What is The Deepest a Metal Detector Can Go?
Metal detectors are an essential part of many people’s lives. They can be used for various things, but the most popular is discovering metal objects buried 10 feet beneath the surface. Whether it is coins, jewelry, or other valuable items that you’re looking for 10 feet below the surface, using a metal detector will help you get there!
Do you want to know how deep a metal detector can go?
Most standard metal detectors detect objects about 4-8ʺ (10 – 20 cm) deep. A mid-range metal detector can go 12-18ʺ (30-45 cm) underground in the best conditions. Specialized detectors can reach depths of up to 65 feet (20 meters).
Different detectors have different depths. In choosing the best metal detector, you need to consider a lot of factors before making a decision. Other things matter, like the type of detector and what you’re trying to find.
This article will talk about how deep a metal detector can detect. There is a lot of information that is unclear and confusing. We will help you understand it all to make the best decision for yourself.
First, we need to know how size, shape, and orientation affect search depth. Next, we’ll explore the different types of available metal detectors. Everything you need to know about them, including frequencies and search coils, will be covered. Finally, we’ll look at how ground minerals can alter the strength of your metal detector. Let’s get this party started!
The Metal Object: Your Target
Metal detectors can only find metal objects. If you are looking for diamonds or wood, you can’t use a metal detector. In the world of metal detecting, anything made of metal is called a Target.
A metal target is a thing that you want to find. It could be a lost ring or keys. It might even be buried treasure or property markers. Whatever it is, it’s a mental thing, and you want to find it.
You can find a target better if you know more about it. If the target is made of metal, how big it is, what shape it is, and which way it faces will affect how deep your metal detector can go.
A metal detector can find larger, deeper targets than smaller ones. This is because larger objects have a larger surface area than smaller objects. These large objects create more disruption in the electromagnetic field created by the metal detector.
Circular objects like coins or rings and other flat objects like metal boxes or chests are easier to detect at greater depths because they have more surface area. Long or thin shapes, like nails or wires, are harder to find deeper in the soil.
Horizontal targets are easier to detect than vertical ones. More surface area on the horizontal target can disrupt the EM field. A vertical target has less surface area and is harder to detect.
The type of metal you are looking for affects how deep you can find it. You can detect highly conductive metals of electricity, like silver, deeper than less conductive metals, like gold or lead.
We’ll then go over the various metal detectors and how deep they can penetrate.
Typical Metal Detectors
Garrett ACE Apex
- Frequency: Multi-Flex (5 kHz to 20 kHz)
- Search Coil: 11ʺ x 6ʺ (Double-D)
- Depth: 4 – 8ʺ (10 cm – 20 cm)
Garrett AT Pro
- Frequency: Single (15 kHz)
- Search Coil: 11ʺ x 8.5ʺ Double-D
- Depth: 6 – 10ʺ (15 cm – 25 cm)
Minelab Vanquish 540
- Frequency: Multi-IQ (5 kHz to 40 kHz)
- Search Coil: 12ʺ x 9ʺ Double-D
- Depth: 4 – 8ʺ (10 cm – 20 cm)
Minelab Equinox 800
- Frequency: Multi-IQ (5 kHz to 40 kHz)
- Search Coil: 11ʺ (Double-D)
- Depth: 6 – 10ʺ (15 cm – 25 cm)
Three things make metal detectors different from one another. These are the frequency they work at, what software they have, and the size of their search coil.
Metal detectors can find metal on soil using electricity. They were invented by a famous French scientist, Gustave Trouve. The Fabrian company made the first portable metal detector. People started using them when they were looking for James Garfield’s bullet after he was shot. Unfortunately, they didn’t find it. Metal detectors are now part of American society, though.
Most metal detectors use a very low frequency called VLF. VLF metal detectors constantly send out an EM wave which is invisible. These waves go into the ground and give information on what is on the ground.
Low frequencies are best used on deep or large targets. Deep seeking metal detectors are often known to have this type of frequency. High frequencies are best used on small targets that are not as conducive. Low frequencies cannot detect more conductive metals, so use high-frequency detectors instead.
Some low frequencies may be prone to interference from electronics and power lines. Electromagnetic interference, or EMI, is the term for this.
Multi-frequency transmission technology is used in higher-end metal detectors. This makes them sensitive to both small and large targets simultaneously.
Garrett’s Multi-Flex is a multi-frequency signal processing and transmission technique utilized in the ACE Apex detector. It has a frequency range of 5 to 20 kHz and operates at that frequency.
