you to detect any buried metallic objects from the ground. So when you are using this mode, expect that you may find some trash.

b. Full Discrimination Mode

– Setting on this mode will reject all iron contents from the ground and all other sorts of trash.

c. Tone Discrimination Mode

– This mode enables an alert with either one or two audio tones of an array of different types of metals.

Bounty Hunter TK4’s search coil and stem are also waterproof which allows you to submerge it on shallow water. And as for the most common question, “What is the maximum depth that the Bounty Hunter TK4 can detect?”.

According to the manufacturer, it all depends to the size of the object. The bigger the size, the easier it can be detected. Based on the test that I conducted, it can detect a can with a diameter of 6 inches at a depth of 30 inches.

Where to buy?
Check it here

2. Fisher F2 Metal Detector

Second on my list is the “Fisher F2 Metal Detector”. The main reason why I recommend it is that, most beginners have the bad habit of swinging their detectors fast with the aim to cover more grounds. This isn’t good for most detectors where it needs to be swept at a normal pace. However, Fisher F2 has an impressive fast target response. This means that you can swing the search coil at a faster pace.

When it comes to its penetration capability, coins and other small objects can be easily detected at a depth of 6 inches.

What I really like most about Fisher F2 is its feature of identifying buried objects. The control box consists of eight-segment visual target ID which allows you to distinguish trash from an actual target. Aside from its visual indicator, it also offers four-tone audio ID which alerts you different metals that it is able to pick up. And, the best of its discriminating feature is its two-digit numeric target ID. It has a range that starts from 0 to 99 which can determine and display the type of metal found.

Where to buy?
Check it here

3. Tesoro Silver uMax Metal Detector

If you prefer analog type of metal detector then you should choose “Tesoro Silver uMax”. It will surely train your hearing aspect in locating your target.

The reason why I made Tesoro uMax as the 3rd best on my list is that, it has high accuracy in pinpointing the actual spot of the target. Based on my experience, the buried object is always 100% located at the center of the coil. Thus, when using Tesoro uMax, there’s no need to use pin-pointer devices.

Where to buy?
Check it here

Two Best and Affordable Deep Penetrating MDs

When you intend to search for large objects buried at a deep depth then you should choose “2-box metal detectors”. Most 2-box units available on the market today can actually be purchased at a price of $1,000 and below.

Currently, there are only two best and the cheapest deep penetrating metal detectors on my list.

1. Fisher Gemini 3 Two Box Metal Detector

“Fisher Gemini 3” has been holding the reputation for being the most reliable 2-box metal detector for treasure hunters. It actually have the capability to detect large size objects to as deep as 20 ft depth. However, its performance can be affected which depends on the ground mineralization.

Where to buy?
Check it here

2. White’s TM808 Metal Detector

TM808 is the rival competitor of the Fisher Gemini 3. Many treasure hunters are actually debating on which among the two is the better metal detector to use.

Where to buy?
Check it here

Extremely Cheap Products are most likely Fakes

If you are going to search for cheap MDs products online, you will most likely encounter much cheaper metal detectors than those that I already mentioned above. Majority of them are manufactured from China while others have unknown or unpopular brands.

You really have to think twice when you intend to buy from them. There is a huge chance that you are going to buy fakes. Or, it may actually work but the performance is comparable to a kid’s metal detector toy. Most fake MDs can detect metal objects “on-air” but they cannot penetrate the ground even an inch of depth.

Thus, the best way to avoid fake products is to stick with the popular brands. Some of the top manufacturers of MDs with good reputations are Bounty Hunter, White’s Electronics, Garrett, Minelab, Fisher and etc… Among these brands, there is surely a product that fits with your low budget.

The Best Option is to Buy Used Metal Detector

If it happens that your budget doesn’t fit any of those products that I mentioned above then your best option is to buy a used metal detector. A used MD is also referred by many as “second-hand” which means, the product is no longer brand new. In most cases, they are slightly used which is the reason why the sellers will sell it at a lower price than their original price value.

So where can you find used MDs?

