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 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

Handy Meter ($159.95) – This meter will measure radiofrequencies from cell towers, smart meters, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless/cordless transmitters, as well as low frequency magnetic and electric fields from power lines, circuit boxes, lighting and appliances. This one only measures up to 100 microwatts/cm2, so there is a 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.

This one is also only single-axis, so you’ll have the 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 50 Hz – 8 GHz – so it will give you readings for most cell phones, wireless computers and cell towers. The newer generation of cordless phones and other technology on the 5.8 GHz frequency will also be picked up by this meter. More details here… (scroll down the page)

Pocket PF5 Meter ($159.95) – Another really simple meter – but this ONLY measures electric and magnetic fields, which is either a beneficial feature, or a confusing one – depending on your needs.

The PF5 measures electric and magnetic EMFs from house wiring, including those from appliances at home or at work, covering frequencies from 20 Hz to well over 50 kHz. This enables the PF5 to measure the higher frequency electric and magnetic fields emitted by induction cooking hobs, solar-panel inverters, ‘energy-saving’ compact fluorescent (CFL) lamps and LED lights.

This one gives readings and has different colored lights: green-safe, yellow-caution, and red-unsafe.

Electric fields range is 5 – 200 V/m and magnetic fields range: 0.2 – 20 mG, It is also really small (pocket sized) making it easily portable – which again, may be a positive or a negative, depending on what you want it for. More details here… (scroll down the page)

ESI 24 EMF Monitor ($159.95) – This meter detects and displays all 3 EMF types at once: magnetic fields, electric fields, and radiowaves/microwaves simultaneously. It is fairly simple to interpret (there are red/yellow/green LED lights) – these lights indicate EMF level and are supported by a loudspeaker that gives an audible indication of field strengths. Sound frequency/intensity changes with increasing field strengths, but sound can be turned off if you like.

This meter allows for quick and easy localization of the sources of different types of EMF. The display shows 5 different levels, ranging from extremely low (i.e. no significant radiation exposure) to too strong for prolonged exposure and distinguishes how much for each radiation type. Super easy and super sensitive.

Electric fields range is 16Hz – 3kHz, magnetic fields range is 16Hz – 3kHz, and radiowave range is 50MHz – 10GHz.

More details here… (scroll down the page)

Trifield Meter MODEL TF2 ($168.00) – As you move up the price scale, you’ll notice you get more features and more accuracy. This meter is a 3-axis meter rather than a single-axis, like the meter 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 test EMF pollution from “hot spots” in your home, office, or work environment so you can take steps for “prudent avoidance”. It’s completely self-contained, so no parts to lose. You get 3 meters in one – three axis for magnetic and extremely wide frequency response.

This is actually an updated version of their original trifield model. Here are some of the upgrades:

  • A very nice digital display allows for more precise measurements
  • Frequency flat and weighted measurements can be done by the same meter
  • The RF portion is 1000x more sensitive and can read frequencies up to 6GHz
  • Includes backlight and sound function
  • Shows both instantaneous and Peak readings

This meter will also give you the actual radiation level, and measures up to 1000 microwatts/cm2. US and Canada upper allowable limit is 1000 microwatts/cm2.

This meter covers 20 MHz- 6 GHz – so it will give you readings for most cell phones, wireless computers and cell towers. The newer generation of cordless phones and other technology on the 5.8 GHz frequency will also be picked up by this meter. More details here…

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…

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…

8 GHZ RF Meter (Tri-Field, $345 – free shipping) – 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.

The downside is that this meter ships from Israel, 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 – if they don’t have meters for rent, be sure and suggest this to them!

Here’s also a list of helpful resources to get you started:

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:

Emil DeToffol
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:  The Handy meter or Trifield model 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, 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.

Original post April 2011. Most recently updated July 2020.