What Do I Need To Start Metal Detecting?


Treasure hunting is potentially a very rewarding activity. As you know, history can hide many things in the ground that occurred hundreds or even thousands of years ago. The technology was extremely poor back then, so many of these events were not properly documented by the witnesses and authorities of that time.

Tips to keep in mind while getting started metal detecting:

  • Know Your Metal Detector – Learn all you can on how your particular model works.
  • Be Safe – Always check your environment (Animals, sharp objects, sunburn, poison ivy).
  • Enjoy Yourself – Take in your surroundings, enjoy the outdoors.
  • Respect Your Surroundings – Ask for permission, keep the area clean, and bury your holes.
  • Share What You Find – Maybe donate some to a museum, show local kids that may have an interest.
  • Take a Kid – If you have kids take them with you if possible.
  • Use Proper Tools – Do not use a rake to dig a hole.
  • Take Care of Your Tools – They will last much longer if you do.
  • Rescan – Dig and then rescan your hole, just in case. There may be more in there.
  • Use a Pinpointer – This will help prevent you from digging a huge hole.
  • Look For Unpaved Old Driveways – They tend to have good finds.
  • Old Abandoned Homes – Check under the porch if possible.
  • Dig All The Trash – Don’t be afraid to dig everything, you might end up with something cool like this.

Skills are also important so if you are an experienced treasury hunter, then you will definitely have higher chances of finding something valuable. No worries if you are new, there are various potentially suitable locations for such activities so you are free to select the best choice in accordance with your preferences. There is no reason you cannot buy a metal detector today, and go out to a beach tomorrow, and find a gold ring your first day, it happens plenty. In the text below, you will find some useful details about different aspects of treasure hunting.

Where Can I Start?

The short answer is anywhere, but with a HUGE caveat. If it is not public (BLM lands) make sure you get permission first. Get permission from the landowner or the city if it is a public area like a park.  Outside of that, there are many interesting places you can hunt that you may or may not have thought of.

Over the years there were many battles with a significant influence on the land, however, very few people, if any, know that they actually happened. Often, no clear traces of such incidents are visible, but it does not mean that they do not really exist. Different locations hide many mysteries of past events, and they are waiting for a day to be discovered by skillful researchers. Some treasures might be extremely valuable, but you have to know how to find them properly.

With the right strategy and proper equipment, there are good chances you will achieve success in your endeavors so it is good to be adequately prepared for the adventure. It is also suitable to know the laws and regulations on the matter because a legal aspect plays a key role too. Purchasing the correct metal detector for you along with the other proper tools will help you maximize your chances of success.

Equipment For Treasure Hunting

Of course, having good and quality equipment is a must if you want to achieve good results in your endeavors. That however can be easier to say than to do. The most important tool for hidden treasure hunting is definitely a metal detector. That may sound obvious, but of course, it is your main tool to help you to find different kinds of metal objects hidden below the surface.

Still, the market is huge, and there are numerous models and all types of detectors. Some are better, others are worse, so you have to know how to choose the right device in accordance with your needs. They will all find metal, just at what degree and how much easier is the question.

Not all detectors are suitable for all types of searches, and that’s why you have to carefully check the specifications before making a purchase. There are great devices for beginners, which do not have complicated systems or components, so they are easy to use. Beginner-friendly detectors are usually lightweight too so it simplifies the work. As you may know, hunting for a hidden treasure is often a complex task that requires a lot of time and energy. You will usually have to check every part of a large area, and the job may take hours of hard work. It is necessary to have enough strength for such activities, and the lightweight detector can help you a lot at those moments.

However, beginner-friendly detectors are often not the most efficient ones so you may fail to achieve the best results when you operate with such devices. That’s because they usually work on a very low frequency, and they might miss a lot of small targets that hide in the ground. They may also not be fully suitable for operating in overly mineralized terrains because such ground can mask and hide a lot of targets.

On the other hand, such devices are good for detecting big metal objects so you can learn and develop your basic skills with their help. Beginner-friendly detectors usually have low prices so you might purchase one of those for as little as a hundred bucks. That’s really cheap considering professional metal detectors that can cost you several thousands of dollars.

The battery is also an important part of every metal detector. Metal detecting is typically performed in open nature, sometimes far away from any stores. So it is really helpful to have an extra set of batteries, not only for your detector but your pinpointer as well. That way you are not thirty minutes into detecting and all your batteries die and you don’t have backups.  Forcing you to drive back until you find a store that hopefully sells them or end up having to drive all the way back home for more.

Water protection can help your metal detector work under different weather conditions, such as rain or snow. Storms might suddenly start while you are out and about, but they will not harm your equipment if it is protected. Waterproof metal detectors are also good for beaches and river banks because you can use them to check areas covered with water. Waterproof does not always mean it will work underwater, so check your specific metal detector first.

Those are some of the most important things a metal detector should possess. However, it is always recommended to check the specifications of every particular product to find out if it is a good fit for you. When you select the appropriate detector for your needs, it is also necessary to purchase additional equipment.

A metal detector can discover the items below the ground’s surface, however, the machine cannot pull them out on its own. Instead, you will have to do that by digging a proper hole and pulling the object out. That’s why you will have to purchase a small shovel. The tool is ideal for such tasks.

