Electromagnetic Field (EMF) is a small area of electric charges and magnetism produced by all of the technology in our 21st-century digital society. Everything from electrical wiring to toasters produces EMF.
Typically, a couple of feet of separation exist between us and the source, eliminating any serious cause for concern. However, laptops are physically very close to us, meaning we can be subjected to their EMF.
Keep reading to learn about the best practices concerning your laptop’s EMF. While we cannot eliminate all EMF, these are easy methods of reducing the vast majority of it.
How to Reduce EMF from Laptop
The name “laptop” did not come from nowhere. The idea was to get away from big, bulky PCs that take up your whole desk.
The large PC is fine for office work, but many people want something smaller and portable in a home setting. That is where the laptop came from. Just sit down, put it on your lap, and go to work. You can sit on your bed or your living room couch and do your homework or just surf the web.
Having the laptop directly on your lap, with nothing between the computer and your body besides (hopefully) pants, seems comfortable, but it puts you at a significant risk of EMF exposure. Luckily, quite a few ways to reduce this have developed over the years.
Essentially, the methods of laptop EMF exposure reduction involve behavioral changes and/or easy product purchases. Let’s go through them to better understand how they work and, where applicable, recommend the best products.
1. Use a Computer Pad
Specifically designed large pads have been invented to put a simple barrier between you and your laptop. This significantly reduces EMF exposure. These typically are a nice, flat surface that is still comfortable on the other side for your legs. Advanced ones may have storage and other additional features. Let’s run through a few of them:
DefenderPad Laptop Radiation & Heat Shield– The laptop pad that simply does its job:
- Blocks 100% of EMF
- Multiple layers of shielding
- Heat reduction
- Lab tested
- Fits laptops and tablets up to 14 inches wide
Laptop Pad by SYB– Similar price range but a little bigger
- Up to 92% EMF protection
- Comes in two colors- Ultra Marine and Midnight Microwave
- Heat reduction
- 3 layers of different materials working together
- 2 different size options to offer you variety depending on the size of your device
- Also blocks Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radiation
- 92% EMF reduction
- 4 layers of protection
- 12 inches by 16 inches makes it larger than the other ones
- Heat reduction
- Non-slip surface
Edge Laptop EMF Shield by HARApad– This is a higher end model, but it is worth it.
- Not flat to give you more versatile protection underneath
- Includes flaps that come up and over the base of your laptop, giving you 3 dimensional EMF protection
- Horizontal walls that do not get in the way
- Includes mouse pad extension
- Fits most laptops
For more details on how these pads block radiation, read this article.
2. Use Protective Baby Blankets
- Can block up to 99% of wireless EMF radiation
- Made of 100% organic bamboo which is non-toxic
- Comes in standard and full sizes
- Made from organic materials
- Blocks 99.9% of EMF radiation
- Available in both pink and grey
- 99.9% effective
- 35 inches by 30 inches
For more details on how these blankets block radiation, read this article.
3. Use Laptop Screen Shields
Screen shields are products you can place over your screen to block the EMF it emits. Arguably more EMF comes from the base of the computer though, where all of the batteries and circuitry exist.
Therefore, while screen shields are not adequate EMF blockers on their own, they certainly can and should be used in tandem with something like a computer pad.
Screen shields typically offer 100% EMF protection from your screen. However, they can cause a few problems that you might want to consider before purchasing them:
- Could make laptop harder to close
- Might have trouble getting it back off
- Makes screen slightly blurrier, dulling down high resolution and especially 4K images
- Can inhibit touch screen functionality
For the most part, though, manufacturers of screen shields have down a fairly good job mitigating these concerns.
4. Use a Pillow or Desk
It seems obvious but any barrier between your laptop and you will do wonders to decrease EMF exposure. Although not scientifically tested like the above products, a regular pillow will work reasonably well. This is a great temporary solution if you would rather save your cash, but it is still a good idea to get a well-tested product at some point.
Similarly, just putting your laptop on your desk and using it there will also reduce EMF exposure quite a lot because, by design, there is a lot of space between the desk and your lap, in addition to the physical barrier of the desk itself.
Yes, this may kill the whole point of buying a laptop for its portability in the first place, but try using your laptop at a desk for at least a portion of the time.
5. Add Plants That Absorb EMF Radiation
Plants are a great all natural way of cleaning out the toxins all around us, and not just for Carbon Dioxide. Perhaps no environment involves more EMF than the International Space Station, which is built 100% of metal and electronic components.
To clear out EMF there, NASA simply uses plants throughout the station. Applying this method to your own home will clear out a huge amount of EMF. 15 to 18 plants per every 1800 square is generally a good rule of thumb. The best plants to use include:
- Peace lily
Put one next to the Wi-Fi router for added benefits! Check out my long article on plants that absorb radiation.
