UK Metal Detectors
How much are metal detectors?
Prices for hobby metal detectors in the UK can start from as low as £100 for one that will actually work and not be classed as a toy, right up to around £2000 for a top end treasure detector.
Specialised metal detectors for finding gold in very harsh soil conditions like in the Australian outback can range from £4000 to £7000.
Any metal detector sub £100 is not really worth looking at. These will be almost useless and a complete waste of time…..do not get fooled by big claims. They simply do not work.
If you are going to dip your toe into the world of metal detecting or take a young son or daughter out for some detecting fun but only plan on spending around £100, stick to a manufacturer that at least know what they’re doing.
A reputable manufacturer will at least build a detector to the best of their ability to that price point. They have a reputation to uphold so will not produce an inferior product.
That being said, at a £100 price point, just expect to have some fun, find a few things but not to expect too much.
When you get hooked and as you would expect, as your budget increases, so does the effectiveness and complexity of the detector you could purchase. Technology has advanced incredibly since I first started to metal detect and the metal detector price point has fallen.
Okay, there are some exceptions for top end machines but as we’ll see, you can get a lot for your money these days but you must make informed choices.
Your budget could be wasted on the wrong, or an inferior machine to what you think is out of reach. We’ll explore what you can get for your budget.
As your budget increases, so does the amount of functionality on a metal detector. This comes two guises. The first is that the user flexibility increases as the model ranges increase.
By this, I mean that you can adjust discrimination patterns more, adjust the amount of tones, adjust the pitch of a tone, adjust where the tone breaks are, adjust the sensitivity to a greater degree etc.
The second is that the functionality that will make your detector perform better in the field. As budget increases, so does the performance as a rule of thumb.
This comes in the form of being able to manually or automatically ground balance to cope with more difficult soil, to perform noise cancelling to reduce any external interference, to select between frequencies or even use multiple frequencies etc.
There are some surprising gems out there which are around the same money as older model inferior machines so be wary. You could get a better performing machine and a bigger bang for your buck!
UK Metal detector prices
Best metal detector under £200
Finding the best metal detector under £200 whilst still maintaining all the key attributes and features you need to find targets is tough. It’s so easy to be lured to buy cheap copies of better detectors.
The recommendation from me is to stick to established manufacturers in this price bracket. This price bracket will be for the beginners or junior metal detector.
Junior metal detector UK
UK Metal detector price of £100 – £120
Minelab Go Find 11 or 22
Within this price bracket, in order for you get as much for your money as possible, you have to go with a reputable manufacturer.
Minelab have been in the business for years and have produced this great little introductory machine.
With preset hunting patterns, adjustability is limited but it really is a switch on and go machine, ready to have fun with.
Nokta Midi Hoard
Nokta are another manufacturer that know what they’re doing as they also make very high end machines.
These little introductory machines are cracking and are very similar in specification to the Go Find.
Again, a switch on and go machine specifically designed for kids to have fun and it will find stuff!
UK Metal detector price of £180 – £200
The Quest X5 is quality detector and in my view the “go to” detector in this price bracket.
The X5 (& X10) blend all the latest design essential features. The X5 is equipped with TurboD Blade coil.
This means 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.
Read my in depth article on the Quest X5 here. This would be my recommendation if you have £180-£190.
UK Metal detector price of £180 – £250
Within this price bracket, this is where things start to get really interesting. All of the previous machines have been great contenders within their price brackets but the the budgets have imposed technological constraints.
They have all been single frequency machines. In this price bracket, the main single frequency detectors are the excellent Minelab XTerra Pro and the Nokta Makro Simplex+.
Now that we have reached this price bracket, you now have the ability to own a serious machine that uses multi frequency technology. (I delve deeper into multi frequency machines in my article here)
I still can’t believe that this technology is available for this price because at one time, the detecting community thought it would never arrive.
This technology opens up a whole new world. I do suggest reading the article above about this technology!
Minelab Vanquish 340
This is the entry level machine in the Vanquish range that uses what Minelab call, Multi-IQ.
You can read my dedicated article on the Minelab Vanquish series here.
This is multi frequency technology that increases depth, stability, gives more accurate target identification and handles the toughest ground conditions with ease.
The 340 in my opinion is the best machine around in this price bracket. No single frequency machine will beat it!
All this coupled with a 10 x 7 inch Double D coil in my opinion almost makes other detectors in the bracket obsolete which is why I’m not going recommend anything else!
UK Metal detector price of £250 – £400
In this price bracket, we are well and truly into the world or serious detecting and all of the inherent benefits of multi frequency technology.
In my opinion, why even look at a single frequency machine in this price bracket when you can have a multi frequency machine.
In my introduction, I spoke about ensuring you had some information to enable you to make an informed choice.
If you are serious about wanting to become a serious enthusiast, you will want to obtain the best machine and the best technology your budget will allow.
I have an article on finding the best metal detector under £300 here.
It would be so easy for someone to be swayed into buying an inferior machine that is behind with technology. I’m not for one moment saying they are bad machines.
At one stage, single frequency machines were all we had. All I’m saying is that there are now better machines and times have changed.
Like we’ve spoken about, as you move through the range, you acquire more functionality and flexibility to alter and adjust settings to suit your detecting style as you grow.
The Vanquish range have been a game changer that again, have rendered single frequency almost obsolete.
UK Metal detector price of £600 – £900
Minelab Equinox 800
Now moving into top end of hobby detectors, the Equinox 800 is the bigger brother of the 600.
You can read my dedicated article on the Minelab Equinox here.
The main differences between these two are the slightly reduced functionality and only 3 utilised frequencies in the 600.
(The Equinox 800 is the machine I currently own)
This machine never ceases to amaze me with it depth capability and it’s ability to find even the smallest targets at depth whilst giving me rock stable targets ID’s.
UK Metal Detectors – Final thoughts
Within several price brackets, there are really only some real contenders. In the lower bracket, it really is important to stick to well known manufacturers.
Don’t be lured by detectors advertised sub £100 from obscure sources as they will massively disappoint you. The choices I’ve put forward in that bracket would be the best you could get for the money.
If you want to progress and feel that this is the hobby for you, the next price bracket is a tricky one.
I’ve put forward the better choices but in all honesty, I would save a little more and break into the next bracket with multi frequency technology.
The machines in this bracket will grow with you and ultimately save you money in the long run.
There is nothing worse than purchasing a cheaper detector, outgrowing it and then selling it for almost nothing in order to get a more advanced machine.
It’s more efficient to go for it now! I hope that this article has given you some food for thought. Stay safe and happy hunting!
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!