Garrett AT Gold Review

Very Good
Metal Detector
  • Country USA
  • Released 2011
  • Warranty 2 years
  • Additional
  • Headphones included

Best for

  • Coins
  • Relics
  • Beach
  • Gold
  • Underwater

garrett at gold preview

Garrett AT Gold is a device that was released to the market back in 2011, but, despite its age, this model is still considered a very decent piece of equipment, specifically for gold nuggets prospecting. Garrett AT Gold metal detector is a device for beginner or medium skilled users, basically being a “switch on and search” type. You can also search for jewelry with this detector, even on the wet beach sand and underwater, due to it being water protected for depths of up to 10 feet.

To find out more about Garrett AT Gold, read our comprehensive Garrett AT Gold metal detector reviews. Here, you will learn about all functions and features, recommendations on settings, potential problems, and additional tips and tricks.

Rating Explanations
All Purpose
Key Features
Easy to Use
Reviewed by
Michael Moore
  • optimal frequency for prospecting
  • lightweight
  • waterproof up to 10 feet
  • frequency shift available
  • many useful features
  • saltwater use is not recommended
  • only 1 operating frequency
  • software cannot be updated
  • Z-Lynk™ Wireless technology not available
  • Technology: VLF
  • Number of frequencies: 1
  • Frequencies: 18 kHz
  • Search Coil: 8.5"x11"
  • Search Coil Type: DD
  • Waterproof: Up to 10 feet (IP68)
  • Updatable Software: No
  • VDI (Target ID): Yes
  • Search Modes: 3
  • Search Mode Types: All Metal, DISC 1, DISC 2
  • Ground Balance: Automatic / Manual
  • Pinpoint Mode: Yes
  • Audio Tones: 3
  • Batteries: 4 AA batteries required
  • Length (min-max): 42"-51"
  • Weight:3.03 lb
  • Warranty: 2 years

Garrett AT Gold Key Features

VLF Technology

Generates an electromagnetic field that creates a continuous sinusoidal wave directed to the ground.

DD Coil

The most universal shape of the coil that shows high productivity on various locations, types of soils, and working with different types of targets.

Manual Ground Balance

Allows to spot targets on various depths regardless of the level of trash or mineralization.

High Resolution Iron Discrimination

Prevents the detectorist from digging out each and every ferrous item, by filtering such items and cutting down signals caused by those.


Up to 10 feet is enough to hunt for jewelry and coins on the beach, nears the rivers, streams, or lakes.

Frequency Shift

Avoidance of electromagnetic interference from environment, including hot rocks and other metal detectors, supports cleaner signal from valuable targets.

Garrett AT Gold Overview

garrett at gold overview

This model by the Garrett company is generally a variation of the well-known and loved Garrett AT Pro detector that has been tested by time. All users state that the AT series literally raise the bar in the beginner metal detecting for gold, and the item created for aurum slug prospecting offers features for excellent land and underwater search.

The frequency of the metal detector is 18 kHz which makes it absolutely perfect for gold seeking. However, this frequency does not show itself well on salt wet sand or in salt water. So, while being submersible, it functions better in freshwater.Sensitivity and ground balance are also specifically enhanced to make search for aurum more effective. Overall, this metal detector is perfect for beginners or medium-skilled treasure hunters, since it combines comparatively easy-to-master settings with rather advanced features. The whole thing is powered by 4 AA batteries and offers user-friendly design with adjustable collapsible shaft.

Control Box

garrett at gold control box

The control panel screen provides the following information to the detectorist: Sensitivity Setting, Mode Indication, Iron Discrimination, Digital Target ID, Depth Indicator, and Battery Level indicator.

In the lower part of the panel, the buttons are located, including: Iron Disc Pushbutton, On / Off Power plus Search Mode plus Reset (all controlled with one button), Iron Audio Pushbutton, Sensitivity, Pinpoint, Frequency, Threshold, and Ground Balance. There are no secondary controls, so the control panel is pretty easy to manage.

Search Modes

Preset search modes are cool because they make tuning faster and easier. Yet, Garrett AT Gold is even better, because it also has a Custom mode for specific settings. Learn more about all modes below.

All Metal

In this mode, the detector will respond to all targets regardless of their composition, if they react to the magnetic field of the coil. Moreover, All Metal mode also makes the machine read the ground mineralization as “target”, which of course makes target identification more complicated, but more targets can be spotted.


