copper and detectors

Will a Metal Detector Detect COPPER?

Can metal detectors find copper

It is normal at the beginning to wonder whether your metal detector can detect some specific kinds of metals. One of the common ones is copper …

… Copper is a soft metal commonly used in the electronics and computing industry because it has a high electrical conductivity. It was also very used in the early days of telecommunications and still!

So, will a metal detector detect copper? Yes, most metal detectors can easily detect copper because it is highly conductive! All you have to do is to bring the coil close enough to this metal so it will react to the magnetic field generated by your device which will result in detecting it.

It is interesting to understand the value behind finding copper because not many people realize that! I mean, it is nice to find some gold and other valuable targets, but why not retrieving some value from other metals like copper.

In addition, you should not ignore the importance of recognizing some locations when you can find it effortlessly.

Copper Belongs to a Family of Detectable Metals

As you may know, there are mainly 3 different types of metals, ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel. They are all detectable by modern detectors and they have different purposes!

Copper is a non-ferrous metal, like the other ones of its family (aluminum, zinc …). It has specific properties that make from it useful for the industry. Highly valuable metals such as platinum and gold are also considered non-ferrous metals.

And as I’ve said before copper has one of the highest electrical conductivity. This makes it much easier to be detected.

So, from now on, to find out whether a specific element is detectable or not. First you should make sure it has a noticeable electrical conductivity and also that it belongs to one of the metal categories explained above.

In addition, due to its optimum electrical conductivity copper could be detected even at a high depth. Not to mention that most modern detectors will differentiate between types of metal, including copper, silver, iron, gold, etc. All you have to do is to learn your device well enough!

Finally, I would like to add that there are some people who’ve bought their detector mainly to hunt for copper. Simply because they recognize the value behind it!

Best Metal Detector for Copper

Generally all modern detectors can find copper, even these cheap detectors! They can work for you just fine …

… But if you want my opinion, this depends on your end goal …

… In fact, if you are looking for junk copper pieces in high quantities and in places in which you will have chances to find some. Then you don’t need an expensive machine, a cheap one like a bounty hunter would do the job!

Better yet, highly conductive metals like copper have high tones so no need for serious signal discrimination capabilities!

However, if you are doing some outdoor digging work and you need to identify copper pipes. In this case, you really need to use a better performing machine …

… You can have a look at my favorite detection machine for copper on Amaon!

Why Detecting Copper is Valuable?

Finding copper could be valuable in so many different ways! In other words, you can find some valuable copper items, you can collect high quantities of this metal to sell it afterwards or you just can detect copper for completely different purposes like damaging underground pipes …

Copper in High Quantities!

Usually when people go out hunting, they’ve got a mindset of finding few targets with pretty high value. When it comes to copper, you probably should think the other way, that is, hunting for high quantities that would represents high value later on.

So, if you find junk pieces of copper, not collecting them would be a mistake! Indeed, these junk pieces could be sold for high prices if they are accumulated in pretty big quantities.

After a considerable period of time accumulating pieces of copper, you should try to classify them:

  • Solid: They are the most pure forms of this metal and represent the highest in term of value.
  • Wire: That you can find in electronic devices just like computers.
  • Breakage: that you can collect from things like engines.
  • Alloys: that can be a mix with other metals. This could be zinc, bronze or even brass.

This classification isn’t a waste of time as it will allow you to negotiate better prices about your finds.

You can melt this metal into nuggets; this would result in a higher value. Yet, if you are not used to melting metals, you probably don’t have to go for this option.

Finally, you can consult some scrap yard websites in order know about their prices and the procedures to pick up the load of metal. Just do that and you will end up most likely with a good deal.

For more information about making some cash with this hobby, have a check at these tips on selling detecting finds! I’ve written this article based on many people experiences..

Some Valuable Copper Items …

Other than junk pieces, you can find some copper targets that hold some historical value in them. These could be large cents, wheat pennies and even Indian head pennies.

There are also many older relics from early 1900’s and earlier were made out of copper. So, learn your machine and dig that beep!

It is pretty rare but it still happens to find some beautiful copper targets like this wonderful ring:

Copper Ringe found by a Metal Detector

You can also find some beautiful copper nuggets just like this one:

Copper nugget found while metal detecting

For Outdoor Digging Projects!

Let’s say you want to perform some plumbing on your back yard! It would be a mistake if you don’t pay attention to the underground copper pipes. In other words, without a proper awareness of their position you could easily cause some regressions on these pipes while digging.

In this case, you should use a metal detector with proper settings to detect these pipes accurately. So you will easily avoid them and prevent accidently damaging them.

You need to understand that precision is a must! I mean, in this case you are not hunting for any metal that you will find out what it is when you have your hand on it. Instead you want to make sure that the received tones or signals actually mean copper! You are not allowed to make mistakes … You know what I mean.

So, unless you are already used to metal detecting, you should take your time to learn your device. Or, you may want to ask a professional to provide you with some help! It is worth it …

Where to find Copper?

If you are aiming for this metal, it would be wise to know about locations where you will likely find it.

Construction sites: After you get the permission, you can go hunt in these kinds of sites when you can find all kinds of metals including copper.

Small businesses: if they use lot of metallic materials and items, they usually don’t have enough space to keep everything. So they usually get rid of items they don’t really need nearby … So, here you go.

Ranches: Going through the process to get a permission to dig into ranches is probably worth it. The owners usually leave old car parts, machines and other things that could be valuable and copper rich.

Dumpsters: they are a real mine of all sorts of metals including copper, silver … Many of them don’t require a permission, yet you need to make sure you are allowed to dig in there.


I hope you’ve got a complete answer of your questions and that you understand better the reasons and possibilities you’ve got to detecting copper.

If you’ve learnt something new, it would be great idea to share this article with other people to spread value!

Now, I really want to hear from you … I want to know whether you’ve detected copper before and what metal detector you’ve used! Also, whether you’ve found something that brought you back some value … Let me know in the comment section below so others will learn as well.

Finally, if you want to target more valuable items like gold or gemstones! Have a look at this guide to find diamond … I am sure you will find lot of value in there …

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.