How to Buy Metal Detectors on eBay

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How to Buy Metal Detectors on eBay

Although metal detectors have a variety of uses, to include security, geological research, item recovery, and construction work, prospecting for treasure is one of the most popular and widely known uses for a metal detector. Capable of scanning underground, underwater, and even inside a person, metal detectors come in a wide range of models with various features designed for different types of searching and detecting.

With such a wide range of applications and models available, finding the right metal detector at a good price can be challenging. Consumers in search of a metal detector often look to eBay. eBay offers consumers a vast selection of metal detectors at numerous price points, and its easy site navigation simplifies the buying process. Consumers can shop by type of metal detector, intended use, or brand. And although few treasure seekers actually strike gold with a metal detector from eBay, considering the number of items that have been dropped and buried on U.K. soil over the years, finding something valuable is not as farfetched as it may seem.

How Metal Detectors Work

Buyers can find a wide array of metal detectors on eBay. Although metal detectors come in a variety of different model designs and use different technologies, all metal detectors have the same basic components.

Depending on the model design, a metal detector uses either very low frequency (VLF), pulse indication (PI), or beat-frequency oscillation (BFO) to detect items. Driven by battery power, the device uses a magnetic field that penetrates the target surface in search of metal objects. When an object is detected, a signal is sent back to the device, which alerts the user, typically by sound, that something has been found. In most cases, this information is accompanied by an indication of the type of metal detected and how deep it is under the surface.

Metal Detector Components

Most basic metal detectors are effective up to 12 inches beneath the surface, though more advanced models explore much deeper, depending on the components inside. Before shopping for a metal detector on eBay, buyers can get a better understanding of how these devices work by getting familiar with the core components and how they operate. The chart below outlines the basic components found in metal detectors and gives a description of their functions.



Search Coil

The component responsible for doing the actual detecting; the size and shape of the search coil determines the depth and shape of the search area


Provides support so the metal detector remains steady as the user moves it back and forth over the surface; standard on most models, but optional on some

Control Box

Houses the device's electrical wiring, control units, microprocessor, speaker, and batteries


Connects the control box and search coil; adjustable on most models to fit the user's height and preferences

The components listed above are found on all types of metal detectors. Higher end metal detectors feature optional components such as information displays and headphone jacks.       

Types of Metal Detectors

Buying the right metal detector on eBay means finding the right one for the intended application. Buyers need to consider not only the different types of detectors, but the places and conditions in which the detector will be used. The types of metal detectors are generally identified by the underlying technology used in them and the capabilities the particular technology imparts.

BFO Detectors

The most basic metal detectors use beat-frequency oscillation technology. These devices have two coils. One coil is located in the search coil, the other is located in the control box. Both coils have their own separate frequencies, which are kept consistent by an oscillator. The frequency in the search coil is subject to interference from any metals or minerals within range of the signal. For this reason, it is often difficult for BFO metal detectors to distinguish from valuable finds and worthless junk.

VLF Detectors

Metal detectors that use very low frequency technology also have two coils. In this case, however, both are located in the search coil. One coil acts as the transmitter, which discharges a magnetic field onto the surface area. This field is reflected and creates a second magnetic field when the device encounters an object beneath the surface. The other coil acts as the receiver, which ignores the magnetic field emitted from the transmitter, and detects and relays the signal from the secondary field to the control box. This unique functionality enables a VLF metal detector to tune out aluminium, for instance, and specifically seek out gold and other precious metals.

PI Detectors

Pulse induction is generally viewed as the most advanced form of metal detector technology. These devices typically only use a single coil, which like the VLF models, reflects the signal from the magnetic field emitted onto the surface. However, rather than use another coil to detect the reflected signal, pulse induction listens for it. This advanced method enables it to differentiate between the magnetic fields actually being emitted by the device, and any stray signals in the area that may be trying to interfere. Due to their ability to produce more accurate results, PI metal detectors are tagged as the most expensive of the bunch.

