Beginners: Identifying the Tones Your Metal Detector Makes

This jewelry was found on a beach in Florida with the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector.

Jewelry can be found with a metal detector such as the gold and silver items seen here. Knowing which signals or tones to dig is key.

The one thing all metal detectors have in common: they sound a tone when metal is targeted. And what a joyous sound it is! There is such a thing as silent search mode, but aside from that, you can count on hearing an audio tone when there’s either treasure or trash underfoot. According to hobbyists who have owned multiple metal detectors, the tone varies depending on the manufacturer. Regardless, you will get used to identifying the tones your detector makes. When you first get a detector, it’s a great idea to bury coins, bottle caps or other items in your own backyard just to hear how each target sounds. You may have already noticed that a coin generally has a solid and repeatable signal, whereas junk gives a broken, clipped tone that changes every time you scan it.

Good Targets vs. Junk Targets

It’s important to learn the sound a coin makes right away. Coins usually produce a solid, distinctive sound that’s hard to miss. It will probably start and stop suddenly, going quickly from silent to full volume- then back to silent as you move away. This should happen with each sweep of the search coil. Also, on a metal detector that has target ID with numerical values, coins typically register the same value when you turn and scan from a different direction.

Junk targets, such as pull-tabs and iron will have a choppy, broken sound. The reason for this is that pull-tabs and other junk are asymmetrical. Going east to west may give a solid signal, while going west to east may sound choppy. That’s a good indication that the item is oddly shaped. As far as numerical values, junk targets give you one reading when you first scan them, and a different value when you turn 90 degrees or swing in the opposite direction. If you’re getting a lot of chatter or static in your headphones, check that you’re not under power lines or by a transformer. Adjusting the sensitivity down will help to properly operate in these areas.

Pinpoint Your Target Before You Start Digging!

Garrett ProPointer AT Pinpointer

The waterproof Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Pinpointer

So, once you’re metal detector sounds a tone, it’s time to start digging, right?  Not so fast. It will be much easier to find your object if you pinpoint it first. Pinpointing is the process of precisely locating your target in the smallest possible area. And you can use your metal detector to pinpoint if you don’t have a separate pinpointing tool. They say that 9 out of 10 serious detectorists use a pinpointer such as the famous Garrett Pro Pinpointer or the waterproof Pro-Pointer AT and Makro Pointer. But if you’re a beginner, you can start by pinpointing with your metal detector. Many newer model detectors feature a “pinpoint mode.” If this is the case, switch to this mode to locate your target. The more accurate you can get, the smaller the amount of dirt you’ll have to dig to retrieve your target.

You’re listening for the audio clue to help understand the exact location of potential treasure. As the center of your coil gets closer to the target, the audio tone will be louder. When your coil moves away from the metal, the audio response will be quieter. Some detectors with pinpoint mode will change pitch in relation to your target, too. So, the pitch and volume of the tone will get higher when you’re in close proximity. If your metal detector doesn’t feature pinpoint mode, it’s o.k. There are several other methods that work for pinpointing. The PLUS method involves moving your detector in the shape of a “plus” sign to best find the object. First, move your coil from left to right to get the strongest audio tone. Then change directions with your coil by moving it front to back. It’s pretty easy—if the sound gets stronger, you are moving your coil closer to the target. Another method is the 90 degree switch. When you locate your target, start pinpointing until you hear the strongest signal. Mark this spot—then, move 90 degrees in either direction. After moving 90 degrees, start sweeping your coil again. You are creating an X in the ground with your swings and your target should be directly in the center of the X.

Should I Act on a Weak Signal?

All beginners are excited to start digging up treasure, but grow quickly tired of all the aluminum junk getting in the way. That’s when listening to your audio tones is important. But what do you do with a questionable audio signal? It may not sound like the rest or you may not be able to get it to repeat. To dig or not to dig—this is the question. Experts say you should consider the alternative. What if it happens to be a piece of gold? Before you walk away, try to get a stronger signal. Sometimes all you need to do is move 90 degrees in either direction. Often, you’ll find that the questionable target is much stronger when you swing your search coil from another direction. If you signal is still very weak, try turning up the sensitivity on your metal detector to see if your tone gets louder. On a side note: if there seems to be a lot of trash in the areas you’re searching, a smaller coil may be better.

Tell us about your Metal Detecting Finds!

