Garrett AT Max Review

by Chad Eicher

Garrett AT Max Review

Welcome to the ultimate Garrett AT MAX review.

The Garrett AT MAX is the newest model of the Garrett AT metal detector series (others including the AT PRO and AT GOLD). The AT MAX’s predecessors are in themselves qualitative equipment, the improvements/updates in AT MAX makes it even better, as you will find in this review.

So, are you looking for the best tool to detect metals, jewelry, rings, coins, or relics in any environment?

Your best bet is the Garrett AT MAX.

Here’s why: the acronym AT means All-Terrain performance, signifying its adaptability to any ground model, including water. Hence, it is waterproof; however, only up to 10 feet (3 Metres).

As you read on, you will find information covering the AT MAX’s unique features and its benefits to your treasure hunting, including added features that made AT MAX an updated metal detector in the AT series.

The Best Metal Detector?

We’re on a mission to review the best metal detectors in the market.

Garret’s AT MAX is one of the best metal detectors we’ve reviewed to date…

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If you are looking for the most advanced and versatile VLF metal detector that works in all-terrain, a befitting, trustworthy device you can find on the market today is the Garrett AT MAX.

Its advanced technology with increased detection depth and the ever-so-praised built-in Z-Lynk Wireless Technology (which I will discuss later in this review) makes it superior to many other metal detectors out there.

The detection time of the Garrett AT MAX is praiseworthy. There’s almost a zero delay from the detector to your headphones.

This detector’s wireless technology is four times faster than other wireless headphones you can find and a whopping six times faster than the speed of Bluetooth. (Note that most of the metal detectors you’ll find on the market with a wireless detecting option use Bluetooth technology).

Garrett AT Max

The Garrett AT MAX metal detector is lightweight, length-adjustable equipment that provides the most excellent possible detection depth and sensitivity. It has an LCD screen where you can monitor the workings of your detector and with which you can adjust its settings.

The LCD screen has a backlight that illuminates the screen for better visibility in low light conditions. All the screen controls are on a large display, allowing easy access with a single finger.

The equipment also features an automatic, high-resolution ground balance. You can even tweak the settings with a manually adjustable option for improved performance, making the AT MAX appropriate in handling all types of terrain, including conductive soils and mineralized grounds.

Skillful adjustment of these ground settings (such as the subtle ground response and the ground balance smooth detector audio) allows you to hear the fainest of targets.

Garrett AT Max Specifications

Below are the essential facts (discussed in this review) you should know about this metal detector:

  • Auto/Manual Ground Balance: High Resolution (175 pts)
  • Z-Lynk™ Wireless
  • Frequency: 13.6 kHz (adjustable)
  • Sensitivity/Depth Adjustment: 8
  • Audio Tone ID Level: 3
  • Threshold Adjustment: Yes
  • Iron Discrimination Segments: 44
  • Waterproof: Yes (up to 10 feet/3 m)
  • Batteries: 4 AA
  • Warranty: 2 Years

The Garrett AT MAX comes in a kit that includes the following accessories:

  • 8.5×11″ PROformance DD Search Coil
  • 8.5×11″ Coil Cover
  • 4 AA Batteries
  • New AT MAX Baseball Cap
  • Support Cuff with Strap
  • New Garrett MS-3™ Z-Lynk Wireless Headphones
  • User’s Manual

Garrett AT Max Features and Benefits

Take a quick moment to view some of the fantastic features of the Garrett AT MAX that makes it one of the suitable detectors for your treasure hunting:

1. Z-Lynk™ Wireless Technology

When the search coil of your detector is over a target, it transmits a target signal to your headphone, signifying the presence of a treasure – this is the simple working technique of a metal detector. Most times, the challenge is that you could have passed over the target before you can hear the transmitted signal, but that lag is zeroed with the introduction of the Z-Lynk™ technology. That is, the target signal will reach your ears exactly when the search coil is over the target.

The technology features 17 milliseconds (near-zero delay transmission) from your detector to the headphones, which is up to four times faster than other wireless headphones and six times faster than the speed of Bluetooth.

