NUKE

Best Geiger Counter For Preppers – Radiation Detector Choices

A Geiger counter / Radiation detector. Preppers are concerned about the possibility of nuclear radiation and contamination.

We are living in dangerous times. Many nation states have nuclear capabilities. We as preppers recognize and do our best to mitigate risks for our survival. Some risks are small, and more likely. Others are very big, though less likely.

With that said, one might consider the threat and potential reality of a nuclear detonation event (or worse). Nuclear proliferation among “enemy states”. It’s real. One never knows…

We also live in a world partially energized by nuclear power plants. Though historically very safe, accidents do happen. Also, many or most of these nuclear reactors are beyond their planned lifespan. There is risk. A grid-down disaster would put nuclear power plants at risk.

Should the unthinkable happen it will be advantageous to have a nuclear radiation detector (Geiger counter). Why? Because radiation is invisible. A radiation detector enables you to “see” whether or not you’re in danger.

I thought I would list several radiation detectors for those who might be interested. I have spent some time researching. I’ve settled upon the following list for your potential interest.

Features vary to an extent and you can dig into that for yourselves. When it comes to price, I have found that the detector itself (the part that actually collects / detects the radiation) makes a pretty big difference in performance (and price). It has to do with sensitivity, accuracy, measurement speed. Though even the lesser expensive units are still adequate to alert you of radiation.

GMC-300E Plus Radiation Detector

>> GMC-300E-Plus
(view on amzn)

UPDATE: >> New Model with Dosimeter

One economical nuclear radiation detector is the GMC-300E-Plus. It’s made by GQ Electronics LLC in Seattle, Washington.

– Detect and Measure β (Beta), γ (Gamma) and X-ray Radiation
– CPM, µSv/h, mRem/h
– data port
– mini USB port
– PC software

User Guide

They also host a live real time radiation map from users who are submitting radiation data from around the world:
Real Time Radiation Map

RADEX RD 1503+ Radiation Detector

RADEX RD 1503+ Radiation Detector

>> RADEX RD1503+ with Dosimeter
(view on amzn)

A good nuclear radiation detector for under $200. The RADEX RD1503+ made by Quarta-Rad, is manufactured in Russia and distributed worldwide including the U.S. through their U.S. facility.

– Detect and Measure β (Beta), γ (Gamma) and X-ray Radiation
– µSv/h, µRem/h
– Detection range: 0.05~9.99 µSv/h
– Unique Accumulative Dosage (dosimeter) in addition to real time
– Multi-threshold audio alarm with range from 0.10 to 0.90 µSv/h

RD1503+ Product Instructions

Quarta-Red also has a live worldwide real time radiation map:
Radiation Map from QuartaRad

RADEX 1212 Radiation Detector

RADEX RD 1212 Radiation Detector

>> RADEX RD1212
(view on amzn)

Another radiation detector / Geiger counter from Quarta-Rad. The RADEX RD1212. It costs a bit more than the previously mentioned model. However it also includes a USB PC connection and online software.

– Detect and Measure β (Beta), γ (Gamma) and X-ray Radiation
– µSv/h
– Detection range: 0.05~999.0 µSv/h
– PC connection
– Fast measurement cycle: only 10 sec.
– Audible Alarm

RD1212 Product Instructions

Mazur PRM-7000 Radiation Detector

Mazur Instruments PRM-7000
(view on amzn)

The company is based in Castle Rock, Colorado. Their radiation detectors are manufactured and Made in the USA. The company has a high reputation in this industry for their quality products.

The PRM-7000 radiation detector is part of their lineup (7000, 8000, 9000) and is more affordable than the rest.

– Detect and Measure β (Beta), γ (Gamma) and X-ray Radiation
– uR/hr, mR/hr, uSv/hr, CPS or CPM
– Detection range: 0.001 to 500 mR/hr (0.01 to 5,000 uSv/hr)
– Monitors Elapsed Time, Average, Minimum and Maximum Dose Rate
– Genuine detector tube, made in the US, by LND
– Audible Alert
– Data upload to PC

GCA-06W (Images SI Inc.) Radiation Detector

GCA-06w Professional Geiger Counter

>> GCA-06W
(view on amzn)

Images SI Inc. (Images Scientific Instruments) began making their radiation detectors in Staten Island, NY during 1982.

