Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector Review

The Most Versatile Detector in its Class

Garrett AT Pro

The AT Pro is priced like a mid-level detector but has many of the highly sought after features typically found in advanced machines - without being difficult to learn and master!

Imagine a fully waterproof metal detector packed with expert-level features - all at an affordable price. Imagine a detector that can be used in all terrains and can uncover targets ranging from platinum rings on a salt water beach, to gold nuggets on a claim out West. I give you, the Garrett AT Pro.

The AT Pro is priced like a mid-level detector but has many of the highly sought after features typically found in advanced machines - without being difficult to learn and master!

Pros

  • Fully waterproof and submersible
  • Manual and auto ground balance
  • Proportional audio
  • Iron Audio

Cons

  • Single frequency
  • Waterproof headphones sold separately
  • No back-lit display

Now let’s dive deep into the features of the AT Pro!


Waterproof, All Terrain Capabilities

The AT Pro is waterproof and fully submersible to 10 feet which is perfect for hunting around ponds, lakes, creeks, rivers and even the ocean.

Having a detector that’s completely waterproof is unique in that the only other waterproof machines on the market are built specifically for water hunting and shouldn’t be used on land (except the AT Gold and CTX 3030).

If you have any desire to hunt in or near a water source, you should take a closer look at the AT Pro.

Even if you just want to hunt in a shallow creek, it’s too easy to slip on a rock or drop your detector by accident. If that happens and your machine is NOT waterproof, you just lost your machine.

It’s worth noting that the stock headphones are NOT waterproof and should not be used near water. Garrett sells the waterproof headphones separately and can be found here.

There’s also a great aftermarket brand of waterproof headphones which I find more comfortable. They are the DetectorPro Gray Ghost Amphibians and can be found here.


Proportional Audio or "Pro Mode"

Proportional audio or “Pro Mode” audio is an advanced feature that can be turned on and off depending on user preference, experience, and skill level.

Put simply; this audio mode emits way more than a single tone when over a target.

You’ll hear many, simultaneous tones (snapping and popping) which represent the characteristics of the target including things like conductivity, shape, and depth.

When turned off, the machine audio will sound much like the monotones of the ACE series.

Once you master this audio mode, you’ll find yourself digging less trash and more treasure.


Iron Audio

Like proportional audio, iron audio is an advanced audio feature not found in the entry level Garrett ACE series.

This feature (when turned on) allows you to hear discriminated iron in a way where you KNOW there’s iron in the ground.

Your machine will emit very low, grunting tones that indicate the target has iron (ferrous) content and is likely trash (unless you are relic hunting for iron targets).

This feature is extremely useful for all types of hunters, but especially coin shooters.

Coin shooters will typically hunt with iron totally discriminated (or notched out).

But when a coin shooter hits a questionable signal and can’t decide whether to dig, they can flip on Iron Audio and instantly determine if any iron exists in the target.

This feature saves you from digging trash so you can spend more time digging good targets.


Ground Balance

The AT Pro has both manual and automatic ground balance capabilities - a feature not found in the ACE series.

Ground balancing is a feature that allows the detector to ignore signals from the ground like iron and salt.

Not only does ground balancing cut down on the chatter of ground signals, but it also allows your detector to find targets at deeper depths and with better target ID accuracy.

So if you live in areas of the country with highly mineralized soil (or hot ground), you’re going to want a metal detector with this feature for sure.


Single Frequency

The AT Pro operates at a single 15 kHz frequency which is great for finding targets of all sizes.

The reason I list this as a con is that it is only a single frequency machine - as is almost every machine on the market apart from high-end Minelabs and other specialty machines.

With single frequency, detecting on salt water beaches is not ideal. So if you live by the coast, this can be a problem.

Even though Garrett’s marketing material says the AT Pro can be used on salt water beaches, this just isn’t the case.

Don’t get me wrong; you can certainly use the AT Pro on salt water beaches.

But if you plan to get in the water or wet sand, you’re going to get a lot of chatter even with ground balancing and the DD coil.

All that chatter is going to mask good targets but more importantly, limit your depth capabilities.

It’s important to note that this will be the case with ANY single frequency machine - not just the AT Pro. It’s simply the nature of the technology.

