Having a high-quality frequency counter is almost essential for anyone working with a ham radio or other short-wave transmitters like walkie-talkies. Without this instrument, any interference can damage the audio quality and thus create unwanted problems that would be hard to solve.
The best frequency counter allows you to take care of those unexpected situations quickly. It can diagnose and fix potential disturbance in the signals via easy-to-use front panels, which include a lot of functions for accurate measurements.
Top 5 Best Frequency Counter: Editor’s Pick
During this article, we’ll cover ten of the most capable frequency counters out there. We consider features like frequency range, how easy it is to use the instrument, and the types of measurements it can achieve.
Want to find out more about these instruments? Then let’s begin!
10 Best Frequency Counter Reviews:
Take a look at our selection of frequency counters to find out which one is the most suitable for your purposes.
1. B&K Precision 1823A Universal Frequency Counter with Ratio Function
Looking for a versatile counter for scientists, engineers, or technicians? Then look no further than the BK Precision 1823A.
This reciprocal 2.4 GHz frequency device features a powerful microprocessor that triggers a variety of functions efficiently, providing quick frequency readings with high accuracy.
The unit has a frequency range of 0.1Hz to 100MHz when DC coupled and 30Hz to 100MHz when AC coupled. Both of these functions are selectable, meaning the device adapts to your needs.
Switching between the operating modes is possible via the panel push button switches, which can be a bit overwhelming at first — especially due to the unclear English used in the manual.
At the front, the counter features an LED display that shows up to nine digits while working with an external time base of 10s gate time. You also get three input channels for different tasks and a bunch of controls and indicators.
The viewing angle is also excellent. Due to its adequate brightness, users get to check the frequencies in both the dark and during sunny days. Lastly, the attenuator and low pass filter are two other functions most users will enjoy.
All in all, this device has all the right tools to be the best frequency counter.
- A powerful microprocessor that provides accurate readings
- 9-digit LED display with perfect viewing angle and visibility
- Offers functions such as measurement for frequency ratio and time interval
- Comes with three input channels suitable for different functions
- The front panel may be overwhelming without proper instructions
2. KAIWEETS Digital Handheld Frequency Counter
When a traditional counter just doesn’t cut it for you, the next choice to consider is a handheld frequency counter.
This multi meter offers outstanding performance for a variety of tasks, whether it’s to measure voltage, resistance, current, frequency, or more. Due to its many functions, this digital multi meter comes in handy for industrial or household electrical issues.
To keep things easy, the device features the Smart Mode. In this mode, the multi meter offers three of the most common functions, which are voltage, resistance, and continuity testing. There’s no need for you to do anything either, as the instrument identifies measurement content automatically.
For easy reading, the multi meter has a large LCD backlit screen as well as a set of buttons with intuitive text indicators.
Since the device has a compact build, you can use all of its functions with a single hand. Some of the operations it offers are data hold, anti-miss plug, and automatic shut-off, to name a few.
Another reason to love this instrument is its non-contact voltage detection. By simply placing the probe near the outlets, the multi meter picks up the voltage. For AC voltage measuring, this device detects up to 600V.
While looking for the best radio frequency counter, handheld alternatives like this product may often prove to be more convenient for us because of its portability.
- A versatile device that fits wide applications, from industrial to household tasks
- Smart Mode tech makes using this tool much easier
- Comes with a large LCD screen and simple-to-use function buttons
- Compact, handheld design makes it a portable tool
- Not as powerful as the classic frequency counter
3. Digital Frequency Counter Bench Frequency Signal Meter, 10Hz – 2.4 GHz
Frequency counters aren’t necessarily stylish units, but this one comes as the exception to the rule. It is compact due to its small size, looks impeccable, and features a well-distributed set of buttons to create an easy-to-use interface.
Besides including several buttons to control a variety of functions, the unit has a small yet visible screen to display the frequencies detected. The frequency measurement supported by this device goes from 0.01 Hz to 2.4 GHz, while it puts up cyclic measuring between 0.5ms to 10s.
Other than frequency measurement, this unit provides accurate period, as well as equal-precision measurement. Since the buttons and knobs included are responsive, accessing all of these functions for quick, precise measurements requires nothing but a hand movement.
The purchase includes the frequency counter, a test probe featuring a BNC-type connector, and the instruction manual.
