The beach is a popular spot to use a metal detector. You need to have a detector that doesn’t mind water though, and one that doesn’t mind salt water if you are at an ocean beach.
Most beaches are open to metal detecting, since hobbyists do actually remove a fair amount of debris along with the valuables they find (you should always carry a bag or bucket with you for the junk you find, don’t put it back in the ground to be re-found).
Sometimes there are restrictions about when you can search though, like during hours when the beaches are not busy. It is common courtesy to stay a fair distance away from others with your unusual instrument anyway.
Jewelry is a frequent find. Water, especially salt water, makes rings slip right off of fingers. Just after the crowds have left, when the tide is going out, is a promising time to explore.
Rings and coins are definitely the most common finds, other than rubbish, but you can also find keys, watches, and even cell phones.
You don’t only find things left behind by the beach goers either, you can also find things that wash up on the beach from other places, even shipwrecks. You will always come home with something after a hunt at the beach, even if it is just a tan.
Three of the best metal detectors for the beach
Cobra “Beach Magnet” metal detector
Cobra “Beach Magnet”
Cobra BM Metal Detector
- 130 feet maximum dive depth
- Full range VLF discrimination
- Weighs 4.5 lbs
This is an all-purpose detector that can handle any terrain- land, beach, surf, and underwater. Even if you are not working at the beach, it is nice to have a waterproof machine so that you can work over land in the rain. This cobra is called a hybrid, because it works well on land and water.
It doesn’t matter if you are working in fresh water or salt water. You can really work in the water too; this machine can go 130 feet underwater. You could recover some treasure from a sunken ship. The target light alerts you to signals, so you won’t miss anything, and you can even have the sound turned right off.
Garrett ATX Deepseeker
Garrett ATX Deepseeker metal detector
Garrett ATX Deepseeker
- Stock 10”x12” coil
- Perfect for saltwater
- Fully submersible down to 10 feet
Salt water simply intensifies the readings from ground minerals, so you will want a detector which is able to handle this problem. A dry land detector will just frustrate you with false signals. VLF (very low frequency) detectors with ground balance features allow you to adjust for the mineralization. You also need a waterproof machine for the best beach hunting experience.
The best detectors for the beach, however, use PI (pulse induction) technology. They are not affected by the mineralization of the sand. The Garrett ATX is a PI metal detector. It is an all terrain, weatherproof machine that will give you depth and consistent sensitivity.
This one won’t be your diving partner, but it is waterproof to 10 feet. It is a sidekick that you can easily take with you. It is collapsible and conveniently fits into a small carrying case.
Whites TDI BeachHunter Extreme underwater Metal detector
Whites TDI BeachHunter Extreme
Whites TDI BeachHunter Extreme metal detector
- 12″ search coil
- Maximum depth of 25 feet
- 2-year limited warranty
This is a PI detector, but it is not the most expensive one money can buy. It has a special feature, which is a microprocessor chip that makes the machine more customizable to your needs. You can adjust the settings to find the best balance of depth, sensitivity, and battery life for what you are doing.
This detector was made for the beach, so it has no problem with wet salt beaches. It can also go diving with you down to 25 feet.