Best Detectors for Finding Gold 2023
Now, you might already have a great detector that you’ve used to find a lot of old coins, relics, and jewelry. the logical idea you may have is, ‘I don’t need another detector; I can just use this one to find gold.’ It’s a reasonable idea, but unfortunately, no.
The thing is, while gold detectors aren’t too dissimilar to other detectors, they are just wired in a way to make them optimal for prospecting. So, the question begs, what’s, are the best metal detectors for gold? We’re here to help you with that bit; just keep on reading.
ARE GOLD DETECTORS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER DETECTORS?
The short and sweet answer is no. At the end of the day, gold is just metal, and all you need to locate metal underground is a metal detector. Therefore, you should technically be able to find gold with your regular coin and relic hunting metal detector.
The problem arises with golds’ conductivity level and the hunting grounds where you’d typically find it. Gold has low conductive properties. Hence, it requires a detector with a high frequency, like 30kHz, to find it. Since most detectors range between 7-15kHz, it makes matters difficult.
In addition, there’s the matter of hunting ground. You can probably find gold jewelry in the park or a lost ring on the beach; however, you probably won’t find gold nuggets where you go coin shooting. Gold nuggets are generally found near rivers, mountains, and streams away from civilization.
This is because any gold in the park in your neighborhood has probably been excavated a long time ago. So, you’ll have to look for new spots. Unfortunately, these untamed environments often have highly mineralized ground that affects a detector’s performance.
That said, gold prospecting metal detectors are made with high operating frequency and more advanced ground balance options that are often missing in relic and coin detectors. Investing in such a detector is a good idea if you want to succeed in finding gold nuggets.
Let’s go over some of the features you’d want to look for in your gold detector.
WHAT FEATURES MAKE FOR THE BEST GOLD DETECTOR?
Generally speaking, gold metal detectors are more expensive than other ones. Plus, if you end up getting a detector that isn’t working too well, well, that’s money down the drain. Instead, it’s best to consider the following factors when investing in a new detector.
High mineralization in the ground can be a problem when on a hunt. The iron and minerals in the soil can create a lot of interference. Ground balance can help turn the volume down on all the chatter and focus on the metals’ signal.
Most metal detectors come with a preset ground balance meant to cancel a certain amount of interference. However, this isn’t favorable for gold prospecting. Since gold is found in places with high mineralization, it’s better to have manual ground balance.
Consequently, you’ll be able to adjust the balance to fit the hunting ground best and find nuggets with maximum success.
There are two kinds of frequencies metal detectors use. Some might have VLF (Very Low Frequency), while others use PI (pulse induction). They are very different from one another, and each has its pros and cons.
A VLF is better at discriminating between treasure and trash but doesn’t work very well in highly mineralized areas. On the other hand, a PI works excellent in high mineralization zones but has a lacking discrimination system.
Both types are equally outstanding, keeping their respective cons in place. You’ll have to choose what to go with based on your hunting ground and whether it’s low or high in mineralization and has a lot of trash underground or not. Just remember, don’t get a low-frequency VLF.
As we mentioned above, gold requires a high-frequency metal detector. This is because gold has low conductivity, and also, you’ll more likely find small gold nuggets that weigh less than a gram.
Search coils affect sensitivity and depth as well. A larger coil offers more depth but is less sensitive and vice versa for a smaller coil. Smaller coils are also better at discriminating between junk metal and actual gold. In contrast, larger coils work better over highly mineralized soil.
Other than that, there are two types of search coils. A concentric coil offers good discrimination, while a DD coil works better in heavily mineralized grounds.
Gold prospecting is a time-consuming and challenging task. You want to save as much time as possible by avoiding junk metal. Therefore, you should look into getting a metal detector with good discrimination capabilities.
With all that said, let’s dive into the list.
BEST METAL DETECTORS FOR GOLD IN 2023
Here are some of the best gold metal detectors in 2023. Some of the detectors on this list are great for absolute beginners. Others are a little more complicated hence better suited to someone with more experience. Let’s take a look.
Minelab Gold Monster 1000
Minelab is the go-to brand to get the best gold metal detector. Their GPZ and GPX series host a variety of models suited for beginners to pros. Here’s what you need to know about the Minelab Gold Monster 1000
- 45kHz VLF
- 5inch/10inch DD search coil
- Automatic ground balance
- Waterproof coil
The Minelab Gold Monster is perfect for finding the smallest of gold flakes and nuggets in areas with a lot of trash, thanks to its high VLF frequency. It offers two search modes, all-metal, and gold, and comes with an automatic ground balance to adjust to new locations as you move.