6. Take the Laptop Outdoors
Sometimes the best prescription is fresh air. Going outside is an absolutely great way to severely reduce EMF exposure, as the extra space allows it to dissipate a lot faster than a closed-off room in your house or apartment. If you plan to take your laptop outside, just make sure you do these things:
- Laptop is fully charged
- Bring a chair, if you mind sitting in the grass or if there are no benches available
- If it is hot, you may also want to consider–
Once in a while, it is also a good idea to leave that laptop at home. You cannot be exposed to EMF if the EMF-emitted item is not with you after all. Besides, sometimes it is a good idea to get away from the electronics that dominate our world and experience nature again.
7. Unplug Your Laptop
Even inside, try to avoid having your laptop plugged in all the time if you are placing it on your lap. The additional wiring only increases EMF exposure. Your modern laptop battery is designed to work for hours without it anyway.
8. Keep Your Laptop Away from You When Not in Use
Your laptop never really turns completely off, even when the battery dies. It is constantly doing things to keep itself functional, which means it always emits EMF. Therefore, when not using it, close the lid and place it in a separate room. If you can place it in a case like this, even better.
This goes especially for the bedroom, where you should never keep your laptop unless in use. Work to eliminate as many electronics from your bedroom as you can to reduce EMF exposure while sleeping, including:
- Cell phones
- Electronic clocks
- Video Games
Another good idea along these lines is to turn off the Wi-Fi router in your house overnight. There is no sense keeping it on when everybody is sleeping so it can send its signal, and accompanying EMF, all over the house.
During the day, plug your laptop directly into your modem with an internet cable. This avoids Wi-Fi EMF all together while giving you the same internet speed, if not faster. Once you do that, be sure to disable Wi-Fi on your laptop itself.
9. Ground Your Laptop
Grounding is the process of making sure your electrical product is connected to the Earth somehow. Typically household wiring will have three strands within each one, which all eventually connect to a larger “ground” wire in the main panel that just goes straight down to the ground.
This is primarily to make sure, in the event of a short circuit or lightning strike, that electricity flows continuously and harmlessly into the ground, rather than staying in the house and causing a fire.
A byproduct of gradually moving electricity away from your home is that you are also eliminating EMF from it. But in order to do that, your devices, when plugged in, need to be grounded.
For a laptop, that is actually pretty easy: a standard outlet electrical plug has three prongs, not two. The ground prong is the round one on the bottom. If your laptop cord does not already have a ground, simply plug it into a power strip or surge protector that does.
Another option, if you do not want the power strip, is a simple grounding cable. They can easily be clipped to a metal part of your laptop, like a screw, and then plugged into a standard three-prong outlet. Here are a few cheap and easy ones you may want to consider (just be careful and read all included instructions before installation):
- Stretchable from 3 feet to 16.4 feet
- Anti-static tested
- Comes with multiple accessories and adapted
- Specifically designed to eliminate EMF along with static
Assurance Fabric cable– Cheaper, no-frills grounding cable with alligator clip. 20 feet
- ESD Grounding Cable by FEITA– Similar to Assurance’s, but you can also connect this to bedsheets and that sort of material. So you can use it along with your pillow as described above.
10. Discard Wireless Accessories
Things like a wireless mouse and keyboard are convenient, but they still need to send signals back and forth to your laptop. Increasing wireless signals greatly raises your EMF exposure.
If you prefer a separate mouse and keyboard, use wired ones that plug into your laptop’s USB ports. These are much healthier for you and reduce the vast majority of your EMF exposure.
The Best EMF Meters on Amazon
If you have been trying all of these EMF reduction methods and you still feel like it is not working, or are not sure, you need some way to check the levels of EMF in your home.
It is one thing to use reduction methods but is another thing to really know they are working. Besides, if you are using multiple methods, perhaps you can dial it back a little bit if you find that only one or two are sufficient for an adequate level of reduction.
For example, say you are using the pad and pillow method aiming for a 90% EMF reduction. Using a meter, you determine that your EMF exposure with just the pillow is already reduced by 90%. Now you know you can ditch the laptop pad and be more comfortable using just the pillow. This can save you effort and money.
But how do you know what the level of EMF exposure is? Luckily, there are a ton of different EMF Meters out there that give you precise measurements. Besides EMF some will even measure:
- ELF (Extremely Low Frequencies)
- RF (Radio frequencies)
- Wi-Fi exposure
- Other radiation found in the home
As with most meters and similar gadgets, the more features and functionality you get, the higher the price. Let’s go through a few them so you can decide the EMF meter that is right for you.
Electric Field, RF, and Magnetic Field Strength Meter by Trifield
This EMF meter is a bit simpler to use for those of us who do not want a complicated, software-based tester. It essentially works like an old battery tester; just flip the switch to the type of radiation you want to test for and the LED screen up top will point to the number.
The more the pointer goes down (to the left of the screen), the better you are doing at reducing EMF radiation.
