Garrett AT Max Review (2020 Updated)

Are you looking for a highly efficient metal detector that boasts an IP68 waterproof ranking to take with you on the next treasure hunt? This Garrett AT Max could be exactly what you have been looking for.

Garrett is a big brand name where matters of metal detectors are concerned, and it has, over the years, come up with a number of high-quality metal detectors ideal for use by individuals in different levels of expertise.

In 2017, Garrett developed this AT Max, and today, this metal detector is regarded as one of the most reliable detectors on the market for anyone who enjoys treasure hunting.

In this review, we are going to breakdown everything you need to know about this Garrett metal detector and how it fits into the grander scheme of things, metal (coins, relics, some gold, and jewelry) hunting.

But first, it’s worth noting that thanks to the wide array of features developed using only the latest technologies, the Garrett AT Max is an ideal fit for professional treasure hunters. Even though beginners can use this metal detector, it has a rather steep learning curve.

A look at this metal detector further shows that this device means serious business. It’s built to last, and it features a nice, sleek look to go with it.

Who is this Garrett AT Max Built for?

If you have checked out the Garrett AT Pro, then you know that this AT Max is also an All-terrain metal detector that you can easily take with you out on treasure hunts in the most unforgiving environments. Yes, you can take it and submerge it in water, too, thanks to its acceptable submersion limit of 10ft or 3 meters. So, if you believe that you can find some treasure by the beach, up in the mountains or in a shallow creek, this is certainly, the best metal detector to carry.

Below, we look at the impressive features of this metal detector. Keep in mind that this device is a recent development by Garret, and it boasts some advanced technological functions which enhance its function. These functions include the Z-Lynk wireless audio system, greater depth, a true all-metal function, digital target ID, Iron Audio, and the automated/ manual ground balance functions, among others.

So, let’s dive into the details of this Garrett AT Max

Design and Usability

Garrett AT MAX Diggers Special with Pro Pointer AT Pinpointer, Daypack, Digger

This Garrett AT Max features a design that looks a lot like that of the AT Pro. It is a waterproof VLF metal detector that is not only easy to use but also quite portable as it weighs 3.03lbs.

In terms of its source of power, this metal detector is powered by 4 AA batteries, although you have the option of replacing these non-rechargeable batteries with rechargeable cells.

As an AT metal detector, it means that this device is ideal for use in all terrains, although its benefits are better felt during serious treasure hunting in areas of rough terrain.

Function – Search Coil

The search function of this metal detector comes from its solid search coil that measures 8.5inches x 11inches. The search coil is a PROFormance DD search coil that boasts a solid design and offers a great level of depth and target separation. But if you need one of those specialized search coils, you may opt for the specialized 9inch x 12inch or even the sniper coil, rather than the traditional stock coil.

Unfortunately, even with the high level of functionality of this search coil and the metal detector, this detector is not the best gold-prospecting metal detector.

Controls

The control functions are on the large LCD screen display that is clear and very easy to view. All the functions present are labeled clearly for ease of use by newbies or professionals. The backlight enhances its ease of use.

Z-Lynk Wireless Technology System

The wireless audio system is the first feature that stands out the most in this AT Max Garrett metal detector. The reason for this is that this wireless system is of great significance in terms of locating or hearing the exact location of target signals, especially with the search coil directly above the target. This system ensures that there is no delay in the relaying of the signal to your detection screen.

The best part, however, is the fact that this Z-Lynk system is up to 6X faster than the most advanced Bluetooth speeds. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about missing any signal from signal transmission delays.

Keep in mind that being able to avoid a delay in the relaying of a signal regarding the location of a target object is important because it means that you won’t give up on a specific spot too fast, and be forced to walk further away and deeper into the river or the woods. The accuracy and the speed of this wireless technology tell you whether the selected area is worth exploring or not, therefore saving you a lot of money in the process. Also, you don’t have to worry about delayed signal transmissions to your headphones.

But for the best performance of this wireless system, you need to make sure that before you connect your new headphones to the metal detector, you first pair the headphones to your metal detector. For pairing, hold the headphone close to the detector and then activate the pairing by pressing and releasing the Frequency and the iron audio buttons simultaneously.

Done correctly, you will see the Z-Lynk icon on the mid-section of your detector’s screen. Successful pairing is indicated by a solid, headphone-like icon. If there is blinking, you will have to repeat the pairing process.

And speaking of headphones, it’s important to beware of the fact that the headphones are not waterproof and shouldn’t be submerged or exposed to water.

13.6kHz Operational Frequency

This Garrett AT Max is a single-frequency metal detector featuring high-quality components, as well as a reliable circuitry system that ensures accurate object detection for the widest range of objects ranging from coins and jewelry to brass and nickel relics.

If you are trying to choose between the AT Max and the AT Pro, you need to know that the AT Pro boasts a higher frequency range of 15kHz against Max’s 13.6kHz. Theoretically, AT Max has a deeper level of penetration, but a lower level of target separation, marginally.

But even with these differences, you need to keep in mind that the frequency of 13.6kHz is considerably higher than the frequency range you’d get from most of the average AT metal detectors.

