Few products have evolved as much as headphones in the past 20 years. They started as a tool in a workplace, slowly transitioned into a lifestyle product and now they’ve become a fashion staple. If I forget my headphones when I’m heading to the gym or out on my walk, I don’t feel as if I can be my best self. My anger especially rises when I forget them when I’m metal detecting. They not only help me focus, but I know they help me find more than I would if I didn’t use them.
Why Use Headphones for Metal Detecting?
There are multiple answers to this question. First, wearing headphones is polite. Chances are you’re metal detecting at a place where other people are going to be spending time. It can be disrupting for those around you if they hear a consistent beeping noise. They’re most likely trying to get away from artificial noise so be courteous and wear headphones. Headphones will allow you to get closer to people without feeling uncomfortable. If they can’t hear you, then you can get away with more.
Another reason is that headphones are going to provide consistency. If you’re detecting in windy conditions, the headphones will block out the wind. If it’s rainy, they’ll keep the noise out. You want to be alert when detecting. It’s easy to get distracted by the surrounding terrain, people, etc. Headphones will block those out and allow you to get the results you desire. Also, if metal detecting is a hobby that allows you to gain some solitude, people will be much less likely to talk to you if they see you’re wearing headphones.
If you’re looking for a recommendation – do what I did and many others and get the Garrett MS-3 Wireless Headphones Z-Lynk. (Link to Amazon for latest pricing)
Perhaps the most important reason to wear headphones is the clarity that they provide. They’ll allow you to pick up signals that may be impossible to hear with just the external speaker on the detector. Also, headphones will help you identify different metals. If you’re hard of hearing like I am, wear headphones! It makes a world of difference. It’s obnoxious trying to guess what sound you heard. Headphones will clear up and confusion that may come with listening from the external speaker.
A good pair of headphones will even help you detect even deeper than you usually would. They make a major amount of difference!
Can you use any headphones for metal detecting?
The answer to this is maybe. Some detectors have mono and some have stereo outputs. Most smartphone headphones are going to be stereo. It’s important to know this before you choose a pair of headphones to use. If you choose the wrong headphones, you’ll likely only have one ear that fires. Detector specific headphones have a mono/stereo switch that allows you to operate between the two.
It’s also important to have volume controls on your headphones. Many detectors don’t have volume controls, so if you plug in regular headphones your ears are going to hurt due to the loud high pitch beeping. Regular headphones likely don’t have volume controls for the headphones themselves so be sure to know this before using or purchasing a pair. They’ll likely have a control that turns the volume down on the device instead of the headphones. If you can get headphones with volume controls on each ear, you can do a better job of balancing what you need.
Chances are you’re also going to need some sort of adapter to plug in the headphones. If this is the case, it could cause some sort of delay. Regular headphones are ? inch. Most metal detectors have a ¼ inch input. These adapters are going to put you at a higher risk of a weak signal, but should work just fine.
Are Wireless Headphones Better for Metal Detecting?
If you wear headphones in your everyday life, you know the answer to this question. Nothing is more annoying than catching a headphone cord on a door handle or other inanimate object. Your device either gets pulled out of your pocket or the headphones come flying out of your ears. It’s an obnoxious mishap that does not make your life easier in any way.
Wireless headphones have had to come along way before they could be compared to wired headphones. Also, the quality ones are going to be extremely pricey. The simplicity of them, however, is worth the money. The only downfall is remembering to charge them. Thankfully, the cases they sit in are going to charge them so you don’t have to worry about finding an outlet.
For metal detecting, comfort is key. You want to be in comfortable clothes and confident in your equipment. If you don’t have to worry about a headphone cord getting in the way of your day, then it’s one less thing to think about. Also, think about the times you have to dig. You have to remove your headphones, find a place where they won’t get dirty or in the way and then start digging.
I’ve heard numerous horror stories of people and their brand new wired headphones. I had a friend go detecting at night with a brand new pair of headphones and cut the cord on his first dig because he didn’t see where it was laying. Wireless headphones allow you to keep them in your ears at all times. There’s no need to remove them until you are finished.
Wireless Headphone Options for Metal Detectors
The process for installing wireless headphones to your detector is getting easier as well. For example, the Garrett Z-Lynk Wireless System has a transmitter that you’ll install on the shaft of the detector. You’ll do so by using an elastic strap or velcro.
You’ll turn on the transmitter and clip the receiver to your belt. The receiver has a ¼ inch jack just like any other detector. Plug your headphones in and you’re good to go. This keeps the headphones on your person and doesn’t require you to hassle with any connection to the detector.
Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones (KIT) for Garrett Metal Detectors – Volume Control and Super Fast Response Time –
The Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones are an even better option because you’ll receive wireless headphones with a built-in receiver. You won’t have to go through the extra hassle of plugging headphones to a receiver in your belt or pocket.
It’s nice to see the metal detecting world keeping up with the rest of the headphone industry. It’s an easy comparison to working out. When you’re lifting weights, do you want a headphone wire in the way or getting tangled? You have to have shorts with pockets and carrying your phone in your pocket can throw off your balance. Wireless headphones allow you to set your phone to the side and give you the reassurance to lift without any trouble. Again, you’ll pay for the convenience. The Garret MS-3 Z-Lynk headphones are going to run you about $150.
Another solid option are the Deteknix Wireless Headphones. These are similar to the Garret Z-Lynk and you can’t go wrong with either.
