Metal detector as a hobby for a teenager, generation Z

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As a mom of three kids, I know how challenging it can be to choose a metal detector for kids to use. Not only do you have to do a LOT of research to decide which one might work, but you also have to think about your child and what they might like.

I know it can sometimes be overwhelming to find a product that will actually work as described, be a worthwhile investment AND most importantly, the kids will also like using!

In the hopes of helping parents, grandparents and educators out there everywhere, I decided to make this guide on the best metal detector for kids, plus lots of information and tips for how to decide what features you should look for when buying one for children in mind.

Hopefully sharing my experiences here will help you find a metal detector that is right for your family or youth group. In this post I’ve rounded up my top picks for the best kids metal detectors that actually work so you can find one that both you and the kids will love!


Yes, These Metal Detectors for Kids Really DO Work!

In this review one thing that is very important for me is that these metal detectors actually work.

While I’m sure there could be benefits in a toy that might be good for pretend play, I think if your goal is to teach kids about metal detecting or treasure hunting it’s important to have something that actually does indeed discover things like coins or other metallic objects.

So YES – all of our top picks are all REAL functioning metal detectors! You will be able to find coins, your lost car keys, bottle caps and –  perhaps after some practice and experience – maybe even buried treasure!


Summary: Our Top Picks

#1. Whites XVenture Kid’s Metal Detector Trusted brand, Under 3 pounds, Target Identification, Best for Learning

#2: Treasure Cove Waterproof Metal Detector Lightweight – 1.5 Pounds, Waterproof Coil, 10 year warranty

#3. Bounty Hunter Tracker IV Trusted Brand, Waterproof Coil, 5 year warranty

#4. Matchbox Metal Detecting Treasure Truck Best option for toddlers/children ages 3 – 5 years old {While technically a toy, it really does detect metal!}


Now, you may notice I did hesitantly decide to include one “toy” metal detector in this list: the Matchbox Metal Detecting Treasure Truck.

Yes, that one is most definitely technically a toy – but it is also a real, working and functional metal detector! It’s just too darn cute to not include on this list, especially if you have kids or grandkids who are toddlers or in the age range between 3 and 5 years old. It’d be a great one for the sandbox!

The other top 3 detectors we choose are ones that are fully functional and we believe provide the best value and ease of use and of course are lightweight and adjustable in size. Each of our recommended detectors can be a great starting point to not only learn the basics but also develop important skills that will serve them for a lifetime of learning and discovery.

Whether you have toddlers, children in elementary school, tweens or teens, there are plenty of great options to explore for kids of all ages. Let’s get on with this list, shall we?


Considerations for Our Recommendations

Before we dive into which detectors are best for younger audiences, it’s important to understand a little bit about how a metal detector works and what features children might need.

Here are some of the things we considered in making this list:

  • Ease of Use: Is the machine easy enough for a child to use and understand?
  • Budget and Value: Does the machine offer a good ratio of features for the price it is offered?
  • Size and Weight: Many lightweight detectors offer adjustable heights suitable for younger kids.
  • Skill Development: We looked for detectors that offered kids the best opportunities to teach important skills in identifying objects and discerning types of objects found.

Our recommendations are based on current products available – as we learn of new products we think may be suitable for kids we will continue to update this list.


The 3 Best Metal Detectors for Kids (Updated for 2019)

While the majority of these models are designed with kids in mind, many adults who may need a smaller detector can still enjoy treasure hunting with a number of great options from trusted brands and manufacturers.

Don’t let the small size of these junior metal detectors fool you – there are many great metal detectors for kids that are perfect for young detectorists. Many of the detectors available today intended for children are fully functional, lightweight, and easy to operate.

#1.Whites X-Venture Kid’s Metal Detector

The White’s Electronics X-Venture Kid’s Metal Detector is manufactured by White’s Electronics, which is a well known and respected brand in the metal detecting industry. This is one of our top choices for real, working metal detectors for kids.

