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Why I Chose the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

Updated on July 1, 2013

So many metal detectors to choose from... Why the AT Pro?

Not long ago, I got into metal detecting when I received a Bounty Hunter QuickSilver as a gift. It was a low end metal detector, but I quickly became fascinated with this hobby. I quickly knew that I wanted to get a new metal detector that would do a better job of detecting and identifying objects in the ground. I chose to purchase the Garrett AT Pro metal detector after doing much research, and I can't tell you enough how much I love this machine.

The Bounty Hunter model was a pretty basic model. Don't get me wrong, it worked just fine but did not reveal much information about the target that it detected. I spent way too much time digging up objects that ended up just being trash. This detector really helped me to realize that this was a hobby I am very interested in, and would continue to pursue. Like with all my hobbies, I found myself wanting to use quality gear. Quality gear that offers more capabilities leads to a more enjoyable experience and better results. If I was going to spend the time outdoors searching for 'my treasures', then I wanted to have the best gear that I could justify purchasing, and get the best results for my time.

I have found lots of coins, several pieces of jewelry, and many other cool things with my AT Pro. You can see some of them in the photo gallery below. I even had the opportunity to reunite a girl with her lost wedding ring after answering an ad that they posted looking for someone with a metal detector. The smile on her face when she was reunited with her lost ring was almost as gratifying as the thrill that came with finding it.

So why did I choose the Garrett AT Pro, when there are so many more metal detectors on the market that cost less? Let's take a closer look at the Garrett AT Pro's features and benefits, and see why I ended up choosing this model.

(Image Credit to InterRev - Personal Photo)

My Metal Detector Research - Learn before you invest.

I started off like everyone else, looking at the Amazon reviews, reading about metal detectors on the manufacturers' websites, and reading about what other people had to say in metal detecting forums. I had originally set a budget of $400.00 for my new purchase, and was looking at models within that price range. I was serious about getting into this hobby, and willing to spend a bit of money to get the right gear. At the time, this price range did not include the Garrett AT Pro, which costs right at $600.00.

I found several models that I liked, which included the Fisher F2 and the Garrett Ace 350, but was leaning toward the Ace 350. I liked the look and feel of this machine, and the feature set that it offered. It had great reviews and there were lots of people in the metal detecting forums that had great things to say about it. Though I noticed that most of the people in the forums that had good things to say about it were using the Garrett AT Pro. You see, in the online metal detecting forums, it is a common practice for the forum members to put the type of metal detector (along with some bragging about their metal detecting finds) in their forum signature. I kept seeing the Garrett AT Pro model popping up everywhere.

What really helped me make up my mind is when I consulted with another metal detectorist that lives in my home state of Kentucky. I had been watching a lot of his YouTube videos of his metal detecting hunts, and could see that he definitely knew his stuff. This guy used the top of the line MineLab equipment that was definitely out of my price range.

I approached him for guidance about metal detector selection and what my price range was. He spent a lot of time communicating with me about my options and offering advice. He told me that the selection of a metal detector is often where the biggest mistake is made for people who were serious about getting into the hobby. He told me that I really needed to stretch my budget by a couple of hundred dollars, and make the Garrett AT Pro the low end model of my metal detector options. He stated that it had features and performance that rivaled many of the more expensive detectors on the market today. The main reason he recommended this model though is due to the amount of iron in the soil here in Kentucky, and the Garrett AT Pro's advanced iron circuitry does a great job with discrimination. He told me how less expensive metal detectors can work just fine, but they come with 3 to 5 times the frustration level. He also stated that "This detector 'holds its own' with $1500-1800 metal detectors all day."

So after receiving this advice from someone that I trusted, I did my due diligence and performed more research on the AT Pro. I went to Garrett's website, and watched all of their instructional videos, read all of their literature, and reviewed all of the specifications of this model. I'll give you a closer look at the specifications and features that attracted me below, but by the time I had completed this research, I had made my decision.

AT Pro Adventure Pack
AT Pro Adventure Pack

This Garrett AT Pro Adventure Pack is the exact model that I purchased. I spent about $40.00 more to get the package than what the detector alone would have cost. The package included a coil cover, a Garrett digging tool with a belt sheath, a Garrett camo treasure pouch, and a Garrett deluxe detector bag for carrying and storing your metal detector and gear.

