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Detecting 101

20 Easy Metal Detecting Tips

Learn these 20 easy Metal Detecting tips to make your next hunt more productive, finding more relics and artifacts.

20 Easy Metal Detecting Tips

Here’s your chance to share your expertise with your fellow detectorists. Not only can these tips help you find more treasure, but they can help preserve our detecting sites by helping new people do it right! So send in those tips today!


  1. Carry an 18″x18″ (or really any size you’d like) sheet of heavy duty plastic sheathing with you when detecting yards or lawns. Keep it folded in your pocket or pouch. After cutting a plug or partial plug, you can place any of the dirt from the hole onto the plastic. Once you know that the item is in the soil that you’ve pulled out of the hole and is now on the plastic, you can find the item easier when breaking up the soil or using a probe. It makes it very easy to put the soil back in the hole, and doesn’t leave loose soil all over the area . Just as if you were never there!
  2. Three pocket fanny packs are great for storing your goodies while you are detecting. I use one of the front pockets for all my goodies, the other for trash. The hidden back pocket is nice if you’ve found some valuables that you just don’t want to show others.
  3. Always use headphones. They muffle distracting outside sounds and allow you to hear the faint sound of deeper targets.
  4. Use the least amount of detector discrimination possible for the area you’re hunting. Don’t discriminate out pull tabs since that will likely discriminate out gold rings. If a site is clean of trash, try using your detector with no discrimination.
  5. To grid an area when detecting in the water, start at whatever depth of water you’d like. Note how high the water is on your body. Walk parallel to the shore keeping yourself at the same depth of water. When going back in the direction you came from, take a step or two to either deeper or more shallow water and make note of where the water is now on your body. Then proceed parallel to the shore in the opposite direction, making sure you overlap your swing where you have already detected.
  6. Understanding jewelry markings will help you better understand the value of the item you found.
  7. Precious Metals Value Calculators – Here you’ll find some handy calculators and links to online calculators.
  8. When you’re detecting in the water and you find a gold or silver medallion, in your excitement, don’t go running off to show friends what you have found. Stay right where you are! There is a good chance that there was a chain attached to that medallion and it may be nearby.
  9. Chains are difficult to find because the signal from the detector generally only picks up one link at a time. That signal may be very faint and is often missed. You can try putting the detector in all metals mode and search the surrounding area carefully. Be sure to expand your search area in a circumference of at least 10′.
  10. When detecting at the ocean, it’s good to get there a couple of hours before low tide. Work the wet sand working your way out as the tide moves out. This way you are covering the area where swimmers were most recently. Concentrate on any “cuts” in the sand with water running out from them. Also concentrate behind small sand bars(towards the beach side). These low areas are where heavier items like gold tend to settle.
  11. Here is a handy link to check the tides for many locations on the East, West, and Gulf coasts.
  12. Places to Metal Detect – Here is a post I wrote with lists of places to metal detect on land and in the water.
  13. Swing That Coil Correctly! – Here is a post I wrote about swinging your coil more efficiently to increase your finds.
  14. Metal Detecting Old Abandoned House Sites – This is a post I wrote with a number of tips on finding and detecting around old house foundations.
  15. Finding Other Things Besides Treasure – Use your metal detector to find other things besides treasure. It can be used to find septic tank covers and distribution box covers that have re-bar in them. Find metal property line corner pins to know where your boundary actually is.
  16. Your detector, but especially a probe, can be used to find metal in Halloween candy. Nails and old embedded barbwire can be searched for in a tree before cutting it down with a chainsaw. The list goes on…
  17. Street and Sidewalk Construction – Another possible place to find old coins.
  18. Lose an earring or it’s backing in the house and have a sneaky suspicion that it may have been sucked up by the vacuum cleaner? Well here’s another good use for a pin pointer such as the Garrett Pro-Pointer. Just take the bag out of the vacuum cleaner (carefully so you can still use it if it’s not full), move it away from any metal objects and scan it. With some bags you can even poke it through the suction hole on the bag for a more thorough scan. For other pin pointer uses, read my user review here.
  19. Historical Maps from the USGS – Here is a great resource for doing research on old places to metal detect. Sometimes it’s just a matter of comparing old maps with more recent ones to find old house sites and buildings, old roads, and parks that no longer exist that could be prime detecting sites. When you get to this page, be sure to go to the link for the Historical Topographic Map Collection.
  20. Gridding a Beach – It’s easy to miss some spots on a beach that may have good stuff if you don’t grid the area. I’ve found it helpful to drag my long handle scoop behind me or drag my foot in the beach sand as I move along to let me know where I’ve already detected.

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I'm an advent metal detector and professional web developer. I enjoy mixing my 2 favorite passions and strive to provide fellow hobbiest an unique web experience.

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