Some of the things we really like about this particular machine:

Preset Ground Balance: With preset ground balance, you won’t have to worry about the machine picking up microscopic naturally occurring minerals commonly found in dirt, such as iron. This helps reduce the amount of false targets found.

Three Search Modes: This detector offers three distinct search modes: Pinpoint, Coin and Jewelry. This is a nice feature to experiment with as a young detector because it can help kids learn necessary skills to determine the exact spot to dig a target, as well as help them avoid a lot of the potential junk targets like bottle caps and aluminum cans in their treasure hunting.

Target Identification: This metal detector is one of the few that offers target identification. The indicator light and familiar icons makes it easy to identify what type of object may have been found. Many kids who are new to detecting will be excited to see if what they dig up does indeed match what the machine might suggest it could be.

Headphone Input: Having the ability to use headphones can offer a lot of advantages, especially for early beginners who are just learning the basics of understanding different sounds and signals when they pass over a metallic object.

Lightweight & Adjustable Size: This detector has an adjustable length from 24″ tall and is very lightweight, making it an excellent choice for kids of all sizes.

Uses Standard Double A Batteries: One of the biggest advantages to standard double A size batteries is they are easy to find and typically less expensive than detectors that require 9volt batteries over time. The standard AA battery size means you can also buy your batteries in bulk online, like this deal for 48 Energizer AA batteries on Amazon.

Brand Recognition & 2 Year Warranty: A well-respected family-owned and operated American manufacturer, they clearly understand the importance of quality in an entry level metal detector designed specifically for kids. Many people who start with White’s Electronics become long-time fans for life!


#2. Treasure Cove TC-1018: Ultra Lightweight Metal Detector

This ultra lightweight and adjustable Treasure Cove TC-1018 Waterproof Analog Detector is a great general purpose metal detector for beginner kids and adults alike.

Weighing in at just 1.5 pounds, it is almost half the weight of other detectors with the same capabilities and features. This lighter weight makes it ideal not just for kids but even for adults who do not want to carry any extra weight.

With an easy to understand analog display, this detector offers a lot of features helpful for beginners without being too overwhelming or confusing to start with.

Here’s what we like about this model:

10 Year Manufacturer Warranty: Treasure Cove offers an industry leading warranty of 10 years on all of their products, which is definitely a benefit when you have kids.

Simple Analog Display: No need to worry about LED screens malfunctioning or understanding a bazillion buttons. Learning to read the analog display is simple with included user manual.

Headset Included: Most entry-level models don’t even include a headphone jack, let alone a headset, so this is definitely a nice perk. Many new detectorists can learn a lot when they use their ears along with the display on the machine!

7.5 inch Waterproof Coil: While the display/battery area is not submersible, the waterproof coil means you can confidently use this detector at beaches or other areas where there may be water nearby.

Automatic Ground Balance: Metal detectors often pick up signals for metals such as iron that naturally occur in the earth. Ground balance is one way to help prevent the machine from picking up EVERYTHING. Automatic ground balance gives new detectorists the ability to detect almost anywhere without having to fiddle with settings.

Lightweight & Adjustable Height: This detector weighs less than 2 pounds, making it very lightweight for hours of detecting. It has an adjustable height between 23 to 36 inches, making it an ideal choice for children since the height can be adjusted as they grow.

Discrimination Mode: This detector offers 3 simple settings: All Metal, Pinpoint, and Discrimination Mode. This makes it possible for you to detect any kind of metal, to pinpoint a target in the ground, or even to ignore any signals from junk metals such as bottle caps or aluminum cans.

The Treasure Cove TC-1018 is one of our favorite choices because it weighs less than 2 pounds AND offers a lot of great features. As a multi-purpose general detector with a waterproof coil, it is suitable to use on land or even on the shores of your favorite beach.


#3. Bounty Hunter Tracker IV: Best Entry-Level Detector for Beginners

Coming in second on our list of great metal detectors to consider for children, the Bounty Hunter Tracker IV {also known as TK4} offers many of the same features we liked in the Treasure Cove TC-1018.

