Can Metal Detectors Find KEYS?

can detectors find keys

You’ve probably lost your keys somewhere and want to find them metal detecting. Or you are a hobbyist hunting for relic keys collecting them.

Either way, that’s a valid reason to use your detecting instrument …

… But, Can Metal Detectors Find Keys? YES, it is totally possible – indeed most keys are based on metal conductors that react to Metal Detector’s signals which allow you to find them. However, you need to have a preliminary idea on the location you are expecting to find them. Otherwise, you will likely detect unwanted metallic items other than keys.

There are other approaches you can opt for to find keys that I talk about in this article. It is also important to be aware of some special circumstances you may find yourself going through while trying to detect keys.

I am breaking down many of these scenarios …

Keys Metal Composition is what makes it detectable …

Regular Keys are made out of brass. The latter is an alloy (mix of zinc and copper)! This metal combination is used for those who can’t really afford expensive keys.

In addition zinc and copper both have high electric conductivity that makes them detectable.

Aluminum keys which are not pretty common are probably the cheapest ones and they are also detectable!

People who are looking for better quality keys even if they cost a little bit more. They can get those made out of pure silver. They are really strong and almost unbreakable.

Silver is one of the most electric conductive metals, thus easily detectable!

Bottom line, whether you are looking for cheap or expensive keys, a metal detector could really be useful to find them.

For this you need to be aware of some basics to use your instrument properly!

Can a metal detector find keys in snow?

My straightforward answer is Yes! But of course, you need to follow the right steps to be successful …

… For this you will need a waterproof metal detector that can go pretty deep and a pinpointer (the latter is not necessary but it can be really be helpful).

You will also need a rake and a strong magnet!

  1. Mark the location where you want to find keys you’ve lost or you are just looking for.
  2. If you are looking for recently lost keys, try to notice whether there are recent footsteps that could be yours. Keep in mind that the spot when the keys have fallen may be visible too. These could be a very good indicator.
  3. If you’ve located this spot you can use a strong magnet to helpfully attract the keys.
  4. If this doesn’t work, just continue trying, using your detector, to locate your object and don’t hesitate to search through snow using your rake.
  5. If the snow is thick or pretty hard to remove with a rake, you can use a lighter to melt it!
  6. If you can’t find the keys and better yet, you don’t really need them urgently, you can wait until spring to go back finding them.

Hopefully, these simple guidelines are pretty helpful for you to find keys as quickly as possible.

By the way, you really should check the best timeframes to swing your detector! In fact, detecting in winter is not like summer and it’s not like the fall …

Can you detect your keys at night?

It would be little bit harder to find keys or any item at night, yet it is still possible!

Even if detecting at night is not that easy, it is still an enjoyable time to practice this wonderful hobby! It is a little bit scary too as you don’t know what you can come up with, but that’s the beauty of it.

There are some basic pre-requisites that you need to be aware of:

  • If the lighting is not there, you should have a lamp to identify the finds. Whether they are keys or something else.
  • Digging at night, especially in a place you are not familiar with, is not totally comfortable. That’s why, it is always recommended in this case to mark the location you want to dig in.
  • Being equipped with a strong magnet and pinpointer is pretty necessary in this case.

I encourage you to learn more about metal detecting at night in-depth! So you will still keep performing well …

What about car keys?

Car keys are not any different from regular keys. They can be found following the same methods explained above as well.

I’ve never experienced this process looking for car keys. Yet, I’ve read several articles about people who’ve lost their car keys and found them using a metal detector.

Some of them who don’t know how to use this device have hired experienced people to do the job for them!

You can hire somebody to find your lost keys

As I’ve just said, not everybody know how to use a metal detector! And more at it, not everyone is interested in using it …

… That’s why, it would be a wise choice to hire somebody highly experienced to find your lost keys!

These people don’t only help you with their metal detecting expertise. They also have an exceptional patience and take time to ask you precise and smart questions that would lead them to the lost object.

RingFinder is an example of these specialists who could help you! Here are some few success stories that may be helpful.

Rent a Metal Detector to find Keys

If you want to do it yourself but you don’t own a metal detector. This would be a great opportunity to get one! Isn’t it?

Otherwise, taking into account that this device could be a little bit pricy, you just can rent one for few hours to get the job done.

Generally the renting cost could go up to 45 dollars per day! So you may negotiate a better deal if you are willing to use it for only few hours.

You can rent one at a local store if any; this would be a better choice! Or you can use one of these platforms that would borrow you also other digging tools if you don’t own them already.

Generally, renting detectors is a great idea for those who want to try out this hobby for the first time without having to pay much money at the beginning to own this device. Of course, if you fall in love with this hobby, owning your own instrument would be a necessity!

Detecting keys indoors!

This is another frequent question! In fact, it is very hard to do so, especially when the house is full of metal items and electrical currents.

Your detector will go just crazy!

If you know pretty precisely their location, you can use a pinpointer. Yet, you need to have the patience to crawl around with it!

Or you can use a strong magnet; it would be helpful in this case.

Prepare yourself before you lose your Keys

There are some ways to anticipate having a headache looking for your keys! One of them is by tracking them in first place using a TrackR … You can check it here in Amazon to see what it looks like!

It is a device that you stick to your keys or any valuable object that you might lose. Then you use your mobile phone that has a mobile application and Bluetooth. So you will track it and easily locate it if you lose them.

Hunting for Relic Keys

This is part of what is called relic hunting! It is really very exciting as you may find items including keys that went unseen for hundreds of years …

… For that, you need to keep in mind that most relic keys are made out of iron and steel. Thus, you will need a detector device dedicated for these kinds of metals …. The one I like the most is this device that you can check at Amazon!

In this case, it is better to avoid instruments that are made for gold as they might discriminate these metals.

Nowadays, there are multi-mode metal detectors that have relic mode in them! They are effective and useful for this purpose as well.

You need also to be aware of locations where you may likely find these kinds of keys:

  • Ghost towns: They can be a real gold mine for all relic stuff.
  • Around old houses: It is a great possibility too.
  • Even in dumps: Detecting in such places is not fun at all, but I know some people who dig in these places and find frequently old keys in there.
  • Around old Churches: That’s really a nice spot to find something relic in there.


That’s it guys, I really hope you’ve got your questions fully answered and also you’ve learnt something new!

If so, it would be a very good idea to share this content with other people to spread value!

Finally, if you are looking to find more valuable metals like platinium for example … Then, I invite you to check these tips on detecting platinum or these tips on finding Tin! I am sure this will make you excited about what your machine can actually find …

About the Author

Carissa Harmer

Carissa is the huge metal detecting enthusiast that loves collecting coins. She is also highly interested in other treasure hunting activities like magnet fishing and gold prospecting/panning.