In deciding which Geiger counter model to purchase, we recommend that you first decide between these two basic types of construction:
|Pocket Models, versus:
|Probe Models, that is, Models with External Probes
$279 to $769 $619 to $1,095
What is the difference between a Pocket or Handheld Model, versus a Probe model? The heart or sensor of a Geiger counter is its Geiger-Mueller tube, and in a Pocket or Handheld Geiger counter, that GM tube is built right into the case. In a Geiger counter with an external probe, the GM tube is relocated to the end of the wand-style probe itself, attached by a cable to the base unit. See the pictures above:
Why choose a Pocket or Handheld model over a model with an External Probe?
The advantage of a Pocket or Handheld model is that it is generally easier to use, and more compact and lightweight. By definition, a Pocket model can even fit in a large pocket, and be held in and operated by one hand, leaving the other hand free, without any distracting cables. Pocket or handheld models are also less expensive. For general area monitoring and in most instances where specific objects are checked for radioactivity, a Pocket or Handheld Geiger counter is usually sufficient.
Geiger counters with external probes offer these advantages, which may or may not be necessary for your application:
|The detector can be easily maneuvered to "probe" in a tight area, such as in mineral prospecting, or
|The external probe extends your reach and can therefore be easily positioned to scan objects down low to the ground or floor without having to bend over, or
|The handle of the probe allows "detection at a distance", reducing the chance of radioactive contamination on your hand, such as a HazMat team frisking persons at a disaster scene, or
|If you were to build a fallout shelter, or if you wanted to monitor outdoors continuously, an external probe configuration enables you to install just the probe outdoors, with the survey meter itself safely inside the structure, connected to the probe by running the cable through the wall.
Which Pocket Model is right for me?
|DX-1 - Detects Beta, Gamma, and X-rays on an analog meter to 10 mR/hr. An affordable and simple to use Geiger counter for general purposes or for the hobbyist - adequate for a basic determination of whether or not something is radioactive.
|DX-2 - Identical to the DX-1, but with a higher ranging meter,up to 100 mR/hr. If you want to not only detect radioactivity, but also to quantify higher levels, for instance at 15 mR/hr versus 60 mR/hr, then the DX-2 would be preferable to the DX-1.
|Monitor 4 - An excellent all-around pocket Geiger counter that detects Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and X-rays up to 50 mR/hr, and offers switchable operating ranges. Likely to appeal to those seeking a "retro" look and function. Best value for the money in a traditional analog metered pocket model.
|Monitor 4EC - A specialized version of the Monitor 4, with an energy compensated Geiger-Mueller tube that offers a more accurate linear reading for Gamma and X-rays (above 40 keV), making the EC model especially suitable for checking X-Ray machines for leaks.
|MC1K - Another specialized version from the Monitor 4 line that offers Gamma and X-Ray detection at very high levels, up to 1,000 mR/hr.
|Radalert 100X - An excellent all-around pocket Geiger counter that detects Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and X-rays up to 110 mR/hr, but does so with a digital readout instead of an analog meter. Digital readouts are recommended for low level radiation detection and quantification. The Radalert is comparable in sensitivity to the Monitor 4, but offers a user-adjustable audible alert. It also has a mode for accumulating Total Counts, making it very easy to establish a background radiation level. he Radalert incorporates a data port for output to a computer, along with optional software.
Rad 100 - A more affordable version of the Radalert 100X for those who do not need the user adjustable audible alert feature. Best value for the money in an all around digital pocket model.
|Monitor 200 - Features an operating range to 200 mR/hr, backlit display, on-board memory supporting true data logging, USB connectivity with included cable, along with free downloadable Observer software (Note: Observer software is not compatible with our Radiation Network).
|PRM-8000 - This instrument should generally be compared to the Radalert/Digilert series, in that it uses the same standard GM tube capable of detecting Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and X-Rays, reading out also in a digital LCD display. The PRM-8000 detects up to 200 mR/hr, and also offers internal memory and data logging. Power efficiency is superb, with long-life alkaline battery lasting 3 years. Like the Radalert, the PRM also incorporates a Timed Count feature, an audible Alert, and data port for optional software.
|Inspector Alert - From the Inspector line, among the most sensitive pocket Geiger counters available, a very popular unit, and perhaps the best hand-held unit ever. Its oversized pancake styled Geiger-Mueller tube detects the lowest levels of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and X-rays, making it suitable for higher sensitive applications such as checking food for radioactive contamination (subject to qualifications - click on link). Plus, the Inspector offers a digital readout to 110 mR/hr, has an adjustable Total/Timer to set sampling periods, and a data port for output to a computer, along with optional software. Offers the same user-adjustable audible alert as in the Radalert 100. Comes with an excellent and thorough Operating Manual in printed booklet form. Best value for the money in a pancake-tubed model.
|Ranger - Successor to the popular Inspector USB, this newly launched model retains all of the excellent features of the Inspector USB, but adds a new interface with touchpad technology. Still features a backlit display, on-board memory and true data logging, USB connectivity with included cable, and free downloadable Observer software (Note: Observer software is not compatible with our Radiation Network.). An additional feature that might appeal to scientists - the Ranger will calculate isotope efficiencies when those isotopes are known in advance (Note: Does not identify isotopes.).
|PRM-9000 - Almost identical to its PRM-8000 predecessor, but fitted with the same ultra-sensitive pancake-style GM tube as in the Inspector. The PRM models offer more displayable statistical data than the Inspector line, including a running Average count, a Minimum and Maximum, along with optional readout in uR/hr. Like the 8000, the PRM-9000 features an incredibly long battery life.
|Onyx - Perhaps the most compact, pancake-tubed model for a fully featured Geiger counter, and with a 21st Century design. This device almost feels and looks like a high quality smart phone, and like that, uses a touch sensitive keypad, is powered by a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, and is geared for social media interaction. The Onyx also offers internal memory and data logging, and graphing of radiation levels on its high quality OLED display. Integrates with a number of software applications. Beyond its stellar performance, the Onyx definitely exudes the "cool" factor.
Which Probe Model is right for me in a Geiger counter?
|Prospector - A rugged unit of traditional design with a standard probe, making the unit good for general purpose use. Detects medium and high levels of Beta, Gamma, and X-radiation to 50 mR/hr.
|Detector - An ultra-sensitive pancake style Geiger-Mueller detector, along with an extended angled handle, make this probe ideal for contamination detection and frisking. The Geiger-Mueller tube detects low levels of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and X-radiation. This probe is configured with the same traditionally styled survey meter as used in the Prospector, with readout to 50 mR/hr.
|Ranger EXP - As sensitive as the Detector above, because both probes use essentially the same large pancake styled Geiger-Mueller detector, but the EXP is especially configured for EMT and HAZMAT personnel, housed in a carrying case that can fasten to your belt for complete portability. Unlike the Detector above, the Ranger EXP uses the fully digital and electronic Ranger Pocket Model as its survey meter, offering an LCD readout from .001 to 100 mR/hr. The EXP includes a Timed Count feature, and also integrates internal memory and Data Logging capability.
|The Frisker - As sensitive as the Detector and Ranger EXP above, because all three probes use essentially the same large pancake styled Geiger-Mueller detector. Tthe Frisker is also geared for EMT and HAZMAT personnel, housed in a carrying case that can fasten to your belt for complete portability, and offering an LCD readout from 1 to 50,000 uR/hr. The Frisker would be regarded as a straightforward and user friendly, all encompassing probe with detection at ultra-sensitive levels. Best value for the money in a pancake-tubed Probe model.