Gold Panning

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Have you been thinking about doing some gold panning? Wondering which gold pan you should buy?

If you want to make a little bit of extra money while also having a lot of fun, you might want to do some gold panning. If you live in an area where there are lots of rivers and streams or a city that was once popular as a gold mining town, then getting a gold pan and spending some time by the river could end up being well worth it.

In this guide, we’ll help you get started on this interesting and unique hobby. Below we’ll tell you how to choose the best gold panning kits for beginners.

What to Consider When Choosing a Gold Panning Kit

You can buy the individual tools and pieces of equipment that are in a gold panning kit separately. However, it’s typically easier for beginners to buy an entire kit when learning how to pan for gold.

So what should you look for when choosing your first gold panning kit? Here’s what you should take into consideration.

Plastic Vs Metal

One of the things to consider when choosing a gold panning kit is whether your gold pan is made of metal or plastic. While metals such as copper and steel are traditional options for gold pans, they aren’t necessarily the best choices these days.

High-quality plastic materials are often the better choice for beginners. With a plastic gold pan, you can more easily use a magnet to separate gold flecks from sand and dust.

In addition to this, plastic is rust-resistant and lightweight, so it will be even more convenient for these reasons as well.

Pan Sizes

Also, take the size of the pan you buy into consideration. Gold pans can range in size from 8″ to 17″, but a size that’s in the middle of these is usually a good choice for beginners.

A medium size pan will allow you to go through a good amount of materials but will also be fairly portable and easy to carry around.

Pan Colors

While the color of your pan won’t affect the physical process of panning for gold, it will affect your visibility when doing it. You need to be sure that you get a gold panning kit with a color that makes it easy to see gold flecks in contrast to the rocks, debris, and black sand that you gather.

Fortunately, most gold panning kits that are available come with pans that are in high-contrast colors such as green, blue, or black.

Skill Level

While professional gold pans aren’t unreasonably expensive, it’s typically best to use a gold panning kit that is made with your skill level in mind.

A gold panning kit that’s made for an experienced gold panner will likely be more difficult for you to use and you might not get much good out of it. Instead, start with a beginner kit and then upgrade to a different one once you’re a bit more experienced.

Top Gold Panning Kits for Beginners

So which gold panning kits are the best to use as a beginner? Here are some of our favorites.

1. Gold Rush Nugget Bucket

Gold Rush Nugget Bucket


  • Easy to Use
  • Unique Patented Design
  • Lightweight
  • Durable


  • A unique process compared to other panning kits
  • Pricier than other beginner kits

The Gold Rush Nugget Bucket is a very popular gold panning kit that includes all of the tools you’ll need to get started. This kit was even featured on the popular show, The Shark Tank.

The 12″ gold pan is the perfect size to use when starting out as a gold panner. The size is very portable but also allows you to sift through a good amount of material at once. The pan is also very lightweight and durable, so you’ll be able to start prospecting without anything weighing you down.

The Nugget Bucket has a unique design and makes use of a funnel to process materials. While this differs from a classic gold panning kit, it’s well worth buying due to its ingenuity and ease of use.

2. Garrett Deluxe Gold Panning Kit

Garrett Deluxe Gold Panning Kit


  • Several convenient pan sizes are included
  • Includes everything you need to get started
  • Great value


  • The classifier could be easier for beginners to use

Garrett is a popular brand for gold panning supplies, and its Deluxe Gold Panning Kit is well worth the cost. It’s one of the best gold panning kits for beginners that’s available today.

This kit includes all of the essentials that you’ll need to get started with gold panning including 3 green pans that are 10 inches, 14 inches, and 15 inches in diameter. The kit also comes with vials, tweezers, and a classifier. You’ll also find 2 instructional booklets and an informational DVD that will make it even easier to get started with gold prospecting.

Overall, this is a well-put-together gold panning kit to get started with, so be sure to consider this option if you’re a beginner gold prospector.

3. Sluice Fox 2 Gold Pans Prospecting Mining Kit

Sluice Fox 2 Prospecting Mining Kit


  • Includes the basics you need to start panning for gold
  • Very Affordable
  • High-quality gold panning brand


  • Doesn’t include many accessories

If you want to get started with gold panning on a tight budget, then you might want to purchase the Sluice Fox 2 Pan Prospecting Mining Kit.

While this kit doesn’t include as many extras as some of the other options that are available, it includes the bare minimum that you’ll need to get started with gold panning for a great price. This includes 2 12″ pans as well as 1 sniffer bottle.

If you just need to get pans, then this would be a great budget option to consider. However, you might want to look elsewhere if you need a more complete beginner’s package.

Gold Panning FAQs

There are some common questions that newbie gold prospectors tend to ask. In this section, we’ll answer a few of these questions.

Where Should You Look for Gold?

When panning for gold, some of the best places to look include streams, rivers, and bodies of water. To begin your search for gold, you’ll want to find a stream that’s sufficiently deep and that will cover your pan fully. The water should also be steady and clear enough for you to see what’s happening.

Remember that if the current is too strong, it could be more difficult to pan for gold, so you’ll want to find a spot that has a gentler flow instead.

What Color Gold Pan Is Best?

The best color for a gold pan will be a dark color such as black that allows you to see gold easily.

Green is one of the most popular options because it allows you to see the gold as well as the black sand that will accompany it. Other colors that work well include blue and terra cotta.

Can I Make Money Panning for Gold?

If you find gold while panning, you can sell it at a gold store, a jewelry shop, or online.

Not all towns have gold shops and not all jewelry shops will buy gold from you. However, many of them will. You’ll need to check with individual businesses to find out what you can expect from them.

Keep in mind that selling online can be a good option these days. In addition to selling gold on sites such as eBay, there are many gold shops online as well.

Be sure to carefully vet any website that you decide to sell through and verify that they’re legitimate. Do some research and check online reviews before deciding where to sell your gold.

Gold Nugget

Can I Keep Gold If I Find It?

If you find gold while panning, you can keep it or sell it as you see fit. However, remember that you can’t take gold from just anywhere.

In general, you can keep gold that you find on public land or on your private property. However, some public land is protected and will have restrictions in place.

These restrictions could define whether you can take gold, how much you can take, and which specific areas you can pan for gold in. You’ll want to be especially careful to understand the rules and regulations if you’re thinking about panning for gold in a national park, for example.

In addition to this, remember that you shouldn’t pan for gold on someone else’s private property unless you have permission to do so in writing. Be sure that you don’t trespass on purpose or by mistake when panning for gold.

Picking the Ideal Beginner’s Kit

If you’re looking for the best gold panning kits for beginners, you should start by comparing the options above. Each of the kits listed above is newbie-friendly, easy to use, and affordable.

Need more interesting tips and guides? Read over the Southern Portals blog now to discover more helpful travel and adventure advice.

About Admin

Hey, I'm Harrison! I'm the creator of Southern Portals and the writer of many (but not all) of the posts you'll find here. I'm a native of the North GA mountains, an avid traveler, and a singer-songwriter. This website is one of my passion projects and I hope to share a bit of my expertise with the world through it, so I hope you enjoy the articles that you find here. Thanks for reading!

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