Since we started reviewing cell phones more than 10 years ago, CNET has tracked the Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR, of every handset that we review. Though we're still reformatting our full Cell Phone Radiation Charts and will bring them back shortly, we have updated our lists of the 20 phones with the lowest SAR levels and the 20 phones with highest SAR levels.

For a phone to pass FCC certification and be sold in the United States, its maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6 watts per kilogram. The SAR level listed in this gallery represents the highest SAR level measured with the phone next to the ear, as tested by the FCC. It's possible for the SAR level to vary among different transmission bands (the same phone can use multiple bands during a call), and different testing bodies can obtain different results.

Don't miss: Why CNET compiles cell phone radiation charts

By publishing these lists we are in no way implying that cell phones are dangerous. Also, we are not implying that a cell phone with a lower SAR is inherently safer. Rather, we are giving you the tools to make a choice based on your own concerns.

Though some researchers argue that the radiofrequency energy that cell phones emit may lead to a higher risk of cancer, others disagree. Research into the matter will continue, and we will continue to monitor its results.

Editor's note: Models are listed from lowest to highest SAR rating.

Updated:
Photo by: Pong Research / Caption by:

VeryKool RS90

SAR: 0.18

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3 stars Good

Samsung Galaxy Note

SAR: 0.19

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

ZTE Nubia 5

SAR: 0.19

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
0 stars Not yet rated

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

SAR: 0.23

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

Samsung Galaxy Mega

SAR: 0.28

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
0 stars Not yet rated

Kyocera DuraXT

SAR: 0.32

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Pantech Discover

SAR: 0.33

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miler/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
0 stars Not yet rated

Samsung Galaxy Beam

SAR: 0.35

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miler/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II

SAR: 0.36

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Pantech Swift

SAR: 0.37

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3 stars Good

Jitterbug Plus

SAR: 0.39

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3 stars Good

Samsung Galaxy Appeal

Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

LG Exalt

SAR: 0.42

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: James Martin/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
0 stars Not yet rated

HTC One V

SAR: 0.43

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Nokia Lumia 1320

SAR: 0.46

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

LG Optimus Vu

SAR: 0.46

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G

SAR: 0.47

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

Samsung Rugby 3

SAR: 0.47

Read full review
Updated:
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
3 stars Good

HTC One Max

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
0 stars Not yet rated

LG G2

SAR: 0.51

Read full review
Updated:
Caption by:
CNET Editors' Rating
0 stars Not yet rated

Where to Buy

Verykool RS90 Vortex

Part Number: RS90

MSRP: $279.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

Samsung Galaxy Note (T-Mobile)

Part Number: GALAXYNOTEBLKTMB

MSRP: $749.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

ZTE Nubia 5

Part Number: NUBIA5

MSRP: $449.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Part Number: GALAXYNOTE2TITGRYULK
MSRP: $699.99 Low Price: $255.55 See all prices

Where to Buy

Kyocera DuraXT (Sprint)

Part Number: 63900159
MSRP: $269.99 Low Price: $49.99 See all prices

Where to Buy

Pantech Discover (AT&T)

Part Number: 6400272

MSRP: $399.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

Samsung Galaxy Beam (unlocked)

Part Number: galaxybeam

MSRP: $839.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Where to Buy

Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II (Verizon Wireless)

Part Number: StratosphereII
MSRP: $449.99 Low Price: $299.99
    See all prices

    Where to Buy

    Pantech Swift - purple (AT&T)

    Part Number: CNETSWIFTPRPATT

    MSRP: $239.99

    See manufacturer website for availability.

    Where to Buy

    Samsung Galaxy Appeal (AT&T)

    Part Number: SGH-I827ZSAATT
    MSRP: $149.99 Low Price: $76.98 See all prices

    Where to Buy

    HTC One V (U.S. Cellular)

    Part Number: ONEVUSC

    MSRP: $129.99

    See manufacturer website for availability.

    Where to Buy

    LG Optimus Vu (unlocked)

    Part Number: OPTIMUSVu
    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Where to Buy

    Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G (T-Mobile)

    Part Number: T669

    MSRP: $499.99

    See manufacturer website for availability.

    Where to Buy

    Samsung Rugby 3 (AT&T)

    Part Number: SGH-A997DAAATT
    MSRP: $269.99 Low Price: $299.99
      See all prices
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