How to measure electromagnetic radiation - EMF meter selection guide

How to choose an EMF meter? Which features to look out for and for which you should avoid overpaying? How to use them – user manuals and great videos! Is there a device that measures all types of radiation? Are radiation measurements only needed when there is a significant radiation source nearby? Which radiation values are considered high and where are they usually recorded? What methods of protection are available if you find elevated prices? The last web page you are going to visit before you buy electromagnetic radiation meters!

What do radiation meters measure?

EMF (electromagnetic fields) or EMR (electromagnetic radiaton) meters are divided into 3 main categories according to the type of the radiation they measure:

  • Low frequency radiation meters measure electric and magnetic fields from electrical and electronic devices, power cables and transformers etc.
  • High frequency radiation meters measure electromagnetic fields (radio waves, micro waves etc) from cell phones and cell phone masts, wireless internet, cordless phones, bluetooth devices, alarm systems, microwave ovens, wireless game consoles, TV and radio broadcasting antennas, radars, police communications etc.
  • Radioactivity meters measure a and b particles, gamma and X rays from granite tiles, medical equipment, radon gas, subsoil, nuclear accidents etc. (especially for radon measurements we recommend you choose a radon monitor instead of a general use radioactivity geiger type counter)

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Where do we usually record elevated electromagnetic fields?

  • In densely populated areas because of the presence of more mobile antennas, greater power consumption and more dense power distribution network
  • In houses where the low voltage cables are situated near high use areas (bedrooms, living rooms etc.)
  • In residences adjacent to mobile phone masts, power lines and transformers
  • In offices because of the multitude of electronic and wireless devices
  • In apartments due to the presence of a multitude of wireless phones and wi-fi modems
  • In older homes due to wiring problems
  • On the upper floors of buildings due to increased exposure to high frequency antennas
  • In the lower floors with insufficient ventilation due to elevated levels of radon

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Which radiation values are high?

You can read the proposed safe levels of exposure to each type of radiation in our low frequency, high frequency and radioactivity meters guides or in our article about the proposed and legal safe levels of radiation..

How can a radiation meter help me reduce my radiation exposure?

  • You will identify the obvious or hidden radiation sources around you so that you can remove or replace them
  • You will avoid radiation hotspots (were the limits of safe long-term exposure to high frequency radiation are exceeded) by increasing your distance from the radiation source.
  • You will see if you have achieved low radiation levels in your areas after using electromagnetic shielding materials or implementing other solutions proposed in our radiation reduction tips guide.

It is easy to measure electromagnetic fields on my own?

Since radiation measurements have become mainstream the past years, the majority of EMF meters (and all the meters we recommend) are very simple to use and do not require any technical knowledge.

How do you choose the meters you recommend?

There are dozens EMF meter manufacturers, selling hundreds different EMF meters, from every corner of the world.

How did we end up recommending only a few of them?

Well…

Home Biology is run by engineers who perform electromagnetic radiation measurements for a living.

We know what features you to need to look for when buying an EMF meter, so that you can easily and reliably take the necessary measurements, without overspending.

We’ve got everything covered! Just read on and choose the meter you like!

Thinks we consider before recommending a meter…

  • Frequency range

Does it cover the frequency range of the most common radiation sources?

  • Measurement span

Does it measure even low radiation values so that you can compare them to even the lowest recommend safety limits?

Does it measure high enough values so that you can record the radiation from the majority of the high radiation sources?

  • Necessary features

Does it offer the basic features needed to perform an EMF measurement?

  • Price

Does it offer the same features but with a lower price than other similar meters?

  • Ease of use

Is it simple to use, without confusing lights, buttons and directions of use?

  • Ability to detect radiation sources

Does it help you find which radiation sources affect you or were their location is (by using audio signal, directional antenna etc)?

  • Manufacturer

Is it manufactured by a reputable company with real factories, personnel , email, phone and website? Good luck with finding the manufacturers of some of the cheapest china made meters on the market…

  • Warranty

Does it come with at least a year of real and binding warranty, so that you can have it replaced or repaired if there is a problem?

  • Seller

Is it sold by trusted sellers with good customer service, that can ship the meters worldwide?

  • Helpfull manuals or videos

Does it have easy to read English manuals and/or videos of real use online?

Unfortunately most meters in the market do not include one or all of the above basic features. All these above factors are analyzed in our high frequency meter, low frequency meter and radioactivity meter guides. Please read them carefully before you purchase!

