Metal detectors range from beginner-friendly to advanced, and some lie in the in-between. Getting the suitable metal detecting unit to get you started on prospecting is what truly kicks start your journey. So, are you ready to find out the easiest metal detectors to use? Let’s get started.
The easiest metal detectors to get any metal detecting beginner started are the Nokta Makro Simplex+, Fisher F Series, the Garrett ACE Series, and the Minelab Vanquish.
Nokta, Garrett, Fisher, and Minelab are some of the leading brands in the metal detector industry. The unit series mentioned above are their beginner-friendly models according to these brands.
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Not only that, but in my experience, they are some of the easiest-to-use units in the market. Let’s look at what makes them the most uncomplicated to handle.
Metal detectors come in a range of skill levels. Manufacturers design the models and units to cater to various users. Some users prefer the more advanced models, while others are either new or just trying it out.
In my experience, I’ve worked with many metal detectors, and I came up with a scale of sorts that ranks the models based on skill level. The scale ranges from 1 to 10, with one being the easiest to use and ten the most advanced models.
Unfortunately, this article will not cover the more advanced metal detectors such as the Garrett AT MAX, Garrett AT PRO, or even the Minelab Equinox 600 and 800. This article will focus on the models at a scale level of 1 through 5 and possibly a 6 as honorable mentions.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Nokta Makro Simplex+
Skill Level: Beginner
Difficulty level: 2/10 (I’d give it a 1, but it’s not perfect)
I started with an ACE 250, I borrowed it from my son on a camping trip. I’ve got fond memories of digging coins and rings with it.
BUT – that was quite awhile ago. Things have changed with detectors that make it so much easier now. Wireless technology, auto ground balancing and frequency shifting are huge!
Advice for a first-time metal detector buyer?
Jump ahead of me and get the Nokta Makro Simplex+ For around $350 you’ll get a machine that is going to take the “technical” difficulties out of using the machine, yet perform like a machine costing hundreds of dollars more.
EVEN BETTER – The largest metal detecting distributer here in the US carries the Nokta Makro Simplex+. Service folks their can answer questions, provide parts and service. Advice if your thinking about a machine look to Kellyco <- Shortcut link to their website.
Benefits of the Nokta Makro Simplex+
Wireless technology, I didn’t realize how much I was getting wrapped up in wires until I went wireless. It seemed like every time I bent down to scan a hole, I would get tangled. I can’t recommend a machine that isn’t wireless now.
The Simplex+ comes with 2.4 GHz wireless headphones that stay charger for about 15 hours.
The control head is user friendly with menus that seem intuitive. I’ve attached a download of the quick guide so you get a feel for how simple operation is – LINK BELOW
Another feature I love is the entire unit is waterproof to 10 feet. I haven’t metal detected fully submerged yet, but knowing the Simplex+ is engineered to be fully submerged is a sign of durability.
My #1 Recommendation get the Nokta Makro Simplex+ from Kellyco. <- Shortcut link to Kellyco website
SIMPLEX+ has turn-on & go technology with auto ground balancing. It has preset search modes including;
- Beach mode
- All Metal mode– what I recommend for hunting beaches for rings
- Park mode
- Field mode
Light weight, the Simplex+ rolls in at a total weight under 3 pounds. Heavy weight machines are going to fatigue a detectorist fast. I’m not sure I’d even consider a machine over 3 pounds. The battery technology has gotten so much better you don’t have to suffer.
Am I over selling the Simplex+? I don’t think so, If you want to read the reviews on Amazon (shortcut link ->) Nokta Makro Simplex+ you’ll see what hundreds of others have said. You’re going to get a quality machine that will find treasure with the best machines.
Is the Simplex+ Worth Buying?
At its price point, the Nokta Simplex is an attractive purchase. It offers some advanced-level features and is easy to use. Not only that, but it performs great.
I’d say that the Nokta Simplex is the “new” target for entry level metal detectors with the options to perform like pro-level machines.
Skill Level: Beginner
The most manageable model to use in the series: The Garrett ACE 400
Difficulty level: 3/10
The Garrett ACE Series consists of three models:
- The Garrett ACE 400
- The Garrett ACE 300
- The Garrett ACE 200
Any of these three models is an excellent investment for any beginner. The most popular of the series is the ACE 400. The ACE 400 is a newer model (it came out in 2020). Many people in the community were pretty excited about a new unit coming from Garrett.