With this improvement in signal detection, you’re more likely to pinpoint your potential buried gems because there is no delay in signal transmission to the headphones.

Talking about headphones, if you are going to use new ones, you will need to pair them with the detector. How?

First off, ensure the headphones and the detector are near each other, press the Iron Audio and Frequency buttons simultaneously. You should notice a revealed Z-Lynk icon on the middle-right side of the screen – a blinking image implies it’s searching for the headphones to pair with, while a solid image (that resembles a headphone) means that the duo has been successfully paired.

Should you need to unpair your headphones, press the Iron Audio and Frequency buttons simultaneously.

Still on headphones: although the AT MAX metal detector spectacularly works when submerged up to 10 feet, the wireless headphones are not compatible with this terrain; hence, to detect treasures buried underwater, you’re going to need wired headphones.

2. Search Modes of the AT MAX

If you check the LCD screen’s left side, you’ll see various modes that you can select to work with: All Metal mode, and three Discrimination Modes: Custom mode, Coins mode, and the Zero mode.

All-Metal mode is such that it does not discriminate between metals, so you are likely to detect every kind of metal, including undesirable types, like clips or bottle caps. The advantage, however, is it provides the most incredible sensitivity and detection depth. So, when you hunt with the mode, you won’t miss even the most subtle signals transmitted from the faintest buried target.

The Custom mode is where you can save your preferred discrimination pattern. That is, if you’re hunting for anything other than coins, for instance, you can set up your detector with this pattern, and it would remember the setting, saving you the time of having to input the setting again in the future.

The Coins mode is self-explanatory. This mode detects all coins. With this, you’re more likely to miss trash or unwanted items, like foil or pull tabs, which I believe is an advantage. However, you’re likely to miss tiny jewelry in this mode.

The Zero Discrimination mode is preferred when you don’t have specifics in what you are hunting for; perhaps you’re open to finding anything buried, this is the right option. At this point, you’re probably confused and cannot discern the difference between this mode and the All-Metal mode. With zero mode, the detector provides different ID tones for different metals; this way, you’re more likely to determine what is most likely buried under the soil.

If you’re a metal detecting geek like me, you’ll enjoy reading the full details in this manual.

3. Audio Tones

Let’s discuss the different tones you should expect to hear for different targets when using the AT MAX. When hunting with any of the discrimination modes (Coins, Custom, or Zero), the AT MAX has three tones that distinguish targets based on their conductivity.

For any item with a digital target ID rating of 0 to 34, the tone you’ll hear in your headphones would be low; an iron nail is an example in this category. The next high-pitched tone is only slightly louder for an item with a digital target ID rating of 35 to 75, like a gold ring. The loudest high-pitch tone you hear in your headphones signifies an item with a rating higher than 75, for instance, a US quarter.

However, when you’re hunting with the All Metal mode, you will hear the middle tone no matter what is buried under the ground. Still, a more precised differentiation can be heard when you use the All Metal Iron Audio feature alongside.

4. Operating Frequency

Amongst the Garrett AT metal detector series, the AT MAX has the least operating frequency of 13.6 kHz. Even though this lower operating frequency means the AT MAX should have deeper penetration, the other ATs are better with target separation.

Nevertheless, the 13.6 kHz operating frequency of the AT MAX is quite higher than the average metal detector in the market. Therefore, one could imply that the Garrett AT MAX is optimum for both detecting (at increased depth) and separating targets.

However, it is noteworthy that the AT MAX is not a multi-frequency metal detector. Although you can slightly adjust the frequency to quell interference from other detectors, you cannot change it on a significant scale.

5. Manual and Automatic Ground Balance

One of the features a professional –standard detector boasts of is the availability of both manual and automatic ground balance. This feature becomes vital when you hunt areas with different soil conductivity or mineralization or even saltwater. By adjusting this balance, you cut down on interference and chatter while maximizing depth.

While you may not be skilled in determining a particular ground’s balance, there is an automatic ground balancing feature that the AT MAX provides. You only need to hold the SHIFT button for the machine to detect and “balance” per the current environment. However, the device is yet limited, especially on rugged terrains; hence, the presence of the manual setting option.

