We’ve recently added the Garrett ATX for sale in our shop, so we thought it would be prudent to provide you with a detailed Garrett ATX review to go with it. After all, it is one of Garrett’s premium products, and lot’s of people are starting to sit up and take notice – so much so that it’s made it into multiple positions on our metal detector review page.
For a long time Garrett has been trailing it’s main rival in Minelab when it comes to a quality top end metal detector. Minelab have been offering the GPX 5000 for a while now, while Garrett continued to offer detectors more targeted to the entry level market.
I believe the people at Garrett have developed the ATX as the answer to the Minelab domination in this space, and to be honest, they have done a pretty good job. However, while it is easy to make a direct comparison between the Garrett ATX and the Minelab GPX 5000 (read my review), it is probably wrong to do so. They are very different machines, which are still targeted at different people in the market place.
True, they are both quite expensive (although the ATX is about half the price), the ATX is a lot less flexible and customizable than the GPX 5000. While that is a big negative for seasoned pros who want to hunt for specific targets, it’s a massive bonus to those people who want the features of a top end detector, without the headaches involved in understanding the settings and other related complexities associated with the GPX 5000, of which there are many.
In terms of performance, the ATX is a beast! It’s almost the type of metal detector that you can take out of the box and just start using without a whole lot of thought, although like most things, if you spend the time learning the settings and getting to know how the ATX responds to different targets in different terrain, you will experience considerably more success in your hunts, than leaving things set at default.
Garrett ATX Appearance
The ATX really looks like a military grade piece of equipment. Everything is the same color with the exception of the white Garrett logo. It is made to withstand some serious conditions and is as rugged as it looks. The body is large, but not overly cumbersome, in fact I have found it quite easy to handle.
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Too pricey? Consider the Garrett AT Pro
The ATX Display
The display on the Garrett ATX isn’t anything special, but I quite like it. It is about as simple as you are going to find and there really isn’t a lot that can go wrong with it. The buttons are easy to see and feel, and the led indicators are bright, even in full sun.
If you are one of those people that likes a good LCD display then this might not be for you. Garrett has gone right back to basics on this display, but it’s really easy to navigate and the information it does show you is pretty much what 99% of people use anyway.
Price and Warranty Information
- Length: 20″ to 68″ (0.51m – 1.72m)
- Weight: 6.9 lbs. (3.13 kg) includes batteries
- Warranty: 2 Year, Limited Parts/Labor
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- Buy the ATX
- ATX Metal Detector
- Soft carry case
- 10″ x 12″ (25 x 31cm) DD Searchcoil
- Headphones (not waterproof)
- 8 x AA Batteries and Battery Charger
The Garrett ATX has 3 searchcoils to select from, with the 10″ x 12″ DD searchcoil coming as standard. I personally haven’t used anything but the 10″ x 12″ DD, however, if you have extra money to spend, it might be worthwhile taking a closer look at what each of the other searchcoils has to offer.
More ATX Compatible Searchcoils
The following is a list of searchcoils that are compatible with the ATX.
- 10″ x 12″ (25 x 31cm) DD Searchcoil (default coil)
- Deepseeker 15″ x 20″ (38 x 50cm) Mono Searchcoil
- 8 inch Mono Searchcoil
The main feature that I like about the ATX is that it finds things easily and at depths where most other detectors don’t even register a blip.
- Waterproof to 10 feet (3m)
- 13 sensitivity settings
- 25 Discrimination modes
- Detection frequency of 730 pulses per second (Whoa)
- Automatic Pinpointing
- Battery Indicator (10+ hours of operating use)
I’m sure i’ll mention this again and again in this review, but seriously, being an all terrain metal detector is a massive advantage that the ATX has over many of it’s rivals. I love the freedom that it allows you to have. You can head out for the day not quite knowing where you will end up, but safe knowing that the ATX won’t be limiting you.
The ATX has two modes of operation (Motion and Non-Motion Modes). The modes provide you with optimum performance based on your hunting preference and conditions.
To use Motion mode you need to ensure the searchcoil is in motion for the detector to provide you with feedback. Non-Motion doesn’t require the coil to be in motion.
The Garrett ATX has 25 adjustable audio settings and operates with continuous audio. This allows the machine to provide feedback which is proportional to the targets signal strength.
Like most top end metal detectors, the ATX produces various audio tones to aid in identifying different types of targets and their size.
The following is a chart from the manual, which shows the different type of audio signals produced in both Motion and Non-Motion modes of operation.
Detector Frequency & Depth
The Garrett ATX features advanced pulse induction technology (730 pulses per second) and in my own testing can reach incredible depths of around 19 inches when searching for a Barber Quarter.
