Is The Garrett AT Pro as Good as Reviews Would Have You Think?
Almost every Garrett AT Pro Review that we have found online has argued that the detector is one of the best models in its category, however, we want to put it to the test and see exactly who is it for and what can it really do in order to improve your metal or treasure hunting experience. We will look at what it would mean to move up from a low-tier device to an advanced one, and also at what advantages and disadvantages the model has.
The AT Pro model is by far the most popular metal detector produced and sold by Garrett. The device was developed as part of the AT series which also includes the Gold and MAX models. Although all three of them are premium devices and contain a large number of advanced features, the Pro model was developed in order to offer the best possible balance between price and quality.
Looking at it strictly as a product, the AT Pro comes with several accessories, making it seem more like a complete kit, rather than a simple metal detector. Garrett sells the device along with headphones, a pinpointer, a belt strap, batteries, and a quick-start guide. The only other thing that you would need it a digger implement such as a foldable shovel.
Getting ready for an upgrade
Having the right equipment isn’t everything, and if we look at the fact that the AT Pro is designed for individuals who have a decent amount of experience when it comes to metal hunting, it’s safe to say that you need to have a decent amount of experience in order to use the device at its full capacity. So, who is the Garrett AT Pro for?
Generally speaking, it is for anyone who has owned one or two basic metal detectors in the past and is now ready to move to a professional model. However, the low price makes it one of the most affordable products of this type, so it would be a great choice for anyone who is on a budget.
Also, keep in mind that this is basically a set. You not only get the detector itself, but also a pinpointer, headphones, batteries, and a belt strap. The only other thing needed to go digging right away is a foldable shovel.
Overall, the Garrett AT Pro is great as a present, or as a replacement for your primary metal detector. It’s durable, it comes with a lot of features and operating it is as easy as pressing a few buttons. Beginners can use it as well, however, they may be confused as to what a few of the features do and may find it easier to operate a more basic model.
The Garrett AT Pro Waterproof Metal Detector – An affordable metal detector that comes with advanced features
Anyone who has owned at least a couple of metal detectors knows that affordable devices rarely come with customizable detection profiles, an entirely waterproof design, or a true discrimination function. The device itself is made from durable materials that are great for rough terrain and do not degrade in saltwater.
Unlike metal detectors that are developed only to be used underwater, the AT Pro offers the best of both worlds, making it usable on land as well as when diving. However, remember that not all the items that come with the device are waterproof. The headphones, in particular, can be easily damaged if submerged into water. Although the wire and the connector can get wet, the headphones themselves are not sealed.
This having been said, the AT Pro model from Garrett is quite affordable when considering the quality materials that it is made from and that it comes with great features such as Iron Audio and Pro Mode. The detector has a lot to offer, but most beginners may find it difficult to get used to some of its functions.
How it feels?
The Garrett AT Pro is very similar to other devices that are commercially available. The handle of the scanner is made from a textured hard plastic that is easy to grip and hold even while completely submerged.
A somewhat bulky control box is attached at the top of the stem, containing 11 buttons that are used to operate the scanner as well as a large non-backlit LCD display. Although there is no way to actually press the buttons with the same hand that you are holding the device, due to the position of the handle, they are large enough to hit with your free hand without having to bring the entire panel closer to your face.
Despite its size, the metal detector is surprisingly light, weighing only 3.03 pounds. If you grip it tightly and tighten the arm strap properly, you can swing the AT Pro for hours without getting tired. The arm slot is padded with a type of rubberized foam that prevents your forearm from slipping while submerged but will not chafe while hunting on land.
In the lower half of the detector, you will find the standard coil that the device features, the 8.5” x 11” DD PROformance. Designed particularly as a general-purpose detection coil, it does better target separation and depth detection than other models. However, for precision, Garrett also sells replacement coils, such as a 9” x 12” concentric coil.
The stock coil doesn’t add too much weight at the lower end of the device, making it easy to lift in order to scan vertically. Also, the weight of the control box balances the detector, making it easier to swing underwater.
As for the accessories, the small pinpointer that is included with the AT Pro also comes with a belt strap and doesn’t get in the way when treasure hunting. Also, the headphones have a long, coiled cable that is surprisingly springy and will pull itself together when possible so you don’t trip on it.
Wearing the headphones for extended periods of time will make you sweat, but they will never become uncomfortable or seem heavy.
How it works?