Now, in saltwater terrains, the AT MAX does better than other metal detectors, but you may have to compromise with depth.

Thus highlighted are the additional features that are unique to the AT MAX in the Garrett AT metal detector series:

6. Iron Audio

To avoid the stress of digging and eventually digging up undesired flat iron items, the AT MAX features a discriminated iron sound (although the setting comes silenced in new equipment). In addition to this is the all-metal iron audio that causes shifts in small frequencies to quell interference.

7. Digital Target ID

Of course, the digital target ID is a standard feature on the average detector; so, what makes this unique in the AT MAX?

Although, like other Garrett detectors, the digital Target ID is placed on a 0 to 99 scale, the AT MAX shows a target ID quicker and more accurately than others. However, note that this feature works better with the correct ground balance for the particular environment.

8. Adjustable Audio Threshold

Some treasures only emit faintly and can be easily missed. The user can use this feature to manually adjust the audio threshold (I’m referring to the hum you continuously hear in the background) so that you can hear faint targets.

9. Fast Speed

The new built-in Z-Lynk™ Wireless Technology is an integrated circuitry that transmits audio to wireless headphones, pairs automatically, and prevents interference from other wireless devices. Unique feature? This technology is six times faster than the speed of Bluetooth.

So, you’re less likely to have moved over your target before hearing it; it’s an almost zero lag technology.

10. Pulse Width Modulation Audio

You get more detailed target information, and target signals are sharper and more responsive with the proportional Pulse Width Modulation audio response. It is often quicker to detect targets using audio than digital target IDs.

With this feature, you get enough target information (audio-wise) to decide if digging is worth your time.


Garrett AT Max Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Z-Lynk™ Wireless Technology
  • Backlight for improved visibility
  • Adjustable frequency
  • All-terrain performance
  • Waterproof
  • Adjustable length
  • Electronic pinpointing
  • Fast recovery speed
  • True All Metal mode
  • Adjustable threshold
  • All-Metal Iron Audio
  • Larger lcd screen, including the digital target ID
  • Free search coil
  • 10 feet/3 m deep functionality
  • 2 years warranty
Cons
  • Only supports wired headphones underwater
  • A bit expensive
  • Not relatively light, as there are more lightweight designs available
  • Not multi-frequency

Garrett AT Max FAQs

1. Is the Garrett AT MAX waterproof?

Yes, the Garrett AT MAX is fully waterproof. It is fully submersible and would function adequately underwater. With the Garrett AT MAX, you can tread where other treasure hunters fear to tread.

However, the wireless headphones are not waterproof.

2. Is the Garrett AT MAX good for saltwater?

The Garrett AT MAX is an all-terrain VLF metal detector. If so, specifically with water terrain, either freshwater or saltwater, you can trust the Garrett AT MAX to do an optimum job.

3. Can the Garrett AT MAX detect gold?

The Garrett AT series of metal detectors is suitable for different treasures, although each is more suited for some metals than the other. Nevertheless, the Garrett AT series, including the Garrett AT MAX, is an excellent detector for gold. Still, the Garrett AT GOLD is the best for gold detection due to its 18 kHz operating frequency. But if you are a mere hobbyist, the AT MAX is fair.

4. How deep can the Garrett AT MAX detect?

The Garrett AT MAX is fully submersible up to 10 feet (3 meters) deep.


Bottom Line

If you are going to make the best use of your Garrett AT MAX, a learning process may be required. However, this shouldn’t be a hassle as the user’s guide, online videos, and tutorials can help out here, and if you put in the effort, you won’t regret making this choice of a fine piece of metal detector. You could go back to old hunting sites, and I could promise you that you’ll pick up new treasures.

More so, the metal detector is relatively cheap and won’t necessarily break your bank.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, metalpursuits.com might receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you

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Article by

Chad Eicher

Detectorist Chad is passionate about metal detecting since he got his first metal detector as a gift when he was 12 years old. He created Metal Pursuits to share his knowledge and create the ultimate metal detecting resource on the web.

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