EMF Meters and Detectors: Complete Guide for 2020

EMF Meters and Detectors: Complete Guide for 2020

Widespread use of new technologies and communication devices has helped connect the world, but at what price? As you likely already know, electronic devices and appliances emit different types of radiation. These types of radiation take the form of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and radio frequency (RF) waves. The first step in reducing exposure to EMF radiation, which has been proven to have negative biological effects on humans, should be to purchase a quality, reliable EMF meter. EMF meters are incredibly informative and useful tools to have when identifying sources of EMF radiation in your home or office. Not only do these tools identify where the radiation is coming from, but they can also read the strength of magnetic and electric fields, as well as radio waves.

However, finding the right EMF meter can be a challenge for several reasons. For example, EMF meters are rarely sold in stores, therefore requiring most people to purchase their EMF meter online. When one does search online for an EMF meter, the results might be overwhelming either due to many different choices or not being able to understand the specifications described in the product descriptions. For this reason, we have created this Complete Guide to EMF Meters and Detectors that will explain how EMF meters work, how to use them and what the best EMF meters on the market are right now. 

This guide includes the following:

  • What are EMF meters/detectors? 
    • How do EMF meters work?
  • Why should you use an EMF meter/detector? 
  • What are the different types of EMF meters? 
  • How do you use an EMF meter? 
  • How do you read and interpret EMF meter results? 
    • High vs. lower results 
    • What is a safe level of EMF radiation? 
  • Where can you buy EMF meters? 
  • What are the best EMF meters on the market? 

What are EMF Meters / Detectors? 

EMF meters and detectors are generally small devices that are used to measure electric and magnetic fields. Professionally, EMF meters can be used by electrical workers to “diagnose problems with electrical wiring, power lines or electrical shielding effectiveness.” EMF meters can also get readings on a host of electrical appliances from microwaves to refrigerators to smart meters. You might even see EMF meters being used on television! Professional ghost hunters use EMF meters to detect changes in the electromagnetic field. According to paranormal enthusiasts, EMF meters can show spikes in the surrounding area’s electrical current and these spikes indicate a spirit being. However, most people prefer to use EMF meters to determine and read sources of EMF or RF radiation. There are EMF meters that measure EMFs and RFs at the same time; however, most affordable meters are only capable of measuring one or two of these types of radiation. 

How Do EMF Meters Work?

So, how are these devices able to read the electrical, magnetic and radio frequencies around us? As stated above, EMF meters measure electromagnetic fields. These electromagnetic fields are created by alternating and direct currents. These currents are made up of electricity that moves back and forth through the air. The EMF meter, through the use of one or more antennae, then measures the strength and frequency of these surrounding currents. Most EMF meters are then able to display an instantaneous value, while others may be able to also display peak or average values. The stronger the current, the higher the reading on the meter. With these measurements, we can better understand how much and what kind of EMF radiation is around us. 

Why Should You Use an EMF Meter / Detector? 

As stated in the introduction, if you want to reduce your exposure to EMF radiation, it is absolutely necessary to purchase an EMF detector. Without an EMF detector, you cannot accurately identify sources of EMF/RF radiation, know the strength of these sources or know if the preventative measures you have taken to block these waves has worked correctly. Although the science behind the relationship between EMF radiation and humans has not always been in agreement, we do know there are several studies linking negative biological effects to prolonged exposure to these types of radiation. These effects vary from headaches, problems concentrating, behavioral problems and difficulty sleeping. With countless sources of EMF radiation, which can now be found in almost any place or situation, we are surrounded by dangerous waves of radiation. A general rule when it comes to EMF radiation is that it is better to be safe than sorry and an EMF meter should be your first line of defense. 

Common sources of EMF radiation. Source: ResearchGate

What are the Different Types of EMF Meters? 

There are two main types of EMF meters: single axis and tri-axis meters. Most often, EMF meters will be categorized based on whether they have one axis or three. Another way EMF meters can be categorized is based on which fields they are able to read. For example, some meters are able to read magnetic fields, electric fields and radio frequencies while other meters may only measure one or two of these things. Now that we have established the main differences between different EMF meters, let us discuss what these different capabilities mean for you.

If you purchase a single axis meter, this means that inside your device there is only one primary sensor responsible for detecting the surrounding fields. With only one sensor, in order to get an accurate reading, you will need to rotate the meter in three directions: one horizontally, another one ninety degrees in either direction, and the last one vertically. The highest of the three readings is the correct measurement for this location. While this requires more effort, many of the economical EMF meters you will find on the market today are single axis meters.

