The Complete Guide to Buying Metal Detectors on eBay

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The Complete Guide to Buying Metal Detectors on eBay

A metal detector is a simple machine that detects metal under water or the ground. It uses a magnetic field in order to find metal on top of, and through, the ground or water. When the magnetic field moves across something metal, it responds by sending a signal to a box on the metal detector. Metal detectors can be purchased on the popular online auction website, eBay.

Most of the different brands of metal detectors perform the same task using the same technology. They even have the same general appearance. Most of them have a circular disc on the bottom of a long pole. This disc may have spaces in it, or it may be solid. Then, at the top of the pole is a computerised or electrical unit that is tethered to the disc through a wireless connection or a wired connection.

There are many different brands of metal detectors, and it can be confusing to know which to purchase. The first thing that a person must decide is what he or she wants to find with a metal detector, then decide which features of a metal detector are important, and after that, it is just a matter of learning about the different brands.

Knowing the Purpose of a Metal Detector

When purchasing a metal detector, the first thing that must be decided upon is its intended use. Many metal detectors are specialised to find different objects. A person should not purchase a metal detector that is specific to finding coins if they are looking for jewellery, or purchase one that is meant for finding artefacts, if they want to find coins. There are also universal metal detectors that can pick up just about any metal object.


Many metal detectors are used to find lost change and coins. These are often designed to find objects the size and shape of a coin. They discriminate against other objects if they are designed to specifically find coins. This is not to say that these metal detectors can only find coins, but this is their primary purpose. Many metal detectors that are specifically designed for coins are available on eBay.


Metal detectors designed for detecting jewellery often only respond with a tone or reading when a precious metal is present. These are meant to find gold, silver, platinum, and other metals from which jewellery is commonly made. These do not generally detect metals from which coins, utility lines, and other artefacts are made. If a metal detector is purchased just for finding jewellery and the buyer finds that the metal detector does not discriminate enough, a discriminator add-on can be found on eBay.


Metal detectors are often used to find artefacts buried under the ground. Bullets, metal buckles, and other uniform pieces can easily be found by a metal detector. These are often found in fields and near historic sites. In this case, it is extremely important that the permission of the owner is obtained before metal detecting in another person's field or yard. Artefact detecting is a great pastime, but can have legal consequences if one is not careful about where they use their metal detector and whether or not they leave holes where they dig.

Metal Veins

Although this is extremely rare, it is possible to detect for different veins of metals, such as gold, silver, and copper veins in rock. A few people purchase metal detectors for this purpose because it requires a prospecting idea in order to know where to look. Many of the different metal veins can show up as a strong signal on a metal detector. The problem with this is that many other metals are buried in rock, such as shale or granite, making the vein extremely hard to reach even if it is found with a metal detector.

Utility Lines

People do not usually purchase metal detectors to find utility lines, but it is a good way to find them. A metal detector can pick up the metal in utility lines. Many companies use metal detectors to find underground phone lines, electrical lines, and plumbing lines. Metal detectors are often used in older housing areas where pipes and conduit are still made from metal, and not modern plastic.

Metallic Garbage

Anyone cleaning the garden of a hoarder or a place where junk is stored can use a metal detector to find hidden pieces of metal. Things like beer cans, bottle tops, nails, and other construction waste can easily be found by a metal detector. This is done for safety, as well as removing contaminants from soil. Metal detectors make cleaning a yard of metallic debris easy.

Features of a Metal Detector

Almost as important as the purpose of a metal detector are the features that it offers. The main features need to be compatible with what the metal detector is purchased to find. There are a wide variety of features to choose from and many of them have combinations of different features to make them suitable for a variety of purposes.


The first, and probably most important, feature a person wants to look for in a metal detector is discrimination. This allows the metal detector to only detect certain types of metals or certain sizes of objects. It can be set for any metal or just precious metals. Some metal detectors with discriminators can even be set to only one type of metal. The metal detector can also be set to give different tones for different types of metal, allowing a person to differentiate between the different metals the metal detector is finding. This is great for finding jewellery, coins, and other specific types of metals.