High quality discrimination feature, combined with Iron discrimination and ground balance, helps filter out the most suitable targets, and cut off signals from potentially worthless items.


It is always good to have space for unique tuning, when preset mode cannot satisfy all the requirements of the location. Garrett AT Gold has a custom mode slot, but the user has to be sure their manual settings are correct.

Garrett AT Gold Features

Gold prospecting is one of the most complicated niches in hobby prospecting, and it actually demands more knowledge and skill, and more advanced equipment than would a hobby. AT Gold Garrett has solved this problem offering an option which is at the same time advanced and yet beginner-friendly. Garrett AT Gold waterproof metal detector is more comprehensive in settings, and the learning curve is not as steep as in many other prospecting machines, and yet AT Gold is efficient enough for successful gold search, and offers some advanced features. Just check out the features in the list below:

Adjustable Ground Balance Window

Treasure hunting on mineralized grounds is already a complicated task. However, the problem with highly mineralized soils is that they are usually unevenly mineralized. Most often, the soils are not homogenous, but are a mixture of soils, rocks, minerals, and even air pockets. Ideally, every particular patch requires its own ground balance tuning, to make the detecting effective, but this is literally impossible. Even metal detectors with the feature of continuous ground tracking often do not compensate for such variable mineralization.

This issue was solved by Garrett AT Pro Gold metal detector with the unique Adjustable Ground Balance Window feature. Due to it, the prospector can spread the Ground Balance settings to be relevant for a range of values on certain patches of land. This way, subtle changes in the ground response get reduced, and the user can pay attention to faint signals from potential targets.

High Resolution Iron Discrimination

Iron Discrimination is something every metal detectorist needs, however, too diligent Iron Discrimination can become the reason for missing potentially valuabe targets which are masked by the response of the ferrous items. This is why more segments of discrimination provide more control over this setting, and enable the user to apply discrimnation more precisely. AT Gold offers segments from 0 to 44. With minimum discrimination possible, the user will cut off ferrous targets but will still be able to spot gold nuggets.

Iron Audio

This is another feature that helps solve the problem of good targets being masked by the ferrous targets nearby. Normally, the Iron Discrimination silences ferrous items, to enable the user to hear signals from potentially valuable objects. Iron Discrimination, on the other hand, allows the detectorist to hear the iron which is normally silenced, in order to see the whole picture and to assess the potential value of the buried targets. If the user is suspicious about the target, they can switch on the Iron Audio and double-check. If the target is undesired, the metal detector will give a recognizable low-tone signal which cannot mark any good target.

Garrett AT Gold Coils

garrett at gold coils

The default search coil that goes with the basic kit is the elliptic 8.5×11 inches DD type. It is a powerful and versatile coil, easy to manipulate, and effective enough for highly mineralized soils and small objects. It is pretty much universal and covers larger patches of ground yet spotting smaller targets in various depths.

However, one cannot have too many additional search coils when we are talking about gold prospecting, because every new compatible coil unlocks additional possibilities. So, Garrett AT Gold has a bunch of compatible coils. They include:

Garrett AT Gold Settings

To set the Sensitivity properly for gold prospecting, the detectorist should choose one of the eight levels. Very small targets or targets located in greater depth are spotted better with higher levels of sensitivity. You should decrease the sensitivity level only if you work on trashy or highly mineralized grounds, or you have issued with electromagnetic interference, but you cannot solve the issue with the help of Discrimination, Ground Balance, or Frequency shift. In this case, lower sensitivity will decrease the noise and false signals you get.

To manage the Ground Balance properly, check out the following typical ranges:

Knowing the type of soils under the search coil, you will also be able to tune other settings, and be prepared to additional conditions typical for such soils.

To manage differently mineralized patches of soils within the same location, use Adjustable Ground Balance Window. For optimized tuning of this feature, choose All Metal mode first, ground balance the metal detector, and then set the Window feature to zero. Swipe over a clear area, and increase the Window by 1 segment until the ground response is at acceptable level. Better use a minimum Ground Balance Window, to still hear some faint targets. The default level is 2 and for many locations, it is the best level.

Garrett AT Gold Problems

One of the problems that immediately becomes obvious is non-updatable software for Garrett AT Gold. When metal detector Garrett AT Gold was released, updatable software was an option, so we should not view lack of this feature as a disadvantage. However, at the time of writing, updatable software is something most metal detectorists want in their machines, because it allows fixing bugs and upgrading the functions. Considering that AT Gold is not a recent release, its software would only benefit from an update, but it is impossible.

