Can Metal Detectors Detect Gold

Can Metal Detectors Detect Gold?

Whether treating it as a serious investment or just a friendly hobby, searching for gold requires that you have the equipment. Unless you’re Indiana Jones having traced the path to an ancient treasure, you need to make use of modern technology and hope you get lucky with your find.

A metal detector is an inseparable part of that adventure. It can make detecting valuable materials, even those hidden behind soil and debris, more convenient. Regardless of how well you do your research, you can face problems precisely detecting the gold deposits. Still, finding the perfect device that suits your needs and configuring it properly can be challenging.

Throughout this guide, you’ll learn all about the metal detectors that can help you detect gold. You’ll also know how to choose the best one you can order online or avail of from your nearest Walmart or Home Depot.

How Do Metal Detectors Work?

Before choosing the appropriate metal detector, it is best to understand how such a device works. Depending on the type of device you consider, metal detectors can work in any of the following types.

Beat-Frequency Oscillation (BFO)

One of the most basic types of metal detectors. It consists of two coils overlapping each other in a concentric pattern. Both are connected to an oscillator that generates thousands of pulses per second. Those propagate in the form of radio waves that undergo disruptions as they come across a metallic object.

A tiny receiver at the end of the detector picks up the frequency variation in the radio waves. It is connected to an audio device that generates a tone with regular beats. Those beats change as the radio waves detect a metallic article. While not exactly accurate or battery efficient, BFO metal detectors have a simple construction and can be used for small handheld devices.

Very Low Frequency (VLF)

A VLF metal detector has two or more concentric coils nearby. The outer coils are the active coils that have a current that switches direction within a short time. That creates a magnetic field that spans the inner coils and the surrounding area. The sensors measure the change if there is a disturbance in the field from a metal. The circuit then determines the distance or density of the metal.

The best part about VLF metal detectors is that they operate in a wide frequency range. Thus, they can be configured to detect gold within a decent range without drawing too much battery power. Most VLF metal detectors save you time by filtering out other metals and alloys.

Pulse Induction (PI)

Unlike VLF technology, PI metal detectors have a single coil that acts as both the transmitter and the receiver. It sends a pulse of magnetic waves outward and detects any disturbances from any metals that reflect them back. It’s more sensitive than a VLF variant but makes it hard to distinguish the type of metal.

Can Metal Detectors Detect Gold?

All kinds of metal detectors mentioned above can detect gold. However, some do it better than others. A pulse induction metal detector is best if you’re trying to detect any kind of conducting material. It can even detect high concentrations of saltwater. But, if you want to search for gold specifically, then a VLF metal detector is the most suitable.

Gold can exist in the form of nuggets or alloys with other metals like nickel, copper, and zinc. Thus, if you research the geographics of a location, you can conveniently configure a VLF metal detector to precisely detect those alloys up to an appreciable depth.

Desirable Specifications for Gold Metal Detectors

If you want a metal detector for finding gold, there are a few specific criteria you should consider for your apparatus.


Your metal detector should be lightweight enough to carry in a regular backpack. A retractable variant is best if you’re planning a long trek for your search. It also helps to equip your metal detector with a grip and stabilizer that reduces the stress on your arm.


Gold deposits are often found along river banks or areas close to water bodies. Therefore, you may have to get your feet wet literally to keep your search as thorough as possible. It’s desirable to have a waterproof metal detector for at least six feet (1.83 meters).

Battery Duration

When looking for gold out in the open, you may not have convenient access to a charging point. Thus, you must ensure that your metal detector has at least 8 hours of battery life past a full charge.

Operating Frequency

Your metal detector must operate at multiple frequencies to detect gold and its alloys precisely. Gold can be detected by metal detectors with 14 kHz or higher frequency.


The more you spend on metal detectors for gold, the more effort you save when searching for it. Still, it doesn’t help to get a top-of-the-line metal detector that you’ll only occasionally use for a hobby. So, consider your application and how many features you get with your device. You can study our best picks in the following section.

Best Metal Detectors To Detect Gold

Similar to cars, there are various makes and models of metal detectors. However, in the case of detecting gold, you can consider the below-mentioned variants.

Bounty Hunter 3410001

One of the least expensive options you can consider, the Bounty Hunter lives up to its name with a straightforward application. You can get it for less than $120, making it perfect for beginners and hobbyists. It’s best for searching for gold near the surface and shallow streams. The analog, lightweight design makes it a robust option for camping trips, and you can take it into the water without a second thought.

XP Deus 2

Whether you prefer scuba diving for lost shipwrecks or exploring the deposits across river banks, XP Deus 2 is the perfect tool. You can choose from multiple frequency settings, ranging from 4 kHz to 46 kHz. It has a waterproofing of more than 66 feet (20.11 meters) while also weighing just 1.65 pounds (0.75 Kg).

Garrett ATX

If you want to maximize your detection range, then Garrett ATX is the ideal choice. It is designed for rugged environments and soil types that contain multiple metal compositions. Utilizing PI technology, it can detect gold at varying depths thanks to its 13 sensitivity settings. The only downside is that it is more bulky and expensive than other metal detectors within its dimensions.

How To Detect Gold Using a Metal Detector

When looking for gold, you can’t just wave your metal detector around and expect to hit it big. There are specific procedures you have to follow, depending on what kind of terrain you encounter. Your search for gold can vary with the following techniques.

When Searching on Level Ground

It is best to keep the detector as close to the ground as possible. Ensure that it doesn’t run into any obstacles like rocks or wood, as they can damage the circuits. Move slowly and use a sweeping motion as you move ahead over the prospective area. Try to divide the area into several sections to save time and for a more thorough search.

When Searching in Shallow Water

Use footwear up to calf length to protect your leg against any hazards. When using a metal detector, don’t dip more than 2/3rd of the entire rod, since the water can damage the electronics and render the apparatus useless. Try to scan the shallow ends first before moving deeper into the water.

When Searching Underwater

Most metal detectors for underwater detection are quite compact. Thus, you can use them at any angle to detect gold formation within reefs and shipwrecks. Strive for a good grip with both hands and keep your diving goggles clear to read the instrument panel. Experts also recommend using a pair of waterproof headphones to ensure that you get a good tone without losing your bearings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Range of a Decent Metal Detector?

That depends on which version you consider. The cheaper variants can detect gold from a few inches afar. The more expensive variants can detect gold from up to six feet away.

Can I Make a Gold Metal Detector by Myself?

Yes. You can make a DIY gold metal detector using everyday items in your house. Here is a guide that can assist you with the process.

Should Gold Metal Detectors Be Waterproof?

Although you can find gold on dry ground, there are also likely to be rich deposits along river banks and other water bodies. So, it is best to carry a waterproof metal detector so that your search remains as thorough as possible.

Short Summary

Several types of metal detectors can detect gold, but the limit of their capabilities depends upon specific variants. We hope this guide helps you choose the best one for your next expedition. Don’t forget to test the product before taking it into the field for real.

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