I know both detectors in practice and they both get finds. The Minelab Safari has a perfect construction. The Garrett AT PRO is easier to master and isn’t afraid of water. Here’s a comparison: the Minelab Safari vs the Garrett AT PRO.
I check everything the manufacturers say in their ads and often don’t find an expected result. For example, Minelab announces that the Safari is powered by multiple frequency technology with a lower range from 1.5 kHz… Make such an experiment. Take 6 or 7 copper coins and stack them up. Turn the coins round so that they are perpendicular to the horizon and pass them over the coil. My Minelab Safari has identified this target as iron. As a matter of fact, it’s a challenging task for many metal detectors: the Garrett AT PRO also “sees” this target as iron. But the Minelab X-Terra 705 with a 3 kHz coil easily copes with this task (VDI 44-45). Why then does the multi-frequency Minelab Safari see these coins as iron? Its frequency starts from 1.5 kHz, you see.
That’s why I perceive only the result. Practically, the Minelab Safari and the Garrett AT PRO are mid-level metal detectors. Both have a collapsible S-shaped shaft (classical for ground search), with the control box located atop.
But the Garrett AT PRO has a mono control box which includes all things: a screen, controls, power supply (4 AA batteries) and a headphone jack. In the Minelab Safari, a power supply (8 AA usual batteries or rechargeable ones) and a headphone socket are located separately – at the upper part of the shaft.
The Garrett AT PRO armrest is not the most comfortable one. For instance, if you wear warm clothes while hunting, the AT PRO armrest doesn’t fix your arm (thickened with clothes) good enough. Also, the AT PRO armrest is unreliable and can be broken down (a usual one, not strengthened, like this one in my photo). Although the Minelab Safari armrest differs externally, it is at the same level in terms of usability.
Who had an idea to place a pinpoint button for the Minelab Safari aside? A central button switching Pinpoint mode in all the detectors is Menu mode for the Minelab Safari. The main buttons are accessible for control with the same hand holding the metal detector.
But I can completely control the Garrett AT PRO using just one hand (in which I hold the detector).
A hidden coil cable inside the shaft and smooth adjustment of total detector length – for me it’s the biggest advantage of the Minelab Safari. It’s very convenient! If the terrain allows, the detector length can be made greater and, in doing so, you will increase the overall search speed.
If the terrain has a relief or there appeared the closely spaced targets, you can reduce the length with one sweep and continue searching. It is not accessible to the Garrett AT PRO: in order to change the detector length, it will be necessary to wrap the coil cable around the shaft all over again.
The coils of the Minelab Safari and the Garrett AT PRO are equal in type and size (11 inches, DD), but different in shape (ellipse and round).
There must be a difference between these coils in theory (to which the manufacturers like to refer). The elliptical coil is more lightweight and works better with the closely spaced targets. The round coil must have greater depth than the ellipse. But it’s just a theory.
In practice, both coils behave alike, it’s impossible to notice any difference. And if you use an automatic sensitivity setting in the Minelab Safari, the depth will be even less.
Maybe the fact that the Minelab Safari comes equipped with a coil cover will be an advantage for someone. But I, personally, don’t consider it to be a problem (if there is a cover – it’s ok; if not – I will hunt without it).
Would I choose the Minelab Safari for myself? No. It’s expensive, slow and even lower than the Minelab X-Terra 705 in its practical abilities.