Best Network Cable Tester

You cannot check or analyze any network cable if you don’t have a network cable tester. Depending on the tool’s capability, you can use it to detect faults, pinpoint its location on the cable, identify ports, and trace cables in a network, among other functions. Some can even conduct preliminary test runs for extensive connections.

Unfortunately, network cable testers come in different sizes and shapes. This makes it challenging to decide on what to buy. Without knowledge of how these tools work and factors to consider, you may end up with a product that does not perform as expected or fails to give an accurate result. To avoid that frustration, we have spent time researching different network cable testers and compiled a detailed review of only the best.

This post is a detailed review of the 9 best network cable testers in the market. Read on to find out what matches your application and budget!

Network Cable Tester

Top 9 Best Network Cable Tester Reviews

This section has a detailed review of the 9 best network cable testers. We have looked into some of the most vital features and functions that set them apart. Dive in for details!

1. Fluke Networks MS2-100 MicroScanner2

Fluke Networks MS2-100 MicroScanner2 tops this list of the best network cable testers for its reliability and versatility. This tool can test voice, data, and video cables. It comes integrated with RJ11, RJ45, and coax cable, test ports, and supports low-voltage testing without additional adapters. Fluke Networks MS2-100 MicroScanner2 is the ultimate tool for high-quality network cable installations and troubleshooting in any active network environment.

Fluke Networks MS2-100 MicroScanner2 has many features that make it the first choice for professionals and network technicians. It is designed with a large backlit LCD screen for use in the dark. The screen also displays a graphical wire map, pair lengths, distance to fault with TDR, and other vital information for troubleshooting ethernet cables.

This network or ethernet cable tester can test 1,500-foot-long cables with an accuracy of 1 foot, wire map to TIA 568A/B standards, among other specifications.

CHECK THE PRICE HERE!

Specifications and Features:

Test connectors Shielded 8-pin modular jack accepts 8-pin modular (RJ45) and 4-pin modular (RJ11) plugs. MicroScanner2: F-connector for coaxial cable.
Dimensions and weight (with batteries installed and wire map adapter attached) 3 in x 6.4in x 1.4 in (7.6 cm x 16.3 cm x 3.6 cm)
MicroScanner2: 10.6 oz (300 g)
Display Monochrome LCD with backlight
Cable test Measures length, verifies wire map, identifies remote ID locators, and detects Ethernet ports.

MicroScanner PoE also shows HIGH Ω when the resistance of the cable is more than 12.5 Ω.

Tone Generates Intellitone™ and normal analog toning signals
PoE MicroScanner2: Solicits and detects the presence of 802.3af compatible PoE (Power over Ethernet) devices
Cable types tested Twisted pair: UTP, FTP, SSTP
Coaxial (MicroScanner2): 75 Ω, 50 Ω, 93 Ω
Length test Range: 460 m (1500 ft)
Resolution: 0.3 m (1 ft)
Typical accuracy: ± 4% or 0.6 m (2 ft) whichever is greater.
Ethernet port detection MicroScanner2: Detects the advertised speed of 802.3 Ethernet ports with speeds of 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, and 1 Gbps.
Tone generator Supports toning and cable mapping with a Fluke Networks digital IntelliTone™ probe.

Generates four tones compatible with typical analog probes.

SmartTone™ feature gives positive identification of cables in bundles when using an IntelliTone or an analog probe.

Pros:

  • Straightforward user interface, including a large LCD screen for information display
  • Tests all common media cables, including RJ11, RJ45, and, without adapters
  • Verifies VDV media services, including 10/100/1000 Ethernet, POTS, and PoE
  • Has a long battery life
  • Ruggedly built to withstand harsh conditions and lasts long

Cons:

  • Cannot perform data rate checks
  • Relatively expensive

2. Klein Tools VDV501-851 Cable Tester Kit

Klein Tools VDV501-851 ethernet cable tester comes second for its features and affordability. Unlike the first choice, this is pocket-friendly but still has excellent features any network technician would need. It can test voice, data, and video cable, giving clearly defined results.

This network cable tester can test cables up to 2,000 feet long and identify open, short, Miswire, or split-pair faults. It also features a backlit LCD screen for displaying information, such as cable length, wire map, cable ID, and test results. You can also use it in dark places or at night.

