Metal detectors come in a few basic varieties, but all follow a general principle: an electric charge is used to create a magnetized wave that is directed at the ground; if this wave comes into contact with metal, the metal begins to vibrate in a specific manner, which can be detected by the device. When the sensor finds metal, it alerts the detectorist via a set of earphones or a moving dial.
The best metal detectors are sensitive enough to distinguish between gold and ferrous metals, are often fully submersible, and can even find gold in difficult soils, such as mineralized black sand. Some detectors also come with special features, such as a gold-probability register that gives you a read on how likely a nugget might be gold or just a chunk of lead. Whatever your price point, sniff out a doubloon or three with the best metal detectors for gold.
A draft horse of the metal detection world, the pulse induction Garrett ATX is a powerful instrument built for deep discoveries in rough environments. Using PI tech, the ATX is built for going deeper and finding gold in rougher locales.
Coil size is an important factor in VLF detectors. While smaller coils will generally be more sensitive for gold, larger coils will allow you to scour more ground quickly. Luckily some detectors allow you to swap out coils. These enable you to hone in on a gold-rich area, then switch coils for a more accurate search.
Frequency describes the transmission of electromagnetic waves from your detector. Since gold is a very low conductivity metal, higher frequency transmitters with shorter wavelengths do a better job at spotting it. Most detectors will have one frequency that they are able to transmit, while some have a range. We looked for detectors that transmit at good frequencies for finding gold, generally 14kHz and above.
Nothing gets the heart pumping like the sight of gold! When you are trying to find the rare yellow metal, it takes a metal detector with excellent sensitivity and ground balancing features to find it! If you are using a metal detector without these key performance features, you could be missing out on gold right below your feet.
Depending on your situation and budget, there are several excellent gold detectors to choose from. Among the favorites are the Minelab CTX-3030, Garrett AT Gold, the Fisher Gold Bug, and many other detectors covering all price ranges and features offered.
One of the best parts about the CTX-3030 is that not only can you use it with great effectiveness for gold, but it also excels at all other types of metal detecting as well! Many preset search modes and the ability to switch search coils for your needs give this metal detector excellent versatility, putting it ahead of many other gold metal detectors on the market today. When gold prospecting, we detectorists often have to get into the water. The CTX-3030 is set apart from other gold detectors in that it is waterproof to up to 10 feet. I find it very comforting to know that my detector will run rain or shine.
I have found that one of the most difficult aspects of gold hunting is staying out all day, but the ergonomic, fatigue-saving design of the Minelab CTX-3030 prevents this from being an issue. In terms of ergonomics, Minelab developed a metal detector that will help keep you out in the field longer, with less fatigue.
Luckily, there are other search coil options should you opt for a larger coil. Side note: in areas where I typically metal detect for gold, I often use the largest search coil I can find, as there is minimal trash.
The sensitivity on this gold detector is best-in-class and when paired with the large LCD screen and lightweight design, it really is a joy to use. In fact, the one-touch hunting that is made possible with this detector might be one of its most user-friendly features! This is a perfect feature for those of us who do not like to play around with many buttons.
Weighing in at 2.5 pounds, this gold metal detector is one of the lightest on the market while retaining all of the important features hobbyists need. This feature-to-weight ratio is something I put great value into, particularly for gold prospecting. It is not an exaggeration to say that the 2.5-pound weight of this machine is best-in-class for gold detectors!
The Garrett AT Gold is fully submersible up to 10 feet in depth and can withstand a beating. This is a favorite aspect of the AT Gold, as many metal detectorists, myself included, can be quite rough on their equipment. It also relaxes me knowing that should I accidentally dip my detector in water, it will be just fine.
When running this Garrett metal detector in highly mineralized soils, you can let the machine perform automatic ground balancing, or you can take control and manually adjust your settings. This ultimate ground balance control requires practice and experience, but it is a nice feature once you have it mastered.
Tone Roll Audio, Iron Audio, and easy-to-use target ID features have evolved from years of previous Garrett metal detector designs, and have been perfected in the AT Gold. Many fans of Garrett metal detectors cannot get enough of these user-friendly features.