Their digital Geiger counters are NRC ready to be “NRC Certified” — meaning they are accurate enough to obtain certification.

– Detect and Measure α Alpha, β (Beta), γ (Gamma) and X-ray Radiation
– mR/hr, uSv/hr, mSv/hr, CPM, CPS
– Detection range: 0.001 mR/hr resolution / 1000 mR/hr; 0.01 uSv/hr resolution – 10 mSv/hr
– Each radioactive particle detected produces an audible click
– Graphing software available
– Data output, headphones output

Mazur Instruments PRM-9000 Radiation Detector

MAZUR PRM-9000 Radiation Detector

>> Mazur Instruments PRM-9000

While expensive compared to lesser models, the Mazur PRM-9000 is one of the best Geiger Counter Radiation Detectors available.

– Detect and Measure α Alpha, β (Beta), γ (Gamma) and X-ray Radiation
– uR/hr, mR/hr, uSv/hr, CPS or CPM
– Detection range: 0.001 to 125 mR/hr (0.01 to 1,250 uSv/hr)
– Monitors Elapsed Time, Average, Minimum and Maximum Dose Rate
– Each radioactive particle detected produces an audible click
– two-inch (50.8 mm) pancake Geiger detector tube – the ‘gold-standard’
– fast response time
– suitable for regulatory inspections
– LED, beeper and headphone jack
– internal data logging
– timed measurements
– dose rate alarm
– detects Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM)
– Battery life 2 years (9v alkaline) 4 years (9v lithium)
– measurements can be uploaded to a PC in CSV format for analysis
– PC/Mac USB data exchange

Radiation Dose Monitor (for wallet)

Radiation Dose Monitor

RAD Triage 50 Personal Radiation Dose Monitor for wallet or pocket
(view on amzn)

[ Read: Geiger Counter Numbers, How Bad is Bad? ]

[ Read: IOSAT ™ Tablets For Your Nuclear Survival Kit ]

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94 Comments

  1. For prepping use, a unit that can measure alpha radiation is not really that important as alpha emissions are generally stopped by just a few sheets of paper. So unless your running around outside in you underwear, alpha emission is really a non-issue.

    1. Alpha radiation basically hitches a ride with dust particles, etc.. If you can keep the dust out of the house (seal it) then you’re fairly safe until such time that it’s safe to go outside.

    2. Agreed that Alpha is weakest of the radiation hazards BUT breathing them or ingesting (eating contaminated food) them will be bad for human or animal lungs/bowels.

      I would like to know if my animals food is contaminated by Alpha.

      NH Michael

      1. alpha particles are the most ionising (damaging to tissue) but the least penetrative (can barely penetrate an inch of air), and gamma rays the least damaging but most penetrative

        1. Gamma Ray’s the least damaging?? I guess if your looking to leave a whole corpse. gamma is why everybody is locked down in falloutshelters for weeks.

    3. However, if you accidently eat or drink something emitting lots of alpha particles you can die over a period of days or weeks depending on amount. The Russian KGB used polonium and alpha emitter, to kill a defector in England maybe a decade ago by adding it to his tea. I dont remember the name or date .

    4. As one who has been contaminated, you need an Alpha probe. If you ingest them, you will have serious problems.

  2. Jan

    From Ken’s article text,

    “I’ve ordered the following 5 models from least expensive to most expensive”

    Making me think he don’t “trust” any of them, OR he’s going to do some testing, he is an electronics Nerd ya know? hehehehe

        1. DaisyKs comment is what made me wonder. I feel the same about the arrangement. Not that he actually ordered all of them. Just curious

    1. I better clarify ;)

      “I’ve sorted the following 5 models…”

      (will change the text now!)

      That said, I do have one of them in the list.

  3. hermit us

    Interesting statement. I will toss in my 3¢ worth from what I understand.

    Wide spread radiation is very easily survivable depending on how close you are to a Nuke.

    1. Ground Zero (Blast Zone), well your toast and the Fat Lady has Sung
    2. Further away say 10 miles, you’re chances of survival go up proportionally.
    3. 50 miles and more, there is zero reason not to survive as long as you have made provisions.
    4. If your in the “wind” path of radiation there is absolutely no reason to “give up the ghost”.

