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Garrett ACE 400 vs AT Pro: Which Metal Detector Is Best for You?

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When trying to decide between the Garrett ACE 400 vs AT Pro, there are many variables to keep in mind that could make the difference between you enjoying your metal detecting experience or not! Making this decision depends on what you are looking for in a metal detector.

In most cases, experienced detectorists would likely be better suited with the Garrett AT Pro, to where newer hobbyists might want to pick up a Garrett ACE 400.

Enjoy our in-depth review of each metal detector, along with a section that will help you weigh out the features and benefits of each detector.

Name
Frequency
Price
Battery
Ergonomics
Garrett ACE 400
10 kHz
$300-$400
4 AA Batteries/ 20 – 40 hours
Adjustable Armrest/ Adjustable Arm Strap/ Textured Rubber Grip
Garrett AT Pro
15 kHz
$500-$600
4 AA Batteries/ 20 – 40 hours
Adjustable Armrest/ Adjustable Arm Strap/ Textured Rubber Grip

Garrett ACE 400

Garrett ACE 400

Garrett ACE 400

The Garrett ACE 400 metal detector is arguably one of the best detectors for beginners, as well as intermediate metal detectorists on the market today.

This budget friendly metal detector was built to perform with excellence at a great price! Continue reading to learn more about the features and benefits of the ACE 400.

Operating Frequency

The ACE 400 runs at an operating frequency of 10 kHz, which is a great frequency. Essentially, the higher frequency is, the more sensitive the machine is, but it gives up some detection depth.

The lower the frequency is, the more detection depth you will get, but the less sensitivity. The 10 kHz operating frequency is great for an all-around, utilitarian metal detector, and we believe this will suit most detectorists just fine!

Search Modes

The 400 comes with five different search modes, as well as a pinpointer mode. These modes include jewelry mode, coins mode, relic hunting mode, zero discrimination (all-metal) mode, and a custom mode.

We love the custom mode, as you can set whatever settings you want, and the detector will always keep those settings while in custom mode. In addition, the pinpointing mode helps cut down target recovery speeds by large margins.

Exclusive Features

Garrett ACE 400 Exclusive Features

Garrett ACE 400 Exclusive Features

The ACE 400 features 12 segment notch discrimination, making it easy to save time by not digging metals you do not want to find.

In addition, the ACE features Iron Audio, a Garrett exclusive feature, that allows you to hear the discriminated iron in order to be able to hear whether a signal is good, or if it is a washer or bottle cap.

Ground balancing is always a big issue when it comes to metal detecting, particularly in highly mineralized soils that cause much magnetic and electrical interference.

The ACE 400 features a fixed ground balance set up, which is perfectly suitable (and more simple) for most treasure hunting environments.

The ACE 400 features a weatherproof control box, but the control box is not submersible and cannot be put underwater.

With that being said, the search coil and stem are waterproof, so they can be submerged for any treasure hunting by the water’s edge. Waterproof coils are always a nice feature!

Search Coils

The ACE 400 is the only metal detector in the original ACE series that comes stock with an 8.5″ x 11″ PROformance DD search coil. We love DD PROformance search coils because they provide an increased detection depth, and also allow treasure hunters to cover more ground in less time.

There are many additional search coils that are compatible with the ACE 400 for certain scenarios.

Armrest/Ergonomics

Garrett ACE 400 Armrest/Ergonomics

Garrett ACE 400 Armrest/Ergonomics

Our favorite ergonomic feature of this detector is its light weight! Weighing in at only 2.9 pounds, we believe most metal detectorists will have no problem swinging the 400 all day long!

Beyond the weight, the armrest of the ACE 400 is adjustable, allowing you maximum control over the length you work with.

The elbow support piece has a soft foam coating on it, making it comfortable to use for long periods of time. The texturized rubber grip provides great grip even in wet conditions.

Battery Life

This Garrett metal detector runs on 4 AA batteries, and generally provides anywhere from 20-40 hours of battery life. We love being able to run this for many hunts and not have to change the batteries!