For more on beach hunting detectors, read our guide here.​


Coil Selection

Serious metal detectorists know that to be effective in your hunts; you need to use different search coils for various applications.

Here are the accessory coils that Garrett makes for the AT Pro:

  • 4” DD sniper for getting into tight spaces as well as hunting in high trash areas.
  • 5 x 8” DD for high trash areas and better target separation.
  • 6.5 x 9” concentric for neutral ground in low trash areas.
  • 9 x 12” concentric for neutral ground in wide open areas to cover more ground faster.

Each coil has its function. No coil is better than the other. It’s all about where you intend to use it.

The stock coil on the AT Pro is the 8.5x11" DD as seen here:​


Garrett AT Pro vs. AT Gold

One of the most common questions I see online is what the difference between the AT Pro and AT Gold is?

In a nutshell, they are in fact very similar machines.

The main difference is that the AT Gold, as it's names implies, is more suited for gold prospecting

The AT Gold comes stock with a smaller 5x8” DD coil - the AT Pro comes with a larger 8.5 x 11” DD coil.

The smaller coil allows the detector to concentrate its energy on finding smaller targets like gold nuggets.

It also has a higher frequency to improve its performance on low to medium conductivity targets like gold.

The AT Gold also has ground balance features specific to prospecting in highly mineralized ground as well as a feature called ‘Ground Balance Window.’

Ground balance window allows you to operate with a range of ground balance values to account for a spread of mineralization levels at the exact site you’re hunting.

This is especially useful when prospecting as you encounter various pockets of concentrated mineralization from the varying terrain.

Another big difference is that the proportional audio (or Pro Mode) on the AT Gold is standard, and cannot be turned off like you can on the AT Pro.

The AT Pro allows you to toggle this audio mode which is great for newbies just learning the machine.

Finally, the AT Gold has a “True All Metal” mode which gives the machine maximum detection depth and sensitivity - a must-have feature for gold prospectors.

To sum up, the AT Pro is best for the all-around hunter whereas the AT Gold is best for gold prospecting and in areas with very high levels of mineralization.


AT Pro FAQs

Here are some of the more commonly asked questions about the AT Pro.

Will the AT Pro detect gold?

Yes, the AT Pro will detect gold.

All metal detectors detect gold; the only question is can the machine handle the types of environments and terrains where gold is most typically found? (i.e., high levels of mineralization). For more on gold detectors, read our guide here.


What comes in the box?

The AT Pro comes with the following items:

  • 8.5x11” DD coil
  • Land headphones
  • Instruction manual
  • Instruction DVD
  • Two Year Warranty card

You can also find some great bundles online that also include items like coil covers, pinpointers, pouches, bags, etc.


When did the AT Pro come out?

The AT Pro was released by Garrett in the fall of 2010.


Where to buy the AT Pro?

You can buy the AT Pro from any authorized Garrett dealer as well as Amazon.


What are some comparable detectors?

The detectors that are most comparable from other brands in terms of performance and price are:

  • Fisher F5
  • Minelab X-terra 705
  • Tesoro Vaquero
  • Makro Racer

Finds Using the Garrett AT Pro

Take a look at some of the mind-blowing videos below to see what the AT Pro is capable of finding:

Massive Hoard of 178 Silver Coins Dating from 1837

Brass Cartridges, Lead Bullets, Civil War-Era Belt Plates, Military Buttons

Ancient Roman Coin

Rookie Relic Hunter Digs Up a Canon Ball

U.S. Breastplate, Confederate Bullets, Minie Ball Sinkers

Silver Coins, Jewelry and Relics

Summertime Lake Hunt: Coins and Jewelry

Colonial Relics

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Garrett AT Pro
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
Mark Orwig
 

My name is Mark Orwig and I am obsessed with keeping my mind busy, keeping active, and staying healthy.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
David McRae - June 22, 2017

I live in the red clay region of Georgia. Would the soil be considered “highly mineralized”. I am new to metal detecting and I’m trying to decide between the Fischer F22 and the Garrett AT Pro All Terrain. I will be searching around old house sites with lots of nails and old cans. Wonderfully educational advice! Thanks.

Reply
    Mark Orwig - June 22, 2017

    Hey David. Yes it would be highly mineralized. I would definitely go with the AT Pro if I were you. Good luck!

    Reply

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