7 Best Geiger Counters | April 2017

7 Best Geiger Counters | April 2017
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 31 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether your job places you in potentially radioactive situations or you simply want to ensure that your environment is always safe, one of these high-quality 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 fallout. Skip to the best geiger counter on Amazon.
7
The Soeks 01M Plus 2nd Gen is built to match US military-grade sensitivity specifications and continuously gathers data for a cumulative radiation exposure measurement. It utilizes a convenient mini-USB connection for charging, or it can be powered by AAA batteries.
  • works for 50 hours on one charge
  • fast 10-second measurement time
  • included instructions are very vague
Brand SOEKS
Model SOEKS-01M
Weight 3.7 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
6
Designed primarily for use in the private sector, the Ecotest TERRA-P has a programmable audio alarm that sounds if radiation reaches a predetermined level, so you can set your threshold for safety and then focus on the work at hand.
  • signals each gamma-quantum
  • auto sets measurement intervals
  • disappointing build quality
Brand Ecotest
Model pending
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
5
The wrist tether of the GMC-320-Plus allows it to always be on hand when you need it in potentially dangerous situations, even if its own alert scares you into almost dropping it. It is a reusable, sensitive machine that is surprisingly affordable given its quality.
  • records data for later playback
  • technical support forum available
  • uses an open communication protocol
Brand GQ
Model GMC-320 Plus
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
4
With a detachable tube for sensing radiation, the Images SI GCA-06W is a better option for more rigorous handlers than units with built-in sensors, as you can always replace the outboard elements should they suffer any damage in the field.
  • 16-character lcd readout
  • interfaces with pc graphing programs
  • plastic casing feels fragile
Brand Images SI
Model GCA-06W
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
3
The International Medcom CRM-100 Digital can display its levels in either milliroentgens per hour or in counts per minute, a feature useful for first responders who need to quickly assess the hazards in a potentially dangerous environment.
  • records data for long stretches
  • determines average cpm over time
  • over 2000 hours of use per battery
Brand International Medcom
Model CRM-100
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
2
The Radex RD1503+ reads almost all radiation types during its efficient, 40-second measurement cycle. It has a vibration feature added to the audio alert, so it keeps its user informed even when the device is tucked away in a pocket.
  • graduated signaling
  • sound levels are adjustable
  • background dose rate is always saved
Brand RADEX by Quarta-Rad
Model WE-PBNS-P0JI
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
1
The Mazur Instruments PRM-9000 is small enough to rest comfortably in the palm of your hand, and comes with a convenient carrying case to protect it from damage whether it's being stored or transported to or from the field.
  • monitors multiple levels
  • features headphone jack
  • visual and audible beeper alerts
Brand Mazur Instruments
Model PRM-9000
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Ions From Icons: A Celebrity Geiger Breakdown

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.

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.

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. Oh, what's that? We don't talk about cell phones' radioactivity? Well, never mind then.

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.



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Last updated on April 28 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.