Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector Review

The Garrett AT Pro is a high-tech metal detector with expert features at a price point that can’t be beat.  While amateurs can certainly learn how to use the AT Pro, serial hunters will immediately recognize the professional features it offers. 

Even though the AT Pro hit the shelves in 2010, its technology and design are right on point with today’s premium metal detectors. 

From the desert and rocky mountains to fresh water creeks and salty shores, the AT Pro is designed to detect treasures in any terrain. 

At a Glance…

✔️ Best Feature: Waterproof & submersible

Worst Feature: No back-lit display

👌 Ideal For: All Terrains, Water, Submersion, Gold, Coins, Relics, Jewelry, Competitions, Experts

  • Fully waterproof & submersible
  • Pro Mode Audio
  • Iron Audio
  • Automatic & Manual Ground Balance
  • Electronic Pin Pointer

Our Verdict: It’s one of the best metal detectors for all skill levels.  Its many features provide excellent value and opportunity to enhance treasure-hunting skills. 

Who is the Garrett AT Pro Best Suited To?

The AT Pro is not an entry-level metal detector.  It’s a professional-grade machine that is designed with expert-level features packed into a user-friendly interface.  However, beginners, serious hobbyists, and professionals will find this detector more than adequate for their needs. 

It’s easy to learn and use, and the metal detector comes with a manual and instructional DVD to maximize its potential and your success rate.  Whether you’re starting out green and this is your first-time buy or you’re a skilled hunter, the AT Pro is best suited for all. 

How does the Garrett AT Pro Perform?

The AT Pro is a single frequency, VLF detector that operates at a 15 kHz, however, the frequency settings are adjustable with four slightly different settings.  Because the adjustments are so small, it will not affect target detection capabilities while minimizing interference from power lines or even other metal detectors. 

It has six detection modes with three in standard mode and three in professional (PRO) mode.  Within the PRO mode, you have advanced Proportional Audio and Tone Roll Audio features that offers additional target information.  It’s lightweight, comes with an 8.5” x 11” DD searchcoil to cover more ground quickly, and a 2-year Garrett warranty is included. 

Features & Benefits

Waterproof & Submersible

Due to its fully waterproof and submersible design, it can be used up to a maximum of 10 feet in rivers, docks, along shorelines, and swimming holes.  This feature provides assurance that your metal detector won’t be damaged when you accidently slip off a rock or if you brave deep waters for sunken treasure. 

Headphones are included with the AT Pro detector, but they are land-based ones.  However, a waterproof cable and connector are provided which gives you submersible capability up to the earmuffs.

Pro Mode Audio

Beginners will prefer to stick with the clean, consistent target response that standard mode offers.  However, more advanced detector users will likely make use of the Proportional Audio Mode that allows them to hear the target’s depth, size, and shape.  In Pro Mode, you can also incorporate use of the Tone Roll Audio that allows you to hear conductivity changes from your target. 

Iron Audio

This feature is especially helpful for coin shooters who need to distinguish between trash like washers and bottle caps from coins.  The audible sound from coins will remain a consistently high tone while bottle caps will produce low/high/low tones.  While most coin shooters will set their iron discrimination to completely silence out its particular phase-shift, it could cause you to miss a valuable find. 

Iron Audio allows the user to take advantage of notch discrimination.  This means you can be alerted to objects above the discrimination threshold and objects below the threshold with unique tones to further acquire target information.  The best way to use this feature is to keep it switched off, and when you receive a questionable response from an item, switch it on and listen for the tones to check if it is iron. 

Automatic & Manual Ground Balance

When you’re hunting in wet sand or in areas with hard, red clay, salt and fine iron particles can be very distracting and cause false signals.  These types of hunting grounds cause a change in magnetic field of the detector similar to that of finding your target metals.  To cancel out these ground signals, a ground balance feature is necessary.  This model sports both auto and manual settings. 

By maximizing this feature, you can hone in on smaller and highly ferrous objects, or you can filter out unwanted ferrous materials to find highly conductive objects.  

