The Best Metal Detectors Australia - The Ultimate Review

Our #1 PICK 

Garrett Sea Hunter MK-II Metal Detector

~ The Best Value for Money ~

  • Rust-resistant and perfect for salty or sandy conditions
  • Performs best in wet sand
  • Great for saltwater environments

Whether you are making your first metal detector purchase or just looking to upgrade to a new model, it can be hard to know which one to choose. What makes a good metal detector, and what do you need to consider for your own needs?

This article will explain how metal detectors work, what features are offered, and how to choose the right one for you. After discussing those considerations, we’ll do a round up on nine of the best metal detectors in Australia.


How Do Metal Detectors Work?

Before we dive into which metal detector you should buy, let’s talk about how they work so we can understand what makes a good metal detector.

Metal detectors are not used only for uncovering hidden coins or other relics, but the same technology is at work to keep our airports safe and protect soldiers from land mines.

While we’ll be discussing the kind that we use for metal detecting as a hobby, it’s helpful to know that all metal detectors rely on the principle of electromagnetism to discover metal that is hidden from view. To keep it simple, electricity and magnetism often coexist as magnetism can create electricity and vice versa.

According to Michael W. Davidson at Florida State University:

“The operation of metal detectors is based upon the principles of electromagnetic induction. Metal detectors contain one or more inductor coils that are used to interact with metallic elements on the ground. The single-coil detector illustrated below is a simplified version of one used in a real metal detector.

A pulsing current is applied to the coil, which then induces a magnetic field shown in blue. When the magnetic field of the coil moves across metal, such as the coin in this illustration, the field induced electric currents (called eddy currents) in the coin. The eddy currents induce their own magnetic field, shown in red, which generates an opposite current in the coil, which induces a signal indicating the presence of metal.”

Sounds complicated, right? It’s pretty easy to simplify.

Essentially, a metal detector sends out a signal at a specific frequency into the ground below, and any metallic objects nearby will provide feedback to your detector. This information translates into the detector emitting different sounds, which indicate different kinds of metals. This is a very simplified explanation, but hopefully helps to provide some additional context around how the machine works as you look to purchase one.


Types of Metal Detectors

Very Low Frequency (VLF)

A Very Low Frequency (VLF) metal detector is the most common type of metal detecting technology, particularly within the amateur or hobby market. This is the simplest technology of the primary 3 types and is usually a great fit for entry level users or value options. Between relatively affordable cost, ease of use, long battery life and its all-purpose nature, this is a great fit for the majority of hobbyists.

The main downside is that because it works only on a single frequency, there is decreased performance in mineralized soils. A Multi-Frequency Metal Detector is the workaround solution to some of the limits of a VLF detector. You have the ability with a multi-frequency metal detector to use simultaneous frequencies at once, which will allow you to detect both small and large items at a variety of depths.

Most of these models have selectable frequencies in addition to having multiple simultaneous frequencies; they also are typically able to identify metals deeper in the ground and are a much better situation for mineralized soils.

Pulse Induction

The other primary type of metal detector is the Pulse Induction Metal Detector model. This kind uses a slightly different technology that allows it to better ignore mineralization in the ground, and also makes it best for deep depth detection.

Because of the nature of sand and soil near saltwater, Pulse Induction Metal Detectors are an excellent choice for beach hunting. Additionally, this model is particularly good at gold prospecting. However, with more specific technology comes a higher price tag and because of that, they are not usually the best entry-level model. This technology also makes these models heavier, so they are difficult to use for long periods of time.


How to Choose the Best Metal Detector for You

Now that we know a little bit more about the types of products we’re looking at, let’s start to think about which one you should get for yourself. Unfortunately, there is no one universal best metal detector, so you have to consider what is most important to you. Hopefully, you already have an idea of how and where you want to use your metal detector, but if not – there are a few questions to consider as you get started:

The first thing to think about is in regard to your own metal detecting experience level. If this is your first time, the type of metal detector you choose will be very different from an experienced user.

Typically, entry-level hobbyists are recommended to start with a VLF detector as it is very easy to use and a more affordable option as you get a sense for how often you’ll use it. As a more advanced metal detector, you likely know more about how you’ll be using the tool and know what you are looking for in a future model. Our article today will focus more on the experience of a beginner, but we’ll touch on all experience levels.

