How to Measure EMF: The Art of Knowing What You Are Studying
The electromagnetic spectrum is organized by frequency. Generally, lower frequency radiation is on the left, and higher frequency radiation is on the right. See the above graphic.
Measuring Magnetic Fields
Measuring Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation
EMF Testing Services
Best EMF Meters to Measure Home & Wireless Radiation
August 8, 2018
A comprehensive tutorial and buyers guide with product reviews, prices and other advice on choosing the right EMF meter. Includes recommended exposure limits and links to manufacturers.
EMF emissions are generated by a myriad of electrical components, transmission equipment, machines and consumer electronics. Since these sources operate on a wide range of frequencies, finding a meter to measure all of them can be a daunting task.
This is why EMF meters, expensive as many of them are, should be regarded as a must-have survival tool for some people (though not everyone), much like one would use a docimeter when traveling through Fukushima or Chernobyl today. Certainly, if you plan to implement shielding solutions to block EMF radiation, or relocate your wireless devices and appliances, an EMF meter is necessary to test whether these strategies work, have no effect at all, or actually worsen your exposure. Fortunately, EMF meters tailored for consumer use are now available, and if you do homework you can usually find a good one at an affordable price.
Even though the better models come with a steep learning curve, these devices will help you identify hidden sources of non-ionizing radiation, both inside your house and several blocks away. Not only that, you'll be able to measure the strength of an EMF emission at various distances. That way you can determine the extent of any potential harm.
And once you've identified the danger zones where strong EMF's are exceeding the safe exposure limits, you can brainstorm the best form of mitigation.
Of course, understanding EMF meter technology can be a search-and-rescue mission in itself. As you wade into its deep, nerdy waters, you'll discover a convoluted universe of techy terminology, poorly written user guides (some even leave out instructions for how to use the meter), and a price range that belongs in the Guinness Book of Records. A meter can be had for as cheaply as $32, or as costly as $2,700. So before you click the "Buy" button at an EMF safety store online, better cool your heels and take the time to learn all you can about these products.
The Electromagnetic Spectrum, part of which is shown above, divides various electrical applications according to the number of waves they generate per second, otherwise known as frequencies. The measuring unit of frequency is the hertz, and one hertz equals one complete wave.
For starters, there isn't just one type of radiation to measure, but three. Each focuses on a distinct type of physics and uses different measuring units to gauge the strength of an EMF:
- Magnetic fields are found around all powered-on appliances, electrical components, home wiring and basically every device or largescale installation that's hooked up to utility power, a generator or batteries. These fields are measured with a magnetic field meter or gauss meter, with operating frequencies in the lowest range of the electromagnetic spectrum, typically 3 hertz to 2000 hertz. Around your home, school or office, you'll find most magnetic fields oscillating in the 50-60 hertz range of the power grid.
Magnetism is measured in units of gauss or teslas.
Electric fields are generated by voltage. Voltage functions sort of like water pressure in your plumbing. Even when electronic devices and appliances are turned off, it persists, so long as the power connection is energized at the source and the equipment is plugged in. Electric trains, grid power lines and utility substations all generate potent electric fields that may be harmful. An electric field meter measures this type of EMF in units of volts per meter.
Radiofrequency (RF) radiation is emitted by radio and TV broadcasting antennas, cell phones and towers, computer equipment, Smart meters, radar and the myriad of other wireless products and equipment operating at freqencies between 3 kilohertz to 300 gigahertz.
An RF or HF (high frequency) meter measures these traveling microwaves, most often in watts or volts per meter.