Here are some of the key features of the TK4 Model:

Automated Ground Balance: When you are metal detecting, it’s important to adjust the sensitivity of the detector to account for minerals and ferrous metals which may be naturally present in the ground. This machine will adjust for this automatically.

Discrimination Settings: One of the keys to a successful hunt is to be able to distinguish between good targets you want to dig up and the junk targets you want to avoid. The simple settings on this machine allow for one to easily adjust for the type of area they are searching.

Ease of Use: This is a very simple beginner entry model detector that is very much “plug and play” – just add batteries and go outside with a pocket full of loose coins to practice with!

Analog Display: It may be hard to convince some people that an analog display is actually a feature and benefit, but analog displays aren’t prone to breaking or malfunctioning like a LED screen may be.

Headphone Jack: While headphones would need to be purchased separately or as part of a bundle, the capability to use headphones is a good feature to have, especially when it comes to learning how to discern whether a potential target is a good one or not.

Brand Recognition & 5 Year Warranty: Bounty Hunter is a well-known entry-level brand which many people trust because it is a part of the parent company First Texas Products. This is the same parent company which manufacturers the Fisher and Teknetics brands which caters to professionals and expert level hobbyists.

This detector claims to detect targets up to 8 inches deep – larger iron items may be found at deeper depths, since these are easier for machines to sense.

The Bounty Hunter TK4 is lightweight compared to more sophisticated products out there, but it still weighs a few pounds more than the Treasure Cove TC-1018. While a few extra pounds may not seem like a lot, this could be a factor to consider for some since this is not the lightest detector.

Still, with many features such as built-in ground balance and discrimination settings and coming from a trusted manufacturer, the Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV is an excellent choice for most beginners.


#4. Matchbox Metal Detecting Treasure Truck

The Matchbox Metal Detecting Treasure Truck, made by Mattel, is our #1 top choice for toddlers and children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old.

Yes, I know this one LOOKS like an ordinary toy truck, but it is indeed a real, working metal detector! This one makes it to our list because it doubles as a toy truck kids can play with at the beach or outside at the park in a sandbox.

For younger kids who might love to dig and scoop in the dirt or sand, this is a great choice to introduce them to the basics of finding treasures without all of the nuances of an actual metal detector.

While you certainly aren’t going to stumble across any major fortunes using this detector, this is definitely a fun way to introduce younger kids to metal detecting. No advanced features here – but plenty of opportunities for fun for the whole family!


are metal detectors safe for kids

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions by Parents When Metal Detecting With Kids

As a mom of three kids, I know I really like to research as much as possible when it comes to choosing something for my kids. There’s a LOT of information out there and it’s sometimes tough to know what the right decision might be. The picture above might be silly but sometimes while researching is really an accurate portrayal of how it can feel sometimes!

If you are new to metal detecting with the kiddos, I’ve created this list of different questions I know I had myself as well as questions other parents and friends have asked. Hopefully this list of frequently asked questions and answers will help you to choose the best one!

Are Metal Detectors Safe for Kids to Use?

Yes! This is a common question and of course as parents we always want to make sure we’re not putting our kids in harm’s way. There are relatively few risks associated with metal detecting, especially if you are sure to follow basic metal detecting safety guidelines and the manufacturer’s safety warnings concerning the machine.

Most metal detectors operate on batteries and have electronic components, so the most important thing you can do is to never immerse the machine under water. While many detectors have waterproof and water-resistant coils, all other parts should stay out of water to reduce the risk of possible shock or breaking the machine.

Are There Any Good Metal Detectors for Toddlers?

The only metal detector we can really recommend for very young children is the Matchbox Treasure Truck. This is a toy truck that also metal detects and could be a lot of fun for younger kids to explore with in their own backyard, sandbox, or even at the beach.

While you can certainly let toddlers try to use other detectors, it’s very likely they may not quite be tall enough nor would they really have the attention span to search any area for long enough of a time to find something.

Are Metal Detectors Easy for Kids to Use?

