7 Best Geiger Counters | April 2017
- works for 50 hours on one charge
- fast 10-second measurement time
- included instructions are very vague
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- signals each gamma-quantum
- auto sets measurement intervals
- disappointing build quality
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- records data for later playback
- technical support forum available
- uses an open communication protocol
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
- 16-character lcd readout
- interfaces with pc graphing programs
- plastic casing feels fragile
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
- records data for long stretches
- determines average cpm over time
- over 2000 hours of use per battery
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
- graduated signaling
- sound levels are adjustable
- background dose rate is always saved
|Brand||RADEX by Quarta-Rad|
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
- monitors multiple levels
- features headphone jack
- visual and audible beeper alerts
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
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.