Home » Gold » How to Pan for Gold

Videos: How To Pan for Gold

Panning instructions, tips and techniques

Learn How to Pan for Gold

The best way to learn about panning for gold is to observe the techniques of successful panners. Although the methods of these four panners are not identical they share two common goals:
  1. get the heavy gold particles to settle to the bottom of the pan by vigorously shaking the sediment-water mixture

  2. reduce the amount of sediment in the pan by gently washing off the top layer of material
Observe how each of the four panners achieves these two goals. Keep them in mind while you are prospecting for gold.

Some people practice panning by placing small pieces of metal such as snips of copper wire in a small amount of sediment and pan them out. Gold (19.30 grams/cubic centimeter) has a much higher density than copper (8.94 grams/cubic centimeter), so if you can successfully pan the copper you will have little trouble panning gold.

Before you go out to pan be sure that you learn more about gold prospecting methods, and about where gold panning is permitted.

Bob Snelson demonstrates how to pan for gold. Note how he uses a classifier (a screen) over a plastic bucket to eliminate large rocks and prepare some nice dirt for panning.

Mike Davis demonstrates his panning method emphasizing the importance of getting gold to settle to the bottom of the pan and gently washing the top layer of sand out of the pan. He also shows how to use a "snuffer" bottle.

Find it on

More from

gem photos
100+ Gems - Photos of over 100 beautiful gems ranging from the popular to the obscure.
Difficult Rocks
Difficult Rocks - Elementary students find lots of rocks that you will not be able to identify.
Diamonds from Coal
Biggest Misconception: Lots of people think that diamonds form from coal. Not True!
strontium titanate
Strontium Titanate is a man- made diamond simulant with a fire much stronger than diamond.
Malachite has served as a gem material, pigment and ore of copper for thousands of years.
Geology of Pluto
Geology of Pluto: NASA finds craters, nitrogen ice flows, mountains, and possible dunes.
Mineraloids are amorphous naturally-occurring inorganic solids that lack crystallinity.
Titan Submarine
Exploring a Hydrocarbon Sea on Titan with a submarine is a potential NASA mission.

Gary Smith, a gold panner from British Colombia with 40 years of experience, demonstrates his panning methods and gives advice.

Even though their language is different their methods are the same. This prospector is prepared for the cold water with hip boots and heavy gloves.

Gold Books and Panning Supplies

Gold books Gold pans
Looking for gold? We have over 50 different gold books and gold maps that show where gold has been found in the past and provide instruction on gold prospecting methods. Also available are gold pans in a variety of sizes and gold panning kits that include everything that you will need.

© 2005-2016 All Rights Reserved.
Images, code, and content on this website are property of and are protected by copyright law. does not grant permission for any use, republication, or redistribution.
Images, code and content owned by others are marked on the pages where they appear.