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How to choose a Metal Detector


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The hobby of metal detecting is now firmly established in Britain, the USA, Australia and many European countries, and is suitable for all ages, from the very young to the very old. Using a metal detector is quite healthy for the body because it gets you out in the air and gives you exercise through walking and digging. The many thousands of metal detectorists (as they are known) who enjoy metal detecting as a hobby reap benefits in a variety of ways; the gain of knowledge about the past, the excitement and pleasure one feels when handling objects which haven't seen light for years and, of course, the coins and artefacts recovered. Initially, a Victorian Penny or a button is a great thrill to find, raising all sorts of questions such as how the object got there and to whom it once belonged etc. Nowadays, metal detectors are hi-tec electronic machines with a variety of capabilities dependant on price. We offer metal detectors made by Garrett, Viking and Cscope. We have chosen these metal detectors because they offer probably the best value for money, owing to their high performance, reliability, good prices, and excellent manufacturer support. They are produced by well-known and established UK, European and American companies, and cover a broad range of prices.

How much should I spend on a metal detector?
Broadly speaking, there are three quality bands for metal detectors. High end metal detectors, such as our Garrett ATX, occupy the top band. These metal detectors are powerful, rugged and use highly-tuned electronics. They often offer many functions. Upper Mid-range metal detectors, such as the Garrett AT Pro, C.Scope CS6MX-i, C.Scope CS4MX-i, C.Scope CS1220XD, Garrett 400i combine excellent performance with lower prices. Good Mid-range metal detectors, such as the Garrett 300i, Garrett Euro ACE, Ace 250, Viking VK40 or the C.Scope CS3MX-i, are the most popular, since they combine both good performance and more affordable prices (under £100 up to about £350). Within the mid-range band, you will find different types of detector, and when considering which one to buy, your decision may be based on a number of factors, such as who is going to use it, where it is going to be used etc (we will cover these aspects below). The third band is what we term Entry-Level metal detectors. The number of budget metal detectors available on the market is increasing as companies try to cash in on the metal detector boom, often with cheaply-made models whose quality leaves a lot to be desired. We therefore advise our customers to be wary of buying this sort of metal detector, and to stick to well-known brands if possible. Good examples of Entry-level detectors are the Garrett ACE 150, Viking 6, CS770XD.

Can a beginner use a high-end Metal Detector?
Or, to put the question another way, can a beginner cope with a more complicated high end metal detector? The answer is yes, especially if you select a model that also has a range of factory pre-set search modes. These allow you to just turn on and start detecting. The advantage of buying a good metal detector up front is that it means you will not have to upgrade at a later date.

Should I consider cheap metal detectors?
You will see a number of cheaper metal detectors on the market and they are often sold under unfamiliar names. The most important thing to be aware of is that a metal detector's ability to find interesting objects depends on the quality of the technology inside. Established metal detector brands do not only use more sophisticated circuits, but the electronics are highly tuned to optimise performance. In addition, the signal processing algorithms are very effective.

What is the most important thing about a metal detector?
At the end of the day, the most important thing about a metal detector is that it actually enables you to find interesting objects under the ground, and you feel comfortable using it. Obviously this means your detector has to be able to look deeply into the ground, yet it's not always about having as many bells and whistles on your machine. For example, you could buy a good general purpose detector like the Ace 200i, Viking VK-10, or the C.Scope CS3MX-i. These 3 detectors have varying amounts of bells and whistles, but all have good penetration depths and will all enable you to find great objects. After detecting depth, there are other considerations that are more important, such as ease of use, lightness, where it is being used etc. Before covering these points, it is important to understand different types of metal detector.

Looking for a children's detector?
All our metal detectors are fully adjustable and most children over the age of 10 can handle an adult's model - even if they find an adults model slightly heavier, it will be something they grow into. If you are looking for a lighter model, the Viking 1 and C.Scope CS440XD are ideal.

Non-Motion versus Motion
The head of the (generally) more expensive Motion metal detectors has to be kept moving or scanning the ground in order to detect metal, the moment movement is stopped, detection stops. The big advantage of Motion metal detectors is that they allow more sophisticated metal detecting, are self-tuning, offer better target analysis and are not affected as greatly by mineralised ground as non-motion metal detectors. Also, motion metal detectors usually achieve greater penetration and clearer discrimination. However, non-motion detectors do have a loyal following among experienced metal detectorists. They can be especially useful when detecting in places where moving the detector head back and forth is more difficult, such as in hedgerows. Cscope produce some very good non-motion detectors, such as the C.Scope CS1220XD, 990XD and 770XD. Owing to their simplicity, a non-motion detector may be a better choice for younger children.

Discrimination Control on metal detectors
A discrimination control allows iron, silver paper and other rubbish items to be ignored by the detector, while still detecting gold, silver, copper and other non-ferrous metals. The higher the control is set, the more objects will be ignored.

What About Accessories?
The most important area to spend your money is on the detector itself. Once you have chosen your detector, you may wish to consider accessories. A good accessory to consider is a Head Cover. This is a cover that fits under the search coil, protecting it from scratches and damage - it is far cheaper to replace a head cover than the search coil itself! Headphones are not absolutely necessary as all our detectors have speakers. The advantage of not using headphones is that you can share the excitement of hearing signals with other people who are detecting with you. Headphones do have some advantages though: they enable you to focus better on the signals, especially faint ones generated by a non-motion detector, and they keep signals more private when in crowded areas, such as beaches. And of course, headphones keep your ears warm when out detecting on a chilly winter's day. Control Box Covers help to keep the control box clean and dry, and are certainly a good idea if you are using your detector in wet muddy conditions.

Should I be concerned about Metal Detector Frequency?
Frequencies in a metal detector are referred to in kHz (kilo hertz) which is the number of times a signal is transmitted into the ground as received back per second. The lower the detector's frequency, the deeper it will penetrate. However, its sensitivity to smaller targets may be reduced. On the other hand, the higher the detector's frequency, the higher its sensitivity to even the smallest targets, but it may not penetrate as deeply. Generally, gold detectors operate at a higher frequency for locating small gold nuggets. Coin, relic and treasure hunting detectors operate at lower frequencies for greater depth penetration. Most treasure-hunting metal detectors operate in the range 4KHz up to 20KHz.

Spare Parts & Guarantees
Always make sure that you are able to buy spare parts for your metal detector. You need to make sure, therefore, that your metal detector manufacturer will still be around after that time. The manufacturers from whom we select our metal detectors are all very well established companies, and we supply their full range of spare parts.

  • The article on your website explain the different types/levels of metal detectors was extremely helpful - so thank you. yours truly - Giles W, Norfolk
  • Fantastic - what fine service. Best Regards - Brian Deacon, Southend on Sea
    Garrett Euro Ace

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