A Buying Guide for Metal Detectors on eBay

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A Buying Guide for Metal Detectors on eBay

Metal detectors are useful in almost every industry, usually for safety reasons. From construction and finding buried pipelines or hidden wall supports, to sewing and checking clothing for broken needles, metal detectors are useful, and sometimes even necessary. Metal detectors can be purchased on eBay in different qualities, in different styles, and often at affordable prices.

Purchasing a metal detector on eBay requires considering what the detector is meant to be used for, how often it is meant to be used, and how sturdy it has to be. Different types of detectors include probes, scanners, and even vibrating detectors so buyers must also decide what type of metal detector they are looking for. Finally, buyers should consider the seller, the price of the detector, and how long shipping takes. Despite all of the decisions, purchasing a metal detector on eBay is relatively simple for buyers who know what they want and how much they want to pay for it.

Setting a Budget for the Metal Detector

The first thing to do before going to eBay is to set a budget for a metal detector. Detectors can vary in price and quality so most buyers should look into the average retail price for the model and specifications that they are interested in. Setting a budget can help with deciding on a reasonable price for the metal detector needed, which in turn helps with finding good deals and bargains. This is important because while many metal detectors on eBay are priced quite low, it is always a good idea to know the actual market value of an item before making a purchase. However, it is also possible to simply research and look for a device based on preferred specifications rather than budget.

The Parts of a Metal Detector

There are a couple of important parts that should always be present in a metal detector. This chart is used for definition of terms that might be found by anyone looking for metal detectors. For example, coils, filters, sensors, and even ratings might be confusing to anyone who does not know what these parts or terms mean. Buyers can refer back to the following information at any time while reading about buying metal detectors.

Metal Detector Part



A loop of wire used to transmit a signal


Signal processor


The part that detects the metal

Sensitivity Rating

How easily the sensor detects metal

There are a couple of other features that might be listed including metal free zone and tramp metal but these terms refer to the area around the metal detector that must be kept free of contaminating metal, as well as unwanted metal in the area, or the products being scanned. Different terms referring to types of metal detectors include wand, which means that the detector is meant for being held and used for scanning items or people; handheld, which means that the detector is a beachcomber type scanner; and industrial, which means that the device is meant to be mounted so that it can scan either a conveyor belt or feed of materials.

Types of Metal Detectors

The three types of metal detectors listed above are all available on eBay and buyers must decide between them based on the needs of the business. Common detectors on eBay are the more portable versions but each of the following features can be found on metal detectors via the site. Buyers should check the specifications and capabilities of each and then make a decision and a purchase.

Wand Metal Detectors

Wand metal detectors are designed to be held and are used to scan items and people. These detectors are often relatively low cost and either vibrate or emit a noise when they detect metal. Wand detectors are useful for infrequent scans, scans of people, and for security reasons, but not usually for scanning large amounts of products as this can be time consuming. Wand metal detectors are usually less sensitive than other types of metal detectors because they are mostly made to pick up larger metal items that might affect security issues.

Handheld Metal Detectors

Sometimes described as beachcomber metal detectors, these are commonly available detectors on the market. Handheld metal detectors are designed for scanning ground area, and are especially useful for contract and construction workers who must dig. Metal detectors can alert workers as to where metal pipes are under the ground, can help with locating specific posts in walls, and can help with finding metal posts and bits in debris that might be harmful to other machinery. Handheld metal detectors can also be used for excavating, mining, archaeology, and anything that might require locating metal in the ground.

Handheld metal detectors come in a variety of qualities but it is important to remember that the cheapest options might not be very sensitive to metals. Checking the exact specifications and use recommendations can help buyers to purchase a handheld metal detector that suits their exact needs and specifications. Some of the common features on these detectors include analogue displays, multi-tone beeps, and even waterproof coils for up to a certain amount of water.

Industrial Metal Detector

Industrial metal detectors are used to scan areas and usually conveyor belts to pick out and find metal in products. Examples include broken needles in clothing, metal shards in food, and pretty much any type of metal contamination. Industrial metal detectors are normally used for safety reasons and quality assurance in order to make sure that no metal is going out with products. This technique was first developed in 1947 and was famously used to scan Mars candy bars. These metal detectors are often placed on conveyor belts, or have a feed mechanism of their own to pass objects through to be scanned. These are large and complex metal detectors, are hard to find, and very expensive.

Options and Features of Metal Detectors

Not every metal detector on eBay offers each of the following features, but anyone looking for specific features can choose to search for them. Features are most often designed to make the machine easier to use, or are used for the basic function of the detector. Buyers can compare the options and features that interest them and then look for a matching device on eBay to make a purchase.


Most metal detectors do not have screens but some do, and this can be useful for some people. Usually, screens are coupled with analogue or digital menu options that allow users to change settings or options, or to view the metal sensitivity level showing up for the detector. In either case, handheld beachcomber type metal detectors are more likely to have a screen than any other model.


Sensitivity is rated in metres and the more metres that the metal detector can cover, the lower its sensitivity. For most people, a lower sensitivity is good because it means more accuracy, but it is important to consider that if the sensitivity rating is wider than the metal free zone, the metal detector might go off constantly. For example, if the detector is supposed to scan a four metre area but has a sensitivity of six metres, the device is going to pick up metal outside of the scanning zone. For this reason, it is important to choose a metal detector with a sensitivity rating to fit the project.

Wireless or Radio

This feature simply means that the scanning device is wirelessly connected to a second control device. Wireless or radio metal detectors are useful for wand scanners, as well as for metal detectors that must be placed around an area. Both options are available on eBay, although the industrial version is hard to find.


For handheld detectors, vibration can be another means of communicating metal than an audible noise. Vibration is excellent for anyone who is working in public places or who does not wish to wear headphones, or who simply prefers a physical alert rather than an audio one. Vibrating metal detectors can usually be purchased with both audio and vibration functions. These are rarer than simple audio detectors and usually cost more as well.

Buying Metal Detectors on eBay

After looking at the various models and features of metal detectors, you can start your search for one on the home page of eBay. Consider typing in your search term such as 'metal detector', 'vibration metal detector', or any other term that you would like to look for. When you find an item on eBay, click on it and read the full description, check the price and cost of shipping, and then make your decision.

eBay sellers are located both locally and internationally so it is possible to purchase metal detectors from overseas. However, metal detectors bought from overseas sellers might take longer to ship and might have hefty shipping fees. Valuable items might also incur customs if they are shipped from outside European Union. If you would like to make a purchase form an international seller you should look into the estimated shipping time and cost, as well as any customs fees.


Purchasing metal detectors on eBay is mostly an easy process but does involve searching for the product that is needed. Metal detectors are made for a couple of different purposes including scanning the ground, scanning people, and scanning products as they move on a conveyer belt or turntable. Choosing a specific metal detector usually involves making a decision based on the exact intended function of the detector but can also include price, features, condition, and location.

Buyers must search for the type of metal detector they would like to buy, although industrial detectors might not always be available on eBay. Reading the full description, checking cost and estimated shipping time, as well as contacting the seller with any questions should all be done before purchasing the detector. After checking everything about the detector, buyers can quickly and easily make a purchase using the checkout methods listed by the seller.

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