Reviews

5 Best Tone and Probe Tracing Kits of 2022 – Consumer Reports

A tone and probe tracing kit is a tool that allows professional technicians or cable installers to identify a wire within a bundle, at a cross connect or at a remote end. There are two parts to this tool: the generator tone which injects a signal onto the cable to be traced and the tracing probe which is used to trace out the wire. The tone and probe tracing kit provides the ability to check-Voltage on wire pairs as well as generate a tagging tone along the wire, which is then picked up by the tracing probe.

A tone and probe kit is an essential electrical tool that no technician or installer can do without. Consumers use this kit to identify wires from a bundle, to monitor voltage passing through the circuit, to check breaks in the circuit and to trace wires through walls.

There are numerous models and designs of tone and tracing kits in the market, each having different features making it a slightly difficult task to determine which model or design to buy. Therefore, we have reviewed many of these kits and selected 5 best tone and probe tracing kits of 2022.


Fluke Networks 26000900 Pro3000 Tone Generator and Probe Kit

Technical Specs:

  • SmartTone TM technology Analog Tone Generator providing five distinct tones for exact pair identification
  • Fluke Networks Pro3000 Analog Probe with loud speakers to make the tone easier to hear
  • Angled Bed-of-Nails Clips that allows easy access to individual pairs
  • ​RJ-11 plug for easy connection to telephone jacks
  • Tone frequency of 1000 Hz for constant tone and 1000/1500 Hz for alternating tone
  • ​Over voltage protection: 60 VDC in toner or polarity mode
  • ​Power source: requires two 9V Alkaline batteries (not included in kit)
  • Maximum length tested: 16km/10 miles of 24 AWG twisted pair; 3.3km/2 miles for SmartTone signals.
  • Output voltage in continuity mode: 8 VDC with fresh battery
  • 18 months manufacturer’s warranty

The Pro 3000 Tone Generator and Probe kit is an invaluable aid that allows the ability to trace a circuit through one of several conduits. It is a professional kit used for tracing and toning wire or cable. It comes with an angled bed-of-nails clips and an RJ11 plug that is connected to inactive networks to locate and trace cables, wires and wire pairs by sending a loud tone up to 16km (10 miles) of 24 AWG twisted pair and 3.3km (2 miles) for SmartTone signals. It works virtually on any cable or wire like on de-energized AC wire, security wire, telephone/twisted pair wire, all coax cable, speaker wires, all voice and data category rated cable.

This tone and probe kit provides five distinct cadences (tones) for identifying individual wire pairs. It has an easy-to-use adjustable volume speaker that amplifies the tone for tracing. In the case of discrete toning or toning in noisy environments, the 3.5 mm jack allows for an earphone (not included in kit) to be attached.

The tone and probe kit allows you to select solid or alternating tone options indicated by dual-color LEDs which could be solid or flashing LEDs. Red for continuity and red and green for polarity of a DC-powered wire pair.

Pros

  • The SmartTone TM technology provides five loud distinct tones to identify or isolate the exact pair
  • The loud speakers makes the tone easier to hear through drywall, wood and other enclosures
  • Works on de-energised AC wires, telephone/twisted pair wire, all voice and data category rated cable, all coax cable, speaker wire and security wire
  • There are no need for adapters since the RJ-11 makes it easy to connect to telephone jacks
  • The angled bed-of-nails clips allow easy access to individual pairs
  • There is a nylon pouch included in the kit which makes it easy to carry around.

Cons

  • One claimed that in a box with three electrical lines, he received signals on all three even though the tone generator was only attached to one, thereby leading to confusion.

Fluke Networks MT-8200-63A IntelliTone Pro200 Probe

Technical Specs:

  • IntelliTone digital technology provides high-resolution measurement
  • Uses 9V alkaline battery and have 3-level battery status indicator LEDs
  • ​Detects Analog and digital signals
  • ​Works on both Active and Non-Active Network
  • Tone frequency of 500 to 1,200 Hz for Analog signals
  • Uses a cable map
  • ​RJ11 and RJ45 connectors
  • Toner turns off automatically when inactive for 2.5 hours while the probe turns off after 1 hour of inactivity
  • Time-saving thumbwheel control and volume control wheel
  • 8 LED indicators

Fluke Networks MT-8200-63A IntelliTone Pro 200 Probe is the first toner and probe to offer digital and Analog toning all in one tool. It is equipped with the most powerful cable location and verification technologies for both inactive and active networks. It uses the IntelliTone technology to detect digital signals, rejecting noise and false signals, to locate and trace data cabling on active network. It also locates 500 to 1200 Hz Analog signals on inactive networks.

