Nalanda MD027 Metal Detector

Nalanda MD027 Underwater Metal Detector Review

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Not every underwater treasure hunter is an expert and needs an expensive model. 

The Nalanda MD027 is one of the cheapest, true, underwater metal detectors in the market. 

With just a quick scan over its control box tells you this thing was made to perform under the surf. 

If you’re planning on getting wet to dig up lost relics and diving deep to seek out sunken treasure, the MD027 will help you pirate the loot. 

It’s inexpensive, made for beginners, and it has the specs and features made to perform. 

At a Glance…

✔️ Best Feature: Underwater & Diving

Worst Feature: No Backlight

👌 Ideal For: Shallow Water, Freshwater, Saltwater, Submersion, Diving, Coins, Relics, Jewelry, Beginners, Intermediates, Experts

  • Underwater & Diving
  • 3 Search Modes
  • LED/Visual Target ID
  • Preset Ground Balance
  • Adjustable Sensitivity

Our Verdict: As a detector that’s not just waterproof but also completely submersible, the Nalanda ranks high in our books.  Price is another excellent motivation to get it, and you can bet it’s easy to use under water with its knobs and LED lights. 

Who is the Nalanda MD027 Best Suited to?

The low price is a very attractive feature to detectorists of all skill levels.  Some may think because it’s so cheap that it’s only good enough for beginners.  However, intermediates and experts who want a budget detector to take into the water for fun, recreational treasure hunting, the Nalanda fits the bill.  Why would you want a cheap one?  You don’t dare take your very expensive land-based detector into saltwater, do you? 

How Does the Nalanda MD027 Perform?

The Nalanda is a single frequency VLF operating at 2.4 kHz.  It’s a very low-frequency detector, so it’s not your small and fine gold nugget detector – thought I’d clear that up from the get-go.  It’s a treasure-hunting detector with a frequency that’s excellent for depth, high-conductive objects, coins, and of course, various types of treasure.  The most noted performance feature about it is its underwater depth capability.  You can take this budget detector to a maximum depth of 40 meters which turns out to be 131 feet!  Diving for treasure?  Here I come!  Well, that’s what I would say, anyway. 

Features & Benefits

Nalanda waterproof metal detector

Underwater & Diving

As mentioned, the MD027 is rated for 40 meters underwater.  This is an exceptional depth range considering most “underwater” detectors can only go so far as 10 or 16 feet.  To get more depth, even that of 200 feet, will cost you significantly more. 

Additionally, it lacks an LCD interface that most land-based users would be familiar with.  The control incorporates knobs, and this is an important underwater feature to note.  Why?  Think about it, it’s much easier to rotate knobs when you’re floating weightlessly than it is to try and press buttons and flip between screens.  Besides, it also helps to improve waterproofing to the system.  The included headphones are also waterproof, so you’re good to go from get-go.  For diving, the shaft can retract to a compact length of 12”. 

3 Search Modes

The MD027 is not lacking for search modes as it has the basics plus discrimination and pinpoint built-in.  The remaining search mode is All Metal.  There are two knobs on the control box, one for power on/off and sensitivity and the other for Mode Switch.  Now, here’s how it works. 

The Mode Switch button has a non-motion mode which is Pinpoint.  The dial must be rotated all the way counter-clockwise to activate Pinpoint.  Sometimes, it’s difficult to sweep quickly underwater, and when you need to slow down your movements and increase sensitivity, Pinpoint is a must-have.  Dial the knob slightly to the right to move into All Metal mode.  Once you pass the middle or have passed through the green phase of the dial, you’ll move into Discrimination.  Discrimination increases as you move the dial further clockwise past 12pm. 

LED/Visual Target ID

Diving down deep can inhibit audio as your gear will overwhelm sound, and there is no adjustable volume control – boo.  Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on the three audio tones available.  The other feature on the control box is not a dial but an LED indicator.  Behind the indicator is the tiny speaker that emits low, medium, and high tones depending on the type of target.  But, back to the LED lights.  A green, red, or blue light will flash that relates to an audio tone which helps to identify type of target.  The flashing speed will also indicate what’s going on with the metal detector.  Here’s a rundown:

  • Green – flashing in intervals: detector working normally
  • Red – flashing quickly: low tone, finds ferrous targets (iron)
  • Green – flashing quickly: medium tone, finds medium-conductivity targets (pull-tabs, nickels, etc.)
  • Blue – flashing quickly: high tone, finds high-conductivity targets (silver, copper, etc.)
  • Blue – flashing in intervals: activation of Pinpoint
  • Blue – flashing rapidly then turning solid: Pinpoint detects target and turns solid over precise location
  • Red – abnormal operation, sensitivity could be too low

Preset Ground Balance

Ground balance is a detector’s ability to set the internals to the same phase as the ground.  The detector is able to see past minerals that would otherwise interfere with detection that would produce false signals and erratic audio.  Unfortunately, the Nalanda metal detector only has preset ground balance.  This means you cannot count on the detector to automatically balance to the ground and you cannot manually make this adjustment to improve performance.  While preset ground balance isn’t the best option for hunting in seawater, it also takes out one of the most difficult and frustrating procedures out of the equation for the beginner.  Preset ground balance means its been factory-set by the manufacturer for typical ground balance settings across the country. 

How do you then improve the performance of the detector with preset ground balance?  Consider searchcoil size.  The larger it is, the more it’s going to “see,” including mineralization.  The smaller it is, the less depth it may have, but it will not be as susceptible to mineralization.  You can also decrease sensitivity if the chatter becomes too interfering. 


No Backlight

Unfortunately, there’s no backlight or flashlight attached to the detector.  This isn’t a big deal if you’re deep diving as you likely already have this type of gear with you.  But, for the just-below-surface-dweller, it would be nice to have the extra feature to see what you’re digging up or just to see better through brackish water. 


The heavy poundage of 5.6 lbs may be a drawback – for land-based users, but it may prove to be a non-issue underwater.  Its weight is owed to its build and searchcoil, so at least you can say there’s quality behind you when you throw your weight around.  

Popular Questions

How do you Adjust Sensitivity on the Nalanda Metal Detector?

The power knob also serves as the adjustable sensitivity knob.  Move the knob clockwise after turning it on to increase sensitivity. 

How Deep can the Nalanda MD027 Detect?

The Nalanda is a surface exploration detector, so its coin-performance range will be within 6-8”.  However, there are multiple factors that determine depth detection that covers target, searchcoil, frequency, ground minerals, and detector settings. 

Can the MD027 Detect Gold?

The Nalanda detector is not made to detect gold nuggets or fine, thin gold jewelry.  It’s a treasure detector that can detect coins, common jewelry, and mostly iron relics.  The 2.4 kHz frequency is very low, and typical “gold detectors” will have a significantly higher frequency starting at 40 kHz while other general-purpose detectors may have a 6-20 kHz range to detect large nuggets and gold jewelry.  However, if it’s close to the surface, large gold jewelry and large nuggets may be end up being seen first before the detector starts producing very faint and weak signals if it detects it all. 

Can the Nalanda Detector be Used on Land?

It can be used on land the same way it’s used on water.  However, the only downside to using it on land is the heavy weight.  Most users don’t report any issues with its five-pounder frame, but it’s definitely not the lightest land-based detector in the market at this price point.


The Nalanda MD027 is an entry-level underwater detector.  It’s by no means intended for prospecting or professional use.  It’s designed to provide up to 20 hours of detecting enjoyment under the sea looking for old treasures that have long been lost by its owners. 

Having up to 40 meters of underwater depth at this price point is a fantastic feature.  So, if you’re the newbie to the hunt or the intermediate and seasoned user looking for a seawater detector for fun versus uncovering possible riches, then the Nalanda will satisfy. 

Nalanda Underwater Metal Detector with All Metal and Pinpoint Modes, LED Indicator, Stable Detection Depth, Automatic Tuning, Variable Tones
  • 【Fully Waterproof Detector Up to 40m Submerged】 Good quality, sturdy construction with a fully sealed control box for a whole waterproof up to 40m. Whether you're planning on search for hidden treasure at the beach, ocean, Local River, or want to add entirely new finds and extra exciting and fun in metal detecting underwater, this will be your best choice.

Further Reading:

Back to Best Metal Detectors by Brand

Back to Best Underwater Metal Detectors

Back to Best Metal Detectors Under 200

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API