Minelab’s Multi-IQ The transmission and processing systems are commonly considered the industry’s best. The frequency range covered by Multi-IQ is 5 kHz to 40 kHz. The way the detector’s software handles the signals it receives is different.
There are different features on metal detectors that can affect how deep they can find metal.
Ground Balance is a feature that helps to reduce interference from minerals in the ground. We will explore ground mineralization more in-depth later in this article, but let’s talk about it briefly now.
Ground mineralization can make a metal detector think something is in the ground. This is because of iron particles and salt in the soil.
Ground balancing helps you find the right metal. It reduces the signals that come from underground minerals. Ground balancing leaves behind only signals from metal targets.
Does Ground Balancing Affect Depth?
Ground mineralization can make small things below the ground hard to find. Ground balancing makes it easy to find these things.
Discrimination is the metal detector’s ability to tell one type of metal from another. Their electrical conductivity and/or magnetic characteristics play a role in this.
Some precious metals are very conductive of electricity, like silver. Other metals are magnetic, like iron. You can tell these apart by observing how they behave when you put them into an electrical circuit or hold them near a magnet.
Does Discrimination Affect Depth?
When you discriminate against unwanted things like nails or screws, then you can find other things that are deeper, like coins.
A search coil is a round thing at the end of a metal detector’s shaft. Two sets of wire, Transmit and Receive, are coiled to create an electromagnetic field. The disturbance in this field is detected by the second set of wires.
Disturbing noises like these might mean that something metal is in the ground. Coils for searching come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They are designed to find different things; for example, targets, places with a lot of minerals. More advanced versions are called sniper coils.
Search Coil Sizes
The size of a search coil determines how much ground a metal detector can cover. When people sweep the coil across the ground, they can cover 2′ to 3′ every 3 or 4 seconds.
- Small Search Coils measure 4-7ʺ (10-18 cm) and can detect as deep as standard 9-10ʺ (22-25 cm) coils. That is to say, they can find things about 6 to 8ʺ near (15 – 20 cm) deep. Small coils may be useful in homestead sites and garbage-filled parks with many small objects. They generate strong EM fields and find small things like earrings or tiny gold nuggets. Small coils are not confused by other elements that can interfere with the signal in larger coils, such as power lines, cell phones, microwaves, and other gadgets.
- Medium Search Coils are used in most metal detectors. They are 9 – 10ʺ (22 – 25 cm) in diameter. The search field is about 8ʺ (20 cm) wide and deep. Medium-sized search coils are good for finding coins, rings, and other jewelry.
- Large Search Coils are 25 centimeters long and have a diameter of 10-15 centimeters. They provide the best detection depth and coverage area. These coils are good for relic hunting or searching for things in remote areas. But there are some problems. The metal detector might not find small targets because of the large EM field it makes. It is more sensitive to EM interference than other coil sizes.
Search Coil Shapes
Search coils for metal detectors are available in two distinct styles: circles and ellipses.
- Circular Search Coils provide a balance between stability, coverage area, and how deep they can go. Circular coils can detect a little deeper than elliptical ones.
- Elliptical Search Coils are narrow and can fit into small spaces. The coil has a distinct form from circular coils. They are longer and can’t detect as deep. You need to use a deep seeking metal detector for this.
Search Coil Configurations
The most frequent varieties of search coils are concentric coils, Double-D coils, and mono loop coils.
A concentric coil is a large coil with a smaller coil inside it. The big coil creates an electromagnetic field, and the small one can receive signals.
Combined, these coils search the ground. Concentric coils are more precise, but they can be affected by EMI and minerals in the ground.
- Double-D Coils have two coils shaped like the letter “D.” One coil is for transmitting, and one coil is for receiving. This configuration provides a stable signal, reduces interference from other things, and can detect at greater depths. Double-D coils are used to find metal under the ground. The first field is a narrow and deep search. The second field is wide and deep, which cancels out most of the noise from under the ground.
- Monoloop Coils are similar to concentric search coils. They both have a wire coil that transmits and receives signals. Monoloop coils are better at going deep into the ground. Still, they may be more sensitive to noisy interference from mineralized soil.
How Deep Can a Search Coil Detect?
The depth of a search coil is generally equal to its diameter. The larger the coil, the greater the depth to locate a target. But there is a point where the EM field generated is too large to detect small objects. For coins and rings, this threshold for detection is a search coil that’s more than 14-15″ (35 – 38 cm) in diameter.