Find Metal Detectors Based on Purpose   

Serious explorers often select their metal detector based on the adventure at hand. This is an important factor to consider because there are several devices, with some being better suited for certain environments than others. eBay has a variety of metal detectors for everything from general purpose hunting to underwater exploration.

General Purpose Hunting

General purpose can obviously refer to a number of things. In this case, it is refers to novice-friendly devices designed to detect coins, jewellery, and relics. Devices made for these purposes are usually of the BFO variety. Despite being basic in functionality, general purpose metal detectors may come included with LCD screens, target identification, and other features that help improve the overall experience for the user.

Gold Prospecting

A good metal detector is a gold prospector's best friend. Combing the surface for gold can be both fun and profitable considering that gold coins, gold bracelets, and even gold nuggets can be uncovered. VLF detectors make an excellent choice for gold prospecting due to their ability to find small items BFO devices may overlook. Pulse indication technology is also ideal for gold-based missions, but tends to work better with soil that is rich in minerals.


The beach scene has become a popular destination for treasure hunters. One reason for this is because unlike with concrete and other hard surfaces, retrieving an item from the sand is relatively easy. Necklaces, bracelets, watches, and rare coins are just some of the items that have been found on sandy beaches around the world. While most metal detectors aid beachcombing fairly well, single frequency models tend to have trouble on wet sand.

Underwater Explorations

Metal detectors are not limited to sea level expeditions. Some are actually designed to seek out lost treasures underwater. Since they excel at distinguishing trash from valuables, VLF devices are often used underwater by hunters who do not want to waste their time. And while they often struggle in saltwater environments due to ground minerals that disrupt their signals, high-end models come with sensitivity and ground balance features designed to reduce that interface. PI detectors also make a solid choice for the simple fact that their signals are not affected by such elements. VLF or PI technology aside, the most important feature with these devices is waterproofing that enables them function underwater.

Metal Detector Brands

Metal detectors are made and distributed by several companies. One of the most popular brands on eBay is Garrett. This brand is known for its extensive catalogue of metal detectors and accessories that include coil covers, headphones, and carrying cases. Tesoro is another brand buyers may encounter on eBay, a brand that has garnered a reputation for its deep targeting capabilities. Other popular metal detector brands include White's, and Minelab.

Buying Metal Detectors on eBay

After you have been schooled on the fine aspects of metal detectors, you are ready to search for your ideal piece of treasure hunting equipment on eBay. The world's most well-known online marketplace, eBay is home to devices made for beginners and seasoned hunters alike. Whether you plan to hit the beach once the party dies down, or dive the depths of the cold ocean waters, you can find your metal detecting companion here.

If the huge selection was not enough, eBay makes the finding the right metal detector a smooth, hassle-free process. What is so neat about this process is that it allows you to search on both broad and specific terms. For example, a simple search for "metal detectors" returns a large number of listings featuring items that cover VLF devices to PI gadgets. If you want something for a specific task, underwater exploring for instance, "waterproof metal detectors" might do the trick. Regardless of what you enter in the search box, eBay lets you explore even deeper for more targeted results. By playing with filtering options such as price range, condition, and location, you can find a metal detector that meets your exact requirements.


Metal detectors are used in a wide range of applications. They are equipped with an array of technologies and features, and can be employed in a variety of settings. These include building security, military purposes, and amateur treasure hunting. Different models are designed for optimal performance on beaches or underwater, or can be used to locate specific types of metal. The features and components of individual models determine not only where a metal detector is best used, but the type of metal it is able to find and how well it is able to search an area.

Consumers in the market for metal detectors can find a large inventory on eBay. eBay's easy search features and convenient shopping platform offers shoppers an excellent option for finding the right metal detector at a great price. eBay allows buyers to shop for metal detectors by brand, condition, and type, ensuring them a successful and simple shopping experience.

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