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How deep can you metal detect?
Are you tired of hearing “it depends” as the final answer?
It’s true there are many factors that affect depth detection as it’s more complex than you might think.
This guide will break it down so you can get an idea of how your metal detector is working to provide the best results.
Can you push it to give more?
Let’s find out.
Deepest Metal Detectors In 2020
To achieve maximum depth isn’t always an easy task.
To use low frequencies may be sound advice, but you may lose sensitivity to the small stuff that could very well be gold nuggets or valuable jewelry.
How do you find the right balance?
Before you lose your mind into the depths of figuring out maximum depth with a metal detector, check out our lineup first.
It was handpicked specifically to provide a viable option at every price point. We can’t all afford the best pulse induction metal detectors that are known for providing deep detection, so what’s left?
Deepest Metal Detector Reviews
1. Makro DeepHunter 3D Pro
This is not your everyday kind of buy. It’s incredibly expensive, but you get incredible depth.
Pros & Cons
✔️ 3D graphic display
✔️ Selectable frequency
✔️ Cavity detection
✔️ Incredible depth
✔️ Pro package
This is more than just a metal detecting detector. The DeepHunter 3D also offers cavity detection, that is, voids and cavities in the earth where deposits can be found. While a metal detector can’t detect jewels or some raw earths, it might be able to lead you to their hideouts.
The graphic display provides real-time information of large objects at significant depths. It splits segments into Cavity, Metal, Ferrous, and Precious Metal. The DeepHunter uses two frequencies that you can only operate singly: 12.5 kHz and 17.5 kHz.
In the Pro Package, you will receive multiple searchcoils. Of note are the T44 and T100 coils – yes, 44 cm and 100 cm searchcoils. This is no-joke. The Makro metal detector is a deep hunting tank that weighs like one too.
2. Minelab GPX 5000
The GPX has pulse induction technology. Right from the start, you have depth detection advantage.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Pulse induction
✔️ Multiple technologies
✔️ 8 timings
✔️ Rx gain
✔️ Audio options
The GPX 5000 is one of the best gold detectors around. As such, it’s been outfitted to have state-of-the-art technologies that enhance performance for prospecting. Think along the lines of max depth without losing sensitivity, specifically timed pulse releases to compensate for EMI interference, and dual voltage levels released at offset timings for max performance regardless of the terrain.
You also have 8 search modes, or more appropriately, timings that allow you to tailor detector performance for how you see fit in any given moment, terrain, and conditions. Rx gain improvements allow you to hear more information which means more signals without introducing unbearable noise into the equation.
Heard enough? The GPX 5000 is a prospector’s dream detector. For a not so dream-worthy price, it could be yours.
3. Garrett ATX Extreme
Pulse induction rules when it comes to depth, and fortunately, the ATX isn’t as expensive as other PI detectors.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Pulse induction
✔️ Some discrimination
The ATX is a popular metal detector, not just for its performance but for its low price too – as far as pulse induction is concerned.
It’s an all-terrain machine, so yes, it’s submersible and impervious to black sand, wet sand, saltwater, hot rocks, you name it. Unlike most PI detectors, the ATX offers 25 discrimination/delay settings. Discrimination isn’t a PI’s strong-suit, but at least you have the feature if you find the need for it especially if you switch out the searchcoil with a DD one.
This thing is solid and heavy-duty. You’ll feel the weight of its quality in your arm and shoulders. You may want to think about collapsing down its length and flipping back the searchcoil when transporting it. You won’t hurt anything as it’s designed for it.
4. White’s Spectra V3i HP
The price, multi-frequency tech, and HD color display are all attractive features. How can it get you more depth? Let’s find out.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Selectable frequency
✔️ Color display
✔️ Ground balance
✔️ Adjustable settings
❌ Learning curve
The Spectra V3i is incorporates three frequencies that can all be used simultaneously for full-advantage metal detecting. However, it also offers selectable frequency technology that allows you to use those frequencies individually. Why do that? Sometimes it’s needed. Like in the case of getting more depth.
A genius move from the brand, they offer a very low frequency of 2.5 kHz. This is what will help you kick it into deep detecting mode.
