After its release in October 2010, the Garrett AT Pro steadily became a popular choice for metal detectorists. Supported by Garret’s reputation and product quality, it was quickly recognized as a reliable metal detector and was often recommended for those looking to upgrade from an entry-level device or seeking a more advanced detector. But is that still the case today? (spoiler: no)
In this review, I’ll take an in-depth look at the features and performance of the Garrett AT Pro, tell you how I think it compares to modern devices, and compare it to its modern counterpart the Garrett AT MAX to help you decide if it’s the right metal detector for your needs.
Initial thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
The Garrett AT Pro is touted as an all-terrain, weatherproof metal detector designed for use in various environments, from beaches to parks to farm fields. Its waterproof design allows for detecting water depths up to 10 ft., making it a solid choice among detectorists who enjoy searching in rivers, lakes, and at the beach.
But, with an MSRP listed at $685.82 on garrett.com at the time of writing, the AT Pro positions itself well within the cost range of more modern multi-frequency devices. This high cost compared to its more capable counterparts is its main downfall. While I believe the quality is there, I would be hard pressed to purchase this as a new device over the Minelab Simplex+ that boasts a similar feature set, for a fraction of the cost. If you’re prepared to spend $600+ on a new device, I would suggest looking at a Simultaneous Multi-Frequency metal detector like The Legend from Nokta or the Equinox 600/700 from Minelab.
That being said, if you have the chance to purchase the Garrett AT Pro second hand or for a reasonable price, you’re getting a well built metal detector. In my overall rankings, the Garret AT Pro is still a top 20 device that beats out nearly all other single-frequency models except the Simplex+ whose cost estimates the value proposition of the AT Pro and the more complex but capable Minelab CTX 3030.
Pros of the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector
- All-terrain and waterproof design
- Proportional audio and tone roll audio
- Adjustable ground balance
- 40 levels of iron discrimination
- 6 search modes
- Digital target ID
Cons of the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector
- High price point for a single frequency device
- No Z-Lynk wireless technology
- Single Frequency
Key Features of the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector
The AT Pro was packed with the modern features of 2010, designed to enhance the detecting experience, from its all-terrain design supported by its multiple search modes to its 10ft submersion depth limit. Let’s explore these features in more detail.
All-Terrain and Waterproof Design
The Garrett AT Pro is designed for use in various environments and ground conditions, making it a versatile and adaptable detector. Its waterproof design allows for detecting in shallow water, up to a depth of 10 feet, which is perfect for those who enjoy treasure hunting in rivers, lakes, or at the beach.
Proportional Audio and Tone Roll Audio
The AT Pro features proportional audio and tone roll audio, providing more detailed audio feedback on detected targets. Proportional audio delivers louder signals for larger or closer targets and softer signals for smaller or deeper targets, helping you better identify and prioritize potential targets. Tone roll audio provides a continuous change in audio pitch based on a target’s conductivity, further assisting in target identification.
Adjustable Ground Balance
The AT Pro offers adjustable ground balance, allowing you to optimize the detector’s performance based on ground mineralization levels. This feature is particularly useful in areas with high mineral content, such as saltwater beaches or iron-rich soils, as it helps reduce false signals and improve target detection. By manually adjusting the ground balance, you can fine-tune the AT Pro’s performance for the specific conditions of your detecting environment.
Iron Discrimination and Digital Target ID
The AT Pro boasts 40 levels of iron discrimination, enabling you to effectively filter out unwanted iron targets and focus on more valuable finds. This feature is especially useful in iron-rich environments, as it helps to minimize the number of false positives and improve your overall detecting experience.
The digital target ID feature on the Garrett AT Pro provides valuable information on detected targets, assisting you in determining the type of metal present. This information is displayed on the LCD screen as large numbers and an ID cursor at the top of the screen. Combined with the other audio cues provided by the detector, the digital target ID helps you make more informed decisions about whether or not to dig.
6 Search Modes
The AT Pro offers six search modes, including three Standard and three Pro modes, which cater to both beginners and experienced detectorists. The Standard modes provide a simpler audio response, while the Pro modes deliver more advanced audio feedback for experienced users.
