• Michael R Neuert, MA, BSME
    Neuert Electromagnetic Services
    Electrical Contractor License #687093

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    Which Test Meter is Best for Me? 2017-09-13T07:38:14+00:00

    Which EMF Test Meter is Best for You?

    We offer a complete line of “do-it-yourself” EMF test meters, for purchase or rent.  The main considerations are:

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

    #1.  These are the lowest cost meters available that have enough accuracy and reliability to trust their measurements.

    #2.  Every test meter shipped from our California office is individually checked and certified by us for proper operation.  (This is important because quality control is often lacking in this industry.  And lower cost meters like the TriField and Cornet have so many quality and accuracy problems, that we cannot recommend them.)

    To begin, there are three different kinds of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) you may need to test, and each requires a different test meter…

    Magnetic fields are the EMF component most often linked to serious health effects in the scientific research literature (for example, childhood leukemia from power lines).   Magnetic fields are emitted from power lines, building wiring, lights, appliances — virtually everything that runs on regular electricity in your home or office.

    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 feel discomfort or have “symptoms” related to electrical sources.

    Radio frequency or “RF” refers to the high frequency EMFs emitted by cell towers, cell phones, smart meters, Wi-Fi routers, wireless computers, iPads, baby monitors, TV and radio broadcast towers, microwave ovens, and many other wireless sources.  The electric and magnetic parts of RF fields are not separated, so you only need one meter to detect the RF field.

    The following chart shows the different test meters available, what kinds of EMFs they measure, and information about features and costs.  These are the lowest cost test meters available with enough accuracy to trust the measurements.  Every meter we ship from our California office has been individually tested and certified by us for proper operation…

    Test
    Meter
    Test Magnetic
    Fields?
    Test Electric
    Fields?
    Test RF
    Fields?
    Features
    (See Note 1)
    Wide Frequency Spectrum?
    (See Note 2)
    Purchase Rent
    Alpha UHS Meter
    Recommended to measure magnetic fields
    Yes No No * Highly accurate.
    * Triple axis.
    * Highly sensitive (down to 0.1 mG).
    * Easy to use.
    Yes, Excellent.
    Measures both ELF and VLF fields
    $299 $69
    Body Voltage (BVE) Meter
    Recommended to measure electric fields
    No Yes No * Most useful and accurate method.
    * Highly sensitive (down to 0.01 AC volts on skin).
    * Uses earth ground for accuracy, not electrical ground.
    Measures only ELF (60 Hz) fields $149 $65
    Acousticom-2 Meter
    Recommended “lowest cost” meter to measure radio frequency fields
    No No Yes The ACOUSTICOM is the lowest cost RF meter we recommend:
    * very simple to use
    * audio feature to help determine sources
    * excellent sensitivity to the newest digital wireless signals, like 4G cell towers
    * detects both digital and analog RF fields
    * high quality and dependability
    * Limitation: only uses LEDs to display field strength (no digital display).
    * Limitation: single axis.
    Yes, very good.
    Detects RF from 200 MHz up to 8 GHz
    $229 $65
    Acoustimeter AM-10
    Recommended “best” meter to measure radio frequency fields
    No No Yes The ACOUSTIMETER is the meter we recommend most:
    * excellent sensitivity to the newest digital wireless signals, like 4G cell towers
    * very helpful audio feature to help determine sources
    * digital LCD display plus LEDs to show the measurements easily
    * MAX HOLD (peak) and AVERAGE functions
    * detects both digital and analog RF fields
    * very high quality and dependability
    * Limitation: single axis
    Yes, very good. Detects RF from 200 MHz up to 8 GHz $399 $89
    TES 593 Meter
    Special purpose meter to measure radio frequency fields
    No No Yes For certain special purposes, the TES 593 meter offers:
    * triple axis meter
    * measurement of high exposure sources like FM radio towers and some cell towers
    * detects both digital and analog RF fields
    * digital number display
    * includes MAX PEAK and AVERAGE functions
    * easy conversion between common units of measure
    * high quality and dependability
    * Limitation: not as sensitive as the Acousticom or Acoustimeter for detecting signal peaks of newer digital sources like 4G cell antennas
    * Limitation: no audio function to help determine sources
    Yes, best range. Detects RF from 10 MHz up to 8 GHz $499 $ 99
    Alpha RF Meter
    (Special purpose meter to measure radio frequency fields)
    No No Yes When recommended, the Alpha RF is:
    * good for detecting the lower end of the RF spectrum, including AM radio stations and ham radio.
    * good for measuring analog RF fields.
    * Limitation: only marginal detection of digital wireless fields.
    * Limitation: single axis (not triple axis).
    * Limitation: no audio function
    Yes, detects lower end of RF spectrum, from 500 KHz (0.5 MHz) up to 3 GHz Not for sale Call for rental
    Combo #1 (Budget):
    3-Meter Package with Acousticom-2
    Yes Yes Yes Acousticom 3-Meter Package:
    Lowest cost package to measure all three kinds of EMFs:
    Includes Alpha UHS, Body Volt Meter and ACOUSTICOM-2.
    Yes, very good.  Acousticom detects RF from 200 MHz up to 8 GHz $649
    Saves
    $28
    $169
    Saves
    $30
    Combo #2 (Best):
    3-Meter Package with Acoustimeter Am-10
    Yes Yes Yes Acoustimeter 3-Meter Package:
    Our recommended package to measure all three kinds of EMFs:
    Includes Alpha UHS, Body Volt Meter and ACOUSTIMETER AM-10.
    Yes, very good.  Acoustimeter detects RF from 200 MHz up to 8 GHz $819
    Saves
    $28
    $189
    Saves
    $34
    Combo #3 (Special Purpose)
    3-Meter Package with TES 593
    Yes Yes Yes TES 593 3-Meter Package:
    When recommended, special purpose package:
    Includes Alpha UHS, Body Volt Meter and TES 593 RF Meter.
    Yes, TES 593 has best frequency range, detecting RF from 10 MHz up to 8 GHz $919
    Saves
    $28
    $199
    Saves
    $34

