Garrett Metal Detectors

Garrett AT Max Metal Detector Review

8 Mins read

Garrett AT MAX Metal Detector has been around since 2017 and is still one of the best-selling metal detectors available and that’s in large part due to its advanced state-of-the-art features and capabilities.

Some may consider it to be a sequel to the AT Pro, which is to say that it is designed specifically to replace the Pro version, but it does come with a wide range of new features for detectorists, who don’t mind spending a little extra for better results. Some of those extra goodies include Iron Radio, greater depth, a true all-metal mode, Z-Lynk wireless audio, manual and automatic ground balance, and Digital Target ID.

These extra goodies are the reason why the brand calls the AT Max their “most versatile and advanced all-terrain VLF metal detector.” It’s also the reason why plenty of enthusiastic and professional treasure hunters favor AT Max over several other models available in the market.

If you’re interested to learn more about the Garrett AT Max, then let our extensive review be your guide today.

Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector, MS-3 Wireless Headphones and Pro-Pointer AT Z-Lynk Pinpointer
103 Reviews
Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector, MS-3 Wireless Headphones and Pro-Pointer AT Z-Lynk Pinpointer
  • Enhanced Z-Lynk Pinpointer: Pro-Pointer All Terrain Z-Lynk Pinpointer integrates with the included MS-3 Headphones to hear sounds directly through your headphones
  • Wireless Z-Lynk MS-3 Headphones Included, Enhanced Detection Depth, True All-Metal Mode
  • LED Backlit Screen, Frequency 13.6 kHz, adjustable Ground Balance, Auto/Manual: High Resolution 175 pts Auto Ground Balance, Iron Audio, Iron Discrimination Segments: 44
  • Threshold Adjustment, Electronic Pinpointing, Waterproof to 10 feet (3m), Freshwater / Saltwater Search Modes, Digital Target ID, Audio Tone ID
  • Notch Discrimination, 8 Sensitivity Adjustments, Fast Recovery Speed, Target Depth ID, 8.5x 11" DD PROformance Coil

Garrett AT Max Review

Design, Ease of Use and Appearance

When it comes to design, the AT Max is similar to that of the AT Pro. Being a VLF detector, it’s pretty lightweight in that it weighs only 3.03 pounds, comes with an inbuilt pinpointing mode, powered by four AA batteries and is waterproof.

One of the more fascinating aspects of the AT Max is that it is an extremely versatile detector, which is why the label says “All-Terrain” as it is designed for virtually any kind of environment and provides excellent depth for land as well as shallow water hunting.

Similar to the AT Pro, AT Max comes with the brand’s 8.5” x 11” PROformance DD search coil offers excellent target separation and depth. You can also buy specialized coils like a sniper coil or a 9” x 12”.

garrett at maxFeatures Of The AT Max

13.6 kHz Operating Frequency

When compared to many of other Garrett’s models, the AT Max provides the lowest frequency at 13.6 kHz. And if you don’t know, this frequency is considered to be the most fulfilling when it comes to metal detecting. Because of that, this detector is capable of picking up objects that are both small and large. Detectorists can do a better search job at the beach, and when set at a higher sensitivity, will avoid picking up signals from mineralized soils.

It is able to detect almost any kind of metal and although you can also detect gold using the right conditions, we recommend Garrett AT Gold for more serious results. This detector offers a higher frequency and is ideal for terrains where free-range gold is usually located.

When compared with the frequency of the Pro version, the AT Max’s frequency is slightly inferior. This basically means that the Max theoretically might have deeper penetration, but considerably less target separation.

Despite that, the 13.6 kHz frequency is relatively still higher than most VLF detectors. What this means is that the AT Max is excellent in targeting and separating small objects.

For incredible depth and sensitivity, the device’s true all-metal mode is excellent. It’s an essential feature required for serious results that have been missing out in the AT Pro. The manufacturer Garrett also claims that the internal electronics of the Max have been improved to offer better depth penetration.

One thing we’ve noted while using the devices is that it isn’t a multi-frequency detector. This means that even though it is able to detect a plethora of metals, the only items that it has trouble picking up are relics, jewelry, and coins. Although the frequency can be adjusted to get rid of interference from third-party detectors, it can’t be changed significantly.

Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector, MS-3 Wireless Headphones and Pro-Pointer AT Z-Lynk Pinpointer
103 Reviews
Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector, MS-3 Wireless Headphones and Pro-Pointer AT Z-Lynk Pinpointer
  • Enhanced Z-Lynk Pinpointer: Pro-Pointer All Terrain Z-Lynk Pinpointer integrates with the included MS-3 Headphones to hear sounds directly through your headphones
  • Wireless Z-Lynk MS-3 Headphones Included, Enhanced Detection Depth, True All-Metal Mode
  • LED Backlit Screen, Frequency 13.6 kHz, adjustable Ground Balance, Auto/Manual: High Resolution 175 pts Auto Ground Balance, Iron Audio, Iron Discrimination Segments: 44
  • Threshold Adjustment, Electronic Pinpointing, Waterproof to 10 feet (3m), Freshwater / Saltwater Search Modes, Digital Target ID, Audio Tone ID
  • Notch Discrimination, 8 Sensitivity Adjustments, Fast Recovery Speed, Target Depth ID, 8.5x 11" DD PROformance Coil

Waterproofing

The entire body of the Garrett AT Max is submersible in water depths of up to 10 ft. This essentially makes the AT Max an excellent detector for hunting valuable finds in shorelines, streams, or any other place with shallow water.

