Garrett AT MAX Review – Is It Worth your Money?

Having an excellent metal detector will always pay off, regardless of whether you’re using it for play or for work. If you’re thinking of buying a new one, the Garrett AT MAX holds excellent feedback from those who decided to purchase ahead of you. Of course, there’s no telling whether the product would be a perfect fit yet – so here’s what you need to know before considering this item:

Table of Contents

Garrett AT MAX - A HobbyKraze review

Features

Garrett AT MAX features

Features of this particular product are pretty high end and therefore perfect for serious enthusiasts.

1. Adjustable Frequency

Product’s frequency is set at 13.6 kHz, which means that it’ll give you an alert for all types of metals. The frequency itself is adjustable, allowing users to tune it according to the metal being hunted. At the peak frequency, you’ll be able to get relics, coins, jewelry, and even gold.

Note though that the Garret AT MAX is not optimized for gold detecting. Hence, the conditions have to be right in order for it to hum upon finding gold.

2. Target Separation and Search Mode

Product comes with different audio modes that can help further improve target searches. There’s the all-metal mode which is best used for non-discriminatory searches. There’s also a coin mode, and for those who want to find specific metals – a custom mode can be built. This means that you can save a particular setup and simply push a button depending on the environment you’re currently in.

A great addition to the Garrett AT MAX is the Target Separation Mode which allows users to easily separate between what’s important and what isn’t. If you’re scanning an area with lots of metal, the Target Separation Model lets you lock into a specific type and ignore the rest – ensuring that you’ll only get that humming sound for something valuable.

3. Audio Tone Distinction

Aside from the customizable modes that let you zoom in on particular metals, the metal detector also has distinctive tones depending on the frequency it hits. There’s a total of three tones. One is a low tone which is triggered by anything iron. The second is middle pitch tone that is triggered by anything gold or any metal with an ID of 35 to 75. Finally, there’s the high pitch tone that you get when you encounter coin metals.

If you’re using the non-discriminatory All Metal Mode, these are the tones you’ll be hearing. The beauty here is that there’s always a low-pitch tone available, telling you whether it’s worth digging beneath the surface or not. Since nails and bottle caps are triggered by the iron mode, you can simply ignore the tone once you hear it.

4. Audio Volume Control

Since there are three different pitches for different metals detected, some people might have a harder time handling the high-pitch or hearing the low-pitch. For this reason, there’s a convenient volume control with the device, letting you adjust the sound according to your needs. This is perfect if you’re using the metal detector at a crowded area where the sounds can still overwhelm you despite the headset.

5. Target Depth Indicator

As the name indicates, this particular feature of the product tells you how far you have to dig in order to get the metal underneath. Since the detector is hypersensitive, it can detect metal even when buried in substrate. The depth indicator at least tells you how much work you need to do in order to get the prize.

6. Quality Coil Built In

Built with the 8.5 by 11 inch of DD PROformance coil, the unit performs well for all terrain needs. The good news is that if you want to search on specific areas, it’s possible to swap the coil for something else built by the Garrett brand. There’s the 4 inch DD for small areas, the 5 by 8 inch DD for target separation, and the 9 by 12 inch concentric for larger spaces.

7. Waterproof

The unit has been waterproofed in all aspects, covering up to 10ft of freshwater. This includes the coil and the control box, making it possible for users to submerge them even in high waters. Note though that the audio is not waterproof so it’s not best for diving purposes. 

8. Ground Balancing

This all-terrain unit comes with automatic ground balancing. In automatic mode, you can simply move around and detect through the surface without having to constantly stop and adjust the parameters. This is perfect for areas with high minerals on the ground. Now, if you prefer to manually alter the ground balancing parameters, you can still do that. The unit comes coupled with manual balancing features for a more targeted approach.

For auto balancing, all you need to do is hit the shift button. The 175 points that come with the model for ground balance give you the chance to fine tune the unit for more problematic terrains.

9. Wireless Headphones

Although they’re not waterproof, these headphones that come with Garrett AT MAX are wonderfully responsive and reliable. They don’t come with wires, giving you freedom to move around without worrying about getting caught in something. It even comes with an audio specifically for iron detection. Depending on where you’re detecting, you can choose to ignore that sound or not.

10. Z-Lynk Wireless Technology

The audio quality itself is good, compounded by the unique Z-Lynk Wireless Technology that comes with this particular product. This feature means that there’s miniscule delay when it comes to audio tones telling you whether there’s metal underneath the surface. This is a remarkable feature considering the fact that the headphone is wireless. Most enthusiasts stick to a wired connected because of the reliability of the wire. With the Z-Lynk Wireless Technology however, users get the same reliability of a wired setup without the worry of tangles.

