Best Metal Detectors for Kids in 2021

We’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Our top picks for your kids.
Marc McDermott

Are you looking to buy a kids metal detector but are overwhelmed by all the choices? This article will break it all down and help you choose the right machine.

After extensive testing with over ten years of metal detecting experience, the best metal detector for kids is the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV. It’s easy for beginners to use and has excellent features like two-tone audio mode, discrimination mode, and notch control. If you want more information about this or other products we recommend, check out our complete guide below!

Metal Detectors for Kids 4-9 Years Old

Here are my recommendations for the first age bucket (4-9 years old).

Rating Metal Detector Best for… Price
GoodBounty Hunter JuniorMost affordableSee Today’s Price
BetterBounty Hunter Tracker IVBest value for moneySee Today’s Price
BestBounty Hunter QuicksilverMost featuresSee Today’s Price

Metal Detectors for Kids 10+ Years Old

Shopping for a child aged 10 and up? While any of the above machines will also work in this age group, you should consider getting something a little bit nicer that leans more toward the professional-type detector. Here are my recommendations for this age bucket (10+ years old).

Rating Metal Detector Best for… Price
GoodFisher F22Easy to use, lightweightSee Today’s Price
BetterMinelab X-terra 305More settings to customizeSee Today’s Price
BestGarrett ACE 400Powerful, also recommended
for adults
See Today’s Price

We ordered my picks based on good, better, and best. The rest of this article will go into detail for each model and talk about some of the features to look for when buying a metal detector for kids. If you’re looking for other types of detectors, read my complete guide to the best metal detectors.

Best Metal Detectors for Kids Reviewed

If your little treasure hunter wants to explore the great outdoors on their own, you’ll need to find a good metal detector for them. But which one? We have some great recommendations from top brands like Bounty Hunter, Fisher, Garrett, and Minelab.

Bounty Hunter Junior

Bounty Hunter Junior
  • Great for kids who want to get into metal detecting.
  • Lightweight and easy to use.
  • Adjustable sensitivity and discrimination levels.
  • Exciting for any child detectorist!
  • Keeps them entertained with the hunt!

The Bounty Hunter Junior is as simple as it gets and is by far the most popular (and cheapest) metal detector for young kids. It has both adjustable sensitivity and adjustable discrimination. So if you have a very young child just looking to get his feet wet in this hobby, this machine might be for you.

There are two knobs and a meter – that’s it. The knob on the left powers the machine on and adjusts the sensitivity level. The knob on the right adjusts the amount of discrimination.

Discrimination is a great feature to have because it gives you the ability to ignore low conductive metal objects like iron. Imagine the disappointment on your child’s face when they dig up an old rusty nail! The discrimination feature will prevent that from happening. Finally, the meter is a visual indication of how strong your signal is. This can help you determine how deep the target may be in the ground.

This detector is super light and weighs just over one pound is has an adjustable height of up to 2.25 feet – perfect for any child detectorist!

Bottom line: The Bounty Hunter Junior is a simple metal detector for beginners. It has two knobs and a meter, which makes it the simplest metal detector in the world! It’s also lightweight at just over one pound. The sensitivity can be adjusted to your liking, but this detector lacks any other features. The Junior has an adjustable height of up to 2.25 feet, making it perfect for children.

Bounty Hunter Tracker IV

Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
  • Headphone input lets you use headphones instead of the regular speaker.
  • Factory preset ground balance allows the detector to ignore negative signals and find more treasure.
  • You can use three different ways to find things with this detector: discrimination, all-metal and tone.

The Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is the next step up from the Junior. This detector has some nice additional features not found in the Junior model such as:

Headphone input

Headphone input gives you the option to use headphones to hear the audio signals rather than the regular speaker that’s built into the control box. Headphones are not needed, but great to have if you’re worried about disturbing others in public spaces. They also help save on battery life.

Preset ground balance

Factory preset ground balance allows the detector to ignore these negative ground signals, so you’re not always getting false signals which can become very frustrating after a while. Metal detectors detect all types of metal, including the microscopic metallic minerals in the ground, such as iron. 

Three search modes

Three search modes of operation can be used with this detector: discrimination, all-metal mode, and tone.

