Prospector’s Choice: Exploring the Best Metal Detectors for Gold Hunting

Choosing the best metal detector for gold is not an easy task and for beginners it is almost impossible thing to do. On the market there are lots of offers and if you try to gain some insight on these devices, you will find yourself lost in the variety of models and prices. Besides, treasure hunting for gold can be very different. Someone is looking for it on the beach and someone is looking for nuggets. Both these targets require using different metal detectors.

In the current article we’ll discuss types of metal detectors, choose the best ones for gold prospecting, perform comparison study of the most popular models and help you to select the device with optimal combination of price and parameters. But, first of all….

How much does a gold detector cost?

The cost of a gold detector can vary widely based on the brand, model, features, and technology. Here’s a general breakdown of the price ranges you might expect:

  1. Entry-Level Gold Detectors: These are basic models suitable for beginners or hobbyists. Prices typically range from $500 to $700.
  2. Mid-Range Gold Detectors: These detectors offer more advanced features and better sensitivity. Prices usually fall between $700 and $3500.
  3. High-End Gold Detectors: Professional-grade detectors with advanced technologies, multiple frequencies, and specialized features for gold prospecting. Prices can range from $3500 to $10,000 or more.

It’s important to note that certain brands and models may have specific price points based on their reputation, performance, and the technology they incorporate. Additionally, newer models with advanced features tend to be more expensive.

Best Entry-Level Gold Detectors

I have chosen the best gold detector on the market (from cheap to expensive), most time-proven and high efficient. If you think that there are more recommendable models, you are welcome to write me a message and I will include them into the list.

Fisher Gold Bug Pro

Fisher Gold Bug Pro review

Fisher Gold Bug Pro is a multi-purpose, high efficient metal detector for coin, relics and gold nuggets hunting on very mineralized soils. Despite the fact, that this model was designed specially for detecting small nuggets, unlike other metal detectors designed for gold digging, it can also be helpful when using small coins and jewelry.

Traditionally Fisher Lab designed Gold Bug control simple and easy-to-use even for beginners. Distinguishing characteristic of Fisher Gold Bug is that it uses sequential discrimination scheme, which is the most proper one when gold nugget hunting.

Sequential discrimination is a process when objects are excluded from the search one by one starting from metals with the lowest conductivity and further.

Also this metal detector has a ground balance function that can be adjusted both manually and automatically.

Operation frequency is 19 kHz. It weighs only 1,25 kg!

Fisher Labs Gold Bug Pro Metal Detector, Black (GOLDBUG-PRO)
  • Finds the smallest gold nuggets in highly mineralized soils – v-break tm;…
  • Real-time computerized ground balancing – v.c.o. audio in all metal &…
  • Ground phase value indicates type of mineralization – fe3o4 graphic indicates…

Last update on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Source: Amazon Affiliates

ModelFisher Gold Bug
Weight2.5 lbs
Batteries9 Volt (1)
HeadphonesNot included
Warranty5 years
Operating PrincipleVLF
Standard SearchcoilThree types of coils (5″ round DD, 7″ x 11″ elliptical DD, 5″ x 10″ elliptical DD)
Operating Frequencies (kHz)19.2 kHz
Water resistanceWaterproof coil
Submersion DepthNo
DiscriminationYes
Ground BalanceAuto, manual
Audio ThresholdNo
Electronic PinpointingYes
VDI (0 to 99 scale)Yes
Build-in flashlightNo

Garrett AT Gold

Garrett AT Gold review

Garrett (USA) has designed a new model of metal detector Garrett AT Gold specializing in non-ferrous metal and gold nuggets detecting. AT Gold has high sensitivity to small objects, like gold nuggets, rings, chains. For successful detection of nuggets, jewelry and small coins the device has high operation frequency (18 kHz) and minimized size of its search sensor.

Due to the fact, that AT Gold was designed basing on AT Pro, it can function under water, when it rains and in the places with heavy accumulation of dust and dirt.