You also have a color display that presents a lot of information. There will be a learning curve just to understand how to use the interface. Needless to say, this isn’t your beginner machine.
Along with multiple options to ground balance, adjust audio, discriminate, adjust threshold, and more, there isn’t anything you can’t do with the Spectra.
5. Minelab Equinox 600
The Equinox 800, Equinox 600 – eh, same difference. Really though, there are a few differences between the two, but the 600 has a better price point and will work more than fine for most hobbyists unless you’re the hardcore prospector.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Selectable frequency
✔️ Custom profiles
❌ No gold mode
If you want a dedicated Gold Mode with a few more advanced settings, the Equinox 800 is for you. However, there’s no reason you can’t calibrate the 600 to improve your chances of detecting the valuable yellow stuff.
With multi-frequency of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 40 kHz to take advantage of, you’ll have full power to find everything from coins to gold. You can also use the lower three frequencies singly if you wanted to get specific with your user preference parameters.
The 600 models comes with wired headphones but it’s also compatible with Minelab’s wireless headphone technology and module. It comes with a large 11” searchcoil, and with Multi-IQ in your pocket, you won’t be losing the small change in the same sweep.
Give the 600 a solid run. It’s worth it especially if you need to keep the budget below $1000.
6. Garrett ACE Apex
The ACE Apex is affordable and yet still deserving to stand alongside these incredible, deep-seeking metal detectors. Here’s how it measures up.
Pros & Cons
✔️ Selectable frequency
✔️ Hybrid audio
✔️ Viper searchcoil
❌ No new searchcoils – yet
The ACE Apex is a one of a kind for the brand. It’s a new model with multi-frequency technology that is priced way too low. Let’s hope Garrett doesn’t catch on.
It essentially offers six frequencies with 5, 10, 15, and 20 kHz frequencies that can be used one at a time. The other two are multi-frequency modes that uses a combination or all for Multi-Frequency and Multi-Frequency Salt modes.
Hybrid audio is new with its proportional and binary blend, and you can listen to all the signals you will hear, weak or strong, through Garrett’s Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones.
The Viper DD searchcoil is 6×11” – great for both small and large coverage, and excellent for both high sensitivity and max depth.
What to Look for in the Deepest Metal Detectors
Now it’s time to delve deep into the workings of the deepest metal detectors for some detailed answers about depth detection.
What does Depth Mean?
Depth is subjective. Regardless, every metal detector is calibrated to perform to a certain depth based on the searchcoil used and the electrical circuitry of the metal detector itself.
As a very general guideline, entry-level metal detectors usually churn up coin-sized targets between 2” to 6”. Mid-range metal detectors can extend that range between 8” to 16”. High-end metal detectors start to get very specific about the type of metal it’s calibrated to detect. Depth levels will vary based on the metal detector technology in operation and searchcoil.
What Affects Depth Detection?
This is a difficult question to provide a single answer for. The most obvious factors are:
- Soil conditions
The metal type, conductivity, size, and orientation in the ground can affect depth detection. Obviously, small targets at greater depths are harder to detect. This is also true of shallow targets that are thin, small with low conductivity, and if it’s on its edge. Thin chains are also difficult to detect.
Like the target you’re hunting, soil conditions are out of your control to change. What do you do? You get a metal detector that can punch through the minerals, ignore it, or ground balance to it. Minerals like high-iron content rocks, black sand, and salt can cause you to lose depth.
Factors that are within your control are:
- Metal detector
Choosing a metal detector with the right parameters for your style of detecting comes first and foremost. The type of metal detector technology, frequency, and user adjustable settings can influence depth. Do your research on metal detectors to see if it can compensate for mineralized ground, allow for excellent audio to hear deep and weak signals, and of course, if you can afford it.
The searchcoil has a large part to do with depth. Its diameter and physics are extremely important as it’s responsible for transmitting the currents to detect metal! Concentric searchcoils are easier to pinpoint with and have an advantage with depth in quiet, non-mineralized ground. DD or elliptical searchcoils cover more ground but are better at working in mineralized ground.
