Can Metal Detectors Detect Aluminum?

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Metal Detector Tips & Tricks
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Since you’ve reached this page, it is highly likely that you’re wondering about what types of metals a metal detector can actually detect. Typically, you would think that a metal detector could sense any metal, hence the name “metal” detector. However, these devices can only detect a few on the periodic table.

So, can metal detectors detect aluminum? The short answer is, yes. Most detectors can sense aluminum but only if you can adjust the settings. In fact, you’ll likely need a device where you can adapt conductivity sensors.

If you’re still confused, don’t worry as we will go into details of how metal detectors work.

What Metals Do Metal Detectors Detect?

A metal detector can usually detect three different types of metals: ferrous metals, nonferrous metals, and stainless steel. Each of these metals is very different in composition and can commonly be found in coins, jewelry, and antiques.

Stainless Steel

The first type is stainless steel. This type of metal features little conductivity and is the most difficult to detect. Stainless steel is used in a wide variety of products ranging from tools, kitchenware, to car parts.

Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals are commonly found in items crafted using either carbon steel or cast iron. Many of these types of materials are used to craft kitchenware, staples, and jewelry. So, what characterizes this type of metal, really?

Typically, ferrous metals have a high magnetic threshold, which means that they have a high conductivity. You’ll likely be able to detect them with any metal detector, regardless of your settings. Although, any items made from this material type is likely not going to be worth much money.

Nonferrous Metals

On the other hand, there are non-ferrous metal types, which usually contain gold, silver, brass, and zinc. These metal types don’t have magnetic properties and require specific settings in order to detect them.

Luckily, objects made with nonferrous metals are worth a bit of money and are rare finds when you’re hunting for objects.

Aluminum is another type of nonferrous metal, which means that it doesn’t include any magnetic properties. To track it down, you will need to adjust the sensors to detect nonferrous metals. This is usually done through either pre-set modes or conductivity and sensitivity settings.

Can Metal Detectors Detect Aluminum?

Rumors are going around that aluminum is able to block metal detectors and x-rays from being able to scan the surrounding area. As much as you’ve probably heard this rumor, it’s untrue.

In truth, it is another myth that was passed down from generation to generation. Aluminum can’t block these sensors unless it’s in a very thick layer.

Objects made from foil are often made from very thinly pressed foil, which wouldn’t cause too much harm when blocking. That means you can use your metal detector without the worry of aluminum or aluminum foil from interfering with your hunt.

Why Does Aluminum Cause Issues?

Instead of not being able to detect aluminum, you may run into the opposite problem. In fact, if your metal detector is set to pick up nonferrous materials, then you will probably find more aluminum than other metals.

Why is that? This is because cans, kitchenware, and other packaging tend to include aluminum.

As a treasure finder, you may be excited when you hear your metal detector beep. However, once you’ve dug your treasure, you may be saddened to find that it’s a piece of scraps. Luckily, metal detectors with upgrades can sort small items from bigger objects.

So, What Aluminum Items Are Valuable?

Aluminum can also be found in bike parts, electronics, and tokens. If you’re looking to break the bank with these items, you likely won’t find anything rare. Although, companies often pay a decent amount of money to melt aluminum down and recycle it into reusable material.

What Setting/s Should You Use On My Metal Detector?

If you don’t know how to adjust the settings to your liking, or your metal detector tends to lack customization features, you can always set the device to search for relics.

Most detectors come with three to five settings, which can be used to find different kinds of metals. Using the individual modes helps you sort what type of metals the machine is detecting.

Overall, we believe that using the modes can help. However, you should also remember that aluminum comes in all shapes and forms, and may hinder your ability to find rare objects.

Should You Use a Specific Type of Metal Detector for Aluminum?

As you may know, there are different types of metal detectors on the market. So, how do you know which one to use to detect aluminum?

While you could go the traditional route and use a full metal detector, we’d recommend handheld airport metal detectors. What makes these better for detecting aluminum?

These types often have higher detection rates for non-ferrous material compared to other types of metal. Plus, most models tend to be small enough to use indoors and outdoors. So, whether you’re trying to find aluminum jewelry, scraps, or leftover recyclables, an airport detector is usually best.

Should You Even Look For Aluminum?

Honestly, in the end, it all comes down to what type of materials you’re looking to find. If you’re aiming for valuables, then we’d recommend that you don’t waste your time with aluminum. However, if you’re looking for scrap metals that you can melt down and reuse, then aluminum is pretty useful.

Overall, we wouldn’t recommend purchasing a metal detector to find aluminum, as you can end up finding empty soda cans, wrappers, and other trash. These tend not to yield much return as far as an investment goes.

Final Thoughts

With today’s technology, metal detectors have improved to be more sophisticated and sort through multiple types of metals. If you’re looking for a more convenient method for finding treasures, you should invest in a handheld metal detector that can be used indoors and outdoors.

Now that you know whether or not can metal detectors detect aluminum, are you still looking to buy one?

Aluminum may not be worth the investment for some, which is perfectly fine as most people invest in finding valuable items. Then again, we can say that whether you want to avoid aluminum or find it for scraps, it’s much easier to do using a metal detector with adjustable settings.

4 responses to “Can Metal Detectors Detect Aluminum?

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  3. Steven Z says:

    I really need a metal detector which can used to detect slim aluminum bar buried since I am a surveyor and aluminum bar was a type of survey marker used in the past. I am excited to read this article over and would like to know an example of metal detector for aluminum.

    1. The Metal Search says:

      Basically metal detectors can detect two types of metal. One is a ferrous metal and another one is a nonferrous metal. You can have both functions in your detector. You will set it for the nonferrous mode to find aluminum. I think this is a good detector to serve your purpose.

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