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For a phone to pass FCC certification and be sold in the United States, its maximum Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR level must be less than 1.6 watts per kilogram.

Since we started reviewing cell phones more than 10 years ago, CNET has tracked the 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 highest SAR levels and the 20 phones with lowest SAR levels.

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 continues, and we will continue to monitor its results.

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.

Editors' note: Models are listed from higest to lowest SAR rating.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Pong Research
1
of 21

Motorola Droid Maxx

SAR: 1.54

$169.00 at Amazon
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Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
2
of 21

Motorola Droid Ultra

SAR: 1.54

$79.99 at Amazon
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Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
3
of 21

Motorola Moto E

SAR: 1.5

$79.99 at eBay
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Updated:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
4
of 21

Alcatel One Touch Evolve

SAR: 1.49

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
5
of 21

Huawei Vitria

SAR: 1.49

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
6
of 21

Kyocera Hydro Edge

SAR: 1.48

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
7
of 21

Kyocera Kona

SAR: 1.45

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh MillerDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
8
of 21

Kyocera Hydro XTRM

SAR: 1.44

$69.00 at Amazon
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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
9
of 21

Nokia Asha 503

SAR: 1.43

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
10
of 21

BlackBerry Z30

SAR: 1.41

$149.00 at Amazon
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Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
11
of 21

ZTE Source

SAR: 1.41

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Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
12
of 21

ZTE Warp 4G

SAR: 1.41

$69.00 at Amazon
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Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
13
of 21

Nokia Lumia 925

SAR: 1.4

$79.00 at Amazon
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Updated:Caption:Photo:James MartinDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
14
of 21

Nokia Lumia 928

SAR: 1.4

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
15
of 21

Kyocera Hydro Elite

SAR: 1.39

$59.99 at Amazon
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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
16
of 21

T-Mobile Prism 2

SAR: 1.38

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
17
of 21

Sprint Vital

SAR: 1.38

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
18
of 21

Sprint Force

SAR: 1.37

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
19
of 21

Huawei Pal

SAR: 1.33

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh MillerDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
20
of 21

Kyocera Hydro Plus

SAR: 1.33

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNETDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
21
of 21
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