A Gold detector is simply a metal detector designed specifically to find gold and gold nuggets. These specialty metal detectors are designed to find gold in a variety of different forms, these forms of gold can include:
- Lode or hard rock deposits in a vein and often mixed with other materials.
- Placer deposits, either in a stream or in dry sand and gravel.
- Nuggets of pure gold, which can be found by themselves or in veins or a placer deposit.
This gold-finding ability is what sets these detectors apart from a general-purpose instrument. Choosing the right machine will enable you to achieve the best success in your gold prospecting adventures.
Arming yourself with the right instrument will save you plenty of grief in the field and prevent you from spending a ton of money on the wrong metal detector. As a minimum a good gold detector should have the following features:
1. Deep seeking All-Metal mode. The deep seeking all-metal mode offers precise (and usually adjustable) ground balance. Most modern metal detectors that are built for general purpose use feature automatic ground balancing. This is fine for beginners and weekend hobbyist, but most hard-core gold prospectors prefer the ability to adjust the ground balance themselves. This can allow for more accurate prospecting although proper ground balancing is a skill that can take time to master.
2. Iron discrimination. Iron discrimination is another key feature you want in this type of detector. In the iron discrimination mode, your gold detector can identify hot rocks and small trash items like iron nails and other ferrous trash before you waste your time in digging them up. You would want to use this mode in extremely trashy areas to check a target for its iron content.
3. The ability to vary mineralization settings. This feature is also unique to a good gold detector. The ability to vary mineralization allows the user to change the mineralization settings on the machine to concur with the current ground conditions. This allows gold hunters to operate effectively in soil with high mineralization content and containing numerous hot rocks.
Remember, if you are considering a detector that will primarily be used to prospect for gold, it is highly recommended that you consider one that is made specifically for finding gold.
All major manufacturers offer at least one metal detector designed specifically for gold detecting, and the most expensive machine is not necessarily the best choice when looking for a good gold finder.