The main difference between AT Gold and AT Pro, is that Garrett AT Gold metal detector has higher operation frequency 18 kHz (Garrett AT Pro has 15 kHz operation frequency); Garrett AT Pro is equipped with AT 8,5×11 DD coil in its set (it is a bit larger), while Garrett AT Gold has AT 5×8 DD coil (which is smaller).

Also Garrett AT Gold has wider possibilities when metal detecting on heavy-textured soils.

Best Choice No. 1
Garrett at Gold Metal Detector for Adults, Made in USA, Fully Waterproof
  • All-Metal Mode- True All-Metal mode offers deepest detection depth and…
  • Graphic Target Analyzing- Simultaneously shows the target’s conductivity and…
  • All Terrain- Designed for use in wet, humid and dusty environments. Weatherproof…

Last update on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Source: Amazon Affiliates

ModelGarrett AT Gold
Weight3.03 lbs (1.4 kgs)
Length (Adjustable)43″ to 56″ (1.09m – 1.4m)
Batteries4 AA (included)
Headphones Included
Warranty2 years
Circuit Type VLF
Standard Searchcoil5″ x 8″ ( 14×20 cm) DD PROformance
Operating Frequencies (kHz) 18
Water resistanceWaterproof detector
Submersion Depth up to 10 feet
Iron Discrimination Segments44
Ground Balance Manual, Auto
Search Modes 3
Updatable SoftwareNo
Audio Threshold Yes
Sensitivity/Depth Adjustments 8
Electronic Pinpointing Yes
VDI (0 to 99 scale) Yes
Build-in flashlightNo

Garrett Goldmaster 24K

Goldmaster 24K is a metal detector produced by the American company Garrett. It was specially designed for gold nuggets metal detecting. Earlier, this metal detector was called

White’s Goldmaster 24K, but the White’s company was bought by Garrett. The metal detector had some updates and improvements and came into the market with a new name.

Goldmaster 24K is a metal detector with a simple S-shaped shaft powered by 8 AA accumulators with a charger. Rechargeable batteries can function for up to 45 hours on one charge, allowing treasure hunting for several days. The device has a standard search coil 6×10 DD. Branded wired Garrett headset is included in the package set.

Why this metal detector for gold nuggets treasure hunting is better than other Garrett metal detectors? First of all, Goldmaster’s 24K feature is high sensitivity to gold due to its ability to operate using 48 kHz frequency. It has an upgraded ground balance function with tracking ability and full-fledged performance on magnetic soils.

Ground filter system – XGB was added, automatic ground tracking method. Due to XGB, you can go treasure hunting at different conditions by decreasing the noise level and without losing performance stability. Besides, this system allows partial ignoring of hot rocks.

The device has Iron Cancel. In case the places where you search for gold nuggets are very rubbished with ferrous objects, it will help you to discriminate iron. But remember that even though Goldmaster 24K has a perfect discrimination function, using any type of discrimination includes a chance of missing a signal from gold.

Last update on 2024-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Source: Amazon Affiliates

ModelGarrett Goldmaster 24K
Weight3.6 lbs (1.4 kgs)
Length (Adjustable)44″ to 54″
Batteries8 AA (included)
Headphones Included
Warranty2 years
Circuit Type VLF
Standard Searchcoil6″ x 10″ DD Standard, 6” Concentric Optional
Operating Frequencies (kHz) 48
Water resistanceWaterproof detector
Submersion Depth No
Ground Balance XGB; TracLock
Search Modes All Metal
Updatable SoftwareNo
Audio Threshold Yes, Variable Self-Adjusting Threshold
Sensitivity/Depth Adjustments Yes
Electronic Pinpointing Yes
BacklightYes

Best Mid-Range Gold Detectors

Garrett Axiom

Garrett Axiom is a metal detector manufactured in 2022 for gold and gold nuggets search. It uses pulse induction technology. This metal detector is of a completely different class than Garrett AT Gold and Garrett Goldmaster 24K. Of course, the price is different as well.

