The sea and riverbanks offer perfect grounds for prospecting for lost relics washed ashore. However, not all metal detectors make the cut. Metal detectors have circuits which, when exposed to water, may malfunction. In some instances, you will discover that only the coil is submersible, but the control box is not.
Salty water poses a challenge for metal hunting as it is highly mineralized. Due to the high iron content, your device can be set off by even the smallest signal. This can be frustrating as you may discover that the false signal was an old iron nail.
Searching for the best metal detector for underwater prospecting isn’t as simple as going online and checking out the most budget-friendly device. You have to be familiar with the various terminologies used in designing metal detectors. We have simplified all this information for you.
Choosing the Best Underwater Metal Detector
Metal hunting has often being confused as a hobby for old people who have nothing to do with their time, or it is thought of something one does to detect bombs hidden on the earth’s surface. However, metal hunting is a skill for everyone, the young the old.
It is a lot of fun, and you may discover some long lost relics from the old centuries. The deep-sea offers the perfect hunting space for relics and gold. Imagine all that treasure that has been buried deep on the ocean floor, making its way to your beach or a river near you. To get you started on underwater metal hunting their some terms used for metal detectors that you need to be familiar with.
When you go to a shop asking for an underwater metal detector, you need to be clear what you are talking about; otherwise, you will purchase a device that does not meet your specifications. When you have a metal detector with a waterproof coil, it is means you can submerge it in shallow waters without it interfering with the signal strength. Note that the control box is not waterproof – unless specified so – and you need to be careful not to contaminate it with water. The coil can also be described as water-resistant or weatherproof.
Next, you have the submersible coils. This are what you need to be on the lookout for in underwater metal detecting. When a coil is waterproof and submersible, it can be used for sea diving to a depth of up to 200 feet. The deeper the area you are prospecting, the more you will require a coil that can send signals at greater depths.
The first thing you will need to decide is where you are going to be prospecting. If it is in shallow river banks, then all you need is a waterproof coil. For scuba diving, you can check out some of the underwater detectors we have described above.
Pulse induction detectors or VLF detectors
Once you have settled on the area you are going to prospect; the next challenge is whether to go with a pulse induction detector or VLF. To answer this question correctly, it will depend on several factors like hunting ground, mineralization, and budget. Pulse induction detectors are more expensive than the VLF ones.
Pulse induction detectors are great for highly mineralized grounds like sandy beaches. This is because they will not go on every time they detect iron metals. They are also great for objects hidden deep in the ground, and with high sensitivity, they are the perfect detectors for finding gold. But, the PI detectors fail in that they do not offer discrimination features. They are also very expensive. The alternative is the VLF detectors. While these do not have the kind of features in the PI detectors, they offer great sensitivity to detect relics and jewelry. The VLF detectors come with sensitivity adjustment settings and manual ground balance to reduce signals from other metals. The VLF are also good for detecting low frequencies. You can use the VLF in fresh and saltwater with ease. While the PI induction detectors are great for detecting small objects hidden deep in the ground, the VLF offers more versatility. The PI detectors are more sophisticated and lighter too. But you have to pay more for them.
The right time for metal hunting
Not every season is great for scuba metal hunting. Summer offers you a perfect opportunity to enjoy the fresh air while you find some valuable items along the beach. Since the waters are warmer during summer, it offers you the opportunity to test your underwater metal detector.
It is imperative that you be familiar with tides. This is to avoid being caught unawares. When you know your tides, you can prevent cases of objects shifting around.
The next thing you need is a pair of accessories to help in your metal hunts. A good pair of waterproof headphones will come in handy in noise reduction. This allows you to hear minute signals. You may need a scoop if you are prospecting along the seashore. Most VLF detectors tend to be heavier than the PI ones. To prevent one from tiring, you may need to carry along a chest harness. This takes the weight off your arms and wrists and equally distributes them. Depending on what you will be doing, you may need to carry with you scuba gear and wear.
In this guide, we will list a couple of metal detectors that are perfect for underwater metal hunts and tell you some of their top features.
The 7 Best Underwater Metal Detectors
1. Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector
If you are thinking of doing some metal detecting across the beach while treasure hunting, then the Garrett AT Pro is the perfect choice for your pursuits. The AT stands for all-terrain so you can use the Garrett in both undersea pursuits and on land. The device is submersible to a depth of up to 10 feet.
