8 Walkthrough Metal Detectors You Should Consider For Your Security

metal detectors for crowds airports business

Walkthrough metal detectors are something we’re accustomed to when flying. We don’t really think about it: we know it keeps us and everyone else safe. And depending on where you work or go to school, metal detectors may also be a daily occurrence for many.

Perhaps you are considering walkthrough metal detectors for your place of business or education. Where do you start?

The fact is, there are many options available when it comes to metal detectors, all at varying price points and with different features. For those who are concerned about the budget, there are low-feature options such as the Zorpro 18-zone metal detector.  Another is the Metor 6M, which can be set up in minutes with no prior experience.

Some of the big daddies at the top of the food chain are the Garrett PD6500i and RapiScan Metor 6E. These models boast super-accurate 33-point displays and robust security. The Metor even has optional radiation detection.

In order to get a better idea of which metal detector to choose, it helps to know the answer to one question…

How do walkthrough metal detectors work anyway?

walkthrough metal detector with 33 zonesMost metal detectors use either pulse or continuous wave technology. In short, a surge of electricity is passed through a copper wire coil, which creates an electromagnetic field. As metal passes through this field, sensors detect the reflected magnetic field from these metal objects. This magnetic field then reacts with the receiver coil, which, in turn, triggers the alarm.

This is where the capability range of metal detectors can be seen. For instance, while some metal detectors can only sense ferrous (iron-based) objects, others have the ability to detect non-ferrous metal objects. High-end metal detectors have the ability to sense smaller objects, while some cheaper models have less sensitivity and can only detect larger ones.

When an object is found, an alarm sounds and indicator light strips activate, indicating where the object is. This is where higher-end models shine as well. Cheaper units usually only indicate 6, or 10 zones, while the strongest ones can accurately pinpoint up to 33 zones or more. This is illustrated in the graphic on the right.

Now that we have an idea of how they work, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. With all the options out there, which ones are the best? We’ll break down our favorites below in 3 categories:

  • Budget-Friendly : Two models on the lower end of the price spectrum, that still perform well.
  • Top-of-the-Line : Four of the most expensive, but dependable, feature-loaded metal detectors. You’ll get what you pay for.
  • Bang-For-Your-BuckTwo options that strike a balance between low price point and versatile capabilities.

Budget Friendly

metor 6m walkthrough metal detectorRapiScan Metor 6M

RapiScan is an internationally-recognized company, with over 100,000 x-ray scanners and metal detectors installed in over 170 countries. The M model is the cheapest version of the Metor 6 line. With 20 detection zones, it’s a pretty accurate machine for such a low price tag. Suited mostly for weapons detection, this is a fine choice for school and campus applications.

Some key features include:

  • IP55 protection: Safe against the intrusion of foreign objects or water. Can easily be used outdoors.
  • Intelligent traffic counters: Built with intelligent and virtually invisible traffic counters which are integrated inside the coil panels.
  • Location display: 20 segment zone display locates the alarmed item(s) on a person quickly enhancing the screening process and throughput.
  • Enhanced features for easier usability: Automated sensitivity, frequency calibration, and floor sensitivity functions, make the calibration process easy, eliminating the time-consuming trial and error method.
  • Limited 2-year warranty: parts only.

Bonus:

All Metor walkthrough metal detectors have the option to be equipped with RapiScan’s radiation detection technology. It helps to screen people for contamination, as well as theft of nuclear materials.

RapiScan Metor 6S

This mid-range version of the Metor features super high-sensitivity scanning technology. It’s been certified to locate the smallest ferrous and non-ferrous objects through a 20-zone segment. That includes items such as razor blades, handcuff keys, detonator caps, coins, jewelry, microprocessors, memory chips, etc. The 6S is ideal for use in prisons and other high-profile locations, such as for facility asset protection. This is a high-value machine.

Some key features include:

  • NIJ standard 0601.02: Complies with NIJ Standard 0601.02 (USA), fulfilling the requirements for corrections and law enforcement agencies.
  • Random alarm function: The model has a random alarm function that enables security personnel to randomly choose individuals for an additional security check.
  • Radiation detection: Can be integrated with radiation detection capability to combine multi-threat detection of both metal and radioactive materials. The configuration enables either gamma or gamma/neutron detection options.
  • Intelligent traffic counters: Built with intelligent and virtually invisible traffic counters which are integrated inside the coil panels.
  • Location display: 20 segment zone display locates the alarmed item(s) on a person quickly enhancing the screening process and throughput.
  • Enhanced features for easier usability: Automated sensitivity, frequency calibration, and floor sensitivity functions, make the calibration process easy, eliminating the time-consuming trial and error method.
  • Limited 2-year warranty: parts only.

