For a phone to pass FCC certification and be sold in the United States, its maximum Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR level must be less than 1.6 watts per kilogram.
Since we started reviewing cell phones more than 10 years ago, CNET has tracked the SAR of every handset that we review. Though we’re still reformatting our full Cell Phone Radiation Charts and will bring them back shortly, we have updated our lists of the 20 phones with the highest SAR levels and the 20 phones with lowest SAR levels.
By publishing these lists we are in no way implying that cell phones are dangerous. Also, we are not implying that a cell phone with a lower SAR is inherently safer. Rather, we are giving you the tools to make a choice based on your own concerns.
Though some researchers argue that the radio frequency energy that cell phones emit may lead to a higher risk of cancer, others disagree. Research continues, and we will continue to monitor its results.
The SAR level listed in this gallery represents the highest SAR level measured with the phone next to the ear, as tested by the FCC. It’s possible for the SAR level to vary among different transmission bands (the same phone can use multiple bands during a call), and different testing bodies can obtain different results.