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3 Must-Have Metal Detecting Digging Tools

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Matt is a professional painter who enjoys fishing and metal detecting on the weekend for old coins and rings.

My collection of digging tools I use for metal detecting.

My collection of digging tools I use for metal detecting.

The Best Digging Tools for Metal Detecting

One of the most important metal detecting tools to choose wisely, other than your detector, is a good shovel. Metal detecting on land involves digging and a lot of it if you're serious about the hobby. Before I upgraded my digging tools, I recovered my finds using a round point shovel, but soon discovered it was too big and heavy to carry around all day. Using a small and lightweight shovel is best.

The best shovel to use is one that's designed specifically for metal detecting. These shovels are usually made entirely of heavy-duty steel so the handle won't bend easily under pressure. Metal detecting shovels usually have serrated blades too that slice through dirt and small roots with ease.

Hand-held vs. T-Handle Shovel

The two most common types of diggers for metal detecting are the hand-held digger, or spade, and the long handle shovel (t-handle). I own and use both, but I use my t-handle shovel the most. Recovering finds with my t-handle shovel is faster and easier than crouching down to dig with the handheld digger.

The hand-held digger, or metal detecting spade, is smaller and easier to carry around all day. The one I bought came with a holster you strap to your belt loops. The blades are sharp and serrated like the ones on a t-handle shovel. The digger you choose is personal preference, but both digging tools are useful in different situations.

My Lesche t-handle shovel I use a lot for metal detecting.

My Lesche t-handle shovel I use a lot for metal detecting.

Lesche T-Handle Shovel

The digger I use the most for metal detecting is my Lesche t-handle shovel with the serrated blade on one side. My shovel's seen better days, as you can see in the pictures, but after using it multiple times for years, the blade is still sharp and cuts through dirt easier than the shovels I started out with.

The shovel is made of heavy-duty steel, but remains lightweight. I can carry the shovel over my shoulder, or by my side, all day long without soreness. With metal detecting, you're going to encounter rocks and tree roots, big and small. I've used this shovel to cut through annoying roots and pry up small rocks without bending the neck.

If I had one complaint about these shovels, I wish they were a few inches longer. This Lesche digger, as well as most of the other metal detecting shovels available, is 31 inches in length. With my height of six feet, another inch or two in handle length would be nice, but overall, I'm very satisfied with this digger and highly recommend it if you're new to the hobby and looking for a good shovel.

My favorite Lesche digger for metal detecting. It's worn, but still works great.

My favorite Lesche digger for metal detecting. It's worn, but still works great.

My Lesche serrated spade, one of the first metal detecting digging tools I bought.

My Lesche serrated spade, one of the first metal detecting digging tools I bought.

Lesche Hand Digger

The Lesche hand-held sod cutter was the first digging tool I bought for metal detecting after retiring my round point shovel. This tool is great for cutting plugs in thick grass. Like the long-handle digger, the serrated blade is very sharp and cuts through grass roots and dirt like a boss.

I use my hand-held digger when metal detecting a new permission on private property. I feel more comfortable using a small spade in someone's yard than a larger shovel that might make the land owner fearful of holes and property damage. The small spade is less noticeable too and you can store it in the holster when not in use.

In terms of cutting plugs to recover finds, the hand-held spade works great in thick grass, not bare dirt, or when the soil's dry and crumbly. The t-handle shovel makes it easier to cut dirt plugs and flip them open without having to bend down as much. The shovel acts like a pry bar whereas the spade tool requires more effort to open the plug. Sawing up and down with the hand held spade also puts more strain on the wrist and back, unlike the regular shovel that you step on to cut your plug.

My Stealth sand scoop for metal detecting in the water.

My Stealth sand scoop for metal detecting in the water.

Sand Scoop for Metal Detecting

Having a good quality sand scoop for metal detecting is important if you plan on doing any serious treasure hunting in beach sand, or underwater. Don't buy a hand-held scoop or one with a short handle. A long handle scoop is easier on your back and a must for retrieving objects in chin-deep water.

Another important consideration is the diameter sizing of the scoop holes and how many holes are in the basket. More holes allows the sand to drain out of the basket a lot faster when submerged, reducing the weight quicker.

The sand scoop I use for my water detecting is the Stealth by Sun Spot. The bottom of the basket has smaller holes to catch smaller objects. The rest of the holes are wider to allow the sand to drain out quicker. I've used my scoop many times in lakes and rivers without any issues, and while I'm happy with its performance, the scoop was a little overpriced.

Buy a quality sand scoop with a sharp nose that will take a good bite out of the sand to make object retrieval easier. Aluminum scoops are lighter and less tiring to work with, and a wider scoop catches objects a lot easier than a narrow one.

The basket of my Stealth sand scoop.

The basket of my Stealth sand scoop.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Matt G.

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