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How can i measure radiation from cell towers, cordless phones, Wi-Fi modems, tablets, smartphones, baby monitors, microwave ovens etc.?

You will need a high frequency (=wireless) radiation meter which measures electromagnetic field power density (in mW/m2 = milliwatts per square meter = 1000 μW/m2 = 1000 uW/m2 = 1000 microwatts per square meter) or high frequency electric field intensity (in V/m), or both.

High frequency meters should be able to record radiation in the frequency range 800-2500MHz (at least) which most modern wireless radiation sources emit.

Some have an antenna attached that can help you locate the direction fo the radiation, others produce different sounds according to the radiation source, others have both features.

Learn more about high frequency radiation meters, sources and safety limits..

How can i measure radiation from power cables, transformers, pylons, electrical devices etc.?

You will need a low frequency radiation meter which measures low frequency magnetic and/or electric fields from all wired radiation sources.

All wired radiation sources connected to the power network generate electrical alternative current (AC) fields due to electrical voltage. When electrical current flows through the conductors (when there is electricity consumption) AC magnetic fields are also produced.

Low frequency meters should be able to record radiation in the frequency range 50-60Hz (at least) which is the main frequencies of electrical grids.

Magnetic field meters measure magnetic field flux density in nT (= nano Tesla) or mG (= milli gauss = 100nT). Magnetic fields penetrate unaffected almost all building materials and the most common cause of elevated values ​​are the low voltage power cables, especially in densely populated areas.

Measuring magnetic fields is, in our opinion, the most important measurment you should take before buying or renting property, because high magnetic fields are difficult and expensive to reduce.

Electric field meters measure electric field density in V/m (= Volt per meter) or Body Voltage in mV (= milli volt). Electric fields are elevated near high voltage cables, but do not enter the interior of the buildings because they are grounded from most building materials (except from glass or wood). Inside the buildings electric fields are produced mainly form the in wall cables anf the electricl appliances that are plugged in.

Low frequency electric field measurements are indicated in areas such as bedrooms, where continuous power supply of devices and circuits is not necessary. Also the presence of high electric fields ia probably more aggravated during night sleep./p>

Learn more about low frequency radiation meters, sources and safety limits...

How can i measure radioactivity from building materials, nuclear accidents, medical equipment, radon etc.?

The radioactivity or ionizing radiation meters measure the radiation from radioactive materials (subsoil, food, building materials, tiles, granite counters, nuclear accidents, ionization smoke detectors, medical equipment etc.) and from the radioactive radon gas that is emitted from the soil, enters the buildings from pipes and cracks, accumulates especially in low floors with inadequate ventilation and is the most common source of radioactivity exposure.

Radioactivity meters

Radioactivity meters usually contain a Geiger - Muller tube which records the effective dose rate of radioactivity in μSv/h ( = uSv/hr = micro sivert per hour) from building materials (granite etc.), nuclear accidents, medical equipment etc.

Most Geiger counters measure only gamma radiation, some additionaly measure X-rays and beta particles.

They usually cannot measure alpha particles which are emmited by radon.

Radon meters

The radioactive radon gas is emitted from the soil, is the main source of population exposure to radioactivity, and is listed as a proven carcinogen by the Wolrd Health Organization.

Radon meters measure the concentration of radon per cubic meter (in Bq / m3), were Bq = Becquerel = the number of radioactive disintegrations per second.

Learn more about radioactivity - geiger meters, sources and safety limits...

Learn more about radon meters, sources and safety limits...

How can I measure geopathic radiation?

Geopathic fields are non artificial fields believed to be emitted from the earth. These are separated into water, Ley, Hartmann, Curry lines etc. Their existence today is disputed and / or considered insignificant in relation to strong electromagnetic fields from modern artificial radiation sources (antennas, transformers, cables, etc.).

Also, there is yet to be found a scientific commonly accepted way of measuring them.

To identify them the main way used is still dowsing by people who have the ability to feel ethereal or earthy fields (radiaesthesis). Some research has been done on the subject (Betz, Hans D .: Journal of Scientific Exploration 8: 436, 1994, Recent results on water dowsing / Maes W: Radiästheten im Test. Wohnung und Gesundheit 58; 1991) and our personal experience (the writer of this article is a certified Geobiological Consultant by the German Institut Geo-Baubiologie) makes us believe that this method gives very subjective results. Some claim that they measure geopathic fields with the use of geomagnetometers, however this measurement, especially indoors, detects static fields from steel pipe lines, reinforcement, bed springs and is not related to earthly energies.

