pi metal detectors

5 Best PI Metal Detectors! (+How They Actually Work …)

pi metal detector

Pulse Induction Metal Detectors are not the best choice for beginners! Indeed, they require a certain level of experience beforehand to be able to use them efficiently …

… However, if you are looking for the real treasures, then PI Machines are definitely your go-to!

In this Post, I breakdown:

  • The best PI detectors you should opt for.
  • The manufacturing brands known for these kinds of machines.
  • How PI Devices actually operate?
  • Why they are more expensive than VLFs
  • … As well as other useful info!

So, without further ado, let’s dive straight into the topic!

Best PI Metal Detectors …

1. For Gold

Garrett ATX

The Garrett ATX (Check it Here on Amazon) has been going strong since it was introduced as being one of the best gold machines.

This pulse induction detector is waterproof up to 10 feet!

It is ideal for:

  • Gold prospecting
  • Relic hunting
  • Jewelry detecting
  • Coin shooting

You can use the ATX for beach detecting, underwater, and even on land.

The Garrett ATX comes with the standard 10″ x 12″ DD search coil. You can use the optional 8″ round and 15″ x 20″ mono search coils as well if you are looking for more sensitivity.

You won’t need headphones with this model since the ATX comes with a built-in waterproof speaker. However, it does come with headphones that have a waterproof connector.

Below some of the main features of the ATX:

  • 13 sensitivity settings
  • 25 discrimination modes
  • Automatic pinpointing
  • Battery indicator
  • Detection frequency of 730 pulses per second

There are also 25 adjustable audio settings and the device operates with continuous audio. This allows the detector to provide feedback that is proportional to the signal strength from the target.

2. For underwater Metal Detecting

For underwater, the Garrett Sea Hunter MK-II (Check it Here on Amazon) is a Solid choice!

It is specifically designed for underwater detection. While it is slightly costly, yet the settings and technology employed by this detector far surpass others.

It allows the detectorist to safely dive with this detector, even in deeper locations. It is possible to mount the device conveniently, making it easy to manipulate and you will not lose track of the device also.

Some of the main features of this device are:

  • Three-part shaft that can be mounted and used specifically for diving
  • It has advanced discrimination pulse for excellent search productivity
  • The device comes with a Microprocessor Operation System which provides advanced quality of operation

It comes with the Garrett standard 8″ PROformance submersible search coil and has a battery life of nearly 22 hours on just one charge.

The Salt elimination feature allows this device to remain unaffected by wet salt sand and ground mineralization. The Garrett Sea Hunter MK-II is highly sensitive to precious metals, operating even up to a depth of 200 feet. It is also great for searching in tough ground mineral conditions.

The best feature of this detector is that it has an all-metal deep-seeking mode that allows maximum depth search on all targets.

3. For the Beach

The best pulse induction detector for beach is the Whites TDI Beach Hunter (Check it Here on Amazon).

This model has been designed especially for salt and freshwater and can also do a decent job gold prospecting. The device stands apart from others in terms of its extreme depth performance on sea or land. It is waterproof up to 25 feet, one of the highest in its class.

The TDI BeachHunter can reach its target at the beach, in goldfields, and even in difficult to detect areas like red clay.

The detector’s adjustable Pulse Delay feature lets you set the machine at maximum sensitivity levels to find fine gold jewelry, hammered coins, and even small gold nuggets at great depths.

Since this is a pulse induction detector, you will not find it struggling with ground mineralization or salt conditions.

The machine comes with dual-tone audio, adjustable volume, and threshold control that provides flexibility for different hearing preferences.

It weighs in at 5.2 lbs and comes with hip and chest mount pouches that you can customize as per your hunting style.

The machine runs on 8 AA batteries and you can spend the entire day searching for gold, silver, or relics, all on just one charge.

4. Deepest Model

Tesoro’s new Pulse Induction model Sand Shark (Check This Similar Model Here on Amazon) is the right option for all those who want to hunt at deeper depths.

It is controlled by microprocessor technology, which allows the detector to keep itself in tune. This makes it easy for the detectorist to concentrate on listening for targets rather than spending time tuning the detector.

This model offers detectorists the opportunity to reach some astounding depths and many users confirm that this machine can go upwards of 200 feet even.

The Sand Shark also comes with the standard 8: open center search coil that can be used for most applications. Also there are:

  • The 10.5 ” open center coil is more ideal for using when you are searching for larger targets.
  • And the 7″ coil available for smaller targets and when searching through trashier sites.

5. Cheapest one

The KKmoon Metal Detector (Check it Here on Amazon) is one of the cheapest, yet reliable, PI detectors in the market.

It does include most features that you will require for hunting. Furthermore, the best feature of this one is that you can use it underwater because of its waterproof body.