An additional problem that may arise while using a single axis meter is having difficulty reading the measurements on the meter’s display. When rotating the meter, some single axis meter users have had trouble focusing on the reading for that direction while the meter is rotated on its side. If you would like to avoid this three-point way of getting a reading, you should opt for a tri-axis meter, which, with its three sensors, can read fields from all directions regardless of which way the meter is pointing. Tri-axis meters tend to cost more (usually upwards of $150) but do save time and effort, especially if you are using your EMF meter in a professional capacity.

Once you have chosen between a single axis meter or a tri-axis meter, make sure to choose an EMF meter capable of detecting what you need readings on. For example, if your primary concern is dirty electricity in your home or office, make sure to choose an EMF meter that measures magnetic and electrical current. If you are more concerned with the radiation emitting from Bluetooth devices, wireless telecommunication devices and cell towers, make sure to choose an EMF meter that measures radiofrequency.  

How Do You Use an EMF Meter?

Depending on the type of meter you purchase, using an EMF meter can be incredibly simple or require a bit of practice and patience. Most often, people use EMF meters to implement changes to their homes, offices or daily routines to better protect themselves from EMF radiation. For example, one might purchase an EMF meter and then walk around their home noting the areas with the highest amount of radiation. Then they might research solutions to lower the amount of radiation in the area; this could be as simple as turning off a cellphone or unplugging an electric fan. For more extreme cases, this may require purchasing a Faraday cage case for smart meters or even painting bedrooms or a home’s exterior with EMF blocking paint. Once these changes have been implemented, the person can use the EMF meter again to see how much the radiation has been reduced by these protective measures. In order to get readings of the radiation in your home or office, you must use an EMF meter.

The instructions for using an EMF meter may vary from model to model but the general process is the same. Start by holding your EMF meter in an upright position, at least waist high. If walking around, try to keep the meter as steady as possible because shaking may produce incorrect readings. Make sure to keep a pen and pad of paper handy to make notes. First, investigate the room of your choice, whether it is your office, living room or bedroom. Slowly move around the area and watch the meter for any changes. If your meter begins to beep or glow (depending on whether or not your meter has these functions) or you see a spike in the reading, note the average value and the direction you were pointing in when the meter was set off. What was in front of you? A lamp? A TV? An electrical outlet? Make note of the source. Once you have completed a general survey, you can then do more specific investigations by measuring the EMF radiation coming off of common sources of EMFs, such as home appliances, wireless devices, smart meters and cell phones. As you measure and note the readings on these devices, see what happens if you move away from the source. Does it decrease? By how much? Write these observations down. Once you have finished this, it is time to analyze the results.

How Do You Read and Interpret EMF Meter Results? 

So, now that you know how to get a reading on your EMF meter, you might be wondering how you go about understanding what those numbers mean. Depending on what EMF meter you have, you may have several different readings to look at. These different readings could include: the instantaneous value, the peak value, the maximum average value and the overall average value. Some professional and EMF enthusiasts place emphasis on the peak hold value, specifically when measuring radio frequency radiation. They argue that this value gives you the clearest picture of what the RF radiation levels actually are because radio waves are emitted in large packets via sporadic pulsations. 

High vs. Lower Results 

Now we will breakdown a range of readings you might get from your EMF detector. To begin, it is important to note that all meters are limited in the levels of EMF radiation they can detect. For example, if your meter shows a zero reading, it is likely that the meter is just not capable of detecting amounts of radiation smaller than 0 rather than there not being any EMFs present. This being said, you should aim to buy a meter that can detect RMF radiation at least down to .1 milliGauss.

Secondly, you must make note of what unit of measurement is displayed on your meter and what unit of measurement you are comparing your readings to. Generally speaking, magnetic fields are measured in either milliGauss (mG) or microtesla (μT), electric fields are measured in volts per meter (V/m) and radio frequencies are measured in milliWatts per square meter (mW/m²).

A higher reading indicates an EMF source with strong currents, whereas a lower reading indicates an EMF source with weaker currents. Lower readings are better for your health and wellbeing; but what readings are considered low? If only there were a simple answer!

What is a Safe Level of EMF Radiation? 

It is important to note that each country establishes their own limits for EMF radiation and that these limits can vary greatly. Most limits, however, are influenced by the limits decided by international commissions and organizations. In addition to setting EMF radiation limits for products sold in their country, most countries have also created specific limits on how much radiation can safely be absorbed by the body (referred to as Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)). For example, the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) in 1998 suggested limiting exposure to EMFs of up to 300 GHz. The ICNIRP’s SAR rate is 2.0 W/Kg in 10g of tissue. If you compare this number to other organizations and government commissions, you are bound to find differences. For example, the United State’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has an established SAR rate of 1.6 W/Kg in 1g of tissue. In reality, these limits often do not accurately represent how safe EMF radiation is. The reason for this is because these numbers are based on a single source of EMF. In 2020, we are constantly exposed to multiple sources of EMF radiation almost 24/7. These safety standards do not take into account how frequently and at what scale we are exposed to EMF radiation.

Luckily, some independent scientists and researchers have been working diligently to come up with safer and more realistic guidelines for EMF radiation exposure. In 2012, a group of 29 scientists and researchers published the BioInitiative Report, which compared hundreds of studies that reported on the biological effects of EMF radiation on the human body. They found that even small levels of EMF radiation could lead to biological harm. As such, they have suggested that:

As for electric field radiation, the Institute for Building Biology and Sustainability has set a different limit. They have found that anything above 1 V/m is concerning.

In addition, Healthline Media reports that if any of the following common sources of EMF emit less than the following values of radiation, you should be safe from any negative biological health effects:

  • TV and computer screens: 10 V/m
  • Cell phone base stations: 6 V/m
  • Microwave ovens: 14 V/m

The above guidelines should give you a good idea of what levels of EMF radiation are considered “safe.” Of course, we can assume that the safest level of EMF radiation is zero, but, realistically, an environment where this amount of radiation is achieved is not possible. Therefore, the best thing to do is to use an EMF meter to identify EMF culprits and carry out case-by-case solutions.

Common EMF sources and the kind of radiation they emit. Source: Safe Space Protection

Where Can You Buy EMF Meters? 

So, now that you understand how beneficial EMF meters can be in improving your life, now is the time to purchase one. However, such a purchase requires research, time and making important comparisons.

For starters, EMF meters are rarely sold in stores, and therefore are most generally purchased online directly from manufacturers or online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Hardware stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s do have EMF meter options available, however, these listings tend to be available only via the website and are not available for purchase in store.

With that said, if you are still interested in purchasing your EMF meter in person, both hardware stores (Home Depot and Lowe’s) carry EMF meters from the brand Extech. Extech EMF meters are high-quality, professional-grade EMF detectors. Due to their high-quality, price tag and the fact they are used primarily for professionals, you may find that these meters will not best fit your needs. If you are still interested in these options, be sure to check with your local hardware store to see if they have the meters in stock or can have them shipped to the store for purchase.  

Two examples of EMF meters that can be picked up at hardware stores such as Lowe’s

Though, like many things these days, perhaps the best way to purchase a new EMF meter is by buying one online. Many manufacturers of EMF meters and other EMF products sell meters directly on their website while others sell meters through online marketplaces. One such marketplace, Amazon, has at least one hundred different EMF meters to choose from. Many of these meters have hundreds of reviews to read so that you can get the best picture of how a particular meter works.

What Are the Best EMF Meters on the Market? 

To help you find the perfect EMF meter for your purposes, we have created a list of what we believe are the best EMF meters on the market in 2020. Although there are many EMF meters on the market and all of them have different pros and cons, we have narrowed down our list to the Top 10 Best EMF Meters. All the following meters were selected based on combination of the following considerations: 

1. Meterk MK54 EMF Meter 
Meterk MK54 EMF Meter
Meterk MK54 EMF Meter

Source: Meterk MK54 and Meterk EMF Meter

One of the highest rated EMF meters on Amazon, the Meterk EMF Meter, has a 2019 version that has also received great ratings. Either Meterk meter is a great beginner EMF meter for several reasons. Firstly, they come at a great price. EMF meters can be extremely costly; however, the Meterk EMF meters are incredibly economical. Not only do they have a great price (the original meter is $32.97 USD and the MK54 is $43.97 USD), their quality far exceeds other meters in this price range.

What sets the MK54 apart from the original meter is that the new version can test electric field strength and magnetic field strength at the same time. The Meterk MK54 is also great for beginners as it is only a single axis meter. For professionals, it may be necessary to have a tri-axis meter but, for beginners, single axis meters are great options. Meterk meters are also extremely simple to use and have easy to read LCD displays which give readings in common EMF units of measurement. Additionally, it is important to note that neither meter is capable of measuring radio frequency so, if this is a feature you would like in an economical EMF detector, keep reading our Top 10 list! To give you an idea of how you could use a Meterk EMF Meter in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • Cell phones 
  • TVs
  • Induction cookers
  • Rice cookers
  • Refrigerators
  • Computers 
  • Electrical wires 
Meterk MK54 EMF Meter
2. TriField Model TF2 EMF Meter
TriField Model TF2 EMF Meter

