These Are the Best Metal Detector Settings for Coins

You can find many kinds of treasures with a metal detector, and a coin is one of the most interesting and exciting. Sometimes finding coins can be tricky, but luckily, there are some things you can do to increase your likelihood of finding coins. 

The best metal detector settings for coins are the “coin mode” setting and a frequency of 5kHz to 15 kHz. The “coin mode” can detect silver, copper, nickel, zinc, and gold and eliminates signals from other undesirable metals. 

In the rest of this article, I’ll explain the best settings for finding coins, how to clean the coins you find, where to find coins, and which metal detectors to use. Let’s get to it. 

How To Calibrate Your Metal Detector for Different Coin Types

The best setting for finding coins is the “coin mode” setting that most metal detectors have. This mode only picks up on signals that could be coins, so any sign of silver, copper, nickel, zinc, and gold. For a more detailed guide on finding gold, check out my article on the best metal detector settings for gold: These Are the Best Metal Detector Settings for Gold

The best frequency for finding coins is between 5kHz to 15kHz. This range is enough to pick up on coins under the ground but small enough that you won’t be completely overwhelmed by all the sounds coming in through your headphones.   

Let’s take a closer look at how to find different kinds of coins with a metal detector: 

Coin Material Type of Coin (Examples) Tips 
  • Silver Eagle
  • Roosevelt Dimes
  • Mercury Dimes
  • Washington Quarters
  • Seated Liberty Quarters
  • Bust Dimes
  • Bust Quarters
  • Kennedy Half Dollars
  • Franklin Half Dollars
  • Use coin mode
  • Use a frequency below 10 kHz
  • Quarters
  • Dimes
  • Older Nickels
  • Pennies (Copper-Plated)
  • Set the disc level higher
  • Use coin mode
  • Set frequency between 3 kHz and 7 kHz
  • Dimes
  • Quarters
  • Half Dollars
  • Older Nickels
  • Set frequency between 4 kHz and 8 kHz
  • Use all-metal mode
  • Pennies
  • Nickels
  • Dollar Coins
  • Use all-metal mode
  • Use a frequency below 15 kHz
  • American Gold Eagle
  • American Gold Buffalo
  • Gold Stellas
  • Half Eagles
  • Use the all-metal mode
  • Use high frequency
  • If your metal detector has a prospecting mode, use prospecting mode

How To Clean Coins 

If you find a coin, you’ll probably want to clean it so you can inspect it better and display it. However, if the coin is old, you risk ruining or damaging it if you clean it too harshly or incorrectly. There are many methods you can use to clean old coins. Here are your best options: 

Baking Soda 

  1. Place the coin in a bowl and cover it with cold water. 
  2. Put one teaspoon (5 g) of baking soda in a separate bowl. 
  3. Dip a soft-bristle toothbrush in the baking soda. 
  4. Gently scrub the coin with the toothbrush. 
  5. Rinse the coin in the water regularly until all the grime is removed. 


  1. Place the coin in a bowl. 
  2. Fill the bowl with a can of Coca-Cola. You should use original Coca-Cola, not Coke Zero or Diet Coke. 
  3. Let the coin soak for approximately five minutes. 
  4. Don’t leave the coin in the Coca-Cola for more than fifteen minutes. 

Lemon Juice 

  1. Place the coin in a bowl. 
  2. Add one teaspoon (5.7 g) of salt and ¼ cup (59 ml) of lemon juice to the water. 
  3. Let the coin soak for no more than 15 minutes. 
  4. Gently scrub the coin with a soft-bristle toothbrush if there’s still some grime. 

White Vinegar 

  1. Place the coin in a bowl. 
  2. Add one cup (237 ml) of white vinegar and one tablespoon (17 g) of salt. 
  3. Let the coin soak for 15 minutes. 

Best Locations for Metal Detecting Coins  

Having your metal detector set to the right settings for finding coins is important, but perhaps even more important is being in the right location. Here are my recommendations for where to search for locations: 

  • Old or abandoned house sites
  • Parks 
  • Playgrounds 
  • Schools 
  • Drive-in movie sites 
  • Campgrounds 
  • Fairgrounds 
  • Beaches 
  • Sports fields 
  • Train stations 
  • Bus stops 
  • Underneath porches and decks 
  • Near mailboxes and post offices 
  • Swimming holes
  • Swimming pools 
  • Churches 
  • Picnic areas 
  • Near fountains 
  • Beaches 

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. You can find coins almost anywhere, so keep an open mind! 

You should also look into local laws and regulations about metal detecting, and remember that there are some places, such as graveyards and Native American burial grounds, that you shouldn’t metal detect in. 

Moreover, if you’re metal detecting near a road, you should be careful not to trespass on private property. You can learn more about metal detecting on the side of a road by reading my comprehensive guide on the topic: Can You Metal Detect on the Side of the Road?

Tips for Metal Detecting Coins 

Once you’re using a good metal detector with the right settings and in a suitable location, you’ll probably start finding coins. However, if you’re struggling, here is some more advice: 

  • If you find a coin, stay in that area. If you’re lucky enough to find one coin, the chances are high that there are probably others nearby. Some people drop just one coin, but larger coin spills are more common, so you’ll likely be able to find other coins. For that reason, if you’re lucky enough to locate a coin, you should try to linger around that area to see if you’ve stumbled upon a larger spill. 
  • Use higher discrimination. You can find a lot of trash while looking for coins, so I recommend turning up the discrimination to help weed out any signals you don’t want during your search. That way, you don’t waste time digging up undesirable objects, and you can focus on finding coins.  
  • Bring a coin pouch with you. Coins are small, easily lost items, so you should always bring a coin pouch while metal detecting so you don’t misplace your finds on the way home.
  • Have your search coil closer to the ground. Coins are usually mid-conductors, so your detector can sense them more easily if you keep the search coil closer to the ground
  • Use metal detecting headphones. Metal detecting is always easier when you have a pair of high-quality headphones to block out the outside noise and focus on the tones from your detector. I recommend getting headphones that are specifically made for metal detecting, as these are usually better at blocking out excess noise. 
  • Keep track of where you find coins. Use a notebook or your phone to log where you found coins so you can return to that location later to keep looking for treasures if you run out of time. 
  • Check your coin values. You may want to keep the coins you find, but you might also want to try and sell them and get some money for your efforts! You can use websites online to check if your discoveries have any value based on their age and type.

If you follow this advice, you’ll find coins in no time! Furthermore, some metal detectors are better than others when it comes to finding coins.

Final Thoughts 

Many metal detectors have a “coin mode” setting that can pick up on the most valuable coin materials, including silver, copper, nickel, zinc, and gold. I recommend setting your metal detector to a frequency of 5 kHz to 15 kHz. If you are strategic about your metal detecting and search in the right location, you should be able to find plenty of coins.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to tips on finding and collecting precious items. Inspired by reading countless adventurer reports from the oldtimers, Alex is passionate about discovering hidden treasures and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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