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miamicuse 05-21-2012 08:35 PM

Need recommendation of non-contact voltage tester
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I used to have a non-contact voltage tester that worked fairly well. I got it from Builders Square (back when they were still in business). Over the years it dropped a few times and finally it stopped working.

Last week I went to Home Depot and picked up a new one, real cheap I think like $6.99. The problem is I can't really use it. It seem to be real sensitive and when I insert the tester into a junction box it beeps when there is nothing within a two inch radius.

My most typical application is to diagnose from a bunch of tangled wires which wire is HOT and which is not, and by turning individual circuits on and off I can determine this wire is from circuit 17 and that one is from 32 and that one from 3. My old tester I almost need to touch the wire for it to beep, but the new one beeps the hot wire is 3" away and often a circuit I had off will also beep because the wires may be too close to a hot wire. So basically unless I can pull a wire out of the box and push it away I can't tell which one is hot and which one is not.

Can someone recommend a good reliable non-contact voltage tester?

I found this at Home Depot:
Klein Tools Dual Range Non-Contact Voltage Tester $19.97

I found these two at Lowes (and reviews are not that great):

Greenlee Adjustable Non-Contact Voltage Detector, AC V 5-1000, CAT IV $19.96

Greenlee Non-Contact Volt Detector $13.89

Any thoughts what might work best? Or is there a better choice in that price range?

Thanks in advance.

k_buz 05-21-2012 08:42 PM

I don't use them because I can never truly trust their readings, but I've heard good things about Santronics or the Fluke version.

Ravenworks 05-21-2012 08:47 PM

You need one of these

andrew79 05-21-2012 09:50 PM

the greenlee flluke and klein testers all work really well, The gb and other cheap models pick up power from too far away. Keep in mind that a non contact tester is only the first line of defense and it won't pick up current on a neutral. Great for safety but don't trust them with your life

sevenlol 05-21-2012 09:58 PM

a guy i work with has a Milwaukee brand one, and it has a thumb dial on it to adjust sensitivity, so it will work at the 3 inch range like the one you have, or you can lower it to find a specific wire.

i have the klien brand, and it works fine with finding individual hots, the little bit i've used it.

rrolleston 05-21-2012 11:02 PM

Prefer to use a good multimeter. I have never found a reason to test a mid run somewhere and have heard way too stories where a wrong reading went bad.

Evstarr 05-22-2012 04:33 PM

I prefer to use a non contact tester to narrow things down. But I won't dig in to start tearing things down to work on a circuit till I've checked all conductors with a meter.

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