Source: Amazon

If you are interested in a high-quality, tri-axis meter that will not break the bank, look no further than the TriField Model TF2 EMF Meter. The TF2 is a great meter for beginners and professionals alike. For $168 USD, you will receive a device that gives accurate readings for electric fields, magnetic fields and radio frequencies. With its LCD digital display, it is also very easy to read the measurements and understand them as the meter provides the field measurement, the field percentage, the peak measurement and the peak percentage. Meters that provide peak measurements are extremely beneficial because it gives you the best picture of what the radiation levels around you truly are. The TF2 Meter also comes with a weighted mode that measures the amount of electrical and magnetic currents inside the human body. To give you an idea of how you could use a TriField TF2 EMF Meter in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • Cell towers
  • Smart meters 
  • Wi-Fi routers 
  • Bluetooth devices 
  • Powerlines 
  • Laptop and desktop computers 
  • TVs
  • Electrical appliances 
  • Electrical wires 
TriField Model TF2 EMF Meter
3. Cornet ED78S EMF RF Meter
Cornet ED78S EMF RF Meter

Source: Amazon 

Slightly pricier than the previous meter, the Cornet ED78S is still a great option for those wanting to measure low-frequency magnetic fields and radio frequencies. Even though this meter does not measure electrical fields, it is important to note that it is a very sensitive meter for the other two types of radiation it can detect. Additionally, this meter comes a Histogram Function, which displays the last 32 results from the last time the meter was turned on. This is a great function if you are doing a walkthrough or are measuring smart meters which give off different levels of radiation in bursts. To give you an idea of how you could use a Cornet ED78S EMF RF Meter in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • Cell towers
  • Wi-Fi routers 
  • Microwave ovens
  • Power lines
  • Transformers 
  • Electrical appliances 
  • Outlet boxes 
Cornet ED78S EMF RF Meter
4. Acoustimeter Model AM-10 RF Meter
Acoustimeter Model AM-10 RF Meter

Source: Amazon

Although the Acoustimeter Model AM-10 RF Meter is not at the very top of our list, it is at the top when it comes to price. At $370, this single axis RF meter is certainly not cheap. However, you get what you pay for: a user-friendly, high-quality, extra-sensitive RF meter. What sets this meter apart from the others is its focus on measuring radio frequency radiation. If your main concern is identifying and measuring sources of radio frequency radiation, the Acoustimeter AM-10 is certainly a great option. It is one of the most sensitive radio frequency meters available and gives consistent, accurate readings and can be used by beginners and professionals alike. The easy to read display gives a peak hold reading, the current peak signal strength and the average reading in addition to providing color coded lights which are correlated to safe and unsafe levels of radiation. To give you an idea of how you could use an Acoustimeter Model AM-10 RF Meter in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • Smartphones 
  • TVs
  • Wi-Fi routers 
  • Wireless devices
  • Microwave ovens 
  • Digital baby monitors 
  • FM and cell towers 
Acoustimeter Model AM-10 RF Meter
5. Cornet ED-88T EMF Meter 
Cornet ED-88T EMF Meter

Our next EMF meter on the list is another meter made by the company Cornet. The ED-88T EMF Meter, unlike the Cornet ED78S, measures electric fields, magnetic fields and radio frequencies. This three-in-one detector has a super wide dynamic range and provides users with highly accurate readings. The Cornet ED-88T can be used by beginners and professionals alike as it is easy to use and gives users a basic understanding of the RF and EMF radiation around them. This meter also has a sound signature analysis function that helps users identify sources of RF radiation. This is a high-quality, pricier EMF meter at $193.99; however, its many positive reviews show that this meter is worth every penny. To give you an idea of how you could use a Cornet ED-88T EMF Meter in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • Cell towers 
  • Microwave ovens 
  • Wireless devices 
  • Spy cameras 
  • Telecommunications 
  • Power lines
Cornet ED-88T EMF Meter
6. Advanced GQ 390 Multi-Field EMF Meter 
Advanced GQ 390 Multi-Field EMF Meter

Source: Amazon

The Advanced GQ 390 Multi-Field EMF Meter is one of the highest rated EMF meters available on Amazon. Why is this little meter so great? It is an accurate and affordable tri-axis meter with many great features. Priced at $114 USD, the GQ 390 is capable of measuring magnetic fields, electric fields and radio frequencies. The meter also includes a Histogram feature and a bonus feature RF spectrum power analyzer. Although this meter has received many high ratings, we must note that some reviews included complaints of quality control and purchased meters had to be returned. To give you an idea of how you could use a Advanced GQ 390 Multi-Field EMF Meter in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • Cell towers
  • Cell phones 
  • Microwave ovens 
  • Wi-Fi routers
  • Smart meters 
  • Power lines 
Advanced GQ 390 Multi-Field EMF Meter
7. TACKLIFE MET01 Electromagnetic Field Radiation Detector 
TACKLIFE MET01 Electromagnetic Field Radiation Detector