Secondly, it’s important to consider your location, and where you plan to be using your metal detector. As outlined above, different locations might have varying needs for the metal detector to work well.

If you are hunting near or under water, your metal detector must be waterproof – especially so if you are on the beach, since the saltwater can be especially erosive to your metal detector. While most metal detectors are built to handle low / medium levels of mineralization in the soil, particularly high-mineral soil or wet sand can impact the effectiveness of it.

Depending on frequency of use, if you are working in these conditions, it might make sense to invest in a higher quality or more expensive model of metal detector.

Finally, what will you be searching for when using your metal detector? If you are looking for coins, rings, and jewelry, you might want something different than if you’re searching for relics. A different type of metal detector is also recommended for those who are prospecting for gold, specifically.

In creating this review roundup, the following capabilities were considered to determine inclusion in this list:

Ease of Use

How big is the learning curve with this metal detector? Does it take a long time to figure out, or can a beginner pick it up quickly?

Weight & Size

How bulky or heavy is this metal detector? A very heavy or uncomfortably sized model limits the amount of time you can spend searching since you will fatigue more easily. A heavier or particularly large model will also require a stronger or more physically fit user.

Durability & Frequency

How long will you be able to use this same detector? Does it have a long battery life?

Not only that, but at what frequency does this metal detector operate? You’ll find all of this information advertised by the manufacturer.

Price Point

How affordable is this metal detector? While price isn’t everything, you’ll want to keep your budget in mind while you’re shopping. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to choose from at all price points.

Ratings and Reviews

How are the ratings and reviews for this product? Have Amazon’s customers given it any reviews or awards? Or - are there any negative reviews to take into consideration?

Waterproofing

Is this metal detector waterproof? If so, to what depth?


Best Metal Detectors in Australia Reviewed

Given these considerations, we pulled together a list of the top metal detectors from across the Australian metal detector selection. As we mentioned before, there is no universal best option – the best option is the one that works best for you. So read through this list, and use it to help you get your best start into the world of treasure hunting:

  • Rust-resistant and perfect for salty or sandy conditions
  • Performs best in wet sand
  • Great for saltwater environments

On the sand or underwater, this model is ready to help you discover saltwater treasures.

Beach and underwater detectors tend to be more robust and rust resistant to help fight corrosion from sea air and salt water. Of course, they should also be waterproof to detect through water and sand, which have different properties than dry dirt.

The Garrett Sea Hunter MK-II Metal Detector is a pulse indicator detector which helps it to perform better in the sand without getting distracted by the mineralized wet sand. It’s very durable and built to withstand the weather and salt; it is waterproof and submersible up to 200 feet deep. This is an excellent model built for your seaside metal detecting adventures.

What we liked: 

  • Rust-resistant and perfect for salty or sandy conditions
  • Performs best in wet sand
  • Great for saltwater environments

What we didn't like: 

  • Does not include a coil cover

#2: Best for Coins, Rings, Jewelry: Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Doesn’t get distracted by “noise”
  • All-terrain capabilities

Start searching for valuable metal coins and jewelry with this metal detector.

The most common use of metal detectors is searching for valuable metals like coins, rings and jewelry. When you’re searching for these materials, the best place to start in areas where many people congregate.

Parks, beaches, schools, and churches are some of the best spots for “coin shooting”, as some people like to call it – they’re even better locations if they used to be busy and are abandoned or infrequently used now. Many of these places have a high likelihood of finding valuable metals like coins and jewelry, but also junk like foil and cans, so you need to have a metal detector that can pick through the noise of everything around.

The Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector is one such model – this metal detector has a feature called “notch discrimination” that allows you to pick a type of metal or a “target” and limit your search to just that target. This helps you filter out many of the other metal materials you might frequently find but not want, which allows you to hopefully only find more valuable items. This model is also lightweight and considered all-terrain, so you can go anywhere you might find those treasures that you seek!

Relic hunting is where metal detecting meets archaeology – if you’re a history buff, this is for you! There are relics scattered and subsequently buried around the world from past wars and other historical events – with your new metal detector, you could uncover an old colonial buckle or even part of a musket.

