Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector Review

Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector Review

Can you imagine a metal detector that will fulfill 95% of your expectations?
A fully waterproof metal detector with expert level features and can be used in all terrains – all at an affordable price?
Yes, it’s Garrett AT Pro.
Easy to learn, easy to use, and the high sought features from a mid-range priced detector – this is Garrett AT Pro for you. 

Hi, I am David M. Philips, a professional metal detectorist. I have navigated around the world in search of gold nuggets, coins, treasures, and relics. (know more about me)

In this post, I will be giving a review of the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector machine I have come across in my years as an old metal detector.

Design, Appearance, and Ease of Use

Well, if you are searching for a great all-purpose machine then you are reading the right post. The way Garrett has been designed it’s gonna fulfill you all need being a detectorist. For instance, it’s a fully waterproof metal detector and it’s not only just work in the water but also on the land. There are many waterproof metal detectors in the market that just work under the water not on the land. 

Garret powered by 4 AA batteries, I suggest you buy rechargeable cells to save money over time as well as buy a padded armrest for extra comfort. 

You might not know what “AT” stands for.

AT” stands for “All Terrain” which means it’s a rugged machine, has a durable exterior and can work at any kind of condition. It doesn’t matter for it, whether you want to do hunting at the desert, beach or local park, it’s able to handle all the rough conditions. In addition, it also requires minimal maintenance.

But what does it detects?

It detects what every metal detectorists want to detect. AT pro can hunt gold, relics, coins, and jewelry. But it’s basically best in hunting coins, relics, and jewelry. 

You might be thinking then how efficient it in gold hunting

It does a decent job in gold nuggets hunting due it’s 15kHz frequency and ground balance settings. 

[ By the way, I wonder if you might be interested to check my Best Metal Detectors For Gold nuggets? Here it is ] 

Its 8.5” * 11” DD PRoformance coil provides polite target separation and depth for a stock coil. It’s a solid choice for an all-round coil that’s suitable for most situations.

Garrett provides a range of other coils for the AT Pro, including a sniper coil and 9” * 12” concentric coil. 

For more specialist tasks, Garrett offers a range of other coils for the AT Pro, including a sniper coil and 9”x12” concentric coil. If you are an experienced detectorist, you would love to have different coils for different purposes. 

However, to ensure comfort and ease of use Garrett made this pro well lightweight and it’s 3.03Ibs. So, you won’t be fatigued when you will be swinging it for long periods.

It’s really very impressive how many features Garrett is offering at AT pro. It’s used to be imagination for detectorists to have all these features in a metal detector, but now it’s no more imagination rather it’s real.

Moreover, having that many features and settings you are probably thinking that it would be complicated to use but it’s really not.  It’s really comfortable and simple to use, especially on the “Standard Audio Mode”. 

Waterproof Design

You can find many waterproof detectors which are basically designed only for the water. Besides, it’s rare for a metal detector that is fully submersible. 

Garret AT Pro, it’s submersible to a depth of 10 feet. It’s great for hunting in shallow water for example in rivers, lakes, creeks, and even in the sea. 

By the way, it doesn’t’ suit for diving though. You’ll need a detector with a much higher depth rating for hunting shipwrecks or scuba diving.

However, AT pro doesn’t come with waterproof headphones, you will need to buy it externally. I guess this isn’t surprising, as good submersible headphones are expensive. But it would have been really great if AT pro comes with waterproof headphones. 

Frequency

AT pro has 15kHz of a single frequency. It’s higher than many VLF detectors in this price range but it’s not actually that much higher. For instance, it’s 15khz is lower than 18kHz of the AT Gold. 

However, it’s not ideal for hunting on the saltwater beaches. Yes, they do say that you can hunt on the saltwater beaches and certainly you can. 

But it’s not perfect at all because of its single frequency. if you plan to get in the water or wet sand, you’re going to get a lot of chatter even with ground balancing and the DD coil.

All that chatter is going to mask good targets but more importantly, limit your depth capabilities.

By the way, it’s not just a problem AT pro’s single frequency. It happens with any other single frequency detectors. It’s simply the nature of the technology.

15kHz is still higher frequency than many other detectors within this price and there are some advantages of having higher frequency such as brilliant at detecting small targets and excellent target separation.

The higher frequency of AT pro and its ground balance provide excellent performance in gold nuggets hunting than any other VLF models. 

Don’t be confused if there is written feature “frequency adjustment”, AT pro is a single frequency detector.

There is the option of making minor adjustments to counteract interference from power lines or other detectors, but it’s not a multi-frequency detector.

