Hobby metal detectors used for treasure hunting are amazing tools that you swing back and forth across the earth, looking for items buried underground. They contain a number of essential components, yet are designed to be lightweight. This is important because swinging your metal detector back and forth during a long day of treasure hunting can make your arm and shoulder tired. So, how much do metal detectors weigh?
On average, most metal detectors weigh between 2 and 5 pounds. The weight consists of the control box, arm support, telescoping wand, wiring, and coil – all needed to detect, process, and display targets to the operator. The low weight keeps the operator’s arm from getting tired while swinging the detector back and forth.
There are several factors that determine how heavy a metal detector is. The manufacturing process needs to factor in material suitability, longevity, and cost, while the electronic components and housing need to provide the best user interface in the lightest possible package. Additionally, the search coil needs to be of adequate size to detect deep targets and durable enough to withstand bumps and being dropped.
How Heavy Are Metal Detectors?
Weight Comparison Data
I researched over 40 metal detector models used in the treasure hunting hobby. This spanned from beginner models to high-end almost pro-level machines. I not only looked at weight by brand and model, but I also recorded sales price and technology (VLF and PI) to see if there were any common threads related to metal detector weight.
Most Metal Detectors I Researched Weighed 4.3 Pounds or Less
In this chart, you can see that most metal detectors (based on the models researched) reside in the low end of the weight range. This, of course, makes sense since no one wants to lug around and use a big, heavy machine.
You can also see below, that most machines thankfully fall in the low-weight AND low-cost sector:
What Is the Lightest Weight metal Detector?
In my study of 49 different metal detector models, the low-weight winner was the Teknetics Alpha 2000 at a published 2.2 pounds. However, let’s not quibble over a tenth of a pound… the top 10 low-weight models based on published data are:
|Teknetics||Teknetics Alpha 2000||2.2|
|Minelab||Minelab Go-Find 44||2.3|
|Minelab||Minelab Go-Find 66||2.3|
|Teknetics||Teknetics Gamma 6000||2.4|
|Bounty Hunter||Bounty Hunter Lone Star Pro||2.5|
|Bounty Hunter||Bounty Hunter Quick Draw Pro||2.5|
Does Metal Detector Technology Effect Weight?
During the research, I also captured each model’s technology (VLF or PI) to see if the technology had an impact on weight.
(If you’re curious about the difference between VLF and PI metal detectors, I wrote an article you’ll want to read!)
- The 5 PI detectors I researched averaged 7.54 pounds, with a range between 3.5 pounds and 12 pounds
- The 44 VLF detectors I researched averaged 3.36 pounds. with a range between 2.2 and 9.8 pounds
Are Metal Detectors Heavy?
Heavy is in the eye of the beholder and there are two things to consider:
- Carrying weight
- Operating weight
The carrying weight is when you’re not actually swinging the detector over the surface. It’s either lying on the ground or you are transporting it from one place to another. Transportation is not such an issue since you can either sling it over your shoulder (rifle style), use a neck strap, or place it back in its carrying and storage case for protection.
Remember that when metal detecting, you’ll usually have a number of other things to carry along with you. I wrote an article covering accessories to carry along that you’ll find useful.
The operating weight is the real issue. You are basically supporting the weight and momentum of the machine with your shoulder and arm. Your wrist has it much easier with modern machines than ones like I started with back in the ’80s.
There was no arm support for early models and your wrist took a lot of the workload:
You can see here how the arm support helps spread and balance the detector’s weight
Metal Detector Weight and Arm Fatigue
Metal detector weight impacts arm fatigue, so with functionality being a priority, a lighter detector is better. However, there’s another factor to consider, and that is weight balance. This can become more of a factor when you replace the standard search coil with a bigger, heavier coil.
Remember the topic of moment arms from school? A playground see-saw (teeter-totter) with equal weights on each end is balanced. When you add more weight to one side, it forces that side down. Swinging a metal detector side to side with too much weight at the coil end (the end furthest from your wrist/arm/elbow) means more work for your arm. It gets tiring.
I mention this as something to think about, and ran across an interesting article on counterbalancing your metal detector shaft. It’s a neat idea you may want to investigate if your arm gets tired while metal detecting.
Metal Detector Weight – Owner’s Poll
Some real-world owner data bears out the online data above! Given, this is was a small sample size, but here’s how some real metal detector owners reported the weight of their unit: