I really enjoyed John Winter’s most recent post “Buying Your First Detector“ and if you haven’t already read it do so. Like John I’ve been asked numerous times, “what detector would you recommend for someone starting out” and of course the one I get asked most is “what’s the best detector on the market today?” Like John I always reply, why ask me? I am no expert!
SO HERE’S MY TAKE ON ALL THIS…
IF you want to get started in this pastime how involved do you want to get? Is this a serious interest or merely a curious one? Next, how much are you willing to invest to get started? Metal detecting is no different from any other hobby. Golf, fishing, photography….all great pastimes, and all involve an initial investment. I was once a fishing fanatic, and the more involved I got, the more money I spent. It was my passion, a way to rid myself of worries and stress, and while I hated the alarm going off at 5 AM, a couple of hours on a trout stream, with the mist rising and the sun just coming up, was pure magic and a great start to my day.
IF by chance your interest in metal detecting stems from watching one of the treasure hunting TV shows, save your money. What you see is not the real world, nor are the prices placed on the finds even close to accurate, and if you think the participants make their living treasure hunting, think again. One or two might be associated with a manufacturer and be paid to use their products, but otherwise I doubt they live on their TV star salaries.
IF you are interested because you are sure that your now deceased Uncle Zeke buried gold in his backyard, rent a detector and go find it. No need to spend a lot of money. Uncle Zeke probably didn’t bury it deep, if he buried it at all, and while I have no doubt that caches exist, so do rumors and tall tales.
IF you’re a numismatist and want to find old coins, jump in, join the club. That’s what got me started, and there’s still a lot of money in the ground, despite what some are saying.
IF you want to be a beach bum, and find things in the sand and surf, go for it. Lots of fun, fresh air, and with the current price of gold at around $1,400 per ounce, you just might bring in a few extra bucks. Just don’t quit your day job! The worse that can happen is you come home empty handed with visions of bikini clad young gals etched in your brain. If you decide to go this route be sure purchase a water proof, multi-frequency model detector.
IF you just want to metal detect for the fun of it, hell yeah do it, but purchase a low end detector. Most all the MAJOR manufacturers offer “turn on and go” entry level models that are well made, capable of finding neat things, and are very affordable. Do NOT however buy a detector from a large department store chain. They simply sell them, probably know nothing about how they work, and if you have a problem, you’re “shit out of luck”. Deal with a local dealer, who will be there to demonstrate and offer assistance if and when you need it.
Research, attend a local club meeting, ask questions, rent one, try ’em out, take your time and try to make an educated decision (if there is such a thing). Also starting out with an expensive, top-of-the line metal detector does not insure success or better finds. If you don’t walk over it, you won’t find it, so spend your time, not your money, thinking about where to use it.
THE BEST DETECTOR
Before I tell you what the best metal detector on the market is, you need to tell me which automobile is better. Ford or Chevrolet and why? Then you have to tell me which company makes the best golf clubs….Calloway, Ping or Titleist? Next, which is better? Canon or Nikon? Coke or Pepsi? Coors or Budweiser? You do know where I am going with this right?
As far as I am concerned there’s no such thing as the “best detector on the market today”. The best detector should be the one you can afford and the one you are most comfortable with. Spending a lot of money might get you a little more depth, but it will also get you a 200 page user’s manual and a sore arm to boot. I have been through the “need to have the latest and best” phase and now realize that’s all it is….a phase, an imagined need.
Ask any detectorist today what detector they think is best and they will probably tell you it’s the one THEY are using at the moment. After all if they like it, you certainly will too. Well, er, not necessarily. I am willing to bet that same detectorist has gone through a lot of different makes and models over the years, and the one he is using now is simply the latest gal he’s taken to the dance….
What do I use today? Well, not the top of the line model, not the entry level model, not the one with all the bells and whistles, and not the one that goes down fifteen feet. The metal detector I use is lightweight, comfortable, easy to understand, needs little if any in-the-field adjustments, and because of that it’s the best one on the market today (to me). So the next time somebody asks me about which detector is best, I’m gonna say “I got your best detector, right here pal!”
Now do yourself a favor and try not to make all this stuff rocket science…it isn’t. It’s a hobby, a pastime, nothing more. Just go do it for crissakes and stop worrying about which detector you “think” you need to have. And most important, have fun will ya?
CHRISTMAS TOMORROW? MAYBE?
Almost afraid to share this but we are looking at a 50% chance of rain this evening, and an 80% chance tomorrow. That is terrific news. Please send good vibes….this part of Texas needs all the rain it can get.