Electromagnetic fields are all around us. Powerlines, electric appliances and communication devices all produce electromagnetic fields (EMF) with varying frequencies. Even the sun and the earth have natural EMFs.
Whether you are worried about exposure to high EMF, checking EMF leakage from an appliance or simply curious about how much EMF is around you, you can use an EMF meter to check for sources of EMF and measure the amount of radiation.
In this buying guide, we review the best EMF meters in the UK that you can use to measure radiation from common sources.
- 1 Key Considerations When Buying an EMF Meter
- 2 Best EMF Meters: Top 5 Reviews
Key Considerations When Buying an EMF Meter
EMF meters vary widely in terms of measurements and accuracy. You can pay less than £50 for a basic EMF meter or spend close to £1,000 on a professional meter.
The best EMF meter depends on what you want to measure. This will determine what range the meter should have, the types of EMFs it can measure, the level of accuracy you can tolerate and the presence of features like data logging and transfer.
Here are the most important factors to consider when you are buying an EMF meter.
The first thing to check is whether the EMF meter you are considering measures the range of radiation you are interested in.
If you want to measure radiation from power lines, appliances and home wiring, you’ll need an EMF meter that can measure ELF (extremely low frequency) electromagnetic fields. Such a meter should have a minimum measuring threshold lower than 300 Hz (the ELF range is 0 to 300 Hz).
Intermediate frequencies range within 300 Hz to 10 MHz. Sources of EMFs at this range include security systems and anti-theft devices.
In the high frequency range, you are mostly dealing with radio frequencies produced by microwaves, phone antennas, radio and television.
Generally, you’ll need to spend more if you want to measure high frequencies. At a lower price range, you’ll find EMF meter that you can use to measure radiation from electric appliances, power mains and overhead power lines.
Spend more and you get a wider-range meter you can use with a microwave, communication masts and TV.
For general home use, you can afford to use an EMF meter with average accuracy. As long as the measurements are within the ballpark, you’ll be able to tell how strong the EMF is from various sources.
If you’d like more precision, you’ll need to spend more money. Pricey EMF meters use three sensors (instead of one like cheaper meters), meaning they can measure electromagnetic fields in three dimensions.
This improves accuracy and eliminates the need to rotate the meter to align it with the electromagnetic field.
Some high-end and professional EMF meters also allow calibration in a zero EMF environment such as a Faraday cage.
The display of an EMF meter is important as that’s where you’ll read the measurements. To make it easy to take readings in any environment, the display should be large, bright and easy to use.
Get an EMF meter with a backlit display, which makes it easy to measure EMF in low-light areas. The numbers should be big enough that you don’t have to squint to check the reading.
Also, check the amount of information the display shows. Most meters display the main reading and can also show the average and max readings when you press certain buttons.
Advanced displays will give you far more information such as separate electrical field and magnetic field reading, peak reading, a real time graph, current time, battery level and so on.
Check if the EMF meter has an alarm feature. It can be either an audible or visual alarm, or both.
An alarm alerts you immediately if EMF readings are above a set threshold. This can tell you whether there are dangerous levels of EMF without having to look at the readings.
E. Data Storage
Does the EMF meter have internal memory to log data? If so, how many readings can it store? Also, does the EMF meter have a way of transferring that data to a computer?
Having an EMF meter that can store data is handy if you’d like to store readings for future reference or analysis. Some EMF meters come with a USB port, allowing you to download the data to a computer.
Note: If you are on a budget but would still like to keep records, you can log the data manually onto paper or on software like Excel or Google Sheets.
Best EMF Meters: Top 5 Reviews
1. Extech 480836 3.5 GHz RF EMF Strength Meter Review
If you need to measure high frequency EMFs, the Extech 480836 is one of the best EMF meters in the market.
It can measure high frequencies ranging from 50 MHz to 3.5 GHz. This makes it ideal for detecting microwave leakage and measuring the strength of the EMF generated by base stations, cell phone antennas and other RF sources.
You can also use it to detect wireless networks like WiFi (2.4GHz only) and Bluetooth.
The Extech 480836 features a tri-axial probe, meaning it can take readings quickly and you don’t need to align it to the source field.
The display is backlit and displays large numbers that are easy to read. Using buttons below the display, you can set the screen to hold the maximum reading or compute an average of multiple readings.
You can also set the meter to give off an audible alert if measurements go above a certain threshold.
The Extech 480836 EMF meter can store up to 99 readings. Unfortunately, there’s no way to download the data; you can only recall it on the display.
Overall, the Extech 480836 is a good choice for anyone looking for a semi-professional high-frequency EMF meter.
What we like about it:
- Easy to use.
- Tri-axial probe – accurate and quick measurements.
- Backlit display with average, max hold and alarm functions.
- Stores data.
2. Advanced GQ EMF-390 Multi-Field Electromagnetic Radiation Detector Review
The GQ EMF-390 is the most versatile EMF meter among our picks. It can measure ELF fields as low as 1 Hz, meaning you can use it to measure the fields originating from power lines, electrical wiring and electrical appliances.
