Understanding Metal Detector Signals: How to Identify Targets

Understanding Metal Detector Signals: How to Identify Targets


Metal detecting is an exciting and rewarding hobby that can lead to discovering hidden treasures. However, to become a successful metal detectorist, you need to understand how to read the signals your detector gives you. In this post, we will discuss how to identify targets using the signals from your metal detector.

Target Identification

The first step in identifying targets is to adjust your metal detector's settings. You need to set the discrimination level to avoid detecting unwanted items like nails or bottle caps. Once you have adjusted your detector, you can start searching for targets. When you detect a target, your metal detector will produce a signal, and the strength of the signal indicates the size and depth of the target.

Tone Identification

One way to identify targets is by listening to the tone produced by your metal detector. Different metal detectors have various tones, but most detectors have three tones: low, medium, and high. Low tones indicate iron or other ferrous metals, medium tones indicate aluminum or gold, and high tones indicate silver or copper.

Target Depth

Another way to identify targets is by their depth. Metal detectors come with a depth indicator that shows the approximate depth of the target. The depth indicator is not always accurate, but it can give you an idea of how deep you need to dig.

Target Size and Shape

The size and shape of the target also play a role in identifying targets. Large targets produce a stronger signal than small targets, and the shape of the target can help you determine the type of item you have found. For example, a round signal indicates a coin, while a long signal indicates a nail or other elongated object.


Identifying targets is an essential skill for any metal detectorist. By adjusting your metal detector's settings, listening to the tone, and considering the depth, size, and shape of the target, you can identify what you have found and avoid digging up unwanted items. With practice, you will become an expert at identifying targets and discovering hidden treasures. Happy hunting!

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