Typically, the best place to search for relics include churches and areas that were historically congregating places like old, abandoned train depots or around a large tree in a town square. Because of the nature of this type of hunting, you are likely to go off the beaten path for long periods of time, and you want a metal detector that is durable and rugged.

The Garrett AT Pro rings in as the best metal detector for Relic Hunting. IT can be used on land or in freshwater, and is waterproof up to 10 feet, so you don’t need to worry about where the relic trail takes you on a given trail. This model has a high-resolution iron discrimination feature that helps you to filter out trash or non-valuable objects you might find while searching.

Additionally, there are four search modes that can be utilized – all metal, coins, custom, and zero discrimination. This allows for customization and a more specific search, depending on what you’re looking for. Last but not least, this model has a battery life between 15-20 hours so you’ll never have to worry about its battery dying in the middle of a trip.

What we liked: 

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Doesn’t get distracted by “noise”
  • All-terrain capabilities

What we didn't like: 

  • Assembly required

  • Comes with headphones and other accessories
  • Affordably priced
  • Multiple search modes

An investment, but nothing compares when looking for gold.

Gold metal detectors will use higher frequencies to detect the differences between gold and other metals, and so the best metal detectors for finding gold can tend to be more expensive than the standard model.

The Garrett 1140580 AT Gold Metal Detector is our top pick for anyone on the hunt for gold because of its relatively affordable price compared to other gold detectors, and the Garrett MasterSound headphones that allow you to really tune into your metal detector and hear even the faintest blip.

It’s very effective in finding gold nuggets as well as coins, jewelry or relics with gold. It is also able to be used in freshwater, though the included headphones are not waterproof.

What we liked: 

  • Comes with headphones and other accessories
  • Affordably priced
  • Multiple search modes

What we didn't like: 

  • Some customers report various components going bad over time

  • Waterproof dual coil
  • Comes with telescoping arm
  • Lightweight and portable

Built for kids, this model features a smaller size and is a great introduction to a metal detecting hobby.

If you have young kids, you know that they like to do whatever you are doing. Have them join you on your adventures with their very own junior-sized metal detector. This model is appropriately sized for kids of all ages and comes with a telescoping arm so that it can grow with them.

The smaller size and lightweight model help ensure your child is able to carry the metal detector for a significant time without tiring out. It has an easy-to-read screen, and the coils can also be placed in the water or in wet environments, so you don’t have to worry about any accidental dips in nearby water.

This is a great way to engage your children, and the perfect metal detector to get them started on this life-long hobby!

What we liked: 

  • Waterproof dual coil
  • Comes with telescoping arm
  • Lightweight and portable

What we didn't like: 

  • Overall detection capabilities aren’t that great

#5: Best for Beginners: Fisher F22

  • Four modes of operation
  • Fully submersible coil
  • Easy to assemble

Lightweight and durable with preset frequency levels, this is the perfect model for beginners and beyond.

As with any new hobby, you might not be ready to make a big investment on something you’ve never tried. The Fisher 22 is the perfect model for a beginner – it is priced affordably at just under $250 but is equipped with everything you need to hit the ground running. This model is weatherproof and only 2.3 pounds making it both lightweight and durable. 

There are 10 frequency levels, and it can detect up to 9 inches underground. One of the most useful features, especially for beginners, are the preset frequency levels for jewelry, artifacts, and coins – this is incredibly handy as you’re learning the ropes. While the end can be submerged, the control box is not waterproof so don’t completely submerge it as you search.

What we liked: 

  • Four modes of operation
  • Fully submersible coil
  • Easy to assemble

What we didn't like: 

  • Not entirely weatherproof

  • Bright LCD display
  • No cumbersome slack cable to deal with
  • Battery charge indicator

Simple yet effective, this model will help you get you hit the ground running on your new hobby.

The KKmoon High Performance Metal Detector rings in at just under $150, which makes it the most affordable option on this list. The adjustable height allows for more comfort as you use it, and you can change the settings to eliminate unwanted targets. However, as to be expected with its lower price tag, this model comes with far fewer accessories than some of the other options on this list.