Bonus:

The Metor 6S is immune to electromagnetic interference and vibration, which makes it easy to install in even demanding environments. That means several units can be placed in close proximity to one another without issue.

Top of the Line

Some applications require more robust walkthrough metal detectors, machines that can spot tiny pieces of metal. Things like coins, shanks, pocket knives, and more. The models in this section feature this kind of sensitivity, plus more. They’re ideal for securing prisons, law enforcement agencies, and airports. Plus they can be used in banks and other institutions where asset recovery and theft prevention is a priority.

Garret PD 6500igarrett pdi6500i

Check here for current pricing and availability.

Garrett is a trusted name in the security industry. They created the first walkthrough metal detector, and have been making handheld and walkthrough metal detectors for over 50 years. The PD 6500i is the latest iteration of their flagship model.

As stated on their website, the PD6500i leads the industry with superior pinpoint technology. Not only does it utilize a 33-zone detection system, but also dual detection scanners. Both panels have detection scanners on either side, increasing the model’s ability to pinpoint weapons and contraband objects. Despite the advanced features though, the price is a bit steep.

Some key features include:

  • garrett pd6500i pacing lightsMore than 20 standard programs designed for airports, courthouses, prisons, schools, facilities, special events, mass transit, loss prevention and many other applications.
  • Pacing lights at the entrance display universal “wait” and “proceed” symbols for traffic control.
  • Advanced broadband detection technology provides superior target analysis, ferrous and non-ferrous weapons detection, discrimination and higher throughput.
  • International security standards—The PD 6500i meets the world’s highest test certifications.
  • Directional counter with four settings for counting (forward, reverse, subtract in reverse, and bi-directional).
  • Networking ability: CMA provides networking, remote control, monitoring, data analysis and group management.
  • Meets IP55/65 standards for moisture and foreign matte protection.
  • Tamper-proof: All settings are secured with a key lock and two levels of access codes. Further security is accomplished with a cabinet lock which prevents unauthorized access to physical cables, connectors, and electronics.
  • Limited 24-month warranty: parts and labor.
  • Internal USB port for updating software

Bonus:

Casters and battery packs are available for an additional cost, making it ideal for special applications such as concerts and sporting events. The unit can easily be moved by one person.

zorpro 33

Zorpro 33

Check here for current pricing and availability.

The Zorpro 33 is their most feature-rich (and expensive) metal detector. It has similar features to the Garrett PD6500i, including a 33-zone pinpoint detection, while costing roughly $1,000 less. This particular model also boasts high sensitivity, detecting metal objects 6 grams or larger.

Some key features include:

  • Advanced 7in Touch Screen: Zorpro claims to have the only metal detector with a touch screen interface. It’s a feature that certainly makes adjusting settings and options are easy for anyone.
  • Over 90 pre-programmed settings: including courthouses, schools, nightclubs and more. Simply choose your application and you’re ready to go.
  • Mobile connection technology: Available mobile app allows for easy remote upgrade and control.
  • Adjustable sensitivity of each detection zone, multiple alarm sounds to choose from.
  • Easy setup: Can easily be installed and running in 30 minutes or less.

Bonus:

Like Garrett, casters are available as an add-on, making it easy to move.

fisher lab m-scope portable metal detector

Fisher Labs M-Scope Portable Metal Detector

Check here for current pricing and availability.

Fisher Labs has been in the security business since 1931. You could say they know a thing or two. Proof of that is their impressive M-Scope Portable Metal Detector. With 3 large detection zones, it’s not the highest-powered unit on our list. Instead, its strength and sophistication lie in its portability and mobility.

The M-Scope is fully collapsible, shrinking down to the size of a large piece of luggage. It can even fit in the back of a car. This makes it easy to store and transport. On top of that, it’s fully battery-powered, chargeable to 40 hours of use. This makes it ideal for sporting events, disaster response, and nightclubs. The M-Scope has also been used by police and national security when quick vetting of crowds in public spaces has been required.

compact m-scope metal dtectorSome key features include:

  • Single person assembly without tools, in less than 5 minutes.
  • 100 Levels of Sensitivity Adjustable according to the need.
  • Environmentally sealed keypad with security access control discourages tampering.
  • Memory Feature: Stores settings for multiple operations.
  • Multi-Mode Traffic Counter: Can track forward and backward traffic flow.
  • Factory and User Definable Presets: Customizable for the needs of the client or specific event.

Bonus:

The M-Scope is the lightest model on our list. At just 83 pounds, it’s roughly half the weight of other competitors.

Garret MZ6100

garrett mz6100 with slider

Check here for current pricing and availability.

The baby brother of Garrett’s PD6500i, the MZ6100 is competitively-priced with adequate features. 20 detection zones mean a fair amount of scanning power, and it’s water- and dust-proof design means it can be safely used outdoors.

Operator adjustments are simple, thanks to intuitive menu design and a convenient slider bar to quickly adjust the value of a detector setting. And like the PD6500i, the optional casters make for easy movement.

Some key features include:

  • Advanced synchronization: Internal circuitry and 4 selectable channels allow any quantity of MZ detectors to operate as closely as 2 inches from each other. As a result, checkpoints can be more effective and flexible.
  • Optimum Performance: More than 15 application programs engineered for schools, airports, special events, prisons, courthouses, facilities, mass transit, loss prevention, and other applications.
  • Intuitive Menu Design: 32-character menu prompts are easy for users to understand, and the slider bar makes adjustments quick and simple.
  • Auto-Scan Function: Scans the electromagnetic environment and selects optimal frequency for noise cancellation.

Bonus:

The MZ has the option of casters and battery backups, meaning easy movement and no cords. Plus, the software can be easily upgraded even when out in the field.

Bang-For-Your-Buck

We’ve talked about the metal detectors on each end of the spectrum when it comes to cost as well as capability. Now we’ll take a look at a few models that land somewhere in the middle. We’re talking maximum value.

Most schools and other lower-security locations won’t need some of the features that high-end metal detectors have. So there’s not necessarily a need to spend the extra money. Unless of course, you think students might be smuggling nuclear material…

The models highlighted in this section are some of the cheapest on the market. That being said, even if you’re paying less, you want metal detectors that will actually do the job. With this in mind, here are our favorites.

zorpro 6 zone walkthrough metal detectorZorPro 18

Check here for current pricing and availability.

While perhaps not as well-known as other security companies, Zorpro has been in the security equipment industry for over 15 years. Their entry-level model is built with a light aluminum frame, and an 18-zone detection aperture. Ideal for schools, malls, airports and more.

Some key features include:

  • Adjustable sensitivity of each detection zone. Can be done remotely.
  • 72 pre-programmed applications for courthouses, schools, and many more.
  • Adjustable operating frequency, both manually or automatically.
  • Record statistics: Automatically keeps track of how many pass through, as well as the number of alarms.
  • High sensitivity – can detect coin in the center of the aperture.
  • Limited 2-year warranty

Bonus:

All Zorpro models, including the 18-zone, ship free within the USA.

metor 6e walkthroughRapiScan Metor 6E

The Metor 6E features incredibly accurate scanning, with a whopping 60 pinpoint locations made up of 20 vertical and 3 horizontal zones. The precision of the 6E’s detection makes it a good choice for airports, sporting events, and other high-traffic applications.

  • Adjustable detection zones: The Metor 6E has multiple independently adjustable detection zones to ensure uniform detection throughout. It uses a unique multi-channel technology combined with powerful processing capacity.
  • Industry-leading 60 point detection zone, the most of all walkthrough metal detectors on our list.
  • Alarm distribution data: Allows for a more in-depth analysis of alarm locations and optimization of the unit’s passenger flow.
  • Radiation detection: Can be integrated with radiation detection capability to combine multi-threat detection of both metal and radioactive materials. The configuration enables either gamma or gamma/neutron detection options.
  • Intelligent traffic counters: Built with intelligent and virtually invisible traffic counters which are integrated inside the coil panels.
  • Enhanced features for easier usability: Automated sensitivity, frequency calibration, and floor sensitivity functions, make the calibration process easy, eliminating the time-consuming trial and error method.
  • Limited 2-year warranty: parts only.

Cream of the crop

Many of the walkthrough metal detectors we’ve considered have similar features and benefits. Depending on the location and application, some models may be the better choice over another.

There’s no right or wrong choice, per se. But, if we had to choose favorites, Zorpro models probably edge out the competition in terms of value. With their combination of rich features, high-sensitivity, and comparatively low price tag, they’re a good choice for multiple applications.

Then again, no one ever got fired for playing it safe and buying a Garrett.

List of walkthrough metal detectors we reviewed:

 

Are metal detectors appropriate for school security? Have a look at a recent article we researched and published that discusses the pros and cons of metal detectors in schools.

 

BeSafe Technologies Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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