The soft handle of the machine prevents it from slipping away from your hand underwater. There is also an additional wrist strap to provide additional security.

The detector can easily detect iron, gold, aluminum, gold, silver, bronze, coins, and other objects as well. When you get closer to the target, the white LED lighting and vibration frequencies easily lets you know that you are close to a target.

The machine is powered with a 9-volt battery that is not rechargeable. So keep spare ones ready to replace it.

All the system settings of this detector are automatically tuned with a microprocessor, meaning you do not need to waste time adjusting the settings yourself. The coil’s sensitivity range is already tested on coin sizes. It stands at 0.4 inches for a 25 cents coin and 0.6 inches for a 1 dollar cent.

Best Brands producing PI Detectors …

1. Whites Electronics

The company has been in the business of manufacturing detection devices for the last 60 years.

This is a family-owned business, headquartered in the United States. Whites’ products and equipment are popular worldwide for their reliable and trustworthy performance.

The company was established in 1950 and has a presence all over the world today. One of the bestselling detectors of Whites’ remained the Whites’ TDI Beachmaster.

2. Garrett Electronics

Headquartered in the United States, Garrett is one of the biggest manufacturers of all types of metal detectors in the world (VLF, PI as well as others).

The company is also one of the oldest in the business since it has been selling detectors since 1964.

You can find high-end professional machines to low-priced machines for beginners to metal detecting.

The company manufactures detectors that can be used for all purposes. Its all-terrain detectors are especially popular with detectorists.

3. Minelab

The company was founded in 1985 and since then has been churning out detectors with more and more advancements.

The company also has specialized devices that allow you to specifically search for coins, treasures, and separate gold and silver detectors.

One thing Minelab is known for, is their ability to bring new detection technology consistently through their machines. One of those is the Multi-IQ Technology!

How does a PI Metal Detector work?

The pulse induction system makes use of one coil that works as both the transmitter and the receiver. This type of design allows the machine to send very strong and short pulses through the coil. Each of these pulses then creates a strong magnetic field.

When the pulse stops, the magnetic field collapses, which results in an electrical spike and the generation of another current known as reflected pulse.

If at that time your machine is over a metallic object, then the opposite magnetic field will be created, resulting in a longer reflected pulse.

This difference in the reflected pulse length is processed through a sampling circuit and integration. Which will allow it to get converted into a tone, signaling that you are near a target. The machine starts vibrating at a higher frequency as you reach closer to the target.

PI models are believed to be more useful than VLF detectors when it comes to searching for underwater treasure, hunting at the beach, or on other mineralized grounds.

Another benefit of PI models is that they are often able to detect metallic objects that are at a greater depth in the ground as compared to VLF detectors. The PI technology also gives you the best experience when it comes to finding more precious metal objects.

Why Pulse Induction Detectors are So Expensive?

They obviously tend to be more expensive than VLF detectors because of various factors

Firstly, they bring more depth and can find objects buried much deeper than VLF models. The higher the detection ability of a detector, the more expensive it tends to be.

Secondly, PI detectors are also able to deal effectively with more variable and challenging ground conditions.

Unlike a standard detector, a PI devices generates a periodic magnetic pulse that enters the ground. Additionally, they have highly sensitive receivers, which again increases the cost of the machine.

Best Coil for PI machines …

Most search coils are available in two types – Mono and Double D.

  • Mono search coils for PI systems have only one wire winding to loop around the inside of the coil. This gives maximum detecting depth.
  • Double D coils have two overlapping wire windings present inside the search coil. This allows better discrimination of detected targets. When you are detecting in trashy areas, then good discrimination of the DD coils comes in handy. They also perform well in highly mineralized ground.

So, it is up to you, are you looking for better results in trashy soil? Or you just want to reach maximum of depth?

When should you opt for a PI Models?

It is a good idea to opt for pulse induction technology if you are looking for more flexibility to detect all types of metals, including gold and silver.

In fact, they are versatile and capable of detecting in highly mineralized ground.

With a VLF detector, if you want to detect for gold or if you suddenly hit the mineralized ground, you may need to immediately change your search coils.

However, with a PI detector, you can continue to detect without needing to change the coils since they are built accordingly for detecting all types of metals.

Furthermore, you won’t need to do any tuning and adjustment to the settings of a PI detector every time you start to use it.

However, for VLF detectors, you will need to keep on making changes to the settings according to what you are searching for and ground conditions. This cuts down your search time significantly as you simply need to switch on your machine and start detecting.


I’ve did my very best to make this post clear in a way it answers all your questions regarding PI detectors! Hope you will find a model that fits your expectations …

… Finally, I don’t advice you to go for these machines if this is you are a beginner! Have a look at these VLF Metal Detectors, they will be more convenient in case you are just starting out!

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.