We don’t want to get into the specifics of each mode and how to use them, but we will say that having multiple search modes allows you to customize better the detector for the type of hunting you’re doing that day (i.e., coin, jewelry, relics). Please don’t be intimidated by any of these techy features I’m talking about.

Remember that almost any detector you buy can be used as a simple ‘turn on and go’ detector – meaning you don’t have to use any of the most advanced features right away. Also, consider that buying a detector with more features will allow the child to grow into the machine and be able to use it for years to come.

Bottom line: The Bounty Hunter Tracker IV is a more advanced model of the Junior. The junior is a simple “turn on and go” detector with some basic features, but the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV has more features, such as headphone input and preset ground balance.

Bounty Hunter QuickSilver

Bounty Hunter QuickSilver
  • It’s easy to use, even for young children.
  • The machine has a target ID that will tell you what type of metal it is.
  • The depth indicator on this detector will tell you how deep the treasure is buried.
  • You’ll have an opportunity to spend quality time with your child while they learn about history.

The Bounty Hunter Quicksilver is my top choice in this age group if you have the additional budget to buy this model. It has all the features of the previous two detectors detailed above, plus a few more, including:

LCD screen digital display

The LCD screen and digital display is a nice improvement over the analog meter because it shows you valuable information such as your current discrimination controls, target ID, battery level, and target depth.

Visual target ID

Visual target ID on the QuickSilver is a feature that will tell you the type of metal you’ve found.

The first two detectors we talked about only have an analog meter that shows you the strength of the signal, whereas this detector will try to guess what the target is (coin, jewelry, trash, etc.). This is a great feature to have, so you spend more time digging good targets instead of trash.

Depth indicator

The depth indicator is another great feature of the QuickSilver. Again the machine will take its best guess (based on several factors) as to the approximate depth of the target in the ground, so you know how deep to dig.

Tones

Three audio tones is the last notable feature on the Quicksilver. Unlike the Tracker IV, which only has two tones (low and high), the Quicksilver is a three-tone detector (low, medium, high) which means you can more easily differentiate trash from treasure!

Bottom line: The Bounty Hunter Quicksilver has been a very popular detector in the past few years. It is a three-tone detector which means that you can more easily differentiate between trash and treasure. The LCD screen and digital display is a nice improvement over the analog meter because it shows you valuable information such as your current discrimination controls, target ID, battery level, and target depth.

Fisher F22

Fisher F22
  • Affordable, high-quality metal detector for beginners.
  • Comes with a ton of features to help you find more treasure.
  • Ideal weight at just over 4 lbs perfect for kids ages 10 and up.
  • Easy to use right out of the box with no complicated adjustments or settings necessary.
  • Your child will be able to explore like never before!

Want something a little bit nicer with a few extra features? Take a look at the Fisher F22. If you read other articles on this website, you’ll see that we always recommend the Fisher F22 as the best entry-level metal detector.

Remember at the beginner of this article how we mentioned Bounty Hunter’s parent company also owned other professional-grade detector brands? Fisher is one of them, and they make (in my humble opinion) the best all-around metal detector for beginners.

With additional discrimination features, modes, and target ID capabilities, the F22 is loaded with features while remaining very affordable.  The only downside to this detector for kids is that it weighs just over 4 lbs which can be a little heavy for younger kids (compare this to 2.2lbs of the Compadre).

Bottom line: The Fisher F22 is a great metal detector for beginners that offers a lot of features and capabilities. It has additional modes and discrimination settings but still remains very lightweight. It is a little expensive compared to other detectors on the list, but it can last your child for years and due to the additional features we believe it’s worth it.

Minelab X-terra 305

Minelab X-terra 305
  • The most trusted brand in the detecting industry
  • Superior technology that your child can grow into and use for years
  • Minelab is the best brand in the industry. They have the best technology and performance.
  • Gives them a head start on the “Minelab Path”

If your budget can swing it, the gold standard for kids metal detectors has to be the Minelab X-terra 305.

While the F22 will be the best bang for your buck, you can spend a bit more money and get a detector with superior technology which your child can grow into and use for years.