What are Garrett Axiom’s advantages?

PI technology is used in cases when you plan to operate on complex and extremely complex soils, and this is where you can actually find gold. Pulse Induction in Garrett Axiom provides improved sensitivity and full multipurposeness of the device on most highly mineralized soils and in brackish water. This metal detector is very sensitive, and it is capable of detecting cold particles of less than 1 gram weight.

Upgraded discrimination function and automatic ground balance tracking ensure the detection of all valuable targets.

Garrett Axiom operation time is almost 24 hours. Using the embedded battery, the device can function for up to 16 hours, and an additional unit with 8 AA power components will provide 6 more hours of treasure hunting.

A carbon fiber shaft of three sections can be folded to extremely small sizes. The device length in the folded state is just 63,5 cm! At that, it will be comfortable to work with Garrett Axiom for a user of any height since its shaft can be unfolded to a length of 156 cm. Moreover, the device is rather light weighted one – just 1,9 kg.

The standard package set also includes a bag for the metal detector, network adapters, charging cables, protecting covers for search coils, additional unit for 8 AA batteries.

Last update on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Source: Amazon Affiliates

ModelGarrett Axiom
Weight4.2 lbs. (1.9 kg) with 11” mono coil; 4.7 lbs. (2.1 kg) with 13” mono coil
Length (Adjustable)25” (63.5 cm) to 61.5” (156 cm)
BatteriesRechargeable Lithium Ion, built-in; 76 Wh, 306 g
Headphones Included
Warranty2 years
Circuit Type PI (Pulse Induction)
Standard Searchcoil11” x 7” mono coil; 13” x 11” mono coil
Operating Frequencies1500 Hz
Water resistanceWater/Weather Resistance
Submersion Depth No
Ground Balance Automatic, dual channel
Search Modes Fine, Normal, Large, Salt
Updatable SoftwareYes
Audio Threshold Yes
Sensitivity/Depth Adjustments 8
Electronic Pinpointing Yes
VDI (0 to 99 scale) Yes
Build-in flashlightNo

Minelab Gold Monster 1000 – best overall

Minelab Gold Monster 1000 review

Minelab Gold Monster 1000 – is a high frequency metal detector designed for treasure hunting on highly mineralized soil. Due to its high operation frequency 45 kHz it has very high sensitivity to small sized gold nuggets (0,2-0,3 gram). This metal detector was designed as the most adaptive system with several different configurations.

Minelab Gold Monster 1000 is completely automated device. That’s why you won’t have to adjust ground balance and threshold tone all the time. Therefore, while searching you will be able to devote more time to the process itself and not to the device settings. As for me, this is best gold detector on the market.

You have to make up your mind if you adjust the device sensitivity level yourself or use auto adjustment. At that you should keep in mind that automatic mode will decrease the device sensitivity for a sake of more stable productivity.

Best Choice No. 1
MINELAB Gold Monster 1000 Gold Detector for Adults with 5″ Waterproof Search Coil, Fully Automatic Extra Sensitive 45kHz…
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY. The 45 kHz VLF and 24-bit signal processor greatly boosts…
  • FULLY AUTOMATIC. The GOLD MONSTER turns beginners into professionals with fully…
  • PRECISE DISCRIMINATION. Improved identification enhances searches in salty soils…
Best Choice No. 2
MINELAB Gold Detector Bundle for Adults with Gold Monster 1000 Metal Detector, 5″ Waterproof Search Coil and PRO-FIND 40…
  • 3-PIECE BUNDLE. This 3-piece bundle includes MINELAB’S GOLD MONSTER 1000 metal…
  • COMPLETE KIT. This gold detector, coil and pinpointer professional bundle will…
  • GOLD MONSTER 1000. The 45 kHz VLF and 24-bit signal processor in the metal…

Last update on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Source: Amazon Affiliates


