Neuert Electromagnetic Services  www.emfcenter.com
Michael R. Neuert, MA, BSME   California Lic #687093
     
Phone: 1-800-638-3781 or (707) 578-1645

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EMF TEST METERS

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EMF Meters – What Meter to Choose?

We offer a complete line of "test-it-yourself" meters for measuring electromagnetic fields (EMFs).  You can purchase one or more of these test meters, or rent them through our "7-Day Rent-By-Mail" program.  The main considerations are:

1.  What types of EMF do you want to test?
2.  How sensitive do you need to test?
3.  And how much does your budget allow?

        There are three basic kinds of electromagnetic fields (EMFs), and each requires a different test meter.  Of these, Magnetic fields are the EMF component most often linked to serious health effects in the scientific research literature (for example, the link between power lines and childhood leukemia).  Magnetic fields are emitted from power lines, building wiring, lights, appliances virtually everything that runs on regular electricity in your home or office.  They are measured in units called milligauss (mG).

        Electric fields make up the other half of the "electro"magnetic fields from power lines, wiring, lights, appliances, etc.  Electric fields may also have health effects, but have been studied far less than the other two kinds of EMF.  Anecdotally, electric fields are often involved when people knowingly feel discomfort or “symptoms” from electrical sources.  They are measured in units of volts on the skin (V), or volts per meter (V/M).

        Radio frequency or “RF” refers to high frequency fields and microwaves emitted by microwave ovens, cell towers, cell phones, cordless phones, TV and radio broadcast towers, Wi-Fi, wireless computer devices,  and other electronics.  The electric and magnetic parts of RF fields are not separated, so you only need one meter to detect the RF field.  RF is usually measured in units of microwatts per centimeter squared (μW/cm²).

        The following chart shows the different test meters available, what kinds of EMFs they measure, and information about features and costs...

Test
Meter

 

Test for
Magnetic
Fields?

Test for
Electric
Fields?

Test for
RF
Fields?

 

Features

(See Note 1)

Wide Frequency Spectrum?
(See Note 2)

Purchase
(Rent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TriField 100XE 

 

Yes, Good.
As low as 0.2 mG

Yes, but Marginal.
Only as low as 10 V/m

Yes, but Marginal.
Only as low as 10 μW/cm²

 

Lowest cost.  Easy to use.  Triple-axis.  Detects all 3 EMFs.

Yes, Very Good. Measures ELF and VLF fields

$149
(Rent: $50)

Alpha UHS

 

Yes, Very Good.
Measures as low as 0.01 mG

No

No

 

Highly accurate. Easy to use. Triple-axis.

 

Yes, Very Good. Measures ELF and VLF fields

$279
(Rent: $70)

Bell 4080

 

Yes, Very Good.
Measures as low as 0.1 mG.

No

No

 

Easiest to use. Highly accurate. Triple-axis.

 

No. Measures ELF, but not VLF

 

N/A
(Rent: $80)

Body Voltage (BVE) Meter

 

No

Yes, Very Good.
Measures as low as 0.01 Volt AC on skin.

No

 

Most useful and accurate method,  but more difficult to use. Triple-axis.

No. Measures only ELF fields

 

$199
(Rent: $65)

(Instr to make own: $10)

Alpha AC Electric

 

No

Yes, Good.
Measures as low as 1 V/m

No

 

Very easy to use. Not triple-axis.

Yes. Measures ELF and VLF fields

$180
(Rent: $55)

TES 92

 

No

No

Yes, Good.
Measures RF as low as 0.001 μW/cm²

 

Triple-axis.  Detects digital and analog fields.  Peak or average readings.

Okay.
Detects RF from 50 MHz up to 3.5 GHz

$199
(Rent: $55)

TES 593

 

No

No

Yes, Very Good. Measures digital and analog down to 0.001 μW/cm²

 

 Triple-axis.  Detects digital and analog fields.  Peak or average readings.

Yes, Very Good. Detects RF from 10 MHz up to 8 GHz

$499
(Rent: $99)

Alpha RF

 

No

No

Yes, Okay.
Measures down to 0.01 μW/cm²

 

 Good for analog fields. Marginal for digital fields.  (Not triple-axis.)

Yes, Very Good. Detects RF from 0.5 MHz up to 3 GHz (with some sensing at 5.8 GHz)

N/A
(Rent: $55)

        Note 1:  A triple-axis meter allows you to hold the test meter once in any orientation, and get an easy and accurate three-dimensional reading.  A single-axis meter requires you to move the meter around in all possible directions to find the highest field strength, or take three readings in orthogonal directions and do a math calculation.  In practice, most people will take more accurate readings with a triple-axis meter, because it is so easy to miss the strongest direction with a single-axis meter and then underestimate the true field strength.

        Note 2:  For magnetic fields, we usually recommend a meter that detects a wide range of frequencies including the ELF and VLF frequency ranges.  (ELF includes the common 60 Hz frequency fields from power lines, wiring, refrigerators, transformers, lights, appliances everything that runs on regular electrical power.  VLF includes higher frequencies in the range of 10,000 Hz and more, that often come from televisions, computers, electronics, fluorescent lights, and compact fluorescent bulbs.)  For RF/microwaves, it is also important to use a meter which detects a wide range of frequencies.  (For example, the 5.8 GHz cordless phone frequency is not detected by most RF meters.  However the TES 593 does, because it measures up to 8 GHz.  And while the Alpha RF is only rated up to 3 GHz, it does have some remaining sensitivity at 5.8 GHz.)