I am not making a complaint about it instead, it’s common because the vast majority of VLF detectors have a single frequency. 

Pro Mode Audio

It’s called Pro Mode (Proportional Mode) Audio because once you become a master on this audio you will be a pro detectorist. 

There are two types of Audio Mode: 1) Standard and 2) Pro Mode (Proportional Mode)

Standard is for those who are beginners. It uses three audio tones depending on the metal conductivity. But it doesn’t provide that much information. If you have used the ACE machine before, you will be familiar with its tones. 

Besides, the Pro mode provides much more additional information about target depth and composition. It’s an advanced feature that you can turn “On” and “Off” depending on your experiences, preferences, and skill level. 

You will hear different audio tones simultaneously like snapping and popping which tells the characteristics of the target including things like conductivity, shape, and depth.

If you haven’t used this mode before, it will be a bit complicated for you. But once you master this audio mode your hunting will be more efficient by digging less trash and more treasure.

However, if you are new to metal detecting or haven’t used any of machine from ACE series before, I would recommend you to use “Standard Mode” first. 

Digital Target ID

Like any other metal detector’s features, Garrett AT Pro also has a Numerical Target ID. Garrett made largely and placed it at the center of the screen. This is basically for providing more accurate information about the target’s composition on a 0-99 scale than the category readout. 

It’s useful for estimating target metal type. Besides, Garrett has also ensured the detector is fat at providing a target ID – especially when it’s been properly ground balanced.

Iron Discrimination

There are 40 segments are available for Iron Discrimination. Depending on what you’re hoping to find, you can dial back discrimination or knock out all ferrous targets by adjusting this iron discrimination setting. 

If you want to ignore nails and similar junk, setting iron discrimination to a higher value sometimes can be a good idea. Around 30-35 is a good place to start. On the other hand, you better set it lower to avoid missing real targets, if your target is relics. 

Notch Discrimination

As I mentioned, the 40 iron discrimination segments provide fine control over what is accepted at the lower end of the conductivity spectrum. This is great for getting rid of highly ferrous objects – but it won’t help ignore foil or pull tabs with higher conductivity.

For this reason, there’s also a useful notch discrimination feature. At conductivities above the iron region, there are 12 discrimination segments that can be accepted or rejected. Notching out a segment is as simple as scrolling to it and pressing the “ELIM” button.

However, I should mention that the notch feature is ignored in the ZERO search mode and used in CUSTOM mode. Although ZERO isn’t a true all-metal mode, it performs a similar role. 

There’s also a pre-set “COIN” mode. If you are a beginner and want to do coin hunting this preset can be great for you because there are already iron, foil and pull tabs notched out.  

In addition, while using discrimination, if you are getting a choppy signal over an object pretty sure that is trash. You can reject this from the pattern by holding down the ELIMINATE button

Notch discrimination is a brilliant feature to have in a metal detector as it saves a lot of time digging unwanted trash. But there is a chance of accidentally reject items you should be digging. Real targets actually vary highly in composition and size. So, yes using too much discrimination could be a problem for you instead of getting benefited. You just need to be careful about this while using it. 

Iron Audio

Iron Audio is another advanced feature like Proportional Audio that you won’t find in any entry-level metal detector. This feature is included with other AT and ACE 400 models, but other ACE models don’t have this feature. 

This feature lets you know there is Iron by making a tone of discriminated iron. 

You will not hear any nails or similar trash items AT pro in CUSTOM mode with iron discrimination turned up. This is what detectorists want especially when there’s lots of trash around. But when you turn on the excellent Iron Audio mode the feedback changes. 

Now an audio tone will be triggered because of discriminated iron objects. This is very helpful to decide whether the target is worth digging or not. For example, when iron discrimination is turned up to 30-40, a bottle cap might appear like a quarter. 

After turning on the Iron Audio mode if you get additional grunting sound, there are high chances it’s a trash item. On the other hand, if you get a clean tone, it hints the object is a real target. 

However, you can’t use Iron Audio in the “ZERO” mode in AT pro, which kinda shames. Iron Audio is easy to distinguish, it’s lower than regular audio and often called it as grunting. 

Automatic and Manual Grond Balance

A great feature of AT pro is it’s both manual and automatic ground balance which is not available ACE series. 

Ground balance feature actually allows detectorists to ignore signals from the ground like iron and salt. 

It does not just help you to cut down on the chatter of ground signals but also helps you to find targets at deeper depths with great target ID accuracy. 

So, you will love this AT Pro metal detector if you are living in areas with highly mineralized soil. 

If you are assuming that using automatic ground balancing would be complicated to use, then you are wrong. You can use this by simply hold on the “GND BAL” button and then the machine will automatically calibrate according to the current ground conditions. 

