As a musician, having a decibel meter to hand can be one of the most helpful pieces of equipment in your inventory. It’s one of those things you’ve probably never thought about before, but once you start using one, you’ll never be able to go back.
Whether you’re a performer, a sound engineer, or even a venue owner, there is a variety of usages that decibel meters can provide, all of which come together to ensure you’re producing the best quality sound. Ultimately, this will contribute to the best possible experience for your listeners and audience.
By being able to monitor the volume of your room accurately, you’ll be able to make sure you can tell exactly what levels everything needs to be set at so it’s comfortable for your listeners and helps you identify certain ranges like frequency and decay rates.
If you’re a sound engineer, you’ll also be able to check the volume of other features, such as CO2 cannons or effects, again contributing to the best possible sound. To help you get things right, today we’re going to explore the best SPL meters out there, and which one is best for you.
We’ve narrowed down some of the most popular models into just five meters, helping you easily find the one that’s right for what you’re looking for. So, let’s jump straight into it!
BAFX Products Decibel Meter (Advanced)
To get us started, we’ve chosen this advanced sound meter reader by BAFX Products. If you’re looking for a plain and simple SPL decibel meter that does exactly what it’s supposed to do, it doesn’t get much better than this.
This particular model has a decibel range of 30dB to 130dB and measures in both dBA and dBC frequencies. Inside the device, you’ll also find the ability to store over 4700 data points, which can then be used with the included Windows PC software for recording and analyzing your data.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a Mac software option available. Nevertheless, you can still use this device as a standalone SPL meter without the software. The accuracy of this device falls between 1.5db (+/-) and uses an adjustable sample rate of 8x/Second. This is everything you’ll need it to be, and as back as accurate as the industry gets without having to spend a fortune on professional software.
We love the extra touch that BAFX Products included the 4 AAA batteries that are needed to power the device, although you can choose to run it through a 6V wall adapter, which is also included, but you’ll want to keep the device in your hand to make sure it doesn’t turn itself off if a button isn’t pressed in a certain amount of time.
The controls on this device are really easy to use, the price is affordable, and although it’s not as accurate as a professional industry-standard meter which would cost you thousands of dollars, it’s definitely one of the best SPL meters you’re going to find in this price bracket.
- Impressive frequency range of 30dB t0 130dB
- Measures both dBA and dBC frequencies
- Comes with 4x AAA batteries and a 6V wall adapter
- Comes with premium Windows analytic software
- No Mac version of the software available
- No way to adjust the auto-power-shutoff feature
Galaxy Audio CM140 Checkmate Microphone Preamp SPL Meter
The Galaxy Audio Checkmate is perhaps quite pricey compared with the other SPL meters that we’ve listed today, but it does come with all the features and functions you could ever wish to want or need, making it a great choice if you’re looking to invest in a quality product that gets accurate results.
The Checkmate range has been in operation producing high-quality audio products since 2003, making this one of the most experienced companies out there, ultimately providing you today with a powerful decibel meter backed by over 15 years of experience.
You’ll also discover the meter peaks around the 130dB mark, which is more than enough for most uses, but surprisingly, it also comes with a mount and thread. This means you can connect it to a tripod or mount of your camera, which is ideal for taking with you wherever you go.
This Galaxy SPL Meter is really easy to use, there’s nothing complicated about the controls, no computer software option to worry about, everything works perfectly, there’s a clear to read screen, and it even comes with batteries, so you can get started straight away!
- Comes with batteries included so you can start metering sound straight away
- Impressive 130dB peak limit
- Easy to use with a clean user interface
- Accurate and precise readings
- The premium price tag
- No computer software included for analysising readings
VLIKE LCD Digital Audio Decibel Meter Sound Meter
If you’re looking for a mid-range decibel SPL meter that comes for a great price but really pushes the boundaries when it comes to features and functions, there may be no reason to look further than the VLIKE LCD Sound Meter.
This SPL decibel meter can be used in all kinds of situations, whether you’re at home, at work, in a venue, or even recording in a studio, meaning it’s ideal for all kinds of application and use. The monitoring range of this device is the industry standard of 30dB to 130dB, and the device comes with integrated data holding functions, so you can record multiple locations in one go.
We also love the fact that this meter records and measures in both dBA and dBC formats, so you can capture and work with measurements that work best for you. There’s even an A/C mode, a manual/auto mode, and the ability to change a selection of other functions that you can play around with.
You’ll also particularly love the fact that this sound meter to be one of the easiest to use, as well as being one of the most comfortable. This is all thanks to the molded design and rugged hand grips that fit perfectly into your hand, as well as the large digit LCD screen which makes all the information really easy to see.
This meter pretty accurate in most circumstances, and while there’s no mount or tripod thread to connect it to anything, and it’s specially designed to be handheld, securing this unit’s place as a pretty flawless decibel sound meter!
- Industry-standard range of 30dB to 130dB
- A ton of different modes to explore with what works best for you
- Data-holding capabilities
- Designed to be comfortable to hold and use
- Doesn’t come with analytical computer software
- No thread or mount to connect the meter to a tripod or camera
Galaxy Audio CM130 Sound Pressure Level Meter
The second Galaxy Audio Sound Pressure Meter to enter our list, this is another mid-range meter that’s ideal if you’re looking for a sound meter that does exactly what it says on the tin without having to muck around with extra functions that you might not need nor want. This also makes this unit ideal for beginners.
What we really love about this sound meter is the fact it’s designed to be a compact size, which makes it perfect for if you’re walking around a lot and setting things up. It’s really light, fits in your pocket, and then can be easily used whenever you need it without having to worry about what buttons to press or cables you need to plug in like other devices.
This is also part of the Checkmate range as we spoke about earlier, which means it comes with the industry-standard operating range of 40dB to 130db, and comes equipped with a range of modes to explore, allowing you to see what works best for you.
These modes are easily accessible from the front of the controller and contain a Max mode, an A/C mode, a fast and slow mode, and even a custom level mode, which then ensures this SPL meter is All the statistics and data are displayed on the clear and easy-to-read LCD display.
Unlike some of the other models, this one can’t store data on the device itself, and therefore no ports for connecting it to a computer or analyzing software. Nevertheless, this is a highly accurate standalone decibel SPL meter, and for being one of the most affordable meters on this list, this will easily be one of your favorites.
- Multiple selectable modes available
- A frequency range of 40dB to 130dB
- Clear to read LCD display with a sharp user interface
- Highly accurate readings
- No external power option (requires batteries)
- No way to store readings or connect to a computer
RISEPRO Digital Sound Decibel Meter
The final decibel sound meter we’ve chosen to list here is another mid-range unit, but it really does push the boat out when it comes to providing you with the best and most friendly customer experience possible.
With a decibel operating range between 30dB and 130dB and an equally impressive frequency range of 31.5 to 4kHz, this is one of the most accurate decibel SPL meters, usually within +/- 1.5dB. You won’t get more accurate than this unless you’re spending thousands on professional audio equipment.
You’ll also find a range of features and functions you can use, including both time and frequency weighting modes, a Hold mode, and max and min modes for recording the information you need to remember.
What really sets this device apart from the rest is the fact that it comes with its own protective carry case to help protect your meter from dust and dirt. This ensures you’ll have a meter that always performs accurately and will last for many years to come.
- Operating range of 30dB to 130dB
- Really easy to use and the buttons are clearly defined
- Comes with a protective zipped carry and storage case
- A ton of recording modes to explore and experiment with
When it comes to choosing the best decibel meter, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, there’s an extensive range of products that will guarantee to fit what you’re looking for. We love all five of the decibel meters we’ve listed above, and we’re sure you will too!