The article will tell you which metal detector is better for beach hunting and what you should take into account while selecting the device as well as why brackish water is a problem for beach hunting, what black sand is, what is wrong with gold chains and what VLF stands for.
The most important in this article
The article consists of two parts. Best metal detectors for beach hunting are listed in the first one, while the second part contains a guide on how to do beach hunting properly. I do recommend reading it even you already know everything about the process.
But you won’t read it, right? That’s why, especially for you, here are some main points mentioned in the guide:
- Not all metal detectors are good for treasure hunting on a salty beach, because salt is an essential obstacle for beach hunting.
- You can get a metal detector using a PI principle, and it will ignore soil mineralization, but at that, it has quite poor discrimination.
- If you are not a professional digger, don’t get PI just for beach hunting since PI is required for underwater treasure hunting.
- Yes, beach hunting and underwater treasure hunting are not the same things. You’ll need completely different metal detectors for each option. You can read about underwater treasure hunting in detail here.
- Common metal detectors will do for beach hunting, but they should have some specific features such as ground balance, special Beach mode, protection from water ingress into the device.
- It is difficult to detect gold since it has low conductivity, and quite often, the device detects and recognizes it as a foil. Gold chains are invisible for most of the metal detectors since the device sees them as separate chain links.
- For this reason, metal detectors that use high operating frequencies are more preferable for this purpose; multi-frequency ones are even better.
- Black sand is formed from lava, which after volcano eruption gets into the water, and after it cools down, it crashes into a million small back grains of sand. If you go treasure hunting on a beach with black sand, the latter will be a significant obstacle for a metal detector.
- Be ready to dig a lot. Bottle caps, foil, and other iron trash are your’ friends forever’ during beach hunting.
- Use a scoop even if you go metal detecting on the beach, not underwater treasure hunting. Here you can find detailed information about this tool, how to choose it, and where to get.
- Use headphones. Always. Firstly, you won’t miss any weak signals. Secondly, here is the link that will provide you with more reasons why.
Best metal detectors for beach metal detecting
The device models in the list are equipped by the manufacturers. It’s ok if you see in the list several metal detectors of the same manufacturer. They have different functionality and price.
Almost every model has a detailed review, so you can read it to get additional information before making your choice. One thing is for sure – you won’t find any low-quality metal detector models on the list.
However, it is quite challenging to choose one best metal detector for beach hunting. First of all, because the functionality it offers highly depends on its price. The higher the price is, the wider is the range of metal detector functions. However, I’d say that Garrett AT Pro has the best price-quality relationship. I like it for its stable performance, user-friendliness and that it is a time-proven device.
Fisher F22 or F44
Fisher F22 is another budget choice for those who don’t want or can’t afford to spend a large amount of money on a more advanced device. If the number of functions it offers is not enough, you can try F44; it is a more powerful device.
It is worth to mention, that this budget choice device has a digital indicator for target identification, due to which you can quickly define if the find is valuable without digging in vain and wasting time.
The modern device model has four search modes: ‘Jewelry,’ ‘Custom,’ ‘Relics,’ and ‘Coins.’ The Pinpointer function will help you to define a precise target location. The device uses 2AA batteries as a power supply; the battery charge indicator will let you know when to replace them.
A search coil is covered with a waterproof case, which ensures using the device for underwater metal detecting on insufficient depth in coastal areas (the device can be submerged up to the control unit).
- Weatherproof all-purpose metal detector
- Visual target-id by category
Nokta Simplex metal detector is a device for beginners, which can be submerged. It offers a standard set of functions for metal detectors of this class: automatic ground balance function, several discriminator modes, a pinpointer function, a backlit, etc.
We should mention the device search mode called ‘Beach” – it allows beach hunting and metal detecting in brackish water. The presence of vibro signal mode is also an essential advantage in the case of underwater treasure hunting.
- IP68 - Fully submersible up to 3 meters (10 ft) and protected from total dust ingress.
- Iron Volume - Turns off or adjusts the volume of the low iron tone.
- Notch Discrimination - Discriminates Target IDs of unwanted metals.
Makro Multi Kruzer
The device is manufactured in two versions: one frequency (Kruzer) and multi-frequency (Multi-Kruzer). The device performs perfectly both in beach hunting and underwater metal detecting. This is a submergible device.
It has many useful features. One of the most demanded is EUD – it enables metal detecting on hot stones. For beach hunting, the device has separate modes for dry and wet sand.
The device uses the wireless connection with headphones (they are supplied in the device package set). Waterproof headphones are available for underwater treasure hunting (they can be bought additionally), or you can use vibration mode in this case.
