Features to look for in a kids metal detector

Considering a kids metal detector as a gift? Whether for holidays, birthdays, or other special events, an inexpensive metal detector can make a great children’s gift. But, with so many different models and brands available, which is the best unit to buy? What elements go into making a great children’s toy?


Much like choosing a unit for an adult, selecting a treasure locator for a child is a matter of considering the cost, the use, and the physical size required. In many families cost is the major factor, and if so there are inexpensive units that can be purchased for around $20 or so. These work well for younger children and for novices who simply want something cheap that they can start with to see if they are going to enjoy the hobby. Sometimes this is all that is necessary since the child may not be interested in treasure hunting once the ‘newness’ of the idea wears off.


In those cases, beginning with an inexpensive toy-level unit makes economic sense. However, if someone else in the house will also be using the unit, such as the parents, it may be better to go with a little bit more expensive metal detector as an initial entry point. This is simply because the very low-end metal detectors are somewhat disappointing in their performance and may also be of somewhat shorter physical length than units that are definitely designed for adults.


The length and weight of the unit are quite important when selecting a child’s metal detector. Most manufacturers produce products with an adjustable shaft length so that you can lengthen or shorten the overall length of the metal detector from coil to carry handle. Even so, the shortest setting may be too long for smaller children. So be cautious when selecting a unit to check the overall length to learn how much adjustment is available on the shaft. Some cheaper units may only just a few inches if that, while more expensive units may adjust almost a foot.


For the most part weight is not an issue unless the child is very, very young and in that instance the child may be too young to participate in the hobby anyway. Metal detector weight can vary between a few ounces and a few pounds. Typically, less expensive metal detectors way less than more expensive ones because they have fewer components, and the parts that they do have are usually thinner and lighter weight.


One feature that may or may not be at issue is the quality of the metal detector. If the intent is to simply purchase an inexpensive toy for the child to play in the backyard with almost any unit will do. If the child is a little bit older and a bit more advanced, or has experience in the hobby, a more expensive unit will certainly please. There are many name brand metal detector companies that produce high quality metal detectors available in shops and catalogs across the country and around the world. These companies include Whites, Tesoro, Garrett, Mine Lab, Bounty Hunter and a number of others. Many of these companies have been around for decades and also produce electronic equipment used in mining, police, and security work as well as industrial applications. For a better quality metal detector, it is generally better to stay with a well-known brand and avoid the advertisements you see for “new” metal detector companies that appear to provide amazing machines at fantastically low prices. A good quality metal detector is something that should last for many years if treated properly and it is not uncommon to run across units that are too decades-old and are still used occasionally.


Quality is especially important thing when dealing with treasure locators because in many different varieties of consumer electronics for saying “you get what you pay for” is very true, and this often is the case in treasure hunting. More expensive models will offer a number of different features that inexpensive models will not. More expensive models will, as a general rule, be more sensitive and less likely to produce false readings and inexpensive models. And, more expensive models can often be repaired should they break.


When selecting a children’s metal detector ease-of-use is a major point. Often, increasing complexity goes hand-in-hand with increasing difficulty in operation. As units become more complex they become more difficult to figure out which buttons to press and switches to flip. In many cases metal detector manufacturers have attempted to solve this problem by including more and more touch panels and computerized operation in their more expensive models. Low-end models will be very simple but maybe one or 2 knobs to adjust, high-end models will do much more, be much more sensitive, and may be operated and controlled by a touchpad that ultimately ends up being easier to use then knobs on the low end machine are.


Also, as for any children’s toy, it is important to consider the type and number of batteries that the unit requires. Some manufacturers build detectors that require 6 or 8 AA batteries, and others build units that require one nine-volt battery. Obviously, a box that runs on one battery might be cheaper to operate in the long run than one that runs on multiple batteries. So, this becomes an important consideration since the ongoing cost of operation is often part of the gift.


A kids metal detector is a great gift and will provide many hours of fun and education for both child and parent. The hobby is easy and popular among both young and old, and can be a good way to get kids off the couch and outside into the sun.

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