I used to search for coins and other things in my back yard but had to stop because I was wreaking my grass with large holes. After doing some research I found out that I could have been digging much smaller holes if I had a pinpointer.

What is a Pinpointer in Metal Detecting?

A pinpointer is a device, whether handheld or built into the metal detector, which allows you to hone in on the exact location of a hit on your regular metal detector. They work by relating the frequency or volume of a sound to how strong the signal the pinpointer is receiving from the object.

Using a Garrett Pinpoint
Using a Garrett Pinpoint – Photo Credit Kellyco

What are the Different Types of Pinpointers?

Metal Detector Pinpointer:

A metal detecting pinpointer is essentially a handheld mini metal detector. It operates using the same technologies a regular metal detector uses, but it much smaller and useful in a completely different way. While a regular metal detector may be useful for searching large areas in a relatively short amount of time, a pinpointer can save you time when it comes down to finding exactly where an object might be and if you might have already dug it up. This is because a pinpointer has a smaller range of detection so it can be easier to look through a pile of dug up material when compared to using a regular metal detector.


  • Smaller range of detection allows for more precise searching.
  • Easier to use when digging up an object when compared to a full-size metal detector.


  • Can only be used when an object is already detected using a regular metal detector.
  • May be difficult to find object which are buried deep in the ground when compared to using a regular metal detector.

The Built in Pinpoint Function of a Metal Detector:

Many modern metal detector manufactures have realized the necessity of a pinpointer and in recent years have even began building a pinpoint function into their regular metal detectors. The pinpoint function on a regular metal detector works in the same way that a metal detector pinpointer does. In both cases the device will produce a sound whose frequency or volume is relative to the signal the device is receiving from the object, allowing the user to know how close the device is to the object.


  • Already in your metal detector so you don’t have anything extra to buy or bring with you.
  • Useful for beginners who are just starting out their metal detecting journey.


  • Suffers from a large detection area which somewhat hinders the ability to pinpoint an object.
  • The cumbersome design of a regular metal detector will slow you down while digging because you will have to repeatedly stand back up to pinpoint the object.

I’m always getting asked what equipment I use. I’ve been recommending the same solid metal detecting equipment for years.

  • My first metal detector was the Garrett Ace 250 (link to Amazon for current prices and reviews). This machine is still working great after 6 years. I keep it around for “group” treasure hunts.
  • I’m currently sweeping with a Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector (Link to Amazon for Prices). Since I bought my AT PRO Garrett has come out with a package that includes wireless headphones. Getting tangled up in a wire when your on your knees digging is a pain. Check out the Garrett AT MAX package with Z-Lynk Headphones and Pin Pointer (Link for great prices over at Amazon)
  • When it comes to digging two tools are a must have. 1. A hand trowel -I recommend the Lesche Digging and Cutting Tool (link to check it out) and 2. A sand scoop – the one I’m using is the CKG Sand Scoop with Handle (Link to Amazon for current price and reviews) A good sand scoop is a game changer for beaches.
  • Finally get a good pinpointer. I have an older Garrett Pro, but the newer version – Garrett Pro-Pointer AT with Z-Lynk is completely waterproof to 20 feet and hooks up to your wireless headphones.

What are the Advantages of a Metal Detecting Pinpointer?

While the pinpoint function of a regular metal detector can be somewhat useful it should not be confused as being the same thing as a metal detector pinpointer. A metal detector Pinpointer is a specialized tool which is useful for determining the exact location, depth, and even size of an object without the hassle of using an all-purpose metal detector.

Because of the small or rather focused field of detection and handheld design a metal detector pinpointer it is especially useful for when you have found a hit and are on the ground digging through material. In fact, often times you can use the metal detector pinpointer itself to dig through material you have already shoveled away. It really is much easier to use this handheld tool rather than a bulky regular metal detector.

Using a Pinpointer Metal Detecting
Using a Pinpointer Metal Detecting
Image courtesy of Garrett Metal Detectors

Additionally, often times with larger targets, and even some smaller ones, you will damage the object with your shovel because you don’t really know how deep the object is. With a metal detector pinpointer you will know exactly where, and how deep, a hit really is. This helps you dig smaller holes and find your targets quicker. These things together result in a much simpler experience for avid hunters and a much more positive experience for beginners.