The Garrett digging tool has sharp serrated edges and is great for digging your finds. I calculated that these extra accessories would have cost $133.00 if purchased separately. So the extra $40.00 spent on the Adventure Pack is well worth it.

Garrett land headphones are included with the AT Pro metal detector itself. They are comfortable, pretty decent quality, and have volume controls on the outside of the ear piece.

 
Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector All Terrain Land and Water Metal Detector
Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector All Terrain Land and Water Metal Detector

This is the Garrett AT Pro metal detector and headphones that are included in the standard package. You can read the rest of this lens for details on why I chose the Garrett AT Pro.

 

Garrett AT Pro Specs

What attracted me and why.

I set out to find a metal detector that would perform well, have great quality components, and suit my needs for many years to come. Here are some of the key features about the Garrett AT Pro that really attracted me to this model.

  • Pro Mode Audio - In pro mode, you get to hear variable tone for what type of target is detected beneath the ground. The strength of the tone varies depending upon the depth as well. I love this because you don't always have to be looking at the LCD screen. You can let your ears do the work.
  • High-Resolution Iron Discrimination - You can set the amount of iron discrimination to one of 40 levels. This gives you the ability to tune out junk signals depending upon your needs.
  • Digital Target ID - When a signal is detected, a two digit numeric target ID is displayed on the LCD screen. This gives you the ability to distinguish one target from another based on its conductivity.
  • Fast Recovery Speed - When there are multiple targets in the ground, the AT Pro recovers quickly allowing it to detect multiple targets that are close to each other. This is great for trashy areas.
  • Waterproof to 10 Feet - This detector can be submerged to a depth of 10 feet. You need waterproof headphones for this. Lots of great stuff can be found in lakes and streams, and these are places that other metal detectorists typically can't take their metal detectors.
  • Operates at 15 kHz - Operating at this frequency allows this detector to identify small targets, gold, and jewelry that other metal detectors have trouble identifying.
  • Ground Balancing - You have the ability to automatically or manually ground balance this metal detector. This allows for compensation of mineralized soils or sand to allow items to be detected more easily.
  • Pinpointing Capability - The AT Pro has a pinpoint button that allows you to detect the exact location of where the object is buried. When you know exactly where to dig, you spend less time digging and can dig smaller holes.
  • Coin Depth Indicator - The Garrett AT Pro does a great job of estimating the depth of a coin sized object that is detected. Armed with this information, you know how deep you need to be digging to locate your object.

(Image Credit to InterRev - Personal Photo)

Learning About the Garrett AT Pro Metal Detector

After receiving and setting up my new metal detector, I first went to Garrett's company website and watched the 4 training videos they provide to help you learn about the AT Pro. I then watched 3 additional videos that they have about the different accessory coils they offer. I then discovered that they have an additional 31 videos showing people hunting for coins and other relics with the AT Pro. I watched all of these over the course of a week, and it was very helpful to see each person's technique and exciting to see their finds. I also discovered a tips and techniques video that taught the art of pinpointing, and an additional video that taught you how to determine the size of a detected object while still in the ground. All of these free training videos helped me become very familiar with my Garrett AT Pro, and prepared me to get outdoors with it.

The Garrett company recommends that you start off using the AT Pro in standard mode for at least the first 10 hours of operation, and that you dig every target that you detect. While this will have you spending a bunch of time digging junk targets, it is beneficial because it allows you to learn the type of signals that are associated with each object you find in the ground.

To be honest with you, I didn't make it but maybe an hour on standard mode before I switched over to pro mode. Since I have already used metal detectors in the past, I felt that this shortened my learning curve. I wanted to get right into pro mode as soon as possible so that I could start using the advanced features of this machine. I felt that all of the video training helped to jump start me anyway, and I was ready to "go pro".

I quickly learned to scan a detected object from multiple angles to see if the signal remained consistent. Utilizing the pinpointing feature of this detector from multiple angles also assisted in determining the precise location of the object in the ground. Learning to pinpoint an object accurately allowed me to dig smaller, precise holes. It also shortened the amount of time required to locate and recover the detected object.

