Handheld particle counters are just what it sounds like: particle counters that you can hold in your hand. They are typically use to spot check a cleanroom or to test air temperature and humidity. Handheld particle counters are a versatile, ergonomic tool that deserves its place in the modern cleanroom, along with indoor air quality applications.
For many companies and industries, they serve a valuable purpose, as they also monitor air temperature and humidity. But the first step in knowing if a handheld particle counter is right for you is to know when you should use one.
Handheld particle counters are especially useful in spot checking cleanrooms and other environments, especially during the classification process.
While they are not optimal for being the only particle counter monitoring a cleanroom, they are very useful in measuring the size and number of particles in a particular area. When you need to gather samples from various areas of a cleanroom and take an average, they are very useful.
They also give temperature and relative humidity readings, so they can be useful in that situation, as well.
If you’re currently using a remote particle counter system, then a handheld particle counter could be a valuable tool to ensure that each zone is measuring correctly or in troubleshooting a contamination issue.
They are functional and useful in the correct capacity! They work great for spot checking, they can monitor indoor air quality, and they are very flexible in their usage. Since they are small, they can be easily stored while being ergonomically friendly. Handheld particle counters are also more cost-friendly than their counterparts.
Handheld particle counters are small, so they cannot create high airflows. This means that they might take longer to come up with readings, but they still offer plenty of benefits.
Modern handheld particle counters offer a lot of connectivity options that allow them to communicate information to an existing system fairly seamlessly. Since they offer these integrations and usually have a localized display, it’s easy to get information where it needs to be without going in and out of the cleanroom, which reduces contamination risk.
If the industry uses particle counters, then they could benefit from handheld particle counters. They are used in cleanrooms in automotive, electronics, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, food production, and more.
While a handheld particle counter can be a powerful tool in the right capacity, there are alternatives that might be a better fit for your cleanroom.
In addition to handheld particle counters, you can also use a portable or remote particle counter.
While a handheld is technically a portable particle counter, there are other, larger versions that offer similar but different benefits. Portable particle counters also have a localized display that helps prevent contamination through fewer trips in and out of the cleanroom. But they also offer higher airflows and increased sensitivity due to size, so they can get faster volumetric readings. Portable particle counters also offer more integration options into large systems as well as more permanent possibilities in a cleanroom.
Another option would be a remote particle counter. These particle counters are small and work best in systems, placed throughout a network of cleanroom zones. They usually do not have localized displays – as they are meant to be placed in one spot and stay there, continuously monitoring the cleanroom and sending data to an outside system.
We believe that a handheld particle counter is a valuable asset to an established cleanroom’s contamination control strategy. But we also maintain that it should be a complementary tool to other particle counters that are continuously monitoring the cleanroom.
When you have a particle counter constantly monitoring your cleanroom, you’ll be alerted the moment too many or too large particles are detected. Even if you have a small cleanroom, if you only spot-check with a handheld particle counter every hour or so, you could miss an hour’s worth of contamination. This could result in higher yield loss.
That being said, handheld particle counters serve their purpose in the correct time and place. And we do believe it’s a good idea to keep one available. So what do you need in a handheld particle counter?
There are a lot of handheld particle counters on the market, so it can be difficult to know which one is perfect for you and your needs. Thus, when you are picking a handheld particle counter, ask yourself the following questions:
- What will the particle counter’s main purpose be?
- How much memory does your handheld particle counter need?
- Who will primarily be using the particle counter?
- What classification of cleanroom will you be using the particle counter in?
- What is your desired concentration limit?
- What kind of battery life do you need in your handheld particle counter?
- Do you want temperature and humidity to be included in your particle counter?
- What systems do you need it to integrate to or communicate with?
- Do you want pass/fail reports straight from the particle counter?
- What is your ideal alarm system?
- What kind of technical support are you looking for?
These questions will help give you an idea of what exactly you are looking for in a handheld particle counter. But, not to worry, we would be happy to help you identify which one would work the best in your system.