Find the best RF bug detector for your need with our detailed reviews and comparisons of the top models available right now.
To many, it may seem a little far-fetched that we could be being spied on by our government, agencies, criminals, or even those that are close to us.
But at the end of the day, it would be extremely easy for somebody to place a bug in our homes.
Wireless technology now means a bug can communicate video-feeds and audio recordings from where they are located to that of the computer or device of whoever put it there.
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Bugs might be something that you will have heard about from spy movies but the reality is that there is the real possibility that almost anyone could easily get hold of a bug and put it on your property.
A quick search online will show you that you can buy RF bugs, GSM bugs, Wi-Fi bugs, Burst bugs, self-recording bugs and camera bugs extremely easily.
Not so far-fetched now is it?
With these devices so readily available, what is there to stop people putting them to use on you? You could be spending a night in a hotel unaware that there is a hidden camera in the bathroom, you could be making a phone-call from home unaware that somebody is listening to you.
On top of that, you only have to look at the MSA leaks to know that governments like to collect data on everybody in the country. So really, what we thought are our private lives really might not be private at all.
The good news is that we do not have to just hope and pray that somebody is not spying on us. We can act ourselves by performing sweeps of our homes using RF bug detectors that are able to establish whether there are any bugs in our property.
If you think about it, the fact that there is even a market for this kind of device just shows that there are many others like us that are not so easily convinced that we are not being watched. These are not exactly cheap either, the good quality ones at least, but either way we are sure that you will be able to find one to suit your budget.
We have recommended five of the top RF bug detecting devices in today's guide. See how they compare and find out which one we choose over all others.
The Top Models Compared
See how the best bug detectors compare in the key areas in our comparison table.
Our Top Pick
Acoustimeter RF Meter AM-10
- 2-year warranty
- 150MHz to 10GHz frequency range
- Built-in EMF detector
KJB Security DD2020
- Classic style
- Easy to use
- Great value
- Detects multiple bug types
- Long battery life
Spy Hawk Pro-10G
- Phone trace feature
- Detects multiple bug types
- Wide frequency range
Sleauthgear Counter Surveillance PRO
- Great value
- Detects wide range of bugs
- Wide frequency range
The Top Models Reviewed
Now we review each in a bit more detail. Find out all the specs and exactly what we think of each device.
Acoustimeter RF Meter AM-10 * Our Top Pick *
We will kick things off with the Acoustimeter RF AM-10 which, while it is marketed mainly as an RF meter that can help you to locate and read dangerous EMF levels in your home, is essentially the same type of kit as many of the other detectors in our best bug detector reviews.
As one of the more expensive detectors on our list of recommendations, what you can expect from the AM-10 is an RF detector that has a good range in terms of frequency of between 200MHz and 10GHz. That is a fairly standard range in this price bracket and this will allow you to be able to detect most RF bugs that may have been hidden in your home.
The primary role of this product is to actually check your home to see if there are any dangerous levels of EMF coming out of your wireless devices in your home. Essentially this means that you are getting two products for one as you can try to reduce those dangerous levels as well as use it to try and detect any unknown RF signals in your home that could mean there is a device that someone is using to spy on you.
In terms of what it can do to detect bugs, because it has an EMF detector, any bug that uses wireless communication such as WiFi and cellular signals such as mobile phones will be able to be detected alongside the standard RF bugs.
What we particularly like about this detector is that it has a battery life of up to 20 hours, is easy-to-operate and it comes with a two-year warranty. As with most RF detectors, you simply turn it on, slowly turn up the frequency until you get a base reading and then move around the house trying to pick up unknown signals. If anything were to show up you would either be able to pick them up if using earphones or through simply watching the LED lights that are on the device.
This is a very sensitive detector so we do advise that you become aware when there are other devices that it will pick up such as baby monitors, cordless phones, cell phones and of course any FM radios around the house.
Bottom Line: The meter is incredibly accurate and because of the wide frequency range, there are not many RF bugs that it will not pick up. It can be considered expensive when compared to the competition, but it has a huge range and is very sensitive.
We also have to say that this product is extremely popular on Amazon with 95% of the reviews being extremely positive.
In our eyes, this is one of the best RF detectors out there. Unfortunately, it's one of the most expensive too.
KJB Security DD2020 * Budget Pick *
Coming in a fair bit cheaper than the AM-10 above is the KJB Security DD2020 Personal RF signal Detector, and to be honest you have to admit that if you were to think of what an electric bug-sweeper was to look like before seeing one, it would be exactly like this.
It has a highly functional design that fits the hand very well and is easily one of the most popular RF finders on the market but in all honesty, it is not really what you could call the most advanced.
You are only going to be able to locate simple RF bugs with this detector and while they are the cheapest bugs to buy, anyone who was seriously trying to spy on you might be using something a bit more advanced. Many police forces do still use that type of bug though so the KJB Security will certainly still have its uses.
What we like about this RF meter is that it is very easy to use, while it has a very solid build quality that tells you that this will be good to use for many years. There are no plastics involved in the construction here, aluminum all the way which really does give you confidence in its durability.