    Again one needs to prepare for situations, and NO it does not take $10,000 of prepare for radiation fallout, There is a LOT and I do mean a LOT of good info on the net on how to protect yourself.

    Even as Jon said “alpha emissions are generally stopped by just a few sheets of paper”, although I would have to change my way of greeting solicitors, as simple as staying indoors will do, just seal up the home air tight for a short time and yar good to go.

    Just don’t go playing Slim Pickens, if ya catch my drift.

    1. This is why i have the rad cards and iosat,
      Had a discussion with one o the neighbors about what if the norks pop one off, she said that if the government tells us to evacuate we all need to go,,,
      I simply said go where? Theres no fallout shelters, we live on an island, where the hell are we going?
      She had no answer other than we need to listen to the “authorities”
      Yea, sure, ill be right on that

      1. Nailbanger

        I Like that, ” we live on an island, where the hell are we going?”

        YA just cant fix stupid can ya??

        UGH!!!!

        1. Yea,,, she thought that there were fallout shelters,
          They abandoned any of the shelters back in the late 70s early 80s, all gone or un useable,
          Some people just dont get it, libtard paradise here.
          The funny thing is the public shelters for hurricaine etc, are all too small or not sufficient to offer any sort of refuge for any event other than a tropical storm or localized weather event, the governor came right out and said the shelters would not withstand a cat 3 hurricaine even. And they certainly wouldnt be any sort of shelter in the event of a nuke thats for sure, rather be in the basement of my house, much better protection than any public anything, plus then i can occupy my time waiting, loading ammo and doing leather work!
          But go to a shelter???
          Pffttt HA!
          Might as well go out and cover myself with cooking oil

      2. Hey Nailbanger
        If you got to go out – you might as well do it on that trimaran you just financed as war is declared. If that is the right term for that boat you wanted.

      3. If it happens, just make sure all the people don’t rush to one side of the island and chance tipping it over. That news from our government.

    2. Yes, good point you two, but some events just push me into an acceptance mode. When people are dying all around, when the garden is contaminated, when the lights go out, when all metal is a potential danger, …. my root cellar/storage area would become a prison in short order. I compare this type of event with a giant asteroid coming at us slowly but an inevitable disaster for all of us – do I run around like crazy, do I do the predicable thing these days – stand there and take pictures of it on my phone???
      Sure, I can get an expensive Geiger counter and walk around like a person with a metal detector – do I want to??? For me – one prep too far.

        1. @Nailbanger… unless you have your own shelter, you could try to make your way into an extinct lava tube. Lack of shelters would probably force me into one. Good dense basaltic lava flows should give good protection.
          Just my thought.

        2. Lo there do I see my father…
          Lol there do I see my mother…
          Lol there do I see my brothers and my sisters…
          Beckoning me to take my place among them in the halls of Valhalla. ..
          For Jon and Nailbanger

        3. Hair coming out in clumps is one of the later symptoms of radiation poisoning. I’m in a fairly good position for a nuclear attack. No targets near me and the prevailing winds are favorable. If the balloon has gone up and my hair is coming out in clumps it will definitely be time to drink the cool-aid.

      1. hermit us

        you make a very valid point, and something to think on for everyone.

        Where is your personal limit on preparing?

        Me I’d love to have that Missile Silo apartment for $5million, but why? As Nailbanger said and I believe a lot of us believe, I’m going to do what I can, but I’m also willing to meet up with Photon at the Rainbow Bridge and talk a walk to see Debbie again.

        Ken’s article on Radiation Detection is something I am doing, I’m probably not going to drop $500+ on a piece of equipment (that’s a lot of Gin and TP), but I have and need to replace a Rad Card and my Tabs shortly.

        1. Sorta why i prep, have all the fun stuff and food and tac gear, enough powder etc to start ww4 but also keep horse tranquilizers and flares

        2. Nailbanger

          “but also keep horse tranquilizers and flares”

          Just shaking my head at that one… HAHAHA

        3. Nailbangewr

          The Horse Tranq. is for the chillum, the Flare is for burning (cleaning) it our later :-) :-)

        4. Take 6 horse tranqs, swig bottle o jack, kiss the sweety next to me, light flare, toss on pile of clothes and thousands of rolls of tp in the corner, take a long long nap

  4. I have a card and to prolong it’s use it is sitting in the freezer on the shelf behind the butter until needed. Here, unless they are completely off target, we are in the wind path from Tucson. Hopefully they wouldn’t hit Albuquerque, maybe like everyone else they think we are in Mexico instead of New Mexico.

