What is the Investment Cost
to Participate in Metal Detecting?
By Lee Wiese
Excel Spread Sheet
and Calculate your Investment Cost
by placing your cost numbers in the Excel spread sheet.
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
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
- Beach and Water
- Freshwater Beach & Water
- Saltwater Beach
- Saltwater (Scuba Dive Detecting is not Covered in the Investment Table but Discussed in the Article)
- Relics and Old Coins
- Cache (Cache Detecting is not Covered in the Investment Table but Discussed in the Article)
- Gold Prospecting
- Competition (Competition Detecting is not Covered in the Investment Table but Discussed in the Article)
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
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.
for the newer clad coins is an entry level position into the hobby.
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.
metal detecting is a step up from coinshooting
. Jewelry can be found while
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
beaches you will be metal detecting for coins and jewelry and therefore the previous comments about
detecting generally apply
- Freshwater Beach & Water metal detecting requires the least investment cost for detecting on a beach. The conditions at a fresh water beach are
usually compatible with many lower cost detectors. Detecting in the water will required an additional investment for a waterproof detector. The
investment cost table takes this into consideration in the cost for freshwater beaches but additional accessories will also be required for
freshwater beach and water detecting. Due to heavy trash conditions on freshwater beaches (PI) pulse induction detector purchases are discouraged.
- Saltwater Beach metal detecting has some additional requirements to overcome to be a successful detectorist. The dry sand can usually be
detected by most detectors in the $500 to $800 dollar range. However, detecting the saltwater beach wet sand will require a detector that can
handle the mineralized sand of the beach mixed with saltwater. If you are thinking about detecting
saltwater beaches purchase the detector that can
handle the wet sand. This decision will provide you with the best saltwater beach metal detecting solution.
- Saltwater metal detecting will require one last investment. To move into
saltwater you will need a very good waterproof detector that can operate
almost flawlessly underwater without causing false target signals to be transmitted.
Saltwater is very hard on equipment so always rinse your
equipment off with freshwater after being in saltwater.
- Scuba dive metal detecting will require an additional investment for air tanks, regulators, mask, fins, wet or dry suit, detector dive handle and
dive school for Scuba Certification. This cost is not cover in the investment cost table.
Never Scuba dive without prior Scuba Certification.
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.
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.
- Relic and Old Coin metal detecting is a very poplar area of detecting. The investment cost, the expertise in operating a detector and the learning
curve is much greater for this aspect of detecting. The detectorist must have a very good understanding of their detector's capabilities and how to
adjust the detector to gain the greatest return from any relic site. Knowing your detector and it's capability's is extremely important to be successful
in finding those very old coins and relics. Relic detecting is usually done at old town sites, mission sites, home / farm sites, fairground & drive-in
sites, school sites, railroad sites and etc, the list of potential sites can be endless.
The detector should be capable of very good depth, provide good target separation from iron masking, have audio and display target ID and have a
good variety of coils available for changing ground conditions.
- DIV metal detecting is usually associated with a fee based sponsor hunt limited to a select number of detectorist on leased land. DIV hunts may be
for Revolutionary and Civil war relics and are held on private land; never on public lands. The detectors used for these type of hunts can be a high
quality VLF detector or medium price PI detector or a very high quality gold prospecting detector. Gold prospecting detectors will usually provide for
greater depth and sensitivity. In the investment cost table there is a PI detected of medium to high price listed for DIV hunts. Note: If greater
depth and sensitivity is required look at investing in a high quality gold prospecting detector.
- Cache metal detecting is not included in the investment cost table, however it is a very important aspect of metal detecting. You will also need
to provide a lot of your personal time for research and then spend a good deal of time in the field to locate the cache. Detectors for
can be a very high quality VLF detector, a high quality (PI) Pulse Induction detector and / or Ground Penetrating Imaging Radar.
Robbery Caches (Gold and Silver) of the 1700 and 1800 hundreds can be buried very shallow in the ground especially if the cache was buried while thieves
were on the run from authorities. Other caches buried by individuals can be several feet deep and may required a much greater dollar investment to
locate the cache. If you are going for cache hunting I would suggest purchasing the best detectors that money can buy because the dollar return
on finding a cache can be huge.
Caches can be buried in a metal, wood, glass and / or a cloth container so you may be detecting for the container and not necessarily for the gold or
silver it self which would be inside the container. Each cache will probably be hidden differently.
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.
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
- is simple to use,
- is an extremely fast responder,
- has good EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) rejection,
- is light weight.
. 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.
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.