Metal Detector Cost

How Much Does a Metal Detector Cost?

Last Updated on February 16, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Metal detecting has become an incredibly popular hobby and treasure hunting activity. When getting started, one of the most common questions is how much does a metal detector cost?

The price can vary quite a bit based on the type, features, brand and model you choose. This guide will break down the factors that impact cost and the price range you can expect to pay.

How Much Does a Metal Detector Cost?

The cost of a metal detector depends primarily on its capabilities. Simple entry-level detectors often run between $100 and $500. Intermediate devices with more features and sensitivity usually cost around $500 to $1,000. High-end detectors with advanced technology and maximum depth range from about $1,000 up to $5,000 or more.

In addition to the detector itself, you’ll need tools and accessories which can add $100 to $500+ to your total startup investment. However, it’s possible to get started in the hobby without breaking the bank if you select the right beginner-friendly metal detector model.

According to, for example, a quality metal detector can cost anywhere between $200 and $900. For example, The Garrett Ace 300 Metal Detector is priced at $299.95, while the Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector is priced at $899.

Kellyco Detectors writes that metal detectors can cost from $100 all the way up to $6,000 or even more, depending on the model. The Garrett AT Max Waterproof Metal Detector with 8.5 x 11″ Coil + Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones is priced at $849.99.

Metal Detecting Shop features the following prices:

  • The Minelab X-Terra Pro Metal Detector is priced at approximately $320 USD
  • The Garrett Ace 300 Metal Detector is priced at approximately $325 USD
  • The Garrett Ace 400 Metal Detector is priced at approximately $430 USD

Factors Affecting the Cost of a Metal Detector

Several key factors impact the price when shopping for a metal detector:

  • Technology – More advanced circuitry, microprocessors and software costs more.
  • Features – Added capabilities like waterproofing, GPS, wireless headphones, touchpads and display screens increase price.
  • Sensitivity – More sensitive detectors (able to find smaller or deeper metals) are more expensive.
  • Depth – Maximum depth detection range impacts cost. Many cheaper models go only 6-12 inches deep.
  • Brand – Popular brands known for quality like Garrett, Minelab, Fisher etc. command higher prices.
  • Model – Specific models, even within the same brand, have varying prices based on features.

Price Ranges for Metal Detectors

Here is an overview of the price ranges for different levels of metal detectors:

Entry-Level Metal Detectors

Ideal for beginners, entry-level metal detectors provide an affordable introduction to the hobby. They range from about $100 to $500. These detectors offer basic features, moderate sensitivity and 6 to 10 inch maximum depth. Popular picks in this range include the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV ($140) and Garrett ACE 300 ($250).

Intermediate Metal Detectors

A step up in features and performance, intermediate detectors usually run from $300 up to $1000. Many include adjustable sensitivity, iron discrimination and 12+ inch depth. Top choices are the Minelab Vanquish ($500) and Garrett AT Pro ($650).

High-End Metal Detectors

Advanced devices for experienced detectorists, high-end models cost from $1000 up to $5000+. They boast multi-frequency technology, wireless headphones, full ground balance, touchpads and depth up to 3 feet. Leading picks are the Garrett AT Max ($2600) and Minelab Equinox 800 ($2500).

Waterproof Metal Detectors

Waterproof detectors range from $300 to over $2000. Waterproof coils allow searching in streams, lakes, or on wet sand. Top models are the Garrett AT Max ($2600), waterproof to 10 feet, and Minelab Excalibur II ($2150), waterproof to 200 feet.

Features and Their Impact on Cost

The capabilities and features of a metal detector have the biggest influence on price. Here are some of the main features that affect cost:

  • Sensitivity – More sensitive detectors that can find smaller or deeper metals cost more. Multi-frequency and VLF detectors provide better sensitivity.
  • Search Coils – Larger coils up to 15″ wide offer wider scan coverage but increase cost. Interchangeable coils are also pricier.
  • Depth – Maximum depth detection has a major impact. Many inexpensive detectors only reach 6-10 inches deep, while advanced models reach 1-3 feet.
  • Discrimination – The ability to discriminate or ignore certain metals adds cost. Advanced models allow customizing discrimination.
  • Wireless Headphones – Allowing wireless movement adds roughly $100-$300 to the price.
  • Waterproofing – Waterproof detectors range from $500 to over $2000. Waterproof coils allow underwater detecting.
  • LCD Touchscreens – Touchscreen displays rather than basic LCD screens increase cost.
  • GPS – GPS tagging of finds via linked smartphone apps is a premium feature.

