Disclosure: This is a blog post is about reviewing a product. As such, this post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended, without additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details.
Are you interested in searching for treasure? If you are, then you need a metal detector. A trusted metal detector is what will make the difference in finding scraps or treasure. This is why it’s important to have the best device in the market. While the best devices usually come in hefty price tags, the same can’t be said for the Garrett AT Gold.
As you would expect from us, this is a monstrous post dwelling into finer details of one of the finest models from GARRETT. Grab a coffee and jump straight in.
Garrett Metal Detectors
The Garrett AT Gold is one of the most popular devices in the metal detector line of Garrett Metal Detectors. The company is known for metal detectors whether it’s for security or recreational purposes. Companies and individuals alike purchase metal detectors for their offices and homes, respectively.
The Garrett Metal Detectors was established way back in 1964 a year after the owner, Charles Garrett, invented his own metal detector. Metal detectors were already existing back then, but they weren’t easy to use and they weren’t as accurate as they were marketed to be. In 1964, the company started building a name in the security industry.
A Quick View of the Garrett AT Gold
What makes the Garrett AT Gold popular? The all-terrain feature. The AT Gold is part of the All-Terrain series created by Garrett Metal Detectors. This line aims to be used in all terrains, hence, the name. However, unlike the other two other models in the series, the Garrett AT Gold focuses on finding gold.
It comes with a set of features that make it possible for you to search for metals underwater. It wouldn’t be true to its name if you can’t submerge it in the water anyway.
Fortunately for the Garrett AT Gold, you can submerge it 10 feet below and still be able to have that accuracy in detecting real treasure. For a metal detector that was released in 2011, its features are still relevant and competitive today.
What are the winning features of the Garrett AT Gold? Here is a closer look at what it has to offer.
Waterproof Control Box
One of the most impressive features of this metal detector is the waterproof capability. The search coil itself is waterproof up to 10 feet. However, Garrett didn’t stop there. While it’s easy to expect a metal detector to be waterproof, not all models are like that. Not even all Garrett metal detectors are waterproof.
The company takes this a step further by ensuring that even the control box is waterproof. It works well in freshwater, but it isn’t quite as durable when it’s saltwater.
5” x 8” PROformance DD Search Coil
The Garrett AT Gold’s search coil is submersible. That’s right, the whole 5” x 8” coil can be submerged in freshwater. This is perfect because it is able to search for gold and metal more properly underwater.
Wondering why it’s called PROformance? It’s a trademark name of the Garrett AT Gold for its metal detectors.
The beauty of having an exclusive technology for search coils is that you can change it with other models created by the company. For example, the 9” x 12” search coil can also fit the Garrett AT Gold.
Manual and Automatic Ground Balance
What’s the difference between manual and automatic balance? The manual balance of the Garrett AT Gold has to be adjusted manually through the buttons on the control panel. It’s a nice-to-have feature if you’re more comfortable adjusting the ground balance on your own. However, you’ll find this unnecessary because the AT Gold has a very reliable automatic ground balance.
The automatic ground balance feature is very useful when you want to use the metal detector in highly mineralized soil. It automatically adjusts the window from 0 to 99 so that the detector doesn’t react right away to slight variations in the soil.
Gold™ Iron Audio
Have you ever experienced getting excited over a metal being detected and then when you finally dig it up, it was just a bottle cap? You’re not the only one who fell for this trap because metal detectors without the iron audio can lead you to believe that the sound the device is making is for worthy treasure.
Fortunately, the Garrett AT Gold does this right by having an iron audio feature that can discriminate between bottle caps and gold. If it’s the former, the metal detector will have a slight change in sound (like a grunt) to tell you that it’s not a worthy treasure.
Pro Audio Modes
The iron audio is just one part of the many audio modes that you can set with the Garrett AT Gold. The Pro audio mode is short for ‘proportional’ which means that the metal detector gives different audio sounds depending on the object that it is scanning.
The proportional audio sounds change depending on the item’s size, shape, and even depth. If you want to avoid digging things that can be useless, then this is a feature you will find most helpful.
Digital Target ID
When it comes to Garrett metal detectors, a digital target ID is always going to be part of the features. It’s a numeric identification scale ranging from 0-99 that tells you how conductive the metal your device is detecting. If it’s highly conductive, then it gets near the 99 mark. If it’s not, it’s near 0.
This scale is very straightforward and easy to understand. If you get lost, there’s a huge guide right at the top of the digital control panel You’ll even find the target ID displayed right in the middle of the screen.
Last but not least is the high frequency of the Garrett AT Gold. Compared to other metal detectors produced by Garrett, the AT Gold has one of the highest frequencies with 18kHz. When it comes to metal detectors, you want a higher frequency because it increases the accuracy in finding gold pieces in freshwater areas. Unfortunately, it’s not something that works in saltwater.
