detecting at night

Metal Detecting at NIGHT (Tips, Tools, Risks, Ideas & More)

metal detecting at night

Sometimes during the summer heat, it becomes next to impossible to metal detect during the daytime in the searing heat. Unless you are using some precautions like these.

So, rather than risk getting sunburnt or overheating, many people prefer to enjoy this hobby in the night.

That’s why, it is important for you to learn how to detect in the dark! By doing so, you will not only avoid the sun and heat, but also you will have more time without the curious stares of onlookers disturbing you …

… In many cases, chances are, finds you come across at night are more valuable than during daytime!

Helpful Tips for Metal Detecting at night …

It won’t be a wise idea to approach exploring at night exactly like during the day. That’s why; you should follow some of the following tips, to make sure you will get the best possible results even during darkness …

1/ Take a partner along

The safest way to detect at night is to bring a detecting partner along with you.  Even if your partner does not share your passion, he will likely get excited during the process.

In addition, he will help you to perform some basic but crucial tasks like holding a flashlight or digging.

It is also to have a partner also for self-defense in case of need. If your partner shares the passion for this hobby, the excitement will get through the roof for sure …

2/ Make use of the moonlight

The easiest way to get light while detecting is to make use of the natural light provided by the moon.

Anytime there is a full moon along with a clear night, your eyes will automatically adjust to the dark, allowing you to see easily. The beauty and joy of detecting on a full moonlight is breathtaking.

You won’t realize that until you get in there.

3/ Use a pinpointer that has a built-in light

In all probability, you must already be having a pinpointer, but in case you decide to explore at night then you should get a pinpointer with a built-in light.

This will be an excellent addition to your toolbox!

You can have a look at these low-cost Pinpointers! They are pretty cheap and preform really well!

4/ Carry a headlamp

It is recommended that you use a headlamp that you can strap straight onto your head. You will find this to be the greatest equipment you can invest in for night detecting.

They make use of LED lights and are relatively inexpensive so you don’t need to spend too much money on them.

They are also easily available online! For example this Diamond Headlamp on Amazon does a very good Job!

5/ Know the location

In case you will opt for a location you are already familiar with, then probably there is no issue exploring it in darkness …

… However, if you are opting for a location for the first time during the night, so you should do your homework first. Indeed, you need to ask people who’ve explored in that spot at nigh previously if any.

Otherwise, try to read or ask people who may know that spot!

By doing so, you will make sure, not only that you are going to target a spot that may hold something interesting for you in terms of finds. And also that you there is no significant dangers in there.

List of tools & accessories to detect at night

Other than the lighter to improve your visibility, you should use additional tools and accessories for better results.

Some of the essential tools you will need are:

1/ Electronic pin pointer

In the dark, it becomes difficult to determine using your metal detector exactly what the object is or where it is located.

In fact, it is better to detect using non-motion mode (Pinpointer) rather than motion mode. You should check the difference between motion and non-motion detectors if you are not aware of it.

Indeed, when you swing your coil and can’t see exactly the coil, you will always have trouble locating your target.

For this using an electronic pinpointer, especially with a light, will be helpful. So once your machine indicates that you have found a metal object, you can then use the pinpointer by pushing it into the ground.

The pinpointer has the capability of scanning 360 degrees both through vibration and audio.

The sound and vibration keep increasing the closer you get to your object. The Garrett Pro-Pointer (Check it Right Here on Amazon!), for example, also has a flashlight so you do not need to hold the light and the pointer while you are digging.

It is fair to mention that nowadays, many machines have a pinpoint mode on them…

… They obviously useful, however, in darkness; They are not handy!

That’s why I prefer to use a dedicated pinpointer.

2/ Headphones

Metal Detecting Headphones

Using headphones at night helps you cut out any ambient noise, noises from animals, cut out any traffic noises, and also help you focus on your detector’s tone.

Using them will also save the battery of your machine! You can check these Good  Detecting Headphones for more Ideas …

… You can also have a check at these Wireless Headphones if you don’t like to be bothered by the headphone wire!

But, as far as I am concerned, the Gray Ghost Amphibian Headphones (Check it Here on Amazon!) are the most reliable ou there!

3/ Trowel or Digger

metal detecting hand shovel

If you have found an object that is only a couple of inches in the ground, then a small trowel or a digger will be sufficient to dig a hole to find your target.

It is rare to find a detectorist who would leave home without carrying a small trowel to help dig out any items that are found.

Even if you are digging in the soft soil, having a trowel will make your job easier and quicker.

4/ Shovel

Detection Shovel

If you are looking to dig for relics or you want to dig for the deepest finds, then having a shovel for a night dig is a must-have accessory.