Klein Tools VDV501-851 network cable tester can also trace cables, including wire pairs and individual conductors. It uses a multi-tone generator to accomplish that. It, however, requires an analog probe cat no VDV500-123, which is sold separately.

CHECK THE PRICE HERE!

Specifications and Features:

Cable type tested Twisted Pair, DATA, Voice, LAN, and Coaxial
Connection & Adapter Types RJ11, RJ12, RJ45, Coax F
Display Backlit LCD
Battery life 50 hours
Test & Measure Types Ethernet / Data and Coaxial
Multiple Style Tone Generator Requires Tracing Probe (Cat. No. VDV500-123), which is sold separately
Cable fault detections Open, Short, Miswire, Split-Pair faults
Length test Range: 610 m (2000 ft)
Special features Hub blink for port location detection

Pros:

  • Works with different cable types
  • Analyzes long cables up to 2,000 feet
  • Tests cables for various faults and show results on the screen
  • Slip-resistant grip prevents accidental drops
  • Ruggedly built to last long under different conditions
  • Relatively affordable
  • Long battery life of up to 50 hours when active

Cons:

  • Tone generator is sold separately
  • No data about the distance to the fault

3. Klein Tools VDV526-100 Network LAN Cable Tester

The most cost-effective option is the Klein Tools VDV526-100 ethernet cable tester. It is the best option if you have a tight budget and still want to test network cables. This tool features one button for testing RJ11, RJ12 and RJ45 terminated voice and data cables and is effective on CAT3, CAT5e, and CAT6/6A cables.

The Klein Tools VDV526-100 network cable tester has a fast-blinking LED when Pass, Miswire, Open-Fault, Short-Fault, and Shield faults are detected.

CHECK THE PRICE HERE!

Specifications and Features:

Cable type tested Twisted Pair, DATA, Voice, LAN
Cable compatibility Compatible with CAT3, CAT5e, CAT6/6A
Connection & Adapter Types RJ11, RJ12, RJ45
Display LED
Battery life 80 hours when active
Test & Measure Types Ethernet / Data and Coaxial
Multiple Style Tone Generator Not available
Cable fault detections Pass, Miswire, Open-Fault, Short-Fault, and Shield
Length test Range: 305 m (1000 ft)
Special features LED response

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Easy to use – tests cables with a press of a button
  • Compact design – highly portable
  • Auto-power off feature conserves power
  • Detects most network faults on different cables
  • Long battery life of up to 80 hours

Cons:

  • Limited capability and features
  • Does not test speed and level certification on cables

4. Fluke Networks LIQ-100 LinkIQ Cable + Network Tester

Another high-end network cable tester on this list is the Fluke Networks LIQ-100 LinkIQ. This tool tests cable performance up to 10BASE-T through frequency-based measurements. It features IPv4 and v6 ping and can do nearest switch diagnostics for IP address, name, port / VLAN number, and advertised data rates.

This network cable testing tool can detect the PoE class 1-8 and power and also performs a load test on all PoE from the connected switch.

Fluke Networks LIQ-100 LinkIQ network cable tester also features a large LCD screen that displays information. These include cable length, wire map, and distance from the fault point. Additionally, this tool allows you to print the reports and results from LinkWare PC.

CHECK THE PRICE HERE!

Specifications and Features:

Test connectors Shielded 8-pin modular jack accepts 8-pin modular (RJ45) plugs.
Commissioning Autotests 10GBASE-T, 5GBASE-T, 2.5GBASE-T, 1000BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 10BASE-T, Wire map Only

Test Speed: 6 seconds for lengths < 70 m

Cable Types Balanced twisted-pair cabling, Unshielded twisted-pair, Screened twisted-pair, 2-pair and/or 4-pair
Cable tests ·         Measures length, verifies wire map, identifies remote ID locators, and detects Ethernet ports.

·         MicroScanner PoE also shows HIGH Ω when the resistance of the cable is more than 12.5 Ω.

