5 of the Best Gold Detectors Under $800

There are not very many metal detectors that are designed specifically for finding gold nuggets. While many detectors are marketed as being able to find gold, they will generally perform very poorly in the goldfields. The cheap “multi-purpose” and coin detectors simply will not work well.

Fortunately, in recent years there have been quite a few new gold detectors that have hit the market. Some of them work very well, but are expensive, ranging in prices as high as $10,000!

You don’t need to spend a fortune though. Here are some very metal detectors that will do a great job of finding gold nuggets that are priced under $800 new. Prices listed below are what I found them priced on Amazon.com at the time of writing this article, but prices may fluctuate somewhat.

Gold Bug 2 - $764.99

The Fisher Gold Bug 2 has been regarded as the best detector for finding small gold nuggets since it came out nearly 20 years ago. Who cares about small gold you ask? Well most of the gold you will find in gold country is small flakes and nuggets, and having a sensitive detector like the Fisher Gold Bug 2 is critical if you want to find them. Many seasoned prospectors still use their trusty Gold Bug 2, even as new detectors hit the market. For hitting on the tiniest of gold targets, it is impossible to beat this detector.

Gold Bug Pro - $649

There was a lot of interest about this metal detector when it came on the market a few years ago, and for very good reason. Fisher Electronics had already established themselves as leaders in the design and development of gold detectors with the earlier models of Gold Bug. It did not disappoint. The Gold Bug Pro quickly became a popular detector for the goldfields and many skilled prospectors are now using it as their primary detector.

While it generally does not detect pieces of gold quite as small its predecessor the Gold Bug 2 does, that is offset by a smoother threshold and better stability in highly mineralized ground.

Garrett AT Gold - $679.95

Another gold detector that came on the market a few years ago is the Garrett AT Gold. The Garrett name is very well known, and is a pioneer in metal detector technology. The AT Gold has proven itself as a very capable detector for gold.

It waterproof design is one feature that has attracted many people to this detector. It can safely be submerged in shallow water to search for placer gold deposits along creeks and rivers.

While this is definitely a good metal detector for gold, the AT Gold came on the market at about the same time as the Gold Bug Pro, and most gold hunters I know prefer the Gold Bug Pro over the AT Gold.

Nokta Fors Gold/Nokta Fors Gold+ - $680.00

Nokta has really been making a name for itself in recent years. It is a company that is based in Turkey, and has been making a variety of different detectors that have really been getting good reviews from the metal detecting community in recent years.

The Nokta Fors Gold+ (Plus) is a follow up to the Nokta For Gold. At the time of this writing it has just hit the market, and I am doing some field tests with it. My initial impression is quite good, and I really like some of the features on this detector. I will be adding more information on this detector after I have a few more hours behind it.

Whites GMT - $735.59

The GMT is another “tried and true” gold nugget detector that has been around for many years. It is very similar to the Gold Bug 2, because it is extremely sensitive to small gold nuggets. It will hit on the small “crumbs” that other detectors can miss.

One challenge I have heard from many people who have used it is the steep learning curve on the White's GMT. Since it is so sensitive, it senses highly mineralized soil and the threshold makes a lot of chatter. Nonetheless, if you learn to understand the detector and the noises that it makes, it is an exceptional detector for small gold nuggets.


Trying to figure out which gold detector to buy can be a challenge, especially for a newcomer to the hobby of metal detecting. Manufacturers like to make a lot of claims and promises about what their detector can do, but most of them are not up to the challenge.

The 5 types of metal detectors listed above are all reasonably priced, and have proven themselves in the goldfields.