Besides being waterproof, the detector is also weatherproof in that it can be used in dry, dusty environments.

But even though the detector is waterproof, it’s not exactly ideal for diving or underwater treasure hunting endeavors, especially in highly mineralized locations like saltwater.

Z-Lynk Wireless Technology

One of the coolest features of the Garrett AT Max metal detector is its Z-Lynk technology. It’s a wireless audio system that utilizes the brand’s own proprietary MS3 Z-Lynk wireless headphones that is extremely helpful in detecting precious metals and items. The reason why that’s the case is that this technology helps you hear the signal of your target when the search coil is right above the target without any delays. what’s even more fascinating is that Z-Lynk is said to be 6 times faster than Bluetooth, which means you won’t have to worry about any type of audio delays the moment you pick up a potential signal from a target.

This is a very important feature, as even the slightest delay in detection could cause detectorists to go further down the path and make it all the more difficult to pinpoint the exact location of their primary target. The accuracy of this technology will let you know whether the place you are currently at is worth exploring or not, thereby saving you plenty of money along the way as well.

Like Bluetooth technology, you need to pair your headphones with the detector for the first time. For that, you need to press and hold the Frequency and Iron Audio buttons and make sure the detector and the headphones are placed close to one another. After doing that, a Z-Lynk icon will be shown on the screen’s middle right side.

You’ll know the headphones have been successfully paired when you see a solid-looking image that looks like headphones. If the icon is blinking, this means that the headphones are still trying to pair with the detector and if nothing happens after a while, then you’ll need to redo the pairing process. And should you ever want to unpair the headphones for whatever reason, just hit the same two buttons again simultaneously.

It’s also great that the headphones don’t have any audio cords, which is a common headache when digging up plugs.

The one weakness that you should be aware of, however, is that the headphones are not waterproof unlike the entire detector itself, and therefore cannot be submerged completely whenever you’re looking for buried treasure underwater.

Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector, MS-3 Wireless Headphones and Pro-Pointer AT Z-Lynk Pinpointer
103 Reviews
Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector, MS-3 Wireless Headphones and Pro-Pointer AT Z-Lynk Pinpointer
  • Enhanced Z-Lynk Pinpointer: Pro-Pointer All Terrain Z-Lynk Pinpointer integrates with the included MS-3 Headphones to hear sounds directly through your headphones
  • Wireless Z-Lynk MS-3 Headphones Included, Enhanced Detection Depth, True All-Metal Mode
  • LED Backlit Screen, Frequency 13.6 kHz, adjustable Ground Balance, Auto/Manual: High Resolution 175 pts Auto Ground Balance, Iron Audio, Iron Discrimination Segments: 44
  • Threshold Adjustment, Electronic Pinpointing, Waterproof to 10 feet (3m), Freshwater / Saltwater Search Modes, Digital Target ID, Audio Tone ID
  • Notch Discrimination, 8 Sensitivity Adjustments, Fast Recovery Speed, Target Depth ID, 8.5x 11" DD PROformance Coil

Digital Target ID

Another impressive feature of the Garrett AT Max detector is its digital Target ID. This feature, while not necessarily new when it comes to many metal detectors of today, is still an essential function that improves your target’s visual representation and composition.

This information will be displayed on your LCD panel and ranges from 0 to 99. It is supposed to improve the accuracy of your detector’s readings and help you determine whether the target is what you’re searching for or not. However, the digital target ID’s accuracy depends on how correct the ground balance function is.

Iron and Notch Discrimination

Another impressive feature of the AT Max is its vast range of discrimination segments, specifically at 44 iron discrimination segments, which is slightly higher than that of the AT Pro. If you haven’t used this feature before, then you should know that this setting makes a remarkable difference when the detector picks up various iron/ferrous targets.

It basically helps you change what type of ferrous targets are ignored depending on what you’re expecting to find. For instance, if your detector’s iron discrimination setting is higher, it means you’ll be picking up fewer junk items like foils and nails.

However, we strongly suggest you keep yourself from using the higher discrimination settings as it’s not perfect and you might miss some of the real targets such as certain relics that may accidentally end up being falsely misinterpreted as trash. You might also end up picking up junk items with higher conductivity like foil or pull tabs.

