Matt is a professional painter who enjoys fishing and metal detecting for old coins and relics.
Garrett AT Pro Review
As of this writing, the Garrett AT Pro is the only detector I own and use for my metal detecting adventures. I found my oldest coin to date with this detector, as well as multiple silver coins, rings, and interesting relics.
The AT Pro is an all-terrain detector that can be used underwater down to a depth of ten feet, but the provided stock headphones are not waterproof and cannot be submerged. If you plan to submerge the headphones to retrieve underwater targets, you'll need to buy waterproof headphones separately, which is what I did.
There is a slight learning curve with this detector at first, but once you understand its settings and functionality, it's very easy to use. Having owned mine now for close to two years, I've learned a lot about the detector and what I like and dislike about it.
Depth and Performance
The stock coil is capable of detecting targets down to a maximum depth of 10 inches, according to the specs, but I've recovered targets that were between 10 and 12 inches below the surface. These have mostly been larger objects, though, which could explain how they were detected despite being deeper than the machine's specified range. The audio signals for deeper targets are usually quieter and less accurate when the depth gets closer to 10 inches.
Most of the old coins and relics I find are between 6 and 8 inches below the ground. Newer coins are almost always on top in shallow dirt. This machine is great for finding coins, rings, and relics. I've used it in water several times, but most of the metal detecting I do for coins is on land.
The coil on the AT Pro is very sensitive, and at full capacity, it is almost too sensitive. Unless I'm hunting in an open field away from electricity, I rarely turn the sensitivity up all the way because it causes EMI (electromagnetic interference) from nearby power lines and buried cable.
I've used this machine several times in the water, mostly in fresh water no deeper than five feet. A couple of times I had problems ground balancing underwater in a freshwater lake, but most other times I've had no problems. I've read that this detector doesn't work well in salt water, but I can't comment on that, having only used mine in freshwater lakes and rivers.
The whole detector and control box can be dunked underwater down to ten feet, but only with waterproof headphones, which aren't included. With the non-waterproof stock headphones, you can still submerge the coil and shaft of the detector up to just below the plug connector. I've detected in light rain with the stock headphones without damaging them.
Garrett AT Pro Iron Discrimination
The iron discrimination feature of the AT Pro works well in metal detecting areas riddled with garbage and iron. When looking for old coins at parks and old house sites that have too much garbage in the ground, I turn up the iron discrimination.
The iron discrimination setting goes from 0 to 40. The higher the number you select, the more garbage the machine will ignore. This reduces noise and chatter while scanning the ground, making it easier to hear the good signals in your headphones.
The downside of using too much iron discrimination is that it reduces depth. For that reason, I usually only use this feature when necessary in trashy sites.
Target ID Accuracy
The target ID numbers go from 1 to 99 with low, mid, and high tone audio signals. Having used this machine now for almost two years, I find the target ID numbers to be pretty accurate more often than not, but they aren't bulletproof. No metal detector is going to be accurate all the time.
Coins ring up consistently with the same audio signal and target ID number, but deeper targets more than 8 inches below ground are sometimes inaccurate and jumpy. Metal trash in the ground near a good target can also throw off the numbers sometimes if iron discrimination is turned off. I often rely on the sound of the tones more than the numbers, but the numbers are very useful.
Is the AT Pro Worth the Money?
The Garrett AT Pro metal detector is a good entry-level machine for coin and relic hunting, with features and depth similar to high-end machines, but without the huge price tag. I first looked at the non-waterproof, Garrett Ace 250, but I wanted a detector I could take into lakes and rivers or out in the rain without ruining my gear.
Although I've recovered deeper targets buried a foot down, the detector works best for targets under 10 inches. Multiple-frequency metal detectors with depths of 12 inches and beyond are usually quite expensive. When I bought my gear, I looked at the E-trac from Minelab, but I didn't want to spend over $2,500 when I wasn't even sure if I was going to be interested in the hobby long-term.
Learning everything about this machine takes some time, but once you understand the settings and features, it's easy. I've made some cool finds using this detector on land and in the water. Some of my finds include silver Barber coins, Indian head cents, and V-nickels, all dating back to the 1800s. I've also found old lead toys, tokens, silver rings, and my oldest coin so far—a 1795 german coin. Eventually I plan to upgrade my gear, but for now, I'm happy with the AT Pro.
Questions & Answers
Question: Garrett at pro can detect gold?
Answer: Yes, the AT Pro metal detector will detect gold and any metal object in the ground. With this detector, the audio signal for gold is usually a low tone with a target ID ranging from the 40s through the 50s, but large gold rings will give you a higher ID number. I found a big gold class ring with this detector that rang up in the 80s.
Question: How is the AT Pro at pin pointing?
Answer: I use the pin pointing button for every target I dig and it's always worked really well for me and land and in the water. The sound from the pin pointing gives you a good idea of the size of the target too, whether it's a coin or a larger object.
© 2018 Matt G.
Matt G. (author) from United States on May 30, 2019:
Thank you. I don't have any plans to sell it.
Steve Hull on May 30, 2019:
Good article, really appreciate it. If you want to sell your AT Pro, send me a message.