Pros:

  • Very inexpensive
  • Solid battery life
  • Very lightweight
  • Loaded with features for this price point

Cons:

  • Non-adjustable ground balance
  • Cannot be submersed in water

Garrett AT Pro

Garrett AT Pro

Garrett AT Pro

The Garrett AT Pro is widely known to be one of the absolute best metal detectors for intermediate and advanced metal detectorists, as it provides great, high-end features at a great price point.

It really is an all-purpose metal detector, as relic hunters, gold prospectors, and coin hunters alike love it. Keep reading to see an in-depth look at the features of the Garrett AT Pro metal detector.

Operating Frequency

The Garrett AT Pro operates at a frequency of 15 kHz. This is a great frequency for a very low frequency (VLF) detector, as it has the power to detect deep into the ground, while remaining sensitive enough to find small gold nuggets while prospecting!

Search Modes

The Pro comes with a preset of three modes without Tone Roll Audio, and three with Tone Roll Audio (Pro Modes). There is a coin, zero discrimination, and custom mode in both configurations, as well a pinpoint mode.

Tone Roll Audio is simply an alternative to the traditional audio tone ID noises. Instead of giving a high or low signal, Tone Roll will “roll” the signal through so you can hear every noise the metal target makes, allowing you to get a complete picture of the metal’s likely composition.

Exclusive Features

Garrett AT Pro Exclusive Features

Garrett AT Pro Exclusive Features

The AT Pro has 40 levels of iron discrimination, making it an excellent choice for those detectorists who know exactly what signals they are trying to avoid.

The Pro also comes with Garrett’s Iron Audio, which makes it possible to hear signal tones of discriminated iron, helping you avoid finding washers and bottle caps.

Ground balancing features on this detector are very good for an intermediate level machine.

Garrett ships the Pro with an automatic ground balance feature, as well as a manual ground balance option as well. Automatic ground balancing makes life so simple!

As can be gathered from its name, the AT (All-Terrain) Pro is submersible in up to 10 feet of water, can work in saltwater environments, and can withstand all of the abuse you put it through while metal detecting without affecting performance at all.

We all love this detector for the simple reason that it is a rugged, tough beast!

Search Coils

The search coil that comes standard on the Pro is an 8.5″ x 11″ DD Proformance coil. In our opinion, this coil is excellent for most detecting scenarios, though some may want to look at additional search coils that provide certain advantages in high-trash or wide-open areas.

Armrest/Ergonomics

Garrett AT Pro Armrest/Ergonomics

Garrett AT Pro Armrest/Ergonomics

The Garrett AT series of metal detectors is known not only for its ruggedness, but also for its comfortable use for long periods of time.

The AT Pro weighs only about three pounds, making it very lightweight for all of the features it possesses.

The armrest is adjustable, features a foam elbow rest, and is complete with a textured rubber grip. We all believe that almost any hobbyist could swing this machine for hours with little fatigue.

Battery Life

The Pro runs on 4 AA batteries, but takes anywhere from 20 to 40 hours to wear them out! We are very impressed with this runtime, as there are so many features on the AT Pro, but it barely affects battery life!

Pros:

  • Great performance
  • Multi-purpose; excellent on coins, gold, jewelry, etc.
  • Submersible to 10 feet
  • Can withstand saltwater, sand, rain, snow, and sleet

Cons:

  • More expensive

Which Is the Better Metal Detector?

If you were expecting us to definitively say one of these detectors is better than the other, prepare to be disappointed. There is a major difference with each detector, but they each serve a different purpose to different people.

Since every potential buyer has a different budget, skill level, and hunting type, there is no way to crown one of these detectors king in every regard. Continue reading as we begin comparing metal detectors based on different buying factors!

Price

It is simply impossible to give a complete comparison of the ACE 400 vs AT Pro without bringing price into the discussion.

This is one of the most important factors to most of us, so it is important to be thorough. It should be noted that both the ACE 400 and the AT Pro come protected with Garrett’s 2 Year Limited Warranty.

