These Android phones emit the most radiation, study claims

Google Pixel 3 in all colorways
Google Pixel 3 in all colorways (Image credit: Android Central)

Update: Google has responded.

What you need to know

  • A new study ranks Android smartphones with the highest radiation emissions.
  • Older models from Google, Sony, Motorola, and OnePlus dominate the list.
  • The FCC says there's no "credible scientific evidence" suggesting smartphone radiation causes harm to humans.

It's no secret that smartphones emit radiation, albeit at varying levels, but a new report sheds light on which smartphone models are the worst radiation emitters. The results might surprise you.

According to Bankless Times, some of the older models from Google, Sony, Motorola, OnePlus, OPPO, and ZTE emit the most radiation. The Motorola Edge tops the list, followed by ZTE's Axon 11 5G and the OnePlus 6T.

Interestingly, a couple of Google Pixel phones, OnePlus models, and Sony Xperia devices dominate the list. It includes the Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, Pixel 4a, Xperia XA2 Plus, Xperia XZ1 Compact, and the OnePlus 6/6T.

It should be noted that these devices were some of the best Android phones two to five years ago, so the number of people who use them today is likely to be small.

Android Central reached out to each brand mentioned in the report but was unable to get a response as of this writing.

The study ranks these devices based on their Specific Absorption Ratios (SAR), which measure how quickly the body absorbs radiofrequency energy. The chart below shows the SAR for each smartphone.

Specific Absorption Rates for various phone brands (Image credit: Bankless Times)

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has set a maximum SAR level of 1.6 watts per kilogram. The chart indicates that the Motorola Edge has the worst radiation emission level.

Nonetheless, there is currently "no consistent or credible scientific evidence of health problems caused by the exposure to radiofrequency energy emitted by cell phones," according to the FCC.

Having said that, it won't hurt to limit our smartphone exposure to a healthy level.

Update April 9, 2022 6:32am

A representative from Google's Pixel team told Android Central that it publishes SAR data for every phone it releases, including the Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, and Pixel 4a.

"These phones are well within all the regulatory and compliance guidelines in countries where we distribute them," the spokesperson said. "Our latest phones Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have even lower SAR values."

More details about the Pixel 6 series' SAR can be found on the Pixel Phone help page.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.