    1. albuquerque, yuck, ick, oh no, take it,
      Have you gone to the new Cabalas there? I don’t have to go in until mid Nov. and will check it out. And of course Costco. Wonder if either has radiation detectors.

  5. Another thing with home use for radiation detectors…be carful when you place them in your home as you can get “false” readings. Smoke detectors contain a radioactive element. Some natural granite is radioactive. This is because the crystalline material comprising granite can trap radon gas in its lattice after its natural compression in nature. Check your home with the unit to establish a baseline background radiation count for your home/area.

    1. smoke detectors do contain a radioactive element, americium, a potent Alpha emitter, it cant be detected outside of the case of the smoke detector as alpha cant penetrate plastic, metal etc. alpha is stopped by a sheet of paper.

  6. Ive seen that sort of stuff too, sometimes these people spend so much time and money on ridiculous abatement issues that they cant afford to pay for reasonable stuff like drilling a deeper well or using spray foam insulation rather than batts.
    Personally, i doubt a nuke would affect us, if they hit Oahu it will not get anywhere near us, and any fallout would be minimal, thus the rad cards, just for monitoring harmful levels. We would know if there was an attack, and if so the iosat should be sufficient, most likely unnecessary but a good precaution, we dont have nuke power, even though obummer and the old idiot governor abercromby were talking about it as a sensible investment,
    So our contamination would be from an attack on military targets on Oahu, and that is quite far away from us and the prevailing winds at all levels are away from us.
    Im more concerned about a natural dizaster or war than a nuke. And with natural dizaster being highest on the list.

  7. Jan, They ALL provide adequate radiation level information (in my opinion) for general preparedness in this regard. You start getting into more money with additional features, measurement speed, better accuracy, cumulative dose, better detector…

    Just like most anything else, there are cheaper models, in-between models, and expensive models.

    Note: I am not suggesting that everyone needs to run out and get a radiation detector. There are lots of other preps that prioritize before this little tool. Some people may live in areas where something like this might be useful whereas others not so much. I just thought I would present a few choices that are evidently somewhat popular among those who do purchase one…

    1. In other words, does more expensive actually mean more sensitive and/or more accurate? How about the best for the least money? What steps prioritize before one of these tools? without a geiger counter how would anyone know?

  8. What about this model? CDV-715 Radiation Survey Meter Geiger Counter. I have two. Are they reliable?

    1. Larry,

      I too have a CDV-715, and the old CD one with two yellow portable tubes you need to calibrate prior to looking through them to take a reading. I bought both off of e Bay years ago since back then I was working next to TMI Nuclear Plant in Royalton, Pa, for my office as a gag along with a old CD fall out shelter sign in my office. My boss though I was goofy, probably am. We were also issued Iodine pills free through the county EMA. Looking out my office front door about a quarter mile away was the cooling towers of TMI. Always made me think. Actually, working there got me developing my first emergency get home bag as reading the local evacuation route plans for a nuke disaster convinced me I probably wouldn’t get home quickly even though I lived around 35 miles North East of the plant. I look at it this way, if a Nuke attack hits or a plant implodes, it is what it is. I’ll be watching wind patterns and I’m hoping to get info from SW or HAM stations broadcasting. I truely now can’t afford to cover any more disaster bases then I’ve already got in place,. If I find I’ve failed well, it’s on me. If I need to bug out I can or bug in down in the basement. If I’m within 10 miles of ground zero I’m toast anyway.

  9. Ken, we have an INSPECTOR radiation alert hand held unit Any thoughts?

    For quite a while after Fukishima we were getting very high readings while snow or rain from the pacific northwest. We logged the data, and used the readings to provide extra iodine to our livestock and wildlife as well as wear N95’s and full sleeve, hats and glove cover for outside work. Just precautionary.

    1. Yes the INSPECTOR ALERT (made by International Medcom) is a very good one too! They use a pancake-style Geiger-Mueller tube (very good) similar to that of the Mazur Instruments PRM-9000 (which is slightly bigger tube at 50mm).

