The list of smartphones that emit the most and least amount of radiation

All manufacturers must indicate the “Specific Absorption Rate” (SAR) of their smartphones in order to specify their level of electromagnetic wave emissions. We explain what it is, how this number is calculated, as well as the 2024 ranking of phones that emit the most and least radiation.

The SAR, or “Specific Absorption Rate,” quantifies the energy carried by radio waves that are locally absorbed by the human body. The SAR is expressed in Watts per kilogram (W/kg).

Exposure to waves causes heating of human tissues. It also has biological effects on our brain activity if SAR is higher than 2 W/kg, as revealed by ANSES (the French National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety) in October 2019.

How is SAR measured?

It is ANFR (the French National Frequency Agency) that controls the compliance of devices (smartphones, but not only) that are placed on the market. Since 2017, the agency has identified 44 phones that were found to be non-compliant following SAR measurements.

“In 36 cases, the manufacturer has made an update to bring their phone into compliance,” says Emmanuelle Conil, an engineer at the Strategy Directorate (DSE). “In six other cases, the manufacturer has recalled their products. And in the last two cases, an order was issued to recall and remove the phones from the market, since the manufacturer did not take corrective measures.”

Recently, the iPhone 12 was flagged by ANFR for its excessively high SAR. Apple has since deployed a fix to avoid its smartphone being removed from the market. ANFR does not conduct its tests on humans, but on a mannequin consisting of a fiberglass shell integrated into a wooden table known as a “phantom.” The phantom is filled with a liquid that simulates human tissues and their heating. To learn more about the SAR testing procedure, we invite you to watch the video below from ANFR.

Various types of SAR

Every smartphone sold in Europe must display not one, but three SAR values, in order to demonstrate that they comply with the established standards: head SAR, trunk/body SAR, and member SAR. Each of them corresponds to a specific use that we regularly make of our smartphones.

  • Head SAR: corresponds to making a call with the phone held to the ear. The limit is set at 2 W/kg.
  • Trunk/body SAR: corresponds to the use case where our phone is close to the body, in a coat pocket or a bag, for example. The limit is also 2 W/kg.
  • Member SAR: corresponds to the everyday use of holding the smartphone in the hand, in the pocket of pants, or against the arm for sports. The limit is twice as high here, at 4 W/kg.

These standards, set at the European level, are considered inappropriate by some experts such as those from ANSES who believe that a smartphone emits several frequencies at the same time (4G, 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth), sometimes referred to as “wave cocktails.” However, the measurements are currently taken at five millimeters and not in contact with the body as is the case when we use it.

Phones with the lowest and highest SAR

The components used in smartphone manufacturing have a direct influence on the level of emitted waves. Thus, good antennas allow smartphones to capture the network well and emit fewer radio waves. The more or less significant presence of antennas as well as the conditions in which the smartphone is used (transport, locations) also influence the maximum SAR level.

As you can see on this page listing SAR measurement results, ANFR tests a marginal number of smartphones compared to the number of products released every week on the market. To complete this list (far from being up to date), we have compiled around forty more recent popular smartphones, along with their declared SAR levels. We will update them with the more precise measurements from ANFR, when they become available.

Models Head SAR (W/kg) Body/Trunk SAR (W/kg) Member SAR (W/kg)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 (4G) 0.90 0.995 2.55
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 (5G) 0.680 0.911 2.395
Xiaomi Redmi 12 (4G) 0.596 0.998 1.972
Xiaomi Redmi Note 12S (4G) 0.68 0.911 2.395
Xiaomi Redmi 12C (4G) 0.979 0.957 2.208
Xiaomi Redmi A2 (4G) 0.897 0.997 2.541
Samsung Galaxy A04e 0.290 1.100 1.100
Samsung Galaxy A14 (4G) 0.90 1.05 1.84
Samsung Galaxy A14 (5G) 1.19 1.19 2.98
Samsung Galaxy A23 1.49 1.25 2.84
Samsung Galaxy A33 1.59 0.574 3.23
Samsung Galaxy A34 0.546 1.488 2.68
Samsung Galaxy A54 0.693 1.338 3.15
Samsung Galaxy S23 0.963 1.304 2.42
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus 0.766 1.453 3.01
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 0.963 1.398 2.95
Samsung Galaxy S24 0.869 1.35 2.13
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus 0.744 1.245 1.92
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra 1.056 1.30 2.40
Apple iPhone 12 0.99 1.178 3.94
Apple iPhone 12 Pro 0.99 0.99 3.85
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max 0.99 0.99 3.85
Apple iPhone 13 0.98 0.99 2.99
Apple iPhone 13 Pro 0.99 0.98 2.97
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max 0.99 0.98 2.97
Apple iPhone 14 0.98 0.98 2.98
Apple iPhone 14 Pro 0.99 0.98 2.99
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max 0.99 0.98 2.99
Apple iPhone 15 0.98 0.98 2.98
Apple iPhone 15 Pro 0.98 0.96 2.99
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max 0.98 0.98 2.98
Google Pixel 8 Pro 0.84 1.20 2.50
Google Pixel 8 0.98 1.20 2.49
Google Pixel 7a 0.99 1.30 2.99
Google Pixel 7 0.99 1.40 3.00
OnePlus 11 0.991 1.240 2.792
Honor Magic6 Lite 0.84 1.29 2.62
Honor Magic5 Lite 0.82 1.27 2.81
Honor Magic 5 Pro 0.81 1.12 2.84
Honor 90 0.85 1.26 2.88
Honor 90 Lite 0.85 1.28 2.96

Among the smartphones with the lowest SAR at the head, we find references as affordable and popular as the Samsung Galaxy A04e, A34, as well as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 and Redmi 12. These are also well positioned in terms of the SAR measured near the body, although the best position is occupied by the Galaxy A33. There are only four phones in our selection with member SAR lower than 2 W/kg: the Galaxy A04e, the Galaxy A14 (4G), the Galaxy S24 Plus, and the Xiaomi Redmi 12 (4G).

In this last test, the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max are clearly at the bottom, which explains why Apple has been flagged by health authorities on this subject. The company has, however, improved on its latest models with a head and body SAR of less than 1, as well as a member SAR of less than 3. The Galaxy A33, on the other hand, performs poorly by being the phone with the highest head SAR in this table, followed by the Galaxy A23 and the Galaxy

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