Coin hunting is by far one of the most popular hobbies of metal detecting. It’s an activity that users of all ages and skill levels can enjoy, and all metal detectors will detect coins regardless of its price tag.
So, why would you spend more on a metal detector if a cheap one can find coins?
Are extra features worth it?
Questions of this nature will be addressed, and models that you may want to consider will be listed here. The metal detectors in this lineup vary in price, so there will be no single detector that is the best overall. You will decide what features are important to you, how much you want to spend, and where you will be using it.
If you’re clueless on where to start, this guide will point you in the right direction.
Best Metal Detectors for Coins
Finding modern day change is exciting in and of itself. You could find a few bucks at a good hunting site where people are losing money all day long – it’s like the outdoor version of finding coins under couch cushions. But, when you find historical caches, state coins, and silver dimes, it can be a financially rewarding experience that will stay with you for life.
As mentioned earlier, the cheapest to the most expensive metal detector will detect coins. After all, coins are made of metal. However, a detector’s price point is indicative of extra or specialized features it may have. This can include features that allow a user to fine-tune settings, hunt in mineralized ground, and even to separate targets when there are many different coins grouped together or surrounded by trash.
Some of the best metal detectors at the high end of the price spectrum are:
- Minelab CTX 3030
- Minelab Equinox 800
- XP Deus
- White’s Spectra V3i
- Nokta Makro Anfibio Multi
- Garrett GTI 2500
- Garrett AT Max
But, to help with realistic budgets, the detectors in this lineup below are all under $1000 and have beginner to mid-level quality.
Let’s check them out.
Best Coin Metal Detector Reviews
1. XP ORX
- Includes 9.5" Elliptical Waterproof DD High Frequency Search Coil, 9.5” Coil Cover, WS Audio Headphone, Wireless, Spare Set of Headphone Ear Pads, Detailed ORX Users Manual, Ultra-light Telescopic “S” Stem, 2 Sets of Coil Hardware, Single USB Upgrade Cable, USB Charging Cable, Velcro Armrest Strap, USB Charging Clip, HF Coil Cable Pull, Plastic Display Screen Protection Film
The ORX is a high-performing, all-purpose metal detector that experienced detectorists will have fun with. Beginners will grow with the ORX and will figure out how to improve their detection for greater depth and older coins along the way.
✔️ Selectable frequency
✔️ Wireless searchcoils
✔️ Gold & Coins
✔️ User adjustable settings
❌ Must purchase XP compatible searchcoils
The ORX has components that allow the searchcoil and remote control to function independently of each other. The wireless searchcoil is essentially the “detector” and offers various selectable frequencies for operation.
The only problem with this is you’ll have to do some research into which searchcoil will best suit your needs. Looking for the right package will be key to getting the best buy. Remember, it’s not a multi-frequency detector but selectable frequency detector, so only one frequency can be used at a time. Using a low frequency below 10 kHz will best suit coin hunting.
The ORX has only Gold and Coin modes. You can hunt “fast” or “deep” for coins depending on the conditions of the hunting site. You can also take your hunt to the water since it’s rated to be submersible up to 5 meters with the purchase of a separate underwater kit.
Multiple, advanced user settings will help to fine-tune the detector to the challenges you may face while searching for coins. Auto and manual ground balance, adjustable threshold, discrimination, and more will keep you busy finding more coins and less trash.
2. Garrett AT Pro
The AT Pro is one of the most-loved detectors from the brand for its ability to function in various terrains. If you want a detector that does well for coins and relic hunting as well as one that can be taken underwater, this may be the detector for you.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Higher frequency
✔️ High-res iron
✔️ Iron Audio
❌ Not for saltwater use
The Garrett metal detector is part of the All-Terrain series where they’re designed to be taken anywhere and everywhere. This is important to acknowledge because lost coins can be found in a variety of ground conditions from the beach to parks and fields. However, in saltwater and black sand, it’ll take some knowledge to make necessary adjustments to obtain maximum performance in these areas.
Fortunately, the AT Pro comes with a plethora of user adjustable settings. First off, you have high-resolution iron features that includes iron discrimination of 40 levels. Filter out for pull-tabs or tin foil, but still detect positively on coins like nickels that would normally be masked by these targets. You also have Iron Audio that allows you to turn down the volume of iron signals without notching them out. You’ll still know you’re in the right area if there’s a lot of trash or relics around, but you can focus on the good signals from coins.