So, what makes the ACE 400 easy to use? The ACE 400 is great because of its simple-to-use control boxes. Not only that, but it has pre-set ground balancing, which means you don’t have to worry about it being a manual or automated ground balancing unit. It’s a great feature for beginners, and you cannot change it.
On the other hand, you have an older, sturdier model with the ACE 200. The ACE 200 is a more lightweight and simple model. It’s also the first model in a series curated solely for beginners in the metal detecting market.
You can rest assure that the ACE 200 is a formidable unit and will get the job done at the end of the day. What makes the ACE 200 easy to use? Well, it’s all thanks to the limited features it offers. Fewer features might mean a blessing in disguise if you’re a beginner.
It allows users to focus more on the prospecting and less on the features you need to toggle to get the right results constantly. You’ll find this to be the case in most units, especially those with manual ground balancing, which isn’t ideal for beginners.
Lastly, we have the ACE 300, the middle child. The ACE 300 gives the best of the ACE 200 while subtly touching on the benefits the ACE 400 offers.
I’d have to give it to the ACE 400; it provides beginner-level features while also acting as a beginner’s way to learn. Don’t get me wrong; the entire Garrett ACE Series is easy to use and ultimately beginner-friendly. However, the ACE 400 is a formidable opponent with newer technology imbued into it.
I would suggest any of these models, Garrett is a well-known brand, and there is the assurance that you’re getting a quality unit. So you’re free to pick any of these models. Metal detectors (in general) are known for their ease of use in multiple practices; it’s just that some have a steeper learning curve than others.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate (can be used a transition model)
The most straightforward model to use in the series: The Minelab Vanquish 540
Difficulty level: 4/10
Next up is the Minelab Vanquish Series. This series consists of the following models:
- The Minelab Vanquish 340
- The Minelab Vanquish 440
- The Minelab Vanquish 540
- The Minelab Vanquish 540 Pro-pack
Minelab created and targeted the Vanquish series towards beginner users. One of the best features of the Vanquish Series is that it comes with Multi-IQ technology.
As usual if you’re getting ready to pull the trigger and get a Minelab or other machine click over to Kellyco <-shortcut link and ask the folks there. Crazy – you can call someone and ask questions, that’s why I love them.
Minelab made a name thanks to the Multi-IQ technology that revolutionized operation frequency.
The Minelab Vanquish 340 is one of the most straightforward models in the market? Why? It comes with fewer features that make it less complicated for novice prospectors.
The Vanquish 340 gives users five discrimination segments, which may come across as limiting to pros. Still, it’s not a complicated start for the novice prospector. Other features make it easy to use, such as the sensitivity levels. Still, you can rest assured that you purchase a quality unit for your starter pack.
Next up is the Vanquish 440. What makes it easy to use? Like the Vanquish 340, Minelab built it with the same simplistic mindset. Furthermore, the Vanquish 440 is easy to set up and with an easy-to-follow instruction manual with visuals along the way.
The Vanquish 440 isn’t as popular as the Equinox series or the Vanquish 540. Still, its simplistic and budget-friendly nature appeals to many new prospectors.
Third on the list is the Vanquish 540. A pretty popular model in the metal detector market. Thanks to the easy-to-navigate menus and the fast target identification, it is a pretty spot-on unit. You would be happy to know that the hype behind it is accurate and worth the investment.
On the other hand, you have the Minelab Vanquish 540 Pro Pack. The name might seem intimidating, but it is an easy-to-use metal detector. I would recommend this unit if you’re transitioning from beginner to intermediate. Since it’s a ‘pack,’ it will have everything you need to hunt like one of the pros.
As a transition unit, it’s still pretty simple to use; it comes with pre-set detecting modes, a user-friendly UI, and of course, Multi-IQ. Another reason why the Vanquish 540 pro is an excellent choice is that even pros use this model. It’s simple and advanced enough to prospect for users across the board.
In my experience, I would highly recommend the Minelab Vanquish 540. If you want to take it up a notch, I recommend the Vanquish Pro Pack.
Why? Because it’s simple, user-friendly, easy-to-use, it offers beginners a taste of the advanced metal detectors without steering clear of its goals as an easy-to-use metal detector.
Metal Detecting Tip: It’s easy to get “locked” into a brand of metal detector. You’ll get accustom to the menu and other nuances. Minelab sells what I consider the best machine. (Equinox 800) If you think you’ll upgrade in the future a Minelab is a great choice.
