In this guide we’ll look at the best budget metal detectors.
We’ve compared search modes, user friendly controls, coil and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What is the Best Budget Metal Detector?
More Detailed Budget Metal Detector Reviews
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Garrett ACE 400 Metal Detector Review
Garrett is a world leader when it comes to metal detectors so it’s no surprise that they’ve made the best budget metal detector on the market.
The Garrett ACE 400 is a 10 kHz single frequency VLF machine with five search modes of zero discrimination, coins, relics, jewelry, and custom.
The search modes have eight sensitivity settings that help you tune in to the ground you’re covering. Adjust the sensitivity to account for ground mineralization, power lines, and other detectorists.
Digital target ID lets you figure out what your target is before you start to dig. It measures metal on a scale of 0-99 and you simply cross-reference it to Garrett’s list of metals.
This best value metal detector also has iron audio to help filter out unwanted trash such as bottle tops and nails. Premium features like this for a bargain price is why Garrett’s ACE 400 is the best cheap metal detector around.
It has a large 8.5×11” DD interchangeable search coil, pinpointing, and only weighs 2.9 lbs. Garrett’s ACE 400 is dependable, well made, and simply great value.
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Garrett ACE 250 Metal Detector Review
This is Garrett’s budget machine and the best cheap detector for entry level detectorists.
The ACE 250 is a 7.2 single frequency VLF machine with digital target ID so you know what you’ve found before digging.
This is one of the best inexpensive metal detectors as it has five pre-programmed search modes which are all-metal, coins, relics, jewelry, and custom mode. Its frequency is best suited to coins but it will pick up jewelry and relics easily too.
The ACE 250 has eight sensitivity levels to help navigate mineralized grounds and notch discrimination to hone in on specific metals which is a great feature on a cheap metal detector.
The ACE 250 has Garrett’s PROformace 6.5 inch search coil which is interchangeable within the Garrett range, and accurate pinpointing to narrow down your dig area.
This great value lightweight metal detector is very easy to use. It’s a ‘press-the- button-and-go model’ that’s been popular for over 15 years.
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Nokta Makro Simplex+ Metal Detector Review
Nokta is a relative newcomer to the detecting market compared to Garrett or Minelab but it offers what some consider the best value metal detector.
Nokta are described as a ‘rising star’ in the industry and are well worth considering for the price.
Their SIMPLEX+ is Nokta’s entry-level detector. It’s a VLF 12 kHz model with an 11-inch DD search coil.
It has preset beach, field, park 1, park 2 and all-metal search modes on a user-friendly single menu design. The menu is displayed on an LCD with backlight, keypad backlight, and LED flashlight. If you’re not keen on too much technology this is a big pro.
Another plus is that the SIMPLEX+ has automatic ground balancing. This isn’t a feature usually available on cheap metal detectors.
Automatic ground balancing eliminates mineral feedback from the ground so you can target metals you want to find instead of listening to loud squeals every time you swing.
It’s also submersible up to three meters (another hard to find feature in cheap metal detectors), has iron volume, and notch discrimination to filter out unwanted metals.
This detector vibrates when it detects metal. A feature not traditionally seen, but great if you’re hard of hearing or want to search in peace. Loud metal detectors tend to draw a crowd.
The SIMPLEX+ is lightweight at 2.9 lbs and has a rechargeable battery. This is a lot of detector for your cash and worth consideration as the best cheap metal detector for you.
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Minelab Vanquish 440 Metal Detector Review
Minelab are a dependable make that produce excellent metal detectors. But how does their best value Vanquish 440 hold up?
Minelab is known for its multi-IQ tech, which is a bunch of frequencies in one so you can hunt for all metals at the same time – coins, jewelry, or gold in the park for example.
The Vanquish 440’s use of multi-IQ tech makes it the most versatile best value metal detector.
It also has automatic noise-canceling audio control and pinpoint mode along with a selection of search modes. These are coin, relic, jewelry, and custom.
A top recommended metal detector needs great discrimination and the Vanquish 440 has a massive 12 discrimination segment function so you’re able to pick up treasure whatever your preference.
The coil doesn’t disappoint either because its Minelab’s V10 10×7 inch DD number which is waterproof up to a meter and a real winner when it comes to detecting treasure.
The 440 weighs 2.6 lbs and has a snap-lock collapsible frame for easy transportation. It’s the best cheap metal detector with multi-frequency.
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White's TREASUREmaster Metal Detector Review
White’s TREASUREmaster is a dream to use. It’s got great tech and is especially good value.
This is a top-notch 7.8 kHz VLF detector with a waterproof 9.5 DD concentric search coil.
It has four search modes and eight discrimination segments so you can search all metals or hunt for what target excites you the most.
The adjustable sensitivity and visual target identification make narrowing down your search targets even easier.
This is one of the few best inexpensive metal detectors that have automatic ground balancing. This is a premium feature that sets your detector to cope with mineralized ground.
The large LCD is a bonus for those of us that need to wear glasses. It’s not possible to overplay a large clear screen when you arrive at a certain age!
Whites Treasure Master is worth consideration for its ground balancing function and superb discrimination. It’s a lot of detector for your cash.
What to Look For in The Best Budget Metal Detector
A Trusted Name
Metal detectorists generally have their favorite brands and tend to stay loyal because they trust them and this goes for the best cheap metal detectors too.
It’s usually a safe bet to stick with a well-known name such as Garrett, Minelab, or Whites, but that said there are excellent newcomers like Nokta offering great kit for a bargain price.
Search modes indicate the machine is capable of good discrimination and target separation which saves you lots of hassle trying to set up your machine.
Search modes should include coins, relics, jewelry, custom, and all metal. Anything else is a bonus but beware of machines boasting all the features at a low cost.
Something has to give and buying good quality basics rather than bells and whistles means you won’t miss valuable targets.
Discrimination is important unless you want to spend your day digging up Coke can ring pulls and tinfoil.
Good discrimination ignores the trash or metals you don’t want and when it hits a selected target it’ll let you know.
Notch discrimination is even better as it allows you to choose one specific target such as coins and ignore everything else.
Discrimination works with the conductivity of metal targets. If the machine has good discrimination it’s a well-tuned and thought out piece of tech.
Ground balancing isn’t usually available on best value metal detectors because its pricey to include, but some detectors do have it.
Ground balancing automatically (or in some cases manually) filters out feedback from mineralized soils, allowing a peaceful day in the field.
A coil sends electromagnetic signals into the ground and if there’s a metal object it bounces back creating a sound.
Some consider it the most important part of a metal detector so getting a good one should be high on your priority list.
A good-sized concentric or DD waterproof search coil is essential. Large coils cover lots of ground in a single swing, but smaller coils fit into awkward spaces such as beneath the bleachers.
Choose according to your needs, but if you aren’t sure, go for a larger one.
Narrow down your choice to two by ticking a good brand, search modes, discrimination, search coil, and possibly ground balancing off the list – then read reviews.
Search out detectorists who have detected on the kind of ground you’ll be primarily searching and see what their opinion is.
You can’t wrong with one of my best cheap metal detector recommendations.
Happy hunting and good gold to you.