But if you prefer the lower price and already have high quality headphones or are willing to get other accessories one-off, this could be a great option for you with a very low price.

What we liked: 

  • Bright LCD display
  • No cumbersome slack cable to deal with
  • Battery charge indicator

What we didn't like: 

  • Unattractive plastic design

  • Fully submersible to 3 meters
  • Multiple search modes
  • Lighting for nighttime use

Simple enough for beginners, yet impressive enough for experts.

The Nokta Makro Simplex model is an excellent mid-range model, offering a lot of bang for your buck. This is the first waterproof detector on the market offering extreme depth and high-end features at an entry-level price. This includes notch discrimination to tune out unwanted notifications and allows you to really focus in on the noteworthy metal findings. This model is suitable for submersion up to 3 meters and can be used near salt or freshwater. There are over 430 global reviews on Amazon with a total score of 4.7 / 5 – there are many excited hobbyists who have found great value in the Nokta Makro Simplex model!

What we liked: 

  • Fully submersible to 3 meters
  • Multiple search modes
  • Lighting for nighttime use

What we didn't like: 

  • Relatively basic design

The Verdict: What is the Best Metal Detector Australia?

Best All Around: Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

If you’ve gotten this far, you may have guessed this was coming – the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector is the Best All-Around Metal Detector in Australia. The AT Pro balances user-friendliness with more advanced features, while also being able to handle almost every type of terrain you might be interested in searching.

Unlike many of Garrett’s less advanced models, the AT Pro allows for manual ground balancing, which helps you fine-tune your search settings in highly mineralized soil like saltwater beaches. The frequency can go up to 15kHz, which is higher than most entry-level models and allows for more precision in finding materials. Features such as iron discrimination and two distinct audio modes make this a great mid-range detector for newcomers and serious enthusiasts alike.

Not only is the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector good value for its price, but it’s also highly effective and versatile. As we said at the beginning of the article, there is not universally best metal detector – that said, this one is so versatile it will be a good fit for nearly any metal detector hobbyist, whether you are brand new or very experienced.

FAQ

1. How is this list determined?

We base this review round-up based on product details and the key considerations listed above, customer reviews and other expert opinions across Australia’s metal detecting community.

2. Where can I order these metal detectors?

All of these models can be ordered through Amazon Australia.

3. Where should I go when using my metal detector?

There are so many places to check out! Depending on the metal detector you choose to purchase, the most common uses are in parks and other common areas where they might be something hidden.

If you chose a waterproof model, the beach is a great place to go – you never know what will wash up on the shore. But you can use your metal detector anywhere nearby where you think someone may have dropped or buried or lost an item of value - or when you are hunting for treasure! Read more about each type of searching throughout the article.

4. Should I get a Very Low Frequency or Pulse Indicator Metal Detector?

The answer to this depends on the intended use of the metal detector as well as your skill level and long-term interest.

Pulse Indicator metal detectors tend to be more expensive, and subsequently meant for more advanced users. They are also able to be much more precise in the search for metal, and the higher frequency allows it to work well in more mineralized soil. VLF Metal Detectors are typically considered the standard for a hobbyist, and certainly for entry level – the majority of the roundup above is within the VLF category.

References
  1. Davidson, Michael W. “How a Metal Detector Works.” Florida State University. Retrieved from: https://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/electromag/java/detector/
  2. Reed, Eric. “Comparing VLF and PI Metal Detectors in Hot, Mineralized Soil.” Kelly Co Detectors. Retrieved from: https://www.kellycodetectors.com/pages/comparing-vlf-and-pi-metal-detectors-in-hot-mineralized-soil/
  3. Dale, Timothy. “The Best Metal Detectors for Finding Buried Treasure.” Bob Viila. Retrieved from: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/best-metal-detector/
  4. “25 Metal Detecting Tips for Beginners.” Discover Detecting. Retrieved from: https://www.discoverdetecting.com/25-metal-detecting-tips-for-beginners/
  5. “Tips for Successful Gold Detecting.” Gold Rush Nuggets. Retrieved from: https://www.goldrushnuggets.com/tiforsugode.html

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