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How Metal Detectors Work

Walking through a metal detector has become a common part of our lives as terrorism and other threats encroach upon our everyday lives. It is now common, and expected, to see metal detectors at stadiums, airports, concert venues, and large public gatherings.

But, have you ever thought about exactly how they detect the metal objects that are concealed on a person?

Watch the Video Below


Enclosed within the hardware you walk through, electricity is used in conjunction with coils of wire to create an invisible and contained magnetic field. When a metal object breaks the magnetic field, the system supporting the magnetic field creates visual and audio cues. This is very similar to music speakers that are found in every vehicle and home. Speakers use an electric current flowing through a coil to generate a magnetic field. This field interacts with the field of a permanent magnet to make a diaphragm move and produce sound.

How They Work

Walk-through metal detectors use their internally created magnetic fields to sense when a new magnetic field is created by a piece of metal. The detection fields are large and monitor the entire walkway through the system, making it impossible to sneak an object through the field. When an alert occurs on a modern system, the metal detector pinpoints the location of the hidden object and provides staff with a visible indicator of the object, prompting further investigation. Security staff may then choose to use a handheld metal detector or conduct a hands-on investigation.


The public is generally aware of metal detector safety, but this wasn’t always the case. Early reports of dangerous radiation have been quelled by the Health Physics Society. The society was responsible for creating a fact sheet that is now used by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and other authorities to clearly outlined the safe use of metal detectors.

Modern Technology

Modern walk-through metal detectors are used in airports, stadiums, and business offices with a variety of aesthetic and functional designs. Internally, they range from simple to complex fields with multiple detection zones and pinpoint identification of one or more metal objects. Multiple zone technology can shorten investigation time and minimize lines of airport travelers, sports enthusiasts, and music fans. The ZKteco WMD433 walk-through metal detector, for example, provides up to 33 detection zones for pinpoint metal detection accuracy. Technology like this can also distinguish between dangerous metal objects and harmless everyday objects like wristwatches, belt buckles, and coins.

Manufacturing Excellence, Value and World-Class Support

ZKTeco, with its U.S. office in Fairfield, New Jersey, is an industry leader in walk-through and handheld metal detector solutions. ZKTeco is known for their unmatched technical innovation, fast product-to-market capabilities, and responsive and reliable USA-based support teams. The team will assist end users and security dealers with system design for their lobby and entrance points. What’s more, investing in ZKTeco metal detectors, buyers get more for less money! Our metal detectors feature 33 zones vs.18-24 zones on average from other manufacturers. When you look at value coupled with great sales, tech support and training ZKTeco Metal detectors stand above the rest.

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