Almost all metal detectors are easy enough to turn on and start sweeping over the ground, but keep in mind if you are new to metal detecting it will take some time and practice to be able to learn how to use it to actually find anything.

The good news is the majority of machines today are much easier to use than they were in the past. Some machines, such as the White’s Electronics XVenture Detector even have target identification built-in, which means you will have a good idea of what you might find – whether it’s an old soda can or an old coin under the ground.

For most kids and beginner adults, it’s best to practice with things you know are metal first and you have a general idea of where they might be in the yard. Tossing a few coins in the yard can help them quickly learn a bit about how it all works without the disappointment of not finding anything!

It also helps to do some research before digging – you do not want to accidentally dig up any buried water or gas lines, nor would you want kids digging up a septic system!

What Size Metal Detector Does My Child Need?

Most detectors are fully adjustable in height, especially because people of all ages and sizes enjoy this hobby. Height can usually be adjusted on almost any brand or model – the most important factor to consider with younger children is the weight.

Many different factors can affect the overall weight of the machine. A very lightweight machine may not have a whole lot of bells and whistles but it can be easier to carry for longer periods of time.

I would recommend to choose the lightest one you feel comfortable with – mostly because as a mom I know I almost always end up carrying everything no matter where or what I am doing with my kids. Little ones tend to tire out more quickly than us, so just remember whatever you get you will likely need to carry in addition to whatever else you might need.

How Can We Learn to Metal Detect?

In order for kids to be successful in metal detecting, it’s a good idea for their parents or guardians to learn the basics of getting started as well if they do not already metal detect.

Our free online guide on How to Start Metal Detecting is a great way to help you get started very quickly and easily! We also have this list of tips and tricks for beginners that can help you get on the fast track of finding treasures of all types. Our post on 10 Rules for Metal Detecting with Kids will also likely be very helpful for you!

Will Kids Actually Stay Interested? What Will Keep Their Attention?

One of the most frustrating things as a parent is to buy something only to find out the kid a few weeks or months later completely loses interest in something. Even as an adult when buying my first detector for myself I was a little nervous – would this just be yet another passing fad?

My first time out was enough for me to want to keep doing it for all the rest of my days. But I definitely understand how some people may be nervous about this, especially if you are very frugal and budget-conscious like I am!

The best thing I can say is this: Children are always curious and natural explorers of this world, especially because they are learning every minute, even if it may not seem that way. It’s very possible that yes, your child will give up or lose interest after awhile – but even if that were to happen it is still a good experience to try.

Another option to consider is to buy a detector to share with a group of people. For example, a group of neighbors with children, a homeschool co-op, or a scout troop.

If your family is already active with certain community events and organizations, you may want to ask if they would have any interest in bringing metal detecting. You may even be pleasantly surprised as I was to learn our local library offers a metal detector you can borrow with a library card just as you would borrow a book!

Can We Actually Find Treasure?

While I’d love to say yes, I think it’s also important to stay realistic. My first “treasure” was a beat-up bottle cap and an aluminum can full of sand at the beach. Obviously not the most valuable of finds, though I still do have the bottle cap proudly on display as my first treasure.

Like all hobbies, it takes a little bit of practice first. Most people do not pick up a paint brush for the very first time and paints like Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel, so it should not be expected to be an expert or even successful immediately the first time you go out.

Part of successfully finding things such as coins and interesting artifacts involves doing a bit of research ahead of time. Studying a little history and going to public areas where people have a tendency to drop things like coins can be helpful to choose sites that may have better results than others.

Be sure to always get permission and check out our list of different places to metal detect for some fun ideas of where to start!


Buying Tips: 5 Things to Consider When Shopping for Kids

Kids generally grow up quickly – we aimed to find detectors that are very beginner-friendly but can be used as your child grows and develops metal detecting skills. As parents ourselves, we understand you definitely don’t want to buy anything that won’t last, nor do you want to spend a fortune since you never know whether kids will keep a continued interest in the hobby.

While younger children may not yet be able to grasp more advanced concepts such as ground balance or be able to discern the subtle differences between aluminum and gold signals, there are many things that will help improve their odds of finding interesting things below the surface with their detector.