Moreover, the waterproof DD search coils allow for better depth when hunting in highly mineralized soil. This makes up for the VLF frequency that doesn’t work as well with mineralization.
Garrett AT GOLD
The Garret AT Gold is a formidable model that’s more of an intermediate to beginner level detector. Some of the features included are.
- Manual and automatic ground balance
- 5-inch DD search coil
- 18 kHz VLF
- 2.8 lbs
- Waterproof up to 10ft.
The Garrett AT Gold isn’t the most sensitive of models. It comes with a relatively low operating frequency of 18kHz; however, the low frequency allows more depth to hunt for larger gold pieces instead of gold flakes. It is a lightweight model of 2.8lbs so that you won’t tire out too quickly during a long hunt.
The model has a 5-inch DD search coil increasing its sensitivity somewhat, and can be submerged up to 10ft in water, so it’s perfect for a river hunt.
Additionally, perhaps its best feature is the manual ground balance. This will allow you to adjust the ground balance according to how mineralized your hunting ground is.
Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
The bounty hunter is known for its attention to creating beginner-friendly metal detectors. The Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is an excellent gold metal detector completely devoid of complicated high-tech knobs. Therefore, it is the perfect model for novice detectorists.
- Notch discrimination
- 8-inch waterproof coil
- Two-tone audio
The bounty hunter has an 8-inch waterproof coil making it perfect for hunting in streams and shallow water. Unfortunately, the low frequency means you can only hunt for surface level gold. However, since this is a beginner level machine, it works out alright.
The model comes with notch discrimination to allow you to tune out signals from other, less precious metals.
Fisher Gold Bug
The Fisher Gold Bug is one of the most popular metal detectors for gold on the market. It provides outstanding sensitivity at a reasonable price and is the go-to detector for many metal detecting enthusiasts. It offers the following features.
- 71kHz VLF
- Audio target ID
- Three mineralization settings
With a whopping 71 kHz, the Gold Bug 2 is by far the best model for hunting the tiniest of gold flakes. It weighs around 3lbs, which is light enough for you to spend a significant time on the hunt before tiring out.
Apart from that, the Fisher doesn’t have a digital display. However, most intermediate detectorists don’t mind audio target ID. It may take some getting used to if you’re a beginner, though.
One drawback, however, is the VLF instead of PI frequency. Despite the manual ground balance, you might still struggle with the Gold Bug on highly mineralized fields. Other than that, this model is great for gold prospecting.
Whites Goldmaster GMT
The Goldmaster GMT is a great detector to work over highly mineralized ground areas. It’s similar to the Fisher Gold Bug in many ways. Here are some more features.
- 48kHz VLF
- 9-inch search coil
- Manual and auto ground balance
- Iron target ID
The Goldmaster offers a significantly high frequency, so you can expect to find small gold flakes with relative ease. Along with that, it provides a good search depth so that you can look for larger gold nuggets deeper in the ground.
Furthermore, the model comes with a manual and automatic ground balance allowing easy adjustments according to the soil’s state. This will help ignore false signals.
The Whites Goldmaster has an uncomplicated digital display despite its many features, making it a good beginner and intermediate model.
Minelab GPZ 7000
One of the most high-end models on this list, the Minelab GPZ 7000, is definitely a beyond intermediate level metal detector. Because of that, it’s also one of the most expensive metal detectors out there.
- ZVT tech
- Manual and auto ground balance
ZVT technology means that there’s no trade-off between sensitivity and depth in the GPZ 7000. It offers high sensitivity for small gold flakes and enough depth to find larger nuggets. An easy way to understand this technology is by putting the PI and VLF together in a metal detector.
The detector weighs 4.2lbs. It’s not the lightest of detectors on the market but definitely not the heaviest. It also offers manual and automatic ground balance. This allows you to tweak the ground balance to the optimal level you need, given the ground mineralization.
The Minelab has many pros in terms of finding gold. That said, a big con is how complicated this model is. The machine comes with several combination modes, additional built-in software, and GPS. You’d need to spend a considerable amount of time learning how to best use this detector.
The other issue is the price. Apart from that, the Minelab is an excellent option for someone who knows their way around a metal detector and is taking up gold prospecting seriously.
Gold prospecting might seem very tricky initially, but in all honesty, it’s really no different from your general relic hunting or coin shooting. The only difference is a specifically crafted metal detector designed for gold hunting.
There are many detectors out there with tons of features and complicated technology that you might struggle to grasp. But don’t worry. Keep in mind the various factors we’ve discussed above, and they will lead you to the best gold metal detector for you.
With a good detector that fits your comfort level, there’s no reason you won’t find gold nuggets on your next hunt, and hopefully, this list will help you find that detector.