The 10 Best Geiger Counters

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This wiki has been updated 34 times since it was first published in June of 2015. Whether your job puts you in potentially radioactive areas or you want to ensure that the environment around your home or place of business is as safe as possible, one of these Geiger counters will provide you with all the readings you need to stay informed. They're also a must-have for doomsday preppers who want to avoid contact with any fallout after a nuclear event. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Imagesco GCA-07W

2. Soeks Ecovisor F4

3. Onyx Advanced

Editor's Notes

November 12, 2020:

We upgraded to the Imagesco GCA-07W from our previously included 06W model. The two are remarkably similar in almost every way save for the layout of their controls and the extra feature on th 07 that lets you select an average count per second. That layout change also makes it much easier to use, as things are more streamlined. Another upgrade came in the Mazur Instruments PRM-9000, the increased sensitivity of which allows the company to claim its use in examining foods for trace levels of radiation. Since certain agricultural sectors will actually treat their produce with radioactive exposure, it's a nice feature to have.

The rest of our list remained pretty much intact, though we did find a wearable option that ended up in our special honors section with the MTM Black Rad, a tactical wrist watch with a Muller tube built-in. It's sensitive enough to be relied on for knowing the difference between a totally safe space and a potentially lethal dose of radiation, and the fact that you can use it hands-free, even when checking its readout, is a big plus.

November 25, 2019:

While there isn't a lot of annual activity in this sector, we did find an interesting option available from Radex to complement the other two models that have remained on our list since its last iteration. This is the Radex RD1212-BT Outdoor Edition, which offers all the sensitivity of the Radex RD1503+, but in a more durable, bright orange housing. It also features Bluetooth connectivity so any of your readings can be readily shared through its dedicated app or the platform of your choice, including the company's PC software.

One of the most exciting new models is the Soeks Ecovisor F4, which replaces the company's previous offering, the 01M Plus 2nd Gen. This new model boasts a modern touchscreen interface and the ability to detect more than just alpha, beta, gamma, and x-rays, like nitrates in foods and the specific hardness or softness of a water supply. Ultimately, though, we had to tip our hats to the Imagesco GCA-06W, which utilizes an outboard wand with its Geiger-Muller tube in it, so you can save a little money if the sensor ever needs to be replaced.

Special Honors

MTM Black Rad This is a wearable meter housed in an attractive and durable watch. It features a digital display for both its counter and its other features, like time readout and a day-date complication. It offers 100 meters of water resistance, as well, making it suitable for swimming, though at 46mm, its case might prove too large for some mens' wrists.

4. Mazur Instruments PRM-9000

5. Radex RD1212-BT Outdoor Edition

6. International Medcom Inspector Alert V2

7. Radex One Personal Safety

8. Ecotest Terra-P

9. Radex RD1503+

10. GQ GMC-500 Plus

Ions From Icons: A Celebrity Geiger Breakdown

The very existence of this attractive new couple causes a rift between the the two lovers in each of the other pairs.

Let's say you're a bar owner, and your bar is full of hetero-normative couples who have been dating for a while and who are utterly average looking and totally shallow. Then, a couple walks in that's just on another level – we're talking beyond Brangelina.

The very existence of this attractive new couple causes a rift between the the two lovers in each of the other pairs. The women, positively charged by the possibility of dating a man like Brad Pitt, all head out the door. The men, negatively charged by sudden feelings of inadequacy and intimidated by the beautiful woman, all head to the bar for some liquid consolation and courage.

This is, more or less, what's happening inside the Geiger-Müller Tube of a Geiger counter.

You have a tube (the bar) filled with a low pressure gas like argon (the couples). Then a radioactive element appears (Brangelina) and causes the argon to ionize, dividing a positive ion (the women) from a negative electron (the men).

The positive ion is absorbed by the opposing current in the tube's exterior (the women leave the bar).

The negative electron is attracted to a positively charged bar of tungsten running through the tube (the men go to the bar for a drink).

Each time a man buys a drink, and each time a negative charge from an electron hits the bar, the Geiger counter counts it. This happens to more argon atoms per second depending on the level of radioactivity, and you get a clean, clear measurement as a result.

Counting Geiger Counters

When you look at the fairly broad field of available Geiger counters, you might feel a little something akin to radiation sickness coming on. Rest assured; your rad count is just fine. You're just a little overwhelmed with options, and that's understandable.

So, let me break down a few variables you can consider that'll make your selection process that much simpler.

Are you genuinely concerned with radioactivity in your home or neighborhood?

First, there's the detection method itself, which is likely either a standard Geiger-Müller tube or a pancake tube, which works on the same principal but utilizes a different shape. Note that the pancake tube is preferred for detecting beta and gamma radiation, and has a tendency not to be as effective with alpha radiation.

There are other, frankly more expensive builds out there, but they don't concern us today.

Second, you'll want to look at the display. Is it clear and easy to read? Is there enough pertinent information available without a lot of menu diving?

And lastly, tying the two points above together, I say ask yourself why you want to get one. Is it for a class or a hobby? Are you genuinely concerned with radioactivity in your home or neighborhood? Is it part of your job?

If the answer is yes to either of the latter questions, then spare no expense and get yourself one of the best we recommend.

If you're just on the curious side, and you like the idea of the counter, the unit at number five should please you with its accuracy and vintage appearance.

From The Mind Of Mr. Geiger

Poor Walther Müller. There he was, right alongside Hans Geiger, developing the tube that would become the centerpiece of the Geiger-Müller Counter in 1928.

History has a way of simplifying the names of things, removing what we deem unnecessary, for better or for worse.

So, Geiger and Müller put this magic tube together in 1928, and, frankly, not that much has changed in its construction.

Sometimes it's a natural progression, and sometimes it's more propaganda than populism. Think of how The Facebook became Facebook, or how Vault Boy in the picture there effectively convinces thousands of survivors in the popular Fallout video game series to remain in their underground vaults. Nowadays, Geiger's name is as synonymous with radiation as cell phones.

So, Geiger and Müller put this magic tube together in 1928, and, frankly, not that much has changed in its construction.

More advanced methods of quenching have been developed, which reduce the time between electrons pinging the tungsten rod and the resetting of the internal gas. The display and data recording in the devices have also become more elaborate and useful.

But the core, as developed by both men, still remains.

Daniel Imperiale
Last updated by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel Imperiale holds a bachelor’s degree in writing, and proudly fled his graduate program in poetry to pursue a quiet life at a remote Alaskan fishery. After returning to the contiguous states, he took up a position as an editor and photographer of the prestigious geek culture magazine “Unwinnable” before turning his attention to the field of health and wellness. In recent years, he has worked extensively in film and music production, making him something of a know-it-all when it comes to camera equipment, musical instruments, recording devices, and other audio-visual hardware. Daniel’s recent obsessions include horology (making him a pro when it comes to all things timekeeping) and Uranium mining and enrichment (which hasn’t proven useful just yet).

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