In this guide we’ll look at the best metal detectors for beachcombing.
We’ve compared waterproofing, ground balancing, discrimination and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What is the Best Metal Detector for Beachcombing?
More Detailed Beachcombing Metal Detector Reviews
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Garrett AT Max Metal Detector Review
When you want to scan the whole beach the best beachcombing metal detector is a Garrett AT Max.
This is a rightly popular metal detector with everything you need for beachcombing and more.
It has a 13.6 kHz frequency with top-of-the-range iron audio to help you hone in on the metals you want.
It’s more than capable of separating out a piece of tin foil from a coin or ring for example and showing what you’ve found on Garrett’s 0-99 scale target ID screen.
The fast track automatic ground balancing makes this a good detector for the beach, it simply pushes past the salt conductivity and finds targets.
If you find it needs a bit more tuning, use the manual ground balancing and ground balancing window to suit your needs.
Four pro audio modes alongside the auto ground balancing mean more time hunting less time tuning. You’ve got true all-metal, zero discrimination, coins, and custom. All-metal mode and zero discrimination are good for beachcombing the wet and dry sands.
Beaches often mean bright sunlight so the AT Max has a brightly lit LCD screen for good visibility.
This machine is entirely waterproof and submersible up to ten feet which is essential when you’re beachcombing – one rogue wave and a non-waterproof metal detector is history.
One of the best things about the AT Max is the wireless headphones. This makes such a difference. The AT Max comes with Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk headphones which are excellent.
The AT Max has an 8.5×11 inch DD PROformance coil that can be swapped for another Garrett coil. It weighs 3.03lbs and takes 4 x AA batteries.
Garrett metal detectors are a reliable choice and the AT Max is their best metal detector for beachcombing. You can’t go wrong with this beauty on or off the beach.
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Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector Review
Garrett makes the best metal detectors for beach-combing.
Their AT Pro is a 15 kHz VLF all-terrain metal detector. It works on land and sea but because it has such good fast track ground balancing and 40 discrimination settings it’s an excellent choice for beachcombing.
Its fast track auto ground balancing on wet sand means less time adjusting for minerals and salt. Because it’s so fast and efficient you can walk from dry to wet sand without changing the ground balance.
The AT Pro uses Pro audio modes so you can hear tiny changes in response from a target and figure out what it is before you dig.
The digital target ID does the same on-screen indicating depth, material, and size. Decent finds rank in the 41-99 scale.
There are three standard audio modes as well if you prefer a simplified approach and excellent iron audio to identify trash. Speaking of modes, the Pro has six search modes three of which are pro modes.
The coil is an 8.5” x 11” DD PROformance coil which is Garrett’s standard on new machines. It’s excellent and interchangeable with other Garrett coils. The whole machine is waterproof to ten feet so no worries about accidentally dropping it in the ocean.
The Pro comes with Garrett’s MS-2 headphones, has a pinpoint mode, weighs 3.03lbs, and takes four AA batteries.
This is a great choice for beachcombers and one of the best metal detectors for beachcombing without getting into complicated tuning and fine notch discrimination.
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Nokta Makro Simplex+ Metal Detector Review
Nokta Simplex+ is an entry-level machine that has some top features and is one of the best metal detectors for beachcombing.
This is a VLF metal detector with automatic ground balancing that’s so important when you’re on wet sands and salt water.
It has pre-set search modes of metal, field, park, and beach all set out on a clear and backlit LCD screen that is very easy to use.
The Simplex+ is waterproof up to ten feet with excellent iron volume to fade out unwanted trash items and notch discrimination to get more specific tones.
There are six sensitivity settings, which is a lot for a machine of this price range, and on top of that there’s a vibration setting – great news if you’re hard of hearing and struggle with numerous tones with little difference.
You can make small adjustments to its 12 kHz frequency if there’s interference – handy stuff if you’re around other detectorists.
The Simplex+ is a wireless metal detector with wireless headphones. It’s lightweight at 2.9 lbs and comes as standard with a large 11-inch DD coil.
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense cheap metal detector that’s great for beachcombing the Nokta Simplex+ is for you. Its vibrate function is a real asset and automatic ground balancing is virtually unheard of in this price bracket.
