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Garrett AT Max Reviews, Features, and Benefits

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Garrett AT Max Reviews

Garrett AT Max

The Garrett AT Max is one of the most versatile and popular metal detectors to hit the market in recent years.

Built off of the ever-popular Garrett AT Pro and Garrett AT Gold, the AT Max has ended up being a direct competitor to the Minelab Equinox metal detector offerings.

The Garrett AT Max metal detector was designed with one purpose in mind: finding gold, coins, and relics in the harshest detecting conditions imaginable.

Continue reading our Garrett AT Max reviews to learn more about this excellent metal detector offering from Garrett.

Garrett Metal Detectors began back in 1964 and has experienced rapid growth since, due to their innovative, groundbreaking technologies in the market.

The Garrett product offering that has received the most attention lately is the AT Max. This metal detector is a standout in the market due to its backlit LCD display, Z-Lynk wireless technology, and incredible detection depth.

Pros:

  • Z-Lynk wireless headphone compatible
  • Extremely rugged
  • Deep detection depth
  • Backlit display for night low-light conditions
  • 2 Year Limited Warranty

Cons:

  • Garrett AT Max chatter
  • Garrett AT Max price

Things to Consider Before Buying an AT Max Detector

Garrett AT Max Reviews

Items In The Ground

The Garrett AT Max is a very useful piece of equipment, both for utility and sport.

Being able to recover lost items, potentially worth hundreds of dollars, as well as digging up history, is a feeling unlike any other.

The ideal buyer of an AT Max is someone who has prior experience with metal detecting and is looking for a powerful machine that can find items deep in the ground.

If you are new to metal detecting, it would be wise to stick with a less complex machine. It would be wise to look into the Garrett ACE series, comprised of the ACE 200, ACE 300, ACE 400, and the ACE Apex.

For everyone still in the market for the AT Max, there are some Garrett AT Max problems to be aware of. First and foremost, there is the issue of Garrett AT Max chatter.

Chatter is simply an intermittent “chattering” noise caused by electrical signals due to a wide variety of factors, from ground mineralization to high sensitivity. While this does not mean there is a problem with the detector, it can be of annoyance to some people.

Often the chatter can be minimized by reducing sensitivity. Secondly, the AT Max may have a steeper learning curve for newer detectorists than other offerings. This is not a fault of the machine, but just something to be aware of.

AT Max Features & Benefits

The AT Max comes stock with a variety of features and benefits that help to make it one of the most competitive mid-level metal detectors on the market. Continue reading for an in-depth look at each of these features.

Ruggedness

One of our favorite, most beloved benefits of the AT (All-Terrain) series is that they are built to withstand saltwater, rain, sleet, snow, and virtually any other environment.

This is an excellent feature, since so many detectorists want to take their treasure hunting to rivers, lakes, and beaches. The AT Max is waterproof up to 10 feet, and functions with excellence in saltwater environments as well.

This is of great comfort, since many of us are clumsy and might drop the detector in the water!

The submersible nature of the detector is what lends to its great reputation of versatility, as jewelry hunters at the saltwater beach will love it just as much as Civil War relic hunters in freshwater rivers.

The ruggedness extends to battery life, which can be up to 20 hours with a set of four AA batteries.

Operating Frequency

In addition to its ruggedness and all-terrain practicality, the operating frequency of the VLF (very low frequency) AT Max is 13.6 kHz, which is a very good frequency for a multi-purpose machine. 13.6 kHz will give a great blend of enhanced detection depth, as well as great sensitivity.

We have been able to find very small targets at maximum detection depth with this type of operating frequency! Multi-purpose operating frequencies are great, because it is like getting three different metal detectors for the price of one!

You can find gold nuggets, jewelry, coins, relics, and many other metal treasures with a 13.6 kHz frequency.

Display

Garrett AT Max Reviews

Display LCD Screen

The larger display LCD screen on the AT Max is best-in-class for many reasons. First and foremost, the AT Max is one of the first metal detectors to feature a backlight in its display.

The backlit display makes it possible to continue metal detecting in low-light conditions, as it lights up the LCD display, allowing you to see every item on the screen.

We personally love the display on the AT series, as it is clean and provides many different indicators!

