Magnet Fishing vs Metal Detecting: What is More Rewarding?

“Magnet fishing vs Metal detecting: what is more rewarding” is a question that many have in terms of value gained over time. Both activities are done to find potential rewards but there are a few aspects that make each one unique from the other. Let us take a look at a few differences and see which can be potentially more rewarding.

Before that, let’s take a look at the similarities and the differences first. Figuring out which one is more rewarding isn’t limited to only the value of the items you find. You also have to look at how simple or complex it is, the experiences it can provide, how much time and effort it takes, whether the hard work required will be worth your time or not, and most importantly, whether it is fun or not.

Magnet fishing and metal detecting are usually done by passionate enthusiasts who love the adventure. Both activities involve finding treasures with a magnet and their own special gear. Magnet fishing is simpler but can be more physically demanding. Your finds will typically be bigger and the adventure will be a bit more dangerous. Metal detecting is more complicated and requires more gear to get started. Both activities are fun in their own way, I recommend trying them both.

Magnet Fishing vs Metal Detecting What is More Rewarding

What are the Similarities between Magnet Fishing and Metal Detecting?

Here are a few common aspects to magnet fishing and metal detecting:


Both activities use magnets to find potential rewards and require unique gear and items for maximum efficiency.


Each may have different branching purposes but the main purpose remains the same. Both are done primarily to find unique objects of value.


Not everyone will have the patience to spend hours looking for potential rewards. Those who do magnet fishing or metal detecting are often passionate people who see the value over time rather than quick gratifications.


Both offer a sense of adventure and a certain air of mystery which is very appealing. When you set off to do both, you have no idea what you might find which makes it very interesting. You just might hit the jackpot when you least expect it.

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How is Magnet Fishing and Metal Detecting Different?

Here are how both activities differ from one another:

Water vs Land

Magnet fishing takes place only in water as it entails using a magnet tied to a rope to fish out valuable objects. Metal detecting, however, is done mostly on land as waterproof metal detectors are well known for being very erratic in saltwater.

Amount of Work Required

Magnet fishing can be more taxing than metal detecting because it is done in large water bodies such as lakes or the ocean. You also need to pull objects out of the water which makes it more physically demanding. Metal detecting is easier to do as the objects you discover are just buried, mostly in the sand.

Object Sizes

The items you discover from magnet fishing can be small or big but in metal detecting, most items you find are small to medium-sized.

Gear Needed

When it comes to gear, all you need to start magnet fishing is a powerful magnet, gloves, and a strong synthetic rope, making it much simpler. On the other hand, metal detecting requires you to carry more gear such as a metal detector, headphones, extra search coils, shovels, and so on.

Simple vs More Complicated

Magnet fishing is also a relatively easier activity as it doesn’t require you to listen to different signals, figure out false flags, etc. You just have to throw the magnet into the water and pull out whatever gets attached to it.

However, metal detecting is a bit more complicated. You need to wear noise-canceling headphones to properly listen to signals and use various features such as ground balance to catch false signals. You also need to shift frequencies from time to time depending on the objects you hope to find.


When it comes to safety, magnet fishing is a bit more dangerous especially if you try it out in the ocean. Metal detecting is safer and is even kid-friendly to a certain limit.

Now that we have gone through the various aspects that make them unique from one another, let’s look at the different aspects that make for a fun-filled and rewarding experience. A Rewarding experience can mean many things to different people and both magnet fishing and metal detecting offer you unique opportunities in that regard.

Magnet Fishing vs Metal Detecting: Similarities and Differences Table

Magnet FishingMetal Detecting
Uses magnets to find rewardsUses magnets to find rewards
Great adventureGreat adventure
Filled with passionFilled with passion
Great for the environmentGood for the environment
Possible to make a profitPossible to make a profit
Done in waterDone on land
More physical demandLess physical demand
Less walkingMore walking
Finds are typically largerSmaller finds
Cheaper to start, less gearMore expensive to start, more gear
More dangerousFairly safe, kid friendly

Which One is More Rewarding When it Comes to Effort?

