Matt is a professional painter who enjoys fishing and metal detecting on the weekend for old coins and rings.
Garrett AT Pro Review
The Garrett AT Pro is currently the only detector I own and use for my metal detecting adventures. I've used the detector hundreds of times, finding my oldest coin to date, as well as multiple silver coins, valuable rings, and interesting relics. Most of the metal detecting I do is around old homes.
The AT Pro is an all-terrain detector that can be used on land and underwater to a maximum depth of ten feet, but the stock headphones that come with it are not waterproof and cannot be submerged. If you plan to submerge your headphones to retrieve underwater objects, you'll need to buy waterproof headphones separately, which is what I did.
This metal detector isn't complicated to use, but it does take a few treasure hunts to learn the various settings and audio tones for different targets. Once you understand the settings and learn the ins and outs, this metal detector is a coin magnet. To maximize depth and find deep coins, I always metal detect in Pro Zero mode and use the iron discrimination feature only in dirt with a lot of trash.
Here are some of the features and my likes and dislikes:
Depth and Performance
The stock coil is capable of detecting metal to a depth of 10 inches, according to the specs, but I've recovered objects 12 inches deep. The search depth all depends on the size of the object. With proper ground balancing, the coil will find large metal objects buried deep, but small objects deeper than 10 inches might go undetected. Most of the old coins I find are 6 to 8 inches in the ground. The best way to find deep silver coins with this metal detector is to crank up the volume on the headphones, swing slowly, and listen for faint high tones.
The coil on the AT Pro gets jumpy and unstable if you're metal detecting near buried cable and power lines with the sensitivity turned up to full bars. I usually turn up the sensitivity as high as possible, then tweak it to stabilize the machine where I'm metal detecting.
I've used the AT Pro in fresh water lakes and rivers no deeper than five feet. It is to my understanding that this detector doesn't work well in salt water, but I don't know that for sure since I've only used mine in freshwater.
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 metal detected in light rain with the stock headphones without damaging them. It is definitely worth investing in waterproof headphones so you don't have to worry about damaging your gear if you accidentally drop them into the water.
Garrett AT Pro Iron Discrimination
The iron discrimination feature on the AT Pro comes in handy when metal detecting parks and old buildings where the dirt is usually full of trash and iron. Without this feature, it is difficult to hear audio signals for coins and other things because the bad audio signals dominate the headphones. The only way to tune them out is by programming them out.
The iron discrimination control goes from 0 to 40, and I usually set it between 20 and 25. The higher the number you select, the more iron and garbage the search coil will ignore, so you hear only what you want to hear.
Unfortunately, using the iron discrimination does reduce some of the search coil depth. The higher you turn it up, the more depth you lose. For that reason, I only use it when I have no choice, but it's allowed me to recover some amazing coins from dirt full of nails and garbage.
Target ID Accuracy
The target ID numbers go from 1 to 99 with low, mid, and high tone audio signals. Having used this detector hundreds of times on land, I can confirm the target ID numbers are pretty accurate and consistent, but like any metal detector, the numbers can get thrown off by depth and other objects buried nearby or in the same hole. Coins buried on edge can throw off signals too.
It's important not to rely only on the ID numbers, but instead listen to the sound of the signal. Deeper silver coins can ring up with a choppy audio signal because the depth throws it off, especially if it's a smaller coin like a half dime. When I hear a faint high tone mixed in, I dig it up. If you look only at the numbers you'll leave a lot of cool stuff in the ground.
Is the AT Pro Worth the Money?
The Garrett AT Pro metal detector is excellent for coin and relic hunting, with features and depth similar to high-end detectors, 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. I've used my AT Pro extensively and it still functions the same as it did when I first unboxed it. The control box has been submerged underwater dozens of times without any issues.
If you want more depth, you're going to pay for it. Multiple-frequency metal detectors with depths of 12 inches and beyond are very expensive. When I first got into this hobby, I looked at Minelab detectors, but I didn't want to spend over $2,500 on a CTX, or an E-Trac.
Learning everything about the AT Pro takes some time, but once you understand the settings and features, it's easy. I've made some cool finds on land and in the water. Some of my finds include silver coins, Indian head cents, and V-nickels, all dating back to the 1800s. I've also found old lead toys, tokens, silver and gold rings, and my oldest coin so far—a 1795 German coin.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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.