If you are in search of the best underwater metal detector, then you have come to the right place. If you’re planning on hunting at the beach, in an ocean, or at the local river, treasure hunting underwater brings a totally new dimension to metal detecting.
We’ve tested and reviewed 5 of the best underwater metal detector for both diving and shallow water hunting.
Read on to pick the best one for you!
Best Underwater Metal Detector – Quick Answer & Comparison
|Garrett ATX Underwater Metal Detector|
|Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II Underwater Metal Detector|
|Garrett AT Pro 55 Metal Detector|
|Fisher 1280X-8 Underwater All-Purpose Metal Detector|
|Tesoro Vaquero Metal Detector|
Really, there is nothing that beats the excitement of finding a rare relic or some gold nugget from a hunting ground. Unfortunately, most people who engage in this very thrilling activity don’t even have the right equipment to access these hidden treasures.
5 Best Underwater Metal Detectors 2020 Review
If you are looking for a waterproof metal detector for shallow water hunting, then the Garrett AT Pro and Garrett ATX are our two top picks. Both of them are fully submersible to a depth of 10 feet and they also give you great performance.
Do not be fooled by similar names that you might find on the market, though: they are very different detectors. Make sure that you read the mini-reviews that will be given below so that you can find out which underwater metal detector is best for your personal needs.
The Garrett ATX (this should not be confused with the AT Max) is one pricey pulse induction detector that is built for extreme conditions. This includes saltwater environments.
With this equipment’s durable design, DD coil and incredible search depth, it is a great underwater detector that provides you with great sensitivity for a PI model.
There are two ATX packages. The standard package includes a 10 inches x 12 inches DD coil, and this provides great depth and sensitivity for small items. If you’re after even more depth when you are searching for larger items, the Deepseeker packages includes a 20 inches Deepseeker mono soil search coil.
Just like the AT Pro, the ATX Garrett underwater metal detector is waterproof down to a depth of 10 feet. And what this means is that it is suitable for shallow water hunting but not for diving. The Garrett ATX is great for beach hunting.
The pulse induction technology effectively ignores any ground mineralization, so, it is great for hunting in saltwater or ground with heavy mineralization. Other features of this equipment include both non-motion and motion modes, manual ground balance, LED signal indicator, and Iron Check.
Despite the fact that this model comes with a range of settings, the ATX is quite simple to use, and it will no take a long time to get used to. It is also fully collapsible, and this is important if you will be traveling with the detector.
The biggest drawback to the Garrett ATX is its price. This is one expensive machine, although the price is justified by this model’s durable design, pulse induction technology, and large search coil. It is also heavy, and it does not come with waterproof headphones.
Despite the above-listed issues with this model, the Garrett ATX is a great choice for underwater hunting. It gives excellent depth and sensitivity in both saltwater and, also in fresh water conditions, plus, this model is highly durable, meaning that it will last you for a long time.
If you are looking for a pulse induction detector for diving, then the Garrett Sea Hunter MkII is our top pick. This model has an operating depth of up to 200 feet, and it includes submersible headphones and it also provides excellent sensitivity.
As we mentioned earlier, that PI detectors cannot discriminate, and this is usually true. Garrett has included their patented Discrete Trash Elimination mode with the Sea Hunter Mark II, and this model gives you a level of trash discrimination that is usually not found on PI detectors. What this means is that you will get to spend less time digging trash targets like such as pulltabs, without having to filter too many valuable targets.
Apart from the discrimination mode, the Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II comes with several search modes that includes Non Motion All Metal Standard PI Discrimination. There are also settings for elimination and audio threshold.
Garrett has also designed the Sea Hunter to be ideal for both beach hunting and diving. To make this possible, this detector can be used with both long and short stems and it also comes with straps for wet suits.
There are a few drawbacks to this mode, though. There is no pinpoint mode, for example, and this lack of a precise pinpointing mode can make it harder to get an accurate target location. The detector also does not provide you with visual identification.
Even so, the Garrett SeaHunter MkII gives you great value for your money if you are in search of a metal detector for diving. The discrimination function is also another bonus, since this is not an option most pulse induction detectors can give you.
This one here, the Garrett At Pro, is one of our favorite mid-range metal detectors. It is a great all-rounder that is perfect for hunting coins, jewelry and relics, and, it is fully submersible down to 10 feet.
Let us get started with the basics. The AT Pro is a versatile detector that is designed to handle almost any type of hunting (except for diving). It is great for when you are detecting small coins or jewelry, due to the 15 kHz operating frequency, while the manual ground balance and rapid recovery time make it great for most environments.
Garrett comes equipped with two modes with the AT Pro, and these modes are the Pro and the Standard modes. The Pro mode gives you more detailed audio feedback, and this includes an estimated depth and target size, while the Standard mode helps to simplify audio target signals that can be useful for beginners.
The other features of this equipment include an electronic pinpointing, custom search modes, notch discrimination, and a target depth indicator.
