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Measuring Magnetic Strength

It’s a question we get often: “How do you measure the strength of a magnet?”

There are actually three common ways to measure the strength of a magnet.

  • Gauss meter
  • Magnetometer
  • Pull-tester

Gauss Meters

Gauss is actually a unit of measurement, so it makes sense that this meter is named accordingly. Gauss meters can be pretty expensive, ranging anywhere from $400 to $1500.

First, make sure there aren’t any other magnets in the area. You’ll need to zero out the display before you start, and having other magnets around will interfere with the reading.

If you see between a +1 and -1 reading, the meter is effectively zeroed out. (It’ll bounce around a little bit; you shouldn’t expect it to stabilize.)

Once you’ve zeroed out the reading, hold the probe against the magnet. Slowly move the magnet alone the probe to find the highest steady reading. Next, you’ll hold the probe against the object from which you’re measuring magnetic strength. The reading should stabilize.

You should also measure the other side of the magnet. Average the two readings together for the best accuracy.


Magnetometers make it easy to compare one magnet to another by measuring in arbitrary units. There are actually two types of magnetometers: one that measures the net magnetism, and one that tracks the vectors of magnetism.

The steps for using a manetometer are the same as with a gauss meter, except that a magnetometer might have multiple probes. This is so they can measure a wider range of strengths.


Perhaps the most common form of measurement, the pull-tester measures the amount of weight a magnet can hold in pounds, kilograms, or any other unit of force.

Pull tests are used when two magnets look alike on the outside, but may be structured differently on the inside, which means they could be magnets of different strengths.

To get the best results, it’s easiest to use a pull-test kit. You’ll use the materials provided in the kit as your constant – and then compare the magnets which you’re trying to measure.

Our test kit includes test pieces and tools which have been selected to offer maximum flexibility for testing a broad range of magnetic separator styles. As with any analytical procedure, consistency and repeatability are key to producing usable test data. You’ll find test procedures which when combined with the proper test pieces and tools offer the user a means of achieving accurate test results.

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