The next peculiarity is that, despite the fact that AT Gold is fully water isolated and can be used for diving, and despite the fact that it is expected to work well on highly mineralized soils (because these soils are often gold-bearing), the manufacturer does not recommend using in in saltwater. While this is not exactly a problem, this is certainly a limitation, because AT Gold owners cannot search for modern lost jewelry on the seashores, or hunt for treasures on the seabed.

Next, please keep in mind that wireless headphones by Garrett with Z-Lynk technology are not available for AT Gold, which means only the wired option. Of course, this is not very convenient for land use.

And eventually, some detectorists tend to report that AT Gold seems to fail reaching decent depths on highly to moderately mineralized grounds. While this is an issue, it is actually not clear whether their metal detectors fail, or whether the detectorists fail to cope with the settings correctly.

Tips & Tricks for Garrett AT Gold Users

garrett at gold user

To dig only potentially valuable targets, Iron Audio is recommended for double-checking any suspicious patches of ground. However, if the land is ferrous, it is better to switch the Iron Audio off at all, to avoid getting too many signals all the time. Keep it off and switch it on only around dubious targets.

When you start prospecting, you ground balance the ground and can even use the Adjustable Ground balance Window for better results. However, even with this Window feature, you can sometimes see that the soils start changing, or you can hear that the general pattern of mineralization changes because you start getting more noise. Therefore, the bottom line is to ground balance as often as you feel necessary.

As you know, gold is usually found in highly mineralized, rocky terrains that have loads of other minerals, both conductive and ferrous. If you are a beginner prospector, your best bet is to start searching in All Metal mode, and make sure you ground balance correctly. This approach will allow you to neutralize mineralization and yet spot even tiny gold nuggets.

Garrett AT Gold Accessories

Accessories make searching more convenient and more productive. In addition to several compatible search coils existing for Garrett AT Gold, you may consider one or more of the following available accessories:

Garrett AT Gold Kit

garrett at gold kit

The standard kit by the manufacturer includes:

At the time of writing, Garrett does not offer any advanced packages, but you are most likely to find advanced kits and bundles offered by your local retailers, or big international platforms. Getting kits in a bundle is always beneficial since you can get some necessary accessories with a certain discount.

Garrett AT Gold Manual

To make an informed decision about whether Garrett AT Pro Gold meets your needs for gold prospecting or not, it is always better to double-check the manufacturer’s manual. The manuals contain all the tech specs and all the necessary info a potential (and actual) user needs.

Download Garrett AT Gold User’s Manual

Instructional Videos For AT Gold Metal Detetcor


How to determine the ground mineralization level?

Before you decide upon Ground Balance settings, it is important to be aware of the ground mineralization level in the first place. To determine the level of mineralization, first ground balance the metal detector. After that, manually increase or decrease the ground balance settings by 5-10 points, and check how the ground under the search coil responds. When the response is minimal, it means low mineralization. The higher the range, the higher the mineralization, and changing the settings only by 1-2 points will cause significant response immediately.

Can I search for meteorites with Garrett AT Gold?

In fact yes, you can. AT Gold shows efficient performance with hot rocks, so it can also spot meteorites really well. Use All Metal mode to spot the meteorites, since they are usually very ferrous. If you are really serious about meteorite hunting, you may want to purchase some small meteorites first to do the bench testing for your metal detector, and see how it reacts.


Garrett AT Gold device is a cool item for slug prospecting. It is a brother of the AT Pro model, but with a special twist for aurum search. Also, it is claimed to be perfect for noobs and those detectorists who already have some skills in treasure hunting. The machine provides best performance when seeking aurum, jewelry, and coins.

It has a bunch of advantages yet remains surprisingly easy to set and tune. The only real drawback is inability to function properly in salt water. In all other aspects, this is an excellent piece of equipment to consider for gold detecting, even for beginner prospectors.


Garrett AT Gold Good metal detector for gold jewelry

3 Main Competitors

Minelab Gold Monster 1000

Minelab Gold Monster 1000 Perfect middle-level metal detector for gold prospecting


XP ORX Very technologically detector for gold and silver

Nokta Makro Gold Kruzer


Michael Moore

Hi detectorists! I’m Michael Moore, founder of this website, and a dedicated treasure hunter since 2013. If you want to be posted about the most recent news and updates in metal detecting, releases, and trends, subscribe!

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