Though most people go for magnet fishing and metal detecting more for the thrill of discovery and adventure, you do have to look at its value when it comes to the amount of effort it requires. We all have busy lives and so would prefer to go for an activity that feels more satisfying. That being said, there is no simple answer to this question as it purely depends on the individual’s preferences.

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Metal detecting involves a lot of walking and moving around whereas magnet fishing is relatively more stationary. You don’t have to move a lot when you are magnet fishing because you do it mostly in a lake or the ocean. If you find nothing in one area, you can throw the magnet in different directions by just standing in one place.

In metal detecting, however, if you don’t find anything, you have to keep walking until you do. So if you prefer sitting in one place and enjoying the moment, you might prefer magnet fishing whereas if you like physical exercise, metal detecting would be better suited for you.

Which One is More Rewarding When it comes to the Environment?

In today’s challenging times, helping the environment is rewarding enough as it’s a heroic and admirable thing to do. No matter how small the effect, it adds up when enough people do it.

If there are a total of a thousand people and each person takes out 10 pieces of trash a day, that’s 10,000 pieces of trash being removed from causing harm to our environment. When it comes to the environment, magnet fishing is far more rewarding than metal detecting. Water is the main source of our lifeline and every day, tons of trash is getting dumped into the ocean.

By fishing out metal objects from the water, magnet fishers all over the world are doing humankind a huge service. Metal, when left in water, starts to rust which is very toxic for fish and other creatures.

By taking out metal objects from the water, you also prevent other people from getting hurt when they enter the water. Metal detecting also helps the environment to a certain degree but not as much as magnet fishing.

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Which One is More Rewarding When it comes to Making Money?

This question is a bit difficult to answer as both activities have the potential to make you very rich. The probability of that happening might be quite low but it can happen. Of course, winning the lottery can happen too.

Given that most of us spend a lot more time on land rather than water makes metal detecting more profitable. You could find a wide variety of items such as unique coins, antique objects, gold, and more if you are lucky. Even if you remove such rare occurrences, on average, you still have better chances of finding higher value items than magnet fishing.

Here is the kicker though. Magnet fishing may not be as rewarding when it comes to making money on a day-to-day basis but when you do find rare loot, it’s usually very high in value. This is especially relevant when it comes to ocean magnet fishing because of its sheer size and scope. Some have found very antique coins, rare collectible items, and even objects of historic importance.

Which One is More Rewarding When it comes to Enjoyment?

The answer to this one is also subjective and will vary from one individual to another. Metal detecting requires a lot of concentration as you have to constantly listen to signals when you move from one place to another. So it’s a bit difficult to enjoy while you are at it. You do however get to explore different terrains and locations and that journey can be rewarding.

Magnet fishing is more of a stationary activity where you need to cast your magnet into the water and see if anything sticks to it. The beauty of this activity is that you can do it on land (from bridges, reefs, beaches) or from a boat. Once you venture into deeper waters, you can pull out a chair, relax, and fish for valuable items.

You can do it according to the pace you prefer so if you don’t like sitting around, you can just move from one place to another and fish for metallic objects. Those who are patient and prefer relaxing while doing it can do that too. This makes magnet fishing an activity that can provide more convenience and joy.


Magnet fishing and metal detecting are both similar and different in their unique ways. Both of them rely a great bit on sheer luck when it comes to generating a profit. So you can’t say one is better than the other. As far as a rewarding experience goes, it depends on the individual. Both present a unique opportunity to explore, discover, and have fun.

Hopefully, with the above points, you now have a better idea of which one might interest you. Do remember not to invest a lot of money for the gear in the beginning no matter which activity you choose. That way, it becomes more about the overall experience and not whether you can break even on the costs.

Enjoy your magnet fishing adventure! If you find anything cool please send us a picture! Tell us your story so we can share it with the other readers!

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Magnet Fishing Adventure

Anthony is passionate about magnet fishing. He likes to go out magnet fishing with his friends. On this site he shares his knowledge, experience, and details about magnet fishing gear and research with you.

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