Since this is a VLF detector, the Garrett AT Pro metal detector is more prone to chatter in saltwater than the PI models. The manual ground balance and notch discrimination mean that it can very well still do a decent job even in saltwater, plus it is much more ideal for use on dry land hunting than a PI detector.
There are a few downsides to the AT Pro, though. There is no true all-metal mode, although, the Zero search mode gives you a similar performance. It also does not come with waterproof headphones – these you would need to buy separately.
Even so, if you are looking to get a single metal detector for both land and water detecting, the Garrett AT Pro metal detector is one of the best that you will find on the market. It is a rugged detector that you can use almost anywhere, and one that will certainly give you great results.
The fast response time, wide range of adjustable settings, and the waterproof design make the Garrett AT Pro great for beach hunting and for shallow water detecting.
Best Detectors for Diving
If what you seek is a metal detector that you can use for your scuba diving, then it is important that you consider just how deep you are likely to dive. Metal detectors have a depth rating, so, you should do well to check that the model is suitable before you go ahead to make a purchase. Diving below this depth could permanently damage the machine.
With that in mind, below are there of the best diving metal detectors that you can use at least 200 feet below the surface. If you’re looking for a true divers metal detector, the 2 options below are your best bet.
If you know that you will be diving deeper than 200 feet into water, the Fisher 1280X Aquanaut is one great alternative to the Sand Shark and Sea Hunter. It can also last up to 75 hours on just a single charge, and this is more than most detectors and handy on longer trips. This is truly a divers metal dectector.
Unlike the other models in the diving section, the Aquanaut is a VLF detector that comes with a low 2.4 kHz frequency. It is more vulnerable to interference from wet sand, but it has manual ground balance and discrimination that will help to counteract trash and mineralization.
An interesting note about the 1280-X is that the circuitry is made to ignore small trash items. Its low frequency also helps to provide greater depth as when compared to other higher frequency VLF models. Other features of this model include a belt mount, waterproof headphones, and sensitivity adjustment.
If you are looking for an underwater VLF detector that will not cost you a fortune, then the Fisher 1280X is one that you should look not. The 250 feet maximum depth means that it is great for diving, while the sensitivity adjustment, manual ground balance, and discrimination settings allow you to fine-tune the performance for both saltwater and freshwater environments.
In the world of underwater metal detectors, the Tesoro Sand Shark underwater metal detector is one of the most popular diving metal detectors. It costs just around the same amount as the Sea Hunter MkII and it also has similar features, and these features include a depth rating of 200 feet and pulse induction technology.
Since this is a pulse induction detector, the Sand Shark is great for hunting in both wet sand and saltwater environments. The 10 – 20 hours of battery life is certainly not the longest, but it should be sufficient enough for most of your hunting sessions. There is also a drop-in battery pack that will help make swapping much easier.
Why is this detector worthy of being placed on our list of best metal detectors for diving? Well, there are a few reasons why.
Firstly. The Sand Shark underwater metal detector has features and settings that cannot be found on all pulse induction models. There is a dial for depth, for example, and this adjusts the electronic pulses. This allows you to change the depth by up to 50 percent according to the conditions. There are also two operating modes and the ability to change the audio frequency.
This model also provides great sensitivity while it is made easy to use. The pulse induction technology gives it plenty of depth, plus the various adjustment settings that come with it enable you to customize performance to the environment.
All in all, the Tesoro Sand Shark underwater metal detector is a great metal detector for beaches and diving. It also is a great value for your money and is quite easy to use.
Underwater Metal Detector Buyers Guide
Diving into the water with an underwater metal detector is also something every hobbyist should have an experience of at least once (even if it is just with rental detector equipment).
It is very important that one has a clear understanding of the different waterproof and submersible detectors on the market, though. As you may, or may not know, underwater detectors do not come cheap. So getting the wrong machine can be a costly mistake for you. They’re also not that hard to use (in fact, they are not hard at all), which is great if you’re just starting your hobby.
Many of the best underwater metal detectors available on the market are not ideal for underwater hunting.
To help you narrow down your search, we have put together a list of the best underwater metal detectors, in the hopes that it will make your search easier, and give you an informed decision on what to buy when you are ready to get your underwater metal detector.
You should make sure that you read each review carefully, since, in this article, we will be reviewing the strengths of each detector so you can further make an informed buying decision.
Are Metal Detectors Waterproof?
Can a metal detector get wet? Yes, but it depends on which type you buy. Some metal detectors have parts that are waterproof and others that aren’t. When people make mention of waterproof metal detectors, what they mean can be a few things, so you have to be clear when you’re looking for a detector. This will save you a ton of cash and effort. Are all metal detectors water proof? Watch out for these 3 types of detectors, and choose the one that best suits where you’ll be hunting.
- A detector with a waterproof coil that can be used in shallow water but that cannot be submerged (and most land detectors can be found in this category). These detectors can be sometimes described as water resistant or waterproof.
- A detector with a waterproof coil and control box that you can fully immerse in water but can only be done in water with a shallow depth (like the Garrett AT Pro). These ones are good for hunting lakes or on beaches, but they are not great for diving.
