All smartphones release some type of radiation, but a new study suggests that some of the most popular models emit much more radiation than others.
The data comes from a report published by Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection. That report took a look at the specific absorption rate (SAR) — the amount of radiofrequency waves emitted — of various smartphone models.
Essentially, the higher the SAR, the more radiofrequency waves a device emits and the higher the chance that users may be exposed to harmful radiation.
Helpfully, Statista took the data and compiled it into easy-to-read infographics. See them below.
The Highest Emitters
Of the smartphones measured, various models made by Xiaomi and OnePlus were among the worst offenders.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 took the top spot as the smartphone with the highest radiation emissions, followed by the OnePlus 5T, the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 and the OnePlus 6T.
But there were other popular OEMs on the list, including Google, Apple, ZTE and HTC. The Google Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 3 took 7th and 12th place, respectively, on the worst-offenders list.
Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 ranked in 9th and 14th place respectively.
The Lowest Emitters
The study also took a look at the other side of the spectrum, ranking devices that emitted the least amount of radiation. Among the smartphones that the report measured, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 had the lowest measurable radiation emissions.
Interestingly, Samsung had five of the top 10 devices on this list. The Samsung Galaxy S8+ ranked 4th, while the Samsung Galaxy S9+ came in 9th place.
Other manufacturers that had low-emitting smartphones include Motorola, ZTE and LG.
What This Means for You
While it’s easy enough to rank smartphones by their SAR numbers, it’s much harder to determine what a “safe” SAR number really is. To date, there still isn’t a universal guideline dictating what makes a “safe” level of smartphone radiation.
Making matters more complicated, there are just as many studies claiming that smartphone radiation is harmful to people as there are studies claiming that it’s not.
For example, the initial findings of a study by the National Toxicology Program suggest that smartphone radiation can cause cancer. But two government studies suggested that the amount of radiation emitted by our devices are only harmful to rats (not humans).