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Do EMF Protection Phone Cases Work? Review Defender Shield, Safe Sleeve And More For EMF Protection [2023 Update]
We've updated this article for 2023
EMF protection phone cases, radiation blocking, or phone shield cases sell like hot cakes!
SafeSleeve, DefenderShield, Vest, Alara, Pong, Reach, ShieldMe, Gadget Guard and many other EMF protection phone cases claim to block the radiation from your cellphone or smartphone.
Anti-radiation cellphone case brands make enticing claims like, "...eliminate up to 99% of the harmful radiation coming from the phone!"
But do EMF protection phone cases work? Are they the best EMF protection?
Blocking radiation or protecting from wireless EMF (the electromagnetic fields that come from wireless cell signals, WiFi, and Bluetooth) is an excellent idea. A really excellent idea in fact, because that radiation (sometimes called EMF, EMR or wireless energy) has been proven in studies over the last 30 years to be harmful to our health.
One thing we know that protects you from the EMF radiation coming from your phone: Airtube Anti-Radiation Headsets
Cancer and Other Nasty Things Are Why We Want Anti-Radiation Cases to Work
Dr. Leigh-Erin Connealy, director of The Center for New Medicine, just published her latest book, "The Cancer Revolution, A Groundbreaking Program to Reverse and Prevent Cancer". Dr. Connealy recommends avoiding cellphone radiation exposure as one component of cancer prevention.
To demonstrate one example of possible effects, here's a graphic about EMF radiation exposure and breast cancer from the Environmental Health Trust:
You CAN Block 100% of Cellphone Radiation, but You Can't Use Your Phone At the Same Time!
To block enough radiation from your cellphone to be safe, you would have to use an anti-radiation Faraday case. They really do block 100% of signal. But, while there's no radiation in or out of the Faraday case or bag, there's also no cell signal.
Meaning: you can't use your phone.
So, we asked around - Do leading EMF experts think anti-radiation or EMF blocking shields and cases actually work?
We couldn't find one legit EMF expert online or anywhere else that would recommend a radiation blocking case or anti-radiation case.
Not even Michael, the expert who does the test on Cellphone EMF Blocking Products: A Real World Test on YouTube...
- Larry Gust - Tech Wellness expert, electrical engineer, faculty member of the International Institute of Building Biology and IBE Board President, and owner of Gust Environmental does not recommend anti-radiation phone cases.
- The Environmental Health Trust does not recommend.
- Magda Havas, EHS researcher, does not recommend.
- Jeromy Johnson of EMFanalysis and EMF information leader does not recommend.
- Joel Moskowitz does not recommend. (In fact, Dr. Moskowitz's site saferemr.com cautions against scams and claims for radiation protection.)
So, if any EMF professional says you should get an anti-radiation phone case, you may want to find out if they actually are an EMF "expert."
But Google "EMF Protection Phone Cases" and you'll find many "EMF Expert" sites that have lists of the "Best EMF Protection Phone Cases."
Why? Because these "EMF" sites create the "Top Ten Phone Cases" or "The Best Cellphone Protection Cases" lists to link to the websites of these phone cases (or to Amazon) so they can make affiliate commissions when you buy one.
Look For Science-Backed Answers
I really want to caution you to be careful of any "expert" or EMF blogger recommending anti-radiation filtering cases, stickers that attach to the phone, or necklaces to "ward off" EMF.
Are they truly experts? What is their motivation for creating these lists or for providing information about EMF protection? This is a booming category and fairly new sites like EMF Academy and EMFRisks don't reveal who they are. They use a stock photo and made-up names and share the same blog posts - which may make you wonder if they are, in fact, worthy of your trust when it comes to such a critical yet difficult to understand topic.
My promise to you: Tech Wellness will only recommend what really works and yes, we do offer products but no magic bullets because honestly, they don't exist... yet. I've been in this field for over a decade and when I'm certain something works to protect you from EMF I'll be more than happy to offer it in our store or recommend the website where you can buy it.
I want you to be protected from EMF! There's absolutely no doubt it has a biological effect.
I get wanting an easy fix! 25 years ago, when I first realized that I was sensitive to electromagnetic energy and then later, when I understood that man made electromagnetic radiation has a biological effect on my body, I wanted an easy fix.
