The Best Beach and Saltwater Metal Detector

P. Vincent | 3:33 PM | 0 comments

Detecting at ocean beaches is the dream of most detectorist. Plenty of gold and silver to be found, incredible views, great weather, and beautiful bikini clad women swinging detectors...Okay the last one isn't very common, but the number female detectorists is growing every year...on to the point.

To choose the best detector you have to answer a few questions. First, where will you be detecting? Second, do you want a detector that's a specialist or a generalist? Last, of course, how much can you spend.

Each answer will open many other questions, but they will set you in the right direction.

Now, you're here because you want a beach detector, so the next question is saltwater, freshwater, or both...and just how wet do you plan to get - wading, snorkeling, diving?

Saltwater is highly mineralized and can overwhelm the ground balancing ability of VLF (very low Frequency) detectors and resulting in lost sensitivity and target depth. Pulse induction (PI) detectors ignore the mineralization and excel in saltwater settings and have the great target detection depths. The typical down side of PI detectors is the lack of discrimination, meaning more pull tabs in trashy areas.

If you're planning on going into the water at all get a unit that is fully submersible. Having a waterproof coil on a detector that can't get wet is just asking for trouble.

Let's assume you want a beach specific detector that can get wet and will work best in saltwater conditions. Do you expect there to be a lot of trash? Do you care? Do you think the targets you want will be 12" down or 20" down. These answers will help you to choose between a PI or VLF detector.

Just to complicate things a bit, the Minelab Excaliber II is a VLF machine which uses BBS (Broad Band Spectrum) technology to allow it to ignore saltwater mineralization while still giving you full discrimination abilities but, the max target depth is not as great as a PI machine. This is just a starting point and you can see there's lots of work to be done.

Now you have a little direction, research the machines that will work for your needs and then go have some damn fun!

Detector Fresh Water
Salt Water Price


CTX 3030 100' 100' $2,499
Excalibur II 200'
200' $1,499
X-Terra 705 Wade Wade $899
Beach Hunter 300 25' 25' $999
DFX Wade Wade $1,199
MXT & MXT Pro Wade Wade $899
Surf Dual Field - PI 100' 100' $899
CZ 21 250' 250' $1,125
Gold Bug Pro Wade Wade $649
1280 X 250' 250' $699
Sand Shark - PI 200' 200' $636
Tiger Shark 200'
200' $660
AT  Pro 10'
10' $595
Infinium LS - PI 200' 200' $1,062
Sea Hunter Mark II - PI 200' 200' $640
Optimal performance Good
Sub-optimal, loss of  sensitivity Issues
Not proper operation, loss of discrimination Stop

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About Cold4Gold:
Just another middle aged guy obsessed with metal detecting and gold prospecting. I spend my extra time skiing, rafting, camping, hiking and biking....really I'll do anything for a little extra time outside.