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FAQ -What Are a Metal Detectorists Top 10 Most Important & Useful Tools

FAQ -What Are a Metal Detectorists Top 10 Most Important & Useful Tools

Jerrid T. Recently asked:

“I’m new to the trade but have a serious interest. I’m looking to purchase the AT Pro Sports Pack as well as the Pro-Pointer. Any recommendations or other items I should consider? I’ll mainly be detecting on farm properties for relics and precious metals. Thank you for your assistance.”


Excellent question and good pick on the metal detector. I think the AT Pro is one of the best on the market. It is an excellent machine with a lot of options and is priced affordably. The pin pointer is a must. It is a life saver and pays for itself in time and recovery. I recommend the Garrett Pro Pointer II. It is rugged and works like a charm especially when you learn to dial it in to find treasure (more on that later). 

Here are the top recommended detectorist tools in addition to a good metal detector and pinponter and explanations why.

#1-Small Steel Trowel – A little metal trowel is nice when you are working in tight spaces like a hole. Metal is good because you can stick a magnet on it and pull out iron items from dirt. However, a synthetic trowel or shovel, like the one listed below, is nice so you can wave it underneath a metal detector with no interference. 

#2-Long Handled Spade- – Any shovel can be used. I suggest the Sampson Ball Handle spade because that is what I consider to be one of the best. Its ball shaped handle makes it easy to use from any angle and since some cities have limitation on size of the spade or length, this smaller one is a little less intrusive. The sharp beveled blade cuts like a knife and is easier on the soil and your back (it cuts through even dry packed soil well).  The two drawbacks to the Sampson is that it is a little shorter than some people want and it is a bit pricey.


If you are looking for something a little longer than the Sampson, and a little more affordable, try the Root Slayer Nomad, by Radius Tools.  It has a sharp serrated blade, a little larger shoulder for better foot traction.


#3-Detectorists Pick – Generally a pick isn't really a necessary tool for detecting unless you are in rocky soil such as Arizona searching for gold nuggets.  But, when you need one and don't have it, detecting can be difficult.  My Pick (yes, pun intended) for the best metal detecting pick is Estwing Paleo Pick.  This is an extremely heavy duty, well-built pick.  Simply put it is virtually indestructible.  The Paleo Pick serves two purposes. The small end works to pick into small crevices and chip at rocks while the wide hoe end is great for moving larger amounts of material. Just about any rock pick will work, Paleo Pick is just my favorite and it does not have a magnet, which is important as they are continually sticking to unwanted metal items. Use a separate, super-strong “rare earth” magnet and don’t let it too close to your wallet (speaking from experience). 

Estwing Geo / Paleo Pick

There are plenty of lightweight options available.  If you are looking for a lightweight detector pick a good option is the Lesche Heavy Duty Mini Pick.  This pick is lightweight but can handle tougher jobs as well.  It too has a narrow end and a large end for multiple applications.

#4-Sand Scoop  If you are lucky enough to ever be able to metal detect on a beach DO IT!  This, in my opinion, is the most enjoyable type of detecting.  Cool ocean breeze, soft surface, and people are always losing stuff on the beach - frequently very valuable stuff.  Rings, necklaces, earrings, and money.  A sand scoop makes detecting on the beach a breeze.  You can choose from a long handled sand scoop or a short hand held sand scoop or something in between like our Quicksilver Sand Scoop.  At 24" this medium sized handle makes it so you don't have to kneel down to retrieve a target but also makes it compact enough to pack in most suitcases or travel bags. 


If you are on a rocky beach you might want to step it up to something that you can be a little more rough with like the RTG reinforced aluminum travel scoop.  Although At 47" it is a rather long sand scoop but breaks down in to two pieces so it too can be packed in a larger suitcase.  

#5-Small Pruning Shears – Carrying around pruning shears sounds funny and it would be except you can carry a small hand held set, like the one pictured below. These shears fit in your pocket and are great for cutting away roots that have grown over or through a relic. They can also help you trim away small branches that are trying to poke out your eyes as you dig a target under a tree.

Small Hand Held Pruning Shears

#6-Sun Glasses – Any pair of sunglasses will work. They don’t have to look cool…just protect your eyes. Often when you are swinging the stick you are looking down. I cannot tell you how many times I have ran into branches detecting. Even a small end of a branch can poke out an eye!

#7-Seasonal Hat – Hats keep your head warm in the winter and block the scorching rays of the sun in the summer. In many areas of thw world, you will want to use headphones in the winter due to heavy winds and since they act kind of like ear muffs. Some hats don’t go well with headphones. So, I recommend a tight fitting stocking cap.

#8-Sun Block/Bug Guard – In the summer don’t try to be a tough guy/gal. Besides sun burns are not attractive and you can still get a good tan using an SPF 30 sun block. And, natures little creepy crawlies (i.e. ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes) can not only be a nuisance, but also spread disease. My favorite spray to use is the Avon Skin So Soft with Bug Guard because you can easily apply both at the same time. Bug guard and sun protection in one bottle…what a brilliant concept for the ultimate outdoorsman!

#9-Treasure Pouch – is important as you should try to pack out all of the trash you find. Not only is it good for the environment, but it can be pretty lucrative. Classify your metals into a few small recycle bins or buckets and take it in every year or so. Brass, Copper, Lead and even iron and aluminum are at really good prices right now. You might be surprised how quickly you can pay off your detector and gear with trash and treasure!

High Plains Large Black Finds Pouch

#10-Small Synthetic Hand Shovel - It is kind of a pain carrying around two shovels, so you can choose before you head out into the field depending on what type of hunting you are doing and soil conditions. These small poly hand shovels are nice so you can scoop up loose soil and run it under your detector coil without interfering with your detector. If you are in light non-rocky soils, you can use the poly shovel, but if you are in tough conditions (i.e. dry or rocky soil) go with the metal trowel.

Fiskars Fibercomp Transplanter

There are several other items that are good to have such as a large probe, classifying screens, and so on, but I feel these are the top ten if I had to choose. Please feel free to comment or post with ideas or suggestions!

Jerrid, thanks for the question and I hope this helps with your newfound hobby of treasure hunting!


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