Garrett AT MAX vs Minelab Equinox 800

What you need to know about the Minelab Equinox 800 vs Garrett AT MAX

Getting a suitable unit for your metal detecting prospects is vital. Minelab and Garrett are two of the most popular metal detector brands in the market. But which one do you buy? Which one is easier to use? Here’s what you need to know about the Minelab Equinox 800 vs. the Garrett AT MAX detectors.

The Minelab Equinox 800 is a superior choice compared to the Garrett. The Minelab Equinox 800 offers better performance, modern features, and better results. Regardless of its battery life, it is a formidable unit.

The Minelab Equinox 800 and the Garrett AT MAX are the big boy contenders for any detectorist and prospector. From Minelab’s Multi-IQ technology to the AT MAX’s maximum depth detection, the numerous features built into the progressive nature of these units.

Metal Detecting Tip Recommendation: get the Equinox 800 it has proven to be “the machine” for many years. It will turn you into a great detectorist! Read more reviews and check current prices on Amazon with this short cut link ๐Ÿ‘‰ Minelab Equinox 800

The Minelab Equinox 800 vs. Garrett AT MAX Detectors

The battle between the Minelab 800 and the Garrett AT MAX has been legendary for quite some time. Experts highly regard these detector units, making it difficult for users and potential buyers to pick between the two.

In my experience, none is better than the other. The units each have their unique highlights. However, there are some differences between these two units, whether it lies in their sensitivity, depth, ground balancing, etc.

So, let’s find out what makes these two units great and what trade-offs you get when choosing either of these detectors.

Easy To Use Detectors

Firstly, let’s put across that neither of these metal detecting units is beginner-friendly. There is a huge learning curve when it comes to handling these units. Fortunately, other beginner-friendly models are in the market to help you get started.

Both Garrett and Minelab offer beginner-friendly metal detecting models for sale in the market. So even if the Equinox 800 and the AT MAX aren’t in your skill range, you can get other models from the same brands. You can always count on Minelab and Garrett to provide customers with a quality metal detecting unit.

Here are some beginner-friendly options that you can check out:

With time and experience, you can slowly build up the skill required for an advanced metal detector.

On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned professional looking for a new unit, something that will serve as an upgrade, then these metal detectors are an excellent choice for you.

Garrett AT MAX Metal Detector Review

Garrett AT Max
Garrett AT Max credit KellyCo

The Garrett AT MAX ๐Ÿ‘ˆ (short cut link to Amazon for current price) metal detectors blew up the market upon their release. Garrett offered an advanced level metal detecting that could function on all terrains, which is a massive steal for prospectors that like to alternate between target areas.

Garrett offers multiple specs for the AT MAX unit. As a progressive metal detecting unit, it provides many high-level tools that expert prospectors can utilize efficiently. Here are some of the specs that you can find on the AT MAX:

  1. The AT MAX is waterproof up to 10 feet or 3 meters.
  2. Garrett offers the Z-Lynkโ„ข Wireless Technology with headphones included.
  3. They offer four search modes with all pro audio.
  4. Both auto and manual ground balance
  5. A fast recovery speed
  6. It comes with a backlit display feature

Multiple other features come with the AT MAX unit, but what’s even better about it is that Garrett offers visual assistance to their users on utilizing the model. You can find these instructional videos on their website.

So far, the Garrett AT MAX is a solid metal detector. It offers some of the best and most advanced features on the market. With an adjustable operating frequency of 13.6 kHz, you have a good unit in your hand. Please note that the ideal operating frequency of any metal detector is between 5kHz and 15kHz. It’s not excellent but is perfect for getting it off the ground.

 Furthermore, the AT MAX operating frequency is adjustable, making it easier to detect high and low conductivity metals.

So what are the advantages of the Garrett AT MAX? And what disadvantages should you expect from the AT MAX?

If you’re ready to make the leap and get the AT MAX, here’s a short cut link to Amazon for prices and reviews ๐Ÿ‘‰ Garrett AT Max Metal Detector

The Advantages of the Garrett AT MAX

The Garrett AT MAX offers a variety of advantages to its users. These benefits improve its performance and enable user prospecting. Here are the advantages:

  • The Garrett AT MAX is known for its maximum depth detection. A frequency operation of 13.6kHz is decent. Thanks to that, many experts turn to this unit when they need increased depth detection for prospecting.
  • Another exciting advantage of the AT MAX is using this unit in salt and fresh water environments. Not only that, but it’s waterproof up to a depth of 10-feet or 3 meters.
  • When you buy the Garrett AT MAX, you get the unit with headphones included in the pack. It helps save a lot of money, and you get quality headphones to boot. Not only that, but you can spend that money on buying complementary accessories for your prospecting.
  • The Garrett AT MAX falls under the $1000 price point on multiple buying platforms. 
  • The Garrett AT MAX offers a 20-40 hours battery life.

