Can You Make Money Metal Detecting?

Here’s how you can make money metal detecting
Written By: Marc McDermott
Last Updated:

It doesn’t matter if it is an old coin or a gold nugget, your metal detecting finds are precious, and would be hard for anyone to part with.

Still, with the chance of using any profits to upgrade to a new metal detector and take a hobby to the next level, it is always useful to know the answer many hobbyists are asking: can you make money metal detecting? 

We’re going to see if it is possible to make a profit and answer those money-making questions. 

Beach Detecting

One of the most common ways of finding a little buried treasure comes in the form of beach detecting. 

Misplacing your valuables on the beach is easier than many people realize. Ever take off your jewelry before hitting the water? Well a lot of the time, it gets left behind.

Rings, bracelets, and necklaces are easy for most quality metal detectors to pick up as they swing over the area, and then there are common coins to add to the bounty. 

These might not add up to a lot, but finding the odd trinket after the beach has enjoyed a busy time in peak summer can be fruitful. 

Underwater detecting (similar to beach hunting)

Since people’s fingers shrink in colder months, expect to find rings that have slipped off and sink to the bottom. 

A less talked about hobby, underwater metal detecting is both fun, and rewarding. With the ocean life around you, it can make for a memorable experience that will have you coming back for more, especially if you find something valuable like jewelry.

It involves a level of fitness as you will need to snorkel or scuba dive to search the ocean bed. If you are keen, you can even try shipwreck detecting, many specialist metal detectors still work at 200 feet underwater. 

Be sure to check that you have the relevant permission required to detect underwater as every state is different in terms of what is permitted. Some will require the use of specific equipment to protect the ocean whilst others may not allow it altogether. 


A lot of successful metal detecting centers around strategy, this is where location and timing can be key. 

This is obvious when it comes to event hunting. 

Swinging your metal detectors the day after a big outdoor event can pay dividends. Head to the location of a festival, concert, antique fair, market, or any other outdoor event imaginable. 

Any venue where hundreds, if not thousands, of people, have gathered can be the place to find pockets full of coins that have fallen when dancing or paying for produce. 

Get Paid To Do Recoveries  

You’d be surprised as to how often people lose their valuables. 

For every lost treasure, there is a metal detector waiting to recover their most sentimental items and keepsakes. 

For example, ring fingers are professional metal detectors who are hired by people looking to be reunited with anything from rings and jewelry, to keys.

This can be a good way to make some money? Especially if the item in question is expensive and the owner is willing to offer a sizable reward for its safe return. 

Expect to find numerous people in your area looking for someone with a metal detector to come to a beach, park, or other local venues and help recoup their valuables.

Gold Prospecting

Gold detecting is a popular hobby, but in some (albeit rare) cases, the results can be life-changing. 

Common venues for finding good nuggets include river beds, deserts, and even in the cracks of crevices. 

Anywhere that gold has been mined or found throughout the gold rush era is excellent for this. Beyond the excitement of unearthing something exciting, the best thing about finding gold nuggets is that you don’t need to wonder if it is valuable or not.

They have a universal value that means they can be exchanged for cash in a variety of gold buying outlets. 

There are also gold finds waiting to be discovered by metal detecting enthusiasts – the Loch Lomond gold ring is a perfect example of this. 

It was discovered in 2019 by metal detectorist Michelle Vall in Loch Lomond, Scotland, and turned out to be a 17th-century ring believed to belong to the courier of King James II. This symbol of British royal folklore sold for $18,000 at auction. 

Get Smart Permissions

One of the best ways to find valuable metals is by focusing on areas where you need permission to detect them.

There is a reason these places require permits, and even though they may be challenging to obtain, the results are a higher chance of finding something valuable.

Sometimes you have to share the value of your finds, but it is better to share a percentage of $500 than keep $2 to yourself. 

Sometimes it can be as simple as asking the landowner for a permission directory but if you are aiming bigger, then city parks can yield great returns. This is because people are always dropping money. Sometimes even jewelry will even set your metal detector off. Here is a metal detecting permission letter you can use.

Learn more about the best places to metal detect and responsible metal detecting.


Can You Make a Living Metal Detecting?

The short answer is that no, you are highly unlikely to make a living metal detecting. However, this shouldn’t take away from the fun that comes with making a discovery, and the eternal hope that you are unearthing something valuable. 

Not only do many detectorists dislike the thought of parting with their finds, but finding enough goods of value to live off is challenging. 

Final Thoughts

With various ways of finding valuables, it is possible to make some money from metal detecting. However, if you are looking to turn it into a career, then you had better have a backup plan.

Unless you are lucky enough to discover a medieval ring or large lump of gold, you are likely to be disappointed with the value of your finds.