I tried the shielding materials and cases available and I just did not feel any better. Then I bought meters to see if the energy changed and I noticed what the California Department of Health presently states as well as the FTC and FCC post warnings about: "Some shielding materials can make exposures worse". So please, be careful and read on for what you can do to avoid electromagnetic radiation exposure.
Research Study on EMF Shields
Unfortunately, shielding is very problematic. Shielding cases, clothing, and anti-radiation products can increase radiation levels around the shielded area and any part of the wireless device that's not completely covered is STILL emitting RF radiation.
D.J. Panagopoulos and G.P. Chrousos, authors of a study on EMF shielding, explain why shielding is actually a risk:
"One cannot modify the radiation (frequency, waveform) once it has been emitted by a device. One can only attenuate it (reduce its intensity). Modification would only be possible by modifying the electronic circuits within the devices. Even if that were the case with these products, which is not, once the emitted signal is modified or attenuated, the device (mobile phone, etc.) would lose its ability to connect with the network and communicate. If one simply attenuates the signal without modifying it, which is possible, the mobile phone again will have difficulty in establishing connection with the base antennas and automatically will emit a stronger signal/radiation/EMF in order to be able to connect/communicate . . . .This is why it is dangerous to put the mobile phone within any kind of metal box/ sheath/holster etc. in order to carry it on the clothes/body while it is turned on. Any such product will attenuate the incoming signal, . . thus it will attenuate the connectivity of the mobile phone. The less the connectivity is, the stronger the emission of the device becomes in order to be able to connect with the network."
This 2019 scientific research report on radiation/EMF protection and risks has just been published. The research study covers how and why EMF has biological effects and the many types of shields including chips, cases and home shielding.
What About Cases to Protect From 5G?
More and more phones are using the 5G millimeter wave with the antenna built right in. 5G towers are beginning to popup next our schools, churches, and every block within a mile radius. The millimeter wave is RF radiation at a much higher frequency wave. Safer Living Technologies just created a special meter to detect this particular wave form. If any of these cases to end up having the ability to block 5G millimeter waves, it's important to remember that connections will bounce back and forth from 4G to the 5G millimeter wave when you're using your phone.
Either way, anti-radiation EMF-protection cellphone cases still subject your hands, your face, your neck - anywhere the phone happens to be - to the radiation coming out the sides of the phone, the back of the phone, and radiation leaks from the small hole that allows sound to come out of the front of some of the cases.
And it's important to note, so I'll note it here: Metallic materials included in faraday bags, cases, and shields will not block low or extremely low frequency of magnetic fields. They can shield electric fields, but not magnetic.
So hold on—How can these cellphone radiation blocking cases claim they work when radiation comes OUT OF ALL SIDES OF THE PHONE?
1. The laboratory tests that are published ONLY test the shielding material NOT the shielding cases
Look at the information from the DefenderShield and SafeSleeve Anti-Radiation Phone Shielding cases websites. It's kind of tricky, but most are clear about saying the "technology" or the "material" used in the cases is proven by a lab to absorb, deflect, or block radiation.
Ah ha! So to be super clear they only claim to be testing the shielding, absorbing, reflecting and/or signal-interfering material used in the cases.
They are NOT testing the actual anti-radiation cellphone cases which are designed to block only SOME of the radiation coming from cellphones and smartphones.
You can visit the websites and look at DefenderShield's full "Shielding Effectiveness Report" and SafeSleeve's FCC Accredited "Lab Testing".
Here's just one example:
The anti-radiation cellphone case company, SafeSleeve, published how the blocking material they use for their cases is certified to block up to 99% of radio frequency energy by a certified lab.
SafeSleeve's report is upfront about showing that they do not test or certify the SafeSleeve case, rather they are simply testing the material they put into the case in a completely artificial environment (a laboratory setting) using a signal generator and a power amplifier. SafeSleeve includes photos showing how the measurements are taken but that may not be how anyone will ever use their phone.
Consider getting a meter to see the EMF radiation
in your environment. Here's our favorite:
2. The lab tests that are published show measurements of EMF radiation from specific targeted areas but do NOT take into account the EMF radiation emitted AROUND the phone case
Visit Vest and see the photos from the independent lab tests showing how the meter is directed at the case, not around the case where radiation from the phone is also emitted.