I have become very proficient with my AT Pro in a short period of time, but every outing is a learning opportunity that teaches you something new though.

(Image Credit to InterRev - Personal Photo)

My Thoughts About the AT Pro

The Perspective From an AT Pro Owner and User

The short answer is that "I Love It".

While I don't want to bash the Bounty Hunter model that I started with, this AT Pro just offers so much more capability. The signals that it provides almost paints a picture as to what lies beneath the surface.

I am most impressed with the pinpointing capability, that allows it to identify the exact spot to dig. With my old detector, I often missed the mark and had to continue digging my hole wider and wider until I located the object.

I do a lot of hunting for coins (referred to as coin shooting), and the Garrett AT Pro consistently identifies the denomination of the coin before I ever start to unearth it. As with any metal detector, it doesn't get this right 100% of the time, but more often than not it is on the money!

I guess the biggest benefit that I get from using the AT Pro, is that it instills confidence in me. I know this is a quality metal detector with quality electronics. Based on what it tells me and the education that I have received on using it, I am very confident that the targets I choose to dig won't be trash. Time spent digging good targets instead of trash targets makes for a much more enjoyable (and profitable) experience. And that my friend, was worth spending the extra money that I had not originally budgeted for.

(Image Credit to Karola Riegler - Licensed via Creative Commons with Attribution)

Some of My Metal Detecting Finds

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sterling silver charm found at a local public school.Sterling silver tie clip found on a farm that was owned by my grandparents.  The patent number dates it around 1932.  Did my grandfather own this?  I'd like to think so.My first ring found a local public school.  Not gold (darn), but a ring none the less.
Sterling silver charm found at a local public school.
Sterling silver charm found at a local public school.
Sterling silver tie clip found on a farm that was owned by my grandparents.  The patent number dates it around 1932.  Did my grandfather own this?  I'd like to think so.
Sterling silver tie clip found on a farm that was owned by my grandparents. The patent number dates it around 1932. Did my grandfather own this? I'd like to think so.
My first ring found a local public school.  Not gold (darn), but a ring none the less.
My first ring found a local public school. Not gold (darn), but a ring none the less.

Reunited with her engagement ring, thanks to my Garrett AT Pro!

Reunited with her engagement ring, thanks to my Garrett AT Pro!
Reunited with her engagement ring, thanks to my Garrett AT Pro!

Let the Metal Detecting Duel Begin! - Here is your chance to weigh in!

While metal detecting can be a fun a rewarding hobby, I have learned that not everyone is in favor of it. There are those who enjoy searching for coins, lost jewelry, and relics that may never see the light of day again. There are others who feel that those items should remain undisturbed and only be reclaimed by trained archeologists. Which side of the fence are you on?

(You do not need a Squidoo account to comment.)

Are you for or against the hobby of metal detecting and why?

More About Metal Detecting

If you haven't been able to tell yet, I am definitely nuts about metal detecting. I have been writing some additional lenses on the topic, and plan to write many more as I continue to pursue my passion.

If metal detecting sparks your interests and you would like to learn more, then I welcome you to check out the following articles:

  • I wrote the following entitled How to Use a Metal Detector, which takes you through metal detecting 101 and what you need to know.
  • A pinpointer is a tool that you must have if you are going to get into metal detecting. A Metal Detector Pinpointer is a Critical Piece of Metal Detecting Gear was written to take a closer look at pinpointers and how to use them.
  • Obviously digging is a very important part of metal detecting. Being able to dig quickly, easily, and neatly makes the whole experience more enjoyable. I purchased a Lesche Digging Tool that is specialized for metal detecting. I take a closer look at the Lesche tools in this lens and show you why I think they add value.
  • Thanks for spending a few minutes here and sharing my passion for metal detecting.

(Image Credit to InterRev - Personal Photo)

More Garrett Gear from Amazon

See all the great metal detecting gear that Garrett has to offer on the most trusted retailer on the Internet - Amazon.com. Read the reviews, compare prices, and save.

LOTD & Purple Star

On June 17, 2013 I was blessed to receive "Lens Of The Day" and a "Purple Star" for this lens.