Metal Detecting Tip: Here’s a link to a YouTube video introducing the AT MAX -> VIDEO LINK

The Problems with The Garrett AT MAX

  • One problem you may encounter with the Garrett AT MAX is that for deeper targets, probably 10-inch targets and at 0 discrimination, the AT MAX may give an iron signal. It might not be the case all the time, but you have to be on the lookout for that.
  • A steep learning curve. The AT MAX is an incredible unit, but the learning curve can be discouraging for both new and advanced users.
  • It’s not beginner-friendly. The AT MAX is not suitable for beginners. It has numerous features that most beginners would have difficulty trying to toggle. It would be in a beginner’s best interest to test the Garrett ACE Series.
  • It’s a bit on the heavier side. The metal detector weighs 3.03 lbs. (1.4 kgs).

๐Ÿ‘‰Hey David here the guy behind this website. Check Out My Favorite Metal Detecting Equipment Below ๐Ÿ‘ Recommended

Nokta Ultra
Nokta Simplex ULTRA ๐Ÿ‘ˆ Awesome Machine!

When asked what I recommend, the ๐Ÿ‘‰ Nokta Simplex Ultra stands out. Perfect for beginners, it’s waterproof, includes wireless headphones, and offers five functional modes, growing with your detecting skills.

Lesche T Handle Shovel picture
Lesche T Handle Shovel digs through everything

The next thing you need is a great shovel, believe me when I say you’ll dig more knowing you can dig FASTER. The nearly bullet proof Lesche T- Handle Shovel is the most comfortable heavy duty shovel I’ve ever used.

I love the CKG Sand Scoop for Beach Metal Detecting
I love the CKG Sand Scoop for Beach Metal Detecting

Metal Detecting and Beaches are a perfect match. To search a beach you’ve GOT TO HAVE A SAND SCOOP. CKG Sand Scoops are heavy duty and able to be used as a shovel.

Minelab Equinox 800 amazing Metal Detector
Minelab Equinox 800 amazing metal detector

If it’s time up UP YOUR GAME , get the industry standard metal detector. The Minelab Equinox 800 IS THE BEST. Okay it’s not cheap, but your finds are going to increase with this machine.

Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector Review

MineLab Equinox 800
Minelab Equinox 800 credit KellyCo

The Minelab Equinox 800 ๐Ÿ‘ˆ (Amazon short cut link) is a tough competitor to beat in the metal detecting industry. Not only is it an all-rounded unit, but it’s a unit under the $1000 price point. Experts in the sector highly regard Minelab. Not only do they provide high-quality units, but they are also an American company.

So, what makes the Minelab Equinox 800 stand out from the rest of the advanced metal detectors? Here are some of its features:

  1. The Multi-IQ technology. The Minelab Equinox 800 thrives thanks to this technology. It is its main selling point and highlight. It’s a simultaneous multi-frequency technology that can find any metal in any soil and at any time. It comes with five operating frequencies: 5, 10, 15, 20, 40 kHz.
  2. It comes with four detect modes.
  3. The metal detector is on the sleek side, so you’re looking at a pretty light metal detector. It sits at a weight of 2.96lbs (1.34 kg).

I mentioned this above, the NOX 800 is my favorite metal detector. Ease of use and flexibility in differing conditions “a do it all machine” Amazon sells incredible package deals check it out ๐Ÿ‘‰ HERE.

But what about the advantages? What does the Equinox 800 bring to the table? What disadvantages should you expect from the Equinox 800?

The Advantages of The Minelab Equinox 800

  • The Minelab Equinox 800 does exceptionally well with hitting high-conductive targets.
  • Minelab is a well-known brand known for its quality and high-performing products. Thanks to the Minelab brand image, buyers have the assurance that they are buying a quality metal detecting unit.
  • The Multi-IQ feature. It’s an all-in-one feature that makes prospecting more effortless and efficient. The  Minelab 800 offers five adjustable frequencies with the Multi-IQ feature: 5, 10, 15, 20, 40 kHz. The Minelab 600, on the other hand, provides three frequencies with the Multi-IQ feature.
  • The Equinox 800 is also a waterproof metal detector with a depth of 10 feet or 3 meters.
  • The unit has multiple detect modes for different environments.
  • Fast and accurate target identification.
  • It comes with a gold detecting mode with a range of 20 kHz or 40 kHz to detect gold nuggets.

