Metal detecting is a strangely addictive hobby, but it offers a fun mix of treasure hunting and discoveries. In particular, if you’re into prospecting gold nuggets, then you know that it’s quite a thrilling hobby that is both fun and financially rewarding.
However, for a successful treasure hunt, you need the right equipment and as it so happens, gold metal detectors are effective at probing for gold.
In contrast to the regular metal detectors, gold detectors are specially designed to effectively search for gold, while at the same time neutralizing specific soil and canceling out junk metals such as iron and steel.
Be as it may crucial that you get a metal detector that will fit your treasure hunting needs. At the very least, for instance, you must get a gold metal detector that can handle tough ground conditions, and if you’re hunting in wet conditions or water, you should get yourself a waterproof detector.
Fortunately, there’s no need to beat about it because I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 gold metal detectors in the market.
Here are the Top 5 Gold Metal Detectors
1. Garrett 1140680 AT Gold Metal Detector
Topping My list of the best metal gold detectors is Garret AT Metal Detector. In my opinion, this metal detector is an ideal choice for the newbies who want to test the waters and, at the same time, invest in a piece of quality equipment.
To this end, however, it’s not as straightforward as you would expect a newbie-oriented detector to be, but instead, it comes with a learning curve and is packed with several advanced features.
Nonetheless, I was impressed by the overall performance of this detector, and in particular, the waterproof nature, ability to detect tiny gold nuggets even in the most challenging environments and ability to work on different surfaces. Let’s have a detailed look at what this model has to offer;
From the word go, it’s evident that this equipment is built with user comfort and performance in mind. For starters, I love the extra-large Double-D submersible search coil, which by the way, is quite a popular design with many professional gold enthusiasts as its quite pragmatic, and it offers a rather large search surface area.
The design, including the construction, lightness, and an ergonomic handle, are all built to promote ease of use, and if the reviews are anything to go by, Garret AT is a cinch to use and will not wear you down.
All in One
One of the characteristics that probably elbows this metal detector from the rest lies in its versatility. Sporting an operating Frequency of 18 kHz, this metal detector has an increased infinity for a variety of metals, including gold nuggets, jewelry, coins, and even relics.
A versatile and cost-effective metal detector, Garret AT works at a high frequency that is optimal for gold prospecting, including in shallow waters.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Garret is a VLF detector, and so, you should keep your expectations in check and don’t expect the depth or performance of a pulse induction model, but still, it’s a brilliant option for the nuggets near the surface.
When searching for a gold detector, I always consider waterproofing as this lets me search gold nuggets in the lakes and streams without worrying about the structural integrity of my equipment.
Fortunately, Garret AT is a waterproof detector, offering a maximum depth of 10 feet.
Nonetheless, I was unimpressed by the fact that Garret AT only limited our searches in freshwaters; this model isn’t designed for the saltwater conditions because it comes with a relatively high frequency, which makes it ultra-sensitive and unsuitable for sand soaked with saltwater.
Though Garret AT is a motion detector, meaning you always have to make some slight motions to allow the search coil to continue detection, this model comes with an advanced feature, static target detection, a feature commonly associated with the high-end models.
The static target detection is triggered when your metal detector is in Pinpoint mode, and here, you can precisely target the gold nuggets even while in not in motion.
As I had hinted earlier in the introduction, Garret AT has a learning curve, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t well-designed, though, or even easy to use.
What you simply need to do is learn the various setting modes for the various metals, and this will quire depend on how you want your detector to search. Some of the settings or rather modes that I found quite handy on this metal gold detector include;
- High-Resolution Iron Discrimination mode offers 44 iron resolution points, which I found quite useful for separating trash from the real targets.
- All-metal iron audio is a proprietary Garret mode that lets you audibly identify objects even when operating on True All-Metal mode. In particular, I loved the Iron Audio that allowed us to hear the discriminated iron sound and, at the same time, audibly identify flat objects such as bottle caps or even washers.
- The Digital Target ID offers a numerical scale of 0-99 of the conductivity of metal and will let you increase your ability to distinguish targets from each other.
Generally, I found these modes and sensitivity levels quite handy in pinpointing gold nuggets faster than their competitors.
Nonetheless, as I had mentioned earlier, you’ll first need to learn what the noises mean and how they correspond to gold nuggets or a particular metal.
