Metal detector accessories and tools make your time in the field a lot easier, safer, and more efficient. Add-ons will definitely make your hunt a lot more enjoyable.
The most useful and preferred metal detecting accessories and tools are:
- Digging tools
- Gold Pans
- Carrying Accessories
- Gear Covers
It’s worth a closer look at each of these items to really understand their value, so let’s explore why these metal detecting accessories and tools really make a difference.
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What do I need to go metal detecting?
Once you find something with your detector, you need to get it out of the ground or sand, or from under a rock. Digging tools are the answer.
Make sure to check the area you’ll be digging in. Some places have rules about what you can use. For example, beaches may only allow sand scoops. parks may only allow very small holes. You get the idea.
The two most versatile digging tools are your hands, but they’ll wear out fast. It’s pretty clear that gloves are one of the easiest and most useful items to bring along, but clearing and digging by hand only goes so far. You need something purpose-built to unearth your finds. Here are several types of digging tools:
A good, heavy-duty kitchen knife is the easiest, simplest knife to find. I used one for years and it never failed me. In some situations, I could have used a better tool, like the serrated edge digger I cover below. However, you can actually cut a really nice circular or triangular “hinge plug” with a hefty kitchen knife.
- A hinge plug is essentially a triangular or square-shaped hole you dig and then fold the ground and grass back on one edge (the “hinge”) – this makes it easy to replace the plug and leaves the ground quite neat and tidy after you leave.
A shovel is useful when you need to unearth a larger area or dig in stone or rock-filled soil. Shovels give you more leverage than smaller tools like trowels or knives. Also, some shovels have serrated edges that help cut through smaller root systems that might be running through the area. Here are two good examples from Amazon:
Some shovels also have marks on them to tell you how deep you’re digging. The bottom line is to pick an appropriately sized tool with the right leverage.
The right tool for the right job!My Dad
Think of a trowel as a mini shovel. It does a good job of digging in loose soil (think of a garden) and it’s good for scooping and trimming the edges of whatever hole you dig. It’s portable, too!
You can go for the typical trowel found at places like Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, or you can select something more specialized for metal detecting like this item on Amazon. It has a sharper tip and serrated edges. The serrations help cut anything the least bit stubborn in the ground.
Edge Digging Tool (serrated)
The advantage of an edge digging tool is it has one or more sides with sharp serrations. This helps cut through smaller roots, underbrush, and tightly packed ground. The blades are built to be strong and durable. Many of them come with a holster so you can keep it handy at your side while moving from dig to dig.
These are generally around 12 inches in length. You may notice that a lot of them have serrations on the left side of the blade. Why is that? Well, the one explanation I’ve heard is that the inventor of the Lesche digger was left-handed, and that made it easier to use. However, you can find them serrated on left, right, or both sides. The common-sense reason is that it depends on whether you prefer to cut holes clockwise or counterclockwise! That simple.
A root cutter helps you get through the tougher layers and to your target. You can buy ones that are labeled for metal detecting use but honestly, there are a lot of folks who use a pocket pruning saw or one of several models of the Lesche Ground Shark. If you do get a shovel made for metal detecting, make sure the footpad is a good size so that your foot doesn’t slip off.
One added benefit – a long-handled root cutter keeps your hands out of the brush, so less chance of contacting poison ivy.
“Dental” pick (Steel pick)
This tool is ideal for digging around very small and/or fragile items. Also, they’re good for cleaning dirt from tight crevices in your finds. You usually find them by searching for dental tools, like this one on Amazon.
Why would you want a pick for metal detecting? Because the ground isn’t always like your yard. Sometimes it contains a ton of small rocks. Sometimes what you are alerted to lies under a big rock. That’s when a good pick comes in handy.
The head is triangular with a very hard, pointed end for cracking open rock, and a flat end for digging into tough ground and helping turn it over.
For gold prospecting, use a prospector’s pick. These are a bit lighter in weight and often contain magnets to help you distinguish between gold and other metals. The magnets will grab iron targets as you scrape through the dirt and help give you fewer false alerts (less “bad metal” at the site) to improve the search.
Sand scoops are really useful. The first time I went metal detecting at the beach I found out why. Trowels or shovels let the sand slip off too easily and the sand fills right back in. Many times what you’re looking for stays buried.
With a sand scoop, you can grab a lot of material and let it sift out. The water drains out as well. That really helps you get to your target faster.
In wet sand down by the tide, it’s still a great tool because you can grab so much material. Then you dump it out on the wet beach and sort through it. Speaking of wet sand, consider getting a stainless steel sand scoop instead of a plain metal one, and avoid the eventual rust.
Most people prefer the metal ones, but not surprisingly there are a few sturdy plastic sand scoopers (not toys) made for metal detecting. One advantage I see to these is not getting scrapes if you swing it against your legs. It could happen.
You have two choices for audio. Speaker or headphones. With the speaker, you’ll get good alerts on targets. So will everyone else around you, and part of preserving the hobby for the future is being a good neighbor. That’s one of the reasons headphones are a great accessory. The other is very important in noisy environments. The ability to block out sounds from around you that might easily drown out target signals.
