If you want to take scuba diving to the next level, an underwater metal detector can help you explore a whole new world. They’re great tools for discovering what’s beneath the surface of a body of water. The best underwater metal detectors are comfortable, accurate, and waterproof.
Underwater metal detectors are designed similarly to regular metal detectors. The difference is that underwater metal detectors can withstand the pressure of being deep underwater. They’re also made of waterproof materials that ensure functionality isn’t compromised.
Underwater metal detectors use a battery-powered search coil to transmit an electromagnetic field to a metal object beneath the surface. The object then absorbs the electromagnetism and sends it back to the search coil. The underwater metal detector will then visually or audibly indicate the signal (Source).
Underwater metal detectors come in two varieties: Very-Low-Frequency (VLF) and pulse. Pulse underwater metal detectors are capable of searching through highly mineralized sand, and thus are capable of finding more objects (Source)
Whether you’re an archaeologist, hobbyist, or a treasure hunter, an underwater metal detector is a great investment. They’re lightweight, easy to use, and not difficult to maintain.
Prior to purchasing an underwater metal detector, you’ll need to consider what kinds of objects you’re searching for and if you’re in saltwater or freshwater. You’ll also need to consider its depth rating, weight, and battery life. The length of the arm should also be considered.
The next time you go diving for treasure, do it with one of these top-rated underwater metal detectors.
How Much Does A Metal Detector Cost?
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much Does A Metal Detector Cost?
- 2 Comparing The Best Underwater Metal Detectors
- 3 1. Treasure Cove TC-7010
- 4 2. Tesoro Sand Shark
- 5 3. Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II
- 6 4. KKmoon Waterproof Handheld Pinpointer Pulse Induction
- 7 5. Deteknix Scuba Tector
- 8 6. Fisher CZ21-8
- 9 7. Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector
- 10 8. Fisher F75-LTD
- 11 9. Minelab Excalibur II Underwater Metal Detector
- 12 10. Fisher 1280X-8 Multipurpose Metal Detector
- 13 How Do Metal Detectors Work?
- 14 How Deep Can A Metal Detector Detect?
- 15 Choosing an Underweater Detector: Freshwater vs Saltwater
- 16 Underwater Accessories
- 17 Does the Length Matter?
- 18 Best Features
- 19 Things to Know Before Buying an Underwater Metal Detector
- 20 Types
- 21 More Underwater Metal Detecting Tips
- 22 FAQs About Underwater Metal Detectors
- 23 Ready to Buy the Best Underwater Metal Detector?
Metal detectors have a variable cost depending upon the features provided in them. Besides the manufacturing brand, you can expect these to vary in price based on the material of construction, size of the metal coil, ability of a display, operability on various terrains, underwater performance, etc.
Furthermore, you can expect a metal detector to cost you at least $200. The price can shoot up to $2000 as well. It also means that the costlier one will have a better battery life, multipurpose functionality, detection depth, etc.
Comparing The Best Underwater Metal Detectors
|Treasure Cove TC-7010|
|Tesoro Sand Shark|
|Garrett Sea Hunter 2|
|KKmoon Waterproof Handheld|
|Deteknix Scuba Tector|
|Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector|
|Minelab Excalibur II Underwater Metal Detector|
|Fisher 1280X-8 Multipurpose Metal Detector|
Additionally, it can find treasure buried up to 8 inches in sediment. The handle extends from 42 to 48 inches for better reach.
This metal detector makes metal detecting underwater easy with its design. It has an integrated waterproof headset. The alarm emitted and LED flashing light will assist the user in locating treasures.
Built for extended hours of time, this metal detector will last up to 10 hours with 8 AA batteries.
Overall, this detector would be the best metal detector for freshwater, or the best for freshwater metal detecting.
This detector has two different operating modes for a tailored experience: VCO and Normal. VCO allows the device to emit a sound that gets louder as the target is closer. While normal mode still emits a sound, the tone stays the same.
Additionally, with the Sand Shark, you can dive up to 60 meters safely without damage to the detector. The Tesoro Sand Shark also allows you to turn the sensitivity up to find items in deeper areas (at the expense of battery power).
With a lightweight design, users will not experience fatigue while metal detecting. It could be labeled as the best metal detector for beginners in carrying detectors underwater.
Plus, it features a patented Trash Elimination Mode. In this mode, the device can decipher between unwanted items and smaller valuables with the same frequency.
In addition to that, it boasts full- range Pulse Induction discrimination. With the 8-inch fully submersible coil and body, you can deep-sea hunt up to 60 meters. The detachable control panel allows you to customize how the device is held.
Three modes (All Metal Deep Seeking Mode, Sensitivity/Depth adjustments and Discrete Trash Elimination mode) allow this device to be tailored the ultimate user-friendly experience.
For first time users, the package includes an instructional video. Thus, this owns the crown of being the best metal detector for beginners.
The KKmoon Pinpointer is fully submersible up to 30 meters for extended dives. Notably, instead of having to dive with headphones, this device features LED light and vibrating system to alert the user that there is metal around.
Moreover, this underwater metal detector also offers cutting-edge ease of use; with a simple tilt, the device turns on or off. The built-in microprocessor offers automatic tuning as well as stable depth detection, too, which allows users to have accurate detecting throughout its battery life.
Thus, with automatic tuning, there is no adjustment necessary. Therefore, this minimalistic design is aimed at the fast-paced hunter always on the go.
Unlike others, this underwater metal detector has a built-in 3.7v 500 mAh Li-Po battery. Additionally, it has an operating frequency of 95 kHz for accurate readings.
Furthermore, as it is built for scuba diving, this device can be submerged up to 60 meters for deep exploration. It also boasts a 5×4 powerful coil for accurate readings and no false positives in salt water.
Hence, with its compact design, its 16-inch handle makes the device itself easy to bring along while diving deep underwater. Its effective design includes an easy to use On/Off switch, too.
Furthermore, its workability is not affected by fresh or salty water. This feature is possible due to the presence of Fisher’s Pulse Induction technology that helps the machine operate with a dual-frequency at 15kHz and 5kHz.
This metal detector is undoubtedly a user-friendly option for beginners, as it operates with buttons to find things in water bodies accurately. With the help of audio alerts, you can easily detect metals that you are searching for.
It is possible because of the impressive 8.5″ by 11″ metal coil for searching items like a pro. Garrett gives you precision through its robust and ergonomic design. Additionally, the belt mount on the rear position comfortably fits your arm to keep it steady in your hands.
You can use it underwater as it is entirely waterproof. The addition of headphones makes it increase its efficiency in finding items on land quickly.
Furthermore, it has been designed to ensure a robust and lightweight operation so that you can use it for hours without worrying about getting tired. This metal detector implements a trigger-driven functionality for focusing on specific items underwater through distinct audios.
With the large LCD, it is much easier to view and identify the location for cache, etc. without any hassle.
With the NiMH battery pack, which is rechargeable, you can get 12 hours of continuous treasure hunting in the sea with this unit. Furthermore, you will find that this underwater metal detector stays at consistent detection power even when the battery is low.
Due to the fluorescent design, you can see this tool quickly, even if you drop it accidentally in muddy water. It also includes a shaft mounted to the side to wade through shallow water while looking for valuables.
Furthermore, its simple-to-use operation gives you a metal detection depth of up to 250 feet without a hassle. For maximum accuracy, it includes a sensitivity control combined with audio identification as well.
With an operating frequency of 2.4 kHz, you can easily rely on it for finding lost items, metals, and other items while diving, surfing, wading, or even while using it on the land.
How Do Metal Detectors Work?
In metal detectors, electric current and electromagnetism have a significant role to play in finding objects. Here’s how they work:
- With the help of a power source, like a battery, the transmitter circuit in the detecting device starts. That causes the electric current to travel through the handle to the metal coil present at the end.
- As the current is transmitted through the coil, it generates a magnetic field around the whole part.
- As you sweep the electromagnetic detector coil over a metal object, the magnetic field passes through the object.
- That field generates an electric current, which flows through the metal object.
- As a result, the current further creates a magnetic field around the object.
- It reverses the current flow back and forth through a loudspeaker attached to the receiver coil. The current then causes the speaker to create noise, which lets you detect the presence of the object.
How Deep Can A Metal Detector Detect?
Most detectors have a range of about 8 to 20 inches. However, metal detectors can be influenced by several factors to determine how deep it can detect on a terrain. Here are some of them:
- Type of buried object – The shape, model, and size of the hidden object can have a significant role to play to know the capability of a metal detector. Larger objects buried deep are more accessible to trace than smaller ones.
- Position – Objects that have a particular orientation while buried have a better chance of being found despite their depth. For instance, a hidden object that lays flat deep in the ground can be found much more comfortable than the ones in a vertical position. One reason behind it is that flatly-laid objects have a larger surface area to detect. That effectively sends the signal back to the receiving coil of the detector.
