How To Measure WiFi and Cell Phone Radiation
As the mother of three children – with thinner skulls, higher water content in their skulls (= higher conductivity) and undeveloped immune systems – it is very important to find out what levels of microwave RF radiation my kids are being exposed to, so that I can take measures to protect them where needed.
So the first component of protecting your kids from wireless radiation involves testing and measuring their daily environment for WiFi signal strength – school, home, dance or gymnastics studio, friends’ houses, etc. Anywhere your kids spend over an hour continuously should be tested (in my opinion) so at least you can get a good idea of their daily radiation exposure.
Baubiologie – standard Building Biology testing methods – lists RF safety readings in the home (especially in sleeping areas) in the following manner:
No Concern - less than 0.10 microwatts/m2 (microwatts per meter squared)
Slight Concern – 0.10 – 10 microwatts/m2
Severe Concern – 10 – 1000 microwatts/m2
Extreme Concern – greater than 1000 microwatts/m2
Magda Havas PhD recommends that (especially for children) microwave radiation levels do not exceed 0.10 microwatts/cm2 (per centimetre squared) and indoor areas do not exceed .001 microwatts/cm2. In my recent teleseminar with her, she said:
“We did a study just last– a few years ago, itʼs just coming out this year, where we tested the response of the heart to microwave radiation and the arc exposure was 0.3 microwatts/cm2, so itʼs 3 times higher than that guideline that I just mentioned – and several of the people we tested blindly, so it wasnʼt a psycho-somatic response, they developed tachycardia which is a rapid heart rate and arrhythmia instantly as soon as we exposed them to the radiation from a cordless phone at 2.4 GHz. So, if adults start having those symptoms and I know quite a few adults who have them, they suddenly feel; their heart starts beating, they have this pressure and pain in the chest area, theyʼre having an anxiety attack, thatʼs how the interpret it, or theyʼre having a heart attack and they donʼt know which and it scares them incredibly. Well, children are now beginning to have these problems.”
Once you know what you’re dealing with, then you can take steps to reduce or eliminate their radiation load – I’ll get into all that in a separate article. For now, let’s just look at what RF meters are on the market, at what price, and what each of them do to measure wifi signal strength – so that you can find the right one for your needs and budget.
As a mom, you’ll likely want to test primarily for:
- Radiation from WiFi routers in your kids school – where is the safest place to sit in the classroom?
- Radiation from nearby cell towers to see what’s coming into your home and which rooms have the highest levels.
- Whether your neighbour’s WiFi (wireless internet) is coming into your house, which rooms are affected and how strong is it?
- Combined microwave radiation load in friend’s houses and after-school activities/sports from cordless phones, cell phone towers, wireless games (like PlayStation, Wii, X-box, etc.) and wireless internet.
The Main Differences Between Meters
The main distinctions between the different types of meters (and hence the price) usually boils down to 3 specifications:
- Is it a a Tri-Field meter, which means you can stand in one spot and the meter will measure ALL the radiation, coming from every direction, to that spot? Or, it is a Uni-Directional meter; which means it will only measure the radiation coming from the direction you are pointing the meter towards. So in order to measure all the radiation with a uni-directional meter, you have to rotate in a circle through 8 different positions to be able to measure accurately. This means you start by pointing the meter North. Then you rotate 15 degrees to your right and measure again, then 15 degrees again to your right (you are now facing East) and measure again, and so on, round the 8 different points of a complete circle. So while the uni-directional meters are a lot cheaper and useful for measuring devices (like a cellphone, Xbox, etc.), for measuring the total radiation load in a room, they can be very time-consuming.
- What’s the range of radiation the meter can measure? Again, the cheaper meters often only measure up to 3 GHz, so while they will pick up on most cellphones, many other types of radiation (from certain cordless phones, new generation cell phones, baby monitors, WiMax, etc.) will not be detected. To measure the current full spectrum of microwave radiation from all the different types of devices, you need a meter that goes up to 8 GHz.
- Can the meter also measure magnetic and electrical fields and how wide is the range? For people who are hypersensitive, they are affected not just by microwave RF radiation frequencies, but by electrical and magnetic fields as well.
If you can’t be bothered to read through the detailed meter descriptions below and you just want to know: What’s the cheapest, easiest meter that can measure pretty much everything? Then this Cornet 8 GHZ RF Meter (Uni-directional $179.90 + free shipping) will cover all your needs. This meter is much cheaper than the Tenmars below because it only measures radiation coming from one direction, whereas the Tenmars meter below measures radiation coming from all sides. This meter also only measures electrical and RF, wheras the Tri-Field measure magnetic fields as well. However, if price is key, then this is a very good choice, since it measures all RF devices (cell phones, cordless phone, WiFi, surveillance bugs, microwave ovens, etc.) from 1 MHz – 8 GHz. If you want the full-service radiation meter, so that you can measure everything in every situation, from one spot, then the Tenmars 8 GHZ RF Meter (3-directional, $345 + free shipping) is your best choice.
