In this guide we’ll look at the best lightweight metal detectors.
We’ve compared weight, detect modes, sensitivity and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What is the Best Lightweight Metal Detector?
More Detailed Lightweight Metal Detector Reviews
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Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector Review
The Minelab Equinox 800 is a lightweight model weighing in at just 2.96 pounds. It’s the best lightweight metal detector out there.
Minelab is well known for its multifrequency technology that pushes multiple frequencies at the same time. This ensures you don’t miss any metals using a single frequency – e.g. you can hunt for high and low conductivity metals simultaneously.
There’s also the option to select just one frequency if you’d prefer to concentrate on one metal at a time or you have some mineral interference from tricky ground condition.
The automatic and manual ground balancing and automatic noise-canceling functions usually take care of this issue though.
The Equinox 800 has four detect modes of park, gold, field, and beach. Each of these has two further search profiles so you can save your specific preferences for next time.
Sensitivity adjustments? You’ve got it from 1 to 25 and there’s adjustable threshold volume too.
Target identification and depth level indicators are a feature of all the best metal detectors.
The Equinox 800 has target identification on a 50-segment notch function and four target tones to separate out iron and non-iron targets. There are five depth level indicators to tell you exactly how far down to dig.
The coil is top-notch – its Minelab’s 11-inch DD with a skid plate.
The whole detector is waterproof and submersible up to ten feet, it has built-in rechargeable batteries that last around 12 hours, a backlit LCD screen, and Bluetooth headphones. It’s a real pleasure to use it.
This is one of the best lightweight metal detectors because not only is it featherlight, it’s packed with features that mean you can’t miss a target.
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Garrett ACE 400 Metal Detector Review
The Garrett ACE 400 is Garrett’s top entry-level detector. It’s one of the best lightweight metal detectors you can buy at just 2.9lbs.
The ACE 400 has everything you need to hunt bar automatic ground balancing. If you’re a newbie this really is not essential, especially when you get so many other top-class functions.
The target ID is excellent as it tells you what metal you’ve found on a scale of 1 -99 with a depth indicator too. Anything from the mid-point and up is always worth a dig.
There are five search modes of zero-discrimination, coins, relic, jewelry, and custom with eight sensitivity adjustments plus iron audio so you can fine-tune your machine into the treasure you want to find without getting endless trash.
Garrett’s 8.5 x 11 inch DD search coil is a great size and when you think of its tiny 2.9lbs weight is pretty impressive. Its also waterproof so you can search the shallows and river edges.
The ACE 400 operates on 10kHz and has pre-set ground balance to help you – this works well in standard soils but probably not wet sands and saltwater. It needs 4 x AA batteries to power up.
This is the best light metal detector for the price point and as it straddles the entry and mid-range costs has plenty of features to keep you happy.
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Nokta Makro Simplex+ Metal Detector Review
Nokta Makro Simplex+ weighs a tiny 2.9lbs. Its Nokta’s best light metal detector and packed with top-of-the-range features.
Nokta’s entry-level metal detector is lightweight for sure, but it’s heavy with features. It has automatic ground balancing for starters which is unheard of at this price point.
There are also four search modes of metal, park, field, and beach with notch discrimination and iron volume to help filter out the trash and get those top finds.
It’s fully submersible to ten feet – another top feature not usually offered on an entry-level machine.
An unusual feature of the Simplex + is the vibration function. This is a great addition if you’re hard of hearing or struggle to tell the difference between lots of similar tones. It helps underwater too if you’re planning to snorkel or dive.
Although this a 12 kHz VLF metal detector there’s a frequency shift function that helps deal with highly mineralized areas Coupled with the ground balance this is a great lightweight metal detector to use at the beach.
The Simplex+ has an 11-inch double D search coil and an inbuilt pin-pointer, wireless headphones, and Bluetooth connectivity – it’s a joy to use.
Although it’s not as well known a make as Minelab or Garrett, Nokta’s Simplex+ is one of the best light metal detectors and all-round excellent treasure hunters, especially given its low cost.