The Problems with the Minelab Equinox 800 

  • The main problem with the Minelab Equinox 800 is the battery life. It offers approximately 20 hours of battery life. Thus, making it challenging when users want to have longer prospecting times.
  • There was no iron bias during prospecting. The Equinox 800 would pick up targets like metal bottle caps.
  • The Equinox 800 would also have a hard time with mid-conductive targets. So it would pick those up; most of the mid-conductive targets were the pull-tab on cans.

Metal Detecting Tip: Wanting to learn even more about my favorite machine? Minelab’s YouTube channel has a bunch of video to watch -> Minelab YouTube on Equinox 800

What Are the Trade-offs?

A trade-off is the loss of one quality in exchange for the benefits of another quality. In this case, we’re looking at the compromises we get when choosing one metal detector over the other. Here’s what the trade-offs are looking like in this scenario:

Choosing the AT MAX over the Minelab Equinox 800 showcases the following trade-offs:

  1. Losing out on the Minelab Multi-IQ feature, it’s unique to Minelab alone.
  2. You lose out on prospecting for high conductive targets or metals.
  3. You will lose out on a lighter metal detecting unit.

On the other hand, you have the Minelab Equinox 800 trade-offs over the Garrett AT MAX. Here are some of them:

  1. You lose out on both freshwater and saltwater prospecting.
  2. You will miss out on the 20-40 hours battery life.
  3. Users will lose out on the maximum depth detection.

By balancing out the trade-offs and the advantages, it may be easier for you to decide which metal detector is worth your money and time. The purpose of trade-offs is to showcase the pros and cons in a broader light; they are not the ultimate decision-maker.

It would also be in your best interest to visit a store and get a physical demonstration of the metal detectors. Why? Because handling them will help you determine if the weight of the metal detectors is a make-or-break deal for you. Check your local stores and the metal detectors they offer before making the final decision.

Which One Is Better? Garrett Or Minelab?

Both of these brandโ€™s shine in their unique way. None is better than the other. Numerous prospectors may have their favorite preferences, but it all boils down to what a specific metal detector does for your prospects. In my opinion, I prefer both of these brands.

They provide great features, and you can’t go wrong with either, and it is a good value for your money. Once you’ve bought either of these units, you can sleep well knowing you spent your money on a worthy investment. 

AT MAX Vs. Equinox 800

In my experience, I would say the Minelab Equinox 800 is a better contender and provides a lot more utility and performance than the Garrett AT MAX. It doesnโ€™t mean that the Garrett AT MAX is any less. Itโ€™s just that if you balance out the pros and the cons, the Equinox 800 comes out on top.

On the other hand, if you’re looking into gold prospecting, it would be in your best interest to get a metal detecting unit specializing in gold prospecting. The AT MAX and the Equinox 800 are all-rounded units. They will function as needed (especially the Equinox 800 since it comes with a gold mode) if you’re gold prospecting. But not quite at the same level.

Regardless, the choice is in your hands; both of these units are equally as good whether you choose the AT MAX or the Equinox 800. They will provide you with excellent results, and they are worth the investment. 

The Minelab Equinox 800 Vs. The Equinox 600

Minelab Equinox 800 - great all round metal detector
Minelab Equinox 800 – great all round metal detector

Minelab’s Equinox series is nothing to be taken lightly. Since its 2017 release, it’s made its mark in the industry. Some users may also find it challenging to choose between the Equinox 800 and 600.

Minelab specifies that the Equinox series benefits from having the Multi-IQ technology, so it’s assuring to know that the (link to Amazon) ๐Ÿ‘‰ Equinox 600 doesn’t fall short in that. But where else does it fall short?

  • The Equinox 600 has three detect modes, while the 800 has 4 detect modes.
  • The 800 has eight custom search profiles, while the 600 has six custom search profiles.
  • The 800 has five operating frequencies to choose from, while the 600 has three operating frequencies.

Apart from these features, the result is the same. Regardless, with these features alone, you can tell that the Equinox 800 will function better and provide better results than the Equinox 600.

They both suffer from 12-hour battery life. So there’s not much to argue there, but the Equinox 800 is a better choice than the Equinox 600. It would be in your best interest to get the Equinox 800; it’s a better investment and is my pick between these two units in the Equinox series.

The Search for More Treasure?

In the end, whether you choose the Garrett AT MAX or the Minelab Equinox 800, you’re getting an advanced metal detector. It offers some of the best features in the market, and you will likely have excellent results from these metal detectors.

The Minelab Equinox 800 is truthfully an excellent choice for prospecting. Thanks to the Multi-IQ technology, and other advanced features, it’s my top pick.

On the other hand, the Garrett AT MAX is formidable. It may be an older model, but the old one is gold.

Are you looking for MORE Places to Metal Detect in the Mid-West U.S.A? READ BELOW


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my sonโ€™s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

Read about David -> HERE

Want to send me a question – contact

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