The Best Non-Contact Voltage Tester

The Best Non-Contact Voltage Tester

Our pick

Klein NCVT-3

Klein NCVT-3

The Klein detects standard and low voltage and is equipped with a handy flashlight—a nice touch for a tool you may need when the lights go out.

Buying Options

$27* from Amazon
$27 from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $24.

The Klein NCVT-3 is a dual-voltage model, so it registers both standard voltage (house wiring) and low voltage (like irrigation, doorbells, thermostats). And unlike some models we tested, it can automatically tell the difference between the two. This feature also makes it compatible with tamper-resistant outlets, which are now required by electrical code. The controls on the NCVT-3 are intuitive, the display is clear, and when testing it in a breaker panel full of live and dead wires, it was sensitive enough to read a dead wire from a short distance without giving us false positives from nearby live wires. But the most useful feature is actually its bright LED flashlight, which can be operated independently of the voltage tester. For a tool that’s often used in dim basements—or situations where the lights aren’t working—this is a minor but very helpful feature, and the Klein was the only model we tested that had this functionality. According to the company, the tool can also handle a drop of up to 6½ feet, which isn’t bad considering it’s a delicate piece of electronics.

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Also great

Milwaukee 2203-20 10-1000V Dual Range Voltage Detector

Milwaukee 2203-20 10-1000V Dual Range Voltage Detector

Runner-up

This dual-voltage tester is similar to our pick in the most important ways, but some of its minor details are a bit more annoying.

Buying Options

$26* from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $25.

If you can’t find the Klein, we also like the Milwaukee 2203-20 Voltage Detector with LED. It costs about the same, and is similar to the Klein where it counts—detecting standard and low voltage, and ease of use. But the flashlight isn’t as bright, and it can’t be used independently of the tester. It’s also makes an incredibly loud beep, with no mute option.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Klein NCVT-3

Klein NCVT-3

The Klein detects standard and low voltage and is equipped with a handy flashlight—a nice touch for a tool you may need when the lights go out.

Buying Options

$27* from Amazon
$27 from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $24.

Also great

Milwaukee 2203-20 10-1000V Dual Range Voltage Detector

Milwaukee 2203-20 10-1000V Dual Range Voltage Detector

Runner-up

This dual-voltage tester is similar to our pick in the most important ways, but some of its minor details are a bit more annoying.

Buying Options

$26* from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $25.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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