When you first starting out in the metal detecting hobby, a lot of the accessories you use can be things you have laying around the house like an old fanny pack, tool belt, backpack, digger, gloves, etc.
But if there’s one single accessory you should buy, it has to be a quality pinpointer.
What is a pinpointer?
A pinpointer is a small, handheld metal detector that does exactly what it’s called – pinpoints your target.
So while your normal metal detector will pinpoint a target to within a few inches, a separate pinpointer will tell you the exact location in the hole or plug.
The way to use a pinpointer is after you dig your plug, take your pinpointer and stick it in the hole. Once you get within a few inches of the find, your pinpointer will start to beep (or vibrate).
Why are pinpointers so valuable and do you really need one?
Simply put, they allow you to recover your targets 10x faster and easier which means you’ll be able to spend more time detecting and less time digging.
And more time detecting means more finds at the end of the day. It’s as simple as that.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Go out on a few hunts without using a pinpointer and tell me how much time it took you to recover your target after digging your plug 🙂
If you’re strapped for cash, you can also get the little brother to this model that’s called the Garrett Pro Pointer II.
Let’s talk about some other equipment you may want to consider if you’re serious about getting into this hobby and making your hunts much more productive.
See our full list of the best pinpointers.
I won’t go too much into the various types of diggers, but here are my recommendations:
- Public parks, schools, private lawns: use a small hand digger. I recommend the Lesche Digging Tool.
- Woods, farm fields, large properties without manicured lawns: use a mid-level digger like the Lesche Sampson, Relic Hunter or Ground Shark.
- Beaches: use a sand scoop. Don’t bother with plastic unless you want it to break the first time you use it. And speaking of breaking, don’t use a handheld scoop unless you want to break your back. A handheld scoop is fine if you’re just playing around at the beach on vacation with your kids, but serious beach hunters use long-handled scoops. See our guide to the best sand scoops for metal detecting.
- Rocky areas: use a hand pick along with a hand digger.
- Rivers: if you’re relic hunting, use a hand pick that has a powerful magnet attached to the butt of the handle. This will allow you to easily pick up ferrous, magnetic targets without having to see them first in the flowing water. For non-ferrous targets in flowing rivers, a hand digger is often your best bet. Serious river hunters will often use a diving mask and snorkel.
See my complete list of the best shovels for metal detecting.
The biggest thing you have to remember when choosing any digging tool is to spend a few extra dollars to get something that’s high quality.
Cheapo diggers that you can get at big box stores today break way too easily. The last thing you want is to be out in the middle of the words on an intense relic hunt and have your digger snap in two.
It’s happened to me, and it’s not fun.
The only brand of diggers I recommend is Lesche.
These diggers are really top-notch and best of all, made right here in the USA. With heat-treated steel and aircraft-quality tubing, they are the Rolls-Royce of diggers.
While headphones come stock with most mid to high-end detectors, they don’t often come with entry-level machines. So do you need headphones?
See our guide to the best headphones for metal detecting.
If you’re just hunting in your backyard or for fun with your kids, then no you don’t need headphones.
But if you’re doing more than that, then yes you absolutely need headphones.
Why do you need headphones?
Well contrary to what a lot of people think about detecting, the proper way to identify a target is by listening to the audio signals – not using the visual display on the LCD screen.
The visual target indicators serve as a supplement to audio and should not be used as your primary means of identifying a target.
Because of this, you want to make sure you really hear what your machine is telling you.
You cannot allow noises such as traffic, the wind, or kids screaming get in the way of hearing the sounds your detector is making.
This is especially true on the beachwear the noise from the wind and waves can be quite loud.
Coil covers (scuffs)
Coil covers come stock on some brands of detectors like Minelab and Tesoro, but not on others like Garrett, Fisher, and Tekentics.
Coil covers are used to protect the search coil from scratches and dinks. Too much wear on a coil can dramatically alter it’s performance, and you’ll be forced to buy a replacement coil.
The $10 it will cost for a coil cover is well worth the money.
Pouches that connect to your belt are invaluable in my opinion. If you’re just out for a 20-minute hunt for fun, then yes you can probably put everything in your pockets.
Anything more than that and you’ll want a pouch.
Remember the things you will be carrying around with you on your person: finds, trash, towel, pinpointer, toothbrush, car keys, and whatever else you want to stick in there.
Carry bags I also find to be an important piece of equipment. The main difference between a carry bag and a backpack is that with most backpacks, you’ll have to break down your detector to fit in a backpack.
That means disconnecting and unraveling the coil wire then breaking down your detector to 3 pieces – a pain in the backside if you ask me.
Carry bags are much longer in size and allow you to fit your entire detector without having to take it apart. A huge time saver and way fewer headaches.
In fact, the only times I would recommend using a backpack is if you’re hiking or biking long distances to reach your detecting destination or if you’re traveling on an airplane.
Other than that, go with a detector carry bag.
When you start to get serious about metal detecting, you’ll want to add a few extra coils to your arsenal.
Every detector comes with one search coil that’s built for your average hunt. The manufacturer also makes accessory coils for each detector for different applications and circumstances.
Accessory coils come in all different shapes, sizes, and configurations to help you get the most out of your detector.
Here are some of the more common reasons you might need to get yourself an accessory coil.
- If you’re hunting wide-open spaces like farm fields or beaches and don’t mind a little extra weight on your arm, then a larger coil might be a good idea. You’ll be able to cover more ground with each sweep and also get more depth.
- If you’re hunting on in tight areas like playgrounds or areas with lots of large rocks, then a smaller coil might be useful to help you maneuver around all the obstacles.
- If you’re hunting in public parks or urban areas with loads of trash, you probably want a Double D configured coil to help you separate targets easier. More on this and search coil configurations in a future article.
- If you’re in a part of the country with extremely mineralized soil like Virginia or the Pacific Northwest, you probably want a smaller coil to better cope with the noisy ground. More on this in another article.
These are just a few of the more common reasons you might want to consider an accessory coil.
Just for fun, you may also want to pick up the latest gear from your detector brand of choice.
For example, if you end up buying a Garrett detector, get yourself a Garrett hat, t-shirt or polo.
Each manufacturer will also have its own branded bags, pouches, backpacks, cover-ups, etc.
None of this is needed but can make you look pretty official!
Odds and ends/safety items
I mentioned this a few times throughout this guide, but I also carry with me a soft-bristled toothbrush for in the field cleaning. It goes a long way to help quickly ID a target caked in mud.
Some of the other odds and ends I always carry with me are:
- First aid kit
- Spare batteries (both for the detector and pinpointer)
- Bug spray
- Coin Field Guide
- Battery charger (if you’re using rechargeable batteries)
- Pocket knife / multi-tool
- Whistle (in case you run into a bear)
- Delicate finds case (fish tackle container stuff with cotton balls)
Certain accessories and gear also make great gifts. Check out this article for some great metal detecting gift ideas.