The creators of the Pong case, which is now called Alara, note that "Pong technology is proven in third party independent labs, certified by the FCC" and their case works differently: containing a micro thin, gold-plated antenna that redirects wireless energy away from you.
Here's a video where you'll see that they are detecting SAR from the area directly under the case. SAR is the Standard Absorption Rate is the measure of a the rate at which energy (heat) is absorbed by a human body when when it's exposed to wireless radiation.
We Bought 6 Anti-Radiation Cases to Try Ourselves...
...and we detected radiation from the BACK and SIDES of the phone.
These are the highest profile cases available and here's what each company says about how their cases block radiation. The photo below shows a phone with no case measuring at the PEAK LEVEL of radiation.
SafeSleeve Anti Radiation Case Review: SafeSleeve's website says they integrate FCC accredited independent lab tested "shielding technology" in their products. There are many links to "SafeSleeve, Is it a Scam?" and "Does SafeSleeve work?" online, but if you follow those links you'll find they go to the actual SafeSleeve site where the question of SafeSleeve protection is addressed. You'll see in this demonstration that the radiation level was higher with the SafeSleeve Case ON.
Vest Anti-Radiation Phone Case Review: The Vest Website says their case offers 360-degree protection to both you and the phone. They claim to "minimize exposure to radiation being emitted from the phone because the case is integrated with aluminum laminated foil. Together with an aluminum net the composite successfully minimizes your exposure ..."
Pong Radiation Protection Case Review: Pong website explains, "Pong cases are embedded with a patented, micro-thin, gold-plated antenna that reduces exposure to potentially harmful cell phone radiation while maintaining the phones signal. The Pong antenna couples with the antenna in your phone and redirects radiation away from you."
Reach Phone Case Review: Their site says, "The Reach Case's multi-patented, miro-thin antenna automatically couples with your phone to expand and extend your antenna."
DefenderShield Cellphone Radiation Case Review: They also claim independent testing and says in their website that a "sophisticated layering of separate non-toxic, human-safe materials processed for maximum radiation blocking efficiency. Each material has unique and targeted radiation-shielding characteristics designed to work in unison to eliminate all radiation emissions from 0 to 10 GHZ and DefenderShield technology refracts, conducts and finally absorbs all these potentially harmful emissions."
In this demonstration, the radiation level measured when DefenderShield case was on is still quite a bit above the level of exposure that I would recommend. I personally do not recommend holding a phone with a shielding case to your head as the DefenderShield website shows a young woman doing as she demonstrates the product.
ShieldMe Case Review: On the ShieldMe site is a message from Wireless Connection CEO Rose Vitale addressing issues with the cellphone industry and she makes some good points. As far as how ShieldMe works she states, "Our ShieldMe cases help deflect up to 99% of the harmful EMF, RF, or microwave radiation emitted from a cellphone while carrying around or when on a call."
The demonstration of the SheildMe case shows levels that like the "EMF protection cellphone cases" is many many times higher than levels EMF expert Larry Gust follows as a certified building biologist.
We used a meter that measures the type of EMF–Radio Frequency(RF) Radiation that’s emitted when we use our cellphones or smartphones.
Not a Test, A Real World Demo
Our homemade demonstration of all the cases uses a working phone. Not the shielding material by itself, but the actual "shielding" SafeSleeve, Pong, Reach, Vest, ShieldMe, and Defender Shield cases. First we get RF power density measurements from a phone that's on a call and then, in the same location, within minutes of the first reading, we place the same phone as it's engaged in a call into each case and we take additional reading with the meter.
As our video points out: Measurements will vary with signal strength and other factors and that includes ambient energy. I talk about ambient energy in a lot of my videos. It's the energy that's in whatever environment I happen to be measuring in that's coming from a source of wireless energy that isn't the subject of what I'm measuring. My home is not a lab of course, but fortunately it's always measured very low for RF radiation.
Cellphone cases cover only the FRONT of a phone - that's WHY these shields can't possibly reduce the EMF radiation by 99%. Radiation LEAKS from the back, sides and front of smartphones.
Up, Down and All Around - See the EMF Exposure From ALL Sides of the Phone
Moving the meter around the case, we detect readings on the side, back, and front of the case. We use the multi-directional TES 593 meter which measures 10 MHz to 8GHz. We use the unit of micro-watts per square centimeter, which looks like this little symbol: μW/cm² and we use it on the max setting which shows the maximum measured value. In non-science speak: the highest level of RF we see, which could be from the back the side or the front.
