Now that the weather’s breaking and it’s getting warmer, it’s time to take out that trusty metal detector. But maybe you’re tired of being in wooded areas and would rather try a place with a better chance of finding something. Beach metal detecting has become quite popular lately with all the different treasures found. But, do you know what to look for in a beach metal detector?
Key Features Of What To Look For In A Beach Metal Detector
If you are a beginner, one of the questions you might be asking is, can I use a metal detector on the beach? Unlike detecting in other places, it might be best to use a different type of detector on the beach due to different elements in the sand.
Before you decide whether or not you need a new detector or not, there are a few points to keep in mind for beach and shallow water metal detecting
a) Look Into The Technology Used For Detection
Metal detectors mainly use either VLF; Very Low Frequency, or Pulse Induction technologies, though some manufacturers have been putting dual or multi-frequency models on the shelves.
While pulse induction detectors do reach deeper than VLF or dual/multi-frequency detectors, the discrimination between trash and treasure is a little more difficult to pinpoint. Though it may seem a little tedious, it may just help you find some very elusive treasures to brag about later.
b) Think About Exactly What You’ll Do With The Metal Detector
A few tips for metal detecting on the beach when considering manufacturers and specific models. It’s important to think about exactly what you’ll be doing with your metal detector. Things like where it’ll be used; if it will be dry or wet sand or even diving and detecting can help you decide which style is best to purchase. Most detectors will be fine with dry sand, though if the sand is highly mineralised, a pulse induction detector is preferred.
Adjust The Discrimination Mode
Though you may still get false positives, you can easily adjust the discrimination on it to your liking. Some models are inherently much more costly, but offer so much more in comparison to the cheaper models. This is not, however, to say that cheaper models are inefficient or a waste of money. If you are simply going on a small treasure hunt on a vacation, then a cheaper model will be more than sufficient enough to at least have some fun with. You may like to read Just How Does A Metal Detector Work?
Very Low Frequency VS Pulse Induction Detectors
Certain types of detectors, such as ones that use Very Low Frequency to detect metal, can be used to detect metals deep in the ground. However, it can often miss what’s closer to the surface due to mineralised sand creating a “white noise” effect with the iron in the sand being detected and skipping over possible treasures.
On the other hand, using a Pulse Induction detector will allow you to scan at every depth in between more reliably, but at the cost of being unable to discriminate between trash and treasure.
While this may be troublesome for some users, others are willing to sacrifice certain aspects of one detector for the bonuses of another. For this reason, many people recommend using both a VLF and a PI detector to ensure you get all you can from wherever you’re hunting…. beach and shallow water metal detecting…
What To Consider When Buying Beach Metal Detectors
What To Look For In A Beach Metal Detector: The Weight Is A Huge Factor
A few tips for metal detecting on the beach when the weight of the detector is an issue… For beginners or recreational users, the Garrett Ace 150 can help you get your hands on a nice amount of lost treasure. With a light weight and numerous helpful features (which will be mentioned later on), this detector can get used to different settings and features of other models as well as possibly even getting you addicted to the hobby.
If you’ve been using metal detectors for a while and are looking for an upgrade but don’t want to go insane and break the bank with something such as the Garrett ATX Pulse Induction military grade detector, then possibly something like the Minelab E-Trac device could come in handy.
Consider The Location Where You’ll Use It
However, the choice you make is also heavily dependent on the location you’ll be using it. You won’t want to spend extra for waterproof features, while if you’re going to be near or in the water, you’re going to want or need the benefits of it being waterproof.
a) Will It Be Used For Beach Hunting?
If you’re going beach hunting, then it’s important to base your purchase on the type of sand that you’ll be sifting through. Some sand with its minerals and even just being around saltwater, can potentially lead to false positives, which simply means that the detector is being “fooled” by the sand into thinking that there’s treasure when there’s really nothing but more sand. Saltwater areas or beaches with black sand, which is rich in iron, are ones most the common areas that give these false positives.
Most models allow you to change the sensitivity and discrimination to reduce the amount of false positives so you’re not wasting all your time digging for nothing. For dry or moist sand searching on a beach, the “towel line” is recommended, as it’s where people spend most of their time when out of the water. This area, which can be determined by the sand disturbances where people set up their belongings.
b) Will You Go Underwater With It?
If you’d rather get a bit wet and go diving a little then the Garrett AT Pro metal detector can be useful, though it’s only able to be used up to 10 feet underwater. However, the Minelab Excalibur II metal detector is quite efficient, though noted for being fairly heavy.
This can be offset by customizing it with a waist mounting belt or using a different shaft for it. While it’s intended for water or wet sand detecting it can also be used for dry sand, if you decide to do a quick sweep before heading into the water in hopes of finding more elusive treasures.
Another point of what to look for in a beach metal detector that you may not be aware of when it comes to wet / dry sand and / or water… Some things to be aware of when purchasing your first, or next, metal detector are not only whether it’s best suited for dry or wet sand or water. While waterproof detectors can be used on dry land, they are not always as efficient as when used underwater. On the other hand, you don’t want to be going swimming and detecting with a dry sand detector and have it short circuit, costing you money and now having a broken metal detector.
c) Will You Use It In Mineralised Sand?
Another thing to keep in mind of what to look for in a beach metal detector is that some areas have mineralised sand, which can affect readings, and give false positives. This is also the case when detecting around salt water, as the natural minerals are amplified by the water. However, some models of detectors are able to still accurately detect regardless which allows for a more enjoyable adventure in detecting.
Budget Is A Big Factor To Consider
For budget users, a Very Low Frequency detector’s ground balance can greatly reduce the amount of “chatter” of the ground and allow you to locate treasure rather than just mineralised sand and garbage. For the serious detectors or just ones not too limited by budget, a Pulse Induction detector is much better and more accurate for salt water detecting. These detectors just simply ignore the minerals in the sand and also allow for a more accurate location of treasure. As these models are generally more expensive, they are best suited for those who spend a majority of their time detecting, and mainly around salt water areas.
As you’ve discovered, the question of: can I use a metal detector on the beach, is of course a resounding YES!
Whichever path you choose for metal detecting, there is always a general as well as specific model type to best suit your needs. From dry or moist sand to shallow or even dive detecting, there is treasure waiting to be found with the right metal detector.
With so much to gain from a small to moderate investment in equipment, metal detecting can not only be a fun experience, but also quite a rewarding one for the dedicated, or even just a very lucky user. Keep our tips of what to look for in a beach metal detector as you do your research and you’ll make a better, informed decision.