What you should expect to find with the Garrett AT Pro are old coins, relics, and some gold nuggets. The device is a VLF detector that operates on a frequency range of 15 kHz. It comes with a submersible 8.5” X 11” Proformance DD search coil. The coil does an amazing job of finding objects hidden deep on the ocean floor. For underwater pursuits, the Garrett AT Pro comes with a pinpointer with a holster.
Manual or automatic ground balance is critical if you are going to filter out the noise from false signals in the oceans’ highly mineralized water. The Garrett AT Pro comes armed with a manual ground balance that is complimented with rapid recovery time. This ensures you do not waste time in worthless pursuits. As a beginner, you may choose to start out with the Garrett AT Pro standard version. Here the audio has been simplified for you while the Pro version comes with more detailed audio feedback and features for estimating accurately target depth and size. You also get notch discrimination, an electronic pinpointer, target depth indicator, and custom search modes.
The Garrett AT Pro comes with a serious orange pinpointer called the Garrett carrot. This extension is waterproof to a depth of 10 feet and lets you pinpoint the exact location of an object. The Garrett AT Pro weighs 3.03lbs and measures 21.3 X 14.4 X 8.7 inches.
Overall, the Garrett AT Pro is a serious contender for the position of best underwater metal detector. But it has some limitations. For one, it is a VLF detector, not a pulse induction detector. The later ones are good for distinguishing the chatter underneath the ocean floor. Secondly, the headphones are not totally waterproof, which is a serious drawback.
What we liked:
- All-terrain metal detector
- Large search coil that is waterproof to a depth of 10 feet
- Great pinpointer – Garrett carrot
- Comes with manual ground balance
2. Fisher CZ21-8 Underwater Metal Detector
When it comes to metal hunting detectors, we have two well-known brands that offer each other serious competition – Garrett and Fisher. The FisherCZ21-8 offers some excellent features to take your metal hunting pursuits to the next level. The detector is submersible to a depth 250 feet meaning you can find almost anything on the ocean floor.
The Fisher CZ21-8 stands out because it has very easy to use controls. This makes it a perfect choice for beginners trying their luck in metal hunting. Water wavers can be quite distracting, and the Fisher comes with audio controls that allow you to pick even the faintest signals. The device is ideal for both freshwater and saltwater, which pretty much increases your scope.
To filter out the various metals in underwater, the Fisher comes with seven discrimination settings. You can also, at any time, switch it to all metal tone for deeper metal pursuits where the no discrimination mode does not work. With adjustable ground balance and sensitivity, the number of objects you can pick up with the Fisher is high. The device also features precise pinpointing, touch button, and an all-metal auto-tune mode. The operating frequency is 5 to 15 kHz. It weighs 5.3lbs and measures 12 X 6 X 21 inches.
Overall, Fisher CZ21-8 is a great device for surfing and diving. However, it is heavier than other PI detectors.
What we liked:
- Submersible to 250 feet
- Adjustable ground balance
- Pulse induction technology
- 3-audio target ID
3. Garrett Sea Hunter MKII Metal Detector
The Garrett Sea Hunter MKII is a serious metal hunter in the pulse induction category. It comes with submersible headphones so that you can continue detecting signals even under deep depths. The Garrett sea hunter MKII can detect objects to a depth of 200 feet. It is highly versatile, and you can use it for either sea diving or beach searches.
To improve your searches, the Garrett sea hunter MKII comes with various search modes, all-metal non-motion, and Garrett’s innovative standard PI discrimination. Pulse induction detectors are great for gold prospecting, but they do face some serious set up in highly mineralized soils. The problem is they cannot discriminate, meaning you can waste your time detecting many false signals. To mitigate this, Garrett comes up with a discrete trash elimination feature. This means old trashcans and nails will not show up on your signal, and you can put all your efforts into highly valuable targets.
Since the Garrett sea hunter is highly versatile, you can use it for short and long stems. You even have some straps for attaching your wetsuits.
The dials on the Garrett sea hunter are analog, and the fact that it does not have a pinpointer adds to its shortcomings. However, with its innovative trash elimination feature, you should be able to detect some valuable metals underwater.
What we liked:
- Operates to a depth of up to 200 feet
- Trash elimination feature
- Easy to use
- Suitable for both beach hunting and diving
4. Fisher 1280-X Aquanaut Underwater Detector
This is another great underwater metal detector from Fisher. It is a VLF detector operating at a frequency of 2.4 kHz. This is great for someone who is looking for greater depth. The battery on the Aquanaut is impressive as it lasts for up to 75 hours once fully charged. This offers you able time to do some serious metal prospecting.