Specialized Metal Detectors
There are other types of metal detectors besides the usual one you see. There is one for industrial and professional use.
Magnetic locators can detect objects buried between 10 cm and 4.8 meters deep, depending on the object’s size.
A two-box detector is a type of metal detector that uses a pair of rectangular search coils. It can detect large, deep targets like caches and relics more easily than one with just one search coil. The trade-off is that it cannot detect objects smaller than 3ʺ (7.5 cm) in size.
- How Deep Can It Detect?
Two-box detectors can go down to a depth of 20 feet. This depends on the size of the object being searched for and how many minerals are in the soil.
3D Ground Scanner
A 3D ground scanner is a special metal detector. It can find tunnels, treasures, and other deep things in the ground.
Archaeologists dig in the ground without disturbing it. Gold prospectors use these scanners to find gold and other metal artifacts. Treasure hunters also search for gold, silver, bronze, and other metal artifacts. And people use these scanners to find tunnels or foundations hidden in the ground.
How Deep Can It Detect?
A 3D ground scanner can see things that are 65ʹ (20 m) below the ground.
Radio Frequency Locators
A radio frequency locator is a tool that you can use to find buried pipes. You attach it to the end of a fishing wire and then feed it into the pipe. This machine sends out a specific frequency that allows you to find the pipe.
- How Deep Can It Detect?
Depending on which type of sonde you use, you can find a sonde up to 9ʹ (2.75 meters) below the surface.
The mineral concentrations in the various soils across the United States are displayed in this ground mineralization map, adapted from a USGS study cited below.
We’ve mentioned ground mineralization a few times already, but what exactly is it?
Soil is important for plants. It contains sand, animal and plant matter, and trace minerals like zinc, magnesium, and iron. If the soil has many minerals, it is called ground mineralization.
Soils with high minerals make it hard for a metal detector to work. This can limit how deep you can search.
As mineralization levels go up, it is harder to detect metals. You need a metal detector with features that will help with ground mineralization.
And, more mineralized ground means there are more false signals. This is when your detector says that metal object is there, but it’s just picking up the minerals in the soil.
Ground mineralization happens naturally. It can happen when there is a new place like parks and gardens. Rain can cause iron and other minerals to come up from deep in the soil for a long time. That makes the ground more mineralized.
Checking Ground Mineralization
Soil composition is different everywhere. But you can see the ground’s mineral level by looking at the color of the soil. You can find iron-rich earth worldwide, and it will range in color from purple-red to reddish-brown.
In the southeastern and southwestern USA, red clay is found. In 2007, the USGS released a report of many minerals in soils in the United States. This includes maps that show which minerals are found where.
Most metal detectors have a depth range of 6-8 (15 – 20 cm). However, additional factors, such as those listed below, influence the depth of the pool.
- The frequency at which your metal detector operates.
- Features like discrimination and ground-balancing.
- Size, shape, and configuration of your detector’s search coil.
- Target size, shape, orientation, and metallic composition.
- Levels of mineralization in your soil.
Deepest Metal Detectors
What is the best metal detector for you? This is a question that many people ask. But there’s no answer because metal detectors differ so much in level, function, and features. That is why this review is meant to help you choose the right metal detector for you. Using this manual, you’ll learn how to use all of the software’s most critical components.
Makro DeepHunter 3D Pro
This is not a regular purchase. It is expensive, but you get a lot for your money.
This metal detector not only finds metals, but it can also find holes in the ground where you might find treasures. This is called cavity detection. Even if a metal detector can’t find jewels or certain types of earth, it might be able to lead you to their hiding spots.
There is a real-time visual representation of large objects at significant depths in the DeepHunter. Sections include Cavity; Metal; Ferrous; Precious Metal. The display is divided into four sections. 12.5 kHz and 17.5 kHz are the two frequencies used by the DeepHunter.
The Pro Package includes multiple search coils. The T44 and T100 coils are two of the most popular. These are larger coils, which means they can easily cover more ground and find objects. The Makro pro metal detector is designed for deep searching and is very heavy-duty.
Minelab GPZ 7000
The GPZ 7000 metal detector is impressive because it can find gold at a great depth. Some people think the new metal detecting technologies may answer why it is so good.
To get the most out of your lawnmower, you need to use the new ZVT (Zero Volt Transmission) and Super-D coil technologies.
Using the GPZ 7000 in water as deep as three feet is possible. You can use the double D outer receive windings to pick up shallow and small targets. An oval transmits coil with the central transmit winding searches deep and responds like a traditional search coil when an excellent target is detected beneath the central axis.
