Metal detectors are categorized based on how they are used and the items they detect. There are three main types of metal detectors: VLF, PI, and specialty.
Very Low Frequency (VLF) Detectors
Very low frequency (VLF) detectors are the most common and affordable types of metal detectors. A VLF detector has two coils: a transmitter coil that creates the magnetic field, and a detector coil that senses any disturbance in the field created by conductive materials.
In addition to being inexpensive and easy to find, VLF detectors are lightweight and durable. They are typically used to find coins, jewelry, relics, and other metal deposits. There are water resistant and waterproof VLF detectors on the market but pulse induction (PI) detectors are better for underwater metal detecting.
Pulse Induction (PI) Detectors
Unlike the two-coil design of a VLF detector, Pulse induction metal detectors have just one coil. This one coil can detect conductive materials and is less affected by ground mineralization than VLF detectors. When searching beaches, rivers, or underwater, it’s better to use a PI detector. PI detectors are not the best metal detectors to use in cities. They cannot discriminate between iron trash, such as nails, and treasures like coins or gold. The other disadvantage of PI detectors is that they are more expensive than VLF metal detectors. Novice hobbyists may not want to make such a substantial investment.
Specialty metal detectors such as multi-frequency detectors, gold detectors, and waterproof detectors can be either VLF or PI detectors but they also have functions that enable them to execute specialized tasks.
Multi Frequency metal detectors
Metal detectors for professionals or hobbyists are great because they can be used in a variety of locations. Depending on the frequency settings, multifrequency metal detectors can be used in cities, the beach, rivers or lakes, and the ocean without needing a PI and VLF detector. The downside is that multi frequency devices tend to be expensive.
Gold metal detectors
Gold detectors are designed to find gold. They can be either VLF or PI detectors and have a higher frequency range than other detectors. The higher frequency won't set off alerts when they encounter salts and other minerals commonly found while searching for gold.
Waterproof metal detectors
Some metal detectors are waterproof, which means they can be used in wet environments such as the beach, or underwater while scuba diving. Make sure that the product you buy is at the level of waterproofing that you need.
Don’t buy anything until you’ve read a review. Our expert reviews are the best way to know without a doubt that you are getting the right product for your needs. We only review products we think are worth.