In the battle of price based strictly on cost, the ACE 400 wins hands-down, with a usual price of somewhere in the $300-$400 range.

The AT comes in at anywhere from $500-$600, which is a substantial step up in price. However, with this increased price comes increased performance, features, and enhancements.

If a metal detectorist is trying to decide which machine to purchase based on price, they will be disappointed, as the price is inconclusive.

To someone who wants a high-performance detector, the AT Pro will be worth the extra cash. However, many hobbyists have decided that the ACE 400 suits their needs just fine. To come to a conclusion, it is important to look at other factors as well.

Winner: Garrett ACE 400

Detection Depth

Double-D Coil Structure And Size

Double-D Coil Structure And Size

When it comes to detection depth, the AT Pro and the ACE 400 are on relatively equal footing.

This simply comes from the fact that the Pro and 400 both have the same double-D coil structure and size.

In addition, the ACE 400 has a lower operating frequency, which should increase depth, but not enough to be noticeably more deep-seeking than the AT Pro.

It should be said that detection depth is a fairly subjective matter, as many metal detectors in this price range search fairly similar depths.

The more important factors are the target’s conductivity, target size, soil type, and other such variables.

Winner: Draw

Screen Display

The screen displays on the Garrett AT series and the Garrett ACE series are eerily similar. Each LCD display features roughly the same indicators and notches.

Of course, there is a digital target ID, a target depth indicator, discrimination level indicators, search mode selection, sensitivity adjustment, and a battery level indicator.

Each of these items on the screen display really help enhance usability, as you know exactly what settings and configurations you are operating with at all times.

The only differences in the screen displays of the AT Pro and ACE 400 is that the Pro has a couple more buttons for its different features.

Each of these features, when activated, will appear on the display until turned off. Therefore, we find it hard to fault the ACE 400 for its screen display, so this fight ends in a draw.

Neither the Pro nor the 400 feature a backlit display, like the Garrett AT Max, but unless you plan to be treasure hunting in low-light conditions, this is not a big concern.

Winner: Draw

Types of Metal

Beach Hunting

Beach Hunting

Depending on the type of metal detecting you like to do, there are many different metals you can specifically target.

Many hobbyists like to do some gold prospecting, beach hunting, and relic hunting, depending on where they live.

With each of these different types of metals, there are different metal detectors that are more conducive to each type of metal target being search for.

For example, detectors with higher operating frequencies are very important for gold prospectors, as gold nuggets can be tiny, and a high frequency is more likely to sniff them out.

The ACE 400 and the AT Pro are both on a very similar footing when it comes to searching for gold, coins, and jewelry in normal hunting conditions. This is due to the fact that they both operate at similar frequencies, both have DD search coils, and both have great detection depth.

We believe the AT Pro to be slightly more effective at finding coins and other higher conductivity metals due to its features that allow users to hear the target more thoroughly.

It should be noted that when it comes to relic hunting, the AT Pro is the winner, simply due to the number of iron discrimination levels it offers. This is important, as many relic hunters do not want to dig every single piece of iron, but only the better iron or steel signals.

The AT Pro’s 40 discrimination levels can really help you pinpoint exactly what metals you want to dig up.

Winner: Garrett AT Pro

Ease of Use

This is an often overlooked factor that is actually quite important when it comes to picking out the right detector for you.

While it may seem that the ACE 400 and the AT Pro are on equal footing in this area, there are a couple of reasons that we think the ACE 400 is actually a simpler metal detector for beginners.

First, the 400 features fixed ground balancing, which simply means that the detector has a preset way of dealing with ground interference and the user will not have to bother with the settings.

While more experienced metal detectorists would like to have control over their machine’s ground balance settings, it can be a learning curve for newer individuals. The ACE 400’s ground balancing is more than adequate for most metal detecting scenarios anyways.

While the AT Pro features a simplified automatic ground balancing setting, we still believe a beginner would enjoy avoiding this extra concern.

