How to Measure Negative Ions

Updated November 21, 2016

Negative ions in the air can actually boost your alertness and mood, according to WebMD. Negative ions occur naturally in high altitudes and near large sources of water, like waterfalls or the open ocean. These odourless molecules enter the bloodstream with the oxygen you breathe, helping your body produce serotonin, a "feel good" chemical in your brain. If you want to see how many negative ions exist in your home, test the air with a negative ion tester. This way, you can make an informed decision about purchasing a negative ion generator.

Push the power button on your ion tester for several seconds until a negative sign flashes on the small screen on the front of the tester.

Find the small metal piece on the back of the tester. Hold the tester level so the metal piece points at the ground. A reading will display. This reading helps the ion tester calibrate itself and gives you a measurement to test against.

Press the pad of your thumb over the small metal square on the front of the tester. Hold the tester so the square on the back points toward your negative ion generator, air purifier, or simply into the centre of the room.

Watch for a reading to display. A small minus sign will appear before negative ion readings. If you see no minus sign, the ion tester is measuring positive ions and your generator isn't working very well or too few negative ions are present to measure.

Compare the original calibration reading to the reading from the negative ion generator. Ideally, the second reading should be much lower than the first. For example, if the first reading was -10, the second reading should ideally be -80, -90 or higher. The higher the reading, the more negative ions are in your environment.


If using rock salt lamps, the more surface area the lamp has, the better. The same is true for negative ion vents and air purifiers. Place negative ion generators in areas with many electronics or in areas with air pollution like chemical scents or smoke.

Things You'll Need

  • Handheld ion tester
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