Minelab’s CTX 3030 is hailed as the ‘king of detectors’ and priced at more than double Garrett’s AT Pro. So, what do you get for all that extra cash and is it really worth it?
What's Better? Minelab CTX 3030 vs Garrett AT Pro
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A Detailed Comparison of The Minelab CTX 3030 vs The Garrett AT Pro
The Garrett AT Pro has an adjustable 15 kHz frequency which is a good mid-range setting for most objects including gold.
The Minelab CTX 3030 utilizes Minelab’s multi-frequency tech and sends out 28 different frequencies at once between 1.5 and 100kHz so it doesn’t miss a thing.
The AT Pro has a scaled numeric target ID with a depth indicator, and push-button power, sensitivity, iron discrimination, notch discrimination, pinpointing and mode toggles.
The CTX 3030 has a touch screen full-color adjustable backlit display with all of these functions plus more sensitivity settings on a quick menu.
The 3030 also has an inbuilt Geostore GPS function that you can store your routes and finds. It’s a really advanced feature that other metal detectors don’t offer.
Both detectors have manual and automatic ground balancing.
Target Identification and Discrimination
Garrett’s AT Pro has six search modes three of which are standard – coins, custom and zero discrimination – and three pro modes with eight sensitivity adjustments. It also has iron and notch discrimination.
The CTX has ten customizable modes including coins, beach, relic, silver and high trash. The other five are custom options for you to enter. The CTX can also tell the difference between ferrous and conductive properties to give ultimate control.
Both machines have iron audio.
The CTX 3030 and AT Pro are submersible up to ten feet so you can search in and under both fresh and salt water.
The CTX has an extra seawater function that reduces false signals from wet sands.
Garrett’s detector has three tone audio to help figure out metal signals without using the display. The CTX has four tone audio with a noise cancel option.
The CTX is also wireless and uses WiStream tech for a really crisp and fast sound. The AT Pro isn’t wireless but has great MK-2 headphones to enhance weak signals.
Both machines have excellent search coils. The Pro uses Garrett’s PROformance 8.5” x 11” DD coil and the CTX 3030 has Minelab’s 11” DD Smart coil with a skid plate.
The skid plate helps prevent damage and Minelab’s 11” coil will cover more ground in a single swing, but neither coil is better than the other. Minelab’s cost is reflected in the machine’s circuitry and extra sensitivity.
Length and Weight
The 3030 is heavier than the AT Pro at 5.20lbs versus the Pro’s 3.03lbs, but some of that extra weight is in its rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The AT Pro takes standard AAs.
The Pro also has a slightly shorter adjustable maximum length of 53” against the 3030’s 55”.
There’s a big difference in cost. The CTX 3030 with set you back several thousand more than the AT Pro.
The Best Choice
The AT Pro is more than enough for a detectorist heading out on the weekends. It’s a top-notch machine with plenty of depth and ground balancing plus its entirely waterproof.
In comparison, the Minelab CTX 3030 is a professional-level detector with top-of-the-range tech and customization that can’t be beaten.
The CTX is a better machine in that it does more, has a wireless set up, a Geostore function, and will find smaller, deeper targets than an AT Pro with its multi-frequency function.
But if you don’t need all that tech then hold onto your cash. The CTX 3030 is for serious detectorists only and the Garrett AT Pro will do you proud for a third of the price.