In creating this list of the best metal detectors for kids we took several important things into consideration. Understanding what features to look for and why we recommend them can help you choose the right detector for your child.

1. Ease of Use: Can a Child Understand How it Works?

Most metal detectors intended for children are pretty basic to operate – turn it on and sweep over the ground. Today’s kids often learn how to use smart phones and computers before they are even in preschool, so they are usually pretty quick to learn and adapt to digital displays.

Still, too many buttons and features can be overwhelming. If a detector is frustrating to use as a beginner, it can be very discouraging. For this reason, one that is easy to operate and understand how it works is very important!

2. Kids Are Always Growing: What Size is Best?

Most children are considerably smaller in size than adults, which means many metal detectors may be too tall or too heavy for them to operate for any extended period of time comfortably. Choosing one that is lightweight and adjustable in size is very important.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that age and size do not always correlate. Many older kids are actually the same size as some adults. In these cases, a smaller detector may actually be uncomfortable to use and not be the best choice. Kids also grow very quickly – what “fits” them this year may not fit next year.

For this reason, it’s important to consider whether your child is still very small (under 4 feet tall) or whether you might want a detector that is adjustable in size and can grow with them until they are ready to upgrade. Kids never stay little for long!

3. Basic Factors: What Are You Looking for and Where?

As we wrote in our guide on how to choose a metal detector, it’s also very important to consider where you will be searching and what you are searching for.

If you are planning to metal detect along saltwater beaches, it’s very important to find a detector which is specifically designed to do, especially since many detectors are not water proof or sensitive to salt water mineral deposits in the sand.

Most of these detectors on our list are best for finding coins and artifacts. While most are capable of detecting gold and silver in jewelry, it is also important to remember actually finding any of those things requires the person to be able to discern and interpret the signals from the machine.

Kids might very easily pass right over gold simply because it takes some practice and experience to understand what gold items would sound like.

Even experienced detectorists with high-end equipment can miss things such as gold jewelry because it is very easy to confuse the signal with an aluminum soda can tab, which is similar in size, shape, and display readings.

4. Durability & Ruggedness

Another aspect that is extremely important to remember is that kids are not nearly as gentle or responsible as adults in caring and using equipment. They are still learning, and while they are young it is easy to make mistakes. Kids might for example accidentally put the coil directly on the ground when it should ideally be at least an inch over the area you are sweeping.

Certain types of metal detector coils can be easily damaged, so when we set out on the mission to find detectors we recommend for kids to use, we wanted to make sure we found ones that can stand the use and abuse from beginners. Products specifically made for kids can help alleviate some of these concerns, but there is also a trade-off – a detector that is too rugged may not be as sensitive to detecting certain types of metal.

5. Adult Skill Level and Experience

Lastly, you should think about your own skill level and experience. If you as an adult are new to metal detecting there will naturally be a little bit of a learning curve. Many detectors today are “grab and go” – but you still need a little bit of practice before you can say a detector is junk or doesn’t work.

Most adults can grasp the basics quickly, but it takes some practice and time to be able to discern between signals and master the art of digging up targets.

Even if you do have a lot of experience, each machine is different and each person is unique. Some people prefer to hear tones through a headphone jack, others like to be able to read out a detailed LED display screen that tells you information about the target.

Your own detecting style and experience level is something to consider – what features do you like? Which ones are most beneficial? If you are an experienced detectorist, ask yourself: what’s the one I wish I had as a kid? That’s probably the best one to choose!

Kids naturally love to explore and investigate the world around them and this is certainly a great hobby to consider with your kids. With the right tools and encouragement you are sure to foster a lifelong love for learning and discovery!

Do you have any questions about choosing a metal detector for kids? Do you have any experiences with the products we’ve listed here or perhaps another one to recommend that we should check out? What qualities do you think are important in choosing the best metal detectors for children?

Ask your questions and share your experiences in the comments section below – I would love to hear from you and am always happy to help answer any questions you might have!

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