Thanks to all who engaged me and left comments on this lens.

It was great to connect with others on Squidoo that have a passion and interest in metal detecting like me.

I'd love to hear your comments about metal detecting.

Do you metal detect? If so, what equipment do you use and why did you choose it?

Have you ever been metal detecting, or would you like to go?

Feel free to leave any questions, comments, or thoughts that you have on this hobby. I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Comments About Metal Detecting - I want to hear from you!

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    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 

      5 years ago

      I have never bought a metal detector in my life, I think I need one! :)

    • profile image

      Unclefester1970 

      5 years ago

      @GregoryMoore: OK, now I need a shovel, vest, pin pointer and Subaru.....

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @Unclefester1970: Let me know when you get back in town and we will go metal detect together. You are gonna love that AT Pro!

    • profile image

      Unclefester1970 

      5 years ago

      Well, I caught the bug. I ordered a Garrett AT Pro on your recommendations on Saturday, should be here on Monday thanks to Amazon Prime. I have been watching videos on how to use it now. Can't wait to start learning. Thanks for all the useful information. Now I have to study up on your lenses on tools.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I had a cheap metal detector once and had a lot of fun with it but not much success. I always thought it would be fun to get real serious about it like you are.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Looks like pretty interesting hobby:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I dig in the sand at the beach with my grand kids - we look for things as we build sand castles. Would that classify as metal detecting? :)

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @Jogalog: That is amazing Jogalog. Yes, the thrill of not knowing what you might find next is exciting.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @srdawson: So much history in Europe. I would love to metal detect there someday.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @JudyRodgers: Thanks Judy. I'm dying to get this AT Pro in some of the creeks and freshwater beaches around here. A lot of people avoid the water with their detectors, and it seems like that is where some of the best finds are!

    • profile image

      JudyRodgers 

      5 years ago

      I've been metal detecting since I was a kid. Today I spend most of my time underwater with my White's Surfmaster PI. - It's so quiet down there and you don't have people constantly asking you questions or a pack of kids following you around. lol - Really nice lens Greg, great job on the review!

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 

      5 years ago from Johanesburg

      Great product and wonderful reviews. Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      srdawson 

      5 years ago

      Im gonna try it someday, Metal detecting in europe is cool since u can find relics from world war

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @writerkath: Thanks so much Kathy. Yes, it was a pretty awesome day as it was my first LOTD. Very cool to get it for something that I am so interested in. I hope you and your hubby have a chance to give it a try. Thanks again.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @CrazyHomemaker: Thanks. Yes, Whites does make very good metal detectors too. It is a well known brand and they have been around for a long time.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @anonymous: Thanks Tipi. You must have been spying on me because I was doing a little 'LOTD dance'! This was a first LOTD and Purple Star for me. I definitely feel blessed.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @lgOlson: Thanks Sophie. Me and my kids have a lot of fun with it. I hope you get a chance to someday.

    • Kenhjones profile image

      Kenhjones 

      5 years ago

      I am beginning to understand the attraction of this hobby. I see people looking for coins on the beach, and that looks boring. What you are doing is much better.

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 

      5 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! I have a White's Di6000 that I bought in 1985 or so. It's a dinosaur, but it still finds stuff. I usually hit the beach when I want a day off. I love the hunt! Nice lens with good info.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @Mary Stephenson: Not yet, but I am working on it! Thanks for stopping by.

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      On yeah... Congratulations on LOTD

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 

      5 years ago from California

      Interesting hobby. Have you found enough to pay for the detector...not including the ladies ring?

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @Greathaul2013: Right now there is a ban on metal detecting in the metro parks and the state parks. There is a House Bill 352 at the capitol to overturn this ban. In the meantime, I've been going to private property where I have permission, parks outside of the metro area, and public schools. I am eager for the bill to pass, because there are 140 parks in the metro area where metal detecting would be reinstated. Thanks for stopping by.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 

      5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I have always wanted to do this for a hobby.

    • profile image

      soaringsis 

      5 years ago

      Congratulations on your LoTD. Thanks for sharing.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @bloggerjon: Mine too Jonathan. If I ever find myself in England again, I'll look you up and have you take me metal detecting with you!

