In this article, we’ll cover the five metal detecting accessories we think are essential, whether you’re new to detecting or a seasoned hobbyist.
We previously covered whether we thought a pinpointer was necessary from a rental perspective (TL;DR: it was a toss-up), but if you’re serious about metal detecting, you need a pinpointer.
A full-size metal detector will get you most of the way to a target, but a pinpointer gets you that last mile (okay, last…two inches). Many metal detectors have a built-in pinpoint function, but it’s usually not as accurate as a separate handheld pinpointer. We recommend the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT, as it’s waterproof, has three levels of sensitivity, and is durable enough to repeatedly toss on the ground.
2. Search Coil Cover
For years, we didn’t think a search coil cover was necessary. What can we say, we’re minimalists. But then a customer cracked a search coil on a rock, and just like that, our minds were changed.
Depending on your particular search coil model, a protective cover runs anywhere from $10 to $30. But that’s a mere fraction of the cost of a replacement search coil, which can be $200+. So save yourself some money in the long run and get a search coil cover. They snap-on and can be easily cleaned off when the cover gets dirty, and you—probably—won’t have to worry about cracking the plastic on some rocks.
Headphones are an absolute necessity. One, they’ll let you focus on the audio signals coming from your detector, and not on the conversation of people at a picnic nearby. Two, headphones will help preserve your metal detector’s battery life, as it takes less energy to send audio to a set of headphones than to a speaker. Three, you’ll be able to notice weaker (and potentially deeper) signals.
While many detectorists claim you need special metal detecting headphones, we disagree. In our opinion, you can use any over-the-ear headphones you want. They may not be waterproof, but if they’re comfortable and you like ‘em, use them.
But what about the jack size? Metal detectors use a 1/4” audio jack (which is also common in professional audio equipment), while many ordinary headphones use a 1/8” (3.5mm) jack. Good news: there’s an easy fix. For $5, or less, if you hunt around—get a headphone jack adapter, like this 1/8” female to 1/4” male stereo adapter.
4. Digging Tool or Shovel
A digging tool is one of the most useful accessories you can have when metal detecting. Most “good” targets won’t be on the surface, which means you’ll need to dig. You could dig with your hands or a stick, but that’s inefficient and demoralizing at best.
Digging Tools come in all shapes and sizes. Some have serrated blades and are meant for cutting sod in parks and gardens (so that you can put it back after you’re done digging). Others are more shovel-like, and meant for digging in farm fields or other out-of-the-way locations like old townsites.
Choose a digging tool that suits the locations you’ll be metal detecting.
5. Rechargeable Batteries
The more you use your metal detector, the more frequently you’ll need to change its batteries. And batteries are expensive. Just one 4-pack of AA batteries or a 2-pack of 9V batteries costs about $8 as of the writing of this article.
On average, a standard entry to mid-range metal detector has a battery life of about 30 hours. Here at Metro Metal Detectors, our standard rental detectors need their batteries changed at least once a week, but in reality, they may need to be replaced on a daily basis. If we were using disposable batteries, that could cost upwards of $900 a month.
We use rechargeable batteries because they save us a lot of money. Rechargeable batteries cost more up front, but you’ll break-even on that higher initial cost within five to six recharges. We personally recommend Panasonic’s Eneloop batteries for metal detectors that take AA’s.
That wraps up the 5 Essential Metal Detecting Accessories that we think you need. Let us know in the comments what your essential accessories are, and tell us if we missed anything you think should be included.