Are there meters that measure all basic types of radiation? Which are the best? Why you should choose such a type of meter and why you should avoid it. How to alternately choose a combination of meters to measure high and low frequency electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields.
Not the type of meter you are looking for? Please check our separate guides on high frequency meters (measure radiation from from cordless phones, wireless modems (Wi-Fi), cell phone masts etc), low frequency meters (measure radiation from cables, power lines, transformers etc) radioactivity meters (measure radiation from radon gas, granite counters, nuclear accidents etc) or check the frequently asked questions about electromagnetic field meters!
Is there really a meter that measures all types of radiation?
Well, this is what every amateur user is looking for when searching for a meter.
One meter that will measure:
- low frequency magnetic fields (non ionizing radiation from power lines, transformers etc)
- low frequency electric fields (non ionizing radiation from electrical cables, devices, etc)
- high frequency electromagnetic fields (non ionizing radiation from wireless phones, cell phones masts etc)
- radioactivity (ionizing radiation from nuclear power, granite tiles, soil etc)
But so far there are no meters that measure all types of radiation, but there are meters that measure only non-ionizing radiation (the first 3 types above), the basic artificial electromagnetic fields that are the main part of electrosmog today.
So when we refer to combination meters this is what we mean: all major types of radiation except radioactivity.
So do combination meters work?
Combination meters are great because you only need one to carry around for your basic emf measurements.
Also, they usually cost a lot less compared to buying 2-3 different meters to do the same measurements.
On the other hand combination meters tend not to perform well in all types of measurements.
Some times their performance in specific measurements is really terrible, so try to read their specifications and our comments in the comparison tables at the end of this article before you decide to buy one of them.
For example, when measuring high frequency fields with the popular Trifield meters you can only detect very high radiation values. So we do not recommend them for high frequency measurements but only as low frequency meters. We have included them in our combination meters comparison tables just because they are so cheap and popular and everyone will be asking.
What do experts say about combination meters?
The German Consumer Protection Organization (WILA Bonn) commissioned IMST GmbH (an accredited EMC testing facility in Germany) to test low cost meters.
The German report “Electrosmog meters put to the test” concluded that:
“It is good to maintain a healthy skepticism toward offers that promise amazing performance at extremely favorable prices.
And it is always good to remember that professional testing equipment never combines RF and ELF measurement probes in one single meter or fits an RF antenna into the meter casing.
Antennas/probes that are integrated into the meter casing are also a great source of errors.
Prefer meters with a digital display and an external measurement antenna. A highly directional logarithmic-periodic antenna (which looks like a Christmas tree or fish skeleton) is very useful in determining the direction from where the RF radiation originates."
So this means that combining more antennas/sensor to a small casing makes the measurements problematic.
This is especially true for high frequency measurements were an external, directional or isotropic antenna makes a huge difference.
So what do you recommend?
For practical and for economic reasons you can buy a combination meter.
Combination meters are also a good choice when you want to buy an introductory meter to understand basic measurements, before you buy a better meter. Choose a combination meter from the comparison tables below.
For more correct, accurate and reliable measurements you should invest in separate higher quality meters.
This is especially true for professional users, who will also make a bad impression to their clients when performing all the measurements with only one meter.
For those who want to really measure electromagnetic fields, we suggest you choose one of the meters packs presented below.
The list of high and low frequency meter packs is not exhaustive, you can create your own pack based on your needs.
The packs are presented starting with those that offer the most features to those that offer the least ones.
Some companies like Gigahertz Solutions, offer better prices for their packs compared to buying each of their meters individually.
Triple axis low frequency magnetic with data logging / Triple axis low frequency electric / High frequency electromagnetic
NFA1000+HFE59B (directional and omindirectional antenna - also offers data logging for high frequency measurements)
Price:~ 3500$ (sold with 250$ discount as ELECTROSMOG MEASURING KIT MK70-3D)
NFA1000+HFE35C (directional and omindirectional antenna)
Triple axis low frequency magnetic with data logging / Single axis low frequency electric / High frequency electromagnetic
NFA400+HF59B (directional and omindirectional high frequency antenna - also offers data logging for high frequency measurements)
NFA400+HFE35C (directional and omindirectional high frequency antenna)
NFA30M+ME3030B+ HFE35C (directional and omindirectional high frequency antenna)
TM-192D+ GM3120+HF35C (directional high frequency antenna)
TM-192D+ GM3120+TM195 (triple axis high frequency antenna)
TM-192D+ GM3120+ED-15C (single axis high frequency antenna)
Triple axis low frequency magnetic / Single axis low frequency electric / High frequency electromagnetic
MT-263+ ME3030B+HF35C (directional high frequency antenna)
Trifield 100XE+ GM3120+ TM-195 (triple axis high frequency antenna)
Trifield 100XE+ GM3120+ ED-15C (single axis high frequency antenna)
TM-190 (single axis high frequency antenna) This is the only combination meter that can fit to this category alone!
Single axis low frequency magnetic / Single axis low frequency electric / High frequency electromagnetic
ME3030B+ HF32D (directional high frequency antenna)
Price:~ 350$ (sold with 30$ discount as ELECTROSMOG MEASURING KIT MK10)
In this last category where we are looking for only basic features, we can indeed do our work also with the combination meters that follow.