- A detector with a waterproof coil and control box that can be totally immersed in water and that is also suitable for diving (like the Tesoro Sand Shark). These ones can be used in water with depths that is up to 200 or more.
To help make deciding on what types of underwater metal detector you should get a bit easier, below is a quick summary of what you might need.
Where Will You Use Your Detector?
Before you can settle on any one underwater metal detector, you should make sure that you have an idea on where you will be using it. Here are some options where you can use your detector. You’ll need to pick on based on one (or all) of these places:
- fresh water
- shallow or deep water
- on the beach
- scuba diving
- Rivers and other fast moving water
- still, calm waters
Do you want a land detector that comes with the option of hunting shallow river banks?
Well, if you do, what you might be looking for is a waterproof coil. This means you have to be careful not to get the other parts like the control box wet. If you’re able to be careful about your control box every time you use your detector, then this is also a cheaper option than the others.
Do you want to hunt in creeks, rivers, lakes, or at the shore?
Well, if this is what you need, in this situation, you would need a submersible detector. This way, the coil and the control box are both waterproof, in case you slip or your detector somehow ends up in the water.
Do you want a detector for saltwater hunting?
If so, then you might want to check online, and do your research on beach detectors for models that will be able to handle salt water. Saltwater is a whole other animal. It rusts and ages everything so quickly due to the salt content. You need to find a metal detector made for saltwater. That way it will be constructed of quality materials that resist deterioration from salt water.
Do you want to go scuba diving with your underwater metal detector?
If this is you, well, you would need a fully submersible underwater metal detector that has a high depth rating, this is vital. Vibrating alerts can also come in handy. You will also need to take into consideration whether you want the underwater metal detector to be effective on land, too, or if you only seek to use it as a metal detector underwater.
Should You Get Pulse Induction or VLF?
The depth of the water is only just one part of your underwater quest. You would also need to consider the mineralization and other elements of your chosen hunting ground, since this affects the type of underwater metal detectors that you need.
There are two main categories of underwater metal detector: We have the Very Low Frequency (VLF) and we have the Pulse Induction (PI).
As a rule of thumb, the pulse induction metal detectors are the best choice for those who want to go saltwater hunting, like the beaches or scuba diving. This is so because they are generally not affected by the high levels of mineralization that can be found in wet sand.
They also help to provide excellent sensitivity to precious metals and great depth. The downside to these is that they do not provide discrimination, so, what you will need to do is to dig more unwanted targets.
The VLF (Very Low Frequency) detectors are usually a cheaper alternative to PI that are less specialized. They have decent sensitivity to jewelry and coins, but they usually struggle to “see” in a place that has heavy mineralization. What this means is that they are not very suitable for saltwater hunting, but they are great for both land and freshwater places.
Although, it is true that the best VLF metal detectors have manual ground balance, sensitivity adjustment, and other settings that help minimize the effects of difficult conditions, they cannot match the PI machines, though, when it comes to ignoring mineralization. In addition, the VLF detectors can discriminate junk targets, and this means that you will waste less time.
Apart from the type of detector and its waterproof abilities, there are other things that you would still need to consider. And these are your budget, your experience level, and which accessories you would need. You should make sure that you budget for extra digging tools and scoops since these can add to the total cost.
Where Do You Buy a Waterproof Detector?
Most retailers that sell metal detectors usually stock underwater models, at least those that are suitable for shallow water hunting. You may need to do some search in a specialist store for the diving models, however, like the Tesoro Sand Shark.
It is also worth shopping around for sale prices and discounts, since the waterproof detectors can be on the pricey side. Many online sellers like Amazon and Walmart usually give great prices and regular deals.
How Much is a Waterproof Metal Detector?
A waterproof metal detector isn’t cheap. And the deeper you take your machine, for example if you’re a diver, the more expensive it is. A truly waterproof detector can cost anywhere from $600 to $2200 and more for a top of the line machine.
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Underwater metal detecting can be a fun and potentially rewarding thing to do, especially for hobbyists, but it is important that you get the right detector. Just because a detector is displayed as “waterproof” does not necessarily mean that it is suitable for underwater hunting, and while a “submersible” detector is not always built for diving.
These metal detectors can be sued in a wide variety of situations. You might want to do something a little different at a beach, or, you might want to put on your snorkel gear and scour the shallow waters, or you might even choose to put on your wetsuit and go searching around a shipwreck with a scuba metal detector.
For you to pick the best metal detector, you would need to work out which of these activities you want to do. Then after you have identified it, you want to get a detector that will match such activity. These handheld devices are better for snorkeling, and if you wanted to wade at the beach, then choosing a machine that has a waterproof coil would be great. Of you want to dive deeper, then you will need to get one of the full-sized submersible detectors.
The main thing here is to know where you are going to use the detector. Do you plan on hunting in saltwater or in freshwater? Will you be diving with the machine? if so, how deep are you going to be diving? What exactly is your budget? Do you want to use the detector on land as well as you will be using it in water?
By taking into account these questions, you will have a much better chance of getting a great detector that will meet your requirements.