We did not simply measure energy coming from the front of the case which is the area of the case where the phone would be "shielded" from radiation. If we had taken readings with a directional meter, specifically measuring energy coming from only the front or flap cover where the shielding material is, we assume as the manufacturers claim, that we would have seen a drop in the radiation readings.
However, we measure all around the phone that is in the case because we want to demonstrate what happens as far as wireless energy goes when you put that baby in your hand. Or, in your pocket (please don't!), or purse, or backpack.
The Numbers Please...
Did we see lower numbers of overall multi-directional measurements? Sometimes.
Sometimes the numbers we're higher. But don't worry. This is Tech Wellness and we have a solution!
In our demonstration, we see that our naked, non-cased iPhone measures about a 6.2.
We were super sad to see that not one of the cases reduced that measurement even 20% and a couple of times, we saw measurements actually INCREASE. With one case creating a reading which was double the reading of no case at all. It acted as an EMF amplifier of sorts, which is most likely the "hot spot" phenomenon that you can see on the video and read about in the 2019 research "Radiation and EMF Protection and Risks."
Our RF Radiation Reading Was Higher With Some Cases on the phone.
So of course now that we understand that the cases are not tested and just the material--it makes sense! We measured power density levels all around the case-the shielding material most likely isn't used "all over" because then the phone couldn't receive signal and wouldn't be able to engage in a call. That's why we did not see even close to a 99% reduction when some cases were on the phone. In fact, watch the video and you'll see some readings are more than 20% higher with a case on vs the naked phone.
Can you trust so called "EMF Experts" who promote anti-radiation or EMF protection phone cases? The government cautions us about "Cell Phone Radiation Scams"
Yeah they do. Both the FTC and FCC have warnings against what they call "Cellphone Scams" and offer step-by-step cautions to avoid and reduce the amount of EMF exposure from your smartphone.
“If you're looking for ways to limit your exposure to the electromagnetic emissions from your cell phone, know that, according to the FTC, there is no scientific proof that so-called shields significantly reduced exposure from these electromagnetic emissions. In fact, products that block only the earpiece—or another small portion of the phone—are totally ineffective because the entire phone emits electromagnetic waves. What's more, these shields may interfere with the phone's signal, cause it to draw even more power to communicate with the base station, and possibly emit more radiation.”
Here's a video demonstration showing both near field and far field measurements of a pouch and a shield.
So What's the Solution to Decrease Cellphone Radiation?
The point is, even with a modest decreased measurement using a case, it's just not enough to make us happy. So we cannot recommend the SafeSleeve, Pong, Vest, ShieldMe, Alara and DefenderShield cases.
The real and most guaranteed fix of all and one of the solutions we feel passionately about... the magic word: DISTANCE.
Energy plumes, spray or emissions from wireless towers and devices are strongest at the source and dissipate with distance. Watch any of our measurement videos to “see” the invisible RF with our meters.
EMF RADIATION READING NEXT TO THE CELLPHONE
THIS IS THE MEASUREMENT ABOUT 10 INCHES FROM THE PHONE!
NOTICE HOW MUCH LESS IT IS THAN WITH ANY OF THE CASES!
Before We continue to other solutions-an Update From the Engineer who performed the EMF Protection Products Testing For KPIX:
After this story "Do Cellphone Shields and Cases Work?" was published, case manufacturers reached out and asked that I amend this story. One cited a video done by KPIX CBS showing that cases, if used correctly, can in some situations, help with exposure. Honestly this report surprised me, because I know for a fact that they do not stop the radiation coming from the back of the phone where it's being held and that most certainly they do not stop all the energy even where the case is put up to your head. So I reached out to the engineer who is shown in the video doing the testing from his point of view.
Here's highly respected EMF Expert, EMF Engineer and owner of Neuert Electromagnetic Service Michael Neuert, who is featured on the story for KPIX CBS News on Anti-Radiation and Cellphone Protection Clothing and Shields.