There are eight multiple-level LEDs that light successively as the signal strength increases for prompt isolation of a single cable within a bundle. This simplifies signal interpretation in noisy environment making it very easy and fast to locate cables, thereby saving time.

The Pro Toners produces four different Analog songs which alternate every time the pair under test is shorted.

The IntelliTone Pro 200 Probe features a Cablemap capability that identifies common cable that are wired wrongly in twisted pair cabling, eliminating the need for a Wiremap. The Cablemap function helps to validate RJ11 and RJ45 connectors by testing continuity and discovering short circuits, open circuits and crossed-pair wiring faults on all four pairs of UTP and STP twisted pair cabling.

Pros

  • Eliminates confusion over cable location
  • Simplifies signal interpretation in noisy environments with the multiple-level LED indicator
  • Isolates a cable that is within the bundle using a signal with minimum radiation
  • Fast and easy to locate cables saving hours of cable location projects every week
  • Simple and easy to operate knobs
  • Auto off feature to turns off the toner after 2.5 hours of inactivity and the probe after 1 hour of inactivity.
  • Provides high-resolution measurement
  • Cablemap eliminates the need for a separate Wiremap tool
  • Easy to detect signals at cable racks, in patch panels and even behind walls.

Cons

  • Sometimes misidentifies one wire for another when the cable has less than four pairs.
  • One user claimed that it should not be placed in the back pocket as it can easily slip out and fall. The internal tip and electronics cannot survive such fall and the accuracy and pick up are history if this happens.

Extech Instruments TG20 Wire Tracer and Tone Generator

Technical Specs

  • Transmitter has output cables terminated in modular RJ11 phone connector
  • Adjustable sensitivity control improves wire identification and eliminates false detection
  • ​Transmitter injects traceable signal into cables, checks telephone lines polarity and performs continuity checks with visible indication
  • The non-contact amplifier probe audibly identifies the selected wire or cable.
  • ​Each kit contains a Wire Tracer Probe and Transmitter with RJ11 connector, a pair of alligator clips and two 9V batteries (1 for transmitter and 1 for the probe).
  • 1 year warranty
  • Product dimension (Probe): 8.7 x 2.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Product dimension (Transmitter): 2.6 x 2.7 x 1.1 inches

The TG20 Wire Tracer Probe and Tone Generator is used to quickly trace and identify cables or wires within a group and also check the operation of phone lines. It is a necessity for any phone line installation and is very cost-efficient.

The non-contact amplifier probe audibly identifies the selected wire or cable so that one can easily trace from source to termination. The RJ11-compatible transmitter can inject a traceable signal into cables, allowing for rapid testing of phone lines and continuity checks. The adjustable sensitivity control improves wire identification and eliminates false detection.

Many review states that the TG20 works as advertised especially when the instruction manuals is read.

Pros

  • Cost-efficient way to make, test and identify phone lines
  • Adjustable sensitivity controls improves wire identification and eliminates false detection.
  • Identifies wire pairs, check continuity and test telephone line polarity
  • Ease to trace wires from source to termination

Cons

  • The batteries does not last
  • A user said that the Probe has no temporary push button nor auto-shut-off and that the on-off volume knob gets easily powered on when put in the tool bag.

Greenlee 701K-G Professional Tone and Probe Tracing Kit

Technical Specs

  • Adjustable volume control
  • Talk battery (into 600Ω): 4.6 VDC
  • ​Continuity and Polarity LED
  • Resistive Short Visual Indication: 10 kΩ
  • ​Resistive Short Audio Indication:<200Ω
  • Output Frequency (nominal) Alternating-890/960 Hz
  • ​Battery life: >50 hours
  • RJ11 and RJ45 socket
  • Short circuit LED/Beeper
  • Rugged woven nylon carrying
  • ​LED headlight, headset jack and external warble-select
  • 1 year warranty provided that the Greenlee’s written instructions are followed.