Another great benefit is that the antenna that it uses is the same one used predominantly across the country and even on police radios. This means that replacing it will be very easy should you ever have problems. They will not set you back a lot either as these can be picked up quite cheaply.
Using the DD2020 is straightforward as all you have to do is switch it on and slowly turn up the sensitivity until you reach a point where a minimum reading can be detected. Then all you do is walk around your home until you notice any signals. The strength of these signals can be determined either through the LED lights on the front, through a vibration in the detector, or via the static that can be heard if you insert some headphones.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a simple yet effective electronic bug scanner that can help you to scan for RF bugs in your home, the KJB DD2020 is definitely one that you should be checking out. The quality of the build is very good and while it might not have many advanced features, it will certainly give you an easy way to discover if you are being spied upon.
This bug detector reviews very well in terms of value for money.
Acousticom 2 RF Detector
The Acousticom 2 RF Detector 200mHz - 8GHz is essentially the model down on the earlier Acousticom that we reviewed and while it may not have the frequency range of its bigger brother when you consider the price difference, this really is fantastic value for money.
Able to detect RF bugs and any bugs or other spying devices using digital waves such as spy cams, this detector is about as good as you will get in its price range.
Like the other model, this is constructed of a fairly durable plastic but we still feel that a single drop onto a hard surface would probably end up in a broken unit. That said, in all other areas, this is a really well put together piece of kit. The LED screen gives you all of the information that you will need on anything that it detects and it has a very decent level of sensitivity.
As you move around your home, this device will be able to pick up RF waves and digital waves depending on which you have set it to, so any hidden devices will be able to be located. Once it finds a signal the LED lights will increase the closer that you are to the detector.
Now, the main differences between this and the AM-10 are that the LED screen does not give you as much information and that the frequency range only goes as high as 8GHz instead of 10GHz. While the more range you get is obviously a better thing, 8GHz is still more than enough to pick up most RF bugs so this really should not be too much of an issue. This is especially the case when you consider how much cheaper this model is.
In our opinion, if you are not quite able to buy one of the more expensive radio frequency detectors on this list of recommendations and are looking more for a moderately priced one, you are not going to find much better than this RF meter
Bottom Line: For a slightly less informative LCD screen than the Acoustimeter AM-10, you are seeing a massive reduction in the cost. Pretty much everything else is the same quality and the same product. This makes it a more affordable option and you are not really missing out on too much as there are not many radio frequency detectors that you will find using higher frequencies, not the everyday types anyway.
Spy Hawk Pro-10G
Another moderately priced electronic bug sweeper that is known for being highly effective is that of the Spy Hawk Pro-10G. This is one of the best bug detectors on the market when it comes to value for money simply because it can help to locate a number of different bugs and not only RF bugs.
When you open it up you might be a little disappointed to see that the casing is made with plastic. This is especially considering the KJB which is cheaper is made of aluminum, however, the plastic does seem very firm so it does offer some decent durability.
Where it differs from the KJB2020 and the main reason why it costs a bit more is that it can also be used to check your phone line to see if it is being traced. This is done by simply putting your phone line through the device and it will quickly tell you if a trace has been placed on it. This detector also gives you the ability to detect GPS bugs and GSM bugs too, which gives a further indication as to why you will have to pay more for it.
Another big benefit to the Pro-10G is that it scans frequencies as high as 10Ghz which is quite a bit more than you will find on lower priced detectors. Most RF meters around this price bracket will usually be able to scan frequencies no higher than 8Ghz in most cases.
When performing its main role of detecting RF bugs, it works in a very similar manner to most of our other recommendations. You can use headphones or keep an eye on the LED lights on the front to spot any signals that might be detected as you walk through your home. With this model, you do not even have to mess around with the sensitivity if you wish as it will automatically adjust on its own.
This really is your all-in-one bug scanning tool which means you have far more scope to what you can detect. Definitely deserving of a place on our list, we strongly suggest you check out the Sky Hawk PRO-10G
Bottom Line: The PRO-10G is definitely one of our favorite RF scanners simply because it can detect a number of bugs and can also allow you to test your phone line. Additionally, when you consider the price when compared to other detectors that do less, you can tell that it offers really good value for money.
Sleuthgear Law-Grade Counter Surveillance PRO
Our final review is going to be of the Sleuthgear Law-Grade Counter Surveillance PRO Sweep, a bug detector that is able to detect numerous different types of bugs that might have been placed in your home or car. Take it away when going to hotels, malls and public toilets and you can also use it to scan for any hidden cameras.
If there was an all-in-one solution to your anti-spying needs, we would have to say that the Sleuthgear is your man. The great thing is that it is extremely reasonably priced and offers more functionality than other more expensive products. Not only can it scan frequencies as high as 10GHz which is equal to that of higher priced detectors but it can detect hidden cameras, audio bugs, video bugs, GPS bugs and trackers, wireless bugs and many other types of surveillance equipment that might be used against you.
All of that for packaged into such a low price compared to some of its competitors certainly sounds like excellent value for money and it actually is. We have tested this detector and while we would say that it is a little bit too sensitive and takes a little bit of time and patience to be able to use it properly, it really is a fantastic detector. It is important that you unplug any of your own known devices before using this or it will go crazy with readings rather than help you locate anything.