Some hobbyists also choose to just use a regular garden shovel! While there are many hunters who buy a shovel that is made just for metal detecting, for example, the Lesche T-Handle Shovel (Check it Here on Amazon!)

Metal detecting at night in the beach – Some Ideas

Detecting on the beach at night is a brilliant idea that you should opt for. However, there are certain drawbacks associated with that as well.

For instance, while you will definitely be beating the traffic is going to and fro from the beaches during the night, there are, however, many beaches that are gated and also have entry hours not allowing entry during the night.

Others have higher entry charges during the night. To avoid all this, you should choose to explore the smaller neighborhood beaches or the public beaches that are easily accessible.

Sometimes you can continue to detect at beaches that have an allocated operating time. But make sure that you find out if there are rules regarding this.

Many hobbyists prefer to use their machines during the pre-dawn hours and many prefer to detect between 9 pm to 4 pm.

There is also a risk of unsavory characters roaming around the beaches in the dark. In fact, this is typically one of the major reasons why beaches are closed at night.

So make sure that you stay safe and if you are wearing headphones, then ensure that you can concentrate on hearing someone approaching you.

Learn how to detect in sand and pick up more finds easily!

Is detecting at night better than during the day?

Many detectorists claim that it is actually much better to hunt at night as compared to the day. Especially if you are new to this hobby.

Indeed, if you are a beginner and may feel embarrassed of people staring at you in the day or you do not like the curious stares of onlookers looking at you while you detect, then using your machine at the night could be the best possible solution for you until you get used to that.

You will also get the chance to learn the ropes of metal detecting through trial and error but in the dark.

You will feel less judged and you will be more comfortable and confident about what you are doing!

Try to avoid exploring on Friday and Saturday nights though. You know, there can be many youth crowds out partying until the wee hours of the morning.

It is also more peaceful and amusing when you are using your beloved machine in the darkness, under the natural moonlight and under the stars!

For more, check those optimal times to go hunting with your detector!

Is detecting at night dangerous?

Detecting at night could represent some dangers that you need to be aware of. However, if you take the required precautions, then you can keep yourself safe and continue to detect in complete peace.

One risk could be that you are likely to run into a rowdy crowd sometime or the other. If there are drunk youngsters partying on the roads and looking to make trouble, then you can easily run into some shady character in the night.

Steer clear of the known trouble areas of your town/city. If you feel uncomfortable in any situation, it is always better to leave before things spiral out of control.

Another danger that comes with the territory is that if you are wearing headphones, you might not notice someone creeping up on you from behind! So be careful and watch out your surroundings.

If you are detecting in a moonless night, then it may take some time for your eyes to adjust to the beam of light from your headlamp or flashlight.

Be extremely aware of detecting in the woods in the night! It would be recommended that you avoid hunting in the woods at nighttime.

Not only is it dangerous, but also has its own set of challenges. You are encountering a much higher risk of getting attacked by animals in the night if you are detecting in the woods then you would be while hunting in the daytime.

How should you deal with the vision at night?

You should be prepared to deal with how your vision will function in the dark…

… Remember that it does not take much time for our eyes to adapt to bright light, but it takes a while for them to adjust to the darkness.

If you are exploring in total darkness, then without a flashlight or a headlamp, it would be next to impossible for you to see.

Though, of course, even in the night and in the city, it would be rare that you will be exploring in a situation with total darkness!

The city lights would be reflecting off of the car headlamps, the clouds, the stars, the moons, and the glow of the city lights would still fill the night with some amount of faint light.

The best way to deal with your vision adjusting is to let your eyes adjust naturally…

So before going into a dark area and risking bumping or hurting yourself, just close your eyes and cover them for a little while to let them adjust and adapt.

Also, if you apply slight pressure with your palms, it will help in speeding up the adjustment process.

Do metal detectors perform better at night?

There is not enough research to indicate whether metal detectors work better at night…

… However, it can be assumed that due to the lack of day time chatter, it would be easier for you to hear different tones being emitted by your detector better at night.

Apart from this, the biggest factor that would determine how well your machine is working depends on the type of soil you are detecting at during the night.

Remember that it is the soil quality that has the biggest impact on the performance of your machine.

So if it is working correctly, then you will be able to get good results regardless of what time of the day you are detecting.


This Post was a big challenge for me! Indeed, I couldn’t find any good resources or articles talking about this topic before. Unless some forum answers that doesn’t really give the right information …

… That’s why, I’ve chosen to regroup and put together this Guide so you will have better and accurate information. Hopefully, that’s the case …

… Finally, if you want to learn more about detecting in extreme conditions, then I highly invite you to check this detection guide in the rain! You will learn a lot!

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.