How do I Choose the Best Handheld Gas Detector?

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  • Written By: Mal Baxter
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 02 January 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Choosing a handheld gas detector requires careful consideration of the targeted gases, the user's level of expertise and the technologies available on the market. A gas detector might respond to the presence of a single gas such as carbon monoxide or chlorine, or it might be a multi-gas detector designed to indicate a range of refrigerants, explosive or toxic gases. These handheld devices enable homeowners, campers, builders and professionals to check for many types of gas leaks in order to ensure safe and secure living. To choose the best handheld gas detector, consider the device's storage capacity, ability to perform calculations and averages, sensor type, user-friendliness, maintenance requirements and cost.

Rubbing soapy water on a line was an old method of checking for a gas leak; bubbles meant a leak but did not reveal how much or how long ago the leak occurred. Modern technology available at the local hardware store has made this method obsolete. A handheld gas detector can easily check around hoses, fittings and connections in order to detect gas leaks of many varieties. Units are designed to fit into small spaces and are often powered by common household batteries. To choose the best handheld gas detector, first determine whether you need a short-term, basic unit or a regular-use, highly-sensitive, programmable unit that might require more training.


Much of a handheld gas detector's performance depends on its sensor. It might be a photoionization sensor, or an electrochemical one. It might also store readings, calculate safety measurements or sound an alarm in the presence of a leak.

Modern technology is designed to detect even the smallest gas and vapor leak. Determine your most frequent usage need. These devices are handy not only for basements, homes and building sites but also for recreational vehicles or campers, barbecues, stoves, water heaters and other gas equipment.

Some criteria for judging a handheld gas detector are whether it is accurate and easy to read and whether it actually measures the gas presence it's designed to measure. Reliability is another factor — whether it gives consistent readings and as early as possible. Interchangeable sensor heads add versatility and save future costs. The probe should be flexible enough for your needs. Determine how durable it is, how long it can hold a charge and whether battery replacements are convenient or require special ordering.

It's also vital to know the degree of adjustability the handheld gas detector possesses. The more versatile models can be programmed to detect small or large gas traces. Finally, judge how easy it is to operate and maintain. A gas detector is only effective when it's used properly. When it comes to gas, it's always best to err on the side of safety.



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