What size Gold Pan to Choose?

If you are looking for a new gold pan or buying your first, I will cover the different sizes of Gold Pans and which ones I recommend.

Today you have many pans to choose from.You can get gold pans in sizes: 8‘, 10′, 12’,14 or 18 inch. Color does not matter much but green and black make the gold stand out better in my opinion.

We are not looking for something complicated, some gold pans offer all sorts of strange ways to capture gold. The only upgrade from the basic gold pan I like is the ridges near the sides of the pan and as sharp ridges as possible. It does help in capturing the gold as well as sifting through light material.

We are looking for a pan that has a wide bottom. A narrow bottom means the gold has difficulty getting to the pan’s very bottom. This makes capturing it a lot harder and you likely wash some out while panning.

We are looking for a modern plastic gold pan. The metal ones rust and are heavier. There is just too much downside for the metal pans.

8 Inch: honestly, way too small, not useable for an adult. If you’re trying to introduce your children to the outdoors and prospecting for gold, then it’s perfect. You cannot put much material in so it’s easier to carry in a child’s arms making them more autonomous and giving you more time to prospect! 


10 inch: great for clean up and very easy to transport in your bag. You won’t be sifting through material very fast but for a calm Sunday afternoon with a light bag. Perfect size.


12-14 inch: These are the correct sizes for a fully grown 6′ man.

But which one to choose?

A good rule of thumb for selecting a gold pan is to lay it on the inside of your arm at the elbow crease. If it extends past that toward your fingers, select the next size down.

We also want a pan that is wide at the bottom, certain 14inch pans are only 5 inches wide at the bottom.

By choosing the appropriate sized pan, you will save yourself a lot of backaches.

Here is a good 12 or 14-inch pan: 


18 inch: processes faster but really heavy and strenuous. If you are alone and want to get through a lot of material, 18 inches is for you. From experience, your back will hurt after a day of 18inch. Or maybe it’s just my old back…

I hope you enjoyed the short guide and good luck finding your first pan!

I also have a guide for beginners prospectors

And a guide on how to pan through large rocks, small sand, and black sand, as well as the best places to pan

Latest from the Blog

Top 5 Amazon PayDirt Review

I enjoy spending some money on paydirt. It gets a prospector used to panning and ensures some gold at the end of the day. When planning a weekend of prospecting this comes in handy. Also useful to practice your panning skills or introduce someone to prospecting. I will go over the 5 Paydirt’s that I […]


How to Stake your Own Gold Claim

In the United States I will cover how to stake your own gold claim: Mineral Discovery, Claiming Procedure Claiming & Maintenance Fees. There are different types of Gold Claims, we will focus on placer mining claims because that is what I love and know. Rules & regulations change depending on where you stake your gold claim. I will […]

How to Pan for Gold

Looking for a new outdoor hobby, one that can be shared with children, wife, and dog? Find a river I will explain how to find gold anywhere. I will go over the 5 Gold Panning Steps & signs you’re in a good spot. Gold can be found in many forms, fully-fledged nuggets, “pickers” which are small lumps of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: