Best Wire Tracers: Easily Detect Wires Behind Walls

Quickly locate hidden wires and electrical issues with these top wire tracers

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PUBLISHED ON October 10, 2019

Every once in awhile, wires used in house construction or for other electrical installations can malfunction. Tracing wires behind walls or underground can be a real hassle. Without a proper wire tracer, you won't be able to locate them and replace them. To help you find the perfect wire tracer for the job, we have picked three of the top options on the market.

  • Best Overall
    Kolsol Wire Locator
    This device traces all kinds of hidden wires, including pet fence wires, electrical wires, and metal pipes. If you want reliability and speed in resolving electrical and other wiring issues, Kolsol might be just the thing you need.
    It offers an impressive range of up to three feet in depth and 1,000 feet in length. Compact, lightweight, and easy to maneuver. It's reliable and quick in tracing wires buried underground and behind walls. It can also locate a specific circuit breaker.
    The fragile outer shell is prone to damage, which can make the tracer unsuitable for daily use. Works only on single or double-strand wires and not on multi-stranded wires.
  • Best Value
    Tacklife Wire Tracker
    If you need a quality wire tracer to quickly locate malfunctions, Tacklife is ideal for the job. It can also identify the connection status of network cables and telephone lines. It’s a great and inexpensive alternative for most electrical jobs. 
    This versatile device works on different wires and cables. It connects to earplugs for noise-free operation and features an LED flashlight. Lightweight and compact for easy handling. The volume on the receiver is adjustable. One-year warranty. 
    Not a very intuitive design. It could take some time to figure out how it works. The included batteries might be defective and the earplugs are not of the best quality.
  • Honorable Mention
    Meterk Wire Tracker
    The Meterk Wire Tracker is a powerful and reliable device that traces a wide range of wires, both those located behind walls and those buried underground. It also checks the status of network and telephone lines. Thanks to the user-friendly design, everyone can use it.
    The wire tracker is powerful enough to locate wires in a matter of seconds. The intuitive design makes it easy to use and maneuver. The device produces a loud signal sound and has an indicator light. It comes with a pair of earplugs and a storage bag.
    It's not designed for professional use. The button on the probe is too loose. The tracer can accidentally turn itself on in the toolbox. The earplugs are fragile and get damaged easily.

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  • The price of wire trackers could vary a lot depending on its purpose. You can find an excellent cheap tracker for home purposes and detecting wires occasionally. If you need a professional-grade tool, however, you'll need the best tracker that money can buy. 
  • Check the voltage power of a wire tracer before you start using it. Not all devices are made to withstand the same amount of power. If the voltage of the source is higher than what the tracer can endure, the results won't be accurate. This can also cause a short circuit.
  • Perform the necessary tests to see whether a wire tracer works well. It's important to know that the probe and the transmitter are at their peak power before you start tracing. Once you set the probe's sensitivity to a maximum level, move it towards the transmitter. It will allow you to check the connectivity and alert you about possible issues. 


Q: What is a wire tracer?

A: It's a device that tracks wires and cables located deep inside walls, underground, or in water. It also identifies specific wires in a set or groups of other wires in the same connection. A wire tracer is perfect for detecting wiring issues and malfunctions in houses. It is also helpful in professional electrical tasks.

Q: How do wire tracers work? 

A: Every wire tracer has a transmitter, a receiver, and a probe. The probe itself has three sensors. They are meant to locate a wire and determine in which direction the current goes. The probe points to a particular area, and the sensor catches the signal. The transmitter produces a unique signal that is detected by the receiver. Lastly, a receiver provides a numeric value that will depend on the signal strength. 

Q: What are the most common types of wire tracers? 

A: The main difference between wire tracers is each one’s ability to locate energized or non-energized wires. Some of them can locate both wire types, but most models are specialized for only one of them. There's also a type of circuit tracer that detects the circuit and its voltage.  

Final Thoughts

The Kolsol Wire Locator is our top pick when it comes to wire tracers. It’s reliable, quick, and easy to use. If stored properly, the device can be used for DIY purposes and some professional applications.

For those who are on a tight budget, we recommend the Tacklife Wire Tracker. It’s an inexpensive wire tracer that can tackle most electrical jobs around the house.