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How Many Budding Metal Detectorists Are there?

How Many Budding Metal Detectorists Are there?

Metal Detector Statistics

How many metal detectorists are there? And how many people would quite fancy a go even if they haven't already?

We absolutely love getting out and about in a bid to find hidden treasures and we desperately wanted to know how many others in the UK feel the same. So we works with Populus (a fantastic, professional market research company) to conduct a poll to find out.

Between 31st January - 3rd February 2020, Populus conducted an online nationally representative poll of 2,071 people in the UK.

The survey results confirm why kids metal detectors are experiencing an increase in sales!

In addition, we've had a nosey at Google searches to identify how popular a hobby this is based on what people look for online.

The Quick Facts and Figures

Want the quick version? Here are our key findings and you'll find more detail within this article:

  • 43% of Brits would consider trying metal detecting as a hobby
  • 59% of parents with children under the age of 18 feel their children would enjoy metal detecting
  • Google searches for "metal detectors" in the UK are up 49% over the last 5 years

Want more insight? Keep on reading!


How many people would try metal detecting as a hobby?

We opened this short survey, asking respondents if they would ever consider trying metal detecting as a hobby.

  • Overall, 4 in 10 respondents (43%) claimed they would either definitely consider it or may consider it.
  • Of those who would consider it, males (47%) were significantly more likely than females (40%) to consider it at all. Middle aged respondents (45-54) were the most likely age group to consider it as a hobby with 54% agreeing.
  • The C2s and DEs were the most likely segment to also consider it at as a hobby.
  • Among respondents who have children aged 18 or under, over half (54%) would consider trying metal detecting as a hobby, particularly those who had children aged under 5 years old (58%).
  • Over half (55%) of respondents wouldn’t consider trying metal detecting as a hobby. Those aged 65+ were the least likely to consider it with two thirds (66%) of people aged 65+ stating they wouldn’t consider it at all.
  • A small 1% state they already do metal detecting as a hobby.

Do parents think children would enjoy metal detecting?

  • Among respondents who have children aged 18 or under (n=553), we asked them if they think their children would enjoy metal detecting. Overall, 59% felt their children would enjoy it with females agreeing more so (66%) than males (52%). 15% claimed they were unsure if their children would like it or not.
  • Among age, region and social grade, there were no significant differences to report.

View the best kids metal detectors here

Please tell us, in as much detail as you can, your thoughts about metal detecting

  • This question concluded the short survey and was an opportunity for respondents to write their thoughts about metal detecting into a large open text box we provided. Using the verbatim comments, we added all of these into a wordcloud template to establish themes.
  • Overall, respondents felt metal detecting could be interesting, exciting, a hobby, a way to find buried treasure but some respondents also felt it could be a waste of time and boring.

This image shows a 'word cloud' generated from the answer obtained in the survey.  The bigger the word, the more often it appeared.

metal detecting word cloud


The results of the survey suggest that metal detecting is surprisingly popular, with 43% of respondents willing to try metal detecting as a hobby and 59% of respondents believing that their children would enjoy it.

What our search habits tell us about metal detecting

Whenever we want information about, well, anything, millions of us head off to Google. So what better way than to check out information about the number of people searching for "metal detectors," to assess what's happened to demand and interest over time.

We analysed data from and found that the number of searches for "metal detector" in Google UK rose from 22,200 in June 2016 to 33,100 in June 2021. That's a whopping 49% increase in demand in the past 5 years.

We looked at a few other search terms too and here's what we found:

Keyword Searches in Google UK June 2016 Searches in Google UK 2021

% Change

Metal detectors 22,200 33,100 49%
Childrens metal detector 50 720 1340%
buy metal detector 140 210 50%
Best metal detector for beginners 30 390 1200%


It's quite a remarkable increase in demand!

The Covid Pandemic and Metal Detecting

Over the course of we've-lost-count-of-the-number of lockdowns and different phases of restrictions during the Coronavirus pandemic, demand for metal detectors surged.

As with many outdoor activities, the hobby saw an increase as people were only permitted out of their home for exercise and essentials at many points.

Here's how many searches there have been in Google UK each month for "metal detectors," since 2019.

Month Number of Searches for "Metal Detectors" in Google UK
Jan-19 33100
Feb-19 27100
Mar-19 33100
Apr-19 40500
May-19 40500
Jun-19 33100
Jul-19 40500
Aug-19 49500
Sep-19 49500
Oct-19 49500
Nov-19 74000
Dec-19 49500
Jan-20 40500
Feb-20 33100
Mar-20 33100
Apr-20 49500
May-20 60500
Jun-20 49500
Jul-20 60500
Aug-20 60500
Sep-20 40500
Oct-20 49500
Nov-20 60500
Dec-20 49500
Jan-21 40500
Feb-21 49500
Mar-21 40500
Apr-21 40500
May-21 33100
Jun-21 33100


metal detector statistics uk

April, May, June and July 2020 (peak lockdown 1 in the UK) saw significant increases in demand versus the same months of 2019. As the UK has seen restrictions eased, volume is returning to something more like pre-Covid levels. But it's a fair assumption that the pandemic has created many new detectorists in the UK.


  • Arthur Greenway

    As a metal detectorist of some 35 years now this survey was pointless most people today would only look at it as a way of finding treasure for personal gain I got into metal detecting because I was interested in History you would best spend your efforts in trying to gain support amongst the museum’s and there curators as an organised group we can be there best and free tool to unearthing the past

  • Joe

    Finding somewhere to go is the big problem many landowners are not to keen on people wandering around digging holes in the fields

  • MErvyn GOrdon

    Have a detector but restricted .where can you legally use one .

  • Tony Sherwood

    It’s a fantastic hobby, out in the fresh air, keeping fit, and you never know what you’ll find,,, love it!!

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