      1. Ken… they are made by International Medcom. Mineralab is the seller. THESE ARE TOP FLIGHT UNITS! First responders next town over from where I lived used them. That town has home to an nuclear power plant.

  10. I have the card in my billfold at all times, but please tell more about activated coconut charcoal: like how you get it, take it (dosage, and how it works (purges body?, etc.)

    Thanks!

  11. @ Bogan…you can get it from amazon. Dosage varies by type of toxin, amount of toxin, your body size and of course your tolerance to it. Charcoals are very pourous substances. This gives them a very large surface area to “bind to and hold” toxins (or radionuclides in this example). That’s why it’s used in many gas filters and poison control cases. When taken orally, it can’t be digested, but acts as the “binding” agent to prevent the uptake of radionuclides to the bloodstream (very advanced chemistry involved) and allows them to be passed through your system at reduced risk. For maximum effect, try to make sure the charcoal was produced in an oxygen free environment. The oxygen will hamper the “bind and hold” affect as it creates bigger molecules that contain oxygen which stabilizes the charcoal not allowing it to bind. Kind of like lead poisoning, where they give patients chelation therapy. Your body oxidizes the lead making it easier to get into your blood. Patients are sometimes given large doses of calcium and iron for the body to oxidize (which it does faster than lead) to attempt to eat up the free oxygen in the system to slow/prevent the uptake of ingested lead.

    1. I don’t know how many doses of that stuff I’ve poured down overdosed patients. Easiest to explain as millions of little sponges to soak up the bad stuff in the intestines.

      I’ve been trying to sell my boat and it looks like I’ve found a buyer. I’m removing stuff off of the boat that I’ll keep. One of the things that came off was activated charcoal. It’s also a frontline treatment for paralytic shellfish poisoning. Which is why we had it on the boat.

  12. @ Pieface…👏👍. good on you for bring the choice between the use or iodine or charcoal to light for others. In short, potassium iodide blocks the thyroid from radioactive iodines (131 & 133 produced in fission/fusion) but don not bind, and charcoals which block and bind a broad spectrum of radionuclides.
    Another one to look at is zeolite clay.

  13. Pieface
    You may have meant that question as rhetorical… but for those who may not know…

    Iodine is considered thyroid protective because it saturates the thyroid in” safe iodine”, protecting the thyroid from uptaking the radioactive idodine. …protecting from thyroid cancer. Having an iodine and an absorbent such as charcoal or zeolite, and possibly Food Grade DE ….among other substances that detox and chealate are crucial.. Knowing the uses, times to use and expected effects/actions are all needed . Info should be placed with every medicinal substance for all possible uses. A quick search/dosing sheet for quick reference should be completed by one knowledgeable.
    Each person should have an allergy list written down for the one in charge of your long term medical supplies. True allergies and intolerances with symptoms produced should be written for each person…
    ex…family member took a blood pressure med… was irritable continually after the med change, began having headaches. Name brand medication, Dr did not want to change. after two trials of skipped doses and utilizing a substitute, with documentation of b/ps and symptoms…. finally relented, prescribed another med…. and her headaches went away .

    Good discussion on the issues.

    1. @ Just Sayin’… red wine as well. Resveratol found in grapes and nuts (to a lesser degree) is also being shown to help against strontium 90.

        1. So when your relatives or friends (although not my friends) see all that wine, especially in boxes, you can say you are storing it to rid the radiation in case of a nuclear attack. Since I have had radiation twice for cancer, wonder if that is a reason not to store but to drink more!

  14. Used to get Sockeye right our of the river in Cordova. Now with the water patterns from Japan, who knows how radiated they might be. Can you get something to test your food for radiation?

    1. @ old lady…any of the ones Ken has listed should be sensitive enough. Slit it open as you would cleaning it and bring the unit close to the guts (don’t touch it to it). Should see a bump in the reading above normal background radiation. Problem is establishing a baseline level that would be normal for the salmon given all the nuclear material that has ended up in the pacific (both accidental and intentional). ☹️

  15. But ,but, many here say it will not mean the final destruction of the world and our final destination, Valhalla. No, maybe not but it may just be hell on earth for the survivors. Today my glass is half empty. Be safe all.

  16. Thanks 0ldhomesteader – what type of plane so I may signal you?
    With the power and the numbers of the bombs in the hands of our enemies, I think several hundreds may well produce the result depicted by Nevil Shute. How many multiple warheads on each missile? How many missiles aimed at us by Russia and China? Only a diverse group in Galt’s Gulch may survive – I wish you success in this goal.

    1. Just re-reading another favorite of mine – The Count Of Monte Cristo, where Edmond was without hope and ready to end it all – but miracles do happen in some novels. :)

  17. Thanks for the article Ken. Good to have some type of measuring device in order to know if, when, and to what extent protective measures are required. Just trying to not be a Ziggy walking around with a glowing fallout cloud over my head 😎 Yes those are emoji’s nuclear blast glasses 😁

  18. In addition to the fallout from all the enemies’ bombs, what will the effect be from nuclear plants melting down and all the contamination in the atmosphere from our retaliation as well as Britain, Israel, …… the earth will be ringed with radiation – I think.

    1. Hermit us ,,,,i don’t think a plant melt down is that likely ,of more concerne would be a direct hit of even a small yield weapon on a plant ,, that would be very bad ,,,again not very likely,, the containment vessel should be able to take all but a direct hit. I do think about and wonder about the wrong people gitting into a spent rod storage and scattering material,

      White Cessna red trim

      1. I was thinking more about a melt down when power was no longer available to keep the rods cool but I’m not very knowledgeable about these plants.

        1. I think about that too ,,,,almost all would go down, problem would be if it hit Water ,, other wise it would just dig a hole,and contain it’s self ,,china syndrome,, most contamination in the sea(man made) is from USSR dumping and lost ships and subs but far and away most is from natural sources

        2. 0ldhomesteader
          I keep thinking of the area contaminated by just one melt down – Chernobyl
          How would many in this country affect us?

  19. – Yes, there is one on the shelf in the back room in the garage. I have my own feelings on this, as I and my family were ‘way too close and downwind’ from Chernobyl.
    – Papa

  20. Drake, Not sure if SPF 10,000 will be enough ;)

    That said, if you’re within the target ZOD (zone of death), you might consider relocating 👍

  21. The shoulda, ,woulda, coulda is what we all need to access…….location location location….find that part of the country (NorthWest) is the least target rich enemy assessment. Remember with approx 100 nuclear reactors and 80 percent East of the mississippi it is not just EMP or a nuke warhead it is also the residual effect of nuclear reactors (EMP sceniro dictate) their backup systems would be toast…and none are hardened …………….. My choice was first to have a location remote north central Nevada with fewer preps then the SouthWest or Midwest with 110 percent preps.

  22. Ken,
    Nice article and review. Thank you. I have been wanting to get a radiation detector for some time, good to see the wide offering. I noticed that some of the detectors only detect beta, gamma, and x-ray. In the event of a nuclear accident or explosion, alpha would be a biggie to watch out for in the fallout. While Alpha radiation does not have big penetration power, if alpha is inhaled or ingested, it can do considerable damage, as it has high ionization potential. For that reason, i think i will be looking at one of the higher priced units that measures alpha, beta, gamma, and x-ray. just some food for thought. Thanks again for the article and review.

    1. Minerjim, That’s also one reason I spent more for my unit a number of years ago. As usual, “you get what you pay for”. For critical systems, I tend to pay more.

      1. Minerjim
        i am not an expert, having been out of the field for several years, but I would recommend 2 detectors one for beta gamma and one for alpha. In my experience one detector will not do both well.

        1. PNW Sal,
          When i worked in the “complex” they needed several, as there was not one unit that had multiple detectors for all the radiation forms. Wondering if the ones here that supposedly measure all of them don’t “calculate” one of the values based on values of beta,gamma, and x-ray. Thanks for your input.

  23. Don’t be fooled by the background radiation being higher next to the ocean. This is normal (even before Fukishima and the A-bombs). This might be a good time to talk about radiation hormesis. The gamma shotgun does take out the old cells. The current linear risk model does not reflect reality.

  24. A good and timely article. Russia, China, Iran, N. Korea and more. Even if we aren’t the target we will still need to know what is happening without relying on the Msm.

    Dang Cap lock

  25. We have an Inspector unit that has worked VERY well! was not horribly expensive and has held up well for many years.

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