The problem with the low frequency is that it is susceptible to numerous signal interference. Note salty water tends to be highly mineralized, and you may pursue false signals. To mitigate this problem, the Fisher comes with trash discrimination mode and manual ground balance. The designers have also made the circuits in the Fisher in search of a way that they automatically ignore irrelevant signals.
The Fisher operates at a greater depth of 250 feet due to its use of a low frequency. It comes with waterproof headphones, belt mount, and sensitivity adjustment controls. The best part is you do not have to part with a lot of money to own it. Overall, it is a great underwater metal detector for those planning on diving to depths of over 200 feet.
What we liked:
- Great depth at 250 feet
- Manual ground balance
- Discrimination settings
- Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater
5. Garrett ATX Deepseeker Metal Detector
The first thing you notice about the Garrett ATX Deepseeker is how good looking it is. But, do not let this fool you; the device comes with awesome features to take your underwater metal hunts to the next level. The Deepseeker, unlike other underwater devices that are VLF, is a pulse induction detector. It comes with an exclusive DD search coil that measures 10” X 12”. Once you start searching for items, you will notice you do not have to waste time changing modes as the Deepseeker comes with four ground track settings. This allows the device to adjust to ever-changing mineralized waters.
Since you are going to be spending most of your time underwater, the Deepseeker comes with multiple indicators to show you signal strength and locate your target comfortably. The buttons have also being raised for enhanced visibility. The Deepseeker works on almost all terrains, and you can use the discrimination mode to differentiate your targets. To minimize interference in highly mineralized waters, it comes with a quick iron feature and auto function.
The ATX line of products offers the underwater models in two versions; you first have the standard version that comes with a 10” X 12” DD coil, and you have the Deepseeker with mono 20” search coil. The Deepseeker is very versatile when it comes to frequency settings. It comes with a frequency scan that automatically minimizes RFI interference. You can adjust the volume to detect faint signals.
The Garrett ATX Deepseeker comes with an advanced ground balance that automatically adjusts itself to reflect changing mineralized waters. You can move from one location to a place with saltwater without necessarily changing modes. You also have adjustable discrimination, quick iron check feature, and motion, and non-motion modes. The ATX Deepseeker weighs 5lbs and can be adjusted from 20 to 68 inches. Overall, this is a serious underwater metal detector with top-notch features. The only downside is it is expensive.
You can also read our Garrett AT Max review.
What we liked:
- Waterproof to a depth of 10 feet
- A great design ideal for sea diving
- Auto feature to minimize RFI Interference
- Can simultaneously detect multiple targets
6. Fisher Pulse 8X Wet Underwater Metal detector
This is a great underwater detector for those who want to take their metal detecting skills to the next level. The device is a favorite for professionals. It is heavy duty and gives you coverage to a depth of 6 feet in both fresh and saltwater.
The ocean floor is a heaven of lost treasures. Try to imagine lost relics washed to the ocean floor from shipwrecks from another era. For you to detect something reasonable, you will need a serious underwater metal detector. Highly mineralized waters do not affect the Pulse 8 X negatively as it is a pulse induction detector. You can take the detector to black soils where there is high iron content, and the Pulse 8X will still perform effectively.
You get a pair of waterproof headphones to improve your chances of detecting small signals in the deep. The coils are interchangeable, and you can shift between small or large coils. It also has a great negative buoyancy that enables it not to float when you are in the middle of metal hunting. The Pulse 8X is powered by a 9-volt battery that will last you the whole day. The only reasonable drawback we found to the pulse 8x is that it is expensive.
What we liked:
- Highly versatile metal detector suitable for professionals
- Can detect to a depth of 200 feet
- High sensitivity to trash
- Battery lasts long
Concluding our Best Underwater Metal Detector Guide
The ocean floor offers countless opportunities for locating some buried treasure. However, saltwater is highly mineralized, which means you run higher chances for false signals. The best underwater metal detectors come armed with manual or automatic ground balance settings. This prevents you from detecting trashcans and old nails. It also saves you time prospecting. You can choose to take your metal hunts to the salt or fresh water to deep river beds. Lastly, you need to come up with a budget for a metal detector.