In order to perform a frequency scan, you will need to follow these steps:
- Hold the searchcoil stationary away from any metal
- Press and release the FREQ SCAN button
- Leave for about 35 seconds until you hear 3 audio beeps.
Most areas you go detecting will have mineralization in the ground, which can make finding valued targets all the more difficult. This is where ground balancing help you to separate the ground noise from the real target noise.
Ground balancing the ATX is quite simple, just follow these steps:
- Raise the searchcoil 6 inches above the gound
- Access the Secondary controls (Press and release the SHIFT button)
- Press and hold the GND BAL (Ground Balance) button. Wait until you hear 2 beeps – this confirms that ground balancing is active.
- Continue to press the GND BAL button and move the searchcoil up and down (between 1 and 6 inches from the ground).
- After a short while the ground feedback should be removed and you can release the button.
The best way to attempt to discern the depth of a target when using the ATX is , in my opinion, to get familiar with your device. Spend sometime listening to the feedback and start to learn the different sounds various metals make. From there, you just need to listen to the volume and check the LED indicators, which are there to show you signal strength. Note: 3 red LEDs in positions 11,12 and 13 indicate max signal strength.
Battery Condition Indicator
The ATX has a battery indicator on the display panel. It’s not as prominent as other detectors, but it does the job. It should be noted that the stock batteries will normally last between 10 and 12 hours.
When you first switch on your ATX, listen for the audio beeps. This will tell you the status of the battery.
- 4 beeps = fully charged
- 3 beeps = 75%
- 2 beeps = 50%
- 1 beep = start charging your batteries again.
If you see the battery icon start flashing yellow, that means there is 30 minutes remaining until the batter is discharged.
The Garrett ATX features a very handy pin pointing button, which in my experience I have found to be very accurate. Just put the searchcoil over the specified area whilst pressing the pinpointer button and start digging from the center of your coil until you find your target. It doesn’t get a while lot simpler than that.
Highlights / General Information
One of the major ATX selling points for me has been that it is able to be used in the water. This isn’t something that’s all that common in the metal detector space, yet it’s something that so many people look for in a detector. Continuing with the waterproofing, the Garrett ATX also comes with a waterproof speaker, although I find it’s much better when used with a quality set of headphones (remember, the standard headphones that come with the ATX are NOT waterproof).
The next highlight that’s really beneficial (yet massively underrated), is how small the ATX can be collapsed down to when you want to store it (20 inches). That means that whenever you decide to go away on vacation, you don’t need to worry about your detector taking up too much space. This is thanks to the Garrett ATX sporting a telescoping shaft, which enabled it to be compacted down tightly for storage.
Garrett ATX Default Settings
The following are the settings you will have out of the box when you start using the ATX.
- Mode: Motion
- Discrimination: Zero discrimination
- Sensitivity: 10
- Threshold: 7
- Volume: 10
- Ground Balance: Neutral
- Ground Track: OFF
How to Use your Garrett ATX
There is a comprehensive manual provided by Garrett which you can find here (Garrett ATX Manual), however, if you just can’t wait to get started, this short few steps should help you get on your way (Quick setup from Patrick Lanclos).
- Set the ATX to your search mode (Motion / Non-motion)
- Set the discrimination level (see the discrimination section above).
- Set the Sensitivity (default is 10)
- Set the Threshold (default is 7)
- Perform a Frequency Scan
- Perform a Ground Balance
Then you’re good to go.
Videos of the Garrett ATX Metal Detector
This video is a test between the ATX and the Minelab GPX5000. The test is using the stock standard coil on the ATX.
This next video is from KellyCo and they go into detail on the actual specs of the Garrett ATX.
Another video to help you understand the tones and visuals from some commonly found items and metals.
Known Issues / Problems
There aren’t all that many issues with the ATX, but if you really want some, I suppose I can find a few…
- It’s heavy compared to other detectors. I personally don’t find it to be a problem, but if you have a bad back, or shoulder then you might have issues with it.
- It’s quite pricey, however, at this end of the market, it’s actually very well priced.
- It doesn’t have an LCD screen. I don’t think this is a big deal at all, in fact, I like the simplicity of the display.
My Final Verdict
This is the bees knees when it comes to Garrett metal detectors. You won’t find a simpler metal detector to use that gets to these types of depths with a standard out of the box configuration.
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I also really like that it can find gold and silver with pretty much no additional setting changes. It is almost a turn on and get started kind of metal detector, unlike the Minelab GPX5000, which has so many different knobs and coils that you really have to be an expert to know how to accurately tune it to start finding anything of value.
This really is a serious metal detector and you will not be disappointed if you pick one up.