Pros and Cons of the Garrett AT Gold
The features of the Garrett AT Gold sound great, but what advantages will you have with them? Are there a lot of disadvantages, too? Here’s a rundown on the pros and cons of owning a Garrett AT Gold.
Pros: The Things That We Like!
For all-terrain use
The Garrett AT Gold was built with adventure in mind. Its frequency, audio tone, and depth adjustment help in making it a metal detector fit to be used in both your backyard and in the rivers. Thanks to its waterproof feature, you don’t have to worry about it losing its effectiveness once you submerge it in water. Plus, the control panel is waterproof as well so it can withstand the outdoors.
High level of accuracy
The 18kHz frequency is a good improvement from the AT Pro because this higher frequency helps you in spotting gold a lot easier. Even if you’re looking for gram-sized pieces of metal, the Garrett AT Gold can still be able to detect it. The frequency can be manually adjusted to fit the terrain you’re on, so you don’t have to worry about it being incompatible with your current area.
Robust frame and design
While the structure looks a lot like your conventional metal detector, the Garrett AT Gold is lighter than the other models in the AT series. But doesn’t that make it less durable? It doesn’t. Surprisingly, the Garrett AT Gold has a robust frame and a search coil that you can adjust from 43” to 56”. It’s made from high-quality material so you won’t have to worry about it breaking when you bring it outside.
Adjustable ground balance and metal mode
The Garrett AT Gold has a reliable ground balance whether you adjust it or leave it to its own devices. If you’re adept at ground balance, then you’ll love the fact that you can manually adjust it with ease. If you don’t want to adjust it yourself, the automatic ground balance works just as well. It adapts quickly when you move around so you get to identify gold nuggets right away.
User-friendly control panel
By now, you know that there are at least three features of the Garrett AT Gold that can be manually adjusted. Fortunately, the control panel displays all this neatly so you won’t get confused as to what to press and in what settings you are already on. It’s easy to understand and all the labels are in a readable size. The display might seem crowded at first, but that’s only because it has images on the scales to make it easier to understand.
Cons - What We Are Not Huge fans Of!
Headphones aren’t waterproof
After all the talk about every part of the Garrett AT Gold being waterproof, there is one part that isn’t waterproof – the headphones. Technically, the headphones are an add-on and it only comes with the package. If you plan on going to bodies of water, then it’s ideal to have waterproof headphones unless you’re sure that you won’t be splashing water to it. Nonetheless, you can always buy another set of waterproof headphones.
Can’t be used in saltwater
Unfortunately, the Garrett AT Gold is not for saltwater use. Although the all-terrain may sound misleading at this point, it’s not something to fuss about given that there isn’t any gold that forms in salt water anyway. In other words, the Garrett AT Gold is only waterproof in freshwater areas, not in sea water.
The display does not have a backlight
As a metal detector designed to be used in all terrains, your expectation is that you can use it easily during the day. However, the Garrett AT Gold falls short on this one because its screen display doesn’t have a backlight. This means that if it’s sunny outside, you’ll find it a hard time to see what’s on the screen which defeats the purpose of the target ID being displayed in big font.
On the pricier end
Even if the Garrett AT Gold has a number of features that make it a great metal detector, it’s still in the pricier end compared to the ACE series of Garrett. If you are only starting with treasure hunting, this might be too expensive a device to start with. The Garrett AT Gold is ideal for those who are sure that hunting gold nuggets
How Does the Garrett AT GOLD Compare with Other Metal Detectors?
The best comparison you can make is between the other all-terrain models Garrett has in its AT series. Other than the Garrett AT Gold, there are two other metal detectors in the line – the AT Max and the AT Pro. Who is better among the three?
If you’re going to rank the three in terms of feature enhancements, the Garrett AT Gold comes in second while the most improved one is the AT Max. The Garrett AT Gold is often dubbed as the “better AT Pro” because it almost has the same features except that the former has more gold nugget search capabilities.
There are also a few improvements in features like the frequency, pro audio modes, and ground balancing window. These features can now be adjusted manually to suit your needs.
As far as the AT Max and the AT Pro are concerned, the Garrett AT Gold is a better version than the Pro but it isn’t a total match for the AT Max. This is expected though since the AT Max was made to improve on the other two models in the AT series.
Verdict - Final Thoughts!
After weighing the pros and cons and comparing them with the other AT series metal detectors, you’ll be able to understand why the Garrett AT Gold is one of the most popular all-terrain detectors in the market.
It’s been almost a decade since it was launched but until today, treasure hunters are still looking at this model as one of the must-haves. It is highly customizable and it comes with features that will make hunting for gold a lot easier.
If you’re looking for a metal detector that specifically hunts for gold nuggets, then this is the device for you.