The device software can be updated via USB port.
This metal detector uses an internal rechargeable battery that provides maximum operation time up to 19 hours.
- Operating frequencies: 5Khz/ 14Khz/ 19Khz
- Total weight: 3 lbs (1.4 Kgs)
- Ip68 rating: up to 16.4' (5 meters) waterproof
Nokta Anfibio Multi
First of all, this is an underwater amphibian metal detector. Besides standard ground search, the device can be submerged up to 5 meters deep. Its protection marking is IP68.
The second main feature of Nokta Anfibio Multi is the ability to change its operating frequency. To detect deep and large targets, the device uses 4-5 kHz frequency, while for jewelry and very small-sized targets, 18-20 kHz operating frequency is used.
Nokta Anfibio Multi offers three operating frequencies you can select from – 5 kHz, 14 kHz, and 20 kHz.
Nokta Anfibio Multi has 9 search modes, including special ones for beach hunting and deep search modes.
The device offers manual and automatic ground balance function with a possibility to track ground balance changes. The metal detector supports using both wireless and wired headphones. It has a waterproof jack for wired headphones (regardless of their type – ground or underwater ones). Wireless headphones for Nokta Anfibio Multi don’t require using a transmitter since this unit is already inside the metal detector.
- INCLUDES: Nokta Makro Anfibio Multi Underwater Metal Detector with 11" Waterproof DD Search Coil, Wireless Headphones, Coil...
- Fully submersible up to 5 meters (16. 4ft. ) - IP68. Fully waterproof and protected from total dust ingress.
- Excellent Discrimination and Unmasking Ability. Save time by detecting the targets you want while spending less time digging.
Garrett AT Pro
This is a classical model produced by one of the oldest manufacturing companies and this is the best seller in the USA.
Garrett AT Pro is an amphibian metal detector due to which you can put it completely under water up to 3 meters deep. Its high operation frequency allows finding even the smallest objects which makes the device a perfect one when going jewelry hunting (gold and silver one) on the beach.
There are two things I like about this detector – its multi purposeness (it demonstrates high efficiency both on salty sand and on the ground) and the fact that this device is a time-proven one.
As an option you can consider AT Max – it is the same as Garrett AT Pro, but it was a bit more improved.
- WATERPROOF TO 10 FEET OR 3 METERS Ideal for use in both fresh and saltwater AT Pro will ground balance to saltwater.
- Includes NEW Garrett MS-2 Headphones
- Includes Batteries Installed.
Garrett AT Max
It autumn 2017 new Garrett AT MAX appeared on the market – an amphibian metal detector which you can put under water up to 10 feet (3 m) deep.
This new model was designed for professional treasure hunters and it combines all the best features of AT PRO and AT GOLD since this device continues the product line. Actually, it really is an AT PRO metal detector, but this is its improved and upgraded version.
What makes Garrett AT MAX different if compared with AT Pro:
- Increased search depth
- Built-in wireless Z-lynk unit — allows using new wireless headphones Garrett MS-3
- Improved automatic ground balance function
- Adjustable threshold
- Backlight was added
- Improved grip, it doesn’t slide and get worn out
- Operation frequency 13.6 kHz
Garrett AT MAX is an amphibian metal detector and that’s why its headphones and coil connectors, control buttons and battery unit lid are protected from possible moisture ingress. Due to this you can easily go coin and jewelry hunting up to 3 meters deep under water. Rain, dust, dirt and even snow are not a problem at all for this metal detector.
Optimized 13,6 kHz operation frequency ensures detecting even tiny objects including coins, relics and even gold nuggets, though the device isn’t classified as a specialized cold prospecting metal detector.
Adjustable manual and automatic ground balance function allows treasure hunting on soils with high mineralization level and on saltwater beaches as well. Scalable threshold provides more precise information about the target found.
- Enhanced Z-Lynk Pinpointer: Pro-Pointer All Terrain Z-Lynk Pinpointer integrates with the included MS-3 Headphones to hear...
- Wireless Z-Lynk MS-3 Headphones Included, Enhanced Detection Depth, True All-Metal Mode
- LED Backlit Screen, Frequency 13.6 kHz, adjustable Ground Balance, Auto/Manual: High Resolution 175 pts Auto Ground Balance,...
Minelab Equinox 800
Minelab Equinox 800 is a multi-purpose metal detector meant for various types of treasure hunting. The device is equipped with three manufacturer’s programs for beach hunting as well as for working in fields and parks.
Minelab Equinox 600 can function both in multi-frequency and single-frequency mode. The latter one works using one of the operation frequencies: low one – 5, middle one – 10 and high frequency equal to 15 kHz. Each frequency has its own advantages and peculiarities.