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @anonymous: I wish your hubby luck in his search for a meteorite. Many of them can be pretty valuable.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks for the LOTD Congrats Susan. Always happy to see you stop by. Appreciate the kind words.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @Gypzeerose: Thanks bloomingrose. Yes, most metal detectors will detect all metals, from iron to precious metals. Thanks for stopping by.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @Faye Rutledge: Thanks partybuzz. It was my first LOTD and I am happy to receive it for something I love to do so much. Appreciated.

    • GregoryMoore profile imageAUTHOR

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      @jlshernandez: It is something I definitely have a passion for. It is the thrill of the hunt!

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 

      5 years ago

      Great instrument for detecting hidden treasure. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 

      5 years ago

      Great instrument for detecting hidden treasure. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Interesting lens. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 

      5 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      Fascinating lens - Congrats on LOTD !

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 

      5 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      Fascinating lens - Congrats on LOTD !

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 

      5 years ago

      I love the idea that you could find something valuable from hundreds of years ago. When I was younger someone metal detecting on our farm found a roman coin that was about 2000 years old.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      5 years ago from Concord VA

      Congratulations on LotD!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      Such a fun read! Pinned to my Gadgets board. I am getting into picking for eBay and a lot of the people that do that do scrap metal as well. Does it detect all kinds of metal? Gold, silver, whatever?

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Metal detecting is a hobby we never got around to, but I know our family would have enjoyed it. Smart of you to seek out advice from experienced people and now that you're experienced, great of you to share your thorough review here! Congratulations on a very helpful Lens of the Day!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 

      5 years ago

      Greg, this is an absolutely STELLAR lens. REALLY well done! I love your personal story - and this is precisely what I'm feeling we're all able to do when making a lens. You have totally talked me into this model, because John (hubby) and I have been talking about getting some metal detectors since we spend so much time on empty beaches during the winter. I'm sending this lens to John so he can read about this as well. Congratulations on your Lens of the Day honor!!

    • orcamom lm profile image

      orcamom lm 

      5 years ago

      Sounds like you spend a lot of time outdoors with your metal detecting - good for you, and congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      The engagement ring got my heart too....I love how you started with a lower model as a gift and when you found yourself in the middle of a profitable hobby, you invested into it with better equipment...knowing you would for sure use it....and now your teaching others....congratulations on you purple star and I'm doing the LotD dance of joy with you! :)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      I meant to mention earlier that I love what you did to help find that engagement ring. That one act of generosity and kindness more than justifies anything spent on your metal detector (past and future).

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      Maybe Santa will bring me a pro metal detector. I think my area would be a fantastic treasure hunting playground (Colorado). I started researching detectors a couple of years ago when I thought about a mystery novel I wanted to write featuring this hobby. Really well-written review. Congrats on your feature and awards. May your efforts continue to be golden.

    • bloggerjon profile image

      bloggerjon 

      5 years ago

      Great to see this as lens of the day as it's a subject close to my heart.

    • Greathaul2013 profile image

      Greathaul2013 

      5 years ago

      It would definitely be a fun hobby to get into. I remember when I was a kid and I would see somebody with one on the beach, I would want to follow them around and see if they would find anything. What kind of places do you go "hunting"? Like parks or what?

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I bought my husband a Garrett metal detector about 10 years ago, and we spent a lot of hours combing our surrounding area for an opportunity to find a piece of history. The most interesting find was a piece of magnetite rock that has magnetic properties. Most recently we used it to retrieve a metal arrow that missed the target and landed in the woods. Hubby's dream is to one day find a meteorite. :)

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 

      5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I think this is a very interesting hobby and the ability to detect metal and its location is a great help to archaeologists etc. Not necessarily something I would want to do though.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I'd love to have the super duper metal detector like yours. Fun!

    • lgOlson profile image

      L Olson 

      5 years ago from Northern Arizona

      I've always wanted to do this. Great information, thanks!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 

      5 years ago

      I have thought about how cool it would be to hunt around for hidden treasures buried somewhere. I would certainly like to go metal detecting. It will be quite an adventure.

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