What are the best Garrett metal detectors?
There are thousands of stories of people finding gold, relics and other valuables just a few inches below the ground. And what do they all have in common? Someone used a metal detector for their hunt. If you are considering getting into the hobby or thinking about buying a new detector, Garret makes some of the best.
The company has been making metal detectors since 1964, and they offer both entry-level models for casual enthusiasts and highly advanced models for serious hobbyists. One of our favorites is the Garrett AT Pro, and you can get it in a kit that includes headphones, a pinpointer and a variety of other helpful accessories.
If you want to learn more about metal detectors and what features to look for when buying one, keep reading. We cover all that and more in this article.
What to know before you buy a Garrett metal detector
Types of metal detection technology
Metal detectors rely on one of two technologies, and each offers benefits for certain kinds of applications. Very low-frequency detectors are the most common and the most affordable. They utilize two coils, one of which produces a magnetic field and the second which detects disturbances in that field. VLF detectors are a smart choice for amateurs because they are generally lightweight, and they are very good at discriminating between different types of metals. However, they perform poorly in heavily mineralized areas.
In contrast to the dual-coil design of VLF detectors, most pulse induction metal detectors have just a single coil that acts as both the transmitter and receiver. PI detectors send out anywhere from a few dozen to over a thousand short magnetic pulses per second and then detect how long it takes for the magnetic field to collapse. If there is metal in the ground, the magnetic field takes longer to disappear. While PI detectors are not effective at discriminating between different types of metals, they perform better in heavily mineralized areas, making them ideal for beaches and underwater use.
You can also find metal detectors that offer multi-frequency detection. Though expensive, these allow you to change the frequency to suit your current application so that you can use them nearly anywhere.
What you want to search for
Before choosing a metal detector, it is helpful to have some idea of what you want to hunt for, as this may determine both where you will be hunting most often and which detector is best for your needs. For example, those looking for coins and jewelry on the beach won’t need a metal detector that can penetrate very deeply. However, they should choose a model designed for use around saltwater.
If you hope to find old relics, you’ll want to buy a metal detector that offers good penetration since these objects usually won’t be very close to the surface. If your primary gold is finding gold, you may want to choose a detector explicitly made for that purpose. These will operate at a higher frequency than standard VLF models, making them more effective at finding small nuggets. At the very least, you’ll want to buy a detector that offers good discrimination.
Features to look for in a Garrett metal detector
Discrimination refers to a metal detector’s ability to distinguish between various types of metal, and on most models, you can adjust this. Setting the discrimination to rule out certain materials means your metal detector won’t beep when it finds a bottle cap or old soda can, so you won’t constantly waste time digging up junk.
Sensitivity refers to a detector’s ability to detect the electromagnetic fields generated by metal, measured in kilohertz. As with discrimination, you can adjust the sensitivity, and the higher the setting, the better the detector can find small pieces of metal. However, if you have the sensitivity too high in heavily mineralized ground, you’ll receive a lot of static and distortion rather than clear detection tones.
You can use the ground balance to filter out interference from mineralization along with sensitivity and discrimination settings. Depending on the model you choose, it may be preset or have an automatic or manual adjustment. Some detectors allow for both manual and automatic adjustment.
Concentric circle– These are the most common and used for coin, jewelry and relic hunting. They produce a cone-shaped detection field that is very good for pinpointing.
Double D – These coils produce a chisel-shaped signal that covers the ground uniformly. This means they offer a wider detection field but aren’t as effective at pinpointing the exact location of objects.
The typical maximum depth range for most detectors is between 2 and 15 inches, depending on the strength of the machine and ground conditions. Lower-frequency models will offer a deeper detection range. Some models feature a depth indicator, making it easier to find the item once you begin to dig.
Models with a pinpointing mode can align the response with the center of the coil to identify the object’s exact location. As with the depth indicator, this makes it easier to find detected objects when digging.
Weight is an often-overlooked factor when choosing a metal detector, but it shouldn’t be. Most people spend hours hunting for lost treasure, so you want to select a model that will be comfortable to carry for long periods.
How much can you expect to spend on a Garrett metal detector
Entry-level Garrett metal detectors start around $200, and their most advanced models can cost upwards of $2,000.
Garrett metal detector FAQ
Does Garrett offer any metal detectors for kids?
A. While Garrett doesn’t have any metal detectors specifically labeled as kid’s models, they offer the Ace 200, which is reasonably priced, intuitive to use and will perform better than cheap toy detectors.
Does Garrett stand behind their products?
A. Garrett is a reputable company that offers a 2-year parts and labor warranty on their metal detectors. The only exclusion to this is the Sea Hunter Mk II, which only has a 12-month warranty.
What is the best Garrett metal detector to buy?
Top Garrett metal detector
What you need to know: If you are just getting started with the hobby but want to take it seriously, this kit is a great option. It comes with everything you need, including headphones, a pinpointer, an edge digger and a camo bag to carry everything.
What you’ll love: The detector is waterproof down to 10 feet, and offers 40 levels of discrimination.
What you should consider: It struggles to perform in brackish water.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Garrett metal detector for the money
What you need to know: This entry-level model is a good choice for beginners thanks to its simple operation and reasonable price point.
What you’ll love: A continuous depth indicator and pinpointing mode make for easy target recovery.
What you should consider: Its poor discrimination leads to too many false readings.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A more affordable option to the AT Pro, this mid-level offering from Garrett is suitable for beginners and casual enthusiasts who want a lot of control over their search settings.
What you’ll love: The digital target ID makes it easy to tell what kind of metal you have found without having to dig it up.
What you should consider: It is overly sensitive and often picks up junk signals.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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