When using multi-frequency mode (Multi-IQ), the device scans the ground using 5 frequencies simultaneously (5, 10, 15, 20, 40 kHz), which increases the search depth and excludes phantom signals occurrence as well as allows to conduct any type of treasure hunting.
You can drown EQUINOX into water completely. It is perfect for beach and underwater.
- Total Weight: 2. 96 lbs (1. 34 kgs) 8 Custom Search Profiles: Each Detect Mode Features 2 Custom Search Profiles so you can...
- Simultaneous Multi-Frequency For Maximum Performance, Plus a Wide Range of Single Frequencies Get Even More Control of your...
- Gold detecting mode: operates the high single frequencies of 20 kHz, 40 kHz or multi to detect gold nuggets in mineralized...
Minelab CTX 3030
This metal detector was produced in 2012, but it is still Minelab top model. Metal detector Minelab CTX 3030 is designed for treasure hunting at any weather conditions and on any type of territory; both on the ground and up to 3 meters under water.
This metal detector is equipped with the newest devices, so even nowadays it is still up to date. Only this model has a GPS receiver unit integrated with Google Maps.
Let me remind you, that there are no other manufacturers in the world who were capable of installing a GPS receiver unit into their devices.
In general, this is one of the best and multi-purpose metal detectors in the world, which has only two demerits – its price and weight.
- Minelab CTX 3030 Metal Detector, 17" Smart Coil, 11" DD Smart Coil
- Coil Cover, UR-30 Headphones, WM-10 Charging Cable & Auto Charger
- Battery Holder, WM-10 Wireless Module & Belt Clip, Removable Headphone Module
White’s MX Sport
A multi-purpose waterproof metal detector for standard and under water treasure hunting (up to 100 feet/3 meters deep). The operation frequency of the device is 13,8 kHz, it has 20-tone audio identification plus lots of useful options.
Unlike MX Sport they have quite old-fashioned processors and 28 operation frequencies as well. White’s MX Sport uses 13,9 kHz operation frequency, i.e. the device deals rather well with large and average sized targets (coins), however, it can also find some smaller targets like jewelry when hunting at the beach. In general, I prefer metal detectors with several operation frequencies, but let’s keep in mind that such MDs cost from 2 to 3 times more.
This metal detector can be put under water up to 10 feet deep. As for the device waterproofness, I’d give 10 out of 10.
Another feature of this MD is its high recovery speed. It means that MXSport defines targets located close to each other more precisely. This important function is indeed useful when you go treasure hunting in sites with high level of litter.
- Included 10" DD Waterproof Search Coil and Sport Waterproof headphone
- Six Adjustable Hunt Programs
- Automatic Ground Balance with Tracking
White’s Beach hunter
This model is presented by White’s company as a completely waterproof device designed for underwater, coastal and beach hunting. It can function both on the ground and under water, up to 7.5 meters deep (when using special waterproof headphones). The device set includes: 9,5” mono coil, box for 8 batteries (AA) and underwater headphones.
This metal detector has 2 operation frequencies – 3 and 15 kHz which ensures its efficient functioning for various tasks and search conditions.
Whites Beach Hunter ID 300 has 2 search modes: All metal and discrimination. The first mode performs all metal search. It is good for underwater hunting and it simplifies identification of the goal center.
The second mode is discrimination with 3-tone identification of objects and LED indication. When using this mode, each tone and LED color corresponds to the certain metal sector, which helps you easily and fast define the objects.
- Includes: 12" Dual-Field Search Coil, Waterproof Headphones, Hip & Chest Mount Pouch, Heavy-Duty NiMH Rechargeable Battery 8...
- Waterproof up to 25 ft., Adjustable Pulse Delay, 2 Year Limited Warranty, All Metal Audio Dual-Tone
- Dual Field Coil Configuration, Adjustable Frequency Offset, Optimized for Gold, Relic, Beach, Manual Ground Balance, Chest or...
A Guide to beach metal detecting
In summer, some treasure hunters switch from general ground search to beach hunting. Since this is the place and time when holidaymakers use their jewelry more often. What can you find on the beach?
Most of the things you find will be beer bottle caps, and I don’t think there is a beach without them nowadays. When digging out a bottle cap, don’t throw it back to the sand; take it with you and throw it into a garbage can later. The next thing after the caps are modern coins.
People often lose their chains, rings, earrings, and other jewelry on the beach. Quite seldom, these are golden ones. Also, to be able to find something like this, you’ll have to dig out a dozen or a hundred bottle caps first. As one of my friends says – who doesn’t dig out bottle caps, can’t find golden rings.
