Aluminum and metal detectors

Do Metal Detectors Detect ALUMINUM?

Can Metal Detectors Detect Aluminum

I was wondering before whether metal detectors can detect aluminum objects or not. And probably, you are now wondering the same thing! That’s why I am putting together this article to answer this question by sharing what I know …

… So, Do Metal Detectors Detect Aluminum? Yes, any decent metal detector with the right settings can easily detect aluminum objects. In fact, aluminum has a significant electrical conductivity. Thus, it reacts to the electomagnetic field produced by the coil which allows your detector to easily see it.

There are also other frequent questions about metal detector’s behavior with aluminum foil that I address in this Post …

… Also, I let you know about several different aluminum items that you can find and that could represent some significant value!

Aluminum is non-magnetic but still detectable!

There are mainly 3 different types of metal in the nature that are all detectable:

Ferrous metals: Carbon steel and cast iron are the most common examples of ferrous metals. They all have the characteristic to be attracted to magnetic items when they are close enough. This category of metals is known for its high electric conductivity which makes them easily detectable.

Nonferrous metals: These are the ones that are useful to industry and they are much more valuable compared to ferrous metals. Gold, brass, silver and zinc are all nonferrous metals!
These metals don’t have magnetic properties and they are not as easy to detect as ferrous metals. However, recent metal detectors have developed some good technologies to detect them as easy and as ferrous metals. Aluminum (which is the main topic of this article) is another nonferrous metal.

Stainless Steel: it has one of the lowest electrical conductivity, that’s why (as a metal) it is one of the hardest to find while metal detecting.

So, as you’ve may noticed, aluminum is not the easiest detectable item, but it is neither the hardest. It falls somewhere in between …

Do you need a Specific Machine to find this Element?

Garrett Ace 300

I will address this question very quickly, because I’ve seen that some people are asking that! Actually, you won’t need any specific machines with super powers to make the job done …

… In other words, most devices with the proper settings will lead you to non-ferrous elements such as this one! However, it is still important to have a device that will give you an indicator of what metal you are detecting …

… One of the machines that can do so is the Garrett Ace 300 … You can learn more about it here on Amazon!

Can metal detectors pick up aluminum foil?

In the industry, to get aluminum foil, they take a big aluminum block and make it go through between enormous rollers several times until it becomes thinner enough.

The optimal thickness of the foil is generally between 0.1 and 0.2 millimeters!

Depending on aluminum foil quantity, a metal detector can detect it. Especially, that it is made 99% out of pure aluminum.

Does aluminum foil block metal detectors and x-rays?

This question comes pretty much from a mythical perspective. Yet, the reality is, if a metal or any other object is thick enough, this means it would probably prevent detectors or x-rays from noticing what’s inside.

Foil is very very thin, thus it just won’t block x-rays or detectors by any means!

Aluminum could mislead you while Metal Detecting

Especially as a beginner, the beeps that you hear from your detector will probably confuse you. They will sound pretty much the same and you will have a hard time figuring out what’s what!

Indeed, one of the common finds are aluminum cans and pull tabs. You may rush by digging with the hope that you will find something as valuable as a ring. But many times you will disappointed when you find cans!

The problem is that lot of small hammered silver coins sound the same as ring pulls & small pieces of Aluminum.

Valuable Aluminum items you may find

This doesn’t mean that you can’t find valuable items made out of aluminum! In fact, there are many people who’ve found pretty old aluminum tokens that hold some value in them. Below some examples:

The other day, somebody confirmed to me that he has found a buried ladder. Which is pretty interesting …

In addition, if you are a fun of recycling objects, finding aluminum objects would be profitable in this case! In fact, electronic devices and bike parts hold significantly important aluminum amounts in them.

You can collect them and sell them to companies that can melt and recycle them afterwards.

How to Find Aluminum Metal Detecting

Detecting Aluminum is not any different from detecting any other metal! In fact, you need a decent metal detector that can operate on multi-modes.

I mean, in this case you don’t need a dedicated detector, like ones that are used for gold, mineralized soils or even for relic objects.

These ones are expensive and you don’t need them in this case.

The process is the same, moving and swinging the detector coil back and forth until you start hearing back significant beeps!

Metal Detectors for Aluminum Foil Packaging

There are other types of Metal Detectors used in the industry to meet the highest standards for foods! They are used to detect whether there are metal contaminants in aluminum foil packaging.

These detectors can also identify package inserts! It can detect all sorts of metals just like steel …

… You can learn about using metal detectors for Tin foil!

What about Airport Metal Detectors?

Airport Metal detectors are not any different from regular ones used by us as hobbyists! It was very common in the past that little residues of aluminum foil were detected in sweets and candies.

This was pretty much the reason why companies use now paper packages for these products insteaof aluminum foild packages.


Hopefully, you’ve got a complete answer to your question and that you’ve learnt something new going through this short article.

Aluminum is probably not the most valuable item you can find! Yet, it is important to be aware that you can frequently find it especially in cities and places close to industrial sites.

If you still have some doubts, don’t hesitate to ask any question in the comment section below.

Finally, if you are looking for more valuable stuff than creepy aluminum (which I am sure you do), then you should check this diamond detection guide! You will get a sort of a blueprint to maximum your chances to come up with some highly valuable Gemstones !!

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.