Have you had any beginner’s luck metal detecting so far? Tell us about it at “My Metal Detecting Finds.” You can inspire others to start this amazing hobby, AND you’re eligible to win a great prize from Don’t forget to post a photo of your treasure, too. If the readers vote your story as their favorite, you win!

Still need help picking out a metal detector? Here are some helpful articles:

How to Select a Metal Detector

What are the Best Beginners Metal Detectors?

Upgrading to a Mid-Range or High-End Metal Detector

If you’ve spent a good amount of time swinging your first metal detector around, you might be getting the “itch” for more challenging treasure and terrain. At this point, it’s probably time for a more powerful machine. Perhaps your metal detecting friends have been bragging about  relics they would have missed with an entry-level detector—and you want in on the action! Or, after hunting near the river, you realize you need a waterproof unit. So which detector is next for you? By now you are probably familiar with the names of half a dozen manufacturers, each with six to ten machines or more. How do you go about picking one from all that are available?  We have a few suggestions.

Get Advice from Respected Hobbyists

Fisher F75 Metal Detector

The Easy-To-Use Fisher F75 Metal Detector

One is to talk to other detectorists. Ask what their find rates are with their detectors and how much trash they dig up. Most hobbyists are happy to give you comparisons of their current and past detectors—the pros and cons. If a friend has the metal detector you’re interested in purchasing, ask if you can borrow it for a day. Then you can test its discrimination, ground balance and pinpointing abilities.

Well Read is Well Informed

There are plenty of books and articles available about mid-range and high-end metal detectors. Read reviews and field tests about each metal detector you’re considering. Some books will flat-out tell you which metal detector to purchase based on the author’s belief that a certain machine detects more deeply and accurately. One expert points straight to the XP Deus (pronounced Day-us) if your budget allows it. It is a completely wireless detector that is proficient at finding everything from gold nuggets to relics, coins, treasure caches; it can even be used underwater. Others say you should do some serious research before jumping into a high-end unit since this could easily be a $1,000 – $2,000 purchase.

Treasure Hunting Magazines are Amazing Resources

Definitely, pick up a few treasure hunting magazines. All you have to do is leaf through the pages of American Digger, Lost Treasure and Western & Eastern Treasure magazines to find plenty of inspiration for your next metal detector. Editorials and guest writers will tell the stories of their amazing finds—where they hunted and which type of detector they used. There’s a section in American Digger magazine called “Just Dug: Here’s what our readers are finding.” It is usually a 12-page section and a great resource! These are photo spreads with a blurb about each detectorist’s find(s), which state/country they were hunting, which detector was used and corresponding photos. Here are a few examples from a recent issue of American Digger:

  1. Using the Garrett AT Gold, a man detecting in western Pennsylvania at an 18th century traveler’s rest site found an 1812 artillery officer’s collar button and a silver 1790 Reale (coin).
  2. In western Australia, a gold prospector using the Fisher Gold Bug-2 dug up a large rock specimen containing 4.5 ounces of gold embedded in quartz.
  3. A relic hunter in Arkansas was hunting land used from 1820 until the Civil War. Using his Garrett AT Pro, he uncovered an 1813 military button, an old coin and a cannonball.
  4. Using the Fisher F75, a Virginia detectorist found a piece of highly embellished solid gold jewelry at the site of a Civil War camp.

Once you make a short list of your favorite mid-range or high-end detectors, it should be easier to funnel down (pros/cons, features, preferences, test scores) through the decision making process. Exciting treasure hunting adventures are in your future!

Give the Gift of a New Hobby: A Beginners Metal Detector

Tesoro Compadre Metal Detector

A metal detector might just be the ultimate gift idea for this holiday season!

Introducing a loved one to a new hobby like metal detecting can make an excellent Holiday gift idea.  All you’ll need is a beginners metal detector and a few accessories to get your father, mother, son, daughter, grandparent, or other loved one into this fun hobby.  

Beginners metal detectors come in a range of different capabilities and prices.  Although you may find more affordable models at toys stores, or from unknown brands, the best beginners metal detectors are going to be good quality machines that are designed to be easy to use.  Otherwise, your loved one will  likely be unsuccessful at metal detecting and give up on a fantastic hobby only because of a poor quality machine.

