Help! I need to choose a detector… Basic guide for beginners.

I want to start with this hobby and i need to choose a detector. Help!?

That is something i do hear frequently.

Is there any real answer to what you should or should not do? In my oppinion, not really. But i will try to take you along as best as i can on this rollercoaster ride of choices there are.

A specialised dealer will always be able to provide you with the proper information about whay suits you best. (BlaBlaBla)

Ofcourse they can. But it is buisiness for them, providing the best possible dinner on their table. There are exceptions in any trade who will be honest. But most will always try to get you to the max of your budget. This is just how it works in any buisiness.

Dont worry, i will not try to push my brand, they are still not paying me for that.

Where to begin in this minefield of brands, functions and models?

In my view one should always begin to take a good look into this (or any) hobby before spending a handsome pouch of dinero on attributes to practice the hobby.

Is this actually something you would like to do? Or is this something you think you would like to do?

Compare it with buying a new car. Would you randomly buy a car without a testdrive? Probably not.

Try to see if any of your friends or family are practicing the hobby. Ask if you can tag along and give it a go. Or rent one for a small price. It is an actual fact that a lot of people are really eager to start and are really passionate about doing so.

The downside to this fact is that a great amount of these enthousiasts stop the hobby after a few tries. Most of the reasons are, the machine is too complicated, i have no time for this hobby, i did not find gold, and believe it or not, the machine does not work properly. (Ofcourse it does)

If you have the illusion that a metaldetector is a gold magnet, it might be best to see if there is another hobby for you. Finding gold is not going to happen instantly, it might even not happen at all! Some people spend 10 years on this hobby without finding any gold.

With that said, do some research about metaldetecting, and give it a try before you go out and spend your hard earned cash.

I really think this is my kind of hobby!

If you are convinced being a detectorist is your thing, and you have looked into the basic laws in your country about metaldetecting, you are set to go out on your first hunt! The one for your first detector!

A couple of handy questions to ask yourself would be:

  • What kinds of items would i like to find? (Coins, jewelry, militaria, etc.)
  • On what kind of grounds will i be detecting most of my time? (Forrests, farmfields, the beach etc.)
  • What is my budget?
  • Wich kind of functions do i really need?
  • Is it important for me to just turn my machine on and go, or is it ok for me to spend some time looking for the best settings possible before i start my walk?
  • Do i have a buddy who will be tagging along very frequently?
  • A pinpointer, do i need one? Is the one that is on the detector i have in mind not just doing the same thing as a separate handheld pinpointer?

In my oppinion any detector should have a very good recovery speed. If there are two different items or metal types very close to eachother a detector with a very low recovery will either not pick one of the two items up, or get very jumpy in the signal (sound, meter reading, or number if you choose a digital display detector)

The items you are after have some effect on the detector you are going to want to have. There are a lot of detectorists who only search for militaria or only hit the farmfields in search of coins and small objects.

For militaria you will need depth.and for coins and smaller objects sensitivity will be important.

The type of soil where you will spend most of your time is of high importance. For instance salty beach ground will be troublesome for a lot of detectors. This will make some detectors very jumpy (almost like they have a malfunction). The same goes for highly mineralised soil and even landfills.

Budget is ofcourse very important in choosing your detector. As i already stated, a shop will mostly be looking to empty your budget. But is this actually a necesity? If you ask me, NO.

Functions, settings, pinpointing function, bells and whistles. The more you spend, the more functions and settings you will get. Is this advisable for a beginner? No, definatly not! To be completely honest with you, my detector of choice has 2 functions. Discrimination (being able to block the detector from picking up certain types of metal) and sensitivity (equals depth). Nothing else. As an advanced detectorist i have bought and worked with a couple of the top notch detectors with every possible setting available. To me this is just not worth €1000/1200 extra. I did not find more or better objects at all! They were a little more accurate, but that is about it.

With that said, you can make out that i ofcourse prefer turn on and go.i do not want to spend half an hour fiddling with my machine to scan groundbalance, or find a program that goes well with the type of soil, and pressing all kinds of buttons. Does this give you some advantage if you do this? Yes, it will but it is still the detectorist doing most of the detecting, not the machine. I have had days where i was walking a field with 2 friends who both had a top of the line detector, and i brought my basic model. Still, i was the only one finding multiple silvers and fine jewelry.

A  buddy who wants to come along with you? Great! Make sure you do not have detectors who are on the same frequency. Mostly if you have 2 different detectors it will be fine, some can even change frequency. If your detectors are on the same signal, you will get disturbances when you are walking to close to eachother.

And finally, a pinpointer. Why even buy one? Isnt there one on my machine if i hold down a button? Yes, on some machines, even the cheaper ones there can be a pinpoint function. Is this something that is a good option to have? Not to me, the object is under your disc! Dig there and you will find it. Your detector will not be accurate to the millimeter where an object is located either way. If it is very small a handheld pinpointer will definatly be a great thing to have. That will save you a lot of time and possibly frustration. Trust me on that.

Choices in pinpointers are also huge! I would recommend one that is waterproof and one that does not have a probeshaft that is a lot thinner as the grip. A waterproof one is most likely cast out of one piece and will be very sturdy. These tend to last a lot longer and are definatly worth the 40 some euro more!

Now i found a machine that suits me best…..

Take some time to get to know your machine! This is not the most fun thing to do, but it will save you time in the long run!

Try to bury various objects on various depths and see how your machine will react to these. Try some foil, various coins, small.and larger pieces of gold and silver if you have any, (if you have a weddingring you want to try out just tie a small string to it and let that stick out of the ground so you will not lose it). A coin laying flat is also most likely to sound different as a coin laying on the side. Depth will change the signal, and the sort of material you use will give you a certain sound/signal.

After that just try to have some fun! Get to know your machine, this will take time, no matter what machine you will buy.

So dont forget, this is a hobby! It should be fun. Every find is great! Even if it is a piece of scrap. By taking it you do mother nature and the land owner a pleasure.

I have no clue where to start my queste….

A big part of the life of a detectorist is doing research, but this might be a story for another time.

Any actual rules in metaldetecting?

That will also depend on your Country or state. Be sure to check the local laws on or against metaldetecting.

Always clean up your mess! Do not leave your holes open. It looks terrible to for instance a landowner (you might want to return there), or even animals can trip in them and break something.

Help nature and take anything you dig up. Just throw it in a trashbin somewhere.

Always ask permission from a landowner, dont trespass.

If something looks like it can go boom, it most likely can go boom! Dont endanger yourself and others by taking live ammo!

And the most important rule is to have fun doing this!

So, if you do want to know what i use and why, you can read it here. If not, this was all for now. 

My machines of choice are.

The Teknetics T2 

The Teknetics Eurotek

And the Fisher TW-6 deepscanner
99 out of 100 times i use the Teknetics Eurotek. Its Lightweight, has a fast recovery and almost no extra functions. So this is turn on and go!

Do i descriminate any types of metal? NO. if the sound is not right i just leave the object where it is. But hey, if you are digging militaria, a lot of that stuff is iron. Something you would probably discriminate if you are looking for coins and jewelry.

My pinpointer is the Nokta RS, waterproof, sturdy and has a good light on it so i cam see where i am pointing it in a deeper hole.

That is it for now, i hope this was usefull in finding out if you want to be a detectorist.

Untill a next one!


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