A microwave leakage detector measures the amount of radiation leakage from a microwave oven. It can also be used to measure microwave radiation from other sources such as a WiFi router.
There are several ways you can measure microwave leakage without a detector. A common one is to place a laptop or phone inside a turned-off microwave and see if it still receives a WiFi signal.
Another option is to turn on the hotspot on your phone, put it inside a microwave oven and see if you receive a WiFi signal on another device. You can also use an app to analyse the strength of the WiFi signal from the phone.
But these methods are often imprecise and can be affected by a variety of factors. Human error also increases the risk of an inaccurate result.
The best way to check for leakage from a microwave oven is using a microwave leakage detector. Leakage detectors use highly sensitive radiation sensors that can determine precisely how much radiation the microwave is giving off.
Microwave leakage detectors are important for home use – you can use it to check the safety of your microwave oven. They are also essential for industrial and professional use to ensure proper to ensure products are manufactured to the right safety standards.
What to Consider When Choosing A Microwave Leakage Detector
a) Measurement Range
There are two types of ranges to look for when shopping for a microwave leakage detector: the frequency detection range and the actual measurement range.
The frequency range tells you what frequencies the leakage detector measures.
Frequency of microwave radiation (whether from an oven or some other source) ranges between 300 MHz and 300 GHz.
Microwave leakage detectors do not measure all frequencies within this range. But a detector that can measure a wider range of frequencies is more versatile since you can use it to measure various microwave sources.
If you are only interested in measuring radiation from a microwave oven, make sure the detector’s measuring range encompasses the 2,450 MHz (2.45 GHz) frequency. Modern microwave ovens operate at this frequency.
If you want to measure the radiation from other sources such as a router, a transmission tower or a radar device, look for a microwave detector with a wider range.
The other type of range to check is the actual measurement range. Most microwave leakage detectors display measurements between 0 and 10 mW/cm2. Milliwatts per square centimeter is the measure of radiation intensity.
Highly sensitive leakage detectors may have a smaller measurement range (typically, 0 to 1.999 mW/cm2).
The best range depends on your needs. If your safety threshold is 5 mW/cm2, look for a leakage detector with a 0-10 range. If your threshold is lower, you can do with a detector that has a tighter range.
To ensure accuracy, make sure the microwave leakage detector is pre-calibrated.
It’s difficult to calibrate a microwave leakage detector if you don’t have the right technical knowledge and tools. That’s why it is important to get it when it’s already calibrated.
Otherwise, you’ll have to spend extra getting it professionally calibrated.
The detector’s display should be large with numbers that are easy to see.
We also highly recommend getting a detector with a backlit display. It makes it much easier to see readings in low light conditions and when you are in the sun.
Some detectors have an auto turn-off feature that switches off the display after a period of inactivity to extend battery life.
d) Hold Button
The hold button is not essential but it is convenient to have.
When you press the hold button, the last reading freezes on the display so that you can read and record it at your pleasure.
Some microwave leakage detectors also have a peak hold button. This button freezes the highest reading on the display. Peak hold improves accuracy since you don’t have to guess when you’ve reached the highest reading.
A couple other buttons you may find useful are the min and max buttons. They display the highest and lowest readings taken.
e) Visual or Audio Alarm for Unsafe Readings
An automatic alarm immediately alerts you if the readings are above the recommended safety level.
Most microwave leakage detectors will alert you if readings are above 5 mW/cm2, the generally accepted safe maximum radiation leak from a microwave oven.
More sensitive leakage detectors may have a lower alarm threshold.
The type of alarm also matters. An audio alert, usually a beep, is best. Other detectors have both audio and visual alarms, typically some flashing lights.
Best Microwave Leakage Detectors: Reviews
1. Acoustimeter Microwave Radiation Detector Review
The Acoustimeter microwave radiation detector measures radiation between 200 MHz to 8 GHz, making it one of the most versatile radiation detectors.
It can measure radiation from a microwave oven as well as electromagnetic radiation from WiFi devices (including 5 GHz routers), TV towers, smartphones and base stations.
If you want to check the amount of electromagnetic radiation around you, not just from your microwave oven, the Acoustimeter is the best radiation detector. It is very sensitive and can measure radiation intensity as low as 1 microWatts/square metre or 0.02 volts/metre.