This is an excellent metal detector – even for adults. It is widely accepted in the detecting industry that Minelab has the best technology and performance in their detectors. In fact, we personally use their top-of-the-line treasure detector, the CTX 3030. While Minelab typically serves the very high-end market of treasure hunters and gold prospectors, their entry-level X-terra 305 is a great option for kids and can get them started on the “Minelab path.”

Bottom line: The Minelab X-terra 305 is the gold standard for kids metal detectors. It is the perfect balance of price and performance, with excellent technology that kids can grow into. It is widely accepted in the detecting industry that Minelab has the best technology and performance in their metal detectors.

Buyer’s guide

Finding the right metal detector for kids can be confusing. There are lots of different models available, with a variety of features and prices. As parents, we know how important it is to keep our children safe while they’re playing outdoors or spending time at school. With that in mind, you want to make sure your child has a reliable metal detector so they can have fun but stay safe as well! I’ll walk you through all of the most important considerations when buying a new machine for your child, including age recommendations, features, tech specs, warranty information, and more!

Before we dive into the specifics of each detector, it’s important to note that there are two different kinds of metal detectors for kids – toys and REAL detectors.

The toy detectors will not be discussed in this article as they are pretty much useless in my opinion and not really intended to find anything. The REAL detectors, on the other hand, can be a fun and educational hobby for kids. The idea behind them is to get them more interested in history while also providing a learning opportunity on how modern technology works.

The focus of this article is on real metal detectors that can be used to find treasures like coins, jewelry, relics, etc.

It’s also important that many of the articles you find online on this topic give recommendations for detectors that are outdated and no longer even in production. This post will always remain up to date so you can be sure you’re getting the best, most current recommendations.

Like anything else, metal detectors have a price range based on features and technology. Some of the most important things to consider when buying a kids metal detector are:

  • Age of child
  • Length and weight of detector
  • Simplicity of controls

Age of child

Generally speaking, a child as young as four can use a metal detector. We typically like to recommend a kids metal detector based on two age buckets: 4-9 and 10+.

Simplicity of controls

A metal detector for kids needs simple controls. Look for one with the minimum number of buttons or knobs that are easy to use. If the metal detector has a screen, it should have a touch interface so you can easily read and adjust without being confused.

Length and weight of detector

Metal detectors have to be light enough for children to use them. If a child can’t lift it, then it won’t work well. A metal detector that weighs 3+ pounds should be used by older children, but not those who are under 9 years old.

The right length for a child’s detector is when they are standing upright and not bending over to sweep. Most detectors are adjustable between 25”-60” in length.

Brands to consider

Notice my top three choices in this category are all the same brand?  That’s because the Bounty Hunter brand is specifically geared toward the beginner and kids market. The parent company of Bounty Hunter (First Texas Products) also owns two other brands that make detectors targeting the professional markets (Fisher and Teknetics). Other brands in the kid’s market tend to be very cheaply made and poorly designed.

FAQs

Now that we’ve gone through things to consider as well as my top recommendations for each age group let’s talk about some common questions we get from folks shopping for a detector for the first time.

Do these metal detectors come with a warranty?

Absolutely. Bounty Hunter and Fisher (same company) offer a five-year warranty except for the Junior model which is only a one-year warranty. Minelab offers a three-warranty while Tesoro offers a lifetime warranty.

If you’re going to invest your money in a metal detector, you want to know that it will last for years and years. Metal detectors can be expensive and you don’t want to buy one with a short warranty or no warranty at all. You’ll need the assurance of knowing if something goes wrong, they’ll fix it for free under their warranty.

What can you find with a kids metal detector?

This is surprisingly a popular question, with an easy answer. Any metal detector (no matter the cost, and that’s not a toy) will detect anything that is metal. Some detectors cost more than others because they have additional features and technology that allow you to get better depths, better target ID, and detect in various terrains and conditions where the ground might be highly mineralized.

Will my kid’s detector work at the beach?

Yes. All of these detectors will work at the beach. This is a very popular question because many people will buy a detector for their child to take on vacation. Any metal detector will work just fine on the beach with one caveat. It would be best if you stayed on the dry, white sand.