Nevertheless, the money you get after selling the rings you find can be quite significant, and this can be quite essential making for you at the end of the beach season. The best choice, in this case, is a metal detector performing both on the ground and in the water.
There is a wide variety of metal detectors on the market, and they can work on any type of ground. However, for beach hunting, you should select the models that can deal with high soil mineralization level peculiar to the beach sand.
What is so peculiar about brackish water?
The largest problem when you go beach hunting with a metal detector is sea salt. The salt from water easily penetrates the ground and makes its mineralization level higher.
The high salt content in seawater has a strong effect on a metal detector performance. It is manifested in chaotic signals you receive, inability to define the required discrimination correctly, losing the detection depth.
A beach, especially a salty one – is a complicated ground for metal detecting. This explains why many metal detectors have Beach as a separate search mode. Inhomogenous humidity and high mineralization, presence of loads of metal rubbish – all these make the device go nuts.
It is quite challenging to set proper ground balance values in this case. If a device doesn’t have ground balance function at all, it may incredibly misbehave on salty sand and produce signals where there is nothing at all.
If the device has a ground balance function, you should adjust it as you approach the water since ground mineralization level changes.
The more humid the sea sand is, the higher is the influence of ground mineralization. For example, you can set the ground balance on dry sand and go metal detecting, but once you get closer to the water’s edge (or when submerging a search coil not very deep), you can get even more false signals from the device. For this reason, you will need a metal detector capable of ignoring high ground mineralization.
Salt also influences the state of metal detectors – it slowly corrodes aluminum shafts. At the same time, the plastic the search coil is made of, and wires covering suffer from salt influence as well. Therefore, don’t leave your metal detector as is after using it in brackish water. Wash it with running water or at least wipe it with a wet cloth, it will leave less salt on the device when it gets dry.
VLF and Pulse Induction technologies
Standard ground metal detectors (those using VLF technology) generate constant electric current inside the coil transmitter and the change of the receiver voltage phase or amplitude indicates the presence of metal objects under ground.
Metal detectors using pulse induction (PI) generate electric currents for the transmitter, which turns on for some period of time and then abruptly turns off.
The coil field generates pulse vortex currents in the object they detect and analyze the pulse attenuation in the receiver coil.
PI metal detectors are irreplaceable during coastal and underwater treasure hunting as well as on highly mineralized soils.
The device productivity doesn’t depend on water or ground influences. Such devices demonstrate the same successful productivity both under water and on the ground.
That’s why PI technology is used in underwater metal detectors. They demonstrate good results when searing on sandy beaches and wet sand metal detecting.
The depth of objects detection in the ground and in brackish water is larger if compared with the results obtained by VLF metal detectors.
VLF is good for treasure hunting on the ground, but under water such devices show significantly lower productivity and the detection depth is less if compared with those of PI ones.
If you do treasure hunting professionally and use VLF instead of a PI metal detector, you essentially decrease your chances to find something really valuable.
Which metal detector to choose?
You should make this decision after making your mind as for where you are going to go treasure hunting – on the beach and around coastal area or deep under water.
Most of treasure hunters dive not that deep, since all gold and silver jewelry that people loose in water is usually located in a coastal area.
If your task is to go around the beach, search not far from it and you will maximum get waist-deep under water, you should get a waterproof metal detector for beach hunting.
For example, this can be Garrett AT Pro or AT Max. Going up to 3 meters deep is also possible both with Minelab CTX 3030 and with Minelab Equinox 800. Such metal detectors identify even small targets, for instance, rings or bracelets.
But if you’ve decided to become a professional underwater treasure hunter, you should turn your attention to a professional underwater metal detectors.
For underwater treasure hunting you will need a PI metal detector. It performs better on a sandy beach and brackish water, easily tunes out of noise.
Key points when selecting a metal detector
The device should have several important functions that you’ll need.
The absence of ground balance function means that it’s not recommended to use the device on the seaside. You will get nothing but disappointment from such a treasure hunting process.
For beach hunting, you will need excellent discrimination function. Each digger finds lots of rubbish – such as bottle caps, foil, beer can tabs, etc. To make sure you won’t be distracted by such rubbish, you will need high-quality discrimination.
It’s good if a metal detector has different ways of target identification (sound, visual, LED, graphical) – they will make it easier to define whether the target is worth digging or not.
Target separation ability should be rather high as well. Quite often, a ring can be under some corroded object, and if a metal detector can’t separate these two targets, it won’t see the ring.
