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COLD SPOTS Reviews EMF Meters!





For the Ghost-Hunting Dad Who Has Everything

With Father's Day coming up, people everywhere are undoubtedly looking for just the right thing for dear old Dad.  After all, there are only so many bad neckties to go around, and he already has enough rancid cologne to choke a camel.  But what most dads enjoy more than anything else are cool gizmos.  If your father just happens to be interested in the paranormal, so much the better.  There is no shortage of ghost hunting gear out there, but between all the different manufacturers, prices, names and fancy coverings, it is difficult to tell just which piece of equipment is right for the ghost hunter in your life.  To that end, we at Cold Spots decided to test out a few of the more popular gadgets and present our opinions.  We chose the models below based on their availability and affordability.


EMF Meters

EMF-200A
Sperry Instruments

Check out any of the popular ghost hunting television programs and chances are you'll see the investigators traipsing around with a little black box in their hands.  Because of its sensitivity and easy readability, the EMF-200A by Sperry Instruments has quickly become the standard in ghost hunting circles.  Our own tests on known EMF-producing items, as well as a few hot-spots, revealed some interesting points about this meter, both good and not so good.

The Good
· Digital Readout - If you want to take notes with accurate readings, this digital readout is, hands down, the best readout, as it measures between .1 to 199.9 milligauss.
· Accuracy - Because it is a digital meter, it is easy to see exactly what levels of EMF a person is exposed to. 
· Portability - Lightweight (5.8 oz.) and thin, it isn't such a cumbersome piece of equipment that it will bother the investigator to hold it up for extended periods of time.
· Ease of Use - This unit comes with instructions, but just by clicking the "on" button, one can pretty much figure out what to do with it.  There's not a great deal of guesswork.

The Not-So-Good
· Slow Sample Rate - Granted, 0.4 seconds isn't a long time, but it is just enough time to pass from an area of concentrated EMF radiation, which makes the researcher scramble to find it again. 
· No Audio or Visual Alarm - Many meters have some sort of alarm or alert mechanism in the presence of an EMF field.  This one has neither, meaning the investigator must keep his eyes on the display. 
· No Backlight - Because these items were probably not designed to be used in the dark, the displays are not backlit, which makes it so that the investigator has to keep a flashlight in one hand and on the screen instead of watching where he's going. 
· Possible False Readings - Rapid arm or wrist movement can cause the meter to give false readings, though these quickly return to true.

Price Range:  $89.95 - $129.95


The Ghost Meter

It was bound to happen that someone would create a meter specifically designed for paranormal investigation.  Combining style and ease of use with a simple and accurate interface, the Ghost Meter is an up-and-coming challenger to the EMF-200A's throne.  Plus, its affordability is rapidly making this meter the choice among weekend ghost hunters and paranormal hobbyists. 

The Good
· Comfortable - It's a small point, but the overall shape of the Ghost Meter fits in the hand nicely.
· Audio Volume - The ring of an audio alarm is cool for about the first ten minutes.  When it goes off incessantly, you often wish you could turn it off.  This meter comes with a volume control so you can deactivate the alert if necessary.
· Durable - Though not designed to take any high falls, this unit does hold up well to general wear-and-tear. 
· Attractive - Again, not really a big point, but it does come in three different designs that just make it look cool:  clear, cobalt blue and black.
· Affordability - with a price that is commonly between $90 - $100 less than other meters, this meter is a good tool for the beginning ghost hunter.

The Not-So-Good
· No Back Light - A common problem among EMF meters is the lack of back lighting.  It makes investigating in dark areas difficult.
· Analogue - Analogue meters, though easily readable, do not have the same level of accuracy as digital meters, strictly due to the nature of the readout.
· Alert Light - The top of the meter blinks red when in the presence of a high-level EMF field.  It can be distracting.

Price Range:  $39.95 - $79.95


ME 3030B
Enviratest Inc.

Canada's Enviratest Inc. manufactures and sells a wide range of equipment for testing the safety of one's environment.  Included is the ME 3030B.  Designed to test both AC electric and AC magnetic fields, the ME 3030B is designed for rugged scientific use, but not necessarily ghost hunting.

The Good
· Dual Purpose - With the click of a switch, this meter can test for both electric and magnetic fields. 
· Power Switch - Where some EMF meters have an automatic shut-off, this one features an on/off switch that can also silence the audio signal. 
· Digital Readout - Provides accurate digital readings, giving more detail than an analogue meter could.

The Not-So-Good
· Awkward - Trying to hold this in your hand is much like handling a brick.  It's design is not ergonomic.
· False Readings - Turning the wrist can produce remarkably skewed readings, making this meter inappropriate for use in ghost hunting. 
· No Backlight

Price Range:  $149.99


Cell Sensor
Technology Alternatives Corporation

Designed and built by the same company that produces the Ghost Meter (see above), this meter serves the same purpose, but with enough differences in design to affect functionality.  While the markings on the analogue window are more precise, there is one difference between this model and its sisters that make it less suitable for paranormal investigation.

The Good
· Comfortable - As with the Ghost Meter, the overall shape of the Cell Sensor fits in the hand nicely.
· Audio Volume - The ring of an audio alarm is cool for about the first ten minutes.  When it goes off incessantly, you often wish you could turn it off.  This meter comes with a volume control so you can deactivate the alert if necessary.
· Durable - Though not designed to take any high falls, this unit does hold up well to general wear-and-tear. 
· Affordability - with a price that is commonly between $90 - $100 less than other meters, this meter is a good tool for the beginning ghost hunter.

The Not-So-Good
· No Back Light - A common problem among EMF meters is the lack of back lighting.  It makes investigating in dark areas difficult.
· Analogue - Analogue meters, though easily readable, do not have the same level of accuracy as digital meters, strictly due to the nature of the readout.   Though the markings on this meter make its readings a little more precise, they are still no match for a digital readout.
· Alert Light - The top of the meter blinks red when in the presence of a high-level EMF field.  It can be distracting.
· Sensor Wand - Unlike its counterpart, the Cell Sensor is reliant on a sensor wand that must be held in the other hand, making it difficult or even impossible to hold a flashlight or another piece of equipment. 

Price Range:  $39.95 - $79.95


The GaussMaster/Dr. Gauss

The old stand-by from the early days of paranormal investigation, the "Gauss Master" or "Dr. Gauss" meter is limited in its abilities, but is still a good meter for those on a limited budget and who see paranormal investigation as more of a hobby.  Once the main choice of paranormal investigators, the little gray box is still available, though technological advancements have all but rendered it obsolete.

The Good
· Affordable - Without a doubt, what attracts so many to this meter is it's relatively cheep price tag.  Costing less than most, this is a good "beginner" meter, as one is not likely to shed many tears over having to replace it, if it gets damaged.
· Audible Alarm - An audible signal begins, and increases in pitch and speed in accordance to the intensity of the field encountered.

The Not-So-Good
· Breaks Easily - In a scant two year period, I had to replace my Gauss Master twice.  The electronics in them don't seem to hold up very well against wear and tear.
· Uncomfortable - Though small, it still feels like a brick to hold.
· Audible Alarm - Also listed as a good thing, the alarm becomes progressively irritating the more one is forced to listen to it.  Also, it can't be turned off. 
· No "Off" Button - To operate this meter, the investigator must continuously hold down a button.
· No Backlight

Price Range:  $34.95 - $39.95


Bottom Line

EMF meters are as much a part of the paranormal investigator's toolkits as are volt-meters to electricians.  Sperry Instruments' EMF 200A still sits on the throne as the best and most used, but the "Ghost Meter" is rapidly approaching as a genuine challenger.  While there are EMF meters that have backlit displays, most are too expensive for the casual paranormal investigator. 

See you in two weeks!

- Scott A. Johnson

Discuss EMF Meters in our forums.

  

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