The Top 5 Misconceptions About Metal Detecting


As the saying goes, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.  That is especially true for metal detecting. Some of the greatest finds ever made were with detectors that were marketed towards teenagers and pre-teens.  On the other side of that coin (excuse the pun), many have spent tens of thousands of dollars on advanced detectors and never found a speck of gold, or anything worth their time and effort.

You never know what you are going to find in this hobby.  Thinking you can buy your way to success with expensive gear is a sure fire way to get frustrated and broke.  Thinking you will get rich quick from all your awesome finds is a surefire way to depression and...depression.


With that being said, let’s take a look at the top 5 misconceptions about our beloved hobby, in no particular order.

5.  There Are No More Good Sites To Detect.

There are more than a few members of this hobby that think this way.  Since “most” sites no longer produce 30-40 silvers a week like they did in the 80’s and 90’s, and there is less public land in comparison, they figure the hobby is doomed to failure.  I reject this logic and substitute my own! There is a area in eastern Colorado that has given up over 100 silver coins in the last 4-5 years from parks and schools. The other surrounding towns that are 10-20 miles away have given up 20-30 each.  Now before you go packing your bags for the Rocky Mountains, it’s not just Colorado that can still produce like this, every state has numerous counties with turn of the century towns full of empty lots where a school or park once resided. Research is key, and lucky for you it is something that many metal detectorists do not do properly.


4.  More $$$ Equals More $$$

We all know that one person who thinks that the more expensive an item is, the better it must be.  Obviously, metal detecting has those types as well. They go and buy a $1500-2000 detector as their very first machine, then come home sucking their thumbs because they got out-hunted by somebody with a $400 Teknetics Patriot who has 1000 hours under their belt.  There are literally thousands of similar stories in metal detecting forums across the internet.


3.  What Setting To Find Gold?

I cannot count how many times I have been emailed or messaged this question AFTER a person has already bought their brand new detector.  Quick answer - there is no setting to find gold. You will have to dig every repeatable signal if you are looking for gold jewelry - and every whisper of a signal if you are prospecting for small gold nuggets.


A metal detector will ID objects based off of a combination of size and conductivity.  We know that a silver dime will ID lower than a silver quarter due to size alone, since they are both 90% pure silver.  With gold jewelry, the purity increases as the karats goes up. So a 10k ring may ID in the foil range, while a 18-24kt ring of higher purity may ID in the zinc penny range.   In a nutshell, higher purity gives us higher conductivity, which the detector reads as a higher ID. Throw size of the gold jewelry or nugget into the mix, and the ID varies even more.  Some small nuggets and gold rings can read as low iron. So if you want gold - you must dig it all.


2.  There Is No Best.

“Which metal detector is the best?”  This is another question that is asked on nearly a daily basis.  Sometimes more than once! Like the setting to find gold above - the answer is - that there isn’t one….


Detector A is deepest on silver…

Detector B is the faster separator in heavy iron…

Detector C is more sensitive to smaller targets like gold nuggets…

Detector D can handle salt water the best…

Detector E is the lightest and most ergonomic…

Detector F has the longest battery life…

Detector G has the better ID at depth…

Detector H is pink!!!


I think you get the point.  It would be easy to write a 1000 word blog on the differences of just 2 detectors, yet alone the dozens and dozens available on the market today.  Not to mention sometimes you may just not click with a certain detector no matter how good it is. The tones may bother you or the menu may be too difficult to navigate.   There is nearly an endless amount or reasoning on why one detector is “better” than another, that there is no “best.”


1.  I’m Going To Be Rich!      

So you just got your brand new detector and you are rip roaring ready to go!  A gold nugget - a gold ring - a silver coin - and maybe even a meteorite! All in the first day!  Then reality hits you that humans leave their trash all over the parks, schools, beaches, and homesteads you would like to metal detect.  Pull-tabs, iron bits, and shell casings are often the only prize of the day. Unless the local recycling factory increases it’s payout for scrap metal by a factor of 20X, you might have to rethink this get rich from metal detecting scheme.  



Hope you enjoyed the blog - TheHunterGT signing off - I will see you on the next blog!