Metal Detecting / Garrett AT MAX Metal Detector Review

Garrett AT MAX Metal Detector Review

Maximum Depth, Wireless Technology, All-Terrain
Marc McDermott

Garrett, a company known for offering quality metal detectors like the AT Pro and AT Gold, has unveiled a new all-terrain detector that you can now purchase. If you were a fan of Garrett’s AT Pro and AT Gold, you’ll want to check out this detector!

The new Garrett AT MAX combines the best of both those machines into a heavy-duty detector aimed at the serious coin, jewelry, and relic hunters.

Wireless technology

This detector features built-in Z-Lynk wireless technology, and it also includes new Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk wireless headphones.

Here is why you’ll like the Z-Lynk technology — it has near-zero delay. It operates six times faster than the speed you’ll get with BlueTooth.

What this means for you as a detectorist is that you’ll get a signal when your detector is right over your target – something that’s been hard to accomplish in the past with wireless headphones

The wireless headphone is a nice touch because you don’t have to worry about pesky cords getting in your way while you’re detecting. I’m personally ready to break out the champagne over this feature!

I hate wearing headphones while I’m detecting. It honestly drives me nuts.

Every time I put my detector on the ground to check out a signal, I also have to take off my headphones because of the wire attaching them to the machine. That’s a lot of trouble when you’re on an all-day hunt hitting frequent targets.

But I don’t like to go without headphones because they are helpful to detectorists.

They help you better hear and distinguish the sounds your detector makes.

Plus, when you’re in public places like parks, headphones are essential, so you don’t always annoy other people with the chatter from your detector.

But with these headphones, you can leave them on without annoying yourself or others because there’s no cord to worry about.

What else does it offer?

You’ll get even greater depth detection because of increased transmit power and enhanced electronics.

That means if you go over your old stomping grounds with this new detector, you may find some signals you missed with your other machines because they didn’t go deep enough.

Some of my best finds have been made while reexamining grounds I had previously searched.

One of the best times to take a closer look at ground you’ve already hunted is right after you get a new metal detector.

It’s exciting to see what you missed and to daydream about what might still be there waiting to be found!

Here are some of the other features this detector has:

AT MAX features​

Optimized frequency​

An operating frequency of 13.6 kHz, which is a good frequency for all sorts of targets, including coins and relics.

It’s also sensitive enough to pick up small gold nuggets that lower-frequency metal detectors wouldn’t register.

But this is not a machine I would use for gold prospecting. See our complete list of gold detectors here.

Even though the frequency is different than both the AT Pro and AT Gold, all AT coils will be compatible with the AT MAX. ​

AT MAX and AT Pro coils side by side

True ‘All-Metal’ mode​

A true all-metal mode, which gives you the best depth and sensitivity – a must-have for serious relic hunters.

This feature is not available on the AT Pro, but it is part of the AT Gold.

Backlight display

A backlight, which will help you operate your metal detector in the dark — you won’t have to quit when the sunlight does.

Adjustable ground balance​

Both automatic and manual ground balancing, which will help you hunt in mineralized soil conditions and even saltwater beaches. You can now change the ground balancing in quarter-point increments.

Ground balance window​

An automatic ground balance window, allowing the AT MAX to simultaneously ground balance to a range to account for localized change in mineralization.

Sharper audio signals​

Pulse width modulation audio response that will give you sharp signals and more information about your targets, which will help you decide whether to dig or pass them over.

Larger display​

Bigger display numbers, including the popular digital target identification numbers and the iron discrimination numbers.

Threshold adjustment

Adjustable threshold, which is nice if you have problems hearing softer, fainter targets above the hum of the machine.

Iron audio​

Iron audio to help you avoid the scourge of metal detecting — bottle caps.

All-metal iron audio, which lets you operate in the all-metal mode and hear discriminated iron targets at the same time.

Frequency adjust​

Adjustable frequency, which you can use to help get rid of interference from things like power lines and nearby detectorists.

Notch​

Notch discrimination that can also help in your fight against pull tabs and other undesirable targets.

High-res iron discrim​

High-resolution iron discrimination, up to 44 points, which is a great feature because you’ll avoid things you don’t want to find like nails and other junk.

One word of caution though, don’t set this too high routinely, or you may miss some good signals too.

While there are several new features in the AT MAX that are not in the AT Pro, the controls remain pretty similar:

Search modes

With this detector, you’ll get four search modes — the true all-metal mode, a custom mode, coins and zero discrimination mode.

To help you while using whichever mode you choose, the AT MAX also has top-notch target separation and good recovery speed.

