Sand scoops are extremely useful when metal detecting in sandy areas. This is primarily at beaches but could be useful in fields with very dry, loose, fine sandy dirt. Picking the right one isn’t hard but there are some things you need to consider.
When choosing a sand scoop for metal detecting, you need to consider:
- Scoop material
- Handle material and length
- Bucket size
- Hole or screen mesh size
- Where you plan to use it
These factors will determine how useful your scoop is and how much easier it is to find the targets you located.
Sand is everywhere and gets into everything, so leave the sand behind and bring home your treasure with a quality sand scoop.
Choosing a sand scoop for metal detecting
Stainless steel works great in the water, on wet sand, and in dry sand. It’s a sturdy material and won’t rust.
A plastic sand scoop for metal detecting makes for a lower-priced product, just make sure the plastic is thick enough so it doesn’t flex or break easily.
Handles are generally made of metal, although more companies are making carbon fiber handles available. These are strong and very light. For metal handles, make sure they’re rust-resistant like stainless steel.
Handles can be on-unit, or of mid to full length. On-unit makes the scoop easier to carry and work with, while a mid-length or long handle sand scoop for metal detecting is much more useful in shallow water or to keep you from having to bend down or kneel a lot. That might be a great help on a very hot beach day.
A larger bucket obviously requires fewer scoops but can add weight to the unit. The usefulness of your sand scoop will depend largely on the size of the scoop bucket.
Hole or screen mesh size
The mesh hole size and spacing are important. You need large enough holes to let the sand pass through but small enough to contain the items you’re trying to reveal. Look at the design and determine whether it’s the right tool for the job you’re doing. Don’t go for a cheap, plastic scoop with mesh so small that sand (dry or wet) won’t pass easily through. You want the scoop to work for you and not vice-versa.
It’s worth mentioning that a good mesh bag is useful to carry out the items you find at the beach. These handy bags let the sand drain out and keep your car and pockets a lot cleaner!
Prices run a range from under $20 to well over $100. These are based on the material, quality, and design purpose of the scoop. Simple shovels with holes (somewhat like this well-made trowel by CKG) or scoops made of plastic are at the low end. Well-made scoops that won’t rust and have been purposefully designed and tested by the manufacture are at the high end.
If you plan to do occasional beach metal detecting, I’d advise you to get a good quality hand scoop made of stainless steel. Once you’ve used this for a while, you’ll know whether or not you need to upgrade. Here’s the one I’ve used since the ’90s and it’s perfect for the occasional beach trip. It has a sturdy handle, perfect hole size, and does not rust.
I have a number of sand scoop recommendations on my gear page.
Where you plan to use it
Inland: You generally won’t need a sand scoop inland unless you’re at a freshwater lake, stream, or creek. In that case, consider you’ll probably be wading into the water and it’ll be very useful to have a handle on the scoop. The scoop will not only be capturing items in sand and silt but also various size rocks and pebbles.
Salt Water: You definitely want to get a stainless-steel or sturdy plastic scoop to avoid corrosion. If you’re wading into shallow water you should get a scoop with a handle. It’s more convenient and efficient. Honestly, these work well up on the dry sand, too.
A handy design feature for inland or seaside in-water use is a place to push against with your foot. Sometimes you need a little help getting through the material and it can also be a little less tiring on your arms. Consider wearing some foot covering so you don’t cut or scrape your foot. Simple dive boots can be useful for this.
Wet sand or dry sand: Dry sand will easily run through the holes in your sand scoop while wet sand will easily clump together. Since wet sand will be found along the shore’s edge, you can dip the full scoop in the water to help make the sand pass through easier.
Best sand scoop for beach metal detecting
Which is the best beach sand scoop? No definitive answer, but look for the material, price, handle configuration, and bucket/mesh size that suits you for the locations you’re going to.
What makes a quality sand scoop?
My personal recommendations:
- Well-engineered and welded
- Built for the demands we put on beach treasure hunting
- Made in the USA
- Good warranty
One brand that fits the mold is CKG out of Sunrise, FL
DIY sand scoop for metal detecting
How do you make a sand scoop for metal detecting?
If you’re handy with tools and metal you can start with a rectangular stainless steel tube, conduit, or box. You’ll need to drill a series of holes around the 4 sides. If you didn’t start with a metal box of sorts, you’ll also need to fasten (best to weld) a piece of the metal on the end and cut coles in that, too. The holes need to be large enough to allow sand to freely flow but small enough to hold rings, jewelry, or other items of interest.
You can cut the digging end at an angle to form the box into a useful scoop. Finally, fasten a handle to it, either welded or with nuts and bolts. Be consistent with materials, and mounting hardware should be compatible with the material you chose for the scoop box.
How to make a sand scoop for metal detecting… here’s the basic concept, use your imagination and talent to improve on it!
IKEA to the rescue
Using a cutlery holder!
How do you make a PVC sand scoop?
Now, this is clever, and probably a lot easier to make than the metal DIY sand scoop!