Best metal detectors for beginners UK (2024)

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What metal detector is best?

Best starter metal detector

Choosing the best metal detector for a beginner in the UK can be daunting. The factors to think about are if an American made detector will suit you or if you prefer one for UK hunting , your budget and the level of commitment you wish to invest. I guide you through it all.

If you have been looking for a new hobby and have had the idea sparked that you might enjoy metal detecting, I’m so glad that you’re here reading this article….very glad!

This means that you are doing the correct thing and trying to gain as much knowledge as possible before parting with your hard earned money.

One of the reasons for me wanting to write this article is that I was getting really angry reading other, so called blogs on metal detecting that seemed to have the smell of blood under their noses when they see a potential new starter.

Best metal detector for beginners UK | Best starter metal detector | Best metal detector for the price | Best budget metal detector UK | Best value metal detector UK

There are far too many websites and blogs out there that will try to convince you to buy certain detectors that aren’t right for you and will be a total waste of money.

This will not only frustrate you because you’ll find it difficult to find anything but you’ll be angry that you have spent money on that particular metal detector.

This also frustrates me because having a potential and responsible new detectorist come into the hobby is a good thing!

I’m convinced that some of these shameless blogs have been written by people who have never really been that involved in metal detecting. Well, not as passionately as me anyway!

So, rant over!….I’m glad you are here because in this article, I’m going to give you all the knowledge that I’ve gained over the years and give you some honest and genuine suggestions for metal detectors you should look at as a beginner.

You can read my other article asking if metal detecting is worth it here!

Tactical clothing

Best metal detectors for the money

Which metal detector is best?

Buying your first detector can be a very daunting and confusing thing. The first place you default to is the internet. When you search, you’ll be bombarded with websites and blogs from sellers or crumby detectorists.

Well, I’m here and have written this article to help give you some guidance and some vital knowledge to help you decide.

Best metal detector for beginners UK | Best starter metal detector | Best metal detector for the price | Best budget metal detector UK | Best value metal detector UK

In this article we’ll talk about budget and what metal detector you can expect to get for the money you want to spend.

We’ll talk a little about a metal detectors “bells and whistles” like which ones do you actually need and which ones aren’t necessary for basic detecting.

If you’re interested, my further in depth article on metal detector settings and what they do will target this further, but for now, I’ll explain in brief terms what these features and settings do and achieve for you.

We’ll also talk about any features to look for that will help you retain the metal detector for longer. By this, I mean buying an incorrect detector will only frustrate you and cause you to out grow it very quickly as your knowledge grows.

You will then wonder why you didn’t spend maybe a little more so you didn’t out grow it so soon and launch it into a hedge!

What I’ll do in this article is to keep it simple and then link to a more in depth article talking about a metal detectors features, bells and whistles, frequencies, discrimination, sensitivity, recovery speeds, ground balancing, coil sizes and shapes etc……phew…..don’t worry!

Unbeatable Multi Frequency!

You can now get the ultimate power of multi frequency technology over single frequency detectors with the Minelab Vanquish range of detectors.

The entry level Vanquish 340 now gives you ultimate depth, stability and sensitivity on all target types in every soil, including wet beach sand.

Best budget metal detector UK

Best value metal detector UK

This is one of the age old questions and is one I get asked many times from friends and colleagues who are interested in possibly taking up the hobby.

That and “How deep does a metal detector go?”…..that’s another article however!….in fact, you can read my article about how deep does a metal detector go here.

The quick, short and honest answer is that it totally depends on your budget. As a rule of thumb, the more money you spend, the better the detector and consequently, the better your chances will increase of finding that elusive coin or artefact.

There is however an extremely valid argument within the detecting community that the majority of finds you’ll discover, (about 70-80%) will lie in the first 6-8 inches of earth.

So, if you own a metal detector that will only comfortably detect to a maximum of 8 inches but do it really well, you’re on a winner!

Best metal detector for beginners UK | Best starter metal detector | Best metal detector for the price | Best budget metal detector UK | Best value metal detector UK
CScope VLF TR 770D

Detecting deeper than 8 inches to then find more elusive coins or artifacts (the other 20-30%) will then be the holy grail of the more seasoned detectorists with more expensive detectors.

For technical reasons beyond the scope of this article, finding coins or artifacts at increasingly deeper depths of soil comes with complex difficulties which include soil conditions and the technical limits of some detectors.

I feel old now writing this but detector technology has advanced incredibly since I started in my teens with a Cscope VLF TR770D.

It was a bit awkward and had an analogue dial with a needle that bounced all over the place. I didn’t really know how to use it properly but after finding my first two pre decimal pennies on an old footpath, I was hooked!

Best metal detectors for under £100

Junior metal detector UK

Best All Purpose Metal Detector

So, let’s continue! I think it’s safe to assume that I can tell you that for around £100, the choices of a junior metal detector that will work for you or a young person starting out will be limited.

Yes, there are a few out there that some blogs will entice you with but be wary and please don’t be drawn in.

There is a threshold that personally you shouldn’t really go below. At these prices, the detectors are borderline toys or seriously inferior products.

The embarrassing thing is, if I’m being totally honest in this article, I fell for it when I first got interested in metal detecting and I didn’t have anyone to help guide me.

Best metal detector for beginners UK | Best starter metal detector | Best metal detector for the price | Best budget metal detector UK | Best value metal detector UK
The old Fisher

It was only when I met a very friendly guy on my first metal detecting rally who told me to basically to throw it into a hedge!

He then let me borrow his backup detector which was much superior to my cheap one that I mistakenly bought.

I subsequently found my first solid silver roman denarius with my new friends backup detector which was an old Fisher.

Learn by my mistake and do not buy one these sub £100 obscurely named detectors, regardless of the optimistic claims they make.

These will usually be a copy of another detector and look almost identical and sometimes without a name on it.

They will use terms like “Professional”, “Deep seeking” and “Discriminating” etc. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid anything below £100 at least.

If you don’t have £100, please promise me that you’ll wait, save a little more money and buy a “proper” metal detector. Even at £120, there are some cracking entry level machines.

At around the £100 mark, this will get you a beginners entry level basic machine that will introduce you to the exciting world of metal detecting and discovery.

As I said, don’t expect too much and if you’re going to dip your toe in at this level of commitment, try to stick with more established brands that have a history and a reputation to uphold.

Even at this level, you could find something life changing. It might even be that shallow gold ring that’s slipped off a finger whilst throwing a ball for a dog!……food for thought eh!!

Ultimate Tactical Packs!

Carry everything you’ll need for a detecting day like a First Aid kit, detector spares, finds boxes, batteries, snacks and drinks to rehydrate.

Never forget anything again with a belt pack!

Simple metal detectors

So what can you expect from a metal detector for around the £100 pound mark? This level of detector is a very basic entry level beginners detector that must be viewed as a bit of occasional fun.

This could be anything like a father and son or daughter detecting in a large garden or a small field on a Saturday or Sunday for an hour or two. (with permission of course!)

You can read my article on is metal detecting legal here!

At this price point, you can expect a functioning detector with built in pre set hunting modes so you don’t have to mess around getting confused with settings.

You’ll get a single frequency, adjustable sensitivity, maybe a pinpoint function and also a volume control. A headphone jack will be there so you can wear headphones but it will also have a speaker.

Best metal detector for beginners UK | Best starter metal detector | Best metal detector for the price | Best budget metal detector UK | Best value metal detector UK
My Minelab Equinox 800

The pre set detecting modes will be fixed in the detector and will take control of any discrimination of rubbish or trash to an extent.

Don’t forget however, some trash like ring pulls from drinks cans will detect like jewellery so if in doubt, dig everything at first!

If you go for a detector in this price bracket, you must go for an established manufacturer.

They will have a wealth of technical knowledge making detectors and will test them extensively.

They will produce the best detector they can for the price point. Purely from experience, at this price point, I would only really recommend the manufacturer Minelab.

They have been making detectors since 1985 and have a 50 strong research and development team.

I have used several Minelab detectors over the years and am currently using a Minelab Equinox 800 multi frequency detector. (You can read more about multi frequency metal detectors in my other article here)

Best metal detectors for the money

Best All Purpose Metal Detector

My recommendation at this initial price point is the Kaiweets KGM01. This is one fantastic machine at its £120 price point. I know because I’m field testing one at the moment! (Review coming shortly!)

Absolutely robust with many superior features and the look and feel of a much more expensive machine. It has a super large coil, multiple search modes, 3 target tones and superior adjustability.

Next is the Minelab Go Find 11 and the Go Find 22. Coming from the manufacturer Minelab, you know it’ll be the best it can be for the money.

There is not much separating these two detectors in price, the only advantage with the Go Find 22 is that it has an extra tone during detection.

This doesn’t seem like much but without getting too technical, has some great benefits. Briefly, this means that the Go Find 22 can be used in a mode that has no discrimination of any metals.

It will however give you a low tone for iron and a high tone for anything that isn’t iron making it somewhat easy to determine if you should dig it or not.

The advantages of using no discrimination are that it can speed up the target recovery speed as it doesn’t waste time processing target signatures.

Okay…..I may have lost you here but I’ll explain this in a further article but for now, accept that this is a good thing. The Minelab Go Find 11 only has one high tone so you’ll need to use it in a discriminating mode.

Depending on the type of metal you have detected, the display will flash an icon that the detector thinks it’s a best guess of…..maybe a coin, ring or even a nail. Quite sophisticated for the price point!