11. Battery Life

Unit works with four AA batteries and can provide power for up to 24 hours when used continuously. Unfortunately, it’s not rechargeable by itself, which means that you’ll need to constantly replenish it with fresh batteries. Using rechargeable batteries should get around this problem.

Pros - What We Like!

Garrett AT MAX pros

Comes with a backlight

This is a welcome improvement over the older versions from the brand. The backlight makes for easier use during nighttime. Note though that it can drain the battery faster.

Good sizing and build

Comfortable to the touch, the unit measures anywhere from 43 inches to 56 inches. Adjustments can be easily made to fit with the height, arm length, and specific needs of the user. As for the weight, it measures 3.03 pounds, allowing for long-term use without causing arm pain.

Comes with a Cap

While it doesn’t add to the quality of use of the metal detector, there’s no question that people love freebies. This kit also comes with a free cap for those days when you’re using the Garrett AT MAX under the hot sun.

LCD Screen

The LCD Screen that comes with the backlight offers a clear and easy-to-read surface for nighttime use. The numbers on display are larger, allowing for quick distinction of the parameters used when metal detecting. This is perfect for users who love to go out and use the unit during night time or in low-light areas.

No tangles

Since there’s no line to worry about, you can freely move around using this model. The headphones themselves are comfortable and are designed to be worn for long hours. 

Good Design

While the aesthetic appeal of the metal detector is the last thing most enthusiasts worry about, it’s still important to note that the Garrett AT MAX is beautifully built with a full-black design. It’s as understated as you’d want a metal detector to be, therefore not grabbing more attention than you’d want when using the product in a crowded area.

Submersible unit

Most models are advertised as “waterproof” which simply means that it can get wet without causing damage to the device. Hence, you can leave it in the garden around the sprinklers and it would still work the next day. The Garrett AT MAX however is more than waterproof – it’s submersible. You can bring it with you on a lake, dip it in there and start detecting lost treasure without worrying about damage. 

Warranty

Product comes with a 2-year limited warranty. This is a testament to the durability of the product. Note though that the warranty is limited so you’ll have to read through the terms and condition to find out exactly what it covers, such as if it covers parts or service of the model if it suffers from a problem within the 2-year period. 

Cons - What We Are Not Huge fans Of!

Garrett AT MAX cons

Pricing is for serious detectors

The value of this product will detract new hobbyists who are just getting into the spirit of metal detecting. It’s a good investment, but it’s built for serious hobbyists who already know what they need and are therefore willing to spend money on it.

No headphone swaps

The headphones that come with this particular model is a thing of beauty – but that’s also a subtle downside. Since the headphone is built with proprietary technology, you can’t just swap it for another one if it breaks down. The good news is that with a limited warranty, this shouldn’t be a problem. The headphones too are made of durable materials and should last for a very long time.

Not for saltwater

The AT MAX is primarily built for ground and freshwater detecting. It won’t work well when used in saltwater or even when utilized on the sand. The product description will tell you it’s OK for saltwater use, but the quality of the noise won’t allow for good detecting.

Needs some practice

If you previously used a different brand, then the Garrett AT MAX requires a bit of practice. There’s a learning curve here and you might not get all the customization features in one go. However, for those who already own a different Garrett brand, you’ll have no problem working through the learning curve as the learning process doesn’t take much of a jump.

How Does the Garrett AT MAX Compare with Other Metal Detectors?

garrett at max review

Most people who would buy the Garrett AT MAX would really compare it to an older model from the same manufacturer – the Garrett AT Pro. Both are well-built metal detectors featuring more or less the same optimizations with each other. The prime difference between the two is the presence of a backlight with the AT MAX. This is a feature that is notably absent from the Pro and has been the reason why the Pro didn’t score as highly when it comes to reviews. Obviously, the manufacturer decided to solve this problem by adding a backlight with the Garrett AT MAX.

Another difference is the wired audio of the Pro which makes it difficult to detect through terrains without getting entangled in the process. The lack of wiring for the AT MAX audio allows for better movement.

Comparing the AT MAX with the AT Gold is also common. As the name suggests however, the AT Gold is built specially for finding gold on surfaces. In all other aspects, both offer the same features except that the AT Gold is better in precious metal detection.

Compared with other models however, the AT MAX also comes out well. At its price range, the unit comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a metal detector – up to and including the customization options for detecting. Since the model is not built especially for saltwater detecting, it stands to reason that you can find better metal detectors in the market for sea use. However, if your target covers all other terrains, the Garrett AT MAX is something you can rely on.

Verdict - Final Thoughts!

Garrett ACE 400 Verdict

To wrap it up, the Garrett AT MAX performs well under pressure and comes out looking better than many of the metal detectors out in the market today. Built for serious hobbyists, this product has a price range that’s affordable enough without scrimping on the features you want and need from a metal detector.

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