As for the operating frequency, it’s desirable to get a high-frequency metal detector with an operating frequency from 8 to 18 kHz. These are the frequencies that ensure the best detection of targets with high conductivity (gold, silver).
I saw information on some sites that a standard metal detector model without waterproofing will do for beach hunting as well. I don’t agree with this. Though many modern metal detectors indeed have waterproof search coils, and you can submerge them up to the control unit.
The main thing you should keep in mind during beach hunting is water. The water is close to you, and it is inside the ground. If you get a device without waterproof properties and then put or drop it in the water, you get damage instead of profit – it is quite expensive to mend the device.
Besides, it happens that the device just slips out from your hand and falls into the water and drowns.
Nowadays, almost all manufacturers offer a wide range of metal detectors for underwater treasure hunting. There are various models of amphibian metal detectors designed for different submerging depth. All of them are completely waterproof, a sound signal from the target you can hear in headphones. If such a device slips out from your hands, it will come to the water surface.
Where on the beach can you get more finds?
Nominally we can divide the beach into three sectors.
1) Towel line – with dry sand, where usually only coins are found and rubbish such as bottle caps, foil, etc. As for the jewelry, it comprises about 20% of all the above mentioned.
2) Breaker zone is the most optimal area for metal detecting, and it is relatively not trashy. But if you go treasure hunting in brackish water, you will have issues with setting ground balance. This problem manifests in phantom/false signals appearance, which can be decreased by reducing the device sensitivity level.
3) Water zone – this is the place where most jewelry is lost, and it is the least trashy from all three zones. People play there, and this is when they lose jewelry. The deeper you search, the more finds you get. But underwater metal detecting is complicated due to water around you. You should have some special additional equipment. For example, it can be a wetsuit and a specialized underwater metal detector.
On sea beaches, you should follow the water. If it is low tide, go with it to the deeper areas. At high tide, go to the sand and start coin shooting.
As for the device settings, don’t chase after high detection depth. If there were a lot of diggers on this beach, the main finds would be located about 6, maximum 8 inches deep.
Sand in breaker zone of sea beaches mixes more efficiently; that’s why you should raise the device sensitivity there. Golden rings tend to stick in the sand.
What Features You Need
The main thing for beach hunting is an experienced digger who uses the metal detector. Without this important thing, any advanced and sophisticated equipment turns into a useless and very expensive toy.
However, there are several additional peculiarities you should be aware of.
As we know, for more precise target identification, you should minimize the chances of several targets getting under the coil, since beaches are quite trashy. Thus, a search coil for beach hunting shouldn’t be large! For oval-shaped coils – not larger than 6×10 inches, for round ones – not larger than 8 inches, while the perfect coil size is about 6 inches. Also, you should take into account the coil type.
In terms of coil type for beach hunting, many people advise using only mono-coils. I don’t support this idea, and I think that you can use both Mono and DD coils.
Protection cover for a coil
Stones, sand, corals – all these can scratch the search coil. Even though modern coils are quite good protected, I wouldn’t advise taking chances in this case.
When salt gets dry on surfaces, it affects the device’s performance. If you use protection case for your coil, wash both the coil and the cover after using them in brackish water. This will prevent salt accumulation in various slits of the device and affect its performance.
If you don’t have any fresh water close at hand, you can use the coil without a protection case, but clean it dry after that.
If you have financial means, it’s better to select a metal detector that uses high operating frequency – 13 kHz, 15 kHz, and higher. The first advantage is that high operating frequency is better for the detection of small-sized targets such as earrings, chains, small rings, etc.
The second advantage is that this frequency detects targets with medium electric conductivity, which gold is.
The third one is a better differentiation of metals.
The fourth advantage of the high-frequency search coil is its high protection from electric noise since there are plenty of them in urban settings.
Accessories for beach hunting
Besides a metal detector itself, a digger may need good safety gloves. It’s quite easy to cut yourself a finger with broken glass or sharp edges of tin-cans on the beach then when digging in the fields, for example.
The next accessory you will need is a shovel. A spade won’t do for beach hunting; the ground is not heavy. That’s why a lightweight wide shovel is better than a heavy spade. You can select one from this rating. They all are of almost the same quality.
If you have serious intentions as for the beach hunting, I’d advise you to get a scoop. This is a perforated metal box with a handle, which you can use to dig and sift the ground. Scoops can be with or without a handle, homemade, and branded ones.
If you don’t have a scoop, get a pinpointer, since it is quite challenging to find something in the pouring sand. Sometimes I used to spend several minutes to get a coin out of the sand. Keep in mind to get a waterproof device like one of these, for example.
Last update on 2020-08-03 at 19:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API