You should first start your search on places near your area which can be done by checking your local newspaper’s classified ads. The main reason is that you can visit the seller (if you are able to find one) allowing you to thoroughly inspect the condition of the item if it is really working 100% or slightly broken.

If you cannot find anyone selling a used MD near you then it is time to use the internet. The internet is filled with many sellers of second-hand products like MDs. However, there is always some risks that are involve – like you cannot make assessment of the product if all of its features are still completely functional. Unless the seller already stated some minor damages on his or her product description making you aware about it.

Some of the most popular websites where you can find used MDs that are for sale are on eBay, Craigslist, FaceBook and Gumtree.

Warranty as an Extra Added Bonus

Aside from the brand of a used MD, you may also want to pay attention to the “warranty” which is an extra added bonus. You have to know that even if a used metal detector that you bought have damages but as long as it still has a warranty, you are still on the winning side of purchasing the item at its affordable price.

A warranty covers any damages of the item within a certain specified period of time. So always make sure that the warranty is still valid.

Depending on the written statement on the warranty, the manufacturer may repair the damage for a small fee or for free.

You can build your Own Cheap MD

If you got the knowledge and technical skill of building an electronic project then you can actually build your own metal detector from cheap components. But if you do not have the skill, you can always ask someone who knows how to do it.

The internet is filled with many DIY (Do-it-yourself) projects and MD is just one among them. I recommend doing a search on the website called, “Instructables”. Most of the projects that I found on this website are easy to follow.

You might be surprised to know that some home-made metal detectors can out-perform their commercial counterparts.

Your Budget is still not enough?

If it happens that your budget isn’t still good enough to cover even the cheapest MD from a trusted brand, don’t make a hasty decision of purchasing one of those extremely cheap MDs. Doing so will only make you completely disappointed and you just wasted your money.

It is always been a wise decision to be patient and save your money until you have enough. While for the meantime, you should enhance your knowledge more about metal detecting. You can either read a book about it or search the internet. Thus, by the time that you already have your own equipment, you will somehow already know what you are doing and what to expect.

Take note: The User’s Manual of a MD does not contain everything you need to know about metal detecting. It basically contains more information about the equipment particularly its settings and operation.

Aspects of an Affordable MD

There is actually some important aspects that you need to look into a cheap MD. If it lacks such qualities then it is best to avoid the product and look for another.

Made in China

As already stated above, avoid China products because they easily break and most likely, they are designed as toys for kids.

Standard Discrimination Feature

A cheap MD should have a Standard Discrimination Feature which should at least able to distinguish basic or common metals such as aluminum and silver.

Waterproof Search Coil

The Search Coil must be waterproof which should allow you to detect on surfaces with shallow water.

Earphone Socket

The unit must have an earphone socket which allows you to plug a headset or headphone. This is very useful especially if you intend to metal detect at a noisy environment.

LED Indicators

Aside from the earphone socket, the unit must also have LED indicators especially a battery meter which should allow you to be aware if it is still on good condition or it is running out of energy.

4 Basic Settings

A cheap and affordable MD must always have these 4 basic settings of locating the metal object which are the tone, discrimination, all metal and target confirmation.

Moreover, the prices of these cheap MDs may change in the future. They may either increase or decrease. But in most cases, their prices will most likely decrease especially when the manufacturers have produced new and improved models.

View Comments (5)

  • Anonymous says:
    • Anonymous says:

      Sir Elmo, my team wanted to buy a sophisticated and reliable metal detector. What can you recommend? Where can we order it and how long does it take before we can have it? Thank you so much Sir Elmo.


      First, I need to know the range of your budget.

  • Anonymous says:
    • Anonymous says:

      Good day Sir Elmo, I am one of your blog fun. I just want to ask Sir base on your experience is the GTI 2500 with treasure hound is good than the fisher Gemini 3? And how depth they can detect? Purpose is to detect Au.

      Thank you and more power.

    • Based on my my own personal opinion, the GTI 2500 with Eagle Eye functionality is much better than the Gemini 3. But, I am not saying that Gemini 3 is a bad MD. It is also a good piece of equipment. However, I find it so tricky when it comes to its adjustment settings.

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