Choosing the Right Metal Detector

Your needs as a detectorist should determine which metal detector is right for you and worth the investment. Here are some tips on selecting based on your experience level and budget:

  • Beginners – Opt for an entry-level or intermediate detector $500 or under. Prioritize ease of use and learning.
  • Intermediate Users – Mid-range detectors $500 – $1000 offer robust features for expanding your skills.
  • Experts – Splurge on high-end $1000+ detectors if you detect frequently and want maximum versatility and depth.
  • Relic Hunting – Choose a detector with excellent discrimination to avoid trash.
  • Coin Shooting – Seek great sensitivity and depth to find coins. Multi-frequency detectors excel here.
  • Beach Hunting – Look for a waterproof detector or coil to handle wet sand and water.

You might also like our articles on the cost of aluminum, bismuth, pyrite, or titanium.

Accessories and Additional Costs

Metal Detector CostBesides the metal detector itself, there are some other accessories and costs to factor into your budget:

  • Coil covers – $50 – $100, protect coil during scrapes and drops
  • Headphones – $100 – $300, even if detector has built-in speaker
  • Shovel and digger – $50 – $100, for digging and hole examination
  • Pinpointer – $100 – $200, helps zero in on target location in hole
  • Pouch or bag – $50 – $150, comfortably carry your gear
  • Battery charger + batteries – $50 – $100, keep your detector powered up

Warranty and After-Sales Service

Most quality metal detectors come with a 1-2 year limited warranty covering defects. Extended warranties cost extra but may be worthwhile for very expensive detectors.

It’s also important to consider the manufacturer’s reputation for customer service and repairs. This affects long-term maintenance costs over your detector’s lifespan.

How to Spend Less on a Metal Detector

Here are some tips to help you save money on your metal detecting purchase:

  • Buy bundled packages that include accessories – can save over buying separately
  • Consider used detectors from reputable sellers to save hundreds
  • Choose a versatile all-purpose detector to avoid multiple purchases
  • Opt for a waterproof coil rather than a fully waterproof detector
  • Prioritize key features over bells & whistles you may not use
  • Take advantage of seasonal sales – especially around holidays

Final Words

The investment in a quality metal detector is well worth it for the hours of enjoyment and potential treasures it can uncover. Prices span a wide range, but you don’t need to spend a fortune.

Determine your needs as a beginner, intermediate or advanced detectorist and choose an option with the right mix of features and depth that fits your budget. With a little research, you can find an excellent detector that will last for many hunts to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are metal detectors worth it?

Metal detectors are absolutely worth the investment for treasure hunters and hobbyists. The thrill of discovering hidden coins, relics, jewelry and other buried objects makes metal detecting incredibly rewarding.

Beyond finds, it gets you outdoors, provides exercise, and can even offer extra income. With hundreds of detectors models under $500, the barrier to entry is low. For a relatively small upfront cost, you gain access to a fun activity you can pursue almost anywhere for a lifetime.

How much does a really good metal detector cost?

A really good metal detector that has advanced features and top-tier depth and sensitivity typically costs between $1000 and $2000. This gives you professional-grade detection capabilities while still being reasonably affordable for dedicated hobbyists.

Models in this price range from trusted brands like Garrett, Minelab, and Fisher include wireless headphones, full ground balance, multi-frequency technology, depth up to 3 feet, discrimination options, and more. With proper care, an investment in a $1,000 to $2,000 metal detector can provide many years of detecting enjoyment.

Will a metal detector find gold?

Quality metal detectors can absolutely find gold nuggets, flakes, and jewelry – but specialized gold hunting detectors are ideal. Gold is conductive but less so than other metals, making it harder to detect smaller pieces.

Detectors with high frequencies, multi-tones, sensitive VLF circuits, and advanced discrimination excel at finding gold. Models like the Minelab GPZ 7000 ($7,999) and Garrett ATX ($1,699) are optimized for gold prospecting.

While pricier, their depth and precision for gold are worth it for serious prospectors. Even many detectors under $1,000 can locate gold if close enough to the surface.

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