Low Frequency EMF Meters

September 30, 2014 | By More

If you are serious about avoiding excessive EMF, you will want to be able to measure it, or at least detect it. An EMF meter can be a great help in establishing just where the EMF hotspots are, in your home and workplace.

There are different kinds of EMF. Here are the ones you may be concerned about, because of their health implications:

  • Low-frequency EMF – the kind you get from mains electric equipment,
  • Radio-frequency EMF – from equipment that transmits radio waves and
  • Ionizing radiation EMF – x-rays and gamma rays.

On this page we are looking at low-frequency EMF meters. They measure EMF from mains electrical devices and other (very low frequency) EMF sources. You can use this type of meter to check EMFs from

  • mains electricity,
  • power lines,
  • high voltage lines,
  • electrical installations, sub-stations and transformers,
  • house wiring,
  • domestic electrical appliances
  • TVs,
  • computers,
  • office equipment,
  • factory machinery,
  • vehicles (cars, trains etc).

The meters on this page are not designed to measure ionizing radiation (x-rays and gamma rays), or radio-frequency / microwave radiation, unless specifically stated.

 Single axis or 3-axis?

Most EMF meters are single axis: they measure electromagnetic waves coming only from the direction in which you point the meter. This is perfect if you just want to measure the magnetic field strength from one EMF source at a time, and don’t mind taking the trouble to point the meter where it gives the strongest reading.

For practical purposes of identifying hotspots, and for finding how far away you need to keep from an EMF source to avoid radiation, a single axis meter is quite satisfactory.

If you want more precise measurements, or if you want to be able to easily assess the total EMFs from various sources at one time, a 3-axis meter is easier to use.

Digital or Analogue?

EMF meters are either digital or analogue. Analogue meters (which have a moving needle or pointer) are easy to work with, being very intuitive and responsive as you move about with the meter. A digital instrument gives you the numbers quicker, but exact numbers are not normally that important. Neither is inherently more accurate than the other.

Some people prefer digital because it looks more modern. The analogue meters do look a little old-fashioned.

Capacity

If you need to measure very high-strength EMFs, then choose a meter which is capable of reading to 100 milligauss or more. But most of your work with the meter will probably be to find safe places with low magnetic fields (below 2 or 3 milligauss).

Frequency Range

The frequency normally found in homes and workplaces is the mains electrical frequency of 60 Hz (or 50 Hz in some countries) so it is important that the frequency range of your meter should include this frequency. A good EMF meter will specify the frequency range it is designed to measure, for example 30 to 300 Hz.

What to Buy and What to Avoid

Don’t buy an EMF meter that measures DC EMF. That is a different instrument, used for measuring the strength of magnets.

Don’t buy a “natural” EMF meter which measures the strength of the earth’s magnetic field in different places.

What you want is a low-frequency AC gaussmeter, which may also be called by any of these names

  • electromagnetic field meter,
  • field strength meter,
  • electrosmog meter,
  • EMF detection meter.

The important thing is that is should measure magnetic radiation, so the units of measure should be in milliGauss or microTesla (or both). And the frequency range of the instrument must include the mains electric frequency of 50/60 Hertz, which is a very low frequency in electromagnetic terms.

Some meters are marketed as being suitable for ghost hunting. This does not tell you much about the meter’s capabilities, but I prefer meters that have been designed with more down-to-earth requirements in mind. But you can hunt ghosts if you like!

Share with your friends!

When it becomes known that you have an EMF meter, you will be surprised how many of your friends want you to measure around their desk at the office, or areas in their homes. Even the ones who say they don’t believe that EMF does any harm!

In fact, seeing a reading on an EMF meter convinces many previous skeptics that they need to be more careful about electromagnetic radiation. (It’s a good way to help spread awareness.)

By the way, these meters make excellent gifts for the man in your life. (If you ARE the man in your life, you might need to tell someone special how they can best spoil you!)


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The Trifield Meter is a gaussmeter, electric field meter and radio field strength meter in a single unit. When measuring electromagnetic fields (EMFs), the primary concern is usually magnetic fields, which can be tricky to measure. If a less sophisticated 1-axis gaussmeter is used, a reading of zero could result even where the field is strong. A 1-axis meter must be oriented correctly to measure the field (which is a vector).

The 3-axis Trifield Meter solves that problem by measuring the true strength of the field regardless of which way it is oriented. Therefore, the Trifield Meter can be scanned rapidly across an area without having to stop at each point to search for the orientation that gives a maximum reading.

Another section of the meter detects AC electric fields, which can exist independently of AC magnetic field.

The third section detects radio/microwave, such as from a leaky microwave oven.

Analog (needle-type) display has very fast response time compared to digital. This meter is good for measuring AC (artificial) magnetic fields rapidly, AC electric fields rapidly, such as from overhead power lines or improperly grounded equipment. Can locate wiring in walls (using the 100XE version) and major RF/microwave sources such as leakage from microwave ovens, or the field near cell towers.

