Can You Metal Detect in the Rain?

The rain can hold us back from doing a lot of our favorite hobbies. As the soft pitter-patter of raindrops starts to sound on the window panes, the desire to go outside decreases massively – on most occasions. But once you’ve got the bug for metal detecting, even heavy rains may not put you off.

People tend to fall into two camps when it comes to using a metal detector in the rain. Some will absolutely refuse to do it, and will simply wait for the next sunny day. Others think that the rain is the best time to use a metal detector, and won’t let a downpour stop them.

It is possible to metal detect in the rain, and it’s mostly a matter of personal preference. Waterproof metal detectors are common, and there are some surprising advantages to heading out in a downpour. If you don’t feel put off by the damp, this guide is for you. 

Can You Metal Detect in the Rain?

Yes, you can metal detect in the rain – it just might not always be enjoyable. As long as you have a waterproof detector, the rain shouldn’t stop you from heading out. 

If you intend to use your metal detector in the rain, the most important thing is to make sure it’s waterproof. Most metal detectors are waterproof up until the control box. Covers can be purchased for the control box, which are easy to slip on and off using Velcro.

Alternatively, use a clear plastic bag to cover the controls. Make sure it’s attached tight to stop water leaking in, and that you can see the screen through the plastic. 

Equally important is protecting yourself. No one wants to get sick because they’ve spent the day standing in a muddy field in the rain. Cover yourself in a raincoat, and make sure to stay warm. You may want to pack a change of clothes, especially if you’re travelling long distances. 

At this point, you might think the best way to solve both of these problems is with an umbrella. After all, an umbrella can cover both you and your equipment. Once you’ve started out, you’ll quickly realize the problem.

With the umbrella in your hands, the detector becomes impossible to maneuver. Stick to the raincoat, and save yourself the hassle. You may also find that using a metal detector with an umbrella is causing some odd behavior – mainly, your detector is finding nothing but the umbrella handle.

The final consideration is headphones. If you’re heading out with a pair of headphones, use a hood or wide brimmed hat to keep them safe, and tuck any wires under your coat.

Headphones are particularly useful for hearing your metal detector in heavy rain, but make sure to stay alert. With headphones in, hood up, and rain falling, it can be easy to lose track of what’s happening around you.

Once you have these precautions in place, you’re ready to head out. Using a metal detector in the rain  is pretty much the same as using it in the dry (just with more mud).

The rain can actually carry its own advantages – for a start, you might not have to fight for space. A popular site on a sunny day can be an impossible place to use a metal detector. Relaxing afternoons turn into awkwardly small searches, and you can feel the curious eye of every person around. The rain, however, tends to turn everyone away.

If you’re curious about metal detecting on the beach, the rain can actually be the best time to go. It may not feel particularly pleasant, but it’s one of the few times you can get a good stretch of sand to yourself.

For some, metal detecting in the rain isn’t a choice – it’s a necessity. Depending on where you live, sunny days can be few and far between.

And when they do come, they don’t always line up with your free time. Light drizzle is the companion of many metal detector enthusiasts, who have to make the most of whatever time they have available.

One thing you don’t want to do is use a metal detector in a thunderstorm. If storms seem on the horizon, you should pack up and head home. Lightning is also a voracious metal detector, although it doesn’t just beep to indicate what it’s found. Being in an open field carrying a metal detector in a thunderstorm is an incredibly bad idea. 

Using the Metal Detector After the Rain

Although going out in the rain is a matter of personal choice, many agree that after the rain is one of the best times to use a metal detector. 

One of the main reasons for heading out after the rain is the ease of digging. Damp mud is easier to dig through than dry dirt, and it can often be shoveled out of the way with little effort. Particularly heavy rain may have also helped wash away the top layer of dirt, leaving any possible finds closer to the surface.

The second reason is that conductivity works better through water than air, so you can potentially find more in damp soil. The metal detector can find things buried deeper into the ground, thanks to the rain saturated mud. These signals might be coming from pretty deep down, however, so it’s a good job the wet mud is easier to dig through.

The final reason for using a metal detector after a rain shower is that the crowds are still likely to be kept away. The mud that lends itself for metal detecting puts off hikers, walkers, and picnickers. It’s also likely to turn away fellow metal detector fans who prefer to wait for a dry day.

Even if you don’t go out during a shower, it’s worth waiting around for the rain to stop. Your metal detector can pick up more, and it’s easier to get to whatever you’ve found. Just be sure to pack your waterproofs.



Written by Gavin Bowler

Keen history and blogging enthusiast. I love metal detecting. Read more of Gavin's articles.