Built with the highest degree of precision and accuracy, the best metal detectors represent nifty devices with integrated information-gathering capabilities. The built-in capabilities allow for the detection of the smallest, as well as large objects located either in water, in the ground, and also the unlikeliest of places.
Whether you are on a treasure hunt for precious jewelry, coins, cache, relics, searching for a ghost town, or participating in a competitive event at the beach or a freshwater location, you need to ensure that you are using only the best metal detectors.
So, which is the best metal detector for you? The market for metal detectors boasts a wide range of devices, and different factions regard different devices as their best options. Today, we look at Garrett AT Pro, one of the top recommended brands of metal detectors. A waterproof metal detector, Garrett AT Pro boasts an impressive level of sensitivity ranging from ten feet up to three meters. It’s also the ideal deep-seeking metal detector that matches all treasure searches in all kinds of terrains.
With the unique and exclusive Garrett Technology retrofitted into this detector, its Iron Audio, auto-ground and manual balance, notch discrimination, pinpointing mode, the numerical target ID, not to mention the standard or professional search options, you can take this Garrett AT Pro with you to different hunting expeditions whether muddy, extremely humid, wet, or dusty.
Now that you have a general idea about what this Garrett AT Pro has to offer let’s dive deep into the unique features and functions of this metal detector. What makes this AT Series of Garrett Pro metal detector an ideal fit for relic and precious jewelry hunters? We’ll also look at whether this detector gives you value for your money, its limitations, as well as all the features that give it an edge over other brands.
So, let’s jump right into it:
Buying Guide for The Best Metal Detectors
Below are some of the things you should keep in mind when shopping for a metal detector:
Intended Use – Are you looking for a metal detector for professional use, a hobby, or for security purposes?
Frequency – Depending on the purpose of the metal detector, you could settle for a high or a low-frequency detector. However, a high-frequency detector is preferable when you need more specificity and a bigger depth range.
Ground Balance – You must have control over the field of balance, depending on the ground you are working on.
Pinpointing – Advanced metal detectors that boast modulated fields can zoom out to pinpoint the precise location of the piece in question while indicating its actual depth in the ground.
Discrimination – look for a metal detector that offers the best features for notch and iron discrimination.
Comfort – the handling pole must be designed ergonomically to distribute your weight and to prevent fatigue.
Budget – there are different metal detectors in different price ranges, and in essence, there is something for everyone. But if you are looking for the fanciest metal detector, you should be ready to spend more money on the detector.
Garrett AT Pro Review – Features, and Benefits
Design and Function
At first glance, this Garret AT Pro looks sturdy functional. But unlike the other metal detector brands on the market, this detector works as well as it looks and feels. Its core is the VLF metal detector, which makes this an all-purpose device. The detector is powered by 4 durable AA batteries, although buying rechargeable cells/ batteries would be an ideal, money-saving option.
Besides the batteries and the option for using rechargeable cells, the other feature that enhances the function of this detector is the padded armrest. This armrest not only enhances comfort, but it also makes the device easier to use.
Function – What Does it Detect?
It would be a dumb idea to buy a metal detector just because it’s purported to be the best one – you need to be sure that the detector will detect exactly what you are looking for.
In this case, the AT Pro fits the bill if you need a metal detector to hunt jewelry, relics, or coins. It could also search for gold nuggets with its settings for ground balance and the15kHz frequency; however, there are better options for gold detectors.
Its 8.5” x 11” DD PROFormance coil offers a decent level of target separation, as well as depth for the stock coil. Thanks to these features, this detector is an excellent fit for the all-round coil, which is suitable for various situations. But this is not the only coil range since this AT Pro comes with sniper coil too, as well as a concentric coil that measures 9” x “12.
If you are a metal detector enthusiast, you are aware of the varieties of metal detectors, the brands, and the models. You may have used the older versions of the Garrett metal detector. So, what makes this Garrett detector different from the others? Well, the AT series, also the All-Terrain series, means that this Garrett Pro is the ideal metal detector for use in extreme outdoor conditions and terrains. It’s built just for that with its rugged, but durable exterior. Therefore, you could use it at the beach, the local park, the desert, or up in the mountains. The best part is that it requires minimal maintenance.
On top of all these functional features, the AT Pro further sports a lightweight design which enhances the devices’ ease of use. At 3.03lbs, you don’t have to worry about fatigued arms and shoulders when you swing the detector around for hours each day.
Pro Mode Audio
As mentioned above, this VLF has to modes of function – Standard and Pro. You can use them both with three search modes, and the best bit is that they all offer different audio experiences.
If you are new to metal detectors, the Standard Mode will work well for you. The standard mode makes use of three unique audio tones that depend on the conductivity of the detected metal. Think of the standard mode as an ACE detector, which, if you’ve used in the past, is quite straightforward. You can look forward to the Garrett standard bell-tone when you detect coins. The only catch is that this signature tone will not offer additional information about the detected items.