Regardless, if you want something less challenging, I would recommend the Vanquish 340. It will simplify the prospecting process and do most of your work. But if you want something in the middle, then the Vanquish 440 is a solid choice.
Remember that Minelab made the entire Vanquish Series for beginners, so each model is easy to use. With Minelab, you’re in the right hands, and your metal detector isn’t so complicated.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
The most straightforward model to use in the series: The Fisher F44
Difficulty level: 2/10
The Fisher F Series consists of the following models:
- The Fisher F75
- The Fisher F75 +
- The Fisher F11
- The Fisher F22
- The Fisher F44
The American manufacturer Fisher manufactured the entire F Series for entry-level users. Thanks to the fast target ID present in all four of these models, I consider the F Series to be one of the best if you’re kick-starting your metal detecting journey.
Starting with the Fisher F44, you have a beginner-level unit that can turn into an intermediate unit. How? Well, every model of the F Series comes with pre-set ground balancing.
Still, the Fisher F44 allows users to switch to manual ground balancing when they’re ready to start the transition into more advanced levels of usage.
The best thing about the Fisher F44 is the fast target identification which is a real treat, and you a visual discriminator indicator to boot. There are other impressive features, but these three features genuinely make the Fisher F44 one of the most straightforward units to work with during prospecting.
Next up is the F22, which also comes with Target ID visual discriminator indicator. Not only that, but you can also use the F22 in rainy weather. This feature is massive for beginner-friendly metal detectors since few offer an advanced yet valuable quality. Not only that but at that price point.
In October 2021, Fisher gave us the newest addition to the F Series, the F11. A beginner-level meta detector offers user-friendly UI and three easy-to-use search modes. The only downside to the F11 would be the operating frequency; Fisher provides an operation frequency of 7.69 kHz for this model.
Last but not least is the Fisher F75. A beginner-friendly metal detector makes transitioning to the intermediate level incredibly easy. Not only do the beginners use this model but so do the pros.
Disclaimer: Fisher no longer makes the following models in the F Series:
- The Fisher F70
- The Fisher F19
- The Fisher F5
- The Fisher F4
- The Fisher F2
You can still find these models in some stores, but Fisher discontinued these lines. It would be in your best interest to stick to the models Fisher still makes since you can still get up-to-date information on these models.
Getting started on metal detecting requires that users know some of the features that will make the prospecting process easy.
Here are some of those features that you need to consider before picking out a unit:
- Pre-set search modes. An easy-to-use metal detector will come with pre-set search modes. With a click of a button, they allow users to focus on specific search settings provided by the manufacturer. It also makes target identification a lot easier. The best part is many pros use the pre-set search modes, so you don’t have to feel like you’re using training wheels.
- Simple controls. Nothing screams easy-to-use than simple controls. They provide straightforward solutions during the learning and prospecting process. You don’t have to toggle or fine-tune anything during the hunt, and everything is visible and understandable upon seeing.
- Automatic and manual ground balancing. Automatic ground balancing is what most beginners will use to get started. Having manual ground balance allows users to transition into more complex units like the Garrett AT MAX. Fortunately, modern advanced metal detectors will come with both of these ground balancing options.
- An easy-to-use metal detector will offer the fundamental features of meta detecting. So you’re looking at discrimination, target ID, sensitivity, etc. The more advanced metal detectors will have, for example, Minelab’s MPS, DVT, and SETA features.
The icing on the cake would be the easiest gold metal detector to use. It wouldn’t be appropriate without mentioning my pick for this category. Gold metal detectors exist on their planet and have specific settings and features.
I recommend starting with the Minelab Gold Monster or the Fisher Gold Bug for gold metal detectors.
Entry-level metal detectors are the most straightforward units in the industry. The higher (or more advanced) you go, the more complicated the models get and the pricier. The Garrett ACE Series, The Fisher F Series, and the Minelab Vanquish Series are beginner-level models.
They are the easiest models to use in the industry and make great learning tools to transition to more advanced metal detectors. It would be in your best interest to try out any of the models in these series.
More Metal Detecting Articles – Learn and Find
- Metal Detecting Digging Tools – Tells you all about shovels, scoops and how to dig a plug.
- Where are the Best Places for a Beginner to Metal Detect? – Just like the title says, this article points the beginner to the highest probability places.
- Can You Metal Detect on BLM Land? – So many people have asked me about BLM detecting I had to write this article.