And that’s why the AT Max includes another discrimination option known specifically as Notch discrimination. This feature helps sort out the mess because when you’re over iron areas, you can use notches to either knockout or select objects.

You’ll even have access to the Custom mode, which will enable you to identify or two specific materials. Then there’s coin mode, which is pretty effective. It’s a preset setting that filters out iron, pull tabs and foil. If you’re a rookie detectorist, then you’ll find these functions to be incredibly helpful.

Lastly, there’s the Elimination mode. Hover the detector over an item you assume is trash, and hold the button down to get rid of it from the search pattern.

Ground Balance

If you want to be sure you have the right target being shown on your detector, you need to improve the accuracy of the readings and that’s where ground balance comes into play. The AT Max comes with automatic or manual ground balance settings which can be adjusted based on your needs.

Adjusting ground balance settings is important when hunting in areas with high mineralization, saltwater, or soil conductivity. And with “balancing,” you can remove factors that interfere with your search, so you can eliminate chatter and boost depth. For these conditions, you’ll need to make use of the manual ground balance adjustment option.

Even though you can use the AT Max to hunt in saltwater areas, just know that virtually every VLF detector struggles in such conditions, thereby limiting your depth. Fortunately, it’s very easy to set the Max to automatic ground balance, which you can do by holding down the “SHIFT” button. But this option is more ideal for current soil environments that have less mineralization in them.

Furthermore, the detector has over 175 ground balance resolution points, which is useful for fine-tuning based on mineralization and soil conductivity.

Iron Audio

Searching for items using audio is usually faster and more accurate in response than digital target IDs. To distinguish between your actual target and flat iron object, you can switch to Iron Audio.

By default, the detector will filter iron targets for you. This way, you won’t be hearing them when discrimination has been set up. but when you switch to Iron Audio, there’ll be a separate tone triggered by iron targets. This tone distinguishes whether the item is potentially good, or if it’s a tricky one that only looks like it’s worth digging out.

Garrett has also included a built-in Iron Audio feature into the All-Metal mode as well. It will enable you to pick up discriminated iron objects when using the All-Metal mode.

Pulse Width Modulation Audio

Normally, when you pick up a signal of a potential target, you sometimes wish that there is more information you could use to decide whether you want to dig it out or not. Well, that is exactly what the pulse-width modulation audio feature is all about.

AT Max Pros:

  • IP68 waterproof rank
  • Easy to use
  • High quality
  • Waterproof
  • Wireless system
  • Various discrimination options
  • All-terrain
  • Fully submersible
  • Immediate response

AT Max Cons:

  • Comparatively more expensive than some of the other models
  • Isn’t multi-frequency
  • Not suitable for detecting gold

Conclusion

Besides being relatively more expensive than some of Garrett’s other detectors, the Garrett AT Max is truly a commendable detector, which has so many things going for it that appeases both professional and beginner detectors.

Not only is it amazingly lightweight, but it’s also multifunctional. The classic construction along with its enhanced rubber handle makes treasure hunting less tiring.

Some of its best features include its intrinsic design, high-frequency, relatively quick response, vast discrimination settings and options, and also manual and automatic ground balance. It has a high degree of efficiency and its field performance is extraordinarily remarkable.

Plus, the settings are quite simple and easy to get a hang of, it comes with wireless headphones, offers quality signals, protects the equipment from the elements of nature like dry areas and water, and so many other tidbits that easily makes Garrett AT Max quite possibly one of the best metal detectors in the world today.

Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector, MS-3 Wireless Headphones and Pro-Pointer AT Z-Lynk Pinpointer
103 Reviews
Garrett AT MAX Waterproof Metal Detector, MS-3 Wireless Headphones and Pro-Pointer AT Z-Lynk Pinpointer
  • Enhanced Z-Lynk Pinpointer: Pro-Pointer All Terrain Z-Lynk Pinpointer integrates with the included MS-3 Headphones to hear sounds directly through your headphones
  • Wireless Z-Lynk MS-3 Headphones Included, Enhanced Detection Depth, True All-Metal Mode
  • LED Backlit Screen, Frequency 13.6 kHz, adjustable Ground Balance, Auto/Manual: High Resolution 175 pts Auto Ground Balance, Iron Audio, Iron Discrimination Segments: 44
  • Threshold Adjustment, Electronic Pinpointing, Waterproof to 10 feet (3m), Freshwater / Saltwater Search Modes, Digital Target ID, Audio Tone ID
  • Notch Discrimination, 8 Sensitivity Adjustments, Fast Recovery Speed, Target Depth ID, 8.5x 11" DD PROformance Coil

About author
Hi, my name is Richard, I've been metal detecting for nearly 10 years now. I first got into it after running into an old friend on the beach who happened to be detecting (Mind he didn't actually find anything whilst I was there), it certainly got me curious. Since then it's been my biggest hobby so I decided to start this website and help other people get into it.
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