- Age – An object’s age is also a significant factor in understanding how well it is detectable when buried deep in the ground. Objects that are corroded or oxidized might be harder to detect.
- Nature of the terrain – The sand or soil present around the buried object can also affect the detection capability of the device.
- Frequency – Detectors with low frequency can find small objects much more comfortable than the ones with high frequencies.
Choosing an Underweater Detector: Freshwater vs Saltwater
- Saltwater: The presence of minerals in saltwater have an effect on how your detector functions. In particular, very-low-frequency (VLF) detectors are greatly affected by the minerals in saltwater. Pulse induction (PI) detectors can deal with saltwater conditions much better.
- Freshwater: If you need an underwater metal detector for freshwater only, then the VLF models would be a better choice. That’s because they are less likely to detect random junk. This means they are more precise in freshwater conditions.
If you are in pursuit of an all-around underwater metal detector that will work fine in any conditions, then a VLF type would be your safe bet. It is more adept at working in all kinds of conditions.
While not absolutely necessary, underwater accessories can notably improve your experience. The following are underwater accessories you may consider using:
- Waterproof headphones: The target signals can be fainted by the wind. The noisy waves will make matters worse. This is where waterproof headphones come in. They will be of great help to you when going underwater.
- Chest harness: Metal detectors are often on the heavy side. Five pounds could be like a mountain when you need to sway them for several hours. Chest harness will make it easier for you to carry the detector and maintain balance by taking some weight from your arms. By the way, your water exploration will be much safer.
- A long steel trowel: Instead of scrambling with hands, you will be able to move sand much faster while digging at the ocean floor. Whether you are walking along the surf or snorkeling at low tide, steel trowel will allow you to stay standing whilst uncovering a target.
- Mesh pouch: This piece of equipment is very useful when scuba diving or snorkeling. Whatever the case, you will need something to put your finds. A mesh pouch is ideal for that purpose.
Does the Length Matter?
A longer stem can be helpful beneath the water surface, as it will allow you to reach a bit farther when discovering new areas. It’s not of great importance in most cases, though. There are other things to consider, including:
- Balance – While a long stem is almost always preferred, it will be for naught if your metal detector doesn’t balance out its weight evenly. It’s going to be top heavy or bottom heavy. In the event of top-heavy detectors, you will face shoulder pain because of the heavy control panel. Bottom-heavy detectors feature a heavy search coil, which causes arm fatigue.
- Locking system – As for metal detectors with a long stem, a competent locking system is a must-have. Such a device is more prone to weight distribution and breakage. A locking system will save yourself the hassle of dealing with repairs.
Each with their own highlights, this guide with help you find the best underwater metal detector for your activity.
An underwater metal detector that is packed with features will go above and beyond just working in wet areas. As a professional, you will want to have these features:
- Waterproof stem – Besides the search coil, you will want the stem is waterproof too. An adjustable stem will enable you to extend the range and find more treasure.
- Saltwater & freshwater usage – Your metal detector should work in both saltwater and freshwater. Check it for saltwater usage, as not every model supports it.
- Weather resistance – Underwater metal detectors are designed with moisture and rain in mind. The advanced models incorporate a variety of weatherproof features for best results.
- Battery backup – This feature will help you save yourself the hassle of swapping out batteries when searching. Aside from storing an extra battery in your device, it will activate an unused battery when you run out of the original power source.
Things to Know Before Buying an Underwater Metal Detector
Very Low Frequency Metal Detectors
These are used for finding metallic items such as jewelry or coins in shallow waters or sand. Due to their sensitivity for metal, they can be affected by minerals found in the ground.
Additionally, most of these can’t be fully submerged, so it is important to purchase a detector tailored to your desired experience.
Pulse Induction Metal Detector
Unlike typical metal detectors, these are sensitive to precious metals. They are not affected by minerals and salt.
PI detectors also help to separate trash and unwanted metals in a stash. That is why these underwater metal detectors are the perfect choice to bring with you for a dive.
A regular metal detector will pick up on the presence of nearby metals by sounding off a high pitch. The heavier or closer the metal is, the higher the pitch sound you’ll hear from the metal detector.
On the other hand, an underwater metal detector will not act in that manner. This is because sound doesn’t travel underwater; hence, this feature is useless to divers.
Underwater metal detectors will display a needle on a gauge that can detect any level of metallic content once the metal is in reach.
