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Your home’s electrical wiring can seem like a bit of a mystery. However, knowing what’s happening behind the walls is key to safety and building code compliance. Older buildings can have outlets that aren’t grounded or wires that aren’t connected properly. And these issues pose safety concerns.
Fortunately, you can assess your home’s electrical work with a receptacle tester, also called a GFCI tester. While this tool doesn’t replace a professional electrician, it can provide some key safety info.
So, when would you use a receptacle tester?
These tools have plenty of professional applications. Real estate agents and home appraisers use receptacle testers when assessing a property for sale, while contractors will use them when planning a project. However, new homeowners might purchase a tester to double-check the outlets in their house.
No matter your reason for checking your electrical wiring, here are some of the best receptacle testers to get the job done.
1. Taiss Receptacle Tester
This receptacle tester has a number of features to detect the voltage and status of an electrical outlet. There are seven visual indications and a clear legend, so the product is easy to use. The voltage will show on a small display screen. It also includes a built-in light, so you can use it in the dark when necessary This tester is great for professional or residential use.
Pros: The product displays a fast and accurate reading. The volt meter is a useful feature, and not all receptacle testers include it.
Cons: The instructions that come with the product may be confusing for some users.
2. Klein Tools TR210 Outlet Tester
Klein Tools’ receptacle tester detects wiring issues on most GFI outlets. The durable product is built to withstand 6.6-foot drops and high temperatures. This product has a simple design and includes a legend for outlet tests. It’s compatible with a nominal voltage of 110/125 V AC at 50/60 Hz in a three-wire outlet.
Pros: The visual indicators are easy to read. The results are accurate and consistent.
Cons: This item might not hold up to long-term professional use. It might be easy trip the test button when removing it from an outlet.
3. Sperry Instruments Receptacle Tester
Sperry Instrument’s receptacle tester features seven visual indicators for GFI and standard 120V AC outlets. The tester has a legend printed on its surface, so you can read the results quickly. This product includes ergonomic rubber grips to prevent drops. However, the tester can withstand a 10-foot drop if it does slip from your hand.
Pros: The ergonomic design of this product makes it easy to grip.
Cons: The display lights can blend together, making it tricky to see which are lit up. It may be easy to accidentally press the test button, requiring a reset.
4. Southwire Tools & Equipment Receptacle Tester
This receptacle tester is compatible with 120V AC GFI outlets. The surface of the product includes a two-sided legend, test button and bright indicator lights. It’s compact enough to stash in a tool bag, and the design is easy to grip. This product works well for professional and residential use, and it should last about five years.
Pros: This product provides consistent and accurate results, so professionals can use it too. The size of the tester is convenient for storage.
Cons: The light indicators could be brighter. The small size might also make it easier to lose.
5. Power Gear Receptacle Tester
Power Gear’s receptacle tester works on 110-125V AV outlets. The product can detect six wiring conditions and has visual indications for each. You can use the legend to understand each reading. This tester is small and lightweight, making it a great option for general residential use.
Pros: This tester works on a range of outlets, and most of these outlets will have a compatible voltage. The tester is compact.
Cons: This tester might not withstand several months of regular use. The product doesn’t have a test button.