When it comes to searchcoil size and depth, the general rule of thumb in detecting a coin-sized object is to expect an equal amount of depth to the searchcoil’s diameter. The smaller searchcoils have less depth, but they have stronger, concentrated field patterns to pick up small targets. Larger searchcoils have greater coverage and depth, but they lose sensitivity to small targets.
VLF VS Multi-Frequency VS Pulse Induction
Depth will largely be dependent on the quality of the metal detector and type of searchcoil used. VLF machines are versatile, but cheaper models tend to bottom out around 6”. The better the electronics and the more appropriate the searchcoil, the further you can push depth detection.
DD searchcoils provide great performance in mineralized ground and especially good target detection with multiple frequencies working simultaneously. This means you can achieve excellent depth with the low frequencies in use without compromising sensitivity to small targets as high frequencies are used.
They’re extremely good for working in mineralized ground by transmitting hundreds of pulses a second to detect metals. However, due to the mono searchcoil on most PI metal detectors, they are poor discriminators. You may get more depth, but you won’t be able to tell if it’s a deeply buried manhole or your retirement nugget.
Depth VS Sensitivity VS Discrimination
Discrimination can cause you to lose depth (and gold rings). Performance is somewhat compromised when you use high discrimination. This is why using adjustable threshold audio may be useful and why many relic hunters use All-Metal and a huge searchcoil.
Sensitivity is inherently tied to many aspects of metal detecting and metal detecting features. In non-mineralized soils, crank it up without compromising depth. In mineralized soils, you’ll crank up the chatter making it difficult to hear signals. Tune it down and you may lose the ability to pick up targets.
There’s a balancing act in play where you will need to determine if it’s worth gaining depth versus losing sensitivity or having to dig up your 50th pull-tab.
How do you Increase the Depth of a Metal Detector?
There are those pros that can find deeper treasure than the rest of us with the exact same metal detector. What’s that about?
Old hands know how to correctly use a metal detector for max depth. What’s the best-kept secret? Here goes. . .
Use your headphones. Use correct sweeping patterns: low and slow! Keep discrimination low. Be conservative with overlapping. Hunt wet ground. Practice.
Each tip can be researched further. Do your due diligence and watch your productivity improve.
What is the Best Metal Detector for Depth?
Nothing beats a pulse induction metal detector for achieving maximum depth out of the box. But, if it’s right for you, and of course, your budget, well that’s another matter altogether.
Buy the appropriate searchcoil and watch how you use your settings. Incorporate the tips to increase depth detection and you can make the most of the metal detector you own or plan on buying.
How Deep can a Gold Detector Detect?
Depends on the size of the nugget. Some of the best gold detectors are sensitive enough to detect sub 0.1 gram nuggets and others that can detect 1 gram nuggets at 6” or more while others can find them at 16”. The larger, raw kind of gold is supposedly detectable up to a maximum of 60”/1.5 m.
What is the Deepest Metal Detector for Coins?
Most people would be happy to find coins at 8” and 12” deep. This can be a tall order to fill for a cheap, entry-level metal detector. Buying a quality model with a decent searchcoil can reach those depths for coins, and others can also pluck them at 16”.
You may need to incorporate metal detecting tips for increasing depth detection to reach these depths with a coin-shooting detector.
The Smart Way of Getting More Depth
Depth isn’t everything and yet everyone wants it. Its inextricably intertwined with other determinants that you may very well not have any control over. What you can control is the balancing act between metal detector technology and the right searchcoil for the job.
It is an expensive route to own multiple metal detectors. Be smart about it and save yourself some money with acquiring at least two searchcoils for one detector to maximize performance for sensitivity and terrain or when you need depth.
Get smart and understand the balancing act in achieving depth. When you know how to use your machine, you’ll know how to get results.
- 10 Best Metal Detector Reviews 2020 (Our Top Picks)
- 5 Best Pulse Induction Metal Detectors
- 8 Best Metal Detectors For Gold Nuggets In 2020
- 6 Best Metal Detectors For Coins In 2020
- 6 Best Underwater Metal Detectors In 2020 – (Under $200 to $1,000+)
Last update on 2020-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API