His opinion on cellphone cases and the BEST WAY to protect from EMF Radiation:
"I have tested many phone case shielding products. Many of these products will provide some shielding of the RF to the person using the phone. But in most situations, the user can reduce their RF exposure to a much greater degree by holding the phone itself a foot or more away from their head (more than they can by using a shielded phone case). And with any phone shield product, there is the possibility that in certain situations, the shielded phone case can actually make the person's RF exposure worse! Therefore, if a person must use a cell phone, I recommend that people use the phone on speaker mode, with the phone located as far away from their body as possible.
And if using speakerphone mode is not a good option, then another good option I would recommend is to use an air tube type of headset, allowing the cell phone itself to be placed as far away from the body as possible. A good air tube headset has two important features: (1) the magnetic fields from the speaker are moved farther away from the head, and (2) any RF signal that accidentally conducts itself up the metal headset wire is stopped where the air tube begins and thus does not reach the ear."
HERE'S OUR FAVORITE STYLUS TO AVOID MAGNETIC RADIATION
There are solutions that really DO work
Faraday Cases - A small pocket encases your device with signal blocking material that protects you from the EMF/RF energy your devices give off. Please know that this will not allow your phone to function, but all signal is blocked, therefore, all EMF is gone when in use. You can use this while walking around (if you’re worried about what your phone emits) or while asleep.
We leave you with this Tech Wellness Mantra: DISTANCE IS YOUR FRIEND.
Be aware, mindful, and caring of the space between yourself and the technology in your life.
We have a couple of nice options for cases that are phone-holders that let you carry the phone using the best EMF protection: Distance. The first is crossbody with a Faraday built in. the second is a phone leash that you can carry away from your body as the phone is not protected.
You can also achieve distance from you phone with your purse, a backpack's back pocket or carrying the case with a strap in a long cross body or a wristlet. However you do, we recommend putting 8 to 12 inches between you and your cellphone—or anyone else’s phone that’s enabled for that matter. And if you like that easy tip, you might really love our Smart Smartphone Tips
As Michael Neuert mentioned above, air tube headphones do a great job putting a nice distance between you and the radiation plume coming from the cellphone. Even if you choose to use a "filtering" phone case, your hands and any body part that's in close contact with the "sides" or "back" or any "unprotected" part of the phone (even in the case) will be exposed to the radiation plume of wireless energy. So using the air-tube technology really does allow you to distance your self and eliminate the radiation that can travel up headset wires to the ear piece.
Wireless EMF Energy vs. Body Energy
August has been doing EMF measurement videos on cell phones and mobile phones since 2000 because she wanted to show people the "energy waves" that can't be seen, felt or touched.
In many of the videos, she pointed out that the energy coming from a Smartphone or a Bluetooth speaker, negatively affected the energy of her body. She felt that the wireless energy wasn't interacting with her body's energy in a good way.
So How Much Wireless Energy is Too Much?
Well let's start here: the Environmental Health Trust points out, "science has not yet determined a safe level of wireless radiation." Bummer.
Our recommendation is to reduce your exposure from wireless sources. We advocate what’s referred to as the Precautionary Principle. Basically, this means that because there’s research, lots of it actually, saying the energy that powers our cellphones (RF radiation) could be causing health concerns like tumors and cancer, we ought to take care when using our cell phones and all devices that emit RF and use them mindfully.
The International Institute of Building Biology has standards for Electromagnetic Sensitive People and to what degree they should limit exposure to in rooms where they sleep. The levels we detected in our anti-radiation cellphone case review were MUCH higher.
In a real-world setting, August, having EHS herself, hopes people who are trying to control their exposures will keep the cellphone 12" from their body and disable any wireless function that's not being used (Bluetooth, or WiFi or cell signal) because each one accesses a different antenna that's blasting EMF radiation. She also recommends staying a minimum of 20' from the WiFi and switching it off anytime you're not using it and at night while you're sleeping and resting.
EMF Radiation: A Guide for You and Your Family
If you think EMF radiation is messing with the energy in your body, please visit our complete EMF radiation, wireless energy and electrosmog guide.