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Minelab Vanquish 540 Metal Detector Review
Minelab’s range of excellent detectors are lightweight, but the Vanquish 540 weighs just 2.9lbs. It’s one of Minelab’s best lightweight metal detectors.
Vanquish is Minelab’s entry-level range and the 540 is the top pick. It has Minelab’s famous multi-Q multi-frequency tech which makes it a top all-around detector for beaches, and highly mineralized ground as well as standard parks and fields.
This tech pushes out five frequencies at the same time so you don’t miss a thing. If you want to hone in on one particular metal just switch to a single frequency. They are 5,10,15,30 and 40 kHz. Go low for silver, high for gold.
The Vanquish 540 has five search modes of custom, jewelry, relic, coin, and all metal. You can use its noise-canceling feature and adjust the iron audio function to suit.
There’s an easy to use target ID and depth indicator, and its sensitivity is excellent. There are 10 levels of sensitivity volume on five target tones and 25 discrimination segments.
The coil is a 12 x 9-inch DD waterproof search coil and it can be changed for many in Minelab’s range if you prefer larger or smaller.
It has a backlit LCD screen, rechargeable batteries, and wireless headphones with Bluetooth.
That’s a lot of tech packed into one lightweight metal detector! If you’re thinking of indulging in the Minelab range the Vanquish 540 is the best lightweight choice for the price.
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XP Deus RC WS5 Metal Detector Review
The XP Deus RC WS5 metal detector is a great choice when you’re looking for the best lightweight metal detector. It weighs only 900 grams, which is 1.9lbs and the lightest of my recommendations.
You’d think being that light there wouldn’t be many features, but the XP Deus has plenty to keep a detectorist happy – not least its remote control function.
RC in the title refers to the remote-control radio link that communicates a target find. The signal quality is excellent so there’s no need to worry about lack of connectivity.
This three-part metal detector works on a 9-inch carbon fiber 2D coil that has its own battery source and acts as the actual detector.
The remote is the user control interface, and there are audio backphones for sound – plus they can be used as the remote control too. Be aware that you can’t use this detector at depth in the water as water blocks the radio signal.
There are five selectable frequencies of 4, 8, 12, 18, and 25 kHz + with ten pre-set modes including wet beach, dry beach, prospecting, relic, and coin hunting There are also eight available custom programs for your favorite hunting areas.
Multi-tone audio is handy. You get five multi tones with adjustment pitch and top iron volume to hone in on your preferred target.
The discrimination, ground balancing, and sensitivity are top-notch and the Deus has a unique ergonomic S-shaped stem for easy handling.
This is an advanced metal detector and whilst it is super light does take a steep learning curve to understand all the features. That said it is the best lightweight metal detector around at under 2 lbs.
How to Decide on The Best Lightweight Metal Detector
Obvious point, but weight varies between makes and models and if a lightweight metal detector is important to you then one of the above is going to suit you fine.
A lightweight detector is one between 2-4 lbs. Most brand models are around 3-4lbs. The XP Zeus is only 1.9lbs and seriously lightweight.
Interchangeable coils are a great thing but some coils, especially the larger ones, can be weighty.
Ensure the weight you are expecting from the metal detector includes the search coil and that it’s a decent size. There no point in using a small search coil in a large area unless you’re happy to spend days in the same spot.
Lightweight can mean flimsy so check out the shaft and how well it will stand up to a day of swinging, potential bumps against rocks, and maybe a few accidental drops.
If it feels like straw it’s a waste of cash. Lower priced models may leave off a skid plate to reduce weight but in rocky areas a skid plate is advised.
Make sure you check out all the other functions rather than grabbing the lightest.
If you want to search wet sand and highly mineralized grounds then you’ll need good ground balancing, a selection of modes, and good audio. A pulse induction machine might rule in the wet sands but they are heavier the VLFs.
The best light metal detector is going to weigh 3 lbs or under. Technology is pretty advanced these days and machines just get lighter all the time.
Make sure you know what you want to search out and choose your light metal detector accordingly.