How do you use a Metal Detector Pinpointer?

  1. Find the general location of a target with your regular metal detector.
  2. Begin digging small amounts of material, being careful to no damage the object.
  3. Turn on the metal detector pinpointer and ground balance it. (This is often done by pressing the on button while the tip of the metal detector pinpointer is touching the ground)
  4. Move the metal detector pinpointer around until the sound coming from the device either gets louder or more repetitious. (or both depending on your specific metal detector pinpointer).
  5. Use the tip to dig through the dirt and locate the target.
  6. If you can’t locate the target in the already dug up material try using the metal detector pinpointer to locate the object in the bottom of the hole, or possible even in the sidewalls of the hole.

Popular Metal Detecting Pinpointers?

  1. Garrett Pro Pointer/ Garrett Pro Pointer AT

The Garrett Pro Pointer and the Garrett Pro Pointer All Terrain (link to Kellyco) are by far the most popular metal detector pinpointer on this list and for good reason. The Garrett Pro Pointer is well known for being a dependable and capable pinpointer, which is why it has often been the go to purchase for consumers.

Garrett Pro-Pointer AT
Garrett Pro-Pointer AT – Photo credit Kellyco

The Garrett Pro Pointer AT is the newest version of the old favorite. It is a fully waterproof, durable, easy to use metal detector pinpointer which is bright orange in color so you don’t lose it underwater.

2. The Bounty Hunter Pinpointer

The Bounty Hunter Pinpointer is a well-known metal detector pinpointer made popular through its high quality and affordable price. The Bounty Hunter Pinpointer (link to Kelly co for Price Check) is constructed of a high-quality plastic which is completely black in color.

Furthermore, the simplicity of the Bounty Hunter Pinpointer doesn’t end with its design. This pinpointer is controlled singularly by a knob which controls the sensitivity of the metal detector pinpointer. Moreover, it runs on just one standard 9-volt battery.

3. Minelab Pro-Find 35 Pinpointer

This metal detector pinpointer is on the low end as far as pricing is concerned, but definitely not in quality. While the materials and functionality of the Minelab Pro-Find 35 (link to Kellyco) pinpointer are, expectedly, lower quality than the Garrett Pro Pointer, the Pro-Find 35 pointer does clearly get some inspiration from its more expensive competitor.

The Minelab Pro-Find 35 pinpointer is a water-resistant metal detector pinpointer that is both bright orange and controlled by just a single button, much like the Garrett Pro Pointer. Another similarity is that both pinpointers come with an included waist holster.

4. Fisher F-Pulse

The Fisher F-Pulse metal detector pinpointer (Link to Kellyco) is similar to the Garret Pro-Pointer in that they are both at the top of the range when it comes to both quality and price. However, the similarities pretty much end there. The Fisher F-Pulse is an induction pinpointer with three sensitivity levels and is waterproof up to six feet.

Fisher F-Pulse Pinpointer
Fisher F-Pulse Pinpointer

The F-Pulse is bright red in color, which much like the bright orange of the Garrett Pro Pointer is useful for not losing the device underwater. As I mentioned the F-Pulse is similar to the Garrett Pro Pointer in price, but importantly, it is similar in its level of functionality. Some people even claim that they think the F-Pulse to be more sensitive than the Garrett Pro Pointer.

5. Teknetics Tek-Point Pinpointer

The Teknetics Tek-Point Pinpointer (Link to Kellyco) metal detector pinpointer is a good middle of the road choice when you don’t want to spend premium pinpointer amounts of money but still desire a premium experience. The Tek-Point is green and made of reasonably good quality plastic. It comes with a waist holster and is constructed to be water resistant. Unlike many of the pinpointers on this list the Tek-Point has two buttons, one for controlling the sensitivity of the device and one for the included flashlight.

The reviews for this product describe it as just as good as the Garrett Pro Pointer but with a lower cost. Although, it is important to know that water resistant is not the same thing as waterproof.

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David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.