It contains a detailed list of symptoms from people who report how they feel when exposed to wireless energy. Here's a sample:
- Insomnia and sleep issues
- Headaches and head pain
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Lethargy and extreme tiredness
- Memory, fog, cognitive issues
- Burning, tingling, numbness
Let's Hear from an Expert in the EMF Radiation Space
We asked Dr. George Carlo his thoughts on EMF cases and shielding products:
“Most offer some protection, some of the time, to some people, because they can alter the immediate electromagnetic field environment around the person,” and immediately emphasizes the importance of “some,” which seems to tell us that it’s vastly unpredictable. “All wave forms in the environment are highly variable and they interact with other factors in the environment that make them even more variable.”
This pretty much sums up that the artificial electromagnetic energy universe is vastly unpredictable.
"To expect relief from radiation exposure from one specific device, is nearly impossible. It’s crucial to weigh in the MANY environmental factors; such as, temperature, atmospheric pressure, other radio waves, emissions from other devices, energy shifts from others around you, and Schumann Resonance shifts. Therefore," he explains that “relying on alteration of the environment as a safety precaution is always a game of chance…and signals affect people differently,” which adds another variable in the game of chance.
Dr. Carlo wrote a Medical Alert ten years ago. He cautioned people with EMF sensitivity against relying upon widely-available EMR protection products to prevent the effects of EMF exposure. He noted that EMF sensitive individuals were reporting the opposite effect: people found their symptoms and/or sensitivity worsened. Specifically, severe “symptom relapses.”
Dr. Carlo noted:
“When symptoms are not addressed comprehensively– for example, using symptom amelioration without simultaneous elimination of exposure – cell membrane adverse reaction and damage continue to occur while the patient is assuming the cause of the problem has been eliminated. This lulls patients into a false sense of security, causing them to aggravate their exposures through the increased use of their wireless devices. When the damage reaches a critically harmful level, even the symptom amelioration can no longer be sustained by the damaged cells.”
Anti EMF Radiation Filters, Stickers, Chips and Decals, What You Need To Know
We really do not recommend any kind of EMF protection or anti-radiation stickers, chips, guards, "filters" or incomplete shielding cases because honestly, how could they NOT provide a false sense of security? Folks could believe these products make them “invincible” against radiation so they are comfortable holding the case right up to their heads and the radiation seeping from the back and the side of the phone case is in very close proximity to their precious brains. Oh no!
We purchased some anti-radiation decal stickers that claimed to diffuse radio frequency radiation with negative ions. We didn't expect them to effect the RF levels detected by any of our electric, magnetic or RF meters, so we weren't surprised when the decals didn't result in any reading change. We've recently ordered a negative ion detector to see if we get a reading off the anti-radiation decals or stickers that look like little plastic chips with adhesive.
If we do detect negative ion readings, we'll be happy to share that information with you and we'll ask our expert team to comment on exactly how increased negative ions could effect the RF radiation and/or magnetic fields coming from devices.
Personally, I know people who attach these chips to their phones and feel confident that they are making a difference. But for me, I haven't found any that alleviate the tingling, zapping, electrical sensations I feel when I hold a smartphone that's powered on.
Honestly, I often think that if protecting from RF radiation was as simple as affixing a decal chip or putting a phone in a case that was made with EMF reflecting and/or absorbing material covering the top part of the case, all mobile phone companies would either sell them or include them with every phone purchase. Right?!
Finally, to address questions that have come in as a result of this story...
More from Michael Neuert, the EMF test engineer quoted above. Here are photos from his presentation noting how you must know where the cellphone tower is when using a one-sided case on your cellphone in order to be certain that you are not increasing the radiation because of the case. . . I usually don't know where the cellphone tower I'm accessing is. Do you?
Earlier in this story, Michael tells us that even though you could get some protection from a case, he has the same recommendation that Tech Wellness advises: Distance works better and is far more consistent, i.e. you don't need to actually know where the radiation is coming from nor do you have to be certain if you're facing towards or away from the tower.
Hope this helps the community that has commented below!
Let us know what you think. We always love your ideas and comments! We can live mindfully with our technology as long as we know our options and what really truly works.
If you found this honest review helpful, we hope you'll share it with someone your care about.
And please . . .
August and the Tech Wellness Tribe
- Why we should protect ourselves against EMFs
- What the top experts in the field have to say about anti-radiation and EMF blocking shields
- Results of a 2019 research study on EMF shields
- My review of 6 top anti-radiation products
- Solutions that offer true EMF protection
- A video of me demonstrating EMF levels of popular anti-radiation cases and shields using my wireless energy meter