The available search modes are:
- Zero (no discrimination)
- Custom (user-defined discrimination pattern)
- Pro Zero (no discrimination)
- Pro Custom (user-defined discrimination pattern)
- Pro Coins
Each mode offers different levels of discrimination and audio feedback, allowing you to tailor your detecting experience based on your skill level and the specific environment you’re searching in.
Comparing the Garrett AT Pro to the Garrett AT MAX
The Garrett AT MAX is a more advanced version of the AT Pro, offering several additional features that make it an attractive option for experienced detectorists. Some of the key differences between the AT Pro and AT MAX include:
- Z-Lynk Wireless Technology: The AT MAX features built-in Z-Lynk wireless technology, allowing you to use wireless headphones for a more convenient and comfortable detecting experience. The AT Pro does not have this feature.
- True All-Metal Mode: The AT MAX offers a true all-metal mode, providing greater depth and sensitivity for detecting targets. The AT Pro does not have this mode, although it does offer a Zero mode with no discrimination.
- Operating Frequency: The AT MAX operates at a slightly higher frequency of 13.6 kHz, compared to the AT Pro’s 15 kHz. While this difference may not be significant for most users, it can potentially lead to slightly better target separation and detection in some situations.
- Backlit Display: The AT MAX features a backlit display, making it easier to read in low-light conditions. The AT Pro does not have a backlit display.
- Price: The AT MAX is priced higher than the AT Pro, with an MSRP listed at $894 on garrett.com at the time of writing.
FAQ for the Garrett AT Pro
Is the Garrett AT Pro waterproof?
The Garrett AT Pro is fully waterproof up to 10 feet (3 meters) deep. Both the control box and the search coil are designed to be submerged, making the AT Pro suitable for underwater treasure hunting.
Can the Garrett AT Pro be used on the beach?
Yes, the AT Pro can be used on the beach. Its manual and automatic ground balance features help it perform well on various terrains, including beaches with mineralized sand.
How does the Garrett AT Pro perform in highly mineralized soil?
The AT Pro performs well for a single frequency VLF machine in mineralized soil thanks to its Proportional Audio feature and ground balance options. These features enable the detector to reduce the impact of mineralization, improving target separation and detection depth.
Does the Garrett AT Pro come with a warranty?
Yes, the Garrett AT Pro comes with a 2-year limited parts and labor warranty provided by Garrett from the date of purchase. Be sure to register your metal detector on Garrett’s website to activate the warranty.
How much does the Garrett AT Pro weigh?
The AT Pro weighs 3.03 lbs, making it relatively lightweight for a VLF metal detector with its range of features.
Can I use wireless headphones with the Garrett AT Pro?
The AT Pro does not come with built-in wireless technology. However, you can purchase a separate wireless headphone adapter to use compatible wireless headphones with the detector.
What accessories are included with the Garrett AT Pro?
The Garrett AT Pro comes with a standard search coil, a coil cover, and an instructional DVD. Additional accessories, such as headphones and digging tools, can be purchased separately.
Can the Garrett AT Pro detect gold nuggets?
While it might be able to pick up larger gold targets, I would not recommend the Garrett AT Pro for prospecting. You should consider higher-frequency metal detectors or pulse induction devices designed specifically to pick up the smaller natural gold targets you;re looking for.
Links to the Garrett AT Pro’s Manual
As always, I like to drop a link to the manuals of the devices for the research nerds out there reviewing their potential new purchases. I highly recommend reviewing the manual of any metal detector online before you make your purchase. It will give you the best description of the features and settings that are sometimes communicated poorly elsewhere.
Final Thoughts on the Garrett AT Pro
The Garrett AT Pro is a versatile and reliable metal detector that displays the quality that Garrett is known for. Its all-terrain and waterproof design, adjustable ground balance, and multiple search modes made it a popular choice among detectorists for years, but the times have changed and the value proposition of simultaneous multi-frequency metal detectors is too great when considering new devices at its MSRP of $685. For that price, I could buy a new The Legend from Nokta, a Minelab Equinox 600/700 or even the Garrett ACE Apex which I would recommend over this device.
While it lacks some of the advanced features found in more modern devices including the newer AT MAX, the AT Pro still provides a powerful and adaptable detecting experience that many users find more than sufficient for their needs. If you’re looking for a reliable, mid-range metal detector that can handle a variety of environments and ground conditions, the Garrett AT Pro is capable and can handle the job.