Metal Detecting Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Dig into a whole new adventure with metal detecting -- tips and tricks for beginners included in this article.

A picture of a product called the National Geographic Pro Series Metal Detector

Know Before You Go

Hey! You might be here because you are curious about this hobby called metal detecting. However, there is more than one way to put it. Several activities can be considered under its umbrella. The most basic thing to know is that all of these involve the use of a metal detector. Even kids can get in on the fun with these children's metal detectors. Often, the difference lies in the target and location of the hunt. Targets range from coins and other historical artifacts to valuable metals like gold and silver. The location can be a beach, a baseball stadium, or a relic site. For starters, just select one and stick with it.

Before you begin your quest, make sure you read our metal detecting tips and tricks carefully. Consider our article a primer for this hobby, which is gaining popularity among historical buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And whether you intend to keep or sell your finds afterward, we wish you a safe and enjoyable experience. If you are like us, it is a matter of keeping some and selling the others. The end game varies from person to person. Yet, anyone who wants to take up this interest should be able to create a system. Sharing with you the elements of our tried-and-tested system:

Getting Started: the Essentials

Metal detecting is more than just treasure hunting. Some of us consider ourselves, albeit unofficially, part-historian and part-archaeologist. So, like these pros would, we pay attention to the details when prepping for a day on-site. But as a beginner, forget about carry bags, diggers, and probes. We assure you that all you really need when starting out is an entry-level detector. We will talk about accessories in later articles. Meantime, some of the top brands to check out are Fisher, Garrett, Teknetics, and Tesoro. Anything below or above does not fit what we are tackling here. You don’t want to get something that’s dirt cheap because this type does not typically cater to serious newbies. It is considered a toy. Bear that in mind. Sample models to look at are Fisher F22, Garrett ACE 300, Teknetics Eurotek Pro, and Tesoro Compadre.

You must know, however, that there are limits to entry-level machines. They won’t be able to differentiate between junk and metal in case they detect both in one location. But that should not worry you much, as you can read more hacks here to make your hunt enjoyable and productive. So, focus more on your gadget. Read the fine print, search YouTube for tutorials, and understand Sensitivity and Frequency usage. Devices from Garrett, for example, have factory-set 80% Sensitivity. At the maximum, a high sensitivity means you can target areas where there are a few hits. When you are in a high trash area, you may want to reduce this function. On the other hand, frequency can be adjusted so as to avoid interference from another detector, power lines, etc. Then create a test patch to warm you up. Bury coins and junk at varying depths and try your detector away.

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The Where and the How

As a rule of thumb, you are expected to respect every site where you conduct a hunt. No matter if it is a public or private property, you should always get a permission to dig before you commence your hobby. Public parks and beaches are often the safest, as the latter tend to be an open ground. But you have to watch out for signs to avoid wandering into someone’s private land. As for public parks, schools, and woods, you will have to seek the greenlight of someone in authority. This is usually the local government head or the principal. While a verbal agreement counts, make sure you always get a written permission. And always take it with you during your hunt. As for private land, speaking with the owner gets you not only permission to enter but also (probably) tips and historical tidbits about the place. When all’s set, start detecting and observe protocol.

We cannot overemphasize respecting the area in our code of conduct. Just imagine the history that happened in an old homesite. You don’t want to disregard such a thing. Now, let’s move on to where you are likely to find something worthwhile. In the woods, look for depression in the ground. Follow the trail to a water source, as this is where the very first roads could have been. In abandoned homes, try searching under the porch or through holes found at the bottom of the outer wall. When you are new to this, it might also be draining or discouraging to find more trash than treasure. But stay positive. You are only beginning. This exercise will train you to detect coins more sharply, as you will be able to identify areas to target. Keep at it. Scan an area, dig again, and reexamine holes. And at the end of the day, do not forget to care for your metal detector.

Our Verdict

A good metal detector will take you places. So the first of the metal detecting tips and tricks we shared is really finding a starter tool that will last you a long time. This means it should not be dirt cheap. But you should not set your sight beyond what you can afford either. Once you get one, read the manual, follow the instructions, and care for your tool. Before going out there, make sure you have tested the detector in a patch outside your home. Remember to adjust sensitivity and frequency accordingly. These functions will make a lot of difference when you use them properly during a hunt.

Through this article, you also learned about the code of conduct that detectors must always observe. There are no exceptions, especially when respecting the area is concerned. You must also obtain the necessary permits so you can start detecting with peace of mind. There are more specific ways to tackle metal detecting, as there are various areas to target. For instance, you can go for underwater or handheld. Although, keep in mind that sometimes you may need an underwater metal detector. So keep exploring our site to know more about the nitty-gritty of this hobby. And remember that not everyone gets it at the first try. But you can always try again. Happy hunting!