What Are Metal Detector Search Coils and Which One Should You Choose?

A larger search coil will detect deeper plus cover more ground. Detech 13" Ultimate Search Coil pictured above.

A larger search coil will detect deeper plus cover more ground. Detech 13″ Ultimate Search Coil pictured above.

One of the most important parts of a metal detector is it’s search coil. Search coils help determine in part how deeply the metal detector can search, the size of treasure it can find, the way the machine reacts to the type of ground you’re hunting, and more. Let’s take a minute to talk about the types of search coils available and how to determine which metal detector search coil that would be best for you.

Search Coil Size: Small, Medium or Large?

Search coils come in small, medium, and large sizes. Smaller metal detector search coils will find smaller treasures closer to the surface, like gold flakes for example. Larger sized search coils are used for finding larger items like treasure caches of coins that are buried deeper underground. Mid sized search coils fall in about, you guessed it, the middle with regard to the size and depth of treasure they can locate.

The type of metal detector search coil has an effect on your treasure hunting as well. The two most widely used search coils found on metal detectors at this point in time are:

  1. Concentric
  2. Wide Scan

Concentric metal detector search coils offer improved target discrimination while you should choose a wide scan search coil if you’re hunting in a location with heavy ground mineralization like the wet salt water beach.

One company to look to when selecting an additional search coil is Detech. Detech makes search coils for a wide variety of metal detector models from today’s top brands. For more on metal detector search coils, all they do for your machine, and which one is the best for your current needs, please enjoy these articles from our learning library.

Finding Buried Treasure Caches and Hoards

Metal Detecting Accessories and Necessities

Choosing a Metal Detector Search Coil

How to Find More with Your Metal Detector – 5 Tips for Increasing the Number of Targets You Locate

Whenever you go treasure hunting with your metal detector the more targets you locate the better. Unfortunately, we all go through what we might call “dry spells”; periods where you just don’t find anything, and if you do get a hit, it’s trash. While most metal detectorists will say “Oh well, it’s still a lot of fun just to be out detecting” on trips that don’t yield any treasures, there’s no denying the excitement that comes along with hitting on a valuable target!

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you find more with your metal detector so you can enjoy fewer dry spells and many more trips filled with targets that turn out to be true treasures.

Use A Hand Held Pinpointer

The new XP Pinpointer known as the MI-6 features: Rechargeable battery, Submersible up to 20 feet, Connection via radio link to the DEUS and more!.

The MI-6 Pinpointer from XP Metal Detectors.

Probably one of the best tips we can give you to help you find more treasures with your metal detector is to use a pinpointer. Even if your metal detector offers a built in pinpointer having a hand held device can not only allow you to zero in on the targets your machine does find, but, once you dig up that initial target, a hand held pinpointer can often help you find even more in and around that first hole you dug.

Dig Beyond The Target Your Machine Found

As we mentioned above, digging beyond the first target your machine finds is another way to increase the number of treasures you’re able to locate with your metal detector whether you have a pinpointer or not. Usually, there isn’t just one civil war button, coin or gold nugget – there’s several – and if you keep digging (carefully) you’ll find them as well as your initial target.

Use Headphones

Headphones can help you find more targets with your metal detector by giving your ear the opportunity to hear all of the small changes in sound a target can make. Many of these slight changes in pitch can be missed w/the naked ear, especially if there is ambient noise. With headphones however these notifications from your machine are much less likely to be missed and, as a result, you’ll be able to locate more treasures. See all Headphones

Invest in Additional Search Coils

Most metal detectors come with a medium search coil as standard issue equipment.  Having search coils of varying size and/or configuration though is another way to increase the targets your metal detector finds. Each search coil is designed to search best in different situations. Having several on hand allows you to search as much of the ground as possible thereby resulting in more targets overall.

Do Your Research

While it’s fine to just go out metal detecting (as long as you have permission ) doing a bit of research before you head out can be very helpful. The more you know about the area the better you’ll be at finding good places to go treasure hunting. While the internet may come to mind first, the library and local town offices are excellent places to begin your research. Read more on researching new metal detecting sites

The more of these metal detecting tips you can apply during your treasure hunts, the more targets you’ll find. So, be sure to do whatever you can and increase the number of treasures you find with your metal detector easily.

How the Shape of Your Metal Detector’s Search Coil Effects Your Treasure Hunting Success

Search Coils

Owning the right type of search coil that matches your metal detector will make it easier when searching for treasure.

The shape of the search coil you use on any of your metal detectors will change the capabilities of your machine and, as a result, having several different types on hand will really enhance your treasure hunting experience. In fact, many metal detectorists feel that you can transform your metal detector into an entirely new machine simply by selecting different size and shape search coils as opposed to actually buying a whole new machine! There are two parts of a search coil to talk about when discussing their shapes. First is the shape of the search coil itself. The search coil itself will be either round or elliptical – most will be round. More important than this though is the internal construction. The way the wires are attached to the coil internally will take one of the three following forms – Concentric, Double D, or Coaxial – each giving your metal detector different capabilities. Let’s discuss each of these search coil designs, their benefits, drawbacks, and more.