Whether you are worried about spy cameras in changing rooms, public toilets, or in your home, RF transmitters in your property or GPS trackers in your car, for the money (and for more money) you are not going to be able to get your hands on anything better than the Sleuthgear Law-Grade Counter Surveillance PRO Sweep.
Bottom Line: For absolute bang for your buck, there is nothing better, especially when you learn the sheer number of surveillance devices it can help you to detect. Sure, it is let down a little with it almost being too good at detecting signals but you can tone this down as you learn how to use it more effectively. It also might not have the build quality of some more expensive products but you cannot really complain considering the price tag.
Recommended Article: Don't miss our guide to GPS trackers for cars next.
As you will agree, all of our recommended products are great pieces of kit that help you to earn a better peace of mind no matter where you are.
No longer will you have to worry about your privacy being snooped on and your audio and video being recorded. You may think that people that purchase this sort of equipment are being a little paranoid but you will be extremely surprised at how many of them have reported being totally correct about their suspicions.
Buyers have reported spycams in mall changing rooms, GPS trackers on their cars and RF receivers placed in their homes by nosey neighbours. It is actually quite scary to think that there are people out there that would even think of doing stuff like that.
However, with one of these detectors, you can help to protect that privacy to ensure that you are never a victim of surveillance again.
Out of the list above, if we were forced to choose our favourite and then also the detector that we think is the best value for money, we would have to edge in favour of both the Spy Hawk Pro and the Sleuthgear Law-Grade Counter Surveillance PRO Sweep respectively. That is not to say the others are poor products, just that in our opinion they are pipped to the post by the above two.
If you wanted to know more about RF meters and bug scanners in a bit more detail before you go ahead and buy, this helpful guide will take you through everything that you need to know.
You will learn more about the different bugs that can be used to monitor you as well as what you should be looking for when considering purchasing some bug detector devices to use at home.
It should be remembered that these devices are portable as well which will help if you want to make sure other places are free from surveillance equipment too, so do not forget to factor that in as you go searching for the right RF signal detector for your needs.
The Types of Bugs That Could Be Collecting Data
Before we get into giving you advice on the considerations you should be making when buying electronic bug detectors, it is important that you first know the types of bugs that people could install on your property. These bugs and cameras are not overly expensive and can be bought online with ease, so there is the potential that someone could be using one in your property or somewhere you are visiting.
Standard RF Transmitter Bugs
These bugs are radio frequency transmitters that via a microphone, will pick up any audio and transmit it across to a radio receiver that is using the same frequency. Those receivers could be a matter of miles away from the transmitter which makes it incredibly hard to learn who has been spying on you. The good news, however, is that these are easily located using an RF signal detector like those we reviewed earlier.
Because GSM bugs are not transmitting at all times, these bugs will be a little harder to detect. These work by essentially being an auto-answering mobile receiver that allows those who are spying on you to simply call the device so that they can listen in on what you are saying. This means you are likely to only locate these when they are being used or if your electronic bug detector has a GPS tracker function.
Similar in many ways to GSM bugs, a WiFi bug will use your actual home's WiFi to transmit recording rather than radio frequencies. These are not the most common type of surveillance device simply because while they are difficult to detect using RF scanners, as long as you regularly check who is using your WiFi, you will notice when there is a new device connected.
Burst bugs are the types of bugs that professionals would use as for one, they are digital so that the transmissions can be encrypted, and two, they record all day and save to memory before then bursting that data across to a receiver in a short space of time. This means that they are difficult to detect unless you have an radio frequency detector that supports a protect mode.
That sums up the different types of audio detectors out there right now.
What to Consider When Buying a Radio Signal Detector
A quick Google search will show you that there is a broad range in the price of RF detectors starting from under a hundred bucks right up to as much as tens of thousands in some cases. Obviously, those at the top-end will be state-of-the-art and used by outright professionals and will be well out of the price range of the average user.
While you will not want to pay that, you should also avoid those right at the bottom end of the price range too, as generally, these are low-quality. What you will find is that the price of a radio signal detector will usually depend on the following:
A good filter will be able to detect and filter out any ambient signals which make it easier for you to locate the signals you are looking for. You should learn about the filters that your detector has as if they are too sensitive or not sensitive enough, detection could prove difficult.
When scanning for radio frequencies you will want a detector that can cover a wide range of them. At a minimum, you will need 1mhz to 6ghz the higher the better in all honesty. If you are seriously concerned someone might be listening in to you and are willing to spend a bit more, go for one that goes up to more than 20ghz to be sure.
Unless you are going to buy your own RF bug, you are not going to know if your bug sweeper even works unless you do find a device. This is why it is important to read reviews and the feedback or verified buyers of them before buying.
While we have provided you with some excellent recommendations above we can completely understand that you will want to do more research on those products and any others that are available. In fact, we advise you to do exactly that as you will want to make sure that you are getting the right product for your needs and your budget.
Just make sure that you do plenty of research, read plenty of feedback from verified buyers and have learned everything you need to know regarding any warranty or return policies.
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