- Replaceable coils
- Easy to use on any type of soil
- Cannot be used for saltwater
2. Fisher Gold Bug-2
Gold Bug 2, liked its name suggests, is an improved device of the original Gold Bug. Though the original model was quite an incredible and high-performing unit, it had its flaws.
Its successor, however, builds upon what Gold Bug model offered and has gone a long way to rectify some of the major imperfections of the Gold Bug.
Typical of a premium model, Fisher Gold Bug 2 oozes of quality, performance, and comfort. A lightweight unit, Gold Bug 2, is a cinch to use, and the ergonomic design is an indication that the Fisher is indeed concerned about the comfort of the gold probers.
Now, I have been in the metal detecting industry for long, and I can tell you affirmatively that 71 kHz on this Fisher Gold Bug 2 is quite unusual frequency, and currently, few if any single- frequency equipment can match this sensitivity. With such a frequency, users can effectively spot the pieces of gold with ease.
Ordinarily, high mineralized soils usually contain various types of elements, and if you’re to search for gold in such an environment, you need ultra-sensitive equipment.
Thankfully, Gold Bug 2 has an extra-ordinary sensitivity and is capable of cheating all of the problems regarding its high-frequency sensitivity, and I found it quite capable of detecting gold even in the thick mineralized or even multi-element soils.
I was fascinated by the powerful discrimination that was capable of rejecting iron, steel, hot rocks, & miscellaneous metals, and this made our expedition less of a hassle and more productive.
My gold search was further given a boost by the audio signal that transmitted the information of the metal types when the search coil zeroed on a metallic target.
A comfortable and easy to use the detector, Bug 2 is quite flexible, and users can mount it either on the hips or chest. However, I found the chest mounting option rather strange because this detector is not totally waterproof, and as such, it’s unsuitable for diving.
Dust and Moisture Resistance
Though Bug 2 does not support gold detection underwater, its solidly constructed, and its design can effectively prevent the attack of dust and moisture, meaning it doesn’t carry the risk of rusting, even after its left for long without being used.
- Easy to use/No learning curve
- High frequency for singling small gold nuggets
- Powerful discrimination
- Does not function underwater
3. Bounty Hunter TK4
If your idea of gold hunt involves the “more” extreme conditions such as saltwater environments, the Bounty TK4 IV is built with you in mind.
A rugged, and comfortable metal detector, Bounty TK4 IV, comes with an array of features, all designed to handle the extreme ground conditions. Here’s what this unit has to offer;
3 Hunting Modes
I have to admit that I was a bit unimpressed by the three hunting modes, which were, in fact, quite basic. See, at this price point, I expected to see some more precise settings that would allow me to search specifically for particular metals, relics, or jewelry. Nonetheless, for users who are looking for something pretty basics with no frills, TK4 IV is a superb option. The three modes include:
- All Metal Mode detects every type of metal it comes across, including steel, gold, silver, aluminum, and copper. I found this mode quite ideal for hunting relics, cache, or metal in general.
- Full discriminate mode alerts you when something is discovered and is suitable for coin shooting and jewelry hunting
- Tone discriminate mode or Tow-tone, lets you know whether or not an item is valuable with an audio signal
Preset Ground Balance
Normally, gold hunting grounds are filled with iron, and this can significantly interfere with your detecting and even set you up for frustration.
Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about the iron metals because this metal detector is set up with a preset ground balance so that all the iron on the ground is differentiated from the valuable metals that you’re likely to come across in your expedition.
Users found this feature quite handy a sit allowed them to hunt in the more iron-rich grounds that they would have used another metal detector.
8-Inch Open Coil Design
A coil determines how effective, and in particular, how deep your detector can reach. Thankfully, this equipment comes with an 8-inch open coil that will detect anything up to a massive depth of 8-inches underground, and according to some users, it can detect larger items that are up to three feet down.
As I had hinted in the introduction, this metal detector is reliably constructed and will let you hunt in a variety of “extreme” conditions, while at the same time staying balanced and offering sufficient sensitivity. I was particularly impressed by its ability to hunt on the saline beach, as well as on land with high mineral content.
Speaking of the beach, this detector model is completely waterproof, and this underlines the metal detectors’ rugged abilities and will let you hunt in wet grass, lakes, shallow waters, saltwater.
Ease of Use
TK4 IV comes with a variety of extras that adds to its appeal and makes the equipment rather easy to use. For instance, this unit allows you to adjust the height, meaning it runs true to size for users with different height temperaments.