Finally, the lack of weight of this gold detector is one of its strongest selling points, as it packs a ton of gold-finding performance into a lightweight, compact machine. Again, the weight to features ratio of this detector is astounding!
Another related key feature of the Minelab GPZ 7000 is its Enhanced Noise Immunity feature. This feature all but cancels the various forms of noise interference that metal detectorists come across quite frequently, enabling you to listen for gold more effectively. Nothing is worse than getting false signals when you are trying to find gold.
The Super-D search coil found on the GPZ 7000 is ultra-sensitive and very discerning between the different metals it picks up and transmits to the target ID indicator. This means the benefits to you are massive in that you can find small gold nuggets tucked into the most iron-filled places imaginable! As we all know, hunting in iron-filled areas can be a pain with lower-end metal detectors.
You can hunt in virtually any weather condition, as it is a weatherproof metal detector, and the search coil provided is waterproof up to three feet deep. One downside to the GPZ 7000 is that the control box is not waterproof, meaning that it cannot be submerged underwater. The reason the control box is not waterproof is because of the enhanced gold-finding features contained within itself. If you are looking for a submersible, waterproof detector for gold, take a look at the Garrett AT Gold which I mentioned above.
One common concern with the Minelab GPZ 7000 is the bulky weight. It is important to realize how advanced and powerful this gold detector is before judging its weight too harshly. Many metal detectorists could swing this machine all day, but there are many who could not. This is a personal aspect you will have to think about before making a decision on the GPZ 7000. If you are looking for an ultra-lightweight gold detector, check out the Fisher Gold Bug.
The Nokta Makro AU Gold Finder is a metal detector built with only one purpose in mind: gold prospecting. Looking at the control box of the Gold Finder, you will see a variety of knobs and switches, each with its own gold-finding purpose! While the Gold Finder lacks an LCD display, it does not lack gold-specific features!
The Gold Finder features a 56 kHz frequency, this VLF (Very Low Frequency) detector excels at finding tiny gold nuggets. The high operating frequency of the Nokta detector gives prospectors better luck with finding tiny gold nuggets, as the 56 kHz frequency will really scan the ground hard. Since it scans the ground at such a high frequency, it slightly lessens the effective detection depth, but that tradeoff is present with virtually every metal detector on the market today. As previously stated, I prefer higher operating frequency so that I can pick out small gold targets better!
In addition to a great gold frequency, the Nokta Makro detector features excellent ground balancing features that will take care of the most heavily mineralized of soils. This leads us to not encountering false signals as often.
The Gold Finder features ferrous vs. non-ferrous metal discrimination, but it does not have a digital target ID indicator, which is bothersome to some detectorists. It does have a light-up ferrous/non-ferrous metal indicator though!
One of the most challenging aspects of gold prospecting with a metal detector is contending with ground mineralization. Simply put, ground mineralization is when the soil has higher iron content than other soils, particularly in red-colored dirt or sandy soil. Ground mineralization leads to signal interference, intermittent signals, and reduced detection depth. This can create big headaches for hobbyists, especially if they have a lower-end metal detector.
Luckily, many metal detectors come with ground balancing features that minimize the mineralization issues. Many detectors have an automatic ground balance feature, and many others also have a manual option you can adjust, depending on the ground conditions you encounter. Having the ability to manually adjust the ground balance of your detector is very important. Since gold seems to reside in many iron-rich ground conditions, you would be well advised to pick a gold detector that allows you to filter out more iron.
When you are deciding on a metal detector you specifically want to use to prospect for gold, take careful note of the ground balancing features of each metal detector. Since a lot of gold is found in very heavily mineralized soil, this is a very important feature you need to pay attention to. Look for detectors that offer a high level of ground balance, both manual and automatic, and you will be well served in your efforts of finding gold.
Metal detectors feature either a Very Low Frequency or a Pulse Induction operating system. Very Low Frequency (VLF) machines operate by sending a continuous wave into the ground and receiving any return signals from metal objects. Pulse Induction (PI) machines send singular pulses into the ground and receive any return signals from metal objects. Both machines operate differently, but they achieve the same goal of signaling metal that is in the ground. 2b1af7f3a8