The impact of cell phone radiation on the human body is highly debated and inconclusive, but it’s good to know what that little device glued to your side is emitting. Here are the phones that emit the highest—and lowest—amounts of radiation, as reported by the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection.
But first, some clarity
The radiation emissions are calculated according to their ‘specific absorption rate,’ (SAR) which is a measure of the rate of radio-frequency energy absorbed by the human body from the cell phone. It’s also measured in watts per kilogram while the phone is both calling someone and placed against a person’s ear.
The following are the 16 phones that emit the highest rate of radiation.
iPhone 7 Plus: The popular American phone has a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 1.24 watts per kilogram.
Blackberry DTEK60: The Canadian company’s Android phone has a SAR of 1.28 watts per kilogram.
ZTE Axon 7 Mini: The Chinese company’s smaller version of their Axon 7 has a higher SAR of 1.29.
iPhone 8: The more recent version of the iPhone has an even higher rate at 1.32—so more advanced phones don’t necessarily mean lower radiation emissions.
Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact: The Japanese company makes its only appearance on this list of smartphones that emit the highest levels of radiation, with a SAR of 1.36.
iPhone 7: Apple’s third and last appearance on this list is with the iPhone 7, which has a SAR of 1.38.
Huawei P9 Lite: This Chinese company makes its first (of many) entries on this list at a rate of 1.38.
OnePlus 5: China enters the list again with OnePlus’ dual SIM device, which has a SAR of 1.39.
Huawei Nova Plus: This model with enhanced battery life and photography capabilities has a SAR of 1.41.
Huawei P9: Co-engineered with the Leica Camera company, this model has a SAR of 1.43.
Huawei GX8: This particular Huawei model has a higher SAR, standing at 1.44.
Huawei P9 Plus: Huawei’s phones have skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade, but these devices do seem to have higher specific absorption rates, like this model which sits at 1.48.
Nokia Lumia 630: The Finnish company makes its first and only entry on this list with the Nokia Lumia 630, which has a SAR of 1.51.
Huawei Mate 9: Huawei’s sixth and final entry on the list has a SAR of 1.64.
OnePlus 5T: This dual SIM device has the second-highest SAR, coming in at 1.68.
Xiaomi Mi A1: China dominates the list with four major smartphone manufacturers—ZTE, OnePlus, Huawei, and Xiaomi—taking 10 places in the 16 highest radiation-emitting devices with greatest specific absorption rates list. The Xiaomi Mi A1 dual SIM device takes the cake, having a SAR of 1.75 watts per kilogram.
And now the phones that emit the least amount of radiation
These smartphones all have specific absorption rates significantly lower than the required rate for Germany’s Blue Angel certification.
Google Pixel: The American multinational and multifaceted tech company’s smartphone makes it into the top 15 with a SAR of 0.33 watts per kilogram.
Samsung Galaxy S8: You’ll be seeing a lot more of this South Korean company, but its first entry on this list has a SAR of 0.32.
Nokia Lumia 535: The Finnish company has phone models on both ends of the radiation-emitting spectrum. This dual SIM device has a SAR of only 0.32.
ZTE Blade A610: ZTE also has models on both end of the radiation emission spectrum. This model has a SAR of 0.31.
Motorola Moto Z: This American company makes its first appearance with a low SAR of 0.30.
Motorola Moto G5 Plus: This 2017 model has a lower SAR than its predecessors, coming in at 0.30.
Samsung Galaxy A5: This Android device is an attractive mid-range phone and has a SAR of 0.29.
LG Q6: The South Korean multinational company also makes its debut with the LG Q6, which has a SAR of 0.28.
ZTE Blade A910: ZTE has a range of different devices with different radiation emission and specific absorption rates. This model achieves a low rate of 0.27.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: The award-winning phone has a SAR of 0.26.
Samsung Galaxy S8+: This Android-powered phone is the fourth Galaxy model to make it into the top 15 lowest SAR cell phones list with a rate of 0.26.
Google Pixel XL: This 2016 model is Google’s second entry on the list, with a SAR of 0.25.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: Did you think you’d seen the last of Samsung Galaxy models? This one has a SAR of 0.22.
Samsung Galaxy Note8: The Note8 comes with a small pen that can be inserted into the phone. Another neat thing about it is that this smartphone comes in at second place for the lowest SAR at 0.17.
Sony Xperia M5: Sony makes only one appearance on this list, but it appears at the top with its dual SIM device’s incredibly low specific absorption rate of 0.14 watts per kilogram.