Originally Posted by JaSkynyrd
I have always been interested in metal detecting. The house where we vacation every year is on a small river and there is a metal detector there. I always spend a few hours detecting on the river bank. I've never found anything really neat but I love the idea that you never know what your going to find. I think it's a pretty cheap detector though. I have a detector on my Christmas list this year, is there a sub $200 detector worth recommending to my wife for her to buy me?
Honestly, the old saying applies - you get what you pay for. It will work and probably be good for a beginner, but if you plan on getting into it as a hobby (it's an addiction for me...) then you may want to rethink your choice. My two favorite brands are White's and Tejon - they both are great detectors and have several different models to fit one's price range. I have a White's MXT that my Dad got for me 5 years ago (it was around $800 then but similar, if not cheaper now) that I love - I know this machine like the back of my hand and have found a lot of things with it.
Used detectors may also be an option, too. There are a few detecting forum (findmall, treasure depot, etc., off the top of my head) where you can get a good used one for a great deal. Research is the key!
I find that White's is a great brand, but then again I am somewhat biased!
You say you hunt around a river bed? High ground near your place can be a great place for an old house site - look for old, big trees (big oaks are a good sign where I am from). Also, do some scouting of the area - any fields nearby? If so, look for glass or broken pottery (plates, cups, etc.) - this is a sure sign of past occupation...
Where do you live? Do some research - there are places to detect, it just takes a little time! There is a lot of good stuff in TN!!