Guide to the Best Metal Detectors for Gold

Updated: 9/2023

This guide will walk through the best metal detectors for finding gold in 2021. Factors we considered when choosing these top metal detectors include:

  • Ease of use
  • Weight & portability
  • Features
  • Durability
  • Price

All of the metal detectors on our list are high-quality, proven machines. They also all have respectable manufacturer warranties, important when making this type of investment. The right gold metal detector for you will factor in what types of grounds you generally hunt, whether you are just starting out or a more seasoned detectorist, and your budget. Read on to see our top picks.

Garrett Goldmaster 24k

Garrett Goldmaster 24k Metal Detector

The Garrett Goldmaster 24k combines the best in White's design, and Garrett's increase in coil voltage by 54% for increased sensitivity to small nuggets. Garrett also updated the motherboard, truly enhancing the operation of this well loved machine. With features of an operating frequency of 48kHz and XGB (Xtreme Ground Balance) ground tracking, this machine overs more stable operation and detection capabilities. 

Technical Specifications:

  • Operating Frequency: 48kHz
  • Search Modes: (2) Trash Eliimination Modes
  • Iron Cancel: Iron and Hot Rock Elimination
  • Ground Balance: Auto/Manual, XGB Technology
  • EMI Control/Frequency Shift: Selectable to reduce interference.
  • Pinpoint Mode: Yes
  • Battery: 8 AA Alkaline or 8 NiHM rechargeable
  • Weight: 3.4 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 Years, Limited Parts/Labor


Simple interface, great for those just starting out

Ability to recharge batteries and bring a backup set

Great features to eliminate iron trash, hot rocks, and EMI 

Excellent Price - Great for those just getting into gold prospecting


  • Not Waterproof

Not many! Some falsely believe this is just a repackaging of the original White's GMT, and are not aware of the improvements Garrett has added.

Shop Garrett Goldmaster 24k Bundles

Minelab Gold Monster 1000

The Minelab Gold Monster 1000 operates at 45 kHz VLF, making it great as finding smaller gold nuggets and flakes. One of the most appealing aspects of this machine is it is easy to use. Fully automatic operation paired with an easy-to-read, intuitive interface makes it one of the more popular gold detectors when starting out. The Gold Monster 1000 collapses down to be packed up for easy portability. This detector is lightweight, at just under 3 pounds. The Gold Monster 1000 has improved ferrous/non-ferrous discrimination and handles salty soil better than other high-frequency detectors. The Gold Monster comes with two coils, a 10" x 6" DD and a 5" DD, and headphones. 

Technical Specifications

  • Frequencies: VLF Single (54kHz)
  • Search Coil: 10" x 6" DD & 5" DD
  • Search Modes: Gold (Iron Reject) & Deep All-Metal
  • Display Type: Monochrome LCD
  • Pinpoint Mode: No
  • Ground Balance: Automatic Ground Tracking
  • Threshold: Adjustable
  • Discrimination: Adjustable
  • Battery: 8 AA or rechargeable Lithium-Ion
  • Weight: 2.94 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 Years


  • Lightweight
  • Good for beginners
  • Headphones included


  • Not Waterproof
  • No Audio Threshold

Shop Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Bundles

Fisher Gold Bug II

The Fisher Gold Bug 2 operates at 71 kHz, making it one of the highest frequency detectors in its price range. This makes it extremely sensitive to small gold nuggets. It also has iron discrimination so you can avoid nails and other ferrous items. This detector has a lot of long-time popularity in the gold detecting community. The Fisher Gold Bug 2 is also lightweight, at just under 3 pounds, and starts at $699.00. Some find this detector has more of a learning curve when it comes to getting just the right threshold and iron discrimination settings for the particular ground you are hunting in. With a little experience, this detector proves its value in hard-to-find small gold.

Technical Specifications

  • Frequencies: VLF Single (71 kHz)
  • Search Coil: 10" Elliptical DD
  • Search Modes: 3 Auto-Tune modes w/ 2 Re-tune speeds
  • Pinpoint Mode: No
  • Ground Balance: High Precision Dual-Control Ground Balance
  • Threshold: Adjustable
  • Discrimination: Iron
  • Battery: 9 Volt
  • Weight: 2.9 lbs.
  • Warranty: 5 Years


  • 71 kHz frequency - extreme sensitivity on smallest gold
  • Iron Discovery Mode for Iron & Hot Rock Rejection
  • Deep Target Audio Boost
  • Lightweight


