Using classifiers to remove large rocks from the material that you are going to pan makes the whole process of gold panning much easier. It reduces the weight of in your pan by separating out the larger rocks and gravel.
Classifiers, which are basically just a sieve or screen material, come in a variety of screen sizes. They are easy to make yourself for just a few dollars, or you can buy several commercially produced ones also. Since the commercial ones are also inexpensive, most prospectors just buy them.
They are popular with gold prospectors, but are an important tool for gem and crystal prospectors also.
A Few Popular Gold Classifiers
Garrett Classifier (in Panning Kit)
One of the cheapest classifiers on the market is made by Garrett, and is made entirely of plastic. You can buy them less than $10 from most prospecting suppliers making it a popular choice for casual gold prospectors. You can also buy it as part of one of their gold panning kits which is a very good deal as well.
1/4” Mesh Metal Screen Classifier
If you are just going to get one classifier, this might be the one. The 1/4” mesh is a good screen size, which allows for the separation of all the rocks and pebbles down to 1/4”. You can go smaller, but this will get the majority of the larger rocks out of the way.
The other benefit of this one is that the screen is metal, so it is a bit more durable than the all plastic models. It is round just like a gold pan, so you can set it directly over your pan and sift the gravel through it. Sifting can be done with dry or wet material.
Screen Classifier Sets
The 1/4“ classifier is a good basic size if you just want one, but for optimal gold recovery it’s a good ideal to get several different screen sizes. Buying a set will allow you to sift down to extra fine material so that when you finally get to the gold panning process it will be a breeze.
Sifting to very fine size is a good idea in most areas, but there may be a limit to how small you want to go. If you are in an area where you frequently pan small flakes or nuggets, you don’t want to risk accidentally losing them by sifting them out. So the extra fine mesh classifiers should only be used in locations that are limited to having only flour gold such as in the Midwest.
The Earthquake Vibrating Classifier
One of the coolest pieces of prospecting equipment to come out in recent years is the Earthquake Vibrating Classifier. Anyone who has done much classifying knows that it can be pretty tiring after a long day. This tool takes all the work out of the process by doing all the shaking for you. No need for bending and stooping down anymore! It’s a simple design that is powered by a 12-volt battery. If you do a lot of gold panning and want to simplify the classifying process, this may be the piece of mining equipment that you have been looking for!
More information about Fine Gold Recovery:
Classify Your Gravels to Retain More Fine Gold
Using Shaker Tables for Fine Gold Separation
Finally! The Ultimate Gold Panning Guide!