Here’s an In-Depth Description of the Various Radiation Meters and their Pros and Cons:
1. Simple Radiation Finder ($39.95) – this is your most basic digital RF meter. It will not tell you the exact level of radiation, but will simply light up a warning if the radiation falls at pre-determined categories of green-safe, yellow-caution, and red-unsafe.
The downside of this meter is that it is only a single-axis meter. This means it can only read the radiation coming from the direction you are pointing it. So if you want to measure the radiation in any given spot, you need to rotate and point the meter at 8 different points/directions around in a complete circle – pausing at each new point to let it pick up the new reading. Obviously, this is going to be very tedious. But if budget is your primary concern, then this may be the option for you.
Also, for me, the other big drawback of this type of meter is the range it reads goes from ‘less than’ 20 microwatts/cm2 – ‘over’ 100 microwatts/cm2. Well, in Canada and the U.S., the upper allowable radiation limit is 1000 microwatts/cm2, so whilst this meter would be fine for Europe, Russia etc (where the upper limit is only 10 microwatts/cm2) it doesn’t provide enough information for North America. And yes, whilst obviously, anything over 10 microwatts/cm2 is not safe, I still want to know HOW much radiation over the safe limit my kids (and I!) are being exposed to.
The other feature about this meter you need to keep in mind is that it reads BOTH RF (radio frequency) microwave radiation and magnetic fields. So if you get an unsafe reading in your child’s classroom, for example, you won’t know whether that’s due to the WiFi or the lighting in the room – so you would need to turn off all the lights and unplug anything in the room. But again, if you don’t care about the details and budget is key, then this one may meet your needs.
This meter covers 50 Hz – 3 GHz – so it will give you readings for most cell phones, wireless computers and cell towers. However, the newer generation of cordless phones and other technology on the 5.8 GHz frequency will not be picked up by this meter. More details here… (scroll down the page)
2. E-Alert Meter ($29.95) – Another really simple RF meter – but like the one above, this one also measures magnetic fields, which is either a beneficial feature, or a confusing one – depending on your needs.
This one also does not give actual readings, but just has different colored lights: green-safe, yellow-caution, and red-unsafe. Also like the one above, this one is only a single-axis meter. This means it can only read the radiation coming from the direction you are pointing it. So if you want to measure the radiation in any given spot, you need to rotate and point the meter at 8 different points/directions around in a complete circle – pausing at each new point to let it pick up the new reading.
The better feature of this meter (over the Simple Radiation Meter above) is that covers 30 Hz – 5.5 GHz, so a much wider range of devices – but it still won’t catch the new 5.8 GHz cordless phones, baby monitors, etc.
It is also really small (keychain sized) only 1″x3″ – which again, may be a positive or a negative, depending on what you want it for. More details here… (scroll down the page)
3. Basic RF Meter ($89.95) – This is another simple RF Meter and this one ONLY measures radio frequency microwave radiation (not electrical, nor magnetic fields), so less room for confusion. This one only measures up to 58 microwatts/cm2, so same problem using in North America where our upper “safety” limit is 1000 microwatts/cm2 – you’ll know it’s unsafe, but you won’t know how bad it is.
Also like the meter above, this one is only single-axis. So you’ll have the same tedium of having to measure at 8 different points/directions around in a complete circle – pausing at each new point to let it pick up the new reading – to get an idea of what radiation exists in any one spot. The good part about this meter is that it will give you the actual meter reading (e.g. 18 mW/m2) PLUS give you the color-coded ranges of safe/green-caution/yellow-unsafe/red.
This meter covers 100 Hz – 3 GHz – so it will give you readings for most cell phones, wireless computers and cell towers. However, the newer generation of cordless phones and other technology on the 5.8 GHz frequency will not be picked up by this meter. More details here… (scroll down the page)
4. 3-Axis RF Meter ($199.95) – As you move up the price scale, you’ll notice you get more features and more accuracy. So this meter is a 3-axis meter, rather than a single-axis, like the two meters above. This means that you don’t need to rotate around, but can simply stand in one spot and the meter will scan 360 degrees around you to give you the complete/total radiation level for that particular spot. This meter will also give you the actual radiation level, but again, it only measures up to 30 microwatts/cm2. So if you just want to know whether a spot or room is “safe” this meter is fine, but if you want to know how much radiation above 30 microwatts/cm2 is present, then you’re out of luck (remember, US and Canada upper allowable limit is 1000 microwatts/cm2).
