What Are Metal Detectors Used For?


Feb 13, 2022

The first recorded patent for a metal detector was filed in 1885, but it wasn’t until World War I that the army became interested in developing such a device. The United States government hired electrical engineer David E. Hughes to create a metal detector that could be used on the battlefield to find enemy mines undetectable by other means.

Hughes built a device that was successful at locating most of the mines, but it wasn’t until 1934 that Laurence E. Sorensen improved upon Hughes’ design and created a device capable of finding most land mines.

Today, metal detectors are commonly used by archeologists to find small objects like arrowheads and coins. They are also used by the military in war zones to spot weapons or unexploded bombs.

Metal detectors are commonly used in security screenings at airports and other transportation hubs, as well as at public events and other places where large numbers of people gather. They are also used by law enforcement officials to detect weapons or contraband.

However, the metal detector is perhaps best-known for its use in treasure hunting. Metal detectors allow people to find coins and other metallic objects buried beneath the ground. Metal detectors can be purchased for personal use to find lost keys, jewelry, and other valuables. In general, it is an indispensable device in many areas of daily life and to have it in your household is very useful, and sometimes necessary!

How Do Metal Detectors Work?

Metal detectors use a series of sensors to detect metallic objects. These sensors create an electronic field that causes metal objects to vibrate. Then the vibrations are picked up by the metal detector and displayed on a screen or in headphones.

The strength of the electronic field and the size of the object being detected determine how loudly the object will vibrate. This is why small pieces of metal, like coins, are heard more clearly than larger objects, like weapons.

Metal detectors can be used to detect ferrous (iron-containing) and non-ferrous metals. Ferrous metals create a stronger vibration than non-ferrous metals, so they are easier to detect. The metal detector is adjusted to search for a specific type of metal.

The Different Types of Metal Detectors

There are a few different types of metal detectors available on the market. The most common type is the pulse induction metal detector. This type of metal detector sends an electrical pulse into the ground. The pulse creates a magnetic field, which causes metal objects to vibrate. The vibrations are picked up by the metal detector and displayed on a screen or in headphones.

The advantage of the pulse induction metal detector is that it can detect both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. It can also penetrate deep into the ground, making it ideal for searching for buried treasure.

Another type of metal detector is the beat frequency oscillation (BFO) metal detector. This type of metal detector sends a signal into the ground. The signal creates two magnetic fields, and the two magnetic fields interact with each other to generate a current. BFO metal detectors are less sensitive than pulse induction metal detectors, but they can detect non-ferrous metals deep in the ground.

How to Choose the Right Metal Detector?

There are a few things a person should consider when purchasing a metal detector. The first thing is the budget. Metal detectors range in price from less than $100 to over $1,000; however, some specialty metal detectors can cost over $2,000. Depending on your budget, you can search for coins or buried treasure with a device that suits your needs.

There are also several key features to consider when choosing a metal detector:

  1. The number of frequencies is one important feature. Most detectors have between 3 and 7 different frequencies, but some specialty models have up to 100 different frequencies. This allows the metal detector to be adjusted more precisely for specific types of metals.

  2. Another feature to consider is the ground balance. Some metal detectors have automatic ground balance, making them easier to use in different environments.

  3. Other significant features include ease of use and durability. The more durable the metal detector, the longer it will last.

Using a Metal Detector

Metal detectors are fairly simple to use. The steps below will help you get started with your first metal detecting adventure.

1. Locate an area where you think you’ll find something, like an old park or a playground. Metal detectors can pick up objects that are buried beneath the surface of the ground, so it’s important to know exactly what you are searching for.

2. Make sure the settings on your metal detector are appropriate for your search. For example, if you think you’re looking for gold, then your settings should be adjusted to look for that specific type of metal.

3. Walk slowly through the area while keeping an eye out for bright or dark signals on the screen of your metal detector.

4. If you pick up a signal from the ground that looks promising, check it out with a trowel or shovel.

If you follow the techniques outlined in this article, you should be able to grasp how metal detectors work.

What Metal Detecting Fans Find

Most people who use metal detectors do so for recreational purposes, such as looking for coins or treasures. However, some people use metal detectors to find more valuable items, such as jewelry or artwork.

One man, in particular, is known for his remarkable finds using a metal detector. In 2009, Terry Herbert found a hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver objects worth more than $3 million. The discovery was called the Staffordshire Hoard, and it was the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.

In 2017, a man named John Waddell found a gold ring worth $13,000 at a beach in Northern Ireland. And in 2018, a woman named Denise Ryan found a gold ring worth $10,000 at a beach in Massachusetts.


So now you know a little more about what metal detectors are used for, better understand what kind of metal detectors are used for different purposes, so it’s time to get out there and start treasure hunting!