One minor observation to keep in mind while using this device is how it handles low signal input. Unlike many other units that freeze or drop to zero, this one starts throwing erratic low readings.
The manual actually refers to this behavior, saying that the display may act randomly without input. Luckily, it only happens with signals that are too low. Since the manufacturer addresses it, it isn’t much of a disadvantage but rather something to remember.
- Good-looking, compact frequency counter with 8-digit LED display
- Offers multiple measurement modes, including frequency and cyclic
- Easy to operate
- Includes a BNC-type connector test probe
- The display may show erratic reading while receiving input too low
4. HUABAN 1Hz-50MHz Crystal Oscillator Tester Frequency Counter DIY Kits
The following frequency counter is, well, not an assembled product when you first receive it. Instead, you get a kit with all the parts needed to put it together. Fortunately, the process is pretty straightforward, allowing DIYers to get it done quickly.
Once assembled, what you get is a crystal oscillator frequency counter that works within a 1Hz-50MHz range. For the power supply, the unit works with USB 5V or DC 5-12V digits, making it a product that most DIYers would use hassle-freely.
Much to our surprise, the assembled unit performed satisfactorily. It picks up frequencies well, quickly providing accurate measurements via the screen.
Still, don’t expect the screen to offer highly detailed data, as it only shows five digits of the frequency tested. For its price, though, it wouldn’t be fair to ask too much out of this device.
While it certainly won’t look like the most eye-catching frequency counter, the unit Does put up a suitable performance for DIY projects.
The only disadvantage found is that users would have to assemble the parts, but even doing that can be a lot of fun with the right approach.
- A complete kit with all the parts needed to assemble a frequency counter
- Works with a frequency range of 1Hz to 50MHz
- A large five-digit screen that displays the frequency detected
- Intuitive build and indicators make for an easy assembly
- This kit requires assembly, which isn’t something many people would be willing to do
5. TekPower TP3165 Intelligent Frequency Counter 0.1Hz to 2.4Ghz
Very few choices are as reliable as this frequency counter. It comes with a CPU-controlled temperature that compensates for the unit’s high stability and resolution, guaranteeing the counter works perfectly for many hours, several days a week.
The counter features a couple of attenuators, A and B. They’re both capable of detecting between 0.01Hz-50MHz and 50MHz-2.4GHz frequencies for ports A and B, respectively.
Right next to the attenuators, the 8-digit LED display provides an accurate reading. However, the lit background and the numbers displayed have a similar green color, which isn’t ideal because it could complicate getting an easy read.
Every other function offered by this unit is efficient and easy to access through the front panel. There, you get a knob to adjust maximum or minimum gate time, as well as six buttons to control function, period, confirm, or reset, to name a few.
Due to the single-chip build, this frequency counter ends up delivering a very stable performance. Yes, the color of the screen could be better, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Once you do, you’ll find that the device comes as a perfect choice for a lot of projects.
- The perfect tool to measure frequencies up to 2.4 GHz
- Single-chip build guarantees a stable performance
- Easy-to-use layout with attenuators, knobs, and buttons
- Provides accurate readings
- Screen is a bit hard to read due to the similar background and digit colors
6. Sino meter VC2000 Bench Frequency Counter, 10Hz – 2.4 GHz
Here, we have a high-quality bench frequency counter that includes the AC power cable, as well as the BNC test leads and the instructions. For an easy, hassle-free setup, the unit has a leg stand that you can adjust at a different height to get a perfect view of the LCD screen.
The LCD screen is easy to read. It features an 8-digit design with annunciators for frequencies between 10Hz and 2.4 GHz. At the bottom, the device has multiple buttons for functions like gate time and range.
Getting used to how these functions work may be tricky at first, but in due time you get the hang of it.
This unit also meets IEC 1010, CAT II safety standards, allowing it to perform efficiently. Plus, the system includes a dual-channel build with a convenient operation mode memory.
While the device’s interface isn’t intuitive, particularly when it comes to the range switch, this unit met all of our expectations. Besides an easy-to-read display, you get to adjust the display refresh rate from fast to slow modes, allowing you to get accurate results.
Plus, the unit is lightweight and comes with a crystal tester — socket — on the front side. All of these features add up to create a capable frequency counter device suitable for a lot of projects.