The Pro mode, on the other hand, is enhanced to provide additional audio information about the composition and the target depth of the pieces detected. While this mode still gives you access to the discrimination options on the standard mode, the auto mode’s deeper targets will give you rather fainter notes. Also, you might experience some snapping depending on the composition of the material.
With its advanced functions, the auto mode takes some getting used to, but once you get comfortable with the basic/ Standard mode, your results will improve tremendously. This function works best in places with a lot of iron or iron trash.
So, if you are new to all this metal hunting business, start with the Standard mode, then graduate to the advanced Pro mode.
Iron produces a low tone, Jewelry like gold and nickel are medium-toned, while silver gives off a high tone given its high conductivity.
Display and Control Panel
Now that you know what you could use the metal detector for let’s look at its display and control panel.
The control panel and its control display are a lot like that featured in the Garrett ACE detector, meaning that if you are familiar with the ACE, AT Pro won’t be difficult to work around.
The display is black, and the control panel easy to read and use even in the roughest terrains.
The top of this control panel features a legend with target categories. This legend gives an excellent idea regarding your likely targets. But even with these categories, the numbered ID and the audio options work faster.
Note that the LCD screen may be difficult to work with, especially during the day and when the sun is overhead. Also, the display gets scratched quickly.
Settings – 15kHz Frequency
With an operational frequency of 15kHz, the Garrett AT Pro has a higher frequency range compared to most of the other VLF metal detectors within its price range. Fisher is one of the other big brands of metal detectors on the market, but it has a lower operational frequency.
Why go for a high-frequency metal detector?
First off, a higher frequency of operation is a brilliant fit when it comes to metal detectors since it enhances the detection of the smallest targets while also offering a high level of target separation.
The other advantage of a high-frequency metal detector is that you could use this detector to find gold nuggets. A high-frequency VLF detector is necessary for the detection of gold nuggets, and this AT Pro offers just that, not to mention the high ground balance function.
With its single-frequency detection function, you can make minor adjustments with ease. These adjustments allow you to counteract powerline interference, as well as interference from other detectors. Of course, a multi-frequency detector would be a better choice, but that is not the case with this Garrett AT Pro. For most of us, this is not a deal-breaker, although it’s a cause of confusion for individuals who take the ‘frequency adjustment’ function to imply multifrequency function.
You might, however, like the legend if you wish to create custom discrimination patterns. For customization, use the NOTCH DISC button that allows you to accept or reject the segments and your findings.
Target Digital ID
A large numerical digital target ID with a 0-99 scale centered on the screen offers accurate information regarding the exact composition of the target piece. The information provided here is more than what’s on the category read out.
Now, you might be wondering why we are making a fuss about this numerical target ID while it’s a standard feature on most of the mid-range metal detectors. Well, the truth is that the digital target ID is a useful tool when it comes to the estimation of the target metal type. It’s also quite fast. All you need to do for the right results is to ensure that it’s perfectly balanced on the ground.
For target identification, keep the following in mind: <35 is iron, >70 is silver, while anything >35 and <70 is gold.
You should also be aware of the factors that could influence your target identification numbers. These include the level of mineralization of the ground, the level/depth of the ground, and the level at which you are swinging the coil in relation to the ground.
If you wish to ignore the foils or to pull the tabs with a higher degree of conductivity, you must find a metal detector with a high degree of metal detection and notch discrimination. The Notch Discrimination function comes in handy when you are looking for items with conductivities above iron. This detector features 12 discrimination segments which will be accepted or rejected.
You use the notch function in the Custom mode only, and you’d have to ignore it in the ZERO Search mode. The reason for this is that the ZERO mode is not a true, all-metal mode, although its performance is similar to that of the all-metal function.
To notch out a segment, all you need to do is to scroll to the segment in question and then press the ELIM (elimination) button. You could also use this button to eliminate current targets from your discrimination pattern. In this case, if you get a choppy signal, it means that you are dealing with trash. So, just hold down the ELIM button to reject that target from your pattern. There’s one catch, though – you need to be extra careful with too much notch discrimination since real targets tend to vary in their sizes and composition, meaning that you could end up rejecting the right target accidentally.
The other preset mode you need to know about is the COIN mode. This mode features an iron, foil, as well as pull-tabs that have been notched already. Therefore, it’s an excellent fit if you are a beginner shooting for coins.
High-Resolution Iron Discrimination
Garrett AT Pro boasts 40 segments specific for iron discrimination. Adjustments to this function allow you to either knock off the ferrous targets or to dial back on the discrimination depending on what you are looking for. To ignore nails and other forms of junk, set your iron discrimination to the higher value range of 30-35. Note, however, that if you are searching for relics, then you may have to lower your discrimination range so that you don’t miss any of your actual targets.
