Best Budget Metal Detector in 2020

While metal detecting is a hobby anyone can get into, it also can be prohibitively expensive for some. Metal detectors are often expensive devices and additional accessories aren’t always the cheapest either. If you’re a beginner working within a strict budget, it may seem like the best metal detector for you is way out of your price range.

However, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Whether you’re a legit bounty hunter looking to score gold or other treasures, or you’re just a hobbyist who wants to pick up metal detecting in your spare time, there are a handful of great budget metal detectors out there which can give you what you need for a fraction of the regular cost.

Not only are these low-cost metal detectors, but they’re also a selection of the best beginner metal detectors around. For a beginner detector to be considered for this list, it needs to be easy to use while also having expert features such as intuitive ground balance, top-tier sensitivity and discrimination features, or fine-tuned processes for gold prospecting.

Not only are these the best low-cost metal detectors on the market, but they’re also simply some of the best metal detectors around. So without further ado, here’s our list of the 4 Best Budget Metal Detectors For 2020.

1) Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector

Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector

A complete package of expert metal detecting features and a low price tag, the Fisher F22 metal detector is a dream for beginners and experts alike. The big selling point of this detector standout is the advanced Iron Audio feature which allows your to differentiate the sounds of ferrous metal signals and legit targets. It also has ten different sensitivity levels, a comprehensive digital target ID system, a weatherproof coil and chassis, and a five-year manufacturer’s warranty to boot!

Pros:

  • The Iron Audio discrimination feature is a huge time saver! Rather than digging through highly mineralized soil only to find trash, you can bypass ferrous metals for true treasures and save energy.
  • While the device is not fully submersible, it is weatherproof. When search for targets in the rain and sleet, the Fisher F22 metal detector holds up and provides accurate data on its bright LCD screen.
  • The Fisher F22 boasts an extremely quick recovery speed which allows you to parse through multiple targets quickly and find the treasure buried within the trash.

Cons:

  • The ground balance feature for the Fisher F22 is fully automated. Expert detectorists may balk at the fact that they won’t be able to adjust the ground balancing to their liking.
  • This is one of the more impressive metal detectors for the money, but it’s depth of customization isn’t on the level of some of the more advanced detectors out there. For one, it’s not fully submersible so you won’t be able to do searches underwater.

2) Nokta Makro Simplex+ Waterproof Metal Detector

Nokta Makro Simplex+ Waterproof Metal Detector

The definition of an easy to use metal detector perfect for beginners, the Nokta Makro Simplex+ waterproof metal detector is a gem. We challenge anyone to find a more intuitive and user-friendly metal detector for sale in the marketplace. Its operating frequency of 12 kHz is a fantastic one-size-fits-all frequency which can easily detect a wide variety of relics, coins, and other treasures. It can even do quite decently for gold prospecting in a pinch. With expert features at a beginner’s cost, the fully waterproof Nokta Makro Simplex+ is a marvel in the metal detecting community.

Pros:

  • There is no other metal detector out there which is this easy to calibrate for a newbie. Before long, you’ll have your ground balance locked in and your search area locked down. No matter what the ground conditions are, the Nokta Makro Simplex+ seems to catch up for you.
  • The universal frequency of the Nokta Makro Simplex+ is calibrated just right for searching out jewelry, coins, relics, and even a spare gold nugget or two. For beginners and experts alike, it’s the right frequency to find all kinds of cool stuff.
  • We really love the inclusion of a silent mode which allows you to search out a target using vibration instead of sound. If you’re someone who’s going to be doing most of your prospecting at night, this is a game-changing inclusion.

Cons:

  • For the bounty hunter who swears by multiple frequencies in their choice of metal detector, the catch-all universal frequency of the Nokta Makro Simplex+ will undoubtedly be a letdown.
  • While the Nokta Makro Simplex+ metal detector is waterproof, it’s not built for deep dive prospecting. It can catch a signal about ten feet underwater, but even that’s pushing it.

