This is Infologue’s annual rankings of the best handheld metal detector security wands available in the UK this year. The rankings are based on research conducted by Interconnective Security Products who have tested every metal detector wand on this list. The rankings take into account sensitivity, price, reliability and suitability for use by UK security personnel.
Description: It is no surprise that the Garrett Super Scanner V takes the top spot this year. It is the world’s most recognisable, and most copied, hand held metal detector wand for a reason. Used in almost every country in the world, it is the go-to security wand for almost every major international organisation. When buying, always ensure that its a genuine Garrett and that it is the Super Scanner V and not just the Super Scanner.
Features: The Garrett Super Scanner V has a very wide and long detection area with both audio and vibrating alarms. It is highly robust and the most reliable handheld metal detector wand on the market, able to be used for years without issue. It is designed to take a fair amount of wear and tear and has a level of longevity that most competitors do not. There is an earphone jack in the side of the device should you want to hear the alerts discreetly.
Sensitivity: This was the surprising part about our tests with this security wand. In terms of sensitivity it was able to surpass most of the “ultra-sensitive” metal detectors when searching for small masses of metal in the target’s pockets. During testing it was able to detect a sim card through a jeans pocket at close proximity. This means that it will also pick up loose change and other small items which can be a double-edged sword depending on what you are looking for and what your SOPs are.
Price: £140.64 ex VAT
Summary: While more expensive than most of the other options on this list, the Garrett Super Scanner V is well worth the money. Just holding it, you can feel the quality of its’ construction. Interestingly, all Garrett products are made in the USA. If you are looking for a long-term, reliable security wand metal detector with high sensitivity, then this is going to be your best option.
Description: This one came as a bit of a surprise. Yes, it is a Super Scanner copy but it is made by reputable hobbyist metal detector manufacturer, Nokta Makro. From a design perspective, it looks like the idea was to just slap as many features into it as they could. Its smaller than the Garrett and not quite as sturdy but does have a lot going for it.
Features: This is where the Nokta shines. It has adjustable sensitivity which makes it a more versatile security detector than the Garrett if you have to swap between knife/gun searches and small items of jewelry. It has a battery level indicator to keep you updated on the charge level. It also comes with a signal strength indicator that gives you an idea on how big the mass of metal is relative to the current sensitivity. While of dubious utility, it is certainly an interesting idea and looks cool.
Sensitivity: As the Nokta Ultra Scanner has adjustable sensitivity, we can only compare the highest sensitivity in order to be fair. It is not as sensitive as the Garrett Super Scanner V but is more than sensitive enough to detect smaller metal knives and objects. It cannot detect a sim card through a jeans pocket, however.
Price: £90.80 ex VAT
Summary: The Nokta Ultra Scanner is a decent professional security detector with some interesting features and decent build quality. It is this with the very low price that pushes it up into second place and makes it a worthwhile choice.
Description: This is the first “Chinese security wand” on the list. We were very careful which of these metal detectors to include because they are very hit and miss between brands with many being copies of copies with little to no consistency between them. If you look online, you will see a massive range of prices for the same metal detector wands but with different names and different levels of quality. The EasyNew PD-140 is thankfully very recognizable with a single manufacturer. The device is clearly a copy of the Ceia metal detectors, or the Nokta Makro NMS range which as also Ceia copies but just better quality. They are however much smaller and lighter at a fraction of the price.
Features: Designed to look like an analogue Ceia/Nokta NMS20, the EasyNew PD-140 Metal Dectector Wand has twist dials in its control panel that let you cycle between 3 sensitivities. There is also a rocker switch that allows you to switch between audio and vibrate alerts. It has a twist to close battery compartment cap which is normally used for waterproofing but this device is not waterproofed so it appears to be just to keep it in line with the devices it is imitating.
Sensitivity: This security detector actually performed better than the Nokta Ultra Scanner in sensitivity testing but not as well as the Garrett Super Scanner V. It can detect smaller masses of metal than most security wands though not as small as the aforementioned Garrett. The lower sensitivity options allow you to scale back and look for only larger things like knives and guns.
Price: £80 ex VAT
Summary: The EasyNew PD-140 Metal Detector Wand is a good option for those who need a low-cost device with higher sensitivity. Its build quality is not up to the Garrett or even Nokta level but it is well-made for a “Chinese security wand”. It also does not have the waterproofing of the other two models so it is best used indoors. Its high sensitivity and low-price earn it the number 3 slot.
Description: Adams metal detectors have been widely used in the UK security arena for decades. The Adams AD11-2 and the Adams AD11-V are the next step up from the AD10-2. We have put these devices together because the only difference between them is that one has mute and the other vibrate. They also have a different colour rocker switch. They are also assembled in the UK despite being an American brand.
Features: These hand metal detector wands are fairly straight forward with a preset sensitivity and single rocker switch to turn on/off and alternative alert mode. They are much more narrow than most of their competitors which is a double edged sword. They require more motion to cover the same area but are easier to manoeuvre.
