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The Digger :Your Metal Detecting Magazine E-zine
June 10, 2018

Is Cheaper Better?

I was asked recently. “What’s a cheap metal detector I can buy?”

This individual already had a detector, but he wasn’t happy with it. He told me. “It doesn’t find anything but junk.” He wanted to try another detector, but not an expensive one…”just a cheap one that will find things other than junk.” He wanted another detector figuring that another model would be better than the one he had been using.

The detector he was using was from a well known major manufacturer. I’ve used the same detector at times, and yes, while using it, I did dig junk, but I also have found some nice items with it. As for this individuals thinking, there is one major flaw to it, and it’s a common misunderstanding for many in the hobby. And that error in thinking is this…that the detector is the main feature to finding goodies. It is not. The most important element to finding nice items is you, the user of the detector.

I’ve watched hobbyists using the most expensive metal detectors not finding any more goodies than those who use a cheap metal detector.

I used to detect with a guy who had a detector that had more bells and whistles on it than a state of the art jet airplane. I swear that detector if tweaked just right, could probably launch a Titan II missile. But this guy couldn’t find a metal box full of gold coins if he was standing right on top of it. Why, because he had not mastered his detector. He did not understand what the detector was telling him as it sounded off with its beeps. He had no idea how to correctly adjust the sensitivity on the detector. And, he was a “high swinger. “ Meaning, his coil was never just a few inches off the ground when he swung left and right. Instead, his coil was usually 8 inches to a foot above the ground as he frantically swung it. Watching him from a distance you’d think he was chopping tall grass with a sickle.

As I walked behind him with my much less inexpensive detector, I would pick up goodies that he missed. I used to love watching him freak out and go bonkers whenever I yelled to him.

“Hey Brian?” As I’m holding up what I just found. “Look at what you missed.”

He’d scream and moan and say. “This detector isn’t worth half of what I paid for it.”

When I to a person thinking about getting into the hobby, I tell them. “Buy an inexpensive detector…and learn how to use it.” I tell them they need at least 50 hours of practice digging every signal the detector emits. It’s the only way you can properly learn your detector and how it operates. I know from experience, having sold many detectors over the years, that those newbies especially, who follow my advise, end up staying with the hobby for a long time. Yes, even those that purchase the inexpensive models. Those that never learn their detector, who give up because they are digging lots of junk, quit the hobby early. Their detectors, cheap and expensive models end up in closets collecting dust.

If your interest is in buying a cheap metal detector, BTW, I’d rather prefer the word inexpensive instead of cheap. Although there are a few cheap, meaning not worth even saying their names, very bad detectors on the market, most inexpensive models perform as advertised.

Spending between $250 and $350 for a detector from one of the major manufacturers will produce great results, if you learn the detector.


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), is a law that allows any person to gain access from the government. The FOIA is basically a vehicle whereby you and I as American citizens can check the information housed by government agencies to ensure their accuracies. The FOIA is supposedly a check on our democratic process.

I’ve used the FOIA often to gain access to information on buried treasures we intend to search for. If you are serious about finding buried treasures, you should then think about using the FOIA as a research tool.


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