The Go Find range are very lightweight and even fold up really compact with it’s ingenious design.

It may lack many of the advanced features of more expensive detectors like automatic and manual ground balancing but comparably it’s much more affordable and great fun!…..perfect for holiday and breaks.

The Go Find range consists of the 11, 22, 44 and 66. As you go up in the range, they increase in cost slightly but you gain extra features so as you progress, you can adjust settings for your preferred detecting style as you gain a little knowledge.

The number of pre set detecting modes also increases. They all have a cool pinpoint mode so when you detect an object, a series of LED’s light up to tell you how close you are to it and where to dig!

They all even have a depth indicator to give you a best estimate of how deep the object is. You can take a quick look at the Minelab Go Find Quick Start manual here to see how simple it is to use.

If you want to have some fun on the beach, you’ll only really be able to detect on the dry sand. Moving onto wet sand will be too much for this little detector to handle because of the salt conditions.

In another article, I go further into beach metal detecting UK here.

Best metal detector under £200

Minelab XTerra Voyager

Minelab XTerra Voyager

The Minelab XTerra Voyager in my opinion is the best you can get for £150. This really packs a punch and is solid which you would expect from Minelab.

These entry level bruisers are only available on Amazon.

You can read my more in depth article on the Minelab Xterra Voyager here.

Find a cracking deal on an XTerra Voyager on Amazon here.

Kaiweets KGM01

It even comes with a carry bag, headphones and a digging tool. It has 6 search modes including a target pinpoint mode.

All Metal mode has 3 target tone pitches to discriminate by ear. This machine packs a punch for £120!

(I’m currently field testing one and the review and field test video will be out shortly!) Use my discount code DMD15 at the Kaiweets checkout for an extra 15% off!

Kaiweets KGM01

Minelab Go Find 11 & 22

What is great

Comes from an established manufacturer

Really simple use

Has some good features for the price point

What could be better

Maybe a rechargeable battery and bluetooth connectivity

To be fair to this very reasonably priced entry level detector, it’s a bit harsh to find any big things that could be better for the price point.

Most detectors that are more expensive have internal rechargeable batteries and have bluetooth connectivity for wireless headphones and ground balancing.

(Ground balancing helps the detector ignore the ground minerals which can confuse a detector)

Due to the price point of this little gem, it really isn’t much of an inconvenience to replace the standard AA batteries whenever they need changing.

It also isn’t that much of an inconvenience to plug in some small, lightweight headphones. In fact, if you were that keen, you could plug in a cheap bluetooth battery powered sender unit and connect via that way.

This little detector is perfect for dipping your toe into the hobby with youngsters in mind. Finding their first lost coins will definitely hook them!

Nokta Mini & Midi Hoard

In a very similar way and at almost the same price points, the Mini Hoard and Midi Hoard emulate the Go Find 11 and Go Find 22 respectively.

Coming from the Nokta stable, these guys have a very respectable name in metal detector manufacturing. Nokta are based in Turkey but don’t for one moment let that put you off.

Nokta produce some very capable high end detectors, some with multi frequency technology. The Mini Hoard and Midi Hoard are aimed more at the younger budding, beginner detectorist.

Like the Minelab offerings, they also come with some good features for the price point. They are quite rugged and in fact are waterproof!

They are simple to use and have 3 search modes. Mode 1 detects all metals, Mode 2 rejects iron and accepts everything else and Mode 3 offers some increased trash discrimination detecting only coins and jewelry.

(This mode 3 is only available on the Midi Hoard however)

It’s very lightweight and adjustable so even the smallest child can have fun finding goodies.

We’ll cover metal detector frequencies in depth in a further article but these detectors operate at 15 Khz which is well known for being a good all round frequency for detecting most metallic objects.

At this price point, it’ll also have a fixed ground balance that will cope with most normal soils types. The Mini version has 2 audio tones and the Midi has 3 tones.

Both have a pinpoint function to help locate the target exactly. As the price point increases a little, so do the features. The Mini has a 6 inch diameter coil and the Midi has a 7 inch coil.

The rule thumb is the bigger the coil, the deeper you’ll be able to detect.

Finally, just what kids want!…..Nokta offer an accessory pack to jazz up the detector with funky decals, sand sifters and scoops! These two detectors will also give you some great spare time fun!

Nokta Mini & Midi Hoard

What is great

Easy for younger kids

Waterproof up to 3 feet

Auto power shut off feature

What could be better

Maybe a rechargeable battery and bluetooth connectivity

Recommendation at £180-£190!

The Quest X5

The Quest X5 is quality at this price. It blends latest design and all the essential features you need.

The X5 ships with TurboD coil for deeper ground penetration and better performance in mineralized conditions.