One of the first things to look for when it comes to beginners metal detectors is “turn on and go” controls.  This means your Holiday gift recipient won’t have to worry about settings and adjustments.  Instead, they’ll literally turn the metal detector on and start finding treasure.  This makes treasure hunting with a metal detector fun, easy, and possibly even a hobby they enjoy for many Holidays to come.

For some ideas to get you started here are the top 6 beginners metal detectors chosen by our experts:

  1. Tesoro Compadre
  2. Fisher F22
  3. Bounty Hunter Gold
  4. Garrett Ace 350
  5. Detector Pro Pirate
  6. Whites Treasure Pro

Related Content:

  1. What metal detector accessories should I start with?
  2. What to Look for in a Beginner Metal Detector
  3. Purchasing a Metal Detector for a Beginner?
  4. The Best Beginners Metal Detectors for Any Age

How to Give Him a Gift He’ll be Excited to Open This Year

metal detectors for men

Give the your husband, son, grandfather or any guy on your list a metal detector, a gift he will be excited to open for Christmas.

The Holiday shopping season is in full swing and, if you’re like most of us, you’ve got a few hard to buy for guys on your list.  Not to worry, we have a Holiday gift idea for you that nearly any guy is sure to be excited to open – a Metal Detector.  

Why give him a metal detector this Holiday season?  There are quite a few reasons actually.  Here are just a few:

The Chance to Find Valuable Treasure

The chance, no matter how great, of finding valuable treasure is reason enough to give your husband, son, father, grandfather or other guy on your Holiday shopping list a metal detector this year.  Lost jewelry, antiques, coins, and gold are just a few of the items of value you might find buried right beneath your feet while treasure hunting with a metal detector.  The prospect of finding them at any given moment that you’re out with your metal detector is exciting to say the least.  As a result, nearly every guy will end up liking your gift when you give him a metal detector.

A Reason to Get Back to Nature

Many guys like Holiday gifts that get them outside and back into nature; and metal detectors do just that.  Whether you head out into the park, search the lake, visit the beach, or go metal detecting in the mountains the great outdoors and metal detecting go hand in hand.  For those interested in prospecting for gold, the new Makro Gold Racer or Gold Racer Pro might just be the perfect gift idea.

The Opportunity to Fit Regular Exercise Into Their Routine

When you give him a metal detector this Holiday season, you also give him an opportunity to become healthier by engaging in regular exercise without him even realizing it!  Walking, often for miles swinging a metal detector and digging up targets are a natural part of metal detecting, yet they’ll help you stay fit and healthy when done regularly. A top of the line option for all terrains, the XP DEUS metal detector might be the right option for the man on your list.

In addition, giving a guy a metal detector also offers him a chance to discover local history, learn more about science, and engage with other hobbyists in the metal detecting community among other benefits.  As you can see when you give him a metal detector this year, he’ll receive so much more than just a machine.  For many, metal detecting becomes a hobby that enriches their lives in a variety of ways for years to come; and that’s quite an achievement for a Holiday gift.  So stop your search and give him a metal detector this year for a gift even the hardest to shop for guy is sure to be excited to open.

Related Content:

  1. 7 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Metal Detecting Man in Your Life
  2. Favorite Metal Detector Among Outdoorsmen & Water Hunters
  3. Introduce the Lucky Guy On Your Shopping List to Metal Detecting This Holiday Season

Finding the Best Holiday Gift for Her

Gerrett AT Pro Metal Detector For Her

The popular Garrett AT pro is a top choice for any woman on your Christmas list this year.

Finding the best Holiday gift for her is a yearly challenge.  This year, be sure she’ll be excited by your efforts and give her a unique Holiday gift, like a metal detector.  Although many might have expected us to say the best holiday gift for her was a certain piece of jewelry or the newest hand bag, those are things that she’d likely buy for herself.  Instead, giving her a metal detector ensures your gift is original, and one that actually has the potential to enrich her life in more ways than one including.

Broadening Her Knowledge of Many Subjects

When you give her a metal detector like the best selling Garrett AT Pro, she’ll be able to broaden her knowledge of history, geology, ecology, environmentalism and more.

Helping Her Find Jewelry and Other Treasures

Depending on the lady on your Holiday shopping list, finding the best gift for her could mean a beautiful necklace, a vintage ring, or other piece of jewelry.  However, when you give her a metal detector this Holiday season you give her a gift that will let her find a range of different treasures, including antiques, coins, and, lost jewelry.  

