Best Classifiers for Gold: How to Find the Right One For You

There are several tools you should have when going out gold panning. A gold classifier is one of those tools. It can help speed up the process and improve your chances of finding gold. What are the best gold panning classifiers?

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SE Patented Stackable 13-1/4″ Sifting Pan

Garrett Metal Detectors Sifter/Classifier

9 Stackable Sifting pan/classifier set

5 Stackable Sifting pan/classifier set

What Does a Classifier Do?

A classifier is a tool that you can use to separate rocks and other large pieces from the finer pebbles and sands. This is beneficial because it makes finding gold in the streambed material easier.

Panning Gets Easier:

To pan for gold, you remove the lighter materials by submerging the pan into water, raising it, and letting the water that escapes the pan carry the lighter materials. Larger rocks will remain in the pan and must be removed manually. A classifier screens out these rocks so they don’t end up in your gold pan in the first place!

More Gold:

The panning process can be done quickly, so you can pan more material and find more gold. You will also be able to dispose of larger rocks without obstruction, increasing your recovery rate.

Less to Carry:

If you have a classifier and collect streambed material in a bucket, you can carry only the valuable material. You can throw away the heavy rocks.

When you use some types of specialized equipment, they work best if the material is within a certain size range. Classifiers help you quickly separate the material into different sizes so the equipment can work more efficiently.

Some devices used for gold prospecting are sluice boxes, miller tables, and blue bowls.

Which Mesh Size Should You Pick?

A 1/4-inch classifier is an excellent option for most gold panning operations. However, different-sized classifiers can be useful depending on the site you are working on.

The classifier size you use depends on the area you are working in. For example, if you know that a particular area has yielded gold nuggets in the past, you might not want a very fine mesh since you could end up losing them. Regardless, checking the tailings with a metal detector is always a good idea if you are prospecting in an area with gold nuggets.

Sometimes, when working with pieces of equipment, like blue bowls, you will classify material down to 100 mesh!

Here are 5 of the best classifiers you can find today!

Top 5 Classifiers For Gold Panning

There are many options when it comes to choosing a classifier. A sieve is just a tool separating things, so you don’t need to spend too much money on one. However, the cheapest options are made from plastic, which isn’t as durable as metal screens.

Here are five classifiers that most prospectors and gold panners can use:

1. SE Patented Stackable 13-1/4″ Sifting Pan

This is a good classifier because it is inexpensive, lightweight, and has a stainless steel screen. It is a good choice if you want just one classifier that will last many years.

Various mesh sizes are available, ranging from 1/100 inch to 1/2 inch. We recommend the 1/4 inch size since it will filter out the majority of larger rocks while allowing smaller gold nuggets to pass through.


  • Inexpensive
  • Robust Construction: Made from resilient plastic and stainless steel
  • Available in several sizes
  • Stackable
  • Compatible with standard 5-gallon buckets


  • Nothing in particular

2. Garrett Metal Detectors Sifter/Classifier

Garret is known for making high-quality products that are also durable. This reputation extends to their classifiers, some of the best in the industry.

This metal detector is designed specifically for metal detecting but can also be used in wet conditions. It is very cheap, so it is a good option for new prospects who do not want to spend much money.

This classifier is made of plastic material, unlike the other one, which only has a plastic frame.

This is reflected in the device’s weight, around half that of classifiers with a mesh screen made of stainless steel.


  • Extremely inexpensive light: The weight of classifiers with metal screens is halved.
  • Compatible with five-gallon buckets


  • Only one size (1/2 inch) is available.
  • Concerns over the product’s durability, considering its plastic screen.

3. 9 Stackable Sifting pan/classifier set

This set of classifiers is perfect if you want to be prepared for different types of operations when you are a gold miner. The following sizes are included:

  • 1/100
  • 1/70
  • 1/50
  • 1/30
  • 1/20
  • 1/12
  • 1/8
  • 1/4
  • 1/2

You don’t need many different classifiers when panning for gold. Still, it can be helpful to have a lot of different sizes. This is because you want to clean your gold concentrates as best as possible. Some pieces of specialized clean-up equipment, like the blue bowl or miller table, work more efficiently if the material is similar in size.

The classifiers are designed to fit on top of a 5-gallon bucket. They are also stackable, which makes it easy to classify materials quickly.

As the material is poured through the stack of classifiers, each one will capture gravels of a particular size. The gravel that is bigger than the mesh size of the classifier will stay in that classifier. At the same time, everything else will go to the next classifier with a smaller mesh size. This is quite useful!


  • The stackable, time-saving design sits on top of a standard 5-gallon bucket.
  • Durable stainless steel Wire construction that will not break!
  • Great price


  • The given mesh sizes may not be precisely what you’re searching for.
  • It may be deemed pricey if you do not intend to use all or most of the provided classifiers.

4. 5 Stackable Sifting pan/classifier set

This set is similar to the other one but has 5 classifiers instead of 9. The tiny mesh sizes have been removed, while the bigger ones have been kept.

Here is a list of the included sizes:

  • 1/20
  • 1/12
  • 1/8
  • 1/4
  • 1/2

If you don’t want to use a device to separate tiny gold, you might decide this is a better option. You won’t need those smaller mesh sizes.

5. Stansport Gold Panning Classifier

This popular plastic classifier has all the features you might want in a classifier. It is lightweight and cheap, and it is made from durable plastic. Additionally, it sits on top of a 5-gallon bucket, making it more manageable.

As with the other plastic classifier on this list, only one size is offered.


  • Really Chep
  • Lightweight
  • Fits on top of 5- gallon buckets


  • Only comes in one size.


Classifiers are helpful pieces of equipment that help us classify materials into sizes that are easier to work with. This makes the process easier and helps increase successful gold recovery rates.

Classifying your material is especially important when using devices like the blue bowl to clean up. These devices work more efficiently if the particles are similar in size.

Read more: How to Pan for Gold

Frequently Asked Questions About Classifiers for Gold

What Is a Classifier in Gold Panning?

Gold classifiers are screens that fit on top of 5-gallon buckets and gold pans. They help screen out larger rocks and debris before panning the material.

What Does a Classifier Do?

Classifiers are machine learning algorithms that assign a class label to data input. An example of this is an image recognition classifier that can label an image (e.g., “car,” “truck,” or “person”).

What Is the Gold Recovery Rate?

The fine gold recovery rate is about 90-95%. The BACOX process can work for a range of different sizes. The amount of concentrate that needs to be treated ranges from 30t/d to 1,000t/d, equivalent between 200t/d and 5,000t/d of ore.

What Is the Best Way of Separating Gold From Sand?

Testing has shown that the best and cheapest way to extract gold from sand is by using gravity separation. It is the most efficient gold separation method.

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