It also comes with a padded armrest and detector stand that further underlines the comfort and ease of use on this model.
- Easy to use
- Detects gold on both salty and freshwaters
- Only three modes
4. Bounty Hunter Land Ranger Pro Metal Detector
The Bounty Hunter is quite a sensitive and precise metal detector that is easily adjustable for use in water as well as on land. Coming in with 7 preset modes and sensitivity levels, you really don’t have to get concerned about digging up junk as this equipment will let you zero in on precious items and eliminate the trash.
7 Preset Modes
A major highlight of this metal detector is the vast range of sensitivity modes that lets you adjust the performance of the Bounty Hunter according to your needs.
Advanced Notch Discrimination
Once you’ve selected a preferred mode, you’ll love the advanced notch discrimination that will let you cancel out all the junk.
The Target Category Arc, for instance, contains a huge inventory of possible finds, including iron, scrap, foils and more, and when you reject them, you’ll not get an alert when these items are detected, and this will save you a lot of time in your quest for gold search.
Ideal for the underwater search, Bounty Hunter, comes with waterproof coils that will allow you to take your searches in the water as well as on the beaches.
LCD Target Identification
An easy to use model, Bounty Hunter, comes with a large LCD target identification display that grabs from a huge library of graphic icons and gives you a vivid idea of what the detectors have discovered.
I was impressed by the vastness of the graphic icon library, and we found it quite capable of accurately identifying stuff like pop cans, paper clips coil, bullets, and more.
- Easy to use
- 7-preset modes
- a bit pricy
Minelab GOLD MONSTER 1000
The Minelab was first introduced in the market in 2017 and was created as a relatively inexpensive, easy to operate, and high-performance metal detector.
Unlike a majority of the metal detectors on our list, this is the only model that is designed specifically for gold prospecting and is equipped with the necessary tech specs and features to enable users to find gold even in the most complicated locations.
Gold Chance Indicator
As I had mentioned earlier in the introduction, this metal detector is primarily designed for detecting gold and underlining this is the unusual discrimination called the Gold Chance Indicator.
This indicator goes from high to low, to match the probability of finding gold nuggets, or even flakes.
What I liked most about the performance of this unit is that its fully automated, and users simply have to tune the sensitivity and volume alone manually, and this helps users to start detecting gold easily, while at the same time adjusting to any conditions of search.
The sensitivity and overall performance of a metal detector are based on the frequency range. Fortunately, this metal detector comes with an ultra-wide dynamic range that of 46 kHz, and this offers high sensitivity for gold as well as the small objects.
I loved that the detectors came with two coils in the kit, one waterproof and the other one, not allowing us to tailor our search depending on the environment.
Minelab features two search modes, which I think are quite handy, especially in promoting noob-friendliness. Sure, the two-modes might be quite restrictive, but that doesn’t really count here because this detector already has a Gold
Chance Indicator that will help to detect gold in the first place easily. Still, having more preset mode is always a bonus, especially for hunters who are open-minded are won’t mind digging up other treasures.
The hunting modes on this equipment are;
- Gold mode, which further underlines the suitability of this equipment for gold hunting. This mode will help you reject iron, and instead find aurum nuggets, flakes, and gold dust
- Deep All-metal mode, on the other hand, is a general-type mode that lets you find a variety of metals, just in case the user might be interested in them.
- Waterproof coils
- Tailored for gold searches
- Highly sensitive
- Not waterproof
Things to Look for when in search of a Metal Detector for Gold
If you’re looking to purchase the best metal detector for gold, there are several critical components or rather factors that you need to consider. These factors include:
If you’re going to take your hunting into the waters, you need a completely waterproof metal detector and one that will stand up against the water without compromising on its structural integrity.
Also known as a microprocessor-controlled analyzer, a discriminator compared the different signals, and this helps in easier and efficient identification of particular metals.
A discriminator can also be set up to ignore signals from junk metals such as aluminum and steel, allowing you to focus on gold.
This feature gives you the ability to cut interference from natural metals such as iron. With a good ground balancing detector, you’ll easily have an easy time finding minerals in the soil that are unnatural.
Ideally, you should invest in a detector with a multi-frequency detection system as this will allow you to discriminate between the targets and the unwanted targets.
You now have it; finding gold nuggets is now easier, thanks to the best metal detectors for gold. You simply have to go through our review list again and select a model that you think will address all your hunting needs.