You have a manual ground balance setting if you need to use it, but most of the time or situations automatic ground balancing function works perfectly.  

Tip: To get much better results you should always do ground balance the machine when you switch it on. Please, make sure you are not over the metal when you gonna do the ground balancing. 

Coil Selection

Garrett AT Pro provides different search coils for various applications. You can make your hunting more efficient and effective by using these coils. 

The accessory coils that Garrett AT Pro provides: 

  • 4” DD Sniper; For Tight and High areas
  • 5 * 8” DD; For better target separation & High trash areas
  • 6.5 * 9” Concentric; For neutral ground in low trash areas.
  • 9 * 12” Concentric; Neutral ground in wide-open areas to cover more ground faster.

Each coil has its own different functions. You can’t say one is better than another. It’s really about where you gonna use it. 

Bing a serious and experienced detectorist I will definitely love to using these coils to be more efficient in hunting. 

Other Features

  • Coin Depth Indicator: It’s beneficial for knowing how deep to dig your plug. It’s located on the right-hand side of the display. It ranges from 2” – 10” inches. 
  • Sensitivity: Like any other AT model, AT pro also has the 8 segments of sensitivity.  More sensitivity means the detector can search deeper. But if you are getting too much falsing and chatter you can reduce the sensitivity. 
  • Pinpointing Mode: AT pro provides the built-in pinpointing mode for more accurate target locations. 

Control Panel and Display

If you have experience of using any of the Garrett ACE models, you will find using AT pro is very friendly to use. Although the black color scheme provides a more professional appearance, design and layout are pretty similar to other ACE models. 

The great thing is, it’s quite easy to read the display in the field and use AT Pro’s control panel. 

In addition, Garrett is offering an amazing legend at the top of the control panel that helps by showing potential target categories. This is really helpful in terms of getting an instant idea of what is likely to be. Though usually detectorist relies on the Audio and Numerical Target ID, still having this legend is another useful feature. 

Moreover, this legend is more beneficial after creating custom discrimination patterns by using the “Notch Disc” button. You will be able to accept or reject segments for more control over what you are digging. 

Like other features and settings, it’s buttons are placed efficiently and also clearly labeled. Though I have a complaint about its display. I think the display is not perfect because it doesn’t have a backlight feature, so it will be a bit harder to see the text in the middle of the day or low light conditions. 

Furthermore, sometimes legend can be difficult to view, there isn’t available volume control, and also no option available for threshold adjustment. 

In conclusion, I would like to say, yes there are some complaints about the “Display Control” but I don’t think these are something big and could be reasons not to purchase this amazing machine. 

Price and Where To Buy

The Garrett AT Pro is a superior quality metal detector. Serious and experienced metal detectorists choose it when there is a matter of upgrading or changing their existing metal detector. Besides, many metal detectorists choose it who become experienced by using the entry-level machine and now want to explore advanced features and settings. 

You may find many other metal detectors within this price but if you want a metal detector that will offer you Professional Standard Features compared to price then there is no option to choose without Garrett AT pro. 

Since Garrett and it’s AT Pro model is very popular, you will find it at for sale at most retailers with a metal detecting department like Walmart and Amazon. 

By the way, if you are going to a used or refurbished AT Pro, please make sure its condition is okay enough to be worthy. 

Performance & Depth

The Garrett AT Pro provides nailing performance in the field. The different coils make it more efficient and effective in hunting. The combination of Iron Audio, Notch Discrimination, and Iron Discrimination provides great filtering out the trash so that you can keep focusing on finding coins, rings, and relics. 

Moreover, you don’t need to invest a lot of time to learn how to use it, it’s very simple and easy to use. 

The Fast Recovery feature of Garrett AT Pro is my most favorite feature among the others. Especially when it’s in Pro mode. This feature actually allows the detector to separate closely spaced targets which is great for finding targets hidden by trash.

The AT Pro also provides excellent detection stability when out in the field

If there are not specifically high levels of mineralization, you can often run AT pro at high or even maximum sensitivities. The AT Pro is able to maintain decent depth even on lower sensitivity when you are getting a lot of chatter. 

If I talk about depth, AT Pro is able to find targets around 8” to 9” max in some cases. But if you want to hunt deeper you’ll need a different machine. 

Overall, I would say this is an absolute outstanding machine in terms of performance and of course features. You will end up loving this machine and like most of the other users you will also say that “I don’t need any other machine”.