Overview

The 701K-G Professional Tone and Probe Tracing is a fully upgraded version of the Standard Tone and Probe Tracing kits making it an essential equipment for the internal wiring technician. It offers a superior tracing for low voltage applications such as telephone, data and security alarm wiring.

The 701K-G provides the ability to check voltage on wire pairs as well as generate a tagging tone along the wire, which is picked up by the tracing probe. This Tone and Probe Tracing kit comes with a 200EP-G tone probe amplifier allowing the user to identify wires and cables without making direct metallic contact with the conductor. The tone probe amplifier features a powerful speaker for noisy environments, adjustable volume control, and a single button operation. There is also an audio shock protected headset jack and replaceable tip.

The professional Tone and Probe Tracer comes with a 77HP-G high power tone generator for identifying a conductor within a bundle, at a cross-connect point or at a remote end. It can be used on twisted pair wiring, single conductors, coaxial cables and de-energized AC wiring. The tone generator features polarity testing and a continuity testing with both LED and beeping responses.

It comes with a rugged woven nylon carrying case.

Pros

  • It is very easy to use and extremely reliable
  • There is a large speaker in case one is in a noisy surrounding
  • There is a carrying case making it easy to carrying around
  • Allows technicians to identify the conductor in a bundle of wires
  • Adjustable volume control
  • Many reviews says that the product works well

Cons

  • One claimed that the Probe tool is not sensitive enough and therefore picks up too much interference noise

ELEGIANT XQ-350 Line Finder Telephone Phone RJ45 RJ11 Wire Tracker Ethernet LAN Cable Tester

Technical Specs

  • DC 9V laminated battery (not included)
  • Signal transmission distance: <3km
  • ​Max operating current: Emitter+-10mA; Receiver+-30mA
  • ​Signal transmission format: Multi-frequency pulse
  • Signal output level: 8Vp-p
  • Adjustable volume control
  • ​Flexible interface
  • RJ11, RJ45 and alligator clip adapters
  • Packaged with a set emitter, a set receiver and a PC earphone

The ELEGIANT XQ-350 Line Finder Telephone Phone RJ45 RJ11 Wire Tracker Ethernet LAN Cable Tester is very good for quickly sorting out cable ends from a bunch of twisted pair lines. Even though the cabling appears to be a total rat’s nest, with this Cable tester, it is super simple to find each end of a cable and it can detect if all four pairs are connected. This Ethernet LAN Cable Tester can be used to test LAN connection from a Fibre Optic Network Terminal (ONT) making it a great investment and a good value for money.

It is easy to read, easy to operate, lightweight and comes with a carrying case. There are clear, loud tones that indicates the correct wire and comes with an adjustable volume control in case one is in a noisy environment. It also comes with a standard headphones.

The readings are more correct when using the default CAT 5e cable than testing a mix of CAT 5e and CAT 6 cables. The little flash light on the end help although it gets powered-on itself when put in the carrying case.

Pros

  • Easy to operate and has a smooth appearance
  • It is portable and easy to carry
  • Light touch switch that saves energy and power
  • Headset to fit noisy environment
  • Has a flexible interface, wide application
  • Indicator and sound reminding
  • Adjustable volume control

Cons

  • Cannot be used to test a mix of CAT 5e and CAT 6 cables
  • Flashlight switch turns on when placed in the carrying case

Tone and probe tracing kits are daily essential equipment for the internal wiring technician, professional technicians and cable installers. Some of them that are very easy to operate can also be used by novice. Rather than calling in a professional technician to do a simple job, anyone can use the simple tools to detect some electrical faults and handle them themselves. In this way lots of money is saved

In order to choose and to utilize any the above kits properly and safely, it is recommended to gain an understanding of the different uses and applications as well as review instructions regarding operation of the equipment. The comparison table above can be used to know the options available in the market.

The following features and points are worth considering in determining the best Tone and Probe Tracing kits to purchase.

  • Ensure that you check the warranty information before purchasing any of the kits
  • Check that it is easy to use and reliable in identifying a conductor in a bundle of wires
  • Depending on the purpose of use, determine if it can detect Analog and digital signals and check whether it works on both Active and Non-Active Network
  • It is important for them to have LED indicators
  • Determine the kind of cables and wires it can work on.