The other impressive feature of this Garrett AT Pro is its custom mode that has an iron discrimination function turned up. With this setting enabled, you will not hear irons or other trash pieces. If you are searching for relics, coins, jewelry, etc.in a place with a lot of trash, the iron audio function will come in handy.
The other advantage of the audio feedback is that it will change when you turn on the excellent audio mode. In this case, all the discriminated iron objects will trigger the audio tone making it easier for you to determine whether that area is worth digging or not.
How do you tell the difference between trash and target items?
Well, you can tell that your detector just picked up a bottle cap and not a quarter if at the discrimination of between 30 and 40, and there is an extra grunting tone when the iron tone is turned on. Real targets produce a clear tone. Also, the iron tones tend to be lower than the regular tones.
You can also check the AT Max review.
Ground Balance – Manual and Automatic
Besides discrimination functions, the Garrett AT Pro also boasts an automatic and a manual ground balance feature.
Thanks to the automatic and the manual ground balance function, you can ground the device’s balance depending on the soil’s mineralization. What this means is that your detector can hunt in saltwater areas, as well as areas with a high degree of mineralization. The ground balance function also enhances the depth while cutting out the chatter that results from the mineralization of the ground.
Using the automatic ground balance feature is simple and fast. Just hold down the GND BAL button for the detector to calibrate the recordings based on the actual (current) conditions on the ground. Thanks to the efficiency of the automatic ground balance function, you may have no need for the manual settings.
Keep in mind that for the best results, you should turn on the ground balance feature immediately you switch on your detector. Doing this increases the degree of accuracy for different ground conditions. However, you shouldn’t be over a metal during ground balancing.
Like all the other AT metal detector models, Garrett Pro features 8 segments for sensitivity. The higher sensitivity function allows for deep searches. But if you experience too much chatter/ falsing at the high depth, you can reduce the sensitivity of your detector.
The settings and function features include the coin depth indicator, which will give you an estimate of the depth on the display’s right side. The depth given will range from 2” -10”. This depth information allows you to dip up to the right depth. There’s also a pinpointing mode to enhance the accuracy of the target locations.
The other impressive feature of this AT Pro is its waterproof design. The detector is submersible to a depth of 10ft, which means that it’s an excellent fit for hunting in and around creeks, shallow water, rivers, the sea, and lakes.
If you have used a metal detector before, you are aware of the fact that most metal detectors come with a waterproof coil, and they don’t have a submersible design unless you are buying a metal detector for metal hunting. Therefore, this AT Pro is one of the most versatile metal detectors.
Just know that you cannot use this detector for diving; there are specific detectors for diving and hunting shipwrecks.
Unfortunately, the headphones included are also not waterproof.
Ease of use
Thanks to the customization options, the control panel that’s easy to read, sensitivity function, notch discrimination functions, as well as adjustable modes and frequencies, this Garret AT Pro is easily a great investment worth your money.
Thanks to the combination of notch and iron discrimination, as well as its iron audio, this metal detector works great when it comes to filtering out trash. As a result, you get to focus on the coins, relics, and the rings you are looking for.
The other impressive feature, also a favorite, is the detector’s fast-recovery, which works particularly well in the Pro Mode. Its fast-recovery allows the detector to easily separate your targets, especially if they are spaced close to each other.
There’s also the stability factor. This Garret AT Pro boasts excellent detection stability in the field, allowing you to run high and even maximum sensitivities save for situations with extremely high mineralization levels. Even with a lot of chatter, this detector promises to maintain a very decent depth, even when using the lower sensitivity.
It also has an impressive depth range, and you could use it to detect targets 8” or 9£ deep. The only catch is that at this range, this detector might not be the best fit for you if you are looking for gold.
Most of the metal detectors on the market come with a battery monitoring function, this AT Pro is no different. Its battery monitoring function is very accurate, and the battery life lasts considerably longer.
Does it come with accessories?
Yes. Your Standard AT Pro package features an 8.5” x 11” DD search coil, an instructional DVD, headphones, and a user manual. The headphones are not waterproof. It also comes with a 2-year warranty.
Can it detect Gold?
Yes. This Garret AT Pro can detect gold, just like all other metal detectors.
The catch, however, is that this AT Pro cannot detect the smallest gold nuggets or flakes, especially in areas with high ground mineralization. So, while you can use this metal detector for hunting in the hot ground, it lacks the high level of sensitivity needed for gold metal detectors.
Concluding our Garrett AT Pro Review
What’s not to like? This Garrett AT Pro might have some imperfections, but it is a high-quality metal detector prices very well, for its features. It’s easy to operate, and it could be used by pros and beginners with no hassle.
Everything from its Pro audio mode and it’s razor-sharp pinpointing to the digital target identification, the waterproof design, and iron/ notch discrimination make this an excellent fit for your next coins, jewelry, or relics exploration.