Metal Detecting FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about Metal Detecting when starting out.
This is the most common question asked by anyone new to Metal Detecting. The answer all depends upon:

  • A) your budget and;
  • B) where you want to detect

There are Metal Detectors designed for Land, Beaches and Underwater and some that do all three. Metal Detectors can also vary so much in their cost and capabilites there is no simple answer. If you want an all round detector, you might look at the latest Minelab Equinox 800. However at around £875 it’s not cheap – but it will offer you an all round great detector working on land, beach and underwater. The Equinox is arguably one of the best on the market right now (As of 2019). There is also a Minelab Equinox 600 available at around £650 which performs very similar to the 800. Minelab have been making detectors for many years and you can still buy some of their older models. The Minelab 305, 505 and 705 are all great starter detectors and can be picked up new and second hand for under £300.

If you’re just starting out you might consider one of the Garret Ace series detectors. These range from the Garret Ace 250 for around £189 up to the AT-Pro at £599. All these detectors will find you treasures and artefacts. It all depends on your budget, personal taste (as they all sound and behave different!) and where you want to detect.

Recently, Minelab have released the Vanquish series, a brand new range of detectors aimed at the lower end of the market, but without compromising on their capabilities. Prices start from around £229 and are avialable from many retailers such as Unearthed: Vanquish-340.
When starting out you will need to purchase a few basic items. Depending on the time of year and where you are detecting, you may need to consider the following:
  • Gloves to keep your hands clean as you’ll be doing a lot of digging.
  • Sturdy boots or good quality wellingtons
  • A warm, waterproof coat, strong trousers
  • A finds bag of some sort to collect scrap metal you find and keep your best finds safe
  • A short spade or serrated hand trowel for cutting into turf/soil
  • A sand scoop if you’re going on a beach
  • A pin-pointer to help you locate you finds within soil or sand
The above list should start you off before you find that like most hobbies, Metal Detecting can get very expensive.

It would be a great idea to get some insurance and I would advise you join either the Association for Metal Detecting Sport (just £5 per year including £10,000,000 public liability insurance) or the National Council for Metal Detecting (£8 per year).

The simple answer is NO!

You must always get permission from the land owner before you start detecting. ALL land is owned by someone so make sure you check first. Take a look at the NCMD’s Code of Conduct and you can find out more.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, you might try detecting there. Anybody wishing to carry out metal detecting on Crown Estate foreshore (defined as the land between mean high water and mean low water) may do so without a formal consent from The Crown Estate. You can find out more here. They have a map showing areas you are permitted to detect avialable here.

Ultimately, it usually comes down to knocking on doors, talking to friends and relatives or just plain luck!

The best thing is to either join a club near you or join one of the many free Facebook groups and follow what others are doing. You’ll soon pick up tips tricks and advice and hopefully make some new friends who can help out. At least, now that you know the information you’ve read on this page, you won’t make the classic mistake of asking “What sort of Metal Detector should I buy?” without doing your homework first.

Here are a few of the brands you can look at when considering what to purchase. Don’t go rushing out and buy the first detector you see or you’ll quickly get frustrated. Do your research first before you buy, read reviews, ask advice and then shop around.


There are others but these are some of the main players within the industry.

Don’t be afraid to explore on eBay and facebook for second hand bargains. Just be very careful if an item seems too good to be true – there are a lot of stolen items out there and you don’t want to spend your hard earned cash on something you can’t verify as an honest purchase.

Stick to one of the main brands outlined in the first question about what to buy and you won’t go far wrong. However, be warned, you’ll soon want to upgrade and buy one of the latest detectors when you see what some people find. Like all hobbies, you’ll need to have deep pockets!

You can buy Metal Detectors from many suppliers, here are just a few: