5 Best Metal Detectors Under $200

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The Fisher F22 is one of the best metal detectors under $200

To be straightforward from the start, you may be disappointed to find out that $200 won’t stretch far in the metal detecting world.

What it will get you is a basic model that will get you started.

You will find that you will require an upgrade down the road.

This isn’t your lifelong metal detector, but it is your ticket into the hobby.

Since we all need to start somewhere, it makes sense to start with the basics.

Here is what you need to know to get your expectations in order when you’re buying a metal detector for a couple hundred bucks.

Best Metal Detectors Under $200 In 2020

These are the entry-level metal detectors in the market designed for kids, older kids, and beginner adults.

It can be hard to tell junk apart from the good ones, so it’s essential that you do your research.

If you can research and identify the foundational features of a metal detector, you’ll be able to spot the budget metal detectors worth buying.

All metal detectors in this price range will be VLF single frequency machines. Frequencies will vary between 6 kHz to 7 kHz.

They’re designed to detect all metals but are usually calibrated for coins at approximate depths of 6” in ideal conditions and large targets at 18” or more.

To help you sift through the multitude of detectors in this price range, here are a small handful of the good ones.

Best Metal Detectors Under $200 Reviews

1. Fisher F22

The Fisher F22 metal detector is made in the USA, is an upgraded model of the favorite Fisher F2, and it has all the right fixings to be a great beginner detector.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Visual target ID

✔️ Iron audio

✔️ New searchcoil

✔️ Battery life

✔️ Ultra-lightweight

❌ Preset ground balance

When manufacturers come out with an “upgrade,” there’s very little, noticeable differences. However, this is not the case with the Fisher F22. The first and foremost difference is the specially designed 9” triangular searchcoil that’s made for tight spots and submersion into shallow water.

The F22 is a 7.69 kHz frequency detector that coin-shooters will like. For the price, it’s excellent to see a visual target ID display with a numerical scale of 0-99. You also have discrimination, depth indicator, and pinpointing.

What is also a bonus is the Iron Audio feature. You can change the volume of ferrous targets independently of the volume on non-ferrous targets. With this feature, you won’t have to compromise performance by completely eliminating iron, but you can minimize its volume, so you don’t get worn out too fast.

The Fisher F22 is collapsible, adjustable, and super lightweight. It’s made for the beginner looking to acquire coin-shooter status.  

2. Garrett ACE 200

The 200 model is the most basic of the ACE detectors in the series, but it’s certainly at the top when comparing it to other entry-level metal detectors in the market. Here’s why.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Visual target ID

✔️ Adjustable sensitivity

✔️ 3 search modes

✔️ 3 tones

✔️ Cam locks

❌ Preset ground balance

Like most other basic metal detectors, the ACE 200 follows suit with preset ground balance. It’s a compromise for the low price, and it take this difficult feature out of the equation for beginners.

The visual target ID is the most attractive feature to adults as you can acquire more understanding about a detected target and develop the skills needed to hone your intuition. It has numerical target ID that works in tandem with the three audio tones the 200 offers.

The discrimination is fixed with its preset patterns that ties in with the three search modes: ZERO DISC, Jewelry, and Coins. If you see a picture with a display that shows five search modes, you’re looking at the ACE 300.

You also have adjustable sensitivity to help with maintaining detection stability in tougher grounds. Improved cam locks will prove valuable to stable swinging and overall durability.

The ACE 200 is a basic but good beginner metal detector that gets you in the field. You will have to buy accessories separately. This is not unusual as you know the cost goes into the detector and not mediocre accessories that generally don’t work anyway.

3. Nalanda MD027

It may come as a surprise that a generic brand is highly recommended. Well, the MD027 from Nalanda is one of the only, true underwater metal detectors at this price point.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Price

✔️ Submersible

✔️ LED target ID

✔️ 3 search modes

✔️ Pinpoint

❌ No backlight

The MD027 is an underwater and diving metal detector. For the price, it doesn’t get better than this. It’s submersible to 131 feet or 40 meters. This is an incredible depth for a “basic” metal detector in this price range.

