Because the magnetic field of a small searchcoil is concentrated within a small volume, it is the best choice for hunting in areas with a lot of metal debris. This allows you to maneuver through and around trash to locate good targets, especially when searching in tight places where large searchcoils cannot go. In addition, because of their concentrated detection field, small searchcoils are the best for detecting very small objects. However, a small searchcoil provides less coverage per sweep; more scans will be required to cover a search area.
For general-purpose hunting, which typically includes coins and coin-sized targets, a medium sized searchcoil (8 - 9”) is the best choice. Because a medium sized searchcoil provides the best combination of magnetic field concentration, detection depth and capability to detect the greatest range of target sizes within the detection area, it is standard with most detectors. In addition, it's lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Large searchcoils generate wider and deeper magnetic fields than small coils and consequently provide greater depth and coverage. This means that scanning a search area requires fewer sweeps with a large searchcoil than with a smaller coil. This larger scan area, however, can become a problem in trashy areas where the searchcoil is detecting several targets at once.