Before choosing a detector, you need to comprehend the difference between low and high-frequency units. Both of these types have a specific purpose and operate on slightly different concepts.
High frequencies have a short wavelength, and the waves are close to one another. It means the unit is more sensitive and prone to finding small objects. However, high frequencies don’t have as much penetration power in the mineralized soil as lower frequencies. Therefore, the higher the frequency your unit operates at, the better it gets at responding to the soil. Also, the harder it gets to distinguish the target from the ground.
The characteristics of high frequencies are:
Shorter wavelength, therefore, better for conductivity targets like gold and iron
Less penetrating power than low-frequency units
Great for small objects like gold nuggets
Detectors that operate at low frequencies have a longer wavelength which makes them more sensitive to higher conductive items. Lower frequencies are usually the way to go if you encounter mineralized soil. However, they aren’t as sensitive to small targets as the units that operate on high frequencies. The penetrating power of low-frequency units is much bigger than in high-frequency detectors thanks to the wavelength.
The characteristics of low frequencies are:
Long wavelength meaning more sensitivity to conductive elements
Better ground penetration than high-frequency models
Not good for small items
Favorable for finding silver
Not good for gold and iron
Which One Is Better?
Well, as you can see, it all depends on your personal preferences. If you’re hunting for gold, a high-frequency metal detector is a right choice. On the other hand, if you’re searching for silver and other conductive elements, opt for a low-frequency unit.
The important thing is that most conventional metal detectors work on a range of frequencies. Therefore, a lot of modern detectors have a range of selectable and customizable modes to choose from. In simpler words, modern units don’t go to extremes and are built as all-around models. Luckily, thanks to the modern technology, you don’t have to worry much about the frequency at all.
Most detectors operate on frequencies from 3 to 100 kHz. Although these numbers don’t mean much to most people, it’s a pretty wide scale of values for a unit that is designed to work on a simple principle. A lot of models have a sensitivity control which allows you to fine-tune the product to your personal preferences. Also, the sensitivity mode saves a lot of money because you don’t have to buy two separate devices for the same purpose. Instead, all you have to do is set up the unit properly, and you can go treasure hunting within minutes.
The problem is that there is no “best” frequency because every wavelength has its purpose. Companies that produce metal detectors have been testing various ranges of frequencies for years, and the wide-accepted answer is that every frequency has its pros and cons. However, the vast majority of those companies integrated a switch into their units which allow you to manually change the frequency whenever you want, depending on what are you trying to find.
If you’re worried about choosing the product with the best frequency values – don’t bother. It’s almost irrelevant nowadays, thanks to the modern technology. Most models that are available on the market at the moment are highly customizable and can be personalized.
Also, the main difference between the old and new generation of metal detectors is the automation. In other words, you don’t have to hassle with setting the frequencies yourself; the unit does that for you. One thing you need to do is to set the right mode, choose the items you want to search for (coins, artifacts, gold, iron), and that’s it.