Tools for Testing Electricity: Low-Voltage Proximity Testers

Test before you touch. It’s one of the first things people learn when they begin working with electricity. It’s a mantra as old as the engineering profession, and staying true to these four simple words can mean the difference between success and failure.

In order to test electricity, it’s important to have the right equipment. And the “right equipment” includes low-voltage proximity testers.

Which low-voltage proximity tester you use depends on personal preference as well as the job site. Testers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and with an array of different features.

Some tools turn red when they detect an electric field. Some flash. Others beep, vibrate or emit a mildly irritating (but entirely effective) squealing sound. All show whether or not voltage is present, which is what you need to know before you begin working on any circuit.

Some equipment only tests for voltage when you’re holding down a trigger. Additionally, there are some that test for voltage continuously, providing an extra layer of protection on jobs that are more complicated. Most test for voltages between 50V and 600V, but some of the more sensitive tools can test for voltages as low as 5V.

Grounded Testing

While testing electricity with a low-voltage proximity tester is relatively simple, it does require knowledge of the ground, circuits and tester itself.

Most proximity testers won’t work properly if you're isolated from ground. Testers should be proven accurate, using a known circuit, prior to being used on a live circuit. The operator should also spend some time becoming familiar with the tester as they have been known to give false readings depending on the angle at which they’re held, the presence of water and other factors.

Ultimately, testing before touching is a non-negotiable fact of working with electricity and low-voltage proximity testers are effective. Please contact the experts at MATsolutions for more information about our tools for testing electricity.