These are the things to look for in a metal detecting headset.
- High-quality sound, ones that help you hear the barely discernable signals
- Connectors that are waterproof for rainy days
- Volume control to adjust for soft signals and loud signals
- Wireless versus corded (a personal preference), but make sure the Bluetooth transfer is fast so there’s no meaningful delay between target hit and hearing the alert
- Comfort and soundproofing to keep your head from hurting and the exterior sound out
If you are detecting underwater or even in the surf or creeks, waterproof headphones are a great idea. Regular headphones, with one drop, they’re toast (soggy toast.)
Hey prospector! One of the beauties of the metal detecting hobby is finding gold near rivers and streams. If you know where to look for it, actually getting to it could require some special skills and equipment.
Trapping gold and classifying gold are two skills you’ll need to learn. The equipment you’ll need are gold pans and classifiers. The pans are essentially plastic bowls with slanted sides and little “steps” on the side. Classifiers have mesh screens of various sizes on the bottom to let water and silt pass through, leaving gold flakes and heavier gold pieces behind.
Another common piece of equipment is called a sluice box. This has barriers on the bottom of the channel to trap heavier gold particles as water washes through the box.
Gold hunting is a little specialized, but an exciting sub-niche that you can grow into. You’ll want to seriously look into a metal detector that’s built for gold hunting, like the Garrett AT Gold metal detector.
A pinpointer is a type of metal detector that provides very precise location alerts. When your metal detector alerts, it’s telling you something’s down there. However, the location accuracy is not that precise. It’s common to dig and find nothing, yet move over several inches from where the strongest hit was and locate something.
A pinpointer can be accurate to less than an inch. One advantage is it reduces the time and energy you spend. Another is having an accurate location can help assure you won’t do any damage to your target while digging.
These amazing instruments are typically water-resistant or waterproof, even submersible. Depending on the model, the alerts consist of a light, buzzer, and/or beeps. There are pinpointers that are specific to finding gold, too.
The way to use them is in combination with your metal detector. Sweep the area with your detector as usual, but when you get a hit, rather than homing in with increasingly tighter sweeps, use the pinpointer to pinpoint the location.
Carrying Stuff – Metal Detecting Accessories
You’re going to need something to put your finds in. I used to use my pockets. Well, that got messy on a rainy day. A pouch would have been the answer.
The hard part about finding a pouch is there are many designs and types, so you need to spend a little time researching. Fortunately, they’re not super expensive so if you make a mistake it’s not a big one.
Pouches come in apron style, shoulder-carry style, belt style, and more. There are even ones for your thigh! I gotta say this one blows me away for its versatility (I’m partial to the tan one):
One thing to look for is a mesh bottom that lets the dirt particles fall out while you’re traveling. That just makes things cleaner at the end of the day when you unpack.
A pouch for beach use is sometimes called a beach sifter because it helps the sand drop off your items as you move. I’ve seen belt models that look sort of like a mini chicken wire cage. Really efficient.
Find a pouch that’s durable and matches the type of treasure hunting you do. Make sure it’s the right size. Do you carry water with you? Do you want to stuff a pinpointer and your finds in there? Do you find a lot of stuff in the water? (If so you’ll want to consider a mesh bag)
The next step up in cargo carrying is the backpack. If you’ve ever used a backpack for school/college or work, you know a thing or two. That applies to metal detecting, too. Anything imaginable can be in your backpack, just remember ruggedness. Your sharper tools might be in there.
It’s all about carrying the stuff you need while out. Consider the weather and hunting location. You want something waterproof, strong zippers, separate pouches to separate items from each other, adjustable and comfortable shoulder straps, etc. But you knew that, same as everyday backpack use.
Enjoy this handy accessory fanny pack (just for the detectorist in you)
The coil is one of the most critical parts of your detector. It is engineered with precise frequencies and response in mind. They’re rugged, but you can take the protection of the coil one step further with a coil cover.
The cover (also called a skid plate) helps your detector last a lot longer. The inevitable bumps and drops can damage the original coil cover, so protecting it with a cover made for your model machine is a good idea.
A coil cover is a cheap way to protect the coil and can preserve resale value down the road.
One thing to keep in mind is to get a good seal between your cover and the coil. Getting dust, dirt, or water in between them can possibly alter the coil’s performance.
Rain and dust covers
Besides the coil, the control box is the other most sensitive part of the detector. Water can splash up on it, rain can soak it, and dust can get inside. A good fitting cover that allows you access to the screen and/or controls will be a huge help here.
You can find them online by searching “metal detector search coil covers”
Here are a few other things to take along as needed:
- Weather gear
- Water to drink
- Water to wash off dirty, muddy finds
- Durable gloves
- First Aid
- Bug Spray
- Tick repellant
- Sunglasses or hat
Having a logbook is a great idea. You can make entries for your outings, where you were, what you found, settings, and so much more. I created this one on Amazon to capture those memories.