What is a metal detector pinpointer and why it is important?

A metal detector pinpointer is a handheld device used in conjunction with a standard metal detector to precisely locate the exact position of a detected metal target. 

Unlike traditional metal detectors, which provide a general area where metal is present, pinpointers offer pinpoint accuracy, allowing users to identify the precise location of the metal object within a small area, typically within a few inches.

Metal detector pinpointers are important tools for several reasons:


Pinpointers enable users to precisely locate metal targets buried in soil, sand, or other surfaces. 

This accuracy is especially valuable when searching for small or deeply buried objects where standard metal detectors may struggle to provide precise location information.


By pinpointing the exact location of a metal target, pinpointers help users save time and effort during recovery. 

Instead of blindly digging in a larger area indicated by a standard metal detector, users can quickly narrow down the search area and retrieve the target with minimal disturbance to the surrounding area.


Pinpointers are versatile tools that can be used in various environments and applications, including metal detecting on land, in water, or even in tight spaces where larger metal detectors may be impractical or ineffective.

Accuracy Confirmation: 

Pinpointers can also help users confirm the accuracy of their standard metal detector readings by providing a secondary confirmation of the target’s presence and location.

How Metal Detector Pinpointers Work

Metal detector pinpointers work on the same basic principles as standard metal detectors but are designed to provide more precise location information for detected metal targets. Here’s how they work:

Detection Coil: 

Like standard metal detectors, pinpointers contain a detection coil that generates an electromagnetic field. When the coil comes into proximity with a metal object, it induces a secondary magnetic field in the metal.

Detection Circuitry: 

The induced magnetic field is detected by the circuitry inside the pinpointer. This circuitry is specifically designed to detect and analyze the signals generated by nearby metal objects.

Audio and Visual Feedback: 

When a metal object is detected, the pinpointer emits audio and/or visual signals to alert the user. This feedback helps the user pinpoint the exact location of the metal target.

Sensitivity Control: 

Many pinpointers feature sensitivity controls that allow users to adjust the device’s sensitivity to better detect and pinpoint metal objects of different sizes and compositions. This can help reduce false signals and improve accuracy.

Pinpointing Mode: 

Pinpointers often include a dedicated pinpointing mode that activates when the device is held close to a detected metal target. 

In this mode, the pinpointer emits a continuous audio tone and/or visual indication to guide the user in pinpointing the exact location of the metal object.

Waterproofing (Optional): 

Some pinpointers are designed to be waterproof, allowing them to be used in wet environments such as shallow water or muddy conditions. 

This feature enhances the versatility of the pinpointer and expands its applications.

Important Things to Consider When Using a Pinpointer

Safety Precautions: 

Always prioritize safety when using a pinpointer. Wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp objects or rough surfaces when digging or probing for metal targets.

Battery Life: 

Before using your pinpointer, ensure that it has a sufficient battery charge or fresh batteries installed. 

Running out of power during a metal detecting session can be frustrating and may disrupt your search.

Environmental Conditions: 

Consider the environmental conditions in which you’ll be using the pinpointer. If you plan to use it near water or in wet conditions, make sure your pinpointer is water-resistant or waterproof to prevent damage from moisture.

Sensitivity Settings: 

Familiarize yourself with the sensitivity settings of your pinpointer and adjust them according to the specific conditions of your metal detecting area. 

Higher sensitivity settings may be suitable for finding small or deeply buried objects, but they can also increase the likelihood of false signals.

Ground Balancing: 

Some pinpointers feature ground balancing capabilities to account for variations in soil mineralization, which can affect detection accuracy. 

Understand how to adjust the ground balance settings of your pinpointer to optimize performance in different soil conditions.

Search Techniques:

Practice different search techniques with your pinpointer to effectively locate and recover metal targets. 

Experiment with sweeping patterns, probe angles, and target recovery methods to improve your efficiency and accuracy.

Target Recovery Tools: 

Carry appropriate target recovery tools such as a digging tool or a handheld scoop to safely extract metal targets from the ground without causing damage to the surrounding area or the object itself.

Which Type of Items Can be Discovered with a Pinpointer

  • Coins, jewelry, and relics.
  • Small metallic items like nails or buttons.
  • Items located in tight spaces where a full-sized metal detector might not fit.

Tips for Using a Metal Detector Pinpointer Effectively

  • Move the pinpointer in a slow, sweeping motion over the area.
  • Begin scanning from the edge of the hole and work your way inward.
  • Listen carefully to the changes in the alert tones.

Benefits of Using a Metal Detector Pinpointer

  • Speed: Quickly locate items without unnecessary digging.
  • Preservation: Reduce damage to valuable items by narrowing down their exact location.
  • Convenience: Lightweight and portable, they are easy to carry around.

Types of Metal Detector Pinpointers

  • Audio Pinpointers: Emit an audible beep when near metal.
  • Vibrating Pinpointers: Vibrate when close to a metal object, ideal for noisy environments.
  • Combination Pinpointers: Offer both audio and vibration alerts.

Pinpointer vs. Metal Detector: Understanding the Difference

  • Size & Shape: Metal detectors are larger with a long stem and a search coil, while pinpointers are handheld and compact.
  • Function: Metal detectors locate metal in a broad area, and pinpointers identify the exact location.
  • Usage: Metal detectors are for scanning vast areas, and pinpointers are used after an item has been detected to pinpoint its position.

Besides pinpointer here are more Metal Detector Accessories: Types Uses and Importance you should know as a detectorist.

How to Choose the Right Pinpointer for Your Needs

  • Brand Reputation: Choose trusted brands like GoldXtra for reliability and performance.
  • Features: Consider additional features like LED lights or water resistance based on your needs.
  • Budget: There are pinpointers available for every budget; invest in one that offers the best value for your money.

Proper Techniques for Pinpointing Metal Objects

  • Once the metal detector indicates an item, mark the spot.
  • Dig a hole wider than the expected item size.
  • Insert the pinpointer into the hole, slowly moving it in all directions.
  • Focus on areas where the pinpointer gives the strongest signal.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Pinpointer

  • Not checking battery: Always ensure your pinpointer is powered sufficiently.
  • Digging too small a hole makes it harder to pinpoint the item accurately.
  • Ignoring weak signals: Sometimes, valuable items may give faint signals.


In the world of metal detecting, having the right tools makes all the difference. A metal detector pinpointer can be the difference between finding a hidden treasure and walking past it. As you embrace this exciting hobby, remember the tips and insights shared in this guide. Happy treasure hunting!

Howard rockse

Hey there, I am Howard a deeply committed individual who likes to share my knowledge and insights in this field, having spent over ten years as a metal detectorist.

My experience with GoldXtra has allowed me to provide trustworthy and informative advice to both new and experienced metal-detecting enthusiasts. I’m committed to assisting others in exploring and enjoying the world of metal detecting with the same enthusiasm and dedication that I have.

Howard Rockse
Senior Content Writer at GoldXtra

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