Concentric

Concentric circle search coils are probably the most popular design of search coil for metal detectors today. Most commonly used for finding smaller targets like gold, jewelry, coins, and relics that are generally found near the surface concentric coils are also excellent at target discrimination and pinpointing. They’re drawback? Concentric coils are easily compromised in heavily mineralized soils.

Double D

A Double D search coil is designed in the shape of two capitol letter “Ds” hence it’s name! Double D metal detecting search coils are reliable in heavily mineralized soils, like what you run into at the beach for example, and cover more ground in one sweep than other types of coils. They’re not as good at pinpointing nor as adept at target discrimination; although many of the newer DD coils being made today are.

Coaxial

Coaxial coils are probably the least popular search coil design type and are rarely found on metal detectors made today. While it’s detection depth is usually lower, the coaxial search coils are the best type of coil to use when you need to minimize interference from utility wires or other metal detectors. Coaxical coils are also great at pinpointing and discrimination even in areas with very heavy trash.

All shapes are generally available in all sizes (extra small/mini, small, medium, and large) and vice versa. Whatever size and shape search coil you buy for your metal detector though, be sure you’re purchasing quality search coils that are compatible with your metal detector in order to avoid violating any warranties or, worse, causing your machine to malfunction. You’ll also need to consider the type of metal detector you’re using, the frequency it operates on, and, as we mentioned, where you’re working, and what you’re hunting for. From there though you’ll easily be able to buy all the right shapes and sizes of search coils to find treasure wherever you’re metal detecting.

What Does a Metal Detector’s Search Coil Do?

search coil

The search coil of your metal detector allows you to better scan the ground for hidden treasures.

The finest metal detector in the world is no better than its search coil, so be sure not to overlook your search coil’s importance in treasure hunting. The type of search coil you use will determine how effectively your metal detector will perform the task at hand. What exactly is the search coil’s function? The search coil is mounted on the lower end of the detector’s stem. It takes power from the control housing through the search coil cable. Then, it transmits data between the metal detector and the ground. The search coil simply scans to allow the metal detector to find metal targets.

Most search coils operate with electromagnetic transmitter and receiver antennas embedded within the search coil. An invisible electromagnetic field is generated and picks up signals from the surface you’re scanning—soil, rock, water, sand, etc. Search coils designed by major manufacturers and provided with their detectors are generally reliable because they are maximized for performance. However, experts say there is no such thing as a standard search coil. A coil that operates perfectly in the park may not be suited for a pop-top filled beach. Search coils that find coins are not the same as those used to search for a treasure cache. There is also the issue of moisture and/or water-resistant capabilities. Find out if your search coil can resist a small amount of moisture, is waterproof for operating in heavy rainfall, or is fully submersible. Most coils made today fall into this last category of fully submersible.

Size Matters When it comes to Search Coils

Search coils come in many shapes and sizes. In general, the smaller the search coil, the smaller the object that can be detected. Larger search coils are designed to detect larger, deeper targets—but they can often locate small objects at deep depths, too. From small to large, search coils are designed with specific objectives in mind. Here is a snapshot of sizes & functions.

3-5″ Diameter: Very small search coils, also called “Snipers,” are ideal for trash-filled areas, allowing a detectorist to pinpoint coins in spite of nails and other junk. These search coils are able to maneuver in tight spots and around obstacles. They will signal at the detection of small and shallow targets. However, depth of detection is not as great as larger search coils.

7-9.5″ Diameter: This size search coil is what comes equipped with most detectors. 7-9″ search coils are usually the best for coin hunting and general purpose treasure hunting. These search coils are lightweight with a good scanning width and they are sensitive to a wide range of targets. Mid-range search coils offer decent depth of detection.

10-12″ Diameter and Larger: Large search coils are designed to detect coins and other targets at greater depths. Precise pinpointing is more difficult with the larger sizes because they pick up more mineralization. But these search coils are beneficial for finding, large relics and treasure caches. They provide considerable ground coverage, so you can cover a lot of ground more quickly than with a medium search coil.

Shop by Features for Search Coils at MetalDetector.com

MetalDetector.com stocks over 100 available optional search coils for just about every manufacturer’s detectors. To make it easier to narrow down your search results, you can Shop by “Features.” Choose from Brand, Search Coil Size, List Price, Search Coil Shape or Type, Audio Identification, Water Resistance, Country or Warranty. Daniel Bernzweig, of MetalDetector.com suggests, “To improve your understanding in all types of treasure hunting, I encourage you to learn about the various types of search coils and practice using them whenever possible.” Learn more about search coils in the Getting Started section of MetalDetector.com’s Learning Library: Choosing the Best Search Coil.