3) Minelab X-TERRA 305 Metal Detector

Minelab X-TERRA 305 Metal Detector

Those familiar with metal detecting brands might be shocked by the inclusion of a Minelab product on this list. That’s because a fair amount of their metal detectors have four-figure price tags! However, the Minelab X-TERRA 305 metal detector is their version of a budget metal detector and it’s an absolute beast. The key feature of this amazing machine is the VFLEX system which gives you the option of switching the frequency from 7 kHz to 18.75 kHz with a simple switch of search coils. It’s also brilliant at iron discrimination and offers manual alteration of its ground balancing.

Pros:

  • There aren’t many budget metal detectors out there which offer manual ground balancing, let alone a ground balance system which is easy to adjust. The Minelab X-TERRA 305 is easy to use in many respects, and this is one of the biggest examples of that.
  • The accuracy of the Minelab X-TERRA 305 is off the charts thanks to the company’s breakthroughs with iron discrimination technology. This is one of the best entry-level detectors out there in terms of parsing through garbage to find treasures.
  • Simply put, landing this kind of sensitivity and this kind of performance on varied ground conditions for such a solid price feels like an absolute steal. The Minelab X-TERRA 305 does so much for the money. It’s sincerely impressive.

Cons:

  • The VFLEX technology is really cool, but you have to purchase another search coil separately to utilize it. There isn’t a second coil included with your purchase, which is definitely a drag.
  • Speaking of coils, the search coil included with the Minelab X-Terra 305 is a bit suspect in quality. If you’re going to buy another coil to take advantage of VFLEX, buy two and replace it if you can.

4) Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector

Garrett ACE 300 Metal Detector

Those familiar with the Garrett ACE series of metal detectors know just what they offer — simplicity of use and a bevy of features befitting of much more expensive metal detectors. The Garrett ACE 300 metal detector is a prime example of that. It offers a ton of bells and whistles such as an accurate coin depth indicator and notch discrimination which is easily adjustable. And it does all this while walking beginners through the process with clear numerical target IDs which will help you find the targets you’re looking for. Garrett makes great metal detectors, and the ACE 300 is one of their best (and most well rounded.)

Pros:

  • A standout feature of the ACE 300 is its frequency adjustment system which helps you decrease distracting noise when catching feedback from nearby power lines.
  • There’s an impressive amount of different search modes to use for such a cost-effective metal detector. There are four preset modes available for searching out a wide variety of different metals. There’s also a pinpointing function and four iron segments to work with.
  • The LCD display is a dream for beginners. It’s bright, well organized, and is loaded with one of the most easy-to-decipher numerical target ID systems out there. When deciding whether to break out your digging tools to excavate highly mineralized soil, it’s great to know pretty much exactly what you may be digging for.

Cons:

  • One key feature is missing from the Garrett ACE 300 which is included in the more expensive ACE 400 — Iron Audio discrimination. This can be a bother when trying to sift through a large amount of ferrous metals for treasured targets.
  • This is not the right metal detector for those looking to go gold prospecting. It’s just calibrated correctly to be effective in that arena.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best low-cost metal detector out there?

For our money, we lean towards the Nokta Makro Simplex+because of how simple it is to use and how many features it still includes. When we think of the best cost-effective detectors on the market for, we lean towards those which offer a ton of value for a tiny cost. That’s what the Nokta Makro Simplex+ does. You can find a wider variety of valuable metals with it than any low-cost detector out there. It’s simply one to circle on your wish list.

Will I need to upgrade metal detectors if I get more into the hobby?

It honestly just depends on what you need out of your metal detector. The four metal detectors on the list above are perfect for most metal detecting uses. Therefore, no upgrade is necessary unless you need special equipment for such things as deep dive prospecting or intense gold prospecting. You won’t need to break the bank for a more expensive detector unless there’s a feature missing which you really need.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re interested in the world of metal detecting but can’t fathom breaking the bank for a device, the four metal detectors on the list above are a perfect compromise. You’ll get all the features and abilities of some of the most expensive detectors out there, but without having to pay that sort of premium. With any one of these machines in your corner, you’ll be pinpointing treasures of all kinds in no time.