The Acoustimeter displays readings in two ways: by showing the actual readings on the screen and using a series of LED lights.
The screen is a bit small but still easy to see. It indicates peak reading and the average reading.
The LED lights below the screen indicate the same measurements using two vertical scales. The LEDs light up in different colours depending on the measurements. This acts as a visual alarm to tell you when readings are in an unsafe range.
The Acoustimeter also has an audio alarm. The beeps get louder as the electromagnetic radiation gets stronger.
You can adjust the volume or plug in headphones in the AUX port to avoid disturbing people around you.
The Acoustimeter comes with a soft storage/carry case.
2. Pyle PMD74 Digital LCD Microwave Leakage Detector Meter Review
Get the Pyle PMD74 if you plan to measure radiation only from a microwave oven.
Unlike many other microwave detectors that can be used with various radiation sources, the Pyle PMD74 digital leakage detector is designed specifically to detect radiation from a microwave oven.
It is calibrated to 2450 MHz, the standard frequency used in modern microwave ovens.
The large and backlit display is easy to see. It displays large readings in mW/cm2.
If readings go over 5 mW/cm2, an alarm will sound and an LED light flashes to alert you. It can take readings all the way up to 9.99 mW/cm2.
Below the screen are two buttons: a ‘zero’ button to reset the meter when taking a new reading and a ‘max’ button that freezes the peak reading.
The Pyle PMD74 is small enough to comfortably hold in one hand. Grips on either side of the meter keep it secure in your palm.
3. Martindale TEK500 Microwave Leakage Detector Review
The Martindale TEK500 is another great choice for those who want to measure radiation only from their microwave oven.
It is calibrated to measure a frequency of 2450 MHz with a range of plus or minus 25 MHz.
What we love most about the Martindale TEK500 is its utter simplicity. There’s no screen to indicate exact readings (keep this in mind if you want a meter that provides precise measurements).
Instead, it uses a simple pass or fail LED system to tell you when your microwave is leaking dangerous levels of radiation.
The front of the detector has three lights that light up depending on the reading. If it is above 1 mW/cm2, the yellow LED lights up. Above 5 mW/cm2, the red LED lights up along with a beep. At 10 mW/cm2, another red LED turns on along with an audio tone.
The red lights indicate unsafe leakage from your microwave.
To ensure accuracy, the Martindale TEK500 has a self-test feature that checks everything is working properly. Turn on the self-test before you take any measurements.
Another feature that ensures measurement accuracy is the cone at the rear of the detector. To take readings, you place the cone on the microwave and pass it along the door seal and other parts of the appliance.
Using a cone ensures you maintain the right consistent distance between the microwave and the radiation sensor, which increases measurement accuracy.
The Martindale TEK500 actually does two things: leakage detection and power output testing.
The latter is useful if you want to check whether your microwave is working properly. To do the power test, use the included beaker and thermometer. The manual has instructions on how to calculate power output.
4. Extech EMF300 Microwave Leakage Detector Review
If you are looking for a high-sensitivity microwave leakage detector, we recommend the Extech EMF300.
It is designed to measure radiation from both residential and commercial microwave ovens within a range of 0 to 1.999 mW/cm2.
An audio alarm will go off if the measurement is higher than 1 mW/cm2. It will also show the exact reading on the LCD display.
The Extech EMF300 can detect microwave radiation between 30 MHz and 3 GHz, but it is calibrated to be most accurate at 2.45 GHz (±50MHz). So you cannot use it to measure microwave radiation from other sources.
The Extech EMF300 is easy to use. Apart from the on/off button, the only other button is for peak hold. Engage it if you want the display to freeze the highest reading.
The Extech EMF300 comes with a 9V battery included.
5. AMPROBE TX900 Microwave Leakage Detector Kit Review
The Amprobe TX900 is another good choice if you want to test your microwave’s power output and check for radiation leakage.
It is a bit more expensive than the the Martindale TEK500, another dual-function meter, but the Amprobe meter is more advanced and has more features. It can be used with both commercial and residential microwave ovens.
The Amprobe TX900 is calibrated to measure the 2.45 GHz frequency. It can detect radiation intensity between 0 and 10 mW/cm2 and display the exact reading on the small screen.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a hold or peak hold function.
To measure power output, use the included beaker, spirit and glass thermometer.
The Amprobe TX900 comes with a battery and a carry case.