Is there a meter that measures all types of radiation?

So far there are no meters that measure all types of radiation (ionizing and non ionizing), but there are meters that measure the basic artificial electromagnetic fields that are the main part of electrosmog today:

  • 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)

These are called combination meters and their main advantages is that you only need one to carry around for your basic emf measurements and 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 before you decide to buy one of them.

Read more about combination meters, their advantages and disadvantages..

Why should i measure the electromagnetic fields in my home or workplace?

The continuous increase of modern day electromagnetic pollution (=electrosmog) makes radiation measurements more relevant and necessary than ever, especially for the most vulnerable population groups (pregnant women, children, elderly and ill people).

Measurements of the invisible electromagnetic fields is the only way to determine if the areas where you spend most of your time exceed the proposed limits exposure to artificial radiation due to the presence of visible and invisible radiation sources (mobile phone masts, cordless telephones, and modem-router Wi- Fi, electrical appliances, cables, pylons, transformers etc.).

By measuring electromagnetic fields you can significantly reduce your daily electromagnetic burden, by identifying and avoiding electromagnetic hotspots and in many other ways which are detailed in the Home Biology EMF reduction guide.

“whereas electromagnetic fields (EMFs) exist in nature and have consequently always been present on earth; whereas, however, in recent decades, environmental exposure to man-made sources of EMFs has risen constantly, driven by demand for electricity, increasingly more specialised wireless technologies, and changes in the organisation of society; whereas the end effect is that every individual is now being exposed to a complex mixture of electric and magnetic fields of different frequencies, both at home and at work” European Parliament resolution on the health problems associated with electromagnetic fields (2008/2211) [1]

Are EMF measurements only needed when there is a significant radiation source nearby?

The high levels of radiation in a space is not only related to the proximity of visible external radiation source but also to the presence of radiation sources that you have no visible contact with or known sources that most people do not suspect as significant fields emitters.

For example wireless devices you or your neighbors use (such as cordless phones and Wi-Fi modems) often expose you to higher radiation values than neighboring cell phone masts due to shorter distance and indoor transmission.

Similarly, statistics indicate that the most common cause of elevated magnetic fields are the low voltage distribution cables that bring electricity to our homes and not the high voltage power transmission cables.

Other sources you should consider:

  • cell phone masts that are usually camouflaged as fake chimneys, solar panels, billboards, etc .. (cell phone masts are now in almost every neighborhood and their camouflage is a common practice of the telecommunication companies so as to avoid confrontations with neighbors)
  • amateur radio antennas, radio networks for police, taxis, logistic and security companies, radars in airports, ports, military, meteorological etc.
  • wireless devices from neighbors (cordless phones and modems, baby monitors, wireless alarms, cell phone signal amplifiers etc.)
  • underground power cables and transformers
  • ungrounded electrical appliances
  • electrical wiring issues (damaged insulation, errors in circuit connections etc)
  • radioactive building materials or radioactive radon gas leaking from cracks and pipes

Which population groups should definitely check their areas for high electromagnetic fields?

"We need to test the electromagnetic exposure of the sleeping location of the mother during pregnancy and also her working area, if she is working. If the mother is sleeping in strong electromagnetic fields the child will be neurologically abnormal. Within 2 years the child will develop all the signs of autism, neurological dysfunction, hyperactivity, learning disorders and so on." Dr. Dietrich Klingkchart, Institute of Neurobiology Washington [2]

  • For patients or those with unexplained health symptoms, because long-term exposure to a variety of artificial radiation is related to the development of wide range of health symptoms.

"Too often do we observe a marked concentration of particular illnesses in correspondingly high -frequency microwave radiation (HFMR) polluted areas or apartments. Too often does a long-term disease or affliction improve or disappear in a relatively short time after reduction or elimination of HFMR pollution in the patient's environment. Too often are our observations confirmed by on-site measurements of HFMR of unusual intensity." The Freiburger Appeal - Union Resolution of Environmental Medicine, Germany ( IGUMED) [3]

 

[1] European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields (2008/2211(INI))

[2] Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, Why the U.S. Needs Pre-Conception Healthcare, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSit3i_-z0w

[3] www.laleva.cc/environment/freiburger_appeal.html

We advise you to read our guides on Low Frequency MetersHigh Frequency MetersCombination Meters and Radioactivity Meters which contain detailed information about how to use each type of meter and which are the important features to look for, but if you are in a hurry see all the recommended meters below: