Top 5 - Best Metal Detectors For Kids
Before You Spend a Bunch of Needless Money on a Metal Detector for a Youngster, READ THIS ARTICLE!
What better way to get your kid out from in front of the Television or off all of those gadgets and outside better than a metal detector? The cool thing is that with metal detectors - they get kids outside but are still kind of a techie piece of equipment.
There is no need to over-purchase when buying a kid their first metal detector. Really the same goes for adults getting into the hobby of metal detecting (More on That Here). I have written articles on the basic gear needed to get started metal detecting. In a past article titled, A Beginner’s Guide on How to Choose a Metal Detector, I discussed the basics of choosing a metal detector while not specifically getting into which metal detectors were good options for beginners and why. In that article I discussed general things you should consider when putting together your metal detecting gear kit. I discussed important overall metal detecting gear considerations. Some of these things are not as important for kid getting started out. Just a detector and a small shovel are the basics...then, as time goes on you can add on additional gear pretty affordably...perfect items for birthdays, Christmas, and for just being a good kid in general.
First, and foremost I will cover my criteria for consideration. You will see this information is repeated from my article about best beginner metal detectors for adults. However, you will see where I have added or removed information to direct it towards metal detectors for children. Also, just to state, I have chosen the target age of 8 years old for my consideration...I feel this is about the average age most people get their children into the sport of metal detecting. They can be younger of course, however too much younger than this and they will be lacking some of the mental capacity and focus to really get into the hobby. Additionally, it becomes more difficult to find a detector small enough for children under eight. Of course there are always exceptions for this. Additionally, any older than say 12 or 13 and you may want to step them up to more of an adult metal detector for beginners...or something in between.
The four main things I like to consider for metal detectors for children are:
2. Ease of Use
4. Size and Weight
Budget is usually the first consideration for any purchase. As I have mentioned in previous posts, it is a good idea to look at the entire, metal detector package and work the other necessities into your metal detector purchase. Additionally there is no need to overspend. This is especially important with children as their level of attention may fade quicker than an adult's. Unlike an adult where it is also very important not to under spend, with a child it is okay to spend as little as possible on a quality detector. If you get one for them, they find a few coins, and get really excited about the sport, you can always upgrade...unlike most used "toys" you may buy your child, this one will retain value relatively. Many metal detector dealers (like High Plains Prospectors) will give you a pretty darn good trade-in value for the metal detector should you want to upgrade in the future. If for some reason they dig a bunch of trash and lose interest, you can sell it or feel comfortable putting it away for another day when they may reclaim interest. This hobby can can be a very fulfilling experience if you do it correctly.
Ease of Use
A VERY IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR CHILDREN. You will want to purchase a metal detector that is easy to use and not too overly complicated. Luckily most metal detectors designed with kids in mind will have already considered this for you. The more you spend on metal detectors the more bells and whistles you get (i.e. more audio output, faster response time, more visual display). There is no need to overdo it...in fact, overdoing it can result in confusion for a young child. On the other hand, it is also important to buy a metal detector with sufficient output so the child can begin to learn the metal detector and have sufficient audio and visual indicators to help them learn how to determine what the target might be prior to digging it.
This is also a very important consideration but less important for children. I like to recommend people to a line of metal detectors that they will be able to grow with. For instance, if you pick a brand of metal detector, purchase an introductory model, and find out that they really enjoy the sport, and decide they want to upgrade, it is nice to be able to progress to a model that will give them similar visual and audio cues so you are not completely relearning target identification. So, when determining where to start with your metal detector, make sure you choose a line that will offer scalability.
So, without further ado here are my top 5 selections of the best metal detectors for children.
#1 - Teknetics Digitek Metal Detector - Youth Model
Finding a metal detector specifically designed with children in mind is not an easy task. But, Teknetics (a sister company to Fisher Labs) is one that does it and does it well at the attractive price of $159.
The youth model of the Digitek comes with a reduced length shaft of 37.25" and extends up to 50.5" and weighs in at 2.3 lbs. The Digitek metal detector has a 7" elliptical concentric coil.
In terms of visual and audio output, this metal detector ranks far above the others. It has a 1-99 digital numerical target ID, 3 different audio ID tones, a whopping 1-77 target ID discrimination adjustment and a total of 9 target ID categories. All of this and you get a pinpoint option all running off one single 9-volt battery (pros and cons to this as 9 volt batteries are expensive but they last a long time 20-25 hrs with this metal detector model). All of this and a really rad display face plate!
In terms of scalability, this is probably the best children's metal detector. It offers many of the features any intermediate or advanced metal detector would. So, a learning curve to another Teknetics would be a piece of cake.
As mentioned in previous articles, Tekentics is a subsidiary of First Texas Products, the owners of Fisher Labs and Bounty Hunter Brands. So, you have a good company that is innovative and can back up their products. The Digitek is the result of nine years of software engineering and features the latest advancements in lightweight design, target accuracy and deep-penetrating detection technology. It is the detector your child will not outgrow!
#2 - Garrett ACE 200 Metal Detector
At $169 for a package that has all of the basics you need for a youngster to get started metal detecting, this falls into my "affordable kids metal detectors" category.
