Klein has come out with a new combination non-contact voltage tester that features a built-in LED flashlight. The new Klein NCVT-3, like their MM500 Tough Meter multimeter, is dustproof and waterproof with an IP67 rating, and it also has drop protection with a 6.6 ft (2m) impact rating.
The built-in LED flashlight works independent of the voltage tester, and so you could carry it around and use it as just like you would any other flashlight.
Klein says the new tester can be used for identifying AC voltage in cables, cords, circuit breakers, outlets, wires, doorbells, thermostats, low voltage lighting systems, irrigation systems, and other such equipment. It can detect AC voltages as low as 12V and as high as 1000V, and has a CAT IV 1000V safety rating.
There’s a visual voltage LED bargraph indicator with 5 LEDs that makes it easy to gauge voltage strength, and also a simultaneous audible indicator that beeps at a greater frequency when brought near higher voltages or closer to a voltage source.
The tester and flashlight are powered by 2x AAA batteries, and an auto power-off function helps to extend battery life. To help protect against dust and water, the battery compartment is sealed off by a screw-thread cap and o-ring.
Although it looks a little larger than simpler non-contact voltage detectors, the Klein NCVT-3 is still pocketable at 5.83″ long with a 0.96″ x 1.16″ cross section. It has a pocket clip for keeping it handily within reach.
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
Don’t care about having an AC voltage detector with a built-in flashlight? Try the Klein NCVT-2, which is just $20 via Amazon. But from the looks of it, the NCVT-3 has got more than just an added flashlight, such as the LED voltage scale indicator and its Tough Meter housing.
I’d say get the one with the flashlight for the extra $6. I have a non contact voltage tester, and can’t begin to say how helpful a built in flashlight would be in finding the dead wire in a dark junction box. I have the old model Klein, the one before the one in your Amazon link, ant it was USA made. Any idea on where this one is produced?
Mostly likely China. I was hoping this was made in the United States of America of global components at the very least, but I am willing to bet China.
if I was in the market for one – then yes I’d strongly consider that for the price difference.
I have both the Klein NVCT-2 that you mentioned, and the Fluke 1AC II. I am disappointed with both of them, since I touch them to a live romex wire and get no indication of it being live. I need to put the tester to both sides of the romex, as it won’t sense the hot if you’re touching the neutral side of it. I’ve used someone else’s non-contact tester in the past that would beep if you were within an inch of a hot.
Would this new one behave more like what I want, since it senses down to as low 12V? or would I have to get a cheap one that’ll break in a year?
I, too, have a Fluke 1AC that I’ve been somewhat disappointed with its lack of sensitivity. I suppose low sensitivity is useful for electricians who might have a bundle of live wires in a conduit that might cause a false positive with a more sensitive detector.
I have another el-cheapo detector that’s ostensibly designed to check for faults in strings of Christmas lights that’s far, far more sensitive. It’ll start signaling if I’m within a foot of a live AC wire (the frequency and volume of “ticks” varies with proximity). Turns out this is super useful if you’re trying to guess what’s behind a wall before you drill or saw. In fact, I once used it free space years ago to get a crude idea of the strength EM fields permeating a room when I had EMI problems with a large CRT monitor. Think I paid about $6 for it at a department store. While I don’t trust it as my only detector, it’s useful to have in the toolbag.
I know I need to get one of these detectors so my wife will worry just a little bit less when I’m doing electrical work but I keep reading reviews that say various units gave … false negatives…
I had planned to purchase the Fluke simply based on their reputation for quality but now I just don’t know.
I have 2 Klein testers. Im not too happy with either of them. One of them has a button on the side and seems to turn itself on in my pocket or tool bag alllll the time. The other is way too sensitive to live wires. It will beep anytime it touches anything and go crazy within a few inches of a live wire. This is annoying, also makes it extremely tought to figure out which wires are live and which arent because it wont stop beeping.
My old USA made Klein seems to have just the right balance of being sensitive without giving false alarms. It will start beeping about a half inch away from the wire, and beeps faster/louder as it gets nearer the hot wire. You can tell by the beeping which of several wires are hot as long as they are a half inch apart or more. I got it at HJ Epstein tools, but they have a different model listed now.
damn, My buddy has an old one that only glows when its close to a live wire, no beeping, and even better, no battery. Im jealous of it.
It doesn’t seem like you could stick this into an outlet and leave it there like you can with the NCVT-2 right?
Sometimes I will leave it in an outlet so that I can hear the beeping stop when I hit the right breaker.
If it did plug into an outlet I would upgrade for sure.
wow – I’ve never used a device like this – I always meter my locations as that’s what I have and I know it works.
always thought these sensors were good ideas – didn’t realize they don’t work all that well.
I wish this was designed to compete with the kind of flashlight you would actually keep on your person to work with, instead of just adding a flashlight function to something. It looks like it might be useful when you don’t need much light, but if it can’t replace the flashlight I regularly have on me its not worth the extra weight and size. It’s one of the few “it’s also a flashlight!” tools that makes sense too, which makes it’s almost useful flashlight so frustrating (I can’t find a lumen rating, but based on those pictures it does not look great. I could be completely wrong though)
I seem to have to replace my Klein tools every couple of years. Shame I just got an new voltage finder, else I’d get this one. All tools should have built in lights. I mean come on.
That said, none of them will ever replace the headlamp.
Low voltage detection would be very useful for industrial use. Lots of 12 and 24 volt in all of the factories I have worked in.
12 and 24V AC?
Klein specifically says this is for detecting AC vvoltages, and so it won’t be able to sense DC voltages.
there are sensor and control circuits that use 12 or 24 Vac. yes it’s odd
best example I can think of offhand are rotational angle systems that use a coupled 3 phase AC circuit – as the device rotates – it’s internal coils rotation on top of each other and it’s resultant output varies – these often require 24Vac for the resolution and accuracy. Can’t remember what they are called now. anyway they free float – are analog – and pretty much worry free.
I know Milwaukee has one with a built in flashlight as well. Not sure how the features compare though
I’ve got the Milwaukee in front of me. It’s a good detector – as good as these things can be at least – but lacks the bargraph feature of the Klein.
I have an old Sperry that has adjustable sensitivity but most of the stuff I do, it’s better not to have sensitivity below 100 V.
So a correction to my previous comment. The Klein detector I had was the NVCT-1.
After commenting here, I was at the store and grabbed the NVCT-2. Since I didn’t care for the extra cost of a flashlight and bar graph…. Well… that thing was junk. Behaved differently each time I turned it on. The beep often sounded weak, but then sometimes strong, and would change after a tap on my palm. It would go off within about 3 feet of a live wire! Needless to say, it got returned. Then, since I’m a glutton for punishment, a couple weeks after that, I picked up a NVCT-3. For once, its exactly what I want! It beeps low when I’m within an inch or so of a live wire, and louder when I’m closest to the hot-wire. And the flashlight, despite not thinking I’d use it, is surprisingly good! (I’m not a flashlight guru.) Now, the NVCT-1 and Fluke, just sit in my tool bag with sad faces.