Operates about 40 hours on replaceable standard 9V battery, has a low battery indicator.

Our Comments:

This is one of the oldest (it looks it) and best meters on the market. It allows you to test  separately for both components of electromagnetic radiation: the electric field and the magnetic field .

The Trifield has two ranges for magnetic radiation, (high and low sensitivity). As a 3-axis meter, it measures emf in all three planes simultaneously (so you don't have to worry about taking separate readings while holding the meter in different positions) and sums them electronically into one single reading. It doesn't get easier.

It also measures radio / microwave emf, but unfortunately it lacks sensitivity in this range. The Trifield may be fine for detecting emf leaking from microwave ovens, but not from a cell phone tower or radio station antenna, or wireless network. You need a purpose-built RF meter for that.

The Trifield's looks may not appeal to everyone, but this meter is very quick and easy to use. For functionality at the price, it can't be beat.

When I bought mine several years ago, I was a little concerned that it might be somewhat fragile, but it is actually very robust and has stood the test of time. I do a lot of emf surveys, and this meter is part of my toolkit.



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While the evidence of the carcinogenic effect of such electromagnetic emissions is still inconclusive, prudent avoidance is recommended to avoid excess exposure over long periods of time. Reads milli-Gauss and micro-Tesla on a large 1¼" high display.

The EMF Meter's display indicates when the object being measured is out of range as well as when the battery is low. Features both standard and maximum hold. Powered by a standard 9V battery lasting approximately 100 hours. The Sper Scientific Electro Magnetic Field Meter comes with battery, instructions, and a soft carrying case. Display is green but not backlit. Certificate of compliance available.

Our Comments

Uncluttered design is pleasing to the eye and hand. Single axis meter. Frequency range is 30 - 300 Hertz. Measures from 0.1 up to 2000 milliGauss. (I hope you never have to use the top end of this range!) Hold and Max (hold) buttons are both useful.



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Electromagnetic Field Meter & Extremely Low Frequency Meter

The 480823 EMF/ELF meter allows you to measure electromagnetic field radiation levels from fans, electrical appliances, wiring, power lines, and paranormal activity. This EMF/ELF meter measures and displays EMF in Gauss and Tesla units with a frequency bandwidth of 30 to 300Hz.

Additional Features

This EMF/ELF meter has a large 1/2-inch LCD display, single axis 30 to 300Hz bandwidth, and a sampling time of 2.5 times per second to provide responsive and accurate readings. Accurate readings to 4% over a measuring range of 0.1 to 199.9mG (milligauss) or 0.01 to 19.99μTesla (microTesla).

Includes

9V battery, built-in tilt stand, and user manual.

Our Comment

Seems like a good meter, but specifications and looks of this meter and the next (Lutron 822) are so similar - I wonder if these are rebranded versions of the same meter? Check prices before you buy either.



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Rugged, Compact, & Lightweight Magnetic Field Meter
Couldn't be easier to use, just turn it on and get accurate reliable readings. Perfect for situations needing high resolution measurements of AC magnetic fields without spending a lot of money.

Large LCD display reads 0.1 -199.9 mG over the ELF range of 30 - 400 Hz. Provides readout in both mG and microTesla.

Calibrated to within 4% ±3 digits at 50/60 Hz. This single axis meter samples every 0.4 seconds when flipped on with slide switch. Requires one 9V battery. One year limited warrantee.

Like all single axis meters, this meter must be rotated during use to find the proper orientation to the magnetic field being measured to get proper readings.

Please note: this product is intended to measure low-frequency electromagnetic fields, and does not detect radio-frequency or nuclear radiation.

Our Comments

This meter seems perfectly adequate for a single axis, digital meter with no frills. Many of them have been sold through this website, and I have received no negative feedback. Seems well-priced, too (but compare with Extech 480823 above, and see our comments there too.)



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This little meter measures the level of ELF magnetic field radiation from power lines, computers, kitchen appliances, & more! The easy to read scale, unique built-in audio signal and auto shut-off make it simple to use and a great way to find hidden sources of ELF frequency (50/60 Hz) magnetic fields. Hand-held, lightweight & durable, with a dramatic audio signal. Our favorite meter for demonstrating EMFs to others. Type: AC Magnetic, 40-2000Hz Range: 0.1-1.0 mG and 1.0-10 mG

Our Comments:

Although it lacks some of the features of the more expensive meters, and only reads up to 10 milligauss, it is still very useful. If you are concerned about low-frquency EMF, here is a tool you can use to find out about them, at a very reasonable price.

This is a single axis machine, so you will need to point the meter at the EMF source.

The audio feature is a nice extra, and can be helpful in demonstrating EMF strength to other people.



Category: Low Frequency EMF Meters

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