Resource for
Bookmark and Share

What is the Investment Cost to Participate in Metal Detecting?
By Lee Wiese

Download This Article

Download this Excel Spread Sheet and Calculate your Investment Cost by placing your cost numbers in the Excel spread sheet.

Disclaimer. The investment cost for detectors and accessories are high lighted in this article's investment cost table and are based on prices found on the internet. The detector brand, detector model and accessories you chose may reflex a different price than what is shown in the investment cost table and this would be normal. The dollars amounts in the investment cost table should only be considered a benchmark for you to follow; your final dollar investment may be either greater or less than the value shown in the cost table. No specific detector brand or model are high lighted since this article is not trying to provide direction on any specific detector or accessory to purchase just hobby investment cost.

Introduction. Have you every wanted to know what it cost to enter the metal detecting hobby and start detecting? The following article and investment cost table will provide you with some insight to this question with cost benchmarks associated with each of the different areas of metal detecting. The investment cost table should provide you with a two column analysis (good and best) for an area, however, for some areas there will be just one cost analysis column. One column will define a good investment and the other column a best investment and each column has dollar figures for comparison.

Before getting involved in metal detecting you should do some up front research rather than just go out and purchase a metal detector. Your first detector need not be expensive but should be purchased for a specific type of detecting. The various areas and sub-areas of detecting are high lighted below and are used for the column headings in the investment cost table at the end of the article.

Metal Detecting Areas
You may make a decision to start the hobby by Coinshooting for newer clad coins. Newer clad coins are usually found near the surface and therefore it probably would not make sense to purchase a detector from $1,700 to $2,300 dollars. A detector with a much lower price could do the job just as good if not better with a shorter and faster learning curve for you.

One mistake that people make entering the hobby is that their first purchased detector is too complicated and they rapidly get discouraged. Thus, after a very short period of time they exit the hobby. The decision to exit the hobby leaves you with a large investment just gathering dust in a closet. So keep your first detector purchase cost low.

In this article you will find an investment cost table that lists a summary cost for each one of the various areas of metal detecting. Across the top of the table you will find the eight different areas of metal detecting and along the left side of the table a list of generic detectors and accessories.

Listed for each detector and accessory is a price found on the internet for that particular item. I suggest you study this table to gain a better understanding of metal detecting cost for each of the areas and you will find that there is no universal detector that fits all areas of detecting. Also take note that each area of metal detecting may require different accessories. The investment cost can vary either up or down based on the detector brand and model you choose.

Coinshooting for the newer clad coins is an entry level position into the hobby. Coinshooting should not be confused with metal detecting for very old coins and relics. The detector and accessories used for this level of metal detecting have the lowest investment cost making this area a very good starting point for the novice. In the attached investment cost table you will find two columns of potential cost for coinshooting. The two columns (good & best) provide a range of investment dollars that you could expect to spend for metal detecting clad coins.

Jewelry metal detecting is a step up from coinshooting. Jewelry can be found while coinshooting but to be very good in this area of the hobby a greater dollar investment is required from the detectorist.

Gold jewelry requires a very good detector that is sensitive to very small jewelry items like a one gram ladies gold ring, small gold earrings that are usually less then one gram and gold chains the most difficult of all to detect. Getting involved in jewelry metal detecting can be financially rewarding to the detectorist and helpful to those that have lost personal jewelry items.

Beach and Water metal detecting is divided into three separate areas of metal detecting (Freshwater, Saltwater Beach and Saltwater Water itself). On beaches you will be metal detecting for coins and jewelry and therefore the previous comments about coinshooting and jewelry detecting generally apply here.
Relic metal detecting covers three major aspects of detecting: Relics and Coins, DIV hunts and Cache detecting. Each of these three areas will be expanded upon below. To be very successful in old site relic metal detecting the equipment and accessory investment cost is not the only investment you must consider.

Please Note. All National Parks, Monuments, Recreational Areas, Historical sites / Archaeology (National, State, City) sites and other National Lands are off limits to metal detecting. Also many but not all state parks lands and city / county parks / school areas may not be open to metal detecting.

A key aspect of relic detecting is to first research historical documents, old newspapers, etc to locate sites that should provide relic targets for you. Research requires personal time and in some cases developing an extensive library of books and research materials. Books and research material cost are not covered in the investment cost table. Research is especially important for cache detecting. Without research there is no cache hunting.
Gold Prospecting with a metal detector is an alternate approach to mining for Gold. The investment cost table list two columns - good and best. The investment for Gold detecting can range from $1,300 to $6,900 but the return to the detectorist should track the investment cost plus more. Investing greater dollars should be based on one's commitment to locating Gold with a detector or to a prospector the investment cost may be just an extension to their mining quest for Gold.

Competition metal detecting is not listed in the investment cost table since many detectorist just use their personal detector to participate in these events. If you really want to be highly successful in competition metal detecting you should have a detector that is dedicated to this aspect of detecting. A detector that: A Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth Detectors or MORE. Once the decision has been made to try metal detecting a decision point will present itself some time in the future.

Either you will drop out of the hobby because there is a lack of interest on your part or you will drop out because you can not gain the proper understanding / knowledge to master your detector.

The other side of the decision point is that you have become very interested and successful in metal detecting and want to advance to other aspects of detecting. This is where the investment cost in the hobby now becomes greater and can grow fairly extensive over time. The result may be that you could now own two or more detectors and all their related accessory gear. This decision to own more detectors will make you heavily invested in the hobby.

A detectorist must be very careful not to have too much money invested in the hobby. Please note that there will always be a new detector with new capabilities and features, so take your time before buying that next new detector and have a plan to downsize what you already own.

The suggestion is to try and make some of your detecting gear purchases as (used gear) from metal detecting classified forums or to purchase used gear from club members. Using the metal detecting classified forums also provides an avenue to sell older gear before purchasing more new detecting gear.

Target Recovery is another very important investment that a new detectorist must make and master. This investment takes the form of gaining the expertise to remove targets in the proper matter from the ground. The detectorist must take the time and make the effort to practice, practice, and practice target recovery. The goal should be to leave no target recovery footprint in the soil or tuff once the target has been removed.

Summary: If you are thinking about investing in the hobby or are new to the hobby take the time to study the investment cost table. This investment cost table will provide you with an understanding of what your out of pocket expense dollars will be to participate in any given area of metal detecting.

There are no cost in the investment table for fuel, auto expense, batteries, permit fees and other indirect variable cost associated with the hobby.