  • Not Waterproof

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Minelab Equinox 800 

The Minelab Equinox 800 is a great all-around multi-frequency metal detector and has the inclusion of 2 gold modes - Gold 1 and Gold 2. Each gold mode has boosted audio that increases in volume and pitch to emphasize the signal of very small gold nuggets. The Recovery speed is a custom set for these modes, to smooth out the audio responses from the ground and hot rocks. Additionally, these modes are configured with a combination of Frequency, Ground Balance, Sensitivity, Iron Bias, and Accept/Reject range to make it more ideal for your gold searching. It is reported that it can take some experimentation of these settings to get the best results for your ground type, which isn't difficult once you learn your machine. Depending on your ground conditions, some users find their gold nuggets using other available modes, such as Park 1, Park 2, or Beach with a little tweaking of settings. The most appealing part about the Minelab Equinox 800 is you won't need two detectors. This Multi-IQ detector can do it all. Wireless headphones are included, which is great for focusing on the tones. This metal detector is also waterproof 10 feet (3m). This makes it great for detecting at beaches, rivers, lakes, and streams. Lightweight at 2.96lbs, rechargeable, and starting at $899.

Technical Specifications 

  • Frequencies: VLF Multi - Multi, 5kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, 40kHz
  • Search Coil: 11" DD
  • Search Modes: 4 modes - Park, Beach, Field, & Gold
  • Pinpoint Mode: Yes
  • Waterproof: 10 feet (3 m)
  • Ground Balance: Automatic, Manual
  • Threshold: Adjustable
  • Discrimination: Adjustable
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3 Year Limited, 1 Year Battery


  • Multiple Frequencies: Multi, 5kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, 20kHz, 40kHz
  • A great all-purpose detector, not just for gold
  • Easy to use controls and simple detecting in pre-set modes
  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight & portable


  • Some find a learning curve when customizing settings

Shop Minelab Equinox Bundles

Minelab GPX 6000

Minelab GPX 6000

The Minelab GPX 6000 uses Geosense-PI (Pulse Induction) Technology and is a great choice for gold nuggets. There are 3 coils available, the (included) 11" Monoloop, a 14" Double-D, and a 17x13" Monoloop.  The advantage of the GPX 6000 over the GPZ 7000 is it's automatic features, easy to use interface, and lightness (4.6 lb.)

Many find this machine easier to use for longer periods of time. It also has a more comfortable armrest and is made with the same high quality materials Minelab is known for - these machines hold up even in harsh environments.

Technical Specifications 

  • Search Modes: Difficult [default] | Normal | EMI Cancel [default] | Conductive Ground Cancel
  • Ground Balance: Auto | Manual [Quick-Track]
  • Noise Cancel: Automatic [on Start-up] | Manual [as needed]
  • Sensitivity: Manual [levels 1 10] | Auto [level 11] | Auto+ [Level 12]
  • Battery: Rechargeable  Lithium-Ion battery 5833 mAh
  • Weight: 4.6 lb [with 11" Monoloop Coil]
  • Warranty: 3 Years


  • Lightweight for the power
  • Easy to use interface with great default settings
  • Pulse Induction


  • On the pricier side
  • Not as deep as the GPX 7000

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Minelab GPZ 7000

The Minelab GPZ 7000 is our highest-end contender, using Minelab's Zero Voltage Transmission (ZVT) Technology. The aim is to combine the increased sensitivity of high-frequency VLF technology and the increased depth of pulse induction (PI). ZVT does this, and this machine delivers the ability to detect small and large gold nuggets much deeper than other gold detectors. This metal detector also performs well in mineralized soils and picks up less atmospheric noise due to 256 noise cancel channels. The coil contains a central winding and two outer receiver windings, which lessens interference from magnetic soils, resulting in less ground noise. The Minelab GPZ 7000 has a simple menu system, so starting up isn't as complicated you may expect in a machine at this price level, though beginners may still feel a learning curve. It's heavier than the rest of the metal detectors on our list at 7.32 lbs and starts at $7999

 Technical Specifications

  • Frequencies: Zero Voltage Transmission (ZVT)
  • Search Coil: 13" x 14" Super-D Smart Search Coil
  • Search Modes: Gold Mode (High Yield, General, Extra Deep) Ground Type (Normal, Difficult, Severe)
  • Pinpoint Mode: No
  • Waterproof: Coil is Waterproof
  • Ground Balance: Automatic and Manual
  • Threshold: Level (1 - 50) Pitch (1 - 100)
  • Discrimination: All Metal
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
  • Weight: 7.32 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3 Years Control Box & Coil


  • Extreme gold depth with maximum sensitivity
  • Fantastic ground balancing and tracking to easily handle all ground conditions
  • GPS locating and PC mapping - you can log your finds


  • Price is on the high end
  • Weightier at 7.32 lbs.

Shop Minelab GPZ 7000 Bundles