- Lightweight and compact unit fits well anywhere
- Includes an easy-to-read, 8-digit LCD screen
- Adjustable settings, like range and gate time
- Offers a dual-channel design with useful operation mode memory
- The interface isn’t intuitive, leaving you to figure it out on your own
7. Red Lion CUB4L Miniature Electronic Digital Counter, 50 Hz-5 KHz
Want to purchase a capable, user-friendly frequency counter ideal for beginners? Then this Red Lion CUB4L unit is perfect for you.
This product comes with actual, informative instructions that detail each one of its functions, allowing users to master the unit’s operations after just reading a couple of pages.
Just from its exterior design, we can quickly tell this device isn’t like the others. It’s a mini digital counter that doesn’t have an intricate layout with a bunch of buttons, but rather a simple design that looks more friendly. The screen included is LCD, and it has a 6-digit frequency read.
After testing, there are many observations worth sharing about this device. First and foremost, its precision is top-notch. Though you don’t have the option to use as many functions as the other products, this one excels at everything it has to offer.
Thanks to the internal 3.6V lithium battery, the device can put up an efficient performance for many years. Plus, the high-impact plastic case helps improve the counter’s durability by offering resistance and durability.
Additionally, the lightweight, compact design allows this digital frequency counter to fit in most workspaces without special accommodations.
- Large, easy-to-read 6-digit LCD screen
- Comes with a durable lithium battery that provides years of continuous operation
- Proper instructions make it easy to understand the device
- Compact, lightweight build allows it to fit anywhere
- Doesn’t offer as many functions as other counters in the list
8. DROK 090710 10-199.9HZ Digital Frequency Counter
The functionality of this frequency counter is pretty simple: it has two-wires access, meaning that there’s no need for an additional power supply. Though the screen is a 3-digit LCD, the blue background with a black font makes it easy to read.
To guarantee users get precise results, the device has a microprocessor included that works efficiently. It offers decent readings between a 10-199.9Hz frequency, although it’s only capable of testing voltage.
Setting up this counter also happens to be quick. Its small size allows users to mount it on their preferred location easily. Once installed, it barely consumes any space.
A negative aspect of this device is that it tends to have frequency drifts from time to time.
However, this issue only happens after days of continuous operation. As long as you take care of the counter properly and give it a break periodically, you won’t have to deal with varying frequency data.
Of course, if we consider that this frequency counter is highly affordable, such a small issue doesn’t affect our expectations about what it can do.
- Small, compact counter that’s easy to mount for more convenience
- It has an effective microprocessor attached for better readings
- Features an LCD screen with blue background and easy-to-read black font
- Two-wire access system doesn’t require an additional power supply
- Tends to have frequency drifts after 3-5 days of continuous operation
9. HUABAN Crystal Oscillator Tester 1Hz-50MHz Frequency Counter
Similar to the HUABAN device we reviewed earlier, this one is also a kit that requires assembly. Upon purchasing, the delivery may take a while, but you end up receiving a perfectly packaged set of parts that most DIYers would enjoy.
Assembling the parts is an intuitive process, mostly due to the labeled board that indicates the component values clearly. Putting your creativity to work here is a must because there’s no manual or references to guide you.
Designed as a crystal oscillator tester, this unit also works as a portable frequency counter.
While active, the signal input can count kilohertz decently. It has a frequency range from 1Hz to 50MHz, giving users plenty of versatility for different applications. The screen shows five digits, which are visible and thus easy to read.
Although sometimes the counter often has stability issues, for the majority of our testing, it delivered a satisfying performance. It’s a proper kit for DIYers that want to assemble their crystal oscillator tester/frequency counter by themselves.
- Works as a crystal oscillator and frequency counter
- The large, 5-digit screen is easy to read
- Sportsa USB 5V power supply, with an option for DC 5-12V
- Offers a frequency range of 1Hz-50MHz
- Lacks a proper manual, which could make the assembly difficult for beginners
10. DedatreDDS Function Signal Generator Frequency Counter 1Hz – 500KHz
For the last unit, we’re reviewing a frequency counter capable of surprising a lot of people due to its versatility.
Not only that, but it also manages to be convenient by being one of the most compact choices out there. Its small size means it’s easy to carry, which comes in as an advantage for tasks away from home.
Though the instructions lack details, the interface of the unit is easy to figure out. At the front, the screen is large enough for easy reading. The knobs, which handle functions like power, mode, filter, or cursor, are visible and well-designed.