The features on this detector are pretty basic. It comes with a concentric coil, which is just fine for a kid getting started metal detecting and can be shrunk down from 53" to 43" just small enough for about an 8 year old to use but it extends long enough for an adult. The 6.5" x 9" coil and overall weight of 2.75 lbs makes it about the right weight for a child too.
This metal detector offers three different audio ID tones to help them learn what the target might be. It does not have an iron audio. The display offers a double digit target ID with a 1-99 scale, 5 target ID segments, 3 search modes, and it has a 3 segment depth indicator and sensitivity adjustment. I like this as a youth model for the fact it has the double digit ID...something a lot of other youth metal detectors do not have. This makes it a slightly more advanced model of metal detector for children as it is a good segway into mid-level Garrett Metal Detectors.
As an added bonus for the parent buying this metal detector for their child, this model is not too basic and can easily be used by the mom or dad that is secretly buying the metal detector for both them and their kid :)
Scaleability is a huge benefit of using any Garrett Metal Detector...they use similar (though amped up) technology throughout most of their detectors...a small step up gets you a pinpoint function and some further discrimination modes for only a few more dollars...worth consideration.
Just like with my recommendation for an adult, a powerful brand name supporting the Garrett Ace 200 is the number one reason I put it near the top of the list. The lack of a pinpoint feature, being a little heavy, and not having a numerical digital ID brought it down a notch. However, we deal with detector issues frequently and there is not a brand around that provides the customer support that Garrett Metal Detectors does. Some might consider me bias since I prefer to metal detect with a Garrett, but experience with the company and quality of product is what put the Garrett Ace 200 near the top of my list of best metal detectors for children.
#3 - Minelab Go Find Metal Detector
Minelab offers a line of detectors that are perfect for kids called the Go Find. It comes in three different models (Go Find models 22, 44, and 66). They range from $149 to $249. We will focus on the Go Find 22 as the recommended detector for kids starting out.
The Minelab Go Find 22 is a very basic introductory model. It is the perfect size for kids and only weighs 2.2 lbs. It has an 8" search coil and folds up to a mere 21.9" and is about 25" extended minimum for use (I say this because taking the armrest too short makes it almost impossible to use). This detector does extend out to 51.4" so it can grow with the child and also used by adults.
The display face on the Minelab Go Find 22 metal detector is VERY basic. It has no digital numeric target ID. I see this as a bit of a hindrance but at the same time, it really isn't needed for most kids just starting out metal detecting. It has two hunt modes - one with an iron notched out and one with it included. The icon that determines if it is iron, ring/pull tab, coin, or foil are the only indicators in addition to the two audio tones. Minelab has really shed all the unnecessary fat on this metal detector - making it ideal for children. It does have different levels of sensitivity and volume adjustment with an estimated depth and battery life indicators. There is no pinpoint mode on this metal detector...something you have to step up to the Go Find 44 metal detector to enjoy...for an extra $40 +/- I am kinda "Meh..." on needing it for a child just starting out...save that money for a hand held Pinpointer instead on down the road.
The main drawback I see is the scalability from this machine to Minelab's higher end machines...which is a HUGE step in price and technology making transitioning into one of their higher-end metal detectors a little more challenging. Some of the higher-end metal detectors from Minelab are upwards of $8,000!
Minelab is currently one of the most popular names in metal detecting - and for good reason. The Minelab brand of detectors is typically at the forefront in terms of research and development and new detector technology. They are always releasing new technology and trying to bring the cost down at the same time.
#4 - Fisher F11 Metal Detector
The Fisher F11 metal detector is a good introductory metal detector for children. At only $159 it is priced surprisingly well for all it has to offer. Weighing in at only 2.3 lbs, with a 7 inch concentric coil, this detector is lightweight and it collapses down to fit a young child.
The Fisher F11 offrers three modes of operation (jewelry, coin, artifact) and has 9-segment visual ID (no numerical display). It has four audio tones, 6 levels of audio and sensitivity adjustment and allows the user to notch out target segments...best of all, even at this low price, it offers a pinpoint function...added bonus. Not too much but not too little. This detector is a great option for youngsters at an affordable price.
Fisher Reserch Labs' metal detectors (now owned by First Texas Products) has been in the metal detector game longer than any other brand. Although it has changed hands since Gerhard Fischer invented the first hand held metal detector and started selling them on a commercial scale in 1931, they still stay near the head of the pack in terms of innovation and quality.
#5 - White's X-Venture Youth Metal Detector
Coming in at $129.95 the White's X-Venture Metal Detector is a very affordable option for a child just getting started in the sport of metal detecting. This is about the most basic youth metal detector on the market but it is more than sufficient for most children. At 24.5" it is a perfect size for youngsters.
It has a sensitivity adjustment and...well, that's about it when it comes to things you can adjust. This detector is quite literally a turn it on and go metal detector. The display has 5 different target indicators. When the detector runs across a potential target, the corresponding LED lights up and it emits a single audio sound. Very little to mess with here...but a good affordable option for a youngster at a good price.
In terms of scalablity there is not much to say...this is unlike most detectors. So, any movement up will definitely have a little more of a learning curve to it...but this is a good one to gauge whether your child will take to the hobby of metal detecting before investing more into it.
White's Metal Detectors has been around since the 1950's. They are a good quality company with great customer support.
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- Josh Turpin