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Garrett ACE 400 Metal Detector Review
The ACE 400 is top of Garrett budget range and while it’s not as powerful or sensitive as the AT models it’s still an excellent metal detector that’ll do you proud at the beach.
The 400 is a 10 kHz VLF metal detector with factory pre-set ground balancing. This means it will struggle in wet sand so you’re best keeping to dry sands and the towel line where it’ll perform admirably.
Its five search modes settings are zero discrimination, coins, relics, jewelry, and custom. These search modes have eight sensitivity settings to help tune into the ground you’re covering to balance depth with sensitivity.
Garrett’s excellent digital target ID means you know what’s down there before you dig.
It measures targets on a 0-99 scale with high conductivity coins and jewelry at the top end. Coupled with iron audio this means you’ll spend more time searching the sands for decent finds, not bottle caps.
The pinpointing function is inviable in shifting sands – the ACE 400’s pinpointer is inbuilt so you won’t forget to pack it.
Garrett’s coils are always top-notch and the ACE 400 has an 8.5 x 11-inch DD coil that’s interchangeable with others in Garrett’s range.
The ACE 400 is a dependable machine that will pick up metals in most grounds. It’ll perform well on dry sands where it’s one of the best metal detectors for beachcombing.
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XP Deus RC WS5 Metal Detector Review
The XP Deus RC WS5 metal detector is a multi-frequency machine with plenty of features. It’s the best beachcombing metal detector in XP’s range.
The Deus has 35 selectable frequencies that range from 3.7 to 27.7 kHz so it’s a great all-round machine.
The beauty of it on the beach is the multi-frequency capability that deals with saltwater and wet sand.
That said, it has auto pre-set and adjustable ground balancing to cover highly mineralized ground such as wet sand – though reviewers say you barely have to touch the adjustments.
There are five multi tones with pitch control and excellent discrimination so you can figure out what you’ve hit before digging.
The XP Zeus’s iron volume is useful in that its possible to turn down the iron volume rather than cancel it out completely.
The RC in the XP Zeus title refers to its remote-control capacity. The 9-inch coil is the detector with individual battery power. It communicates with the headphones through a radio link.
This model comes with backphones –headphones that fit on the back of the head. These are waterproof (excellent for beachcombing) and fold away.
All functions on the metal detector can be controlled by the backphones and the remote control.
The coil is waterproof to a few inches, but due to the radio link that can’t move through water, the machine should be kept in shallow waters.
Its stem has an S-shaped stem rather than a standard long stem and the whole machine weighs only 900 grams. It’s so lightweight you can spend the whole day searching surf and sand for treasure.
What To Look For in The Best Metal Detector For Beachcombing
The beach is one of the most productive places to metal detect because the wet and cold conditions mean jewelry inevitably works loose. There’s also a constant stream of people dropping coins and other valuable items.
So, what should you look for in the best metal detector for beachcombing?
Depending on which part of the beach you want to search waterproofing ranges from vital to nice-to-have.
Those of you staying on dry sands won’t need a full-on waterproof machine, although it’s recommended because sudden squalls can drench you thoroughly.
If you’re in the surf and heading out to depths a waterproof machine will save expensive replacement costs.
Beachcombers should keep an eye out for multi-frequency machines or even pulse induction, however, the problem with pulse induction is that they aren’t great on land.
VLF machines can struggle in saltwater conditions but will be fine on freshwater beaches or the dry sands of an ocean beach.
If you want a VLF machine like the AT Max for example then good ground balancing is essential. This helps cancel out the mineralization brought by wet sand and saltwater.
A VLF machine will need excellent sensitivity as you’ll have to adjust it pretty low to fight saltwater conditions.
Shifting sands mean treasure can get buried very quickly indeed. A metal detector with depth is one of the best metal detectors for beachcombing as it’ll uncover more, especially along the surf line.
Metal detecting on the beach is everyone’s dream and it can be pleasurable with the right detector.
Buy the best you can afford and learn to use it well. A cheaper detector wielded by an expert will uncover more treasure that a costly machine used by someone who couldn’t be bothered to learn.
‘All the gear and no idea’ is an apt saying for beachcombing metal detectorists.