Due to its versatile design, the device offers accurate and stable frequency detection, making it compatible with the oscilloscope. You can use it for circuit experiments, debugging, as well as many more tasks.
Once it detects the signal, the device displays the frequency picked for easy reading via the screen. The accuracy level guarantees proper square wave output suitable for oscilloscope attenuator and probe pulse adjustment tests, among other things.
Even if the unit doesn’t have detailed instructions, its simple yet effective design, combined with a bunch of useful functions, make it easy to figure out how it works. In no time, you get to enjoy the many benefits provided by this compact, versatile frequency counter.
- Features a conveniently small size for portability
- Comes with many functions suitable for different projects
- Relatively easy to figure out
- Large screen that provides accurate frequency reading
- Lacks detailed instructions
Buying Guide: What to Consider When Choosing Frequency Counter
Whether you’re looking for a traditional unit or the best frequency counter for ham radio, there’s a set of features to keep in mind before purchasing any counter. Want to know what those features are? Let’s find out!
Besides the traditional frequency counter, other handheld alternatives may be more suitable for your purposes. Despite being smaller, the handheld models can be more convenient due to how easy it’s to carry around and operate them.
Naturally, a handheld device may not be as powerful as the classic frequency counter. That’s why you must figure out which one fits your demands the most.
Due to the many counters available, the frequency range offered varies a lot. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which unit has the power needed to fit the task at hand. In here, you’ll find frequency counters with up to 2.4GHz, though it depends on the brand and its products.
Ease of Use
Frequency counters aren’t necessarily hard to use, but knowing how each model operates could get tricky if there aren’t proper instructions included. If that’s the case, make sure to pick a model with an easy-to-understand front panel, attenuators, and knobs.
Some of the picks in our frequency counter review article lack detailed instructions, but their interfaces remain easy to figure out.
As seen during our reviews, the screen of a frequency counter varies a lot. Here, you want to consider the number of digits displayed, as well as how easy it is to read the frequencies. A backlit background is also a convenient feature that would come in handy under specific circumstances.
While searching for frequency counters, you’ll find that your preferred unit may be capable of doing far more than that.
A clear example of that is the HUABAN devices, which work as both frequency counters and crystal oscillator testers. Other units may offer voltage readings, and so on.
With a device that offers all of those functions and more, you’ll have all the tools needed to make many types of measurements.
Last but not least, consider whether or not you want an assembled frequency counter or the kit to build one. Does that sound odd? Well, HUABAN offers different kits with all the pieces to assemble your frequency counter, so the possibility is there.
Why buy a kit instead of an already assembled unit? I hear you ask. In many cases, putting all the parts together is a task that most DIYers prefer to do. They get to test how the counter works better and what can and can’t the counters do, among other things.
Besides HUABAN, Arduino is another brand that offers kits for assembly. Although limited, the best Arduino frequency counter can still put up a good performance.
Frequently Asked Questions: About Frequency Counter
a. What is a frequency counter used for?
Defined as an electronic instrument, the frequency counter can measure frequencies via the number of oscillation cycles or pulses per second during a periodic electronic signal.
b. How do frequency counters work?
A frequency counter uses a counter to accumulate the number of events that occur during a specific time-lapse. Once the gate time finishes, the value caught by the counter gets displayed on the screen, and the counter resets back to zero.
c. How to use a frequency counter?
It’s a pretty simple process. Regularly, you only have to turn on the counter and apply a signal to the instrument’s input. Besides measuring digital logic signals, the best RF frequency counter can measure radio frequencies and microwaves.
d. Is the frequency counter accurate?
A frequency counter owes its accuracy to its time base stability, which may vary due to interference, sudden movement, or other events. So, while the instrument can be accurate most of the time, some circumstances may keep it from being as precise as it can be.
e. Is the handheld frequency counter any good?
While many would dismiss handheld models because they’re not as powerful, the truth is that this type of counters can be the right choice. They’re portable, easy to use, and affordable – three aspects that make the handheld frequency counters a convenient pick.
After reading our reviews, now you know what the best frequency counter is capable of doing and why it’d be a good addition to your workspace. Remember to consider the frequency range, the functions of each counter, and whether you need a traditional unit or a handheld device.
Keeping that information in mind will help you find the right frequency counter for you. Then, you’ll be able to say goodbye to potential signal interference issues.