True to the underwater metal detector design, it lacks a visual LCD display. Instead, the Nalanda has a knob interface and an LED lighting system that provides visual identification of a detected target. Watch the control box for green, red, and blue lights. The color along with its blinking speed provides information about the target or any issues that may arise.

The three search modes are all-metal, varying levels of discrimination as set with the knob, and pinpoint. You can also adjust for sensitivity, but ground balance is preset. Weight is a non-issue since you’ll be in the water, but it does lack a backlight or flashlight that would help with visibility when you’re deep under the surf.

What is awesome about this cheap underwater metal detector is the fact that waterproof headphones are included in the buy. You can get diving for lost treasure out of the box – don’t forget your sand scoop.

4. Bounty Hunter Quick Silver

This is one of the most affordable models in this list. The Quick Silver is far above the mediocre models in its similar price range of around $100 as it offers the best balance between features, performance, and cost.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Visual display

✔️ Discrimination

✔️ 3 tones

✔️ Adjustable sensitivity

✔️ Headphone jack

❌ Preset ground balance

While many budget metal detectors are still sporting analog interfaces, the Quick Silver has an advantage with its visual display. It’s basic, but it’s still convenient for those who want to see what their possible targets are and what settings they’re using.

The display does not have a numerical target ID, but it does split metal types into four categories. With this, you can also discriminate three of the categories and then toggle back into all-metal mode.

The BH metal detector has three audio tones for various types of targets, but they’re not inherently tied to the discrimination patterns on the display. Best procedure method when you hear a low tone, but it shows up in a segment that’s not iron? Dig it up. It could be a small gold item. Yes – the Quick Silver can find gold!

Another feature that’s unique to an entry-level detector is the headphone jack. Most won’t have that option, so you’re forced to share your beeps with the crowd – not so with the Quick Silver. Buy headphones with volume control and you’re golden.

5. Bounty Hunter MACH-1

Looking for the absolute cheapest metal detector that’s worth a dime? Check out the BH MACH-1.

Pros & Cons

✔️ Price

✔️ 2-button operation

✔️ Digital display

✔️ Discrimination

✔️ 4 audio tones

❌ Weatherproof searchcoil

Spending as little as possible puts you into the kid’s toy department, but you don’t want a toy, you want a real metal detector that’s suitable for an adult or at least an older child. Enter here, the MACH-1.

It’s very basic but it has way more than most other metal detectors in its budget price range. It features a digital display that shows four discrimination segments, target depth indicator, sensitivity, and battery life.

You can discriminate three of the four segments to fine-tune what type of targets you want to find. The target depth indicator can detect in 2” increments from the surface and then will indicate at its deepest if a target is buried 4” or deeper. What’s nice is that the audio tones are inherently tied to the four DISC segments, so you’ll know exactly what metal types are detected based on the tone.

A couple downsides to mention is the searchcoil can’t be submerged into water and there is no headphone jack. If you want to spend as little as possible, it does not come without compromise.

The MACH metal detector is covered with a 5-year warranty, is very user-friendly, and has just enough complexity that makes it better than other cheap metal detectors.

What to Look for in a Metal Detector Under $200

Metal detectors in this price range can look similar even to the point of looking identical save for color. It can be hard to tell them apart which makes discerning the good ones from the bad a difficult task.

Here is a guideline to what you should expect in this price range.

Budget

An adult looking for a high-quality metal detector for the first time should spend between $100-$200 if you can’t afford to spend more.

If you’re looking to buy for a child or an older kid, you can find some good gems for under $100, but anything around $100 will prove to have better foundational quality.

Types of Displays

Metal detectors around and under $100 will have an analog interface. These metal detectors use a needle that is directly tied to a signal’s strength. The closer the target is to the searchcoil and the higher its conductivity, the louder the tone will be, and the stronger the response from the needle.

Metal detectors around $200 should have a digital display. It may or may not have a numerical target ID program, but the visual display will likely show discrimination segments, target depth indicators, sensitivity meters, and battery life indicators.

Adjustable Sensitivity

All metal detectors should have adjustable sensitivity, even if it is limited to three levels. Changing sensitivity will help with detecting various targets at different depths.

It can also be helpful if you want to hunt in low to moderate mineralized soils. By turning down sensitivity, you essentially reduce the detector’s ability to detect targets, but by doing so, you can minimize the interference from minerals or nearby electrical sources.

By lowering sensitivity, you may still be able to find highly-conductive targets that are close to the surface. Increasing sensitivity allows you to find small and large targets at maximum depth detection that is capable of being provided.

Preset Ground Balance

If you were expecting to find a metal detector that allows you to have automatic or manual ground balance in this price range, you have unrealistic expectations.

For under 200, all metal detectors will have preset ground balance. This is factory-set for average soil conditions. It will work fine in fields and parks with little mineral interference. This is what we call “quiet ground.”

If you’re hunting in areas with high levels of minerals such as salt, the detector will become noisy with false signals or will introduce “chatter.”

Unfortunately, metal detectors for this price cannot be balanced to these ground minerals. It’s an expected compromise for the low price tag.

Adjustable Shaft

Almost all shafts or rods will be adjustable in length. One tell-tale way to determine if it’s a real adult detector or one for kids is to look at what the maximum extended length is.

Adult detectors should be extendable over 40”. The taller you are, the longer you need the shaft to be and this could very well put you in the 50”+ range.

Kid detectors will have adjustable shafts from 20” to 40”.

Light-Duty Build Quality

These metal detectors will be very lightweight, weighing somewhere between 1 lb to 3 lbs. Although they’re lightweight, it’s just as important that they are well-balanced.

A nose-heavy or top-heavy metal detector can cause strain, and consequently, pain. A poorly balanced detector can encourage incorrect positioning which can affect proper swinging and detection.

Budget detectors are also prone to having a lot of plastic parts that can break. Either ensure you’re purchasing one with a good warranty or expect to be ready to upgrade once it fails.

FAQs

What is the Best Metal Detector Under $200?

The best metal detector for $200 will have a digital display with a numerical target ID scale. It will have some level of discrimination, adjustable sensitivity, long battery life, headphone jack, and a balanced build.

Believe it or not, not all metal detectors at this price point have every feature mentioned but the best will. However, it will still have preset ground balance as this is a standard feature for inexpensive metal detectors.

What is the Best Metal Detector for a Beginner?

Is the beginner a child or adult? Has the beginner had any experience with metal detectors? What is the budget?

While there are more than a few things that will determine what the best metal detector for a beginner will be, it goes without saying the best one will be the one that is well used.

Regardless of price, it should be one that the beginner can grow with. This means it should provide the essential features of a more complex model but in simple configurations. This will help a beginner to develop metal detecting skills that will help to reduce the learning curve when they’re ready to upgrade.

Do Your Research

While more expensive metal detectors have foundational qualities at their core, it’s a matter of comparing features to determine if it’s appropriate for your metal detecting goals.

When it comes to inexpensive metal detectors, what you want to look for is the presence of those foundational qualities. It may not have the latest technologies or fancy features, but it should have a reliable and accurate system.

In the beginning, digging everything is part of the learning process. A $200 metal detector should be able to provide the basics in an easy-to-understand format, be somewhat waterproof, and have some level of user adjustability to develop metal detecting skills.

Know your stuff and do your research on your favorite lineup of cheap metal detectors and it will soon become clear which one hovers above the rest.

Further Reading

Last update on 2020-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Simon Owen

I’m Simon and I love finding things. From a young age I always had the knack to find coins, notes, wallets and more. All of that was without the use of technology. I look forward to sharing with you some amazing tech that will make your treasure hunt a lot easier.