The Extra Deep mode is used when searching for large objects buried deep in the ground. You can find small and medium-sized nuggets in the High Yield and General modes. Use these Gold Modes in conjunction with the Normal or Difficult Ground Type settings for the best results.
Listen for the double tones to help you find small pieces of money. If you hear two tones together, that sounds good; it might mean there is a large, deep target nearby that might have gold. It’s all about improving your chances of finding those retirement nuggets that are buried deep.
Minelab GPX 5000
The GPX has pulse induction technology. This means it can detect targets at a greater depth than other metal detectors.
The GPX 5000 is a great pulse induction metal detector. It has the latest technologies to help you find gold easily. As a result, these technologies include maximum depth without losing sensitivity, timed pulse releases that compensate for interference, and dual voltage levels released at offset times.
You have eight search modes that let you choose how you want your detector to perform. This can be based on the terrain, what you are looking for, and the conditions. You can also hear more information with the Rx gain improvements to find more things without being too noisy.
One of the best prospector detectors is the GPX 5000. It is a great detector that you can buy for a good price.
Garrett ATX Extreme
Pulse induction detectors are better at finding things that are deep down. Luckily, the ATX isn’t as expensive as other pulse induction detectors.
Just like the Max Metal Detector, the ATX is a popular metal detector because it performs well and is affordable.
This is an all-terrain machine. It means it can go anywhere, not affected by black sand, wet sand, saltwater, or hot rocks. It also has 25 discrimination/delay settings, which means you can customize how it works to fit your needs. Discrimination is not a strong suit of PI detectors, but this same machine has that feature just in case you need it.
A PI detector is a very sturdy and hefty piece of equipment. Your arm and shoulders will groan under the strain of its superiority. You may want to collapse it down and flip back the search coil slowly when transporting it. It’s designed for that so that you won’t hurt anything.
Minelab Equinox 600
Although there are some minor differences, most people will be fine with the 600. However, if you’re looking for something more hardcore, the 800 might be a better option.
If you want a Gold Mode with more advanced settings, the Equinox 800 is for you. However, if you don’t have the money for the 800, you can still improve your chances of finding gold by calibrating the 600.
This advanced detector has five different frequencies to choose from- 10, 15, 20, and 40 kHz. You can use this to locate a variety of metals, ranging from coins to gold. Alternatively, you can use the lower three frequencies if you want to narrow down your search.
Minelab’s wireless headphone technology is compatible with the 600 models, which ships with wired headphones. An enormous 11-inch search coil is included with the device. With Multi-IQ in your pocket, you won’t lose a single penny.
If you need to spend less than $1,000 on a new phone, the 600 is a good option. It’s a great phone, and it will last you for a while.
Nokta Makro Anfibio Multi
Nokta Makro Anfibio Multi is a metal detector that has three different frequencies. However, only one frequency can be used at a time. But this multi frequency detector is still very handy for finding things in different places. It has nine different modes to help you search better.
This is a waterproof metal detector up to 16 feet and has a universal DD coil that can be used to find different types of targets. It is also easier to use than the Minelab Equinox 800 and has a lower price.
This metal detector is popular with detectorists because it has Depth Indication, Recovery Speed, and Discrimination features that are all very good. It’s also a long-lasting machine that can use for various tasks.
Nokta Makro Simplex
This metal detector is good for finding metal in different places. You can use it to find metal on land or in water. It also has a large coil that makes it easier to find metal.
Features like manual ground balance, depth indication, notch discrimination, and frequency shifts to avoid electromagnetic interference are included in this metal detector.
Nokta Makro is well-known for the long-lasting quality of its products, as well as the reasonable price tag and the ease of use they provide. Simplex+ is no exception, and detectorists have been taken aback by its ease of use and power. It has become one of the best metal detectors on the market throughout the years.
The low price and ease of use make this metal detector an excellent buy. There aren’t many better metal detectors out there than this one. This product is excellent if you are planning to buy your first detector.
The detector has four Search modes, wireless headphone compatibility, and software update software.
Minelab Excalibur II
The best metal detector on the market. It’s still popular even though it’s not a new model. Other metal detectors can’t compare to it.
The metal detector has a Broad Band Spectrum (BBS) multi-frequency technology that makes it suitable for many potential targets. It’s impressive that the detector is water-resistant to a depth of 200 feet. There are two search options: All Metal and Discrimination, using a 10″ DD coil.