Auto and manual ground balance will help when mineralization begins to interfere with detection. 15 kHz can be overkill for coins, but it’s still within the fine jewelry, relics, and small coin range. The AT Pro will take you to places you wouldn’t dare go with a land-based model, and it has enough perks to see you through the hard times of detecting. For the price, it’s one of the best amphibian detectors in the market.
3. White’s TreasurePro
The TreasurePro is priced as an entry-level metal detector, but its features tell more of the story – you be the judge. If you’re a coin shooter on a budget that refuses to compromise on quality, the White’s detector fits the bill.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Frequency & searchcoil
✔️ Tone ID
✔️ Auto & Tracking GB
✔️ Adjustable threshold
❌ Not specifically made for saltwater
The TreasurePro metal detector has great specs and features for its price. It operates at 8.2 kHz and comes with a 10” DD searchcoil. Right off the bat, it’s right within the Goldilocks frequency zone for coins, and the searchcoil will provide increased depth and good target separation.
To hear what’s going on below your feet while hunting, you have adjustable threshold to hear even the faintest of signals. You also have Tone Identification that allows the user to associate a tone with a Target ID range. There are three modes within Tone ID: 2-Tone, 4-Tone, and 8-Tone. With this level of audio, you won’t have to look at your screen to quickly identify the metal found.
The TreasurePro has both automatic and tracking ground balance. These features make it easier for the beginner as it does the hard work of measuring and balancing to the ground without much user interference. However, while it does work on the beach, be careful around saltwater. You may have to make adjustments to ground balance or fine-tune settings to saltwater, but the only searchcoil is waterproof, so no water near the control box.
If you wanted to hunt for coins long after tourists have left, you can head out at night since the display has a backlight of its own. The White’s TreasurePro allows you to have more without spending more. Not bad for an entry-level detector.
4. Fisher F44
The Fisher F44 has excellent features that will maximize a coin-shooter’s hunt. With Iron Audio, advanced ground balance, and a frequency calibrated for coins, you’ll be digging up change all day or night long.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Target ID
✔️ Depth indicator
✔️ Iron Audio
✔️ Auto & Manual GB
❌ No accessories included
The F44 model has to be one of the best metal detectors for a beginner. It’s priced low enough to be affordable and it has better features that allow a user to develop essential detecting skills. It has Target ID that assigns a value to a detected object based on its conductivity. This will help you determine the type of coin that’s been found before you dig.
Since this detector is calibrated for coins, it also has a depth indicator that provides an estimate on how deep the coin is. Measurements from 0-6.5” or more will be represented in segments. The more segments there are, the deeper it is.
Advanced user settings include Iron Audio for adjusting volume of ferrous signals. There is a Computerized Ground Grab function that works like automatic ground balance. It can only be used in All Metal mode while manual ground balance will provide optimum performance in the other search modes.
Pinpoint will help you target an object’s precise location, so there’s no need to buy a separate pinpointer. It’s a good thing too because no accessories are included with the F44. You’ll have to purchase headphones and a carry case for your all gear separately.
For the price, the F44 is worth it. At least you can be sure the total cost went into the metal detector and wasn’t split between mediocre accessories. Quality guaranteed.
5. Minelab X-TERRA 305
Part of finding the best metal detector for you may have everything to do with the brand. If there’s a company that you expect exceptional quality from, it’s Minelab. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay typical Minelab prices for this detector. The X-TERRA 305 comes in under $300.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Target ID
✔️ Manual GB
✔️ Adjustable settings
✔️ Compatible with higher frequency coil
❌ No auto GB
The X-TERRA 305 model is a no-nonsense detector. It provides additional functions that are a notch up from entry-level with quality and accuracy that you would expect from Minelab. Even though it’s an entry-level detector, it has the favorite and convenient features we all love to see – Target ID, depth indicator, multiple tones, and discrimination.
However, the 305 takes things to the next level with manual ground balance instead of automatic or even preset. This may make things harder for the beginner, but they’ll have the opportunity to be a detecting a pro in no time.
You also have three noise cancel channels to take advantage of when interference comes into play and you don’t want to force adjustments if they’re not necessary. Adjustable threshold is an expert-level feature, an electronic pinpoint function is built into the system, and a Target Volume feature is also provided.
What about VFLEX? What it comes down to is the ability to change out the searchcoil to use a different frequency. The searchcoil that comes with the 305 has an operating frequency of 7.5 kHz – perfect for coin shooting. But, you can swap it out for a higher 18.75 kHz to go searching for gold nuggets, historical relics, and fine and thin jewelry.
The X-TERRA 305 detector may be entry-level but it’s every bit deserving of having the Minelab name on it. When you find a deal like this, stick with the best.
6. White’s Coinmaster
The Coinmaster is as cheap as it’s going to get if you’re considering only the authoritative brands in the metal detecting industry. Made to master coin detecting, I reckon it’s been coined appropriately.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Easy to use
✔️ Target indicators
✔️ Adjustable sensitivity
❌ Preset GB
The Coinmaster is a no-fuss, get-out-there and start detecting type of machine. It’s incredibly easy to use and with preset ground balance, there’s no need for you to be fussing over this feature. It may limit you from hunting in questionable terrains, but having been built for the average user, it will suffice.
Besides, you have adjustable sensitivity to help when trying to find the right balance between tough ground conditions and depth. You also have discrimination to silence out the target IDs you don’t want to find.
Making things even easier, the Coinmaster has only two search modes – motion and non-motion. These modes are represented by an All Metal mode and Pinpoint mode. There’s nothing fancy here with fine-tuning the parameters for specific terrains or targets since this is a detector made for coins.
It has an operating frequency of 8 kHz, target categories named for coins and junk items, and a depth indicator that provides a probable depth measurement of the target. It’s super lightweight, has a long operating life of 20 hours, and it’s made in the USA.
What more is there to say? Simple does it.
What to Look for in a Metal Detector for Coins
All metal detectors will detect coins, but what advanced features can you do without and what will you need to improve performance? Let’s get into the details so you know exactly what it is you need and can justify the cost.
Beginners to advanced detectorists all enjoy metal detecting for coins. The key difference between the users will be the type of metal detector they buy. Cheaper detectors within the $100-$400 range will suit the beginner just fine. They’re affordable, have preset user settings, and are typically calibrated with a frequency that’s best for coins.
Advanced users will opt for something in the mid-level to high-end range of detectors for the additional features that allows them to modify user settings, hunt in mineralized ground, and it may have additional frequencies that they can use to hunt for other types of targets like gold nuggets. These types of detectors can start at $500 and they can be as expensive as $2500.
However, beginners may want to start with a mid-level detector so they can grow with it. It will serve as a beginner and intermediate detector with which they can develop essential skills needed to move on to advanced models for more specialized detecting. These will be around $700-$1000.
Frequency & Searchcoils
The Goldilocks zone for coin shooting is 6-8 kHz. Most detectors under $500 will have this frequency calibrated for coins. It’s considered the best range for detecting coin-size, conductive targets at a decent depth of 2-10”. Coin detectors are typically all-round and general-purpose detectors, so they will also detect a lot of ferrous targets like iron nails, relics, and jewelry.
To find smaller items, fine jewelry, and maybe even some gold nuggets requires a higher frequency for greater sensitivity. A detector of this type will have a frequency range between 10-20 kHz. These will also detect coins, but you’ll have to consider the searchcoil size to help with depth detection. Going larger in size may help with “seeing” deeper and detecting large, buried objects like caches.
A very low frequency, say, between 2-5 kHz will have excellent depth detection, but a smaller searchcoil may help with homing in on small targets like coins, working in trashy and small areas, and finding those shallow buried objects. Medium-sized searchcoils are considered all-purpose and work well for a broad range of hunting.
You must also consider the shape of the searchcoil. Concentric (round) searchcoils are easier to use for pinpointing, and they potentially have the greatest configuration for sensitivity. However, they’re prone to experiencing a loss in performance when concentrated quantities of ground minerals are present. But, if you’re the average hunter, a concentric searchcoil will get you by for coins. If you’re going to extend your hunt into mineralized ground and will include gold and relics in your search, a DD searchcoil will outperform a concentric coil.
VLF detectors provide excellent and accurate discrimination. PI (pulse induction) detectors are specialized machines and usually used for very deep detecting and for gold prospecting. These are not usually the type of detectors that you’ll want if you’re coin-shooting, and they have little to no ability to discriminate.