Beyond the backlight feature, the control box on the Max features a detection depth indicator, a digital target ID indicator, search mode selection, a battery indictor, and sensitivity controls.

There are a wide variety of different buttons that serve their different purposes as well, allowing you to adjust your sensitivity, search modes, discrimination, and other features.

Wireless Technology

One of my favorite features of the AT Max is its compatibility with Garrett’s Z-Lynk technology. Z-Lynk has been developed to provide wireless headphone technology to metal detectors.

As all of us metal detectorists know, there is nothing more annoying than getting tangled up in your headphone cord! Z-Lynk technology signals are transmitted and received six times faster than Bluetooth!

Our favorite wireless headphones to use with the AT Max are the Garrett MS-3 Wireless Headphones. These rechargeable headphones feature volume control, a padding structure designed for comfort, and a long lasting charge.

If you are planning on doing some water metal detecting, consider looking into Garrett’s Underwater Headphones, which can be submerged up to 200 feet.

Comfort/Ergonomics

One feature of metal detectors that is important, yet put on the backburner is the ergonomics of the machine.

Not only do the detector’s ergonomics have a direct impact on how long you are able to metal detect and how enjoyable the experience is, but they can actually make you a more effective detectorist.

The AT Max weighs roughly three pounds, which is in line with most metal detectors offering similar features and performance. We think that three pounds is a great weight, and most metal detectorists should have no problem using the Max for an all-day treasure hunt.

Beyond the weight, the detector features a rubberized, textured grip, allowing you to get maximum purchase on the detector, while remaining comfortable enough for an all day adventure.

The overall length of the machine is adjustable, making it easy to customize for the size of each individual. Finally, the arm rest is padded and comes with an adjustable arm strap for fatigue-saving comfort, which is a small feature we all love.

Ground Balancing

Garrett AT Max Reviews

High Mineralization Of Soils

An often overlooked aspect of mid-level metal detectors is their ground balancing capabilities.

Put simply, ground balancing is a metal detector’s ability to negate interference due to high mineralization of soils and other unique ground conditions.

The Garrett AT Max metal detector has one of the most comprehensive ground balance controls for a mid-level detector.

The Max features automatic ground balance, manual ground balance, and a Garrett-Exclusive feature called the Automatic Ground Balance Window.

Essentially, the automated ground balance spreads different high-resolution ground balance setups to match varying ground conditions, thus completely overcoming any unique interference signals from the ground.

This can seem overwhelming at first (it is to all of us), but in a short amount of time, you will become an expert at ground balancing.

Iron Discrimination

Discriminating iron and other metals you do not want to find can save you a ton of time and fatigue. When you decide you are trying to find silver or other high conductivity metals, it is smart to crank up the notch discrimination several levels.

The AT Max will not allow target tones to go off, but will still display numbers for any metals that you have discriminated. The Max features 44 iron discrimination segments, allowing you to find more of the metals you want, and less of the metals you are trying to avoid.

I particularly like to use a good amount of notch discrimination even when I am relic hunting. While relic hunters like to find virtually all metals, when you are hunting in an area loaded with old nails, you will likely want to use at least a little bit of discrimination.

This is where the AT Max shines, as it offers you a ton of control for each metal type, allowing you to pinpoint exactly what level of discrimination you desire.

Iron Audio

Iron Audio is a Garrett-Exclusive feature that essentially lets you hear discriminated iron if you turn the feature on.

It seems counter-productive, but using all metal Iron Audio allows you to hear the target’s complete signal, which allows you to hear whether it is a washer, bottle cap, or similar “coin-like” signal.

Once you get the hang of it, I can almost guarantee you will love it, because it will save you so much time from digging washers and bottle caps.

Search Modes

Everyone loves options, and when it comes to search modes, the Garrett AT Max metal detector has plenty.

Featuring True-All Metal Mode, Coin mode, Zero discrimination mode, a custom mode, as well as an electronic pinpointing mode, the AT Max has plenty of search modes for every situation.

One of the favorites is True-All Metal Mode, which essentially cuts out all discrimination, allowing all metals to signal, and substantially increasing detection depth and sensitivity.