Source: Amazon

Similar to the two Meterk meters listed in our Number One spot, this EMF Meter by TACKLIFE is a great, economical option for EMF beginners. Priced at $30.97 USD, this meter is capable of measuring both electric fields and magnetic fields. This meter also includes Audio-Visual alarms that communicate good, medium and bad levels of radiation. For example, when the meter detects less than 4 mG of radiation, it will not sound and the probe light will turn green. On the other hand, if the meter detects more than 40 mG of radiation, a high sound frequency will be emitted and the probe light will turn red. This is a very simple and easy way to get a good idea of the general levels of EMF radiation in your home or office. To give you an idea of how you could use a TACKLIFE MET01 Electromagnetic Field Radiation Detector in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • TVs
  • Induction cookers
  • Refrigerators 
  • Computers
  • Low-frequency home appliances 
  • Electrical wires 
TACKLIFE MET01 Electromagnetic Field Radiation Detector
8. Cambridge Labs Rechargeable EMF Meter
Cambridge Labs Rechargeable EMF Meter

Similar to the Meterk and TACKLIFE meters, the Cambridge Labs Rechargeable EMF meter is a single axis meter used to measure both magnetic field radiation and electric field radiation. This meter is extremely easy to use and read, making it a great option for someone just learning about the dangers of EMFs. This meter also seems to be highly rated by ghost hunters. So for the paranormal inclined, this is a great new tool to add to your ghost hunting adventures. To give you an idea of how you could use a Cambridge Labs Rechargeable EMF Meter in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • Induction cookers
  • Microwave ovens 
  • Refrigerators 
  • Electric fans 
  • Computers
  • Electrical wires 
Cambridge Labs Rechargeable EMF Meter

9. LATNEX HF-B3G Triple Axis RF Power Meter 
LATNEX HF-B3G Triple Axis RF Power Meter

Source: Amazon

If you liked the Acoustimeter Model AM-10 RF Meter but cannot afford a meter in that price range, the LATNEX HF-B3G is a more affordable alternative that still yields excellent results. Like the Acoustimeter, the HF-B3G only detects radio frequencies. The meter is easy to use and includes a detailed user manual that might be helpful for first timer users. The display also gives several readings at once–instantaneous measured value, maximum value, average value and maximum average value–to help you get a better understanding of the radiation in the surrounding area. While LATNEX has not been around as long as some other EMF product companies such as TriField, Cornet, Acoustimeter and Meterk, judging by the reviews, they are producing quality EMF meters. To give you an idea of how you could use a LATNEX HF-B3G Triple Axis RF Power Meter in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • Cell phones
  • Cell towers
  • Smart meters
  • Wi-Fi routers  
  • Spy cameras
  • Wireless devices 
  • Microwave ovens
  • Bluetooth devices
LATNEX HF-B3G Triple Axis RF Power Meter
10. K-II EMF Meter Deluxe
K-II EMF Meter Deluxe

Source: Amazon 

The K-II EMF Meter Deluxe is the only EMF meter on this list actually marketed as a paranormal research meter. While we cannot speak to its paranormal detection abilities (though hundreds of reviews have!), we can say that this meter is a good option for anyone looking for a simple, easy to understand and accurate EMF meter that can detect magnetic field radiation. Satisfied customers who have purchased the K-II EMF Meter Deluxe like its portability and user-friendly features. To give you an idea of how you could use a K-II EMF Meter Deluxe in your home, the following list gives some examples of things that can be measured by the meter: 

  • Cell phones 
  • Laptops and computers 
  • Wi-Fi routers 
  • Refrigerators 
  • Microwave ovens 
  • Electrical outlets
  • TVs
  • Electrical wires 
K-II EMF Meter Deluxe

Conclusion 

The bottom line is that in today’s technologically advanced world, there are virtually no areas free from EMF radiation. The problem is not: is or is there not EMF radiation in this area? Instead, the question becomes: how much EMF radiation in this area? Then, the follow up question can be devised: how can we lower the amount of EMF radiation in this area? The answer to this question can vary drastically but finding the answer to this question starts with one product: an EMF meter. An accurate and reliable EMF meter should be your number one tool to combating exposure to dangerous EMFs. We hope that this guide has helped you to better understand what EMF meters are and why they are so useful!

Close Menu