But just because it is simpler than the previous two does not mean that it works any worse. In fact, for a similar price, this meter hones in on three different versions of EMF, so you can check for each one:
- AC Magnetic
- AC Electric
Specifically, here are all of the different modes you can use at the flick of a knob:
- Standard AC Magnetic
- Standard AC Electric
- Weighted AC Magnetic
- Weighted AC Electric
Check out my hands-on review of this meter.
While standard readings will give you everything, weighted only gives you the higher frequencies. That way you can just eliminate the major EMF problem spots rather than worry about every little thing. Most of us live in 21st century homes where eliminating every single source of EMF is simply impossible.
HF B3G Triple Axis HF RF Power Meter Analyzer and Detector
This meter by LATNEX is the real deal. It has a ball antenna on top to measure EMF and a ton of other frequencies in three-dimensional space. These include virtually all of the ones listed above.
It will also store past readings for future reference, and even has an alarm function to alert you when EMF is getting too high, based on your preference. Thanks to its 15-hour battery life, you can leave it on to take readings passively, or you can actively use it while testing out reduction equipment.
Although it looks rather complicated, it is advertised for both beginners and advanced users. If you have any confusion, you can download their beginner’s guide or use their free technical support.
The EMF-390 by GQ Electronics is also a popular EMF Meter, which, like the HF B3G Triple Axis, is also a 3-in-1 that can measure ELF and RF. Although it does not have the big round antenna on the end, it is more lightweight and has a wrist strap to make it more portable.
That way you can take it around the house to not only know how much EMF exists near your laptop’s typical location but also track where the rest of it is coming from. Even if your laptop is off, you might still be picking up EMF. Now you can use this to find the source of the rest of it, like your router or television for instance.
With supportive PC software you can download from GQ Electronics’ website, you can even upload the data from your meter onto your computer. From there, you load it into an Excel spreadsheet and analyze its real time readings.
It also offers multiple displays for your convenience. There is an all-in-one display that allows you to monitor all three radiations at once, or you can switch to just EMF to focus in on that.
Cambridge Labs Rechargeable EMF Meter
This meter offers a sleeker design and comes in three cool colors:
Although these do not offer all the functionality of the other EMF meters, they have a simple display for easy readings of up to three decimal points and their price is one of the cheapest out there. It is also small enough to be handheld and very portable. On the antenna are three indicator lights arranged like a traffic light with colors:
As you might imagine, green represents an acceptable and comfortable EMF rating, while yellow is starting to be in the problem area that you might want to start looking into. Red represents potentially harmful levels of EMF that you should definitely try to remedy with one of the reduction methods.
The reader is very good at picking the low frequencies, meaning you can find smaller problem spots and eliminate them.
How to Know if Your EMF Reduction Method Isn’t Working
As you apply your preferred methods of EMF reduction and use your new EMF meter to check for efficient as well as problem spots, you should feel much better physically. Eliminating the vast majority of EMF from your laptop will alleviate most if not all EMF symptoms while you do your work. If you are still feeling one of these symptoms, try eliminating more EMF:
Every time you work on your laptop for more than an hour recently, you seem to get a headache. You have already dimmed the light on your monitor and turned down the volume, but it just keeps happening. The answer might actually be too much EMF. With a significant reduction in EMF using one of the methods described above, your headaches have a good chance of going away so you can continue your laptop work in peace.
EMF’s effect on the brain cannot really be understated. Not only can it cause headaches, but dizziness as well. Although this can also happen from watching a video, keep in mind how often this dizziness feeling occurs. If it happens gradually over a couple of hours of laptop usage, there is a good chance it is being caused by EMF. At this moment it’s critical to take a break or go outside. If you cannot take a break, try using an extra method of reduction, like a grounding cable or special blanket.
If you are working late into the night on your laptop, fatigue is, of course, completely normal. However, if you are feeling refreshed and it is the middle of the afternoon but you still feel tired, which is probably from your laptop’s EMF. Stepping away and getting some sunshine is always a good remedy. However, if you need to keep going on your laptop, you will need to reduce your EMF exposure.
Although rare in most EMF sufferers, it is possible to suffer nausea from too much of this radiation. You will obviously know if you have this symptom but may be surprised to know that it might not be from something you ate.
Excessive EMF radiation can contribute to this feeling, especially after prolonged exposure. Any toxin affecting your body can cause an autoimmune response, including this rather uncomfortable one.
If you suffer Multiple Sclerosis, you might be familiar with dysesthesia. Dysesthesia is a painful and itchy sensation near the joints. If you have MS and are experiencing this while using your laptop, it is probably being caused by the EMF emitted from your keyboard touching or very close to your wrist.
Alleviating this issue can be done by using one of the methods listed above. However, you may actually want to use a simple external keyboard in this case. Even though it adds a component and extra wire, it is still taking your wrists away from the laptop’s keyboard which sits directly above the batteries and computer circuitry.
If you would rather not go that route, make sure you are using the proper typing posture of keeping your wrists raised in the air above the keyboard, not resting on the flat surface of the laptop. That additional distance is better than nothing. If needed, buy a cheap typing wrist pad online.