Wire Map-Only Tests ·         Document wire map

·         Length of each pair

·         Diagnose split pairs

·         User selectable T568A or T568B

·         User selectable crossover settings (Straight through, Half-crossover, Full-crossover)

·         Test speed: 1 second for lengths < 120 m

PoE MicroScanner2: Solicits and detects the presence of 802.3af compatible PoE (Power over Ethernet) devices
Cable types tested Twisted pair: UTP, FTP, SSTP
Coaxial (MicroScanner2): 75 Ω, 50 Ω, 93 Ω
Test Port Shielded 8-pin modular jack accepts 8-pin modular (RJ45) plugs.
Length test 305 m (1000 ft)
Remote ID Locators Use remote ID terminations to identify up to 7 unique ports or office outlets
Tone generator Digital tones compatible with Fluke Networks IntelliTone probe.

Analog tones compatible with general analog probes

Port Blink Blink the light of the connected port
Display 800 x 480 color capacitive multi-touch
Battery life 8 hours when active
Diagnostic Protocols ·         Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP)

·         Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP)

·         Fast Link Pulses (FLP)

·         Internet Control Messaging Protocol (ICMP),

·         Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

IP Address Setup LinkIQ address, DNS Server, Gateway for IPv4 or v6 either manually or via DHCP

Pros:

  • Multifunctional tool that also conducts load test
  • Has powerful network features
  • Stores reports – also printable on PC
  • Capable of cable performance testing of up to 10GBASE-T

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Complex to use – not ideal for beginners

5. NOYAFA NF-8601S TDR Network Cable Tester

NOYAFA NF-8601S TDR network cable tester is a mid-range tool ideal for various applications. It can be chosen by professionals and DIYers who want to test ethernet cables in a network for faults.

This tool measures cable length and displays the distance to the fault on the screen. It clearly shows graphical wire mapping. NOYAFA AT278 TDR ethernet cable tester can also identify PoE presence and detect voltage. Professionals also use it for testing network performance, data packets, and minimum and maximum time.

NOYAFA NF-8601S TDR network cable tester can trace cables in a network while rejecting AC interference. Additionally, you can use this tool to locate a network port by flashing a port light on the router, server, or which port.

NOYAFA NF-8601S TDR is also recommended if you want to export data to your PC for further analysis. It comes with a TF card to aid that.

CHECK THE PRICE HERE!

Specifications and Features:

Track Cables RJ45+RJ11, BNC
Check cable errors RJ45+RJ11, BNC
Power supply Lithuim battery
Display screen Color LCD Display
Length Measurement Range 1-1500m
Calibration Precision 2% (+/-0.5m, or +/-1.5feet)
Measurement precision cable>50m) 3% (+/-0.5m, or +/-1.5feet)
Wiring tests Cable length, connection map, digital pair finder with generator

 

Pros:

  • Multifunctional tool – test cables for faults and trace them in a network.
  • Has a hub blink feature for locating ports on the server, switch, router, or hub.
  • Relatively affordable
  • Allows data exportation to PC
  • Compatible with different types of switched, anti-burnout
  • Length measurement and faults distance location

Cons:

  • LED indicators fail over time
  • Not rugged – may break when accidentally dropped

6. NetAlly LRAT-2000 LinkRunner AT Copper and Fiber Ethernet Network Tester

NetAlly LRAT-2000 LinkRunner is another good choice of ethernet cable tester if you have the budget. Its handheld design makes it ideal for use in different work environments because of its portability.

This tool offers automated verification of network connectivity and availability. It can test 10/100/1000 Mbps twisted pair and 100/1000 Mbps fiber optic Ethernet links and accurately identify network faults in about 10 seconds.

NetAlly LRAT-2000 LinkRunner automates reporting and collaboration with result upload and management on the LinkLive Cloud Service. You can also export data to your PC for detailed analysis.

Other features of NetAlly LRAT-2000 LinkRunner ethernet cable tester include Ethernet link and switch port identification, TruePower PoE, IP ping, TCP port open, IPv6 support, reflector option, 50 reports, etc.

CHECK THE PRICE HERE!

