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Lowest-radiation cell phones

CNET offers the 20 cell phones in the United States with the lowest specific absorption rates.

Yesterday, my colleague David Carnoy posted a list of the 20 cell phones in the United States with the highest SAR, or specific absorption rates. And now, as promised, I offer the 20 handsets at the opposite end of the scale. Currently, these models have the lowest SAR levels. Some are sold by carriers, and others are unlocked, but all of the handsets are available in the U.S. market today. Please note that some older models listed lower SAR levels, but as a carrier or manufacturer phases out a handset we replace it with a newer device.

A phone's SAR measures the quantity of radio frequency energy that is absorbed by the body from it. 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. In Europe, the level is capped at 2 watts per kilogram (w/kg), whereas Canada allows a maximum of 1.6 watts per kilogram. To date, it has not been proved conclusively that cell phones cause or don't cause adverse health effects in humans. Some studies have found a connection, but others have shown no such evidence. As such, research in this area will likely continue for many years.

By publishing these lists we are in no way implying that cell phones are dangerous. Rather, we are giving you the tools to make a choice based on your your own concerns. We list the highest at-ear SAR measured for voice calls as tested by the FCC. It is possible for the SAR to vary between different transmission bands (the same phone can use multiple bands during a call), and that different testing bodies can obtain different results. For more information and for tips on how to limit cell phones' radiation, check out CNET's Quick guide to cell phone radiation. There you will find a full list of phones by manufacturer and our 20 highest and 20 lowest radiation-emitting phones lists.