Depth is another important element to look at when purchasing a metal detector on eBay. Depth is the distance from which a detector can find a metal. The depth can also be adjusted anywhere from the surface to one m. Although some do go deeper, this is the most common range of most metal detectors. Many treasures can be found within this depth. If searching for artefacts, then the depth can be set lower, and if searching for coins, it can be set for the surface or just below the surface.


A pinpointer is an important function that allows a person to narrow down the area in which an object is located. Without a pinpointer, a person may have to dig more than needed to find a small object. Pinpointers usually emit a sharper, longer tone when the object is at the centre of the metal detector's disc. This helps to find the object with ease, instead of guessing.

Carrier Type and Portability

Carrier type and portability are two extremely important factors when deciding whether or not to purchase a specific metal detector from eBay. Some metal detectors have handles, while others have arm cuffs that allow for sweeping the detector back and forth. When a carrier fits well with the body movement of its user, it reduces fatigue and allows for comfortable movement. Some metal detectors are meant to travel distances and can be taken apart to save space while packing. Others do not have this feature.


Weight is extremely important when choosing a metal detector. The user needs to be able to comfortably carry the metal detector for an extended period of time. Metal detecting can be a slow, methodical process and a metal detector that is too heavy can cause a person to become tired quickly. The lighter the metal detector, generally the easier it is to work with and carry. Many of the new models are made from aluminium or carbon fibre to make them easier to use and carry.


Whether the unit is waterproof is a personal preference. There are metal detectors that are completely waterproof and can be used when diving or snorkeling. There are also those where the disc and wiring are waterproof for shore metal detecting. These are both optional features, but can increase the usability of a metal detector. A popular metal detecting place is on a beach, and the ability to get at least part of the unit wet comes in handy. Many underwater wrecks have been found using the underwater diving metal detector. When ordering a waterproof metal detector from eBay a buyer might also want to search for waterproof accessories for the metal detector. eBay also sells dive equipment so both can be ordered at the same time.

Headset Capable

One of the most important aspects of a metal detector is the ability to use a headset with it. Some have headset jacks that allow a person to block out background noise while using it. This is very helpful for pinpointing an object underground. There are a wide variety of headsets and headset jacks for metal detectors. If a headset is desired, then make sure the metal detector is capable of accepting a headset when it is purchased from eBay. Normally, the listing describes if a detector contains a headset jack, but if it does not state that it is headset capable, asking the seller is always an option.

Buying a Metal Detector on eBay

Once the features and function of the metal detector are decided upon, it is easy to search for one on eBay. A buyer simply has to input the search terms "metal detector" into the search box, and either hit enter or click on search. This populates a list with all of the listings matching those keywords. If the search is too broad, more keywords may have to be added. A search including the keywords "waterproof metal detector" or "portable metal detector" may be used to narrow the search.

After browsing through the listings, select one that fits the style and type desired, and then click on the individual listing. This shows a detailed description of the item as well as information on the seller's shipping and return policies. The feedback for the seller is also listed there. Take a look to make sure all of these things are agreeable and that the item is what is desired before ordering it.


Metal detecting can be a fun and profitable hobby. It does require some equipment, however. When purchasing a metal detector, it is important to consider what it is used to find and which type of metal detector is best for that purpose. By carefully searching eBay, a buyer can find the metal detector that fits his or her needs and has all of the relevant features. Most metal detectors come with some standard features. It is also important to consider whether batteries are to be used or if the detector contains a charger. The last thing metal detecting enthusiasts want is to run out of power while searching a particular area.

When looking for the perfect metal detector, keep in mind that there are extremely advanced metal detectors and those that are relatively simple. The style that is chosen depends entirely with what a buyer is comfortable. A first-time buyer may search eBay for a basic metal detector, while a buyer who is familiar with metal detecting may want one that is more advanced. eBay is also a great place to pick up metal detector accessories too.

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