Specifications:

Display 2.8 in color LCD (320 x 240 pixels)
Battery life 3 hours when active
Tone Generator IntelliTone™ digital tone: 500 KHz

IntelliTone™ analog tones: 400 Hz, 1 KHz

Media Access: Copper RJ-45: 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and PoE (IEEE 802.3af and 802.3at)
Media Access: Fiber SFP Adapter Port supports 100BASE-FX and 1000BASE-LX/ SX/ZX (LRAT-2000 Only)
Cable Tests Pair lengths opens, shorts, splits, crossed, straight through, and cable ID
Power over Ethernet (PoE) Single-ended testing

PSE PoE parameters measured:

·         Pairs used

·         Received class

·         PSE type

·         Unloaded voltage(V)

·         Loaded voltage (V) (LRAT-2000 with TruePower™)

·         Unloaded power (W) (LRAT-1000)

·         Loaded power (W) (LRAT-2000 with TruePower™)

Pros:

  • Supports most the cable types
  • Long battery life
  • Easy to use and reliable in cable testing
  • Many features and functions
  • Compact and portable

Cons:

  • Very expensive

7. Southwire M300P VDV Low Voltage Cable Network Cable Tester

If you need a feature-rich ethernet cable tester at an affordable price, choose Southwire M300P VDV. This tool can be used by both professionals and DIYers for testing voice, data, and video network cables for various faults, including split pairs. It can map multiple cable runs, such as RJ45 & Coax “F” ID remotes.

Southwire M300P VDV network cable tester is easy to use, rugged, impact-resistant, accurate, and reliable. It offers good value for money.

CHECK THE PRICE HERE!

Specifications:

  • Application: Tests coax, data, and phone cables
  • Display type: LCD
  • Assembled weight (lbs): 0.78

Pros:

  • Features an LCD display for showing test results
  • Offers good value for money
  • Durable and reliable
  • Consistent and accurate in detecting most common wiring faults
  • Has RJ11 and RJ45 debris tip protectors

Cons:

  • High repair cost because of the replacement part’s unavailability

8. NOYAFA NF-8108M Network Cable Tester

NOYAFA NF-8108M network cable tester for finding faults on RJ45 Cat5, Cat6, 5e, and 6e cables. It can also measure cable length, locate the breakage point, and check wiring errors with 8 far-end passive test jacks. You can use this tool to test for continuity in a network.

Despite the affordability, NOYAFA NF-8108M still boasts high-quality, reliable features, portability, and ease of use. It can self-check and automatically compensates for any changes due to ambient temperature. This tool stands out for its ability to dynamically calibrate cable length and make length measurements with 97% accuracy.

CHECK THE PRICE HERE!

Specifications:

Type of Tester Cable: Check wiring error in 5E, 6E, such as open circuit, short circuit, jumper wire, reverse connection
Tester Port: Tester RJ45 master port (M), tester LOOPBACK RJ45 port (L), far-end recognizer RJ45 port (R)
Display type LCD
Compatible connectors RJ45
Max. distance of cable map 500m
Automatic Time: Delay Shut Off Time; The tester is idle for 30 minutes
Check wiring errors Ppen circuit, short circuit, jumper wire, reverse connection, cross- over or cross-talk interference.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Compact and portable
  • Memory function for data calibration
  • Automatic time delay shut off
  • Up to 8 remote identifiers for testing up to 8 cables

Cons:

  • May break when accidentally dropped

9. NetAlly LSPRNTR-300 LinkSprinter Handheld Pocket Network Tester

NetAlly LinkSprinter® network cable tester features on this list because of its high portability. No other tool is as compact as this one, which can easily fit in your pocket without feeling it.

NetAlly LinkSprinter® can help you discover the nearest switch name and port through CDP, LLDP, or EDP. You can also use it to verify link speed or duplex and connectivity to TCP or IP networks.

NetAlly LinkSprinter® can additionally help validate power over ethernet (PoE) voltage from the power sourcing equipment according to 802.3af/at standards.

Like advanced cable testers, this tool automates reporting and collaboration by allowing you to upload test results to the cloud.

CHECK THE PRICE HERE!