This meter covers 50 Hz – 3.5 GHz – so it will give you readings for most cell phones, wireless computers and cell towers. However, the newer generation of cordless phones and other technology on the 5.8 GHz frequency will not be picked up by this meter. More details here…
5. 6 GHZ RF Meter (Uni-directional $119 + free shipping) – this meter is very reasonably priced and will measure 100 HHz – 6 GHz. It also measures electrical fields (power lines etc.) The only downside is that it is uni-directional only (not a tri-field meter). This means that you will have to rotate slowly in a circle, stopping and pausing at each point to get a measure of total radiation for any one spot. On the other hand, it makes it easy to pinpoint which direction the radiation is coming from! More details here…
6. 8 GHZ RF Meter (Uni-directional $179.90 + free shipping) – This meter is much cheaper than the the Tri-Field below because it only measures radiation coming from one direction, whereas the Tri-Field meter below measures radiation coming from all sides. This meter measures electrical, RF, and magnetic fields as well. So if price is key, then this is a very good choice, since it measures all RF devices (cell phones, cordless phone, WiFi, surveillance bugs, microwave ovens, etc.) from 1 MHz – 8 GHz. More details…
7. 8 GHZ RF Meter (Tri-Field $499 – Ships from USA) – For me, this meter is the best use of my money for what I want to measure. Because I blog about this issue, I write letters to government officials and school admin people, I need to be as accurate as possible and I need to back up my assertions with specific data. This meter is 3-axis (no need to rotate), it measures from .0001 microwatts/cm2 up to 3,000 microwatts/cm2 and it covers from 10 MHz – 8 GHz – so it will measure every wireless device around (including surveillance bugs!), plus leaving room for future technology developments. This meter also measures electrical fields. For the informed layperson (like myself) this is probably the best combination of needed features and ease of use. More details here… I plan to do more blog posts and also some videos showing you how to measure your home, school, office, etc. so be sure and SUBSCRIBE to my blog so you’ll be notified.
8. 8 GHZ RF Meter (Tri-Field, $345 – free shipping) – This meter has all the features of the meter above in #7, but this meter ships from Israel, while the one above is in the USA. So your shipping time is going to be a bit longer on this one, about 2 weeks, but, the great thing is, the shipping is free. I have ordered from this company myself to test and everything went smoothly and the meter arrived in 2 weeks. As I said above, if you want to be able to test EVERYTHING, with ease – because this measures the radiation coming from all directions (tri-field), so you don’t have to keep turning and re-measuring, until you’ve measured a full circle – you can just stand in one spot, facing any direction and it will measure ALL the radiation coming from every direction to that spot – then this is the meter to get. More details here…
For people who need to get more specific, there are more complicated meters for this, but of course, they are also much more expensive (thousands of dollars).
You can also check with your local (or country’s) citizen action group as some have meters they will rent to you for a fraction of the purchase price. Here’s a list of citizen radiation protection groups to get you started – if they don’t have meters for rent, be sure and suggest this to them!
Note: All prices listed are correct at time of writing, but of course, are subject to change.
Detailed Techie Questions?
Please note that I am not an engineer, nor an expert in this technology. I am just trying to figure things out for my own family and then sharing what I learn as I go along. So if you have any specific questions about RF Meters or anything technical, please speak to one of the sellers of this equipment (who I link to above), like Emil:
Less EMF Inc
776B Watervliet Shaker Rd
Latham NY 12110 USA
We received some new questions about this recently:
QUESTION: My 10 year old son and I have been reading your website because he is doing research for a science fair project. I need to purchase him a meter that gives him quantitative data for how much cell phone radiation occurs with a variety of phones. He will compare his data and present for the science fair. By no means, does this have to be 100% accurate, but he must give a good estimate and be knowledgable about the subject. I have seen the Cornet ED-75 as the one to get. I’m personally confused on the different meters out there after reading multiple sources. Could you help by letting us know from your experience which one would be the best, but not the most expensive?
ANSWER: #6 in the blog post above would measure the full range of cellphones, and he can point it at the cell phone antenna to get the reading. I suggest he also measure cordless phones as many are very surprised that they can emit more than a cell phone (especially the 5.8 GHz ones). The ED-75 only goes up to 6 GHz, so it cannot measure some of the cellphones on the market.
QUESTION: If I bought a uni-directional radiation meter (Cornet ED78S), how would I calculate how much radiation a certain spot is being exposed to by the surrounding area? You mentioned starting north and turning the meter 15 degrees until it’s gone full circle. But then what do I do with the data to get an estimate of the amount of radiation in that spot? Do I add all the readings together or take the highest one?
ANSWER: You just take the highest reading – because whatever side of your body is being exposed to that high level, doesn’t really matter – you are still being exposed to it and that’s the highest radiation that’s coming to that spot in the room.