ModelMinelab Gold Monster 1000
Weight1.33kg (2.94lbs) excluding battery
Length (Adjustable)1382mm–944mm (54.4″–37.2″)
BatteriesLi-Ion (included), 8 AA Batteries (not included)
HeadphonesIncluded
Warranty2 years
Operating PrincipleVLF
Key TechnologyUltra-wide dynamic range 45kHz VLF
Standard Searchcoil 2 coils: 10″ x 6″ Double-D, 5″ Double‑D
Operating Frequencies (kHz)45 kHz
Water resistanceCoils waterproof to 1m (3′), Control box rain/splash-proof
Submersion DepthNo
Detect ModesGold (Iron reject), Deep All-Metal
DiscriminationYes, Gold Chance Indicator (high/low)
Ground BalanceAutomatic (Easy-Trak)
Noise CancelAutomatic (On start-up)
Detect Modes2 (Gold (Iron reject), Deep All-Metal)
Sensitivity AdjustManual (1–10), Auto (11), Auto+ (12)
Volume AdjustManual 1–6
Visual DisplayMonochrome LCD
Audio OutputInternal speaker or headphones 3.5mm (1/8″)

Best High-End Gold Detectors

Minelab SDC 2300

In summer 2020, the company has introduced an improved version of its classical metal detector Minelab SDC 2300. The new device package set includes new headphones, protection for the armrest and Li-ion accumulator. An additional detail (a protector) was added to the connector joint to protect the connection with the search coil during metal detecting.

MINELAB SDC 2300 beyond all doubt is a milestone in production of metal detectors for gold nuggets hunting – it represents combination of pure functionality and efficiency.

It doesn’t have the slightest hint of some ‘ornamental’ options. The device demonstrates perfect performance characteristics when going metal detecting at highly complicated conditions.

This multi-purpose device allows quickly and thoroughly examine a prospecting site concerning possible detection of gold nuggets that may indicate the presence of larger nuggets deeper in the ground.

The metal detector is small sized and waterproof. It has a reliable structure and it is easy to master even for beginner. All these characteristics are based on call of the times and completely meet the requirements of modern nuggets hunter.

It is convenient to carry SDC 2300 in a rucksack and it is perfect for treasure hunting in shallow waters. Yet it performs better when jewelry hunting, than when nuggets detecting. It is capable of ‘seeing’ even thin chains and bracelets.

Best Choice No. 1
Minelab SDC 2300 All Terrain Gold Detector
  • Compact – Folds to small portable size – 8.5 in x 15.7 in. Fits into carry-on…
  • Waterproof Capability – Fully submersible to 10 ft. for detecting riverbeds and…
  • Rugged & Assembly Free – Military grade construction, one piece detector…
Best Choice No. 2
Minelab SDC 2300 Metal Detector Special with PRO-Sonic Wireless Audio System
  • Minelab SDC 2300 Gold Metal Detector, Minelab PRO‑SONIC wireless Metal…
  • The PRO‑SONIC Receive Module features an internal loudspeaker and a 6.35mm…
  • The SDC 2300 is a high performance mid-range gold detector, perfect for chasing…

Last update on 2024-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Source: Amazon Affiliates

ModelMinelab SDC 2300
ApplicationGold Prospecting (waterproof 10ft)
Coil (standard)8″ Round Monoloop
Audio OutputBuilt-in speaker, Minelab headphones (supplied), Koss Waterproof Headphones (not supplied), Pro Sonic Wireless Audio (not supplied)
Visual Display9 LEDs indicate detection, battery status and threshold level; 1 low battery warning LED
LengthExtended: 1500 mm (59.1″) Collapsed: 400 mm (15.7”)
Weight2.3 kg (5.1 lbs)
BatteriesLi-on Battery Pack with Charger, 4 x C-cell 1.2 V 5000 mAh Rechargeable (not supplied), 4 X C-cell 1.5 V Alkaline (not supplied)
Detect ModesNormal (1-5 Sensitivity range) & Salt (1-3 Sensitivity range)
Noise CancelManually Initiated, Automatic Scanning
Ground BalanceAutomatic Ground Tracking (AGT) Fast Ground Balance
Threshold9 audio levels
Audio PitchLow, High
TechnologyPulse Induction (PI) and Multi Period Fast (MPF)
Warranty3 years control box & coil
Included AccessoriesArmrest Cover, Coil Joint Protector
Optional AccessoriesKoss Waterproof Headphones, Pro-Sonic Wireless Audio, Carry Bag

Minelab GPX 6000

New metal detector GPX 6000 has a range of innovations in comparison with the previous model GPX 5000. The device uses modern noise reduction technologies and complex probing pulses which allows applying it at the most complicated search conditions.

Extremely high sensitivity of the device provides maximum detection depth as well as successful detection of the smallest nuggets. This model is aimed not only at gold nuggets hunting, but it is also adapted for relic and beach hunting which requires super sensitivity to very small targets.

GPX 6000 is supplied complete with round shaped 11-inch mono-coil a large 14″ Double-D coil. There are 100 coils you can get to replace the ones you have and this number grows each year. This is a reliable, time-proven metal detector suitable for almost any situation.

Best Choice No. 1
Minelab GPX 6000 All Gold Detector for Adults with 11” Monoloop & 14” Double-D Waterproof Coils (Wireless Headphones…
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY. Powered by GeoSense-PI technology that precisely analyzes…
  • FINDS ALL GOLD. This gold finder can accurately locate small fragments to large…
  • BUILT TO LAST. Tested in the harsh environments of the Australian outback,…
Best Choice No. 2
MINELAB GPX 6000 Artisanal Gold Detector Bundle for Adults with 17″ Waterproof Monoloop Coil
  • 2-PIECE BUNDLE. This bundle includes MINELAB’S GPX 6000 metal detector and 17″…
  • COMPLETE KIT. This gold detector and coil professional bundle will help you…
  • GPX 6000. Powered by Geo Sense-Pi technology that precisely analyzes gold…

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Source: Amazon Affiliates

ModelMinelab GPX 6000
Search Modes (Ground Types)Difficult (default) | Normal
Double-D ModesEMI Cancel (default) | Conductive Ground Cancel
Ground BalanceAuto | Manual (Quick-Trak)
Noise CancelAutomatic (on start-up) | Manual (as needed – 5s duration)
SensitivityManual (levels 1 — 10) | Auto (level 11) | Auto+ (Level 12)
Threshold ToneOn, Off
Volume5 Levels
LengthExtended: 155 cm (61 in) | Collapsed: 67 cm (26.5 in)
Weight2.1 kg (4.6 lb) (with 11″ round Monoloop coil)
DisplayMonchrome LCD with backlight
Available coilsGPX 11™ 11″ round Monoloop | GPX 14™ 14″ round Double-D | GPX 17™ 17″x13″ elliptical Monoloop
Audio OutputBuilt-in loudspeaker | Wired 3.5 mm (1/8″ headphones) | Bluetooth wireless audio (aptX™ Low Latency)
Supplied HeadphonesML 100 wireless headphones
Supplied BatteriesRechargeable Lithium-Ion battery 5833 mAh
Battery Runtime8 hours (approximately)
WaterproofCoils: submersible to 1m (3.3 ft) | Detector: splash / rain proof
Operating Frequency1.225 kHz
Operating Temperature Range-10°C to +50°C (+14°F to +122°F)
Storage Temperature Range-20°C to 70°C (-4°F to 158°F)
Key TechnologiesGeoSense-PI™ | Bluetooth | aptX™ Low Latency

Minelab GPZ 7000

This is best metal detector for finding gold nuggets, heavyweight champion of gold metal detectors. But its price is very high.

This new metal detector by Minelab uses a breakthrough technology of gold detection – ZVT. This device stands head and shoulders above metal detectors of GPX series when detecting large and deep resting nuggets as well as detecting gold at any depth.

The device weights 3,32 kg, it has 14х13 waterproof coil. We can even call it a metal detector of tomorrow. All the results it demonstrates are significantly higher than that of previous Minelab models.

By means of this function (GPS-navigation) and application XChange 2 for PC you can put the marks you need on the map and also create a table of your own findings, record occurrence depth and weigh of nuggets and make any other notes in the field.

Now you won’t need a separate notebook or GPS, all information can be stored as a GeoHunt in your device and when you come back home you can copy all the data to your PC and show them on Google maps.

Supporters of serious, thorough approach to metal detecting by means of screen ‘Map’ can travel to the places they are interested in and look through GeoTrail, where they’ve been to, save their WayPoints (points that are of some interest to them) and FindPoints (their findings).

Another distinctive feature of Minelab GPZ 7000 metal detector is its high noise resistance and nowadays its is second to none in terms of this parameter. Due to its 256 channels of noise suppression you can use the device at maximum level of concentration, nothing strains your ears, there are no noises or sounds that distract you from the detection process, you won’t miss even the quietest and weakest signal from a target.

Best Choice No. 1
Minelab GPZ 7000 All Terrain Gold Metal Detector with GPZ 19″ Search Coil
  • Extreme Gold Depth: So how deep can you go? Well, up to 40%* deeper than the GPX…
  • Maximum Gold Sensitivity: The incredible sensitivity of the GPZ 7000 with the…
  • Precision Ground Balance: Most gold is buried in the mineralised ‘difficult’…
Best Choice No. 2
Minelab GPZ 7000 Gold Detector Holiday Bundle with Extra Li-ion Rechargeable Battery
  • Minelab GPZ 7000 Metal Detector Bundle Includes: Minelab Li-ion Rechargeable…
  • The GPZ 7000 is the future of gold detection. This unbeatable detector will give…
  • The GPZ 7000 is the best gold prospecting detector on the market and is capable…

Last update on 2024-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Source: Amazon Affiliates

ModelMinelab GPZ 7000
ApplicationGold Prospecting (Waterproof coil to 1m/3ft)
TechnologyZVT
Frequency/TransmissionZero Voltage Transmission (ZVT)
Coil (standard)14″ x 13″ Super‑D Configuration with skidplate (waterproof to 1 m/3 ft)
Audio Output6.3 mm (¼”) non waterproof socket, Wi‑Stream wireless signal transmission
Headphones SuppliedKOSS UR 30 100 ohm with 6.3 mm plug (¼-inch) (non waterproof)
Visual DisplayFull colour LCD (320 x 240 pixels)
BacklightYes
USB ConnectivityUSB interface for XChange 2 PC software
MemoryYes
Depth IndicationNo
Detect ModesGold Mode (High Yield, General, Extra Deep) Ground Type (Normal, Difficult, Severe)
DiscriminationAll Metal
TimingsNo
Audio tone1-100
Audio TypeNo
Ground BalanceAuto and Manual (Quick‑Trak trigger button)
Ground Balance TypeAuto and Manual (Quick‑Trak trigger button)
Trash DensityNo
PinpointNo
Sensitivity AdjustLevel (1-20)
Tune / Noise CancelAuto and Manual (256 channels)
ThresholdLevel (1-50) Pitch (1-100)
Target Volume AdjustRange (1-20) Limit (1-20)
BatteryLi-Ion Rechargeable Pack (7.2V DC, 72Wh)
Low battery alertYes
LengthCollapsed: 1170 mm (46.1”) Laid flat, packed position: 1304 mm (51.3”) Extended: 1526 mm (60.1”) Laid flat, packed position: 1651 mm (65.0”)
Weight3.32 kg (7.32 lb) (Including GPZ 14 coil, skidplate and 72Wh battery)
Warranty3 years control box & coil