iron metal detector

Can Metal Detectors Detect Iron?

can metal detectors detect iron

It is totally normal to ask all sorts of questions regarding the ability of your detector to find all sorts of metallic stuff! Indeed, one of the most common elements that you will definitely come across is Iron …

… Iron is pretty much everywhere and anywhere, there is no scarcity of this element!

In this short post, I discuss how you should see iron as a metal detecting hobbyist and also I will answer some common questions about it…

Can metal detectors detect iron?

Yes pretty much all detectors can easily find iron! Indeed, your machine reacts to elements that have enough electrical conductivity and since that’s the case for iron, you can find it …

… However, keep in mind that when it comes to electrical conductivity, iron is on the low end, that’s why often metal detectors emit broken sound when the search coil goes oven it.

What Metal Detector to use to find Iron?

Bounty Hunter Tracker 4

If you are looking for a model that can do the job, I wouldn’t recommend an expensive one!

Just pick a model that has an All-Metal Mode.

For example, the Bounty Hunter Fast Tracker (Check it Here on Amazon) does a good job picking iron if you want to …

… This model is lightweight and easy to use and comes with audio tone identification and a waterproof search coil.

This machine’s all-metal mode will help you detect iron. It also comes with a dual-tone discrimination mode, and with this, you can hear different tones for different types of metals. This allows you to identify the target before you start digging by hearing the sounds.

It is also possible to adjust the sensitivity of the machine to cut down on electronic interference and adjust for maximum depth.

What valuable finds are made out of Iron?

There are a vast number of relics that are made of iron found underground. However, with iron relics, one needs to remember that rust eats away at iron objects, so once you find such items, you need to immediately protect and clean them properly.

In order for iron relics to rust, there should be moisture and oxygen. When a relic or artifact gets buried in the ground, there is very little oxygen affecting it. This is why even 200-year-old iron artifacts are found in good condition.

Many ancient iron artifacts have been found with a metal detector, and even many Civil War iron relics have been discovered by amateur treasure hunters with a metal detector.

How to identify Iron?

The magnetization test can easily identify iron. You can take your find and test its magnetization by sticking a magnet to it…

… If the metal sticks to the magnet, then the meal is likely to be cast iron or steel. If the metal does not stick to the magnet, then the metal is likely to be copper, brass, or aluminum (Check This Aluminum Detecting Article).

Places where you can find Iron Finds …

You are more likely to find iron artifacts and relics in fields, battlefields, ghost towns, and other similar places …

… But when it comes to junk LoL, iron is present literally everywhere! Especially in beaches where people would throw all sorts of things …

… Also, keep in mind that the majority of iron junk would be present in dumpsters!

Metal Detector Features that will help you to filter more iron

As I’ve said before, in most cases iron come as junk, so in this case, the best way is to filter it. Below few features that will help you do so:

  • Discrimination: This is a simple feature that will allow you to filter iron. The higher it gets the more you will be able to discriminate iron.
  • Iron audio: This feature allow your detector to emit a specific signal once it thinks it is about to find iron. This will help you predict it before even finding it.
  • Machine’s modes: As I’ve said before, all metal mode will allow you to find more iron. So, instead of using this mode you need to use others like coins, jewelry and so on, depending on what your machine has in terms of modes.
  • Iron Bias: That’s a quite advanced one! Indeed, this feature was first introduced in the Equinox 800 (Check it Here on Amazon), it will simply help you ignore iron items, even those located very close to a valuable find.


Hope this short Post was helpful! If you still have any additional questions, let me know …

… Finally, if you want to learn more about the hobby, then you really should have a deep look at this detecting guide for newbies! You will learn a lot of new and interesting stuff.

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.