But, why do you need discrimination? It’ll help you to filter out junk and iron targets so you can focus on digging up coins. The problem is, pull tabs and screw caps have similar signal responses to some types of coins. A detector with enhanced iron resolution or increased discrimination and notching can help with filtering out unwanted targets so that you don’t misinterpret or pass up on what is actually a good target. Obviously, digging it up will never fail you as your digging tool will be the best discriminator.
Hitting “iffy” ground will pose problems for your detector. Salt and iron oxides are the worst, and you’ll know what I mean when you start hearing constant false signals that will discourage and wear you out. To cancel out the signals from ground minerals will require a Ground Balance feature on the detector. Most cheap models come from the factory with preset ground balance. They’re designed for the average user for average ground conditions. This can be both a good and bad thing. As a newbie to the hobby, it means you won’t have to deal with ground balancing as it may very well be the most challenging feature to master, but you won’t be able to adjust it on the fly for various types of terrains.
While preset may be fine for recreational coin shooters, it’s better if you have an automatic function, and it’s the best if you have tracking and manual ground balance. This is aimed more for the advanced user as they’ll know how to negatively or positively ground balance for the conditions.
Once you’ve detected a target, you’ll want to find its exact location and dig the smallest hole possible. Most detectors these days have an electronic pinpoint function. This also goes back to the type of searchcoil you have. Concentrics are easier and perhaps faster to pinpoint with, but then they also have their disadvantages. The most important factor here is to practice with the searchcoil you’re most comfortable with. It’s not easy to do in the field by winging it, so practice, practice, and practice before you head out. A handheld pinpointer may be worth considering as part of your detecting gear.
What is the Best Metal Detector for Silver Coins?
Silver is a highly-conductive metal, and so you won’t need fancy specs to find it. A low frequency will do just fine, but the problem lies primarily with depth. Silver coins are old, and the longer the coins have been in the ground, the deeper they go. So, you’ll want a metal detector that can penetrate deep with enough sensitivity to pick up on the smallest of coins, like a silver dime.
You’ll have to match frequency with the right size searchcoil and take advantage of sensitivity and threshold settings to ensure you have the right parameters to not only detect it, but ensure the Target ID reads accurately. When in doubt, dig it up. The Minelab CTX 3030 would make an excellent coin-shooter for silver coins, but if the budget is restrictive, consider the Fisher F44 or the Minelab X-TERRA 305.
Can You Make a Living Metal Detecting?
If you were to ask around, the general consensus is “no.” But, there are many factors that must be considered. Everything from the type of detector you use and your experience to the prospective hunting sites and your dedication to the hobby will contribute to how successful you are in your endeavors to make it a consistent source of income. Things to consider are travel costs to lucrative hunting sites, the research time into the geology and history, and other expenses for the necessary gear like wetsuits and diving equipment for underwater detecting which can be a financially profitable venture.
But, to remain positive, you can look into partnerships with museums, archeology organizations, police and forensic services, and other similar business opportunities. You may have to purchase multiple metal detectors and other technologies to improve your success rate of finding lode deposits, sunken relics, and other profitable types of metal.
Where Can I Find Old Coins with a Metal Detector?
Literally anywhere you can take your metal detector. Old coins are largely associated with “old” sites. Think along the lines of abandoned buildings, historic homes, swimming sites, churches, parks, and forts. You may already have a list of potential hunting sites in mind, but many locations will require permits or some form of permission, especially if they’re considered a protected site. You may be granted the privilege of metal detecting, but you may be restricted on digging. It’s essential to do your research on the types of permissions required and the historical facts about the site.
So, You Want to be a Coin Shooter, eh?
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to get started in the coin-shooting hobby. Get a detector, look up some sites, and get out there and give it a try. Modern day coins are likely the hit for the day, but if you put some effort into some prospective sites, you may be able to find some coins you had no idea were once in circulation.
Soon enough, you’ll be shootin’ out terms like Barber dime, bust coin, fattie, heartbreaker, Morgan silver dollar, and more. However, you’ve got to get out in the field and put some sweat and tears into it before you can claim to be a coin shooter.
Get a metal detector, get to work, and earn your stripes!
Last update on 2020-07-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API