Venturing off into the water, the wet sand, or even pockets of black sand will cause the detector to false. But this is normal and will happen with virtually any detector that’s not specifically made to handle these conditions. Even some $600 mid-level detectors cannot handle these ground conditions on saltwater beaches. That’s just the way metal detecting technology works.

Related: Which metal detector is best for the beach?

The only other thing I’ll mention about using a detector at the beach is that you might want to use headphones. One reason is so you’re not disturbing others, and another is because sometimes the audio can be difficult to hear with all the wind and crashing waves at the beach. Headphones make it much easier to hear what your detector is telling you.

Will my kid’s detector work in water?

Yes, almost all metal detectors come with a waterproof coil. We already discussed that these machines would not work in saltwater, so let’s talk about freshwaters like creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes.

All these detectors are waterproof up to the control box – meaning the search coil and rods. This means you can hunt in very shallow water if you wanted to. This limitation is true of almost any detector, except, of course, those built specifically to submerge in water.

So, while you can certainly hunt in shallow water, be aware that if you happen to slip on a wet rock and drop your detector, it will most likely be ruined. Something to consider when choosing to detect in or around a water source.

Is metal detecting good for kids?

Yes, metal detecting is a great hobby for kids to pursue. It’s an enjoyable hobby that can provide hours of entertainment. It’s good for kids because, unlike other hobbies like video games, it provides plenty of sound activity and fresh air. The great thing about metal detecting is that almost anyone can learn how to do it. So if you’re ready to get your little one out in the world, or just want some time outside yourself – why not head down to the nearest park to see what treasures right there under your feet?

Can kids go metal detecting?

Absolutely kids can go metal detecting! The key though is to make sure they first understand responsible metal detecting and then outfit them with the properly sized detector. Before deciding to introduce your kids to metal detecting be sure is it something they truly want to do. Metal detecting can be a very rewarding hobby, that you will cherish for life, but not having an interest in this activity could really turn them off of the idea altogether.

Are metal detectors safe for kids to use?

Yes, metal detectors are safe for kids. However, we would not recommend your child detect in or near any water as they can easily destroy the machine.

How do you use a kids metal detector?

There’s not much you need to know with a kids metal detector as there are so few features. Just remember that the coil should be swung as close as possible to the ground and needs to be in constant motion. Each sweep should be about two seconds. Think “low and slow”.

Are kids metal detectors just toys?

Usually, if the detector is priced under $100, it should be looked at as a toy versus a “real metal detector.” There’s nothing wrong with a toy metal detector for a child. Just don’t expect them to perform as well as more expensive detectors. They’re a great way to see if your child likes the hobby.

How fast with my child outgrow a kids metal detector?

Unless you’re buying the most basic detector like the Bounty Hunter Jr, the only way your child will outgrow his machine is he becomes interested in the hobby and wants to upgrade to a better detector for better performance. We suggest you let your child get the hang of metal detecting first before you start talking about buying an upgrade.

Where to go metal detecting with kids?

Some of the best places to go metal detecting with kids are in your own backyard, neighbors’ yards, local parks, schools, churches, and beaches. This is a great way to spend time together as a family and find some treasure. Just be sure to get permission from the landowner and keep a lookout for “No Trespassing” signs. When you’re out metal detecting with kids, watch for poisonous plants such as poison ivy, English ivy, daisies, or mushrooms that may grow in some of these places. If you go metal detecting with kids at a local school, be sure to check their policies as some don’t allow it because of the damage that can be done to the property from digging holes and moving rocks. If possible, try going early in the morning or after dark when there are fewer people around.

Final thoughts

Choosing the best metal detector for your child can be tricky so we’ve done all the work for you. Our experts have tested and reviewed some of the top brands in detail to help you narrow down which one is right for your needs. Depending on the age of your child and what they want to find, there are many different metal detectors that would be a good fit. We hope our buyer’s guide will help you narrow down which detector is best suited for your needs! If you have any additional questions about kids metal detecting or anything else related to our review please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Whether you are looking to find lost coins in a park or buried pirate treasure on the beach, there is a detector out there that will suit both your needs as well as those of your child.

Recap

You may also be interested in our complete guide to coin metal detectors.