Letting Her Travel to New Places

For many metal detectorists, traveling to exciting metal detecting spots is a great perk of the hobby.  Giving her a metal detector like the popular Teknetics T2 will not only provide her with a chance to see new places, but also allows her to learn about the area in a way not possible for other visitors.

Giving Her the Chance to Meet New People

Metal detectorists are a fun bunch and there are clubs that bring them together across the country and even around the world that she can join.  When you give her a metal detector she’ll also have the chance to meet new people while researching the area, obtaining permission to go metal detecting, and even while talking to passers by interested in what you’re doing.

Other reasons metal detectors are the best gift for her are the opportunity for regular exercise, to get out into nature, and to learn more about antiques that they provide every user.  You may even consider getting two metal detectors during our big holiday sale so you can go out together which would make this unique Holiday gift even more meaningful.  Either way, the best gift for her isn’t always something on her list.  Often, it’s something like this that has the potential to add meaning and value to her life long after it’s been opened.

One of the Best Holiday Gifts for Kids is a Metal Detector and Here’s Why

metal detectors for kids and teens

From kids to teens, metal detectors make the perfect gift idea for children of all ages.

Holiday gifts for kids are plentiful but, which one is the best for the special kids on your shopping list?  While each of them will have their own preferences, one of the best Holiday gifts for kids today is a metal detector.  Metal detectors may not be the first gift a child would ask for, however, it is one they all enjoy once introduced to it.  Not only will children have an excellent time hunting for treasure with their new metal detector, giving a child a metal detector this Holiday season provides them with other benefits as well including:

Educational Opportunities

Metal detecting provides children with opportunities to learn about geology, geography, electronics, history, math, environmentalism, and many other subject areas.

Community Involvement

Not many Holiday gift ideas for kids will get them engaged in their community, but metal detecting will.  Children will need to contact landowners to obtain permission to go treasure hunting on their land.  They’ll talk with professionals about the historically valuable treasures they find.  And, they’ll get to engage with fellow metal detectorists as well as others they meet while out treasure hunting, through clubs, and other avenues.

Physical Fitness

Metal detecting gives children and teens the chance to get up off the couch, go outside, and get moving.  They’re constantly walking while carrying their machine.  Then they’ll also need to dig up and clean any treasures they find.  While metal detecting isn’t difficult, it does give kids an opportunity to enjoy some fresh and exercise along with their hobby.

With all of these benefits and more, metal detectors really are one of the best Holiday gifts for kids today.  To find the right metal detector for the child in your life, be sure to choose a machine made for everyone, not a “toy”.  Giving a child a light weight, adjustable, quality metal detector will ensure that they can enjoy hours of successful treasure hunting with your Holiday gift.  Metal detecting accessories including a digging tool, pinpointer and a carrying case for the treasures they find can be a great Holiday gift for kids as well. Give a gift that keeps on giving for years to come by giving the child in your life a metal detector. 

Open Saturday December 19th for Guaranteed Holiday Metal Detector Delivery

Yes, we are open and shipping on Saturday!

Visit us locally or for guaranteed holiday delivery anywhere in the USA, place your order online at

Visit us locally or for guaranteed holiday delivery anywhere in the USA, place your order online at

Our phone lines are open this Saturday from 8 − 2.

Our local showroom is open from 10-2.

Visit us locally or place your order online for guaranteed holiday delivery. Our elves are working around the clock to ensure your metal detector is delivered in time for the holidays. See our Guaranteed Holiday Delivery Schedule for complete details on this offer. Michael Bernzweig of said “As a UPS Premier partner, is pleased to be able to be part of the UPS Super Saturday program. Our customers will receive their Next Day and Second day air shipments as if they were shipped on Friday!” He went on to say that” There is no additional fee for this enhanced service. Customers just need to order their metal detectors by 10am EST on Saturday December 19th and select UPS Next Day Air® or UPS Second Day Air® service.”

You Heard Correctly – Yes, we are shipping on Saturday!

For Orders Placed Saturday by 10 AM EST:

•   UPS Next Day Air will be delivered on Monday December 21

•   UPS 2nd Day Air will be delivered on Tuesday December 22

If you are in the local area, you can also pick up your order at our Southborough, Massachusetts metal detector store. We are located half way between Boston and Worcester, MA. All of the brands shown on our website are available for local pickup. Simply place your order online and select “in store pickup” at the checkout. We are located at 23 Turnpike Rd., Southborough, MA 01772. Be sure to mention this blog post to receive a FREE gift just for stopping in!