Before you brush this AT Max off, you also need to know that this detector is an excellent option when it comes to the detection and the separation of the smaller targets.

Now, if this is all the information you were looking for when searching for and comparing the Garrett AT Max and AT Pro, you should keep in mind the fact that this AT Max metal detector comes with an all-true metal mode that provides maximum depth and sensitivity. This function is absent in the AT Pro, and it could be the reason for the sway in your decision between these two competing models of Garrett All-Terrain metal detectors.

Unfortunately, this Garrett AT Max, like the other Garrett metal detectors, are not multi-frequency detectors for coins, jewelry, or relics hunting.

WaterproofingGarrett AT MAX Diggers Special with Pro Pointer AT Pinpointer, Daypack, Digger

Besides the Z-Lynk wireless system, the other impressive feature of this metal detector is its high degree of waterproofing. As mentioned above, this metal detector is submersible up to a depth of 10ft or 3 meters. Therefore, it works well for metal prospecting in shallow water bodies.

On top of its waterproof design, this metal detector is also weatherproof, and you can carry and use it effortlessly in the dustiest, as well as the super-dry areas.

Note, however, that this is not a good underwater or a diving metal detector.

Target ID (Digital)

The other impressive feature of this metal detector is its digital target ID. Although this digital targeting ID is nothing new around the best metal detectors on the market, it is one of the most intuitive functions that enhances the visual representation of your targets and their composition. This targeting identification system is based on a scaled system with a wide range that runs from 0-99. This function enhances the accuracy of the readings on your detector’s display screen, and it allows you to determine whether the target object is really what you were looking for, or not.

It’s worth noting, however, that the accuracy of the target ID very much depends on the level of correctness of the ground balance function.

Automatic and Manual Ground Balance

In the determination of the accuracy of the target object’s readings, you need the details of the ground balance. This metal detector has ground balance features that could be adjusted manually or automatically, depending on your requirements. Since the adjustment of the ground balance is crucial during metal hunts in areas with high mineralization, saltwater, or a high soil conductivity, you need to be able to balance out any potential interference factors. Elimination of interference cuts down the chatter while maximizing depth. You need the manual adjustment option for these conditions.

While AT Max can hunt for metals in saltwater conditions, it struggles to take accurate measurements, just like all other VLF metal detectors.

The automatic adjustment function for ground balance is ideal for ground balance adjustments on current soil environments with less mineralization. For the automatic adjustment, you only need to hold down the SHIFT button.

Note that this AT Max boasts 175 ground balance resolution points, hence the high potential for fine-tuning the readings depending on soil mineralization and conductivity.

Iron and Notch Discrimination

 This metal detector boasts an impressive number of discrimination segments, at 44 iron discrimination segments. These discrimination segments make a big difference when it comes to the adjustment of the settings as your metal detector picks up different iron/ ferrous targets. The iron discrimination function allows for the discrimination/ ignoring of the ferrous targets.

So, if you have a higher iron discrimination setting on your detector, it means that you pick up fewer junk pieces like nails and foils.

However, it’s recommended that you avoid using the high discrimination settings since you may end up missing the real targets like relics that could fall in the same category as the trash. This approach remains imperfect though because if you are overly cautious, you might end up picking the higher conductivity pieces of junk like foil and pull tabs.

Confused?

It turns out that there is a way for you to avoid the junk; you need to use the notch discrimination function. The notch discrimination function sorts the mess because even when you are over the iron areas, you can use notches to either select or knock out objects.

Beyond this fancy notch discrimination option, you could also use the Custom mode, which allows you to select or identify specific materials. The Coin mode is also quite effective, being a preset setting that filters out foil, iron and pull tabs. If you are a beginner, these functions will work perfectly for you.

The other function for discrimination is the ELIMINATION button. It’s very easy to use – hold down this button as you hover over the item you’d like to remove from your selection.

Iron Audio and Pulse Width Modulation Audio

To increase the detection efficiency of the items you are hunting, the audio function works pretty well, and better than the digital targeting IDs.

Garrett AT Max features pulse-width-modulation audio that provides more targeting information that will guide you on where to dig. You could also use the Iron Audio function to differentiate the flat iron from the true targets.

You might also like how this AT pro filters out the iron targets, by default, meaning that they won’t be heard in the audio.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Waterproof
  • IP68 rank for waterproofing
  • High-quality design
  • Several discrimination options
  • High detection and sensitivity depth
  • Wireless system

Cons

  • Not multi-frequency
  • Cannot be used for underwater expeditions
  • Not for gold detection

FAQs

Does it have accessories?

Yes, a user manual, headphones, and search coil

Can it work for gold prospecting?

No, but it can pick up gold jewelry. It doesn’t work for flakes or nuggets of gold.

Concluding our Garrett AT Max Review

This Garrett AT Max is one of the best AT metal detectors developed by Garrett. It boasts a high degree of efficiency, and its performance on the field is remarkable.

The vast discrimination options, intuitive design, fast response, high frequency, sensitivity, and ground balance make this an excellent investment when it comes to metal hunting. But it is not a gold-prospecting detector.

Remember that these are the most important factors that should determine whether you should buy a metal detector or not.

Leave a Comment