Electric Fields: Test Meter Recommendations
©2020 by the EMF Center, EMFCenter.com
What Are Electric Fields?
Electric fields make up the “electro” half of the electromagnetic fields emitted by power lines, electrical wiring, lights, appliances, computers and other electrical devices. Electric fields have many health effects that are similar to the other two kinds of EMFs, but have been studied far less. Anecdotally, electric fields are often involved when people feel discomfort or report symptoms related to electrical sources.
Electric Test Meters
Your body is a human “antenna”, and your skin is constantly picking up AC (alternating) voltages that are caused by the ELF (extremely low frequency) electric fields around you. A Body Voltage Meter can directly measure how much of this voltage you are receiving from electrical wiring, computers, lamp cords, power lines and other nearby electrical sources. Body volt testing (also called skin volt testing) is the most sensitive, accurate and helpful method available to detect electric fields. This is a very important measurement, especially for people who are electrically sensitive. Please click here to go to our Body Voltage Meter information page.
Ground Rod in the Earth (Highly Recommended)
To get accurate, reliable and sensitive measurements, we strongly recommend that you use the type of Body Voltage Meter with a special dedicated ground rod that is inserted into the earth. When driven into the soil outside the building, this ground rod provides the most accurate “zero volt” reference needed for your testing. Less accurate body voltage meters will use the electrical system grounding – for instance from an electrical outlet in the wall – which can lead to substantial measurement errors because the grounding of the electrical system is often contaminated with “dirty” stray voltages.
Our Recommendation for Most People
For our current recommendations about Body Volt Meters, please click here to go to our Body Voltage Meter page.
Low-Cost Alternative (Make Your Own Body Volt Meter)
Free PDF Available: Yes, you can do-it-yourself, save money, and make your own Body Voltage Meter! We provide complete written instructions on how to build your own Body Volt Meter, using a standard electrician’s digital volt meter and some simple electrical parts from a hardware or building supply store. “Click here to go to our “How to Make Your Own Body Voltage Meter” page.
Meters to Avoid
Regardless of the cost, we generally don’t recommend any electric field meters with an internal antenna (the alternative to the body voltage approach), because voltages on your skin can and will interfere greatly with the measurement process. Also, this kind of meter can only measure the electric fields at a single point in space (where the meter is held), and cannot tell you how the electric fields interact and add up over the entire surface of your body (how much AC voltage is actually on your skin). For example, even in you take 100 measurements around your bed with a very expensive professional meter that uses an internal antenna, you will always be guessing about how much total voltage is on your skin/body as a result.
Problems with the Low-Cost Multi-Function Test Meters
To clarify, any electric field meter that does not use your body as the antenna, will probably be a point-source type of meter with an internal antenna sensor. This is the type of electric field sensor that you will find in most of the lower cost multi-function test meters, such as the Cornet and TriField brands (Trifield TF2). Therefore, we generally do not recommend any of the low-cost multi-purpose EMF test meters for testing electric fields. In our opinion, the measurements are not very helpful, and can be misleading. (We do often recommend these types of internal sensor meters for detecting and tracing wires and other electric field sources.)
For more information on the meters, please refer to the individual links above for each meter.