Garrett AT Pro Vs AT MAX

AT Max offers some more extra features compared to AT Pro such as integrated wireless headphones, 44 Iron Discrimination (while AT Pro has 40), a true all-metal mode and an additional search mode. The AT MAX is the most expensive metal detector model in the Garrett AT series.

Though AT Max has some extra features, AT Pro has some advantages. For instance, it has a higher operating frequency which is much more effective at finding small targets. However, it’s not that much effective like AT Gold at finding Gold but still does a pretty great job. 

Moreover, you will be able to choose between “Pro Audio” and “Standard Audio” in AT Pro, while AT MAX offers just “Pro Audio”. 

So, this is why AT Pro becomes more suitable for beginners than AT MAX.

Garrett AT Pro Vs Teknetics T2 Classic

Both are kind of similar and popular metal detectors. Both offer 11’’ search coil, numerical target ID, ground balance and a pinpointing mode. 

Though T2 classic is less costly, I think AT Pro is more preferable. T2 doesn’t have an Iron Audio function which is very helpful to avoid trash that might appear as real targets. The Iron discrimination modes, easy notch, combined with the submersible design are also benefits of AT Pro over T2 classic. 

Garrett AT Pro Vs AT Gold

A common question in the metal detecting world is what is the difference between AT Pro and AT Gold?

Well, in essence, they are pretty similar but the main difference is AT Gold. It’s particularly made for gold prospecting. 

Coil: While the AT Pro comes with a larger 8.5 * 11” coil, AT Gold comes stock with a smaller 5*8” DD coil. Smaller coil allows the machine to concentrate the detector’s energy on hunting smaller targets like gold nuggets. 

Frequency: AT Gold has a higher frequency than AT Pro. Since it’s for Gold hunting, having a higher frequency is a compulsory feature. It helps to improve performance on low to medium conductivity targets like gold. 

Ground Balance: The ground balance feature of AT Gold is particularly for highly mineralized ground. In addition, it also has a feature called “Ground Balance Window”. It allows you to operate with a range of ground balance values to account for a spread of mineralization levels at the exact area you’re hunting. This is especially useful when prospecting as you encounter various pockets of concentrated mineralization from the varying terrain.

Pro Mode (Proportional Audio): Controlling of Pro Mode on AT Gold is the big difference between AT Pro and AT Gold. You can be turned on Pro Mode on AT pro but not in AT Gold. Besides, there is a great thing for newbies on “AT Pro” that is, AT Pro allows toggle it’s Audio Mode which is great as you just gonna learning how detector work. 

True All Metal: And finally, AT gold has True All-Metal mode but AT pro doesn’t. Having this feature is very crucial for the gold prospecting detecting machine because it gives detector maximum depth and sensitivity. 

In a nutshell, if you need an all-rounder metal detector that provides a high level of performance, go for AT Pro. On the other hand, if your purpose is to hunt for gold nuggets, go for AT Gold

So, it’s very clear that what you gonna choose it depends on your purpose of hunting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What accessories are included?

The standard package doesn’t come with everything you need. It comes with 8.5’’ * 11’’ DD search coil, headphones (not waterproof), an instructional DVD and manual. Since it’s Standard package, you won’t get everything here. But many retailers offer much more than standard packages such as pouches, pinpointers, bags and even accessory coils. And, by the way, AT Pro comes with 2 years of warranty from Garrett.

Can I use it to detect gold?

Yes, AT Pro is able to hunt gold but it’s not just practically made for gold hunting like other specific gold hunting metal detectors.

The main thing is whether a detector can handle the high levels of ground mineralization where gold nuggets are found. Although the ground balance of AT Pro is capable of hunting in the hot ground, it’s sensitivity not capable of detecting tiny gold flakes or nuggets. If you really want to hunt just gold nuggets you can have the AT Gold model that is particularly designed for gold hunting. 

When did the AT Pro come out?

The AT Pro was released by Garrett in the fall of 2010.

Where to buy the AT Pro?

You can buy the AT Pro from any authorized Garrett dealer as well as Amazon.

What are some comparable detectors?

In terms of price and performance there are some comparable detectors from other brands, these are: 

Learn Some Basics of Garrett AT Pro

Final Thoughts

Considering the mid-range price, Garrett is an outstanding metal detector. In fact, it gets the praise of experienced metal detectorists because of it’s rapid recovery time, efficient performance, and easy to use features. 

Not including waterproof headphones and backlit screens are the drawbacks of any other metal detectors. But considering its many other positive sides, if we complain about it’s two common drawbacks then it would be an injustice for it. 

Garrett is a high-quality metal detector, after having this machine you’ll feel – you won’t need any other metal detector. 

Please let me know you if you have any questions or if you like this post. 

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