    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.  For magnetic fields, 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 under measure the magnetic fields if they use a single axis meter, because it is so easy to miss the strongest direction and underestimate the true field strength.  For RF fields, it is also helpful to use a 3-axis meter, but not nearly as critical for accurate measurements.

    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 many lower cost RF meters.  However the Acousticom, Acoustimeter and TES 593 do, they all detect frequencies up to 8 GHz.

    So, what meter to choose?
    Depending on your needs and budget,
    here are some of my 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 type of EMF, using the Acustimeter (3-Meter Package #2 above)…

    • Magnetic fields:  Alpha UHS (high accuracy, measures ELF and VLF fields)
    • Electric fields:  Body Voltage Meter (most sensitive and useful method)
    • Radio Frequency fields:  Acoustimeter AM-10 (best meter for sensitive measurement of digital RF/microwaves, up to 8 GHz)

    B. If you are on a tight budget — Again, I would usually recommend that you test for all 3 kinds of EMF, using meters specialized for each type of EMF.  The lowest cost 3-meter package is with the Acousticom (3-Meter Package #1 above)…

    • Magnetic fields:  Alpha UHS (high accuracy, measures ELF and VLF fields)
    • Electric fields:  Body Voltage Meter (most sensitive and useful method)
    • Radio Frequency fields:  Acousticom-2 (good meter for very sensitive measurement of digital RF/microwaves, up to 8 GHz)

    C. If you want to test a new home or apartment before you decide to buy or rent it — The most important EMF to test is typically 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.  Add the Body volt meter is this is a concern)…

    • Magnetic fields:  Alpha UHS Meter.  (I would not recommend the TriField 100XE or any of the Cornet meters, because they are generally too inaccurate for such a large financial decision.)
    • RF/microwaves:  Acoustimeter, Acousticom or Tes 593 (all good for digital radio frequency fields, add the Alpha RF rental if near AM/FM and TV broadcast towers)

    D. 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 with a Body Voltage Meter…

    • Magnetic fields:  Alpha UHS (measures ELF and VLF fields, high accuracy),
    • 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).
    • RF/microwaves:  Acoustimeter or Acousticom (“anecdotally” the digital radio frequency fields are often reported to be troublesome by sensitive individuals — both of these meters are very sensitive and able to detect relatively low levels of digital RF fields).

    E. Here are more suggestions to help save money…

    • 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.  If needed, you can extend the rental at half the cost of the original week’s price.
    • Buy only the meter you need most for your situation, and rent the others — Begin by renting all the meters, and then if like one or more of them, or find that you need to keep one for future testing, convert that particular meter from a rental to a purchase.  Half of that first week’s rental cost for that particular meter can be applied toward its purchase.
    • Make Your Own Body Volt Meter — Yes, you can make your own Body Voltage Meter to test electric fields.  All you need is a standard digital multimeter and some simple electrical parts from a hardware store, Radio Shack or Home Depot.  “How to” instructions are free on this website.
    • 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 that are on a tight budget.  For one week, you rent the Acousticom for measuring the RF fields, plus the Alpha UHS for measuring the magnetic fields, plus the Body Volt Meter for the electric fields.
    • Lowest Priced Package for Three Meters “Purchase” — This purchase package allows you to test all three kinds of EMFs, at the lowest cost to own them, which is especially important for persons with serious health issues on a tight budget.  You purchase the Acousticom for measuring the RF fields, plus the Alpha UHS for measuring the magnetic fields, plus the Body Volt Meter for the electric fields.

    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.