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.
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.
/ Photo: Pong Research
Motorola Droid Maxx
Motorola Droid Ultra
Motorola Moto E
Alcatel One Touch Evolve
Kyocera Hydro Edge
Kyocera Hydro XTRM
Nokia Asha 503
ZTE Warp 4G
Nokia Lumia 925
Nokia Lumia 928
Kyocera Hydro Elite
T-Mobile Prism 2
Kyocera Hydro Plus
/ Photo: Sarah Tew/CNET