Wireless Headphone Concerns
There are always going to be concerns with going wireless. The two most glaring issues are battery life and delay. As far as the battery life is concerned, the Garret MS Lynk options are going to give you about 30 hours of battery before you’re going to have to recharge. Charging is not an issue. You won’t have to be changing batteries or anything. All it takes is plugging the receiver into a micro-USB charger and you’ll be fine. It can be charged from your car, laptop or wall outlet.
The concern about a delay is a legitimate one. You don’t want your headphones interfering with finding something fantastic. The options listed above only have about a 60 millisecond delay. This is so small that it has essentially no impact on you.
Is the response time important for Metal Detecting Headphones?
Yes. It is. Thankfully, the newer headphones aren’t going to interfere with response time. If you choose to use your own personal bluetooth headphones there will be a significant lag. That’s why it is important to use metal detecting wireless headphones. Regular bluetooth headphones are great for listening to podcasts or music, but won’t translate well to metal detecting. You need the most efficient equipment possible.
If you swing the detector back and forth at an inconsistent rate, you want headphones that can keep up. Headphones attached to an adapter or bluetooth headphones won’t. They’ll give you a delayed signal and confuse you. The faster you sweep, the harder your detector is going to have to work to keep up.
Metal Detecting Headphone Features to Consider
Comfort- Comfort is key. Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to worry about equipment, clothing or other accessories when metal detecting. In the summer, over the ear headphones may get uncomfortable. They’ll trap the heat to your head. If you can use earbuds, do so. However, if it’s cooler or there is a lot of excess noise, use over the ear headphones. Plus, they are more difficult to lose!
Weight- Weight is another factor for metal detecting headphones that isn’t always considered. You’re already carrying your detector, some sort of digging device and likely some water and snacks so your load could be heavy. Light headphones are an added bonus if you can use them. They’ll relieve some of the stress on your neck.
Volume Control- Volume control on headphones is an absolute necessity. If you listen to the external speaker, you’ll notice how loud it is. It can be overbearing for you and especially annoying for others in the vicinity. There is likely no volume control on your detector. When you plug in your headphones, you’ll notice right away how important the volume control is. Regular earbuds have a volume control, but it’s for the device, not the headphones themselves.
Battery Life- Headphones are going to save the battery on your metal detector. The speaker will get turned off because the headphones are plugged into it! Wired headphones are obviously never going to run out of battery. However, if you use wireless headphones battery can be an issue. Metal detecting wireless headphones are going to last you about 30 hours between charges. Bring along a USB car charger and plug them in on your way to your destination and it should be more than enough to get you through your session.
Size and Ease of Packing- This is a tricky one. If you are flying with your metal detector, you’re going to want smaller headphones. They’ll take up less room and be one less thing to worry about when you’re trying to fit more into your already full suitcase. Smaller headphones are going to be easier to lose and break.
I recently purchased a pair of Apple’s new AirPods and lost them for three weeks because they wedged between the side of my bed and the wall. While wireless metal detecting headphones aren’t going to be as small as AirPods, they still are possible to lose. Also, wireless headphones have the transmitter and receiver. There are more things to lose. If you’re responsible, then go ahead and purchase those wireless headphones!
Noise Cancelling- This is the most important feature of metal detecting headphones. Metal detecting relies entirely on sound. You need to pick up on the different sounds and signals. Noise cancelling headphones are going to block out excess noise. This feature will ensure you the most success. You can compare them to tires on a car. If you’re planning on doing off-roading in the winter, you wouldn’t use road tires. You’d choose tires with specific tread that will prevent you from getting stuck. Metal detecting headphones are the same. If you purchase a pair specifically for metal detecting, you’ll have more success.
Do I Need Waterproof Headphones for Metal Detecting?
Yes. Metal detecting in the rain can be uncomfortable, but it can be some of the most successful time to go. The soil is getting moved around which will help your detector detect things that are deeper or otherwise would be more difficult to find. If you don’t have waterproof headphones, you’ll either rely on the external speaker or won’t be able to go. You could wear a rain jacket with a hood, but it’ll likely soak through and ruin a cherished pair of headphones.
Choosing headphones for metal detecting is a heavily debated subject. There are minimalist metal detectors that will purchase a cheap ¼ inch to ? inch adapter and use regular smartphone headphones. This method works, but is it the best? No. Metal detecting specific headphones are going to produce the best results. It’s like attaching a baitcasting reel to a spin rod. It still works, but it’s not the most efficient process. I’ve metal detected with my regular iPhone earbuds and legitimate metal detecting earbuds. For one, the volume control is amazing. It makes all the difference in the world and it was all I needed to purchase a pair of metal detecting specific earphones.
8 Best Metal Detecting Headphones:
- White’s V3i Wireless Headphones– These are going to be expensive, but they’re a solid option. They’ll run you nearly $300, but are well worth it.
- Detectorpro Gray Ghost Ultimate Metal Detector Headphones– These are about $130
- Garret Submersible Headphones– These work above and below water; a feature often forgotten when looking for headphones. They’ll run you $85.
- Garret ClearSound Easy Stow Headphones– These are very affordable, but work well and can store easily. They’ll only cost you $23 on Amazon.
- Bounty Hunter HEAD – PL Headphones – These will only run you around $40 on Amazon.
- Garrett Deluxe Headphones– You can find these for around $35 on third party websites
- Fisher Stereo Headphones – These are only around $30 on Amazon
- Treasure Wise Headphones- These are also only $30 on Amazon