The Depth Indication, Automatic Ground Tracking, and Threshold features are helpful. The kit also includes waterproof headphones, which are useful.
A metal detector is a good tool, but it can be difficult to use. This is because it was not meant for beginner detectorists and won’t be a good for your first metal detector. The discrimination feature makes this one of the best saltwater metal detectors because it can distinguish between different types of metals in salty and highly mineralized waters. It’s not just the price that’ll get people’s attention, though;
Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II
This metal detector is good for finding things in water because it uses pulse induction technology and has three search modes.
The coils are monotypemonotype, 8 inches wide, and other incompatible coils. The Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II is waterproof up to 200 feet.
This metal detector doesn’t have a ground balance or depth indication. But it does have a great discrimination feature so that you can operate it well in mineralized waters.
This metal detector is durable, easy to use, and great value. It has many features that are useful for underwater searches.
Most customers have praised the machine’s underwater performance. The weight capacity is higher than average, and there are headphones and different positions to mount the machine. This makes it more enjoyable for users.
Minelab Gold Monster 1000
VLF technology is used in this detector. There is only one operating frequency of 45 kHz. You can only change the search mode by switching coils, but the 10″ DD coil for shallow water searches provides a lot of variability in potential target locations and sizes. The rest of the detector is not waterproof, though.
The Minelab Gold Monster is a popular choice among good metal detectors because of its depth indication, Automatic Ground Balance tracking, and Discrimination feature.
The price for this product is very good, especially when you consider its many functions and features, such as the rainproof control panel, lightweights, and noise cancellation.
Fisher Gold Bug 2
The simplicity of using Fisher products is one of their strongest suits. This metal detector is marked as User-friendly because it is professional level but still easy to use.
This metal detector employs VLF technology. With a maximum frequency of 71 kHz, it is impressive in and of itself. There are three ways to search. The concentric coil is not watertight because of its small diameter (less than 6 inches). The preset ground balance must be manually set, as there is no Depth indicator on the unit at this time.
This VLF detector does not meet the All Purpose and Key Features criteria, but it is easy to use. There are no Pinpoint, Audio tones, or display features, making it simple to use.
The control box for this metal detector can be mounted on your hip or chest. It’s not the cheapest metal detector out there, but it may be worth it because it is so easy to use.
Minelab Vanquish 440
One of the benefits of this metal detector is its price. It is a good option for beginner detectorists because it is affordable.
The detector has three different frequencies that you can choose from. You can also change the frequency range to better match what you’re looking for. The coil is 10″ in diameter, and you can also use other coils with the detector. It’s waterproof and lightweight. This waterproof coil also has a depth indicator and a fixed ground balance.
The 440 Vanquish is a good machine for both total noobs and those with some expertise. It has high-quality features that make it handy and affordable.
Garrett Ace 300
Garrett ACE is generally as easy to use and effective as a series of metal detectors, so beginners will find the Garrett ACE 300 a good choice for entering the hobby – even with its price. It is an entry level detector that is very user-friendly.
This machine operates on a single frequency of VLF. Search modes include five and a mono coil. The depth indicator and fixed ground balance make it easy to use.
This is an excellent budget-friendly machine. It doesn’t have many features, but it will bring finds and allow users to learn and develop their skills.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Deep Can A Metal Detector Go
Modern detectors can find gold as small as half a grain. As the size of the target gets bigger, it can be found at greater depths. A single grain nugget could be found 1-2 inches deep. A match head size nugget could be found 3-5 inches deep.
Metal detectors have a hard time noticing metal that is not magnetic, like steel. Steel is not very good at conducting electricity. This means it does not produce a signal that the metal detector can notice. Other items that metal detectors will not be able to find rare gems.
You need to swing your detector’s coil close to the ground. This way, it will detect things at a deeper level. But some people, like me, forget this, and they are not as close to the ground as they should be.
This detector is a true machine. It has a 10×12 “DD coil. Objects from 18” to 1.3 meters can be found with this detector. It is also submersible and waterproof. It can go underwater up to 3 meters deep and work even when wet! This detector adapts to any type of environment, so it will be an excellent option.
The GER Detect Diamond Hunter is a good detector. It can discover diamonds up to 35 meters deep and 2500 meters away. Its strong signal receiver makes this possible, locating and orienting you to the objective. Thanks to an automatic guide indicating where it is above while providing the point where it is.
Not every creek and river has gold. Most of them have none or have so little that it is not worth the time to find it. But some do, so you need to research where they are before you go looking for gold.