Sensitivity: The Adams AD11-2 and the Adams AD11-V are not high sensitivity hand metal detector wands. They are pre-set to detect larger masses such as knives and guns.
Price: £94 ex VAT
Summary: Adams metal detectors are more reliable than most Chinese metal scanners and while they are not the most sensitive, they do the job and they come in at a reasonable price.
Description: The Nokta NMS20 is a rechargeable, waterproof security wand with high, adjustable sensitivity and an advanced push button control panel. It was clearly designed to compete with Ceia metal detectors and in many way surpasses them. It is a longer and heavier device than many of the others listed but appears to be made to a very high standard.
Features: Nokta Makro have a habit of cramming as many features in as possible. The NMS20 comes with its own docking station, has a keypad control, is IP67 rated, has 3 sensitivity levels, a signal strength indicator and a rebar elimination feature. Oh, and it is also rechargeable.
Sensitivity: The NMS20 is right up there with the Garrett Super Scanner V in terms of sensitivity and can pick up small masses of metal like sim cards.
Price: £232.50 ex VAT
Summary: Pound for pound, the Nokta NMS20 is objectively the “best” hand held security wand. It gives a lot but asks a pretty hefty price tag. It is still cheaper than the Ceia metal detectors it competes with and offers a lot for your money. It is only number 5 due to price being a larger concern for most security teams than special features.
Description: So now we are getting deeper into the “Chinese” metal detector wands. This generic Super Wand was the best out of the cheap Super Scanner copies that we tested. It is made to look like a Garrett Super Scanner except that it is smaller and less refined in its construction with the words Super Scanner across the detection area instead of Garrett.
Features: It works much in the same way as a Garrett does, the same shape with one pre-set sensitivity level. It has vibrate and audio alerts. It comes with a belt holster as well.
Sensitivity: This detects in a similar range to the Adams AD11-2s and AD11-Vs. It is not designed to be high-sensitivity but instead aims at larger masses such as knives and guns.
Summary: If you are not a large security company that needs a long term device and just need a security wand for an indoor event, then this will work fine. It is not going to last you years but it is more reliable than most of the junk you see on Amazon/Ebay. It is not a replacement for a professional security detector like the Garrett Super Scanner V or the Nokta Ultra Scanner but it will do the job on a budget.
Description: The Garrett Superwand is a long probe style metal detector that detects on all sides of the probe. This confusingly named Garrett wand is not your traditional security wand but works well for doing more articulate searches where moving around bends and curves is required.
Features: The Garrett Superwand is a single sensitivity metal detector with the choice of audio and vibrating alerts. It has an ergonomically designed grip and is well made.
Sensitivity: It has decent sensitivity albeit less than the Garrett Super Scanner V.
Price: £166.50 ex VAT
Summary: The Garrett Superwand is great for very specific uses. If you have to search boxes or crates with corners and bends then it is your best option. While it can double as a security wand for standard searches, there are better options for the price.
Features: This handheld security scanner emits a different pitch depending on the size of the mass detected relative to the sensitivity. It has two pre-set sensitivities and a decently sized search area. It also has a low battery indicator.
Sensitivity: This actually faired a little better than the Adams models in terms of sensitivity. It is not what can be described as high sensitivity but is more than enough to detect offensive weapons at a decent range.
Price: £35 ex VAT
Summary: If you need a decently built handheld security scanner with good sensitivity for less than £40, the GC-1001 is a good choice. A word of warning, the high-pitched squeal it makes when it detects a large mass of metal can be somewhat amusing.
Description: Somewhat confusingly, this Super Wand is neither a traditional security wand nor a probe-style metal detector like its Garrett namesake. The EasyNew Super Wand is a “Chinese” metal scanner with an ovular detection area.
Features: The Easy New Super Wand is a lightweight, pre-set sensitivity hand held metal scanner with audio and vibration alerts. Aside from its unique shape, it is fairly run of the mill.
Sensitivity: It is fairly consistent with the sensitivity of other “Chinese” metal scanners and will detect larger masses such as knives and guns.
Price: £24.17 ex VAT
Summary: This item makes the list due to its interesting shape and low-price. It functions much in the same way as other security wands except with a two-pronged search area.
Description: This super scanner copy should be a familiar site as it is the most widely sold white-label security wands in the UK under a very wide range of prices and names. It is the lowest cost security wand to buy from China and as such is widely sold with massive mark-ups.
Features: It has two pre-set sensitivities and audio and vibrate alarms. It has a reasonably wide body but the detection area is not the full length/width of the body so it is smaller than expected.
Sensitivity: It can pick up knives and guns but will struggle with smaller masses.
Price: £14 ex VAT
Summary: The problem here is reliability. There seems to be little Q&A involved in its production which leads to varying results and limited longevity. It is however dirt cheap (from Interconnective, some places sell it at upwards of £60) which makes it an option if you just need a security metal detector wand for a single event or for a short period. We have SIA license trainers who use these as part of their courses because they are so low-cost and they don’t mind them getting a little beat up.
*Disclaimer: These rankings represent the personal opinions of the Interconnecvtive team who tested the metal detectors above and not that of Infologue.com.