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Garrett ACE 400 vs Garrett AT Max: Which Metal Detector Is Best for You?

Garrett ACE 400 vs Garrett AT Max: Which Metal Detector Is Best for You?

Garrett ACE 400 vs Garrett AT Max: Which Metal Detector Is Best for You?

When trying to decide between the Garrett ACE 400 vs AT Max, there are many variables to keep in mind that could make the difference between you enjoying your metal detecting experience or not! Making this decision depends on what you are looking for in a metal detector.

In most cases, experienced detectorists would likely be better suited with the Garrett AT Max, to where newer hobbyists might want to pick up a Garrett ACE 400.

Enjoy our in-depth review of each metal detector, along with a section that will help you weigh out the features and benefits of each detector.

Garrett ACE 400

The Garrett ACE 400 metal detector is arguably one of the best detectors for beginners, as well as intermediate metal detectorists on the market today.

This budget friendly metal detector was built to perform with excellence at a great price! Continue reading to learn more about the features and benefits of the ACE 400.

Operating Frequency

The ACE 400 runs at an operating frequency of 10 kHz, which is a great frequency. Essentially, the higher frequency is, the more sensitive the machine is, but it gives up some detection depth.

The lower the frequency is, the more detection depth you will get, but the less sensitivity. The 10 kHz operating frequency is great for an all-around, utilitarian metal detector, and we believe this will suit most detectorists just fine!

Search Modes

The 400 comes with five different search modes, as well as a pinpointer mode. These modes include jewelry mode, coins mode, relic hunting mode, zero discrimination (all-metal) mode, and a custom mode.

We love the custom mode, as you can set whatever settings you want, and the detector will always keep those settings while in custom mode. In addition, the pinpointing mode helps cut down target recovery speeds by large margins.

Exclusive Features

The ACE 400 features 12 segment notch discrimination, making it easy to save time by not digging metals you do not want to find.

In addition, the ACE features Iron Audio, a Garrett exclusive feature, that allows you to hear the discriminated iron in order to be able to hear whether a signal is good, or if it is a washer or bottle cap.

Ground balancing is always a big issue when it comes to metal detecting, particularly in highly mineralized soils that cause much magnetic and electrical interference.

The ACE 400 features a fixed ground balance set up, which is perfectly suitable (and more simple) for most treasure hunting environments.

The ACE 400 features a weatherproof control box, but the control box is not submersible and cannot be put underwater.

With that being said, the search coil and stem are waterproof, so they can be submerged for any treasure hunting by the water’s edge. Waterproof coils are always a nice feature!

Search Coils

The ACE 400 is the only metal detector in the original ACE series that comes stock with an 8.5″ x 11″ PROformance DD search coil. We love DD PROformance search coils because they provide an increased detection depth, and also allow treasure hunters to cover more ground in less time.

There are many additional search coils that are compatible with the ACE 400 for certain scenarios.


Our favorite ergonomic feature of this detector is its light weight! Weighing in at only 2.9 pounds, we believe most metal detectorists will have no problem swinging the 400 all day long!

Beyond the weight, the armrest of the ACE 400 is adjustable, allowing you maximum control over the length you work with.

The elbow support piece has a soft foam coating on it, making it comfortable to use for long periods of time. The texturized rubber grip provides great grip even in wet conditions.

Battery Life

This Garrett metal detector runs on 4 AA batteries, and generally provides anywhere from 20-40 hours of battery life. We love being able to run this for many hunts and not have to change the batteries!

Garrett AT Max

The Garrett AT Max is essentially the newer version of the AT Pro, with updated capabilities, but at a slightly heftier price. While many of the features are the same as the AT Pro, there are many that are starkly different.

Operating Frequency

The operating frequency on the Garrett AT Max is 13.6 kHz. This slightly lower frequency is excellent for squeezing a little bit more detection depth out of the machine. We believe the 13.6 kHz operating frequency is great for an all-purpose metal detector as well.

Search Modes

The AT Max comes with four preset search modes. These are All Metal, Coins, Custom, Zero Discrimination, and Pinpointer. The All Metal mode on the AT Max is actually True All Metal mode, which means that every type of metal is detected while providing detectorists with the maximum detection depth and sensitivity possible.

It is also worth mentioning that all of these search modes utilize Tone Roll Audio, which allows you to hear the changing metal signals of your target instead of giving one solid tone.

Exclusive Features

The Garrett AT Max metal detector comes with 44 levels of iron discrimination, which provides detectorists with precise control on what metal types they want to find.

Since the detector features True All Metal mode, you can always hunt for whatever type of metal you are looking for with top-tier performance.

Ground balance is a big deal for many detectorists, especially when prospecting in heavily mineralized soil or salty environments.

The AT Max has both automatic ground balancing, as well as manual ground balancing for differing ground conditions.

Garrett outfitted the Max with an Automated Ground Balance Window that simultaneously spreads ground balancing to several different settings for several different ground conditions.

This is especially handy for those of us who wish to let the machine do the work!

Optimized to be used in both freshwater and saltwater environments, the Garrett AT Max is waterproof to 10 feet!

Search Coils

The AT Max comes with an 8.5″ x 11″ DD Proformance search coil that is waterproof and able to withstand the harshest weather conditions. Should you wish to get larger or smaller search coils, there are many additional search coils available!


The Garrett AT Max is stocked with the standard, adjustable length shaft that feels very sturdy.

Take advantage of the padded arm cup and adjustable strap, as these help your arms experience less fatigue. The rubber grip on the handle is very nice as well, as it provides excellent purchase and doesn’t absorb water.

Battery Life

The AT Max runs on 4 AA batteries. These batteries last roughly 15 hours to 20 hours before dying, which is a very good runtime. While the battery life is shorter than the AT Pro, we believe it is still very commendable, considering the AT Max is using more power for its myriad of new features.

If you were expecting us to definitively say one of these detectors is better than the other, prepare to be disappointed. There is a major difference with each detector, but they each serve a different purpose to different people.

Since every potential buyer has a different budget, skill level, and hunting type, there is no way to crown one of these detectors king in every regard.

While it would be nice to say that one detector is better than the other, this is not possible for one reason. Every prospective buyer has different wants, scenarios, and budgets, and these factors all come together to determine the best metal detector for each person.

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