The other reason we believe beginners would be better suited to the ACE 400 is simply the initial learning curve. Since the AT Pro has so many features, it can be somewhat overwhelming, particularly for those who have not had much time behind a detector.

The ACE 400 is the type of detector you can pick up, press the power button, and begin metal detecting without a second thought. Sometimes, this is exactly what a beginner needs to stay motivated and excited about this great hobby.

Winner: Garrett ACE 400

Audio Features

Audio Features

Audio Features

There is a large divide between these two Garrett detectors when it comes to advanced audio controls.

Both metal detectors are equipped with Garrett’s exclusive Iron Audio, which allows treasure hunters to hear discriminated iron to avoid digging trashy signals.

However, the AT Pro comes equipped with Proportional Audio mode, or Pro Mode. Simply put, Pro Audio allows a rolling, continuous signal tone that varies as you sweep over a target.

This allows you to almost be able to “feel” the target’s size and shape, as well as allowing you to have a better idea of what metal it is.

While many detectorists swear by Pro Audio, many others would rather use the standard binary tone. The AT Pro works just fine running with Pro Mode off, so do not let this deter you!

We love using Pro Mode, because once you use it for a while, you get very good at being able to tell treasure from trash. The ACE 400 does not come equipped with Pro Mode, so if this is an important feature to you, keep that in mind.

Winner: Garrett AT Pro

Detecting Environment

When it comes to most metal detecting scenarios, generally every metal detector will do just fine, helping you recover treasure, history, and excitement with every hole you dig.

However, in some cases, the metal detecting environment you are hunting in can be very problematic for detectors without certain features.

First and foremost, a very important consideration to think about is whether or not your detector is waterproof and submersible. If you are going to metal detect in or around water, you will definitely need a submersible machine.

In addition, sometimes every bad weather can be enough to put even a “weatherproof” detector out of commission. As this is the case if you plan to spend any time hunting in bad weather or in aquatic environments, be sure to pick out a waterproof metal detector.

The AT Pro comes submersible to 10 feet in the water, while only the search coil and the shaft of the ACE 400 can be submerged. If water hunting is a big deal to you, it’s clear that you need the AT Pro.

Beyond a detector’s waterproofing, another important consideration is the soil in the areas you metal detect. If you spend a lot of time in highly mineralized soils where much magnetic and electrical interference occurs, you will want serious ground balancing features.

Ground balancing is simply how a machine counteracts mineralized soils. The ACE 400 features a preset ground balance setting from the factory, which should be suitable for the majority of hunting environments.

On the other hand, the AT Pro comes with automatic ground balancing and a manual ground balancing option. This provides maximum control over the detector, potentially gaining you more depth and sensitivity.

Winner: Garrett AT Pro

Stand Out Features

AT Pro Durability/Ruggedness

  • The AT (All-Terrain) Pro is built to withstand any treasure hunting environment
  • Can be submerged in up to 10 feet of water
  • Performs admirably in saltwater and freshwater conditions
  • Pair with the waterproof Garrett ProPointer AT for a waterproof companion

Conclusion

Each Metal Detector Thrives

Each metal detector thrives in different situations!

As can be seen, the battle between the Garrett AT Pro and the Garrett ACE 400 is a hard one to settle, since each metal detector thrives in different circumstances.

Both machines are built to last, provide excellent detection depth and sensitivity, and are backed by a two-year warranty.

To provide further guidance on the decision between the ACE 400 vs AT Pro, we will provide a short bulleted summary below.

You may want to purchase the Garrett ACE 400 if:

  • You have a limited budget
  • You are new to the hobby
  • You don’t care about underwater metal detecting

Look into the Garrett AT Pro if:

  • You want more ground balance control
  • You want Pro Audio
  • You spend time detecting around water or beach hunting
About The Author
John Matuszak
John, a zealous treasure hunter, knew his life was over the moment he watched The Goonies for the first time and realized he had the same name as the actor who played Sloth.