Matt is a professional painter who enjoys fishing and metal detecting on the weekend for old coins and rings.
Why You Need a Pin Pointer for Metal Detecting
If you're new to the hobby of metal detecting, a must-have tool to add to your arsenal of gear is a quality pin pointer, preferably one that is water-proof. Think of a pin pointer as a mini metal detector. The tool helps you locate your finds in the dirt after you dig a hole.
Recovering your metal detecting finds from dirt piles without a pin pointer tool is difficult and time consuming, especially if the object is very small. Yes, you can use your metal detector too, but the large coil makes it hard to find the exact location of the object in the dirt. Using a pin pointer is so much faster, trust me. I've made the mistake of leaving mine at home more than once and regretted it.
One of the most popular pin pointing tools for metal detecting is the orange water-proof one from Garrett. I've owned and used mine since 2017 when I bought the tool along with my Garrett AT Pro metal detector as part of a package deal. I've used the pin pointer almost on a monthly basis since I first bought it.
In this review, I cover the features of the Pro Pointer tool and what I think about it overall for metal detecting.
Is the Garrett Pro Pointer Waterproof?
A water-proof pin pointer is needed if you plan on doing any metal detecting in the water. Even for treasure hunting on land, it's worth buying one that's water-proof for peace of mind not having to worry about damage from sudden rain. This model (the orange one) is waterproof. The original black one (the Pro Pointer 2) is not waterproof.
Prior to the orange water-proof model, the original Pro Pointer 2 was the only option, and the only way to water-proof it was to cover the exterior with silicone.
I've metal detected in rivers and lakes with the Garrett Pro Pointer multiple times since 2017 without any issues. The seal around the battery compartment and push button is tight and prevents water from leaking in. This tool makes it a lot easier to recover my finds from underwater muck, or from a pile of sand I've dumped out of my sand scoop. It is more difficult to recover submerged objects, especially without a tool like this.
There is no adjustable volume control on this tool, but it beeps loud enough for me to hear underwater. The pin pointer also vibrates and beeps simultaneously to make it even easier.
Sensitivity and Ground Balancing
The vibration and frequency of the beeping intensify as the pin pointer gets closer to the metal object. The Pro Pointer is very sensitive and will find the smallest piece of metal. Like your metal detector, it must be ground balanced first or it becomes unstable and beeps constantly in soil with lots of minerals and black sand.
To ground balance, simply hold the pin pointer against the wall inside the hole and press the "on" button. If you press the "on" button while holding it in the air outside of the hole, it won't ground balance. I made that mistake when I first started using mine.
There are three sensitivity settings, which include minimum, medium, and maximum. I leave mine set at maximum. Most of the metal detecting I do is on land, but if you're going to use it in saltwater, using the minimum sensitivity setting will probably work better for you.
There is also a vibrate-only mode that I like to use when metal detecting curb strips and private property permissions to keep the noise level down.
The Garrett Pro Pointer runs on one 9-volt battery, which lasts about 30 hours. Running it at maximum sensitivity all the time or leaving it turned on too often drains the battery a lot faster. I only turn mine on when needed and I always keep an extra battery in my bag.
If you do leave it turned on accidentally an alarm will sound off after five minutes, which is kind of a cool feature that helps you save the battery life and locate the tool too in case you misplace it. I lost mine in the woods once and was able to recover it because of the alarm.
When the battery life is almost depleted, you will notice the beeping tone change, meaning it's time to replace the battery. I can usually go metal detecting several times before I need to replace the battery. Always carry a fresh battery in your bag.
Is the Garrett Pro Pointer AT Worth It?
Since 2017, my Garrett AT Pro Pointer has been used hundreds of times to metal detect on land and in the water, and the tool still works as well as the day I unboxed it. If you plan on doing any serious metal detecting, you definitely need to use a good pin pointing tool, whether it's Garrett, or another brand, because recovering metal detecting finds without one isn't easy, especially underwater.
Another feature I like that I forgot to mention earlier is the ring near the battery compartment for connecting a tether or retractable cord. I connect a cord to the ring and the other end to my wrist when I metal detect in the river to prevent losing it in the water current. The pin pointer is buoyant and floats even better with a floating tether attached to it.
You can use this pin pointer underwater to a maximum depth of twenty feet. The deepest I've ever used it underwater is probably four feet tops. It's a huge time saver when trying to locate your find in wet sand and dirt plugs. There is also an LED light on the end too so you can still metal detect after dark and see everything clearly inside the hole or underwater.
© 2018 Matt G.