How Many Metal Detector Coils Should I Buy?

As a particular metal detector becomes more popular, the number of brand name and aftermarket accessory coils tends to increase. When this happens, debates about which coil is better for this that and the other begin to pop up regularly. Do you really need to purchase an extra coil or even several aftermarket coils in order to make the most of your metal detecting experience?

Not really. In fact, you may actually be better off with fewer coils as they can be quite expensive. Over the years, I have tried a variety of different size coils and discovered through experience that in most instances, the stock coil works well as a general do it all coil.

An exception to this might be the White’s MXT 300 and other 300 series metal detectors that come stock with a 12 inch coil which is good for extra ground coverage, but not so good in urban trashy parks and most every other place that I metal detect besides the beach.

I have tried coils as small as 4 inches and as large as 18 inches and believe that the average metal detectorist does not need a 12 inch or larger coil unless it is for the sake of covering more ground as the supposed depth gains of a larger coil seem to be exaggerated too frequently.

The added coverage can be helpful when beach metal detecting, gold nugget hunting and at some ballfields, though I still prefer the stock coil when searching ballfields.

When it comes to smaller coils, I believe that if you have the money, then a smaller coil can help separate targets in trashy locations and can better maneuver around and between playground structures. This is helpful and has produced several nice metal detector finds for me.

A 5-6 inch metal detector coil is perfect for this kind of metal detecting environment. A coil between 6 inches and the stock diameter is unnecessary because if you need the extra coverage, then you might as well use the stock coil.

Another area of confusion arises when deciding between aftermarket coils and metal detector coils made by the manufacturer. The aftermarket coil versus manufacturer debate can be confusing for two important reasons.

First, ineffective and poor testing by countless detectorists leads to a massive amount of varying results under differing conditions.

Second, if it were possible to test five of the same size coils from the same manufacturer, there would likely be subtle differences due to the manufacturing process from one coil to the next. These differences can lead to differing performance results with some coils being hotter than others.

Fortunately, the lemon coils seem to be far and few between. I have also noticed that, bad coils aside, performance between aftermarket coils and original manufacturer coils tends to be very close. I have had success with both types of coils and do not prefer one over the other. Most times, a lower price is what ends up winning me over.

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James Cross

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