It can also measure intermediate and high frequency fields up to 10 GHz, meaning you can use it to check the level of EMF from a cell tower or your WiFi router.
On the large backlit display, the GQ EMF-390 displays three readings at the same time: electrical field (EF), EMF and RF. At a single glance, you can tell how much of each you are exposed to.
You can set an alarm (visual and audio) for when readings cross a certain threshold. The display will also show the possible source of the field. The GQ EMF-390 does this by analysing the frequency of the field.
It can show the field is coming from a cell tower, microwave, smart meter and so on. This is helpful when you are not sure where a high reading is coming from.
The GQ EMF-390 has an additional function you won’t find on most EMF meters: RF spectrum analyser.
The spectrum analyser, together with a built-in RF browser, lets you monitor radio frequencies in real time. This is helpful when analysing signals from a router, a smart meter or a cell phone.
Note that the spectrum analyser detects frequencies up to 2.5GHz. So you cannot use it to analyse a 5GHz wireless network (but you can still detect the presence of a 5GHz network in normal EMF mode since it has a higher limit of 10GHz).
Other features we love include EMF and EF graphs that show changes in radiation over the past 45 seconds and a Real-Time Power Distribution Histogram that shows you distribution of RF power.
You can have the display show all the readings at once or switch it to a dedicated screen that focuses on a single aspect.
The GQ EMF-390 has internal memory to log data. Even better, you can download this data to your PC using the manufacturer’s free software.
Overall, the GQ EMF-390 is a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile EMF meter that can measure radiation from most sources in the environment.
What we like about it:
- Includes an RF spectrum analyzer.
- Large backlit display.
- Stores data with the option of transferring it to a PC.
3. RF and EMF TriField EMF Meter Model TF2 Review
The TriField EMF Meter Model TF2 is another good choice if you need to measure high-frequency fields. The TF2 measures magnetic fields, electric fields and RF fields with a range between 20 MHz and 6 GHz.
Given the minimum limit, the TF2 is not ideal for ELF measurements of things like powerlines and home wiring.
But you can use it to check for leakage from your microwave, measure the amount of radiation from a cell tower or measure WiFi (both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz).
What we love most about the TriField TF2 is how easy it is to use. At the front is a big knob that you turn to what you want to measure on the scale.
The scale has two main sections or mode: standard and weighted. The standard mode includes magnetic and electric field measurements. It’ll show you the real reading.
The weighted mode includes magnetic, electric and RF measurements. In the weighted mode, the TF2 shows you how the magnitude of each field’s interaction with your body.
If you are measuring a source with fast signals, use the peak hold feature to get the highest reading. You can also turn on an audio feedback feature that helps you pinpoint the source of radiation.
The digital display is large and backlit, so you won’t have trouble taking measurements in poorly lit areas.
Overall, the TriField TF2 is a great choice for those who want to accurately measure the level of EMFs in their environment, especially RF fields.
What we like about it:
- 3-axis probe – accurate and easy to use.
- Multiple measurements.
- Great display.
- Includes carrying/storage case.
4. Meterk Electric Field and Magnetic Field Radiation Detector Review
All the EMF meters we’ve picked above are fairly pricey. If you are looking for something cheaper, we recommend this basic EMF meter from Meterk.
The reason why the Meterk meter is cheap is because it only measures electric and magnetic fields. The magnetic field range is 20 Hz to 300 Hz and the electric field range is 20 Hz to 3500 MHz.
It cannot detect high-frequency RF. If you want a meter you can use to measure WiFi or check radiation from a cell tower, go with one of our other pricier picks.
The Meterk meter also doesn’t measure microwaves. It’ll measure the electric field from the current flowing within the wiring but cannot detect microwave leakage.
The Meterk EMF meter is best for measuring ELF (low frequencies) from overhead lines, electricity mains and electrical appliances & devices.
The meter has a large backlit display with average and max hold function. The display can also show an electric or magnetic field strength graph as well as the ambient temperature (the meter has a temperature sensor).
Overall, the Meterk EMF meter is a great choice for anyone looking for a cheap EMF meter to measure electric and magnetic fields around the house.
What we like about it:
- Low price.
- Displays ambient temperature.
- Large backlit display with max hold and average functions.
5. K2 K-II EMF Meter Review
Our final pick is also a budget EMF meter. The K2 K-II EMF Meter doesn’t even have a display. Instead, a series of LED lights come on, each corresponding to a range of measurements.
The scale below the lights runs from 0-1.5 mG (milligauss) for the first light up to 20+ mG for the last LED which lights up in red.
The K-II is more popular with paranormal hunters but you can also use it to check dangerous levels of EMF around your home. Note, however, that the K-11 EMF meter has a measurement range of 50-20,000 Hz, so you cannot use it to check for a microwave leak, cell tower and other high frequency EMF sources.
The K-II EM meter is best for low-frequency fields such as those from power lines, wiring and electric appliances.
What we like about it:
- Low price.
- Easy to read LED lights.
- Pocket-size design.