However, as an added benefit, recent technology of such detectors allows for waterproof headphones that omit unnecessary noise around you.
This may seem like an obvious one, but not all water detectors are waterproof. As you’ll be going underwater, ensure the model you are buying will not rust over time.
As we only picked top rated underwater detector models, this shouldn’t be an issue here. Even though you’ll likely use these detectors in salty oceans, the models we picked have the ability to withstand rust for a long period.
Weights of underwater metal detectors vary greatly, ranging from 1-6 pounds respectively. They tend to be lighter than regular detectors used on land.
As you’ll be moving swiftly and using this device in deep waters, you don’t want your detector to be too heavy. However, you also don’t want it to be super light; otherwise, it may float away in the water.
If you’re just starting to use an underwater metal detector, you’ll want to get some training on them. Perhaps you’ll want to purchase a book that explains the steps or to read about it online.
Normally, these types of devices are used by novice deep sea divers who have experience and can easily work such detectors.
However, newer models like the ones we mentioned in this guide are extremely user-friendly and often come with lots of instructions on the manual.
Unlike traditional metal detectors, which are often used by security guards to check for weapons, you’ll likely be using your underwater detector to find metals or treasure.
For that reason, extensive training is not required, but some basic knowledge will definitely help in the process.
More Underwater Metal Detecting Tips
As with any sort of hobby, it is difficult to find unbiased information about devices as most hobbyists are particular to one specific brand. Likewise, it is important to do research when looking into a product as technologies have come a long way.
How often you use your metal detector will be an important factor in choosing your device. You as a buyer would want to spend the appropriate amount for the hobby.
After that, location is the next potential issue. You want to buy the right device for the hobby. There are fully submersible metal detectors and detectors for land use only.
What Are You Hunting?
Different metals give off different types of frequencies. So, to determine the metal detector you are buying, make a list of items you will be searching for and prioritize the more important ones.
Certain detectors have more strength than others. For divers, it is important to make sure your device can go underwater.
What to Bring With You
You’ll want to bring a pair of waterproof headphones. As mentioned earlier, these will help you listen to the detection of metals from a distance. The distance will depend on how good the detector you are buying really is. Meanwhile, what the headphones basically do is cancel out any external noises.
Next, you’ll want to bring a tank and snorkel. This is a must so you can keep breathing and stay underwater for a longer period of time. However, if you are only detecting at knee level, this is not a must. Nonetheless, don’t forget your best full face snorkel mask or if you’re already an expert, your best goggles (list for best swimming goggles here).
You’ll also want to bring a waterproof watch. Such watches are normally used by professionals to time how much time they’ll have for their oxygen tank. At some point, the tank will run and the diver will need to leave the water and refill the tank.
Furthermore, if you want to protect your detector from getting sand all over it and possibly inside of it, bring a carry bag. It will protect your device and keep it secure from any potential damage.
Finally, you’ll want to install a tracking device on your underwater metal detector. This will ensure that the other divers in your group can stay alert about your location at all times.
Get the Right Tool
Most designs are updated versions of older machines. These new detectors offer LCDs, submersible headphones, rechargeable batteries, and stronger coils than ever.
Moreover, these machines are state of the art hunters that accurately find treasures and avoid all kinds of false positives and garbage.
Most Commonly Used Detectors
The most commonly used detector is a VLF/TR motion discriminator with silent search as a priority device. These detectors have the ability to sort through garbage and control mineralization at the same time.
Unlike the older ones, these motion detectors have motion discriminators that make it easier to use. Hence, you don’t have to swing your metal detector back and forth anymore.
These detectors require minimal movement to detect precious items accurately. State of the art designs minimalize fatigue while exploring your hobbies.
Advancements in Technology
Metal detectors today have progressed so far from what they used to be. With features such as surface mount technology, the market has introduced compact designs.
These designs open divers to better opportunities when going underwater. Now scuba divers can go explore caves that were unreachable. Plus, with higher quality designs, underwater metal detectors can go deeper for hours of use.
Along with better depth control, these machines now include hybrid circuit boards as well. These boards permit more intricate circuitry that allow smaller designs. That helps handheld designs that weigh less than the bulky ones.
Every manufacturer highlights their product as the best. Being the best means quality. So, when buying, you want to compare the best features to tailor your experience.
You want to check the technology behind these detectors for frequencies. Some detectors have more powerful coils than others. Coil size helps determine where you can metal detect.
Compact designs are new and allow prolonged hours of hunting. When you don’t fatigue easily, you can hunt accurately for longer. Smaller devices help the hunter keep safe when diving greater depths.
