Which Is The Best All Round Metal Detector For Finding Coins, Relics And Other Treasures in 2024?

In a nutshell the best all round metal detector for finding coins, relics and other treasures in 2024 is the one that works for you. You can have the most expensive all singing and dancing metal detector on the market, but if you can’t operate it properly or don’t have some decent land to detect on then it will be as good as useless.

A metal detector takes time to learn and to understand, so there are people out there using 10 or even 20 year old metal detectors who just completely understand their machine who find as much and sometimes more than someone using an expensive modern machine. So don’t just jump from one machine to another, pick a machine and stick to it, get to understand it and its ways.

Having said that make sure that you are starting with a decent metal detector, it doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but it does have to be a good one.

Stay away from strange sounding brands that are only available on Amazon or eBay. Look at the brands that are sold by proper metal detecting retailers, if they don’t sell a particular brand there is probably a good reason why they don’t.

The main brands to choose from are Minelab, XP, and Nokta Makro, but brands like Quest, Garrett and Fisher also have some good models worthy of consideration.

You don’t have to go out and buy a top of the range metal detector, in fact if you are just starting out in metal detecting something too complicated, with too many settings to play with might just put you off.

I always suggest that people start by deciding on a budget that they want to spend and to then choose the best, most appropriate metal detector in that price range, I say appropriate because one of the most important things to factor in when choosing a metal detector is its weight. You will be swinging this machine about for maybe a whole day, if it is too heavy for you then it will make your arm ache after a few hours and it will put you off detecting. For some people weight isn’t an issue. If you are a 6’4 bricklayer then the weight might be irrelevant, but if your are petite and just 5′ tall then he weight of the machine might be very important.

For some time now I have been running a spreadsheet that whenever a new metal detector comes out I enter the specification and it calculates from those specifications where it sits in my league table of metal detectors. The spreadsheet awards or removes points based on a number of factors,

The factors that I use to calculate my Top 20 Metal Detectors of 2024 League are as follows

Price – An easy one to understand, put simply a high price downgrades its position and a low price puts it higher, but if it was just about price then the cheapest would be in first place and the most expensive one would be at the bottom of the list, but its not just about price is it when choosing the best metal detector?

Weight – As I mentioned before, weight is an important factor when choosing the best metal detector for you. So a lighter machine scores more points than a heavy one.

Frequency Options – By this I mean does the detector operate on just one frequency or does it have multiple frequencies, if it has multiple frequencies then do you manually change between them or are they all running at the same time. Generally simultaneous multi frequency machines are better than selectable multi frequencies, but both are better than having just one frequency. Having a range of frequencies will in theory cope with different conditions and different targets better than one with just a single frequency, so single frequency machines score fewer points than multi frequency ones.

Number of Frequencies – Again the more frequencies you have available the better, obviously a single frequency machine just has one frequency, multi frequency machines generally have between 3 and 7 frequencies, but there is one machine that has quite a few more.

Coil Size – Generally speaking a bigger coil will give you more coverage, but if it is too big, you might miss some smaller, deeper targets, and of course a bigger coil will add weight. Smaller coils don’t necessarily go deeper but can be useful when picking out small signals in trashy areas or when maneuvering between stubble or other vegetation.

Modes – Modes are just a pre set combination of settings that are useful when detecting in different conditions, they can usually be further adjusted within each mode, but having a pre set number of modes can make your detecting more efficient and flexible.

Waterproof – If your metal detector is fully waterproof then not only can it be submersed in water, it is going to perfectly usable in heavy rain, and won’t be damaged if you drop it in a puddle. The coil and stem on virtually all detectors are waterproof but many of them don’t have a waterproof control box, so fully waterproof metal detectors get awarded more points.

Build Quality – It goes without saying that build quality is important. A metal detector needs to be able to handle some fairly rugged use, it might be rolling around in the boot of your car or be dropped several times when you are about to dig up a find, so better build quality results in more points.

Tone Quality – You are going to be listening to the tones of your metal detector for several hours at a time, often with headphones on. If it sounds like a dying duck or a broken kazoo then it is going to get very annoying very soon.

Battery Life – Some metal detectors are fully chargeable, some use removable batteries (which may or might not be rechargeable) but how long the batteries last is important. If you are having a weekend of detecting you need to know how long those batteries are going to last.

Wireless Headphones – There is nothing worse than constantly getting tangled up in your headphone cable when out detecting, so the ability to use wireless headphones is a huge bonus.

Performance – This is kind of a catch all factor. Some detectors just do the job of being a great detector better than others

Discrimination Levels – You want to be able to set your machine up to discriminate between different tones or signals, the more levels there are the more accurate you can be with this.

Sensitivity Levels – The higher the sensitivity, the more likely you are to find those smaller items, but on some land you need to turn the sensitivity down otherwise the machine id just going to make a constant sound, if for example the ground id highly mineralised or heavily contaminated with iron particles. So the more levels of sensitivity, the more control you have over this.

So those are the factors I take into account when deciding where a metal detector fits in to my top 20 super league of detectors.

So here we go, here is my top 20, in reverse order, you may well be surprised by some of the positions, The results are a little controversial but they are based purely on specification and facts and nothing else. Every metal detector that has made it into the Top 20 is a good metal detector, they just get better as you go higher up the list

20 – Minelab Vanquish 340
A very good basic entry level metal detector, but it is very basic, with very few features. It isn’t waterproof and looks a bit toy like, but it will find you things, and incredibly, for the price it is a Simultaneous Multi Frequency machine.
19 – Minelab Vanquish 440

A little bit like its little brother the 340, but has more features.
18 – Quest Q5
A surprisingly capable and well featured metal detector for not a lot of money
17 – Minelab CTX3030
In the right experienced hands this is an incredible metal detector but it is a bit big and bulky, and expensive. The CTX3030 has its fans and keeps soldiering on but has been around for a long time.
16 – Minelab X-Terra Pro

A relative newcomer from Minelab, looks at lot like its Equinox big brothers, selectable multi frequencies and a very capable detector for the price.
15 – Garret Ace Apex

The only Garrett machine to make it into the top 20. It is simultaneous multi frequency and is better than the Vanquish 340 and 440, but is more expensive
14 – Minelab Vanquish 540

The 540 is like an Equinox crammed into the toyish looking body of the Vanquish, so a pretty good machine
13 – Quest Q30

Only single frequency but enough interesting features and a reasonable price pushes it up the list
12 – Nokta Makro Legend

Nokta’s Legend has plenty of followers who love it, who will be outraged that it didn’t make it into the top ten, but at the end of the day, the ones that made it up there, are just that little bit better.
11 – Minelab Equinox 600

Again Equinox machines have a massive following and they are very good, but the 600 is just beaten out of the top 10.

Now pretty much every one of those is a very good metal detector, and they all have their fans, their followers and their owners, but none of them made it into my Top 10 Metal Detectors for 2024. So here are the top ten.

10 – Minelab Equinox 800
The Equinox 800 has a massive following, and quite rightly so, but it is a bit heavy and the detectors above it in the list are just slightly better.
9 – Minelab Manticore

Minelab’s new beast is just that, a beast. An incredible machine but quite complicated and expensive which knocked it down the list a bit.
8 – Quest V60

An amazing bit of kit from Quest with all of the features you are likely to need, but still a bit new and unknown.
7 – Minelab Equinox 700

Not much to be said other than a great detector, only narrowly beaten by the ones above it.
6 – Minelab Equinox 900

Minelabs Equinox 900 is an amazing detector. When we get this high in the list they are all amazing but just the weight of it stopped it landing any higher, and its not that heavy, just slightly more than those above it.
5 – Quest V80

The V80 is essentially Quest’s equivalent to the Equinox 900 and there is very little difference in features or capability and the difference in weight is almost nothing, but the V80 is cheaper than the nox 900 so beats it to number 5
4 – XP Deus 1

The original Deus is an amazing metal detector, incredibly light and wireless and won’t miss anything that you walk over.
3 – XP ORX

The ORX is essentially a Deus 1 in an easier to use package and cheaper to, so just comes out a spot higher in the list.
2 – XP Deus 2

The Deus 2 is an amazing improvement over the original Deus, it is waterproof, it has more features, it has slightly better depth. Not a cheap machine, in fact there are only 2 others on the list that are more expensive, but for the combination of lightness and performance nothing beats it.
1 – XP Deus 2 WS6 Master

Apart from this of course, The WS6 Master is a Deus 2 without the remote control box. Everything is contained in the tiny headphone puck that you can mount on the stem to see the numbers, if seeing the numbers is important to you, but XP machines are tone machines, you are identifying signals by sound more than you do by numbers. So just as powerful as the standard Deus 2, but cheaper and lighter so comes out ahead of it, in first position.

Yes XP have taken the top 4 spots. I know all those people who own a detector lower down on the list will disagree with me, but this list is based on facts not emotion. Minelab and XP have 4 positions each in the Top 10 and Quest have 2. Unfortunately Nokta Makro and Garett both fell outside the Top 20 Metal Detectors for 2024, but I will keep adding new models as they come out, so my rankings could change at any time.

Interestingly, the lowest priced metal detector in the Top 10 is the XP ORX which is around £599-£639 depending on which coil you go for, so it does show that spending a bit more does get you a better machine.