The ground, however, hides many mysteries and some might be potentially dangerous. It is not hard to cut yourself while digging deep down so you have to protect your hands from such potential injuries. Safety gloves, for example, can help you with that. They will protect your hands from cuts, and other types of injuries while you perform this important activity.

It is also good to have protective knee pads because you will maybe need to kneel many times while digging. The rocks in the ground might harm your legs, and that’s why you should have safety gear. A pouch or bag is also a necessary piece of equipment. You will potentially find a lot of items, and you can store them all there instead of trying to fit everything into your two hands.

How To Learn and Master Metal Detecting

Metal detecting is generally not hard to learn, however, it does take some time and a bit of effort if you want to become really proficient. It is good to start with some more experienced hunters because they can simply show you all the basic things related to this matter. If you are not already part of a local metal detecting club I have a list here that will hopefully have a local club close to you that you can join.

To get started the metal detector needs to be placed in an appropriate position so the coil or head of the device should be very close to the ground. However, it still has to have enough space so you can make proper moves and research the area. Proper moves meaning, that you slowly swing your detector from left to right while keeping the coil flat and level to the ground and then begin to slowly walk forward.

There are of course many different videos online that will should you how to get started and what tools and equipment you need to get started.  Many even have very simple step-by-step instructions on what exactly to do when metal detecting.  One of the better ones I have seen is from Sod Busters Metal Detecting and it is a Complete Beginners Guide To Metal Detecting.

Another is a channel from the UK that also goes into details about beginners tips Metal Detecting Tips for Beginners Guide.

It is, of course, good to have a beginner-friendly metal detector because you can learn faster with such a device. Complex detectors typically have different components and advanced features. That’s good for professional work, however, it can confuse a total beginner. When you master the necessary skills, you can later easily transfer to high-quality detectors.

How a metal detector and Google Earth are helping one man uncover the past.

It is also suitable to select the appropriate terrain for learning. You can, for example, start in your backyard searching for any kind of metal object in the ground. Dig out from the ground any kind of metal objects, such as coins, screws, nails, or anything similar. Practice, practice, practice. It might take some time until you understand how your metal detector works, however, it will definitely pay off in the end. When you gain the basic skills, it is time to start a real adventure.

The Laws and Regulations

It is not illegal to purchase and possess metal detectors. Anyone has a right to do that, and there are no limitations and restrictions when it comes to that subject. Even a 10-year old kid can do so in an appropriate store. However, that does not mean that you can hunt hidden treasure wherever you want. Those kinds of activities are allowed by law only in specific areas. That’s why it is important to be cautious when selecting the terrain for treasure hunting. No one, for example, has the right to detect metal in official historical sites and national parks.

Federal law also forbids metal detecting in federal lands, and serious legal consequences are possible for those who break those laws. The offenders might be fined or even jailed by the authorities, depending on the level of their offense. You are also not allowed by the law to metal detect on private properties if you do not have the appropriate permission granted by the owners.

Fortunately, there are areas where you can freely metal detect without legal restrictions, and you can go to one of those locations if you want to perform such activities. Beaches, forests, meadows, riverbanks, local and state parks, and schoolyards are some quite popular places for metal detecting. That’s because the laws allow that activity at those locations. As you know, popular beaches are, for example, full of hidden treasures. However, it is always a good idea to check with your local town or city just to make sure these locations are not off-limits.  Some towns or cities may have their own rules when it comes to metal detecting in their city.

Many use historical books and maps to find undiscovered historical sites, such as battlefields from the Civil War. Those locations are usually full of various weaponry, old coins, and related items so the discovery may be a significant one. However, such discoveries have to be reported to the authorities because they have a significant historical value.

The laws are quite complex, and it might take some time until you understand all the rules properly. However, it pays off in the end because you will know your responsibilities. That’s why you should definitely learn all the regulations before starting the activities of this type. It is also suitable to check if metal detecting is legal in any particular area. You will notice signs in some places, and you can also ask the responsible authorities for clarification on that matter. That’s the best way to avoid any legal problems in the process.

Where to Purchase Metal Detector and Additional Equipment

Metal detectors are available in various online and offline shops and marketplaces. You can select any of these, according to your wishes and needs. Some might provide various discounts so you might have a chance to grab a quality metal detector at an affordable price. That’s definitely something you should not miss. Metal detector stores typically offer additional equipment too so you can buy all the tools at once. Online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, provide a home delivery so the procedure can definitely save you some time and energy. Usually, quality products have a lot of positive reviews so you can read these to get a better insight into the product.

If you are not a fan of online shopping, you can check the stores in your local city or region. Even a local metal detecting club can potentially offer a local rep that you can buy directly from.  For example, Rich Richie’s Mining Supplies provides a way for anyone in the treasure valley area of Idaho to purchase detectors, if you do not want to shop online. I have a complete resource that I try and keep up to date with all the local metal detecting clubs across the United States.

Jason Smith

I am a former Marine who works as a Software Engineer. I have five US States left to visit. My sarcasm is legendary as is my knowledge of movie quotes. I can name the song or artist of just about any 80s or 90s song. I like whiskey, wine, coffee, soaking in hot springs or my hot tub. I enjoy getting out hiking, and taking pictures, along with metal detecting & magnet fishing from time to time. I do enjoy the occasional gaming by breaking out the original NES or SNES. I do spend a lot of time building other websites, (about 30 some in total).

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