One of the most important things to keep watch for is the warranty of your product. As you will be taking this device underwater, you want to know the manufacturer will replace it in the event of a malfunction.
If a circuit board is malfunctioning, you want to know how long it takes to replace one. You also want to note how longboards are covered for as they sometimes differ from the coil.
Asking the manufacturer direct questions is a good start. You want to know what their coils are covered from. Accidents happen, so make sure you have your warranty covered.
FAQs About Underwater Metal Detectors
Where Will You Use Your Metal Detector?
While it could be difficult to say exactly where you’ll be using your detector, you probably have an idea if you’re going to dive and check out shipwrecks or you will walk along a beach (fresh or salt water) wading ashore.
Let’s say you’re gonna use it near salt water most of the time. Then, you need to choose a PI detector for best results. Are you going to dive? If so, make certain the depth rating fits places where it will be used. Go for a model that features a short dive pole in order to have a more comfortable search while diving.
Maybe you’re intending to use the same detector in water and on land? Most waterproof metal detectors can be employed on land, too. If you want to use underwater models on land, it is worth noting that they are quite heavy. So, it’s wise to buy the lightest model available. Of course, it is supposed to still suit your needs.
Why Are PI Detectors Better for Salt Water?
Being a unique environment, salt water is challenging for metal detecting. The majority of detectors are useless in seawater, which is why you should use a PI (pulse induction) or a dual function VLF (very low frequency) metal detector.
Most people prefer PI over VLF models because they are not affected by the mineralization of sand and soil. However, PI devices cannot discriminate as well as their VLF counterparts. They shoot bursts of electronic pulses and receive back a signal when hitting a metal object.
You may also use a VLF metal detector if it comes with a mode for salt water. VLF devices detect metal objects on a low frequency, and they have the ability to discriminate quickly. Also, they are generally lighter than pulse detectors.
Are All Metal Detectors Waterproof?
No, they aren’t. Even though some metal detectors are equipped with waterproof search coils, they are unusable in water since their control box isn’t waterproof. That means you will only be able to submerge the shaft and search coil of your detector.
Waterproof metal detectors, by contrast, can be fully submerged thanks to the waterproof control box. That makes them suitable for both underwater metal detecting and scuba diving. Yet, be sure to check the depth rating to know how deep you can go down below the water surface with your detector.
Why Does The Weight Matter?
You will obviously want a metal detector to be as lightweight as possible when using it over land. That’s because it is easy to move and easy to handle. What happens when you’re using it in the water?
If you’d try to dive with a buoyant and lightweight object, then you would have a hard time submerging it. You’d end up fighting against that device because it would constantly try to go up to the water surface.
On the other hand, if the device is too heavy, then it would be trying to sink all the time, so you’d have difficulty diving with it.
However, this isn’t something you should bother about too much. Companies that produce underwater metal detectors are aware of that fact; hence, they make sure their products are the right weight to be handled in the water.
Are Underwater Metal Detectors Suited For Beginners?
Most underwater metal detectors can be applied in extremely tricky situations and in very deep water as well. For instance, they allow you to dive to over two hundred feet into the water without hassle.
In general, underwater metal detectors feature a simple design so that just about anyone can use them with ease. So, what’s the deal?
There are two things you must be skilled at — they are diving and metal detecting. If you are a well-skilled diver but a complete novice at using metal detectors, then you’ll find it tricky or difficult.
On the other hand, if you’re very experienced with metal detectors but are not a good diver, then it will be a dangerous venture for you. That’s why you need to ensure that your search will be comfortable and safe for you.
What Kind Of Headphones Do You Need?
Some metal detectors come with headphones while others do not include them and require you to purchase them separately. Make sure that you are looking at the right product before making your purchase.
Many handheld models do not involve headphones at all because they are meant to alert you when finding something metal – either via a display or by vibrating.
Some underwater detectors come with a waterproof coil. Keep in mind that these detectors can’t be completely submerged because their control box is designed to be out of the water. Since they’ll never be in the water altogether, you would not need any headphones when diving.
Ready to Buy the Best Underwater Metal Detector?
If you’re seriously looking for an underwater metal detector, these five are a fantastic place to start with as they are packed with features.
Moreover, the devices we chose are ideal for professionals and beginners alike. After much research, we listed the devices with the ideal quality, power source, pitch, and waterproof capabilities.
As always, we hope you find success with your underwater adventure!