The X5 is USB rechargeable and the weatherproof control box ensures the detectors is totally safe in rainy conditions.

You will not get a better metal detector for £180!! Read my in depth article on the Quest X5 here!

What to choose with a little more money?

Best Metal Detectors

Minelab Vanquish 340

So, what do you choose as a keen beginner who really does think that this hobby could be their thing!

With a little more money, you could choose a detector that would last you a lot longer, grow with your knowledge, handle difficult mineralised soils, be more accurate in its detection and punch a lot deeper.

For between £200 and £250, you can obtain a detector with the latest multi frequency capability and an advanced DD coil. (You can further read my article explaining about metal detector coils types here!)

In the whole time I’ve been detecting, I have never known such powerful technology being available at this price point. I have a useful article on finding the best metal detector under £300 here.

This technology at this price point changes a detector from being a fun, messing around with the kids machine into a serious enthusiast’s machine that will stand proudly amongst fellow detectorists in any field.

We briefly cover about what multi frequency technology is next but you can read a more in depth article multi frequency technology here.

The Evolution Pro Cut

The ultimate accessary for the serious metal detectorist. Super strong, stainless steel specially designed spade.

Multi frequency technology in a nut shell…!

When in the ground, different metals react differently to certain frequencies. The way a detector works is that it creates an electromagnetic field around the search coil.

When this field is passed over a metallic object, the object gets “energized” by the field and causes a disruption within the field.

It is this disruption that the detector measures, does some complicated maths on and gives you your target information.

Typically, gold reacts more readily to higher frequencies and silver reacts more readily to lower frequencies.

Rather than being limited to a single frequency, having multi frequencies all working simultaneously has many benefits.

It handles saltwater conditions on wet beaches easily, it obtains much more information from a target giving increased accuracy at increased depths and copes with difficult, mineralised ground easier.

Before this technology was with us, detectorists thought of this technology as the holy grail and thought it would never get built. The engineers at Minelab were the first to pioneer this and a whole new world opened up.

I still cannot believe you can get this now for less than £250.

Minelab Vanquish 340

What is great

Uses 5 frequencies simultaneously

Has 3 pre-programmed search modes

Great on wet beaches

Deep detection depth

Excellent with difficult ground conditions

Noise cancelling feature

What could be better

No ability to alter the programmes or to finely control sensitivity

Pound for pound, this is one of the best, if not THE best detector in the beginner to entry level mid-range machine.

Okay, don’t be fooled that it’s entry level because it uses 5 frequencies and this alone elevates it beyond any similar priced, or much more expensive single frequency machines.

It copes with difficult ground, saltwater beaches, is deep seeking and very accurate with target information. On top of that, it comes with a DD coil which allows you to cover more ground at a consistent depth.

As you go up the range, you’ll get more flexibility to adjust settings but straight out of the box detecting does not get more powerful than this! You can read my dedicated article on the Minelab Vanquish here.

Which metal detector is the best?

Final thoughts

Okay, so we’ve covered quite a lot today and again, I’m so glad you’ve got through the article because it will have saved you time, money and avoided disappointment.

You want to break into the great hobby of metal detecting and want an entry level detector to see if you’ll like it.

If you go down the route of dipping your toe in for around the £100-£120 mark, go for the Kaiweets KGM01 every time.

This will find things for you as long as you don’t expect too much. It’s made by a great manufacturer and it works! If you are targeting the younger kids for a bit of fun, go for the Nokta Mini Hoard or Midi Hoard.

The irony is, the area between £120-£180, you can get caught out. Try to avoid anything that’s yellow which within the detecting community are called the “Yellow Peril”…! bong! machines.

From carrying out lots of research be careful what you can get for £120-£180 or you WILL get caught out with cheap detectors and copies however there are secret gems as we’ve seen with Kaiweets KGM01.

Take a serious look at the Quest X5 as you will not get a better detector for £180. You can find a Quest X5 over on Amazon here.

Promise me if you can, you’ll save a little more money and go for the entry level multi frequency Minelab Vanquish 340 for the reasons we’ve talked about or a Nokta Makro Simplex.

Read my article on the excellent Nokta Makra Simplex here.

When I first started detecting, the goal was to get a detector called a Whites DFX which was dual frequency. (it actually was single frequency but cleverly used frequency harmonics to create 15 Khz and 3 Khz).

It was way out of reach for many people being nearly £1000. The Minelab Vanquish 340 technology trumps the DFX. This is how technology has advanced and prices have decreased.

Unbeatable Multi Frequency!

You can now get the ultimate power of multi frequency technology over single frequency detectors with the Minelab Vanquish range of detectors.

The entry level Vanquish 340 now gives you ultimate depth, stability and sensitivity on all target types in every soil, including wet beach sand.