Target separation is especially important while hunting grounds that have a lot of signals — you don’t want to miss a coin because you find a nail right next to it and you prematurely give up the search.

Final thougts

This detector is a solid option for metal detectorists who are planning to hunt in a variety of soil types and terrains. It’s an all-terrain detector that can stand up to the rigors of rough conditions.

You can use it in fresh water and can be submerged up to 10 feet underwater — so you might want to invest in a good pair of goggles as well.

Note that this is not a saltwater machine, despite some of the marketing materials out there. No single frequency VLF performs well in salt.

Click here for our guide on the best saltwater beach metal detectors.

If you go underwater with your unit, you should swap out the wireless headphones to use hardwired ones that are made to be submerged – these are sold separately and can be found here.

About the Author

Comments (17)

  1. Vali

    He doesn’t mention the most important thing – the depth of detection

    • Marc McDermott

      There are way too many factors that go into depth. Target size, type of metal, ground mineralization, coil size, detector settings, swing, etc. That’s why I don’t give out absolute numbers.

  2. Ivan

    Hello Mark, So I’m pretty torn on spending money on Upgrading and would like your personal opinion. I bought my first AT Pro a few months back and I have had great luck with it at our local Saltwater beaches and found at ton of coins at the local parks (full of pull tabs and bottle caps) and my best gold/silver ring finds have been while I’m wading in about waist deep salt water behind our tourist trap hotels. This is where I’m torn, is the AT Max going to give me any more than my AT Pro for these area’s that I’m using it in? I plan on doing a lot of “wade fishing as I call it” and was wondering If the Max is going to do more/better?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Marc McDermott

      Eh, not really. Honestly if you’re going to upgrade, get a PI or submersible multi-frequency machine like the new Minelab EQUINOX.

  3. corey francois

    Hi I have used at max on salt water beaches I find great things works wonderful not sure what you mean by that statement but for me its a good salt water machine

    • Marc McDermott

      Yes it can work but your depth will be limited. That’s just the nature of single frequency detectors.

  4. Jeff Koz

    Why do you indicate the new AT Max cannot be used in saltwater? The Garrett site indicates it can be used in saltwater, looking at their published feature list… are they misleading potential buyer?

    • Marc McDermott

      Hey Jeff. Simply because it is a single frequency machine. I don’t care what any marketing material says. Saltwater requires certain types of technology – pulse induction, multiple frequency or dual frequency.

  5. David Struthers

    Have been out with my AT max a couple of times, when useing it on coin mode, iam not getting clear signals and getting interference with crackling noises. Have tryed changing frequencies and ground ballancing. So having to use it on all metal mode all the time, iam not getting a good responce from iron audio function. Need some advice please.

    • Marc McDermott

      Hey David. Could be a number of things. I would just give Garrett a quick call. They’ll be able to help you much better than I can.

  6. Reggie Cusick

    Just got my new AT Max last week. WOW! Hunted turf I’ve pounded many times. Deeper finds and super easy to understand. Great Great machine.

  7. Ryan

    Thanks for the great review. I’m just curious about something. I’ve been using the AT Pro for a couple of years and always hunt in Zero Pro Mode. I see that the Max has a True All Metal Mode as well as a Zero Mode. If the True All Metal Mode gives better depth and sensitivity, what is the purpose in keeping the Zero Mode on the new Max? I guess my real question is what exactly is the difference in the 2 modes? Thanks.

    • Marc McDermott

      Hey Ryan. Good question. I believe the main advantage of using zero disc over all-metal is the audio tones. All-metal provides much less target ID info in all-metal – usually just a medium tone for every metal. But you can also use the iron-audio in all-metal mode to gain a low tone for iron. I think the use of either mode depends on the site and how much trash is around. Hope this helps!

      • Tisserand

        I am looking for a general purpose machine to take on vacations. Normally most of my searches are in saltwater but I want a machine that is very good on land also. I have tried another recently released machine from another manufacturer and while it can be used in saltwater, in practice I found it useless. It was waterproof and worked fine except in saltwater. Are there independent testing results for the Garrett AT Max for saltwater to support buying this machine? Thanks

  8. john ramirez

    Thank you for your unbiased review. I have detected off and on for 40? Years. No detector can do it all but this new one is a beauty. It’s a little expensive for the avg. Detectorists but I’m thinking I’m going to love it. I built my first detector. It was a b.f.o. kit from radio shack. I loved it and I could tell you what was in the ground by sound. I’m hoping the small sniper coil will improve performance in finding tiny gold nuggets. What is your opinion?

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