7 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Metal Detecting Man in Your Life

Garrett's Gravity Trap Gold Pan series offers patented, 90 degree riffled design that ensures rapid gold recovery in wet or dry conditions.

Garrett’s Gravity Trap Gold Pan series offers patented, 90 degree riffled design that ensures rapid gold recovery in wet or dry conditions.

If your man is REALLY into metal detecting, you know he wants detecting-themed gifts for the holiday, but what do you get when he already seems to have it all? Luckily, there are practical, useful and thoughtful gifts for avid detectorists that he may not have thought of! Here are a few ideas:

  1. Does he already have a Pinpointer? This is a handheld device that is used in a large hole or dirt mound to zero in on the target. If the man on your holiday list has an old pinpointer, maybe it’s time for a new one! Garrett has a new model available, the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT, that has many new advancements. See our video on selecting a metal detecting pinpointer.
  2. A new search coil. Even if he already has a few different search coil sizes, chances are he has his eye on a new coil. A “DD” search coil is designed to go deeper than standard search coils.
  3. A gold panning kit. When you give him a gold pan kit, you can tell him to “go for the gold” and really mean it!
  4. Metal detecting books or videos. You can help him build his library of metal detecting material. Here is a large selection: Books and Videos
  5. A sand scoop for beach detecting. Have a tropical winter vacation planned? He will look forward to upcoming beach hunting.
  6. Other creative gifts include: framing one of his coin collections or relic collections, framing one of his best detecting photos or creating a “digging day pass”—giving him permission to go treasure hunting for an entire day of his choice.
  7. If he’s due for a new metal detector, this is a great time to purchase the model he has his eye on.’s HUGE holiday sale features low sale prices on some of our most popular models!

A Gold Detector is a Holiday Gift That Hits the Jackpot!

Garrett Metal Detectors ATX metal detector.

Considered a “super” gold detector, the Garrett ATX metal detector uses pulse technology to locate the smallest gold nuggets plus relics and coins in the most extreme conditions.

Has your significant other been dropping hints about wanting a gold metal detector? If so, now is the time to get a great deal on a gold detector! At, we offer the year’s best prices on gold metal detectors during our BIG HOLIDAY SALE. It’s a great way to encourage new prospectors, as well as seasoned detectorists who are interested in a specific model. Today’s detectors can find gold as small as a half a grain with ease. A few things to consider: The higher the operating frequency of the detector, the more sensitive it will be to small gold. Gold often lies in highly mineralized soil—so, gold detectors with ground balance will emit less false ground noise and save lots of time with needless digging. The best gold detectors can get a bit pricey, so be sure to shop when the prices are deeply discounted!

Here are some of our Best-Selling Premium Gold Metal Detectors:

Related articles:

What’s the Best Gold Prospecting Metal Detector?

Gold Nugget Hunting with a Metal Detector

Why Women are Joining Ranks with Male Detectorists

Believe it or not, a considerable amount of the metal detecting population is female. In one Arizona metal detecting club, 30% of the members are women—and this demographic is growing! Metal detecting is often depicted as a male hobby, but this is just not the case anymore. There are many reasons why women are gravitating to metal detecting. For one thing, wives and partners detect together. And women seem to pick up detecting techniques easily, including how to tune their detector. One seasoned detectorist says, “I find that women have more patience and tenacity than men. If I am ready to give up after an unproductive stretch, it is often one of the women in the group who encourages me.”

Garrett Ace 350 Metal Detector

The Garrett Ace 350 packs a lot of easy to use features into an affordable metal detector.

Recovering finds is no problem… Many women are excellent gardeners, already experienced at digging up rough, brambly terrain. Also, today’s women are into fitness (i.e. cycling, running marathons) who enjoy nature and outdoor activities. Another compelling reason— the detectors that are currently on the market. You’ll see a great selection of advanced, yet affordable  “pick up and go” models. Metal detectors are much lighter than those of the past; they don’t take lots of strength to swing and operate. If you have an outdoors-type woman on your holiday gift list, she would love a metal detector!

Below are some popular metal detectors well-suited for women:

Entry-Level Metal Detectors

Mid-Level Metal Detectors

High-End Metal Detectors


Related articles:

What metal detector accessories should I start with?

What are the best beginners metal detectors?