So, what meter to choose?
Depending on your needs and budget,
here are some of my thoughts and recommendations...

A. If you have sufficient funds I would usually recommend that you test for all 3 kinds of EMF, using meters specialized for each kind of EMF...

bullet

Magnetic fields:  Alpha UHS (high accuracy, measures ELF and VLF fields)

bullet

Electric fields:  Body Voltage Meter (most sensitive and useful method, somewhat difficult to use), or Alpha AC Electric Meter (very ease to use, good sensitivity)

bullet

RF/microwaves:  TES 593 (best meter for digital microwaves, up to 8 GHz)

B. For real estate, if you want to test a new home before you purchase (or rent) The most important EMF to test is probably the magnetic fields from nearby power lines and wiring inside the home.  The second priority might be the RF/microwave fields from nearby cell towers and TV/radio stations.  In most cases, the electric fields from power lines will not reach significantly inside the home, so you might choose to skip this test (although the electric fields from wiring could still be significant)...

bullet

Magnetic fields:  Bell 4080 (easiest to use, highly accurate), or Alpha UHS Meter.  (I would not recommend the TriField 100XE, because it is probably not accurate enough for such a large financial decision.)

bullet

Electric fields:  If you are concerned about electric fields, use either the Body Voltage Meter (most sensitive, somewhat difficult to use), or the Alpha AC Electric (easiest to use, good sensitivity).

bullet

RF/microwaves:  TES 92 or Tes 593 (both are best for digital RF and microwaves), or Alpha RF (better for analog AM/FM and TV towers)

C. If you are experiencing symptoms of "electromagnetic sensitivity" or serious health issues like cancer, chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivity, Lyme disease and immune disorders I strongly recommend that you test for all three kinds of EMF, especially the electric fields, and with a Body Voltage Meter...

bullet

Magnetic fields:  Alpha UHS (measures ELF and VLF fields, high accuracy), or TriField 100XE (less accurate but picks up "dirty" fields which seem to be more problematic for sensitive individuals, also measures ELF and VLF).

bullet

Electric fields:  Due to anecdotal evidence from sensitive clients, I strongly recommend testing the electric fields with a Body Voltage Meter (most useful and sensitive test method).

bullet

RF/microwaves:  TES 92 or Tes 593 (both meters detect digital microwaves well, which "anecdotally" are more troublesome for sensitive individuals).

D. If you want to test everything with one low-cost meter, use the TriField 100XE Yes, the TriField 100XE is an all-purpose meter that can measure all three kinds of EMFs!  It measures a very wide range of magnetic fields.  But it does not detect levels as low as I would recommend for RF and electric fields.  However, if I could only carry one meter with me, the TriField 100XE is usually the one I would choose, because it can do so much at a relatively low cost...

bullet

Magnetic fields:  Very good detection of ELF and VLF, but the 100XE is frequency weighted, so that the higher frequencies and "dirtier" fields give higher measurements, which is helpful but reduces accuracy.

bullet

Electric fields:  The 100XE is more sensitive than a regular TriField, but it still detects only as low as 10 volts per meter (V/m).  Most homes will be less than 10 V/m.  If concerned about electric fields, I would recommend more sensitive testing with a specialized meter, down to 1 V/m or less.

bullet

RF/microwaves:  The 100XE detects as low as 10 microwatts per centimeter squared (μW/cm²) enough to detect microwave ovens and cell phones, but again most locations will be less than this level.  If concerned about RF, I would recommend more sensitive testing, down to 0.01 μW/cm² or less.

E. On a budget?  Here are more suggestions...

bullet

Rent a Meter You can rent any of the EMF test meters with our seven-day rent-by-mail program.  The rental period begins on the day you receive the meter.  You then use the meter for up to seven days before you ship it back to us.
   

bullet

Buy a TriField and Rent Others if Needed Many people purchase the relatively inexpensive TriField 100XE so they can uses it over and over again for years to come, but rent the more expensive specialized meters only if and when needed.
 

bullet

Make Your Own Electric Field Test Meter Yes, you can make your own Body Voltage Meter using a standard digital multimeter and some simple electrical parts from a hardware store, Radio Shack or Home Depot.  It is very easy to do.  Written instructions: $10.
 

bullet

Lowest Priced Package for Three Meters "Purchase" This purchase package allows you to test all three kinds of EMFs, at the lowest cost, which is especially important for persons with serious health issues on a tight budget.  You purchase both the TriField 100XE (for measuring magnetic fields) and the TES 92 (for measuring the most important RF fields), plus you make your own Body Voltage Tester (best method for electric fields) using our instructions.  Total cost: $340 (plus cost of multimeter and parts from hardware store: $60 to $80).
 

bullet

Lowest Priced Package for Three Meters "Rental" This rental package allows you to test all three kinds of EMFs, at the lowest cost, which is especially important for persons with serious health issues on a tight budget.  For one week, you rent the TriField 100XE (for measuring a wide spectrum of magnetic fields), plus the TES 92 or Alpha RF (for measuring the most important RF fields), plus the Alpha AC Electric (easiest meter for electric fields).  Total cost: $140.

        Please call us at 1-800-638-3781 to purchase or rent any of the test meters.  For further information on the meters and prices, please refer to the individual links above for each meter.

 

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