In addition, the pinpointer mode helps treasure hunters find the exact location of the target, allowing fast recovery speeds.

The beauty of the custom search mode is that it allows you to set up the exact discrimination settings you want, providing you maximum control over what metals your detector picks up on.

As an added bonus, the Max remembers your custom setting every time you use the metal detector. This can allow you to enjoy simply turning on the machine and beginning to metal detect!

Search Coil

Garrett AT Max Reviews

PROformance Search Coil

The Garrett AT series is known for its excellent PROformance search coils, and the AT Max is no different.

The Max comes standard with an 8.5″x11″ PROformance DD search coil that is built to perform. Many of the experts here at Kellyco love DD search coils!

One of the benefits of a DD search coil is that you can cover far more ground in less time due to its massive search area.

In addition, DD PROformance search coils often offer a significant depth increase over other search coils when it comes to detection depth. Generally, the larger a search coil gets, the more depth it will offer to treasure hunters.

This metal detector comes stock with a Garrett coil cover as well, keeping your search coil safe.

Alternatives

While the AT Max is an excellent multi-purpose metal detector, there are a few alternatives that can be attractive to people for different reasons.

Garrett AT Gold

This metal detector is also produced by Garrett, but it was specifically designed with gold prospecting in mind. Looking for gold nuggets is a much different game than multi-purpose detecting, so this would be ideal for any gold prospectors out there.

The Garrett AT Gold features a higher operating frequency than the AT Max, which makes it better at sniffing out the tiniest of gold nuggets. Additionally, the AT Gold is a little bit cheaper, making it more attractive for someone on a budget.

AT Max vs. AT Gold:

  • Operating frequency: 13.6 kHz vs. 18 kHz
  • Price: $700-$800 vs. $600-$700
  • Backlit display vs. no backlit display
  • Multi-purpose vs. gold-oriented

If you can see yourself gold prospecting, it would definitely be worth checking out the Garrett AT Gold.

Minelab Equinox 800

The Minelab Equinox 800 is a direct competitor to the AT Max, due to their similar performance, price points, and features. The Equinox 800 is designed for someone who wants to maximize the utility of their metal detector, as it comes with multi-frequency technology.

This allows you specifically target gold, silver, coins, jewelry, iron, and other targets by adjusting the frequency level. With this added utility comes a higher price tag, but the ability to set up your machine to find deeper or smaller targets more effectively can be very useful to detectorists.

AT Max vs. Equinox 800:

  • Operating frequency: 13.6 kHz vs. multi-frequency
  • Price: $700-$800 vs. $900-$1000
  • Multi-purpose vs. multi-purpose + (can adjust for each purpose more effectively)
  • Increased detection depth vs. increased detection depth and sensitivity

If you want a multi-purpose detector that can be more effective in each of the multi-purpose roles, consider looking into the Minelab Equinox 800.

Nokta Makro Kruzer

The Nokta Makro Kruzer was designed to be a utilitarian metal detector, but it definitely has an advantage when it comes to beach hunting in particular. Many metal detectors cannot handle the wild ground conditions of wet sand, but the Kruzer was designed to do just that.

This metal detector would be ideal for anyone who will spend time metal detecting around sandy locations. While the AT Max will perform great in sand as well, the Nokta Makro Kruzer is a cheaper option.

AT Max vs. Kruzer:

  • Operating Frequency: 13.6 kHz vs. 14 kHz
  • Price: $700-$800 vs. $500-$600
  • Multi-purpose vs. multi-purpose but designed for beaches
  • Increased detection depth vs. reasonable detection depth

For anyone looking for a metal detector that can work great in wet sand ground conditions, and also is looking to spend less money, the Nokta Makro Kruzer might be the best option for you.

Conclusion

Garrett AT Max Reviews

Buried Treasure

When you are trying to find buried treasure, you need a metal detector that you can rely on for durability and great performance.

The AT Max from Garrett provides tons of performance, reliability, and features, all for a great price.

We hope that reading Garrett AT Max reviews has shown you the why the AT Max is a great product for virtually every detectorist thanks to its increased detection depth, excellent LCD display features, and wireless headphone compatibility.

Be sure to click here to check out the AT Max!

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.