Specifications:

Cable length measurement Measurable cable lengths are from 3 ft (1 m) to 656 ft (200 m)
Shock and Vibration Random 2g, 5 Hz – 500 Hz (class 2), 1 m drop
Safety CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 61010-1-12, UL Std. No. 61010-1 (3rd Edition), IEC61010-1:2010, Pollution degree 2
EMC EN 61326-1:2006
Specification Compliance IEEE 802.11b/g
Frequency Channels 802.11 Channels 1 thru 11 (Default is 11)
Operating Frequency 2.412 ~ 2.484 GHz, ISM Band

Pros:

  • Compact, lightweight, and portable
  • Mobile app interface for convenience
  • Cloud data service – allows reporting and collaboration
  • Built-in mobile hotspot
  • Easily readable light indicators

Cons:

  • Relatively challenging to use
  • Relatively expensive

Best Network Cable Tester Buying Guide

Network or ethernet cable testers come in different sizes and shapes. They also have varying capabilities, making it challenging to decide. Fortunately, we have included this buying guide to help you know what to look for when buying a network cable tester.

Consider the following factors for the best decision-making:

1. Length Testing Capability

Some network cable testers can test cables up to 2,000 feet long, while others can only get up to 1,000 feet. This is a primary factor if you already know the size of the network. You don’t want to be limited by the range of your tool.

2. Build Quality

Work environments are often associated with harsh conditions or occasional droppings. You want a ruggedly built network cable tester that will withstand such situations and last long. Think of it as a long-term investment because you don’t want to get to the market looking for what you just purchased a few months ago.

3. Cable Compatibility

A multipurpose cable tester would be a great fit because it works with all cable types. But if the budget is tight, look for what is compatible with the network cables you will be testing. You don’t want to buy what you can’t use when you get to the workplace.

4. Cabe Testing Capability

Ask yourself why you need a network cable tester and what you want to test with it. You may want to perform a voltage check, continuity check, able length measurement, pin testing, port location, or any other. The tool you buy should have that capability. Otherwise, you will return to the market sooner than you thought.

5. User Interface and Ease of Use

Network cable testers with LCD screens are the best choice because they show test results more accurately, but they come at a high price. If you opt for more affordable options, it should have a friendly user interface and unambiguous means of showing the test results. In many cases, they have LED indicators. Ensure these are readable and you can interpret results.

6. Other Factors

Other factors that make any network cable tester great include accuracy, portability, connectivity, and battery life. For instance, you don’t want a tool whose battery cannot power it for a whole day. Similarly, trusting the test results is impossible if using an inaccurate cable tester.

FAQs

What are the types of cable testers?

Network cable testers are grouped according to their CAT ratings. The different types include CAT 3, CAT 4, and CAT6, but you can also find subcategories for coaxial, triaxial, and twisted pair testers.

What are the different types of cables used in networks?

Different cables are designed for various applications, but the most common ones used in networks include the following:

  • Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable
  • Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable
  • Cable Installation Guides
  • Wireless LANs
  • Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable
  • Coaxial Cable
  • Fiber Optic Cable

When would you use a network cable tester?

As the name suggests, network cables are tested using a tester. You use this tool to determine whether or not the network cables will work when connected. You can also use it when finding a break in the insulation or other faults in a network. However, high-end network cable testers can be used for other purposes.

What is the purpose of testing and inspecting the network?

Testing a network provides an objective, independent view of the network to allow stakeholders to understand and appreciate the risks of the network. It also offers information about the quality of the products and services being tested.

Conclusion

Network cable testers are a must-have for any technician in networking or quality inspectors. You can make the best decision with this product review and buying guide. But the following are our recommendations:

Fluke Networks MS2-100 MicroScanner2 checks all boxes regarding the feature, capability, and design. If you have the budget, it is the best option. This reliable tool will serve you for decades while meeting all your needs.

Klein Tools VDV501-851 is the second choice, and we recommend it if the first option is expensive or if you want a user-friendly network cable tester. It is compatible with all cable types and can analyze cables as long as 2,000 feet. This tool is also reliable and durable.

The last option is the most affordable tool you can get. Klein Tools VDV526-100 is easy to use and detects most faults on many network cable types. It also has a long-lasting battery, capable of powering the device for up to 80 hours when active.

You can also use our buying guide to find other options for your application. Generally, network cable testers reviewed here are reliable tools.

Leave a Comment