Hand-held metal detectors range widely in price. For someone who’s just starting out learning how to use a metal detector, it makes sense to buy an inexpensive one so that you can learn what features work best in the areas where you’ll be doing most of your hunting. Even starter-level metal detectors have differences, so use this guide to learn more about metal detectors and determine which type is best for you.

Three AA batteries power this model. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Many metal detectors rely on two 9-volt batteries for power, but some entry-level units power up using less expensive AA batteries. If the metal detector will be used to entertain children or is a gift for a child, consider getting a unit powered by AA batteries so the kids can use it all they want without worrying about pricey batteries.

This model only weighs 2.31 pounds. RM RICOMAX

Metal detectors are lightweight, but of course, you’ll be carrying yours around—both during the hunt and to and from the hunting area, and if you get tired of carrying it, you’ll end your hunt early. Look for a lightweight metal detector if you think that carrying a heavy one for a long time may be an issue for you.

A discrimination control on this device allows you to eliminate undesirable targets. Bounty Hunter

If you’re looking for a lost gold ring on a beach, say, you want to be able to tell the difference between the myriad bottle caps and coins scattered throughout the sand, so you don’t waste time stopping and digging. A unit that can discriminate between valuable and non-valuable metals can be a very big help in such situations.