Electronic Pin Pointer

The AT Pro has an electronic pin pointer pushbutton that enables the user to find the exact location of a target.  The display practically does all the work, and this feature alone may be a game changer for your hunting goals.  Holding the detector consistently 1” above the ground and moving it in a crosshair-like pattern will reflect three results on the display.  A scale will indicate signal strength while another segmented scale will “fill” up to determine the searchcoil’s exact position over the center of the target.  A coin depth scale will indicate how deep the target is. 

Limitations

No Back-lit Display

It’s a shame the AT Pro lacks a back-lit display after all the expert features it has.  Obviously, it will limit visibility in low to no light conditions which ultimately limits your hunting time.  The LCD screen may also be difficult to see in bright sunlight conditions.  To acquire a Garrett model with a backlight feature will add a couple hundred bucks to the price.  Granted, it means additional features will also be part of the package, but it would be nice to complete this model with a backlight. 

Not Specifically Designed for Saltwater Use

And that is straight from the horse’s mouth, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use it in this environment.  Finding treasures at the beach is difficult for VLF/Continuous Wave, single frequency metal detectors – it’s just the way it is for all detectors of this type, not just the AT Pro.  While white sand is better to hunt in, black sand can cause a lot of signal interference.  To increase the odds of detecting treasures in these conditions, you must reduce (negatively bias) ground balance and decrease sensitivity settings.  This should help cut out a lot of the chatter, but it may also mean bypassing smaller-sized finds.  You should probably rinse off the searchcoil after use in these high mineralization areas. 

Popular Questions

Can the Garrett AT Pro be Used for Gold Nugget Hunting?

While Garret has a model specifically geared for prospecting gold, the AT Pro can be used to find gold nuggets.  In its stock form, it comes with an 8.5” x 11” DD searchcoil that is typically good for large areas and is designed as an all-round metal detector suitable for many types of hunters.  To hone in on small nuggets, a smaller coil may be better.  Fortunately, this model is compatible with other AT coils of various sizes.  A higher frequency than the 15 kHz may be desired to detect low conductivity objects within the low to medium range that will improve your nugget hunting efforts. 

Additionally, other factors can determine the metal detector’s performance in finding gold nuggets such as size, how deep it is, and ground conditions.  Due to the AT Pro’s many expert features, you can adjust various settings to further your success rate. 

What is the Maximum Depth Detection of the AT Pro? 

The maximum depth detection under water is 10 feet, however, just like hunting on dry land there are many factors that will determine its ability to detect objects.  This includes size, conductivity, and magnetic properties of the object.  You must also consider environmental conditions, how far the object is underground, and sensitivity settings on the metal detector. 

While this is model is rated as for surface exploration with an expected depth range of 2-5”, many users have received signals on objects 10-12” and more.  Larger objects may be detected even deeper. 

What Accessories are Included with the Garrett Metal Detector?

The AT Pro metal detector is packaged with MS-2 Headphones that includes a waterproof cable and connector, 8.5” x 11” DD coil, and 4x AA batteries to power it.  It also comes with instructions, DVD and manual, and a 2-year warranty card. 

Are Garrett Metal Detectors Made in China?

No.  All Garrett products are made in Garland, Texas, USA.  Look for the Garrett Made in USA seal to ensure you have an authentic product.  You can also verify the product’s serial number with the company for added assurance.  Take measures to protect your purchase and avoid counterfeits.  No authentic Garrett product, even with the Garrett label, is made in or shipped from China. 

Conclusion

The Garrett AT Pro has a lot to offer.  Its standard modes and many available instructional videos online provide beginners with the confidence they need to get hunting right away.  But, seasoned hunters will appreciate the extra bells and whistles the Pro offers as it will help to fine-tune their hunting skills and target precious finds. 

It’s lightweight, fully equipped, truly waterproof, and is designed as one of the best all-round hunting metal detectors in the market – even a decade later than its production date.  It still reigns in at the top. 

Further Reading:

About Simon Owen

I’m Simon and I love finding things. From a young age I always had the knack to find coins, notes, wallets and more. All of that was without the use of technology. I look forward to sharing with you some amazing tech that will make your treasure hunt a lot easier.