What is Lightning Detector and How to Choose the Best?


Natural Phenomena such as lightning are impossible to avert; does that mean we can’t even evade it? Lightning can be a major obstruction for some people who often find themselves outdoor, whether for personal reasons or professional.

how to choose the best lightning detector

Although lightning that often accompanies rain is not hazardous, it can prove to be life-threatening at times under severe weather conditions. So, how can these people mitigate the effects of an imminent lightning strike?

Thankfully, technology has come far enough to render a solution to this problem. A Lightning detector is a device that can warn us against such imminent threats.

What is a Lightning Detector?

A lightning detector is a device that can defend you against lightning by detecting the electromagnetic pulse of a lightning strike.

In other words, it plays the role of a guardian while you’re out and about. It is essential to have such a device close-by when you are outdoor because weather conditions can prove to be uncertain.

It would help if you had all the necessary equipment to protect yourself from the weather when it becomes severe.

How to Choose the Best Lightning Detector?

Now the decision of purchasing a lightning detector comes with the question of what kind of lightning detector to be purchased. Following factors need to be taken into account while choosing the best lightning device. 

Type and Need

There are various types of Lightning detectors available in the market. These are mainly classified under three heads, viz Ground-based Lightning Detectors, Mobile Lightning Detectors, and Space-based Lightning Detectors.

All these types fulfill different needs. So, the question is, Why do you need a lightning detector? The answer to this question can be either for personal use or professional use.

Personal detectors:

  • The term is pretty self-explanatory, these devices are used by people for their personal needs such as camping, hiking who are often outdoors and need to keep constant track of changing weather conditions.
  • Detectors for such people are portable with limited features but enough to get by. These are also low-priced.

Professional detectors:

  • The detectors under this classification are used by those whose occupations require them to keep track of the storm movements. These can include people from the Armed Forces and other Law Enforcement Agencies.
  • The devices used by them are more technologically-enhanced and are comparatively expensive. Some of them are handy, while some of them need to be fixed at a particular spot. 

Range of Coverage

  • The range is one of the predominant factors to check for a perfect lightning detector. You need to think about the distance you want your device to cover while giving you intel about a storm movement.
  • The detector, which will cover a vast distance, is undoubtedly going to be expensive. A good short-ranged lightning detector will have a range of at least about 20 miles.
  • The range can go up to even 300 miles for tracking far off and close by storm movement. The range needs to be factored in because that will have an ultimate effect on the product you purchase.

Warning system

  • A device that can forewarn you about an approaching storm is essentiality. What is the point of having a device which can’t alert you in a time of dire need?  
  • It is important to look into a lightning detector's warning system and know precisely how it intends to warn you. Some may have an LED Flashlight feature which will start blinking as soon as it detects any hazardous movement around it. 
  • While some other devices come with a siren feature that alerts you with a loud noise; so even if you’re sleeping like a log, you will be warned on time.
  • There are still some devices that can perform both the features, LED flash and siren alarm. So, you can have both audio and visual warning


  • For a novice, it can be hard to get the hang of a lightning detector's operations. The use of some detectors can be complex and complicated and may need an experienced hand.
  • But there are some models which have easy operation and can be easily handled by a novice.
  • These are fairly inexpensive and come with a manual that explains the operation in simple terms.
  • Therefore, you don't have to panic if you can't concede the detector's functioning at first glance.
  • Slowly and steadily, you will become familiar with all its functions and how to utilize them.


  • If you are investing a hefty amount in a lightning detector, you have to be absolutely certain that it can function for a long time and endure harsh weather conditions.  
  • It is suggested to purchase a highly durable product because you don’t want your detector to become ineffective while outdoors and require its companionship. You might be subject to heavy rain while being out.  
  • If your device is not water-resistant, it will stop working, leaving you vulnerable to the approaching dangers. Therefore, buy a waterproof, water-resistant detector and has a hard exterior to protect it from physical damage. 


  • Some people seldom require a device like a lightning detector, while some are frequently outdoors and need to have accurate information on the lightning movement. The price also has a major impact on your final choice.
  • Therefore, it is necessary to decide precisely how much you can afford to invest in a lightning detector based on your needs and how frequently you are going to use it. The occasional campers can get by with a relatively inexpensive device since they may not factor in the durability.
  • Meanwhile, frequent users should invest a bulky sum. Furthermore, expensive devices have an array of features and are more enhanced than inexpensive ones. Hence, it is important to weigh in your requirements before investing your money in a lightning detector.


Lightning strikes cannot be prevented, but that does not mean that we can’t arm ourselves with necessary defenses against it. And the most crucial defense is a lightning detector because it alerts you beforehand about a lightning strike, giving you ample time to find refuge somewhere.

Without these devices, you are exposed to weather-based, life-threatening dangers. The above determinants are essential to contemplate because you need to have an overview of the device you are about to buy.

Every product has some advantages and some disadvantages, and these need to be factored in. You can check our recommended lightning detectors and buy the best one based on your requirement.

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About the Author


I am Tim, a weather enthusiast who loves to watch hurricanes and all other harsh weather conditions. I studied B.Sc(Meteorology) at the University of Miami. With excellent knowledge of Weather Forecasting, Meteorology, and Environmental Science, I am currently working in San Francisco as a Meteorologist. Also, I am a member of The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. In this blog, I will write a detailed review of Weather instruments that you need for survival and other activities.