8 Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Metal Detectors

People use metal detectors for all sorts of reasons. You might use one to find lost keys and jewelry in your backyard. On the other hand, you might go hunting in the woods or along the beach for someone else’s treasures. From time to time, you might also find some historical treasures.

Whatever calls down your drive for using a metal detector, you might not realize how many questions you might have about them in general. Determining the answers to these questions does not seem as difficult as you might think, either. For the sake of clarification, here are the most frequently asked questions about metal detectors and their answers.

How Does a Metal Detector Work?

Metal detectors use a coil consisting of magnets that work together to generate a magnetic field. These coils can sit by themselves, but the more sophisticated the metal detector is, then chances are it will contain more than one coil. The more coils you have in your metal detector, the stronger a magnetic field it will produce.

Hence, higher quality metal detectors read at greater depths and through various types of soil and sand. For example, a metal detector with only one magnetic coil might not be able to read through mud and wet sand. Much the opposite can be said for metal detectors with three coils. If you want to learn more, you can read our article about how metal detectors work.

What are Some Good Places to use a Metal Detector?

There are various locations where you can put your metal detector to use. Many people start testing these portable machines out right in their backyards. Sometimes, you might find small treasures at this location while simply calibrating your detector. You might even use it to find pieces of lost jewelry and keys around your property.

On the other hand, you can take a metal detector out to the beach or around the woods. Most likely, you will find coils and nails at first. However, you can also find jewelry and arrowheads with just as much ease, depending on how far into nature you travel.

Can Non-Metal Objects Set off Metal Detectors?

You might be curious to find out if metal detectors can detect things that are non-metal. In most cases, the answer is simple: no. The coils in metal detectors focus on generating a field that targets metal objects.

Hence, your chances of setting off something as small as a button on a pair of jeans are pretty low if that button does not contain enough metal. For this reason, people find a lot of older coins and items that have higher levels of metal in them than newer items.

Can Metal Detectors Detect Magnets?

Most of us learned the laws of magnetism in middle or high school. Most magnets repel or attract one another. Honestly, whether or not a magnet will set off a metal detector relies on how much metal there is in the magnet itself.

Some metal detectors will pick up on other magnetic fields and confuse them with metal. However, it depends on the strength of this magnetic field and whether or not it reaches the metal detector’s minimum threshold for detection.

How Deep Can a Metal Detector Reach?

Reaching certain depths with a metal detector depends on some things. First of all, the frequency range your metal detector features need to be addressed. Some of these ranges can be adjusted for avoiding certain items – mostly junk. Depending on your metal detector’s settings, you might lose depth readings when adjusting for moving around this junk.

At the same time, certain environmental conditions can impact depth readings. For instance, some metal detectors cannot pick up frequencies in rain or snow. Also, as mentioned previously, others cannot read through wet sand and mud. Therefore, you need to be aware of the conditions under which your metal detector will read frequencies.

Do Metal Items in the Body Set off Metal Detector?

Some people who use metal detectors might have false limbs or implants in their bodies that contain metal. For example, they might have a titanium knee or hip joint. While titanium is not reactive and is lightweight, it will set off a metal detector. Titanium is a high-grade metal, after all.

If you have titanium parts or screws in your body, you will have to be careful when using your metal detector. You might unintentionally set it off with your own body.

What Kind of Headphones can be Used with a Metal Detector?

You might be tempted to use the same headphones from your MP3 player with your metal detector. This situation works, but only under a few stipulations. First and foremost, you need to make sure the headphones fit into the metal detector. Most metal detectors have ¼ inch jacks instead of the 3.5 mm jacks that an MP3 player or computer will use. So, you might need an adapter between the two.

The other thing to look out for is sound quality. Not all headphones for everyday use have the best sound quality for metal detectors. You might be able to start out with typical headphones when metal detecting, but you will eventually want to move up to something more professional for the sake of hearing different frequencies better.

Are There Online Communities for Metal Detectors?

A metal detective is someone who uses metal detectors to find treasures. There are a few online forums for you to look at if you want to join a community. One such online community is TreasureNet. People who love metal detecting for treasures come to this forum to share their stories and expertise with one another.


There are plenty of ways to go about metal detecting. Many of the most common questions about this hobby can be answered above for you. However, some more detective work might need to be done at places like TreasureNet for learning specifics about certain types of metal detectors and the specifics on the best place to look for treasures around the world.

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