The versatility and advanced functionality of the AT Pro model is in its name. “AT” stands for “All-terrain”, and the “Pro” refers to the Proportional Audio feature. One of the best things about this device is the fact that it can transform a large amount of information regarding the target that it finds into audio signals. Basically, the Pro Mode enables the user to hear everything from the kind of material that he has found to the size and depth that it is at.
Similar to how the Pro Mode works, there is the Iron Audio feature which sets the device to discriminate iron by producing a low tone that indicates when it detects trash. This function was put into place in order to make it easier for the user to understand if the target is trash or not.
Equally useful is the ability to choose between an Automatic Ground Balance Mode and a Manual one. Generally speaking, the ground balancing allows the detector to ignore ghost signals that it might receive when scanning soils with high mineral content.
This is useful primarily when on a beach where the sand may contain high amounts of salt, or when hunting in an area where there is a lot of black sand that contains iron. The Automatic Ground Balance Mode can not only eliminate interferences caused by the minerals, but it also increases the overall accuracy of the device.
By comparison, all three of the features presented above are not found in lower-tier Garrett models, and the Proportional Audio feature is exclusive to the AT Pro. There are several more features to mention, however, these are the only ones that needed an in-depth explanation in order to understand how the metal detector performs.
- Proportional Audio – The device can be set to produce a multitude of tone simultaneously in order to describe the target. The sound is determined by the size of the object, as well as the depth that it is at and the metal that it’s made from;
- 15 kHz detection frequency – the 15 kHz contributes to the detector’s ability to separate targets and makes it easier to find small objects;
- Iron Audio – The Iron Audio feature generates a low tone every time the device detects iron, helping the user to avoid trash;
- Automatic Ground Balance – The device can automatically adjust its detection parameters in order to compensate for mineralized soil such as beaches and iron sand areas;
- Waterproof Design – All sections of the metal detector can be fully submerged and still work. The AT PRO can be used at a maximum depth of 10 feet;
- Included accessories – The package comes with a waterproof pinpointer, a belt strap for it, wired headphones, batteries, and a box to store the objects that you find;
- Digital Target ID – The device will display information regarding the composition of any targets that it detects;
- Proportional Audio Feature – Although it is not suited for beginners, once you learn to interpret the audio signals you will no longer need to look at the LCD screen in order to understand what kind of target the device has found;
- All-in-one package – You’re basically paying for a complete treasure hunting set. The pinpointer is as accurate as you would expect and the headphones are comfortable and durable. Also, the storage box is a nice touch for long hunting sessions;
- Great for literally any environment – Both the metal detector as well as the pinpointer are waterproof to a depth of up to 10 feet. You can get it as your primary detector and use it in any scenario without worrying that it might break;
- 15 kHz frequency – The 15 kHz frequency is perfect for small objects like coins, nuggets, and jewelry;
- Extremely comfortable – We loved that holding the metal detector, even for 3-4 hours at a time, doesn’t become painful. There are no parts that will start digging into your skin after a while and neither the padding nor the forearm strap will cause any kind of chafing;
- Single Frequency operation – The device can only be set to use one frequency at a time, which means that it will be less efficient than models that have multi-frequency features;
- Pay extra for waterproof headphones – The include headphones are comfortable, however, they are not waterproof. While you can use them when the metal detector is completely submerged, they have to stay out of the water. The manufacturer does sell ones that are waterproof, but they will simply add to the overall amount of money that you will be spending;
- No backlit display – The display is large and clear, but it isn’t backlit. This makes it difficult to see during the night and almost impossible when underwater. Although this is not a huge drawback, it means that you will be stuck having to learn to interpret the audio tones if you want to figure out what you’ve found;
The AT Pro from Garrett is not a device designed for beginners, and neither is its price tag. The model comes with an impressive number of advanced features such as the Pro Mode and the Iron Audio function, which can make it easier to find valuable items and avoid trash items.
Also, the device is entirely waterproof. If you are considering buying it, look at it as an investment. Although it is a little pricey when compared to lower-tier metal detectors, it can basically do anything that you need it to.
This having been said, there are a few downsides to keep in mind, such as the fact that the LCD screen does not have a backlight. This may make it impossible to read when submerged, which partially defies the purpose of having a fully waterproof metal detector. Furthermore, the included headphones will stop working if they get wet so you will have to buy waterproof ones from Garrett if you want to go hunting for treasure while diving.
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