Noise > Instrumentation > Sound Level Meter Selection
If we first consider sound level meters, they range in price from around the cost of a good lunch for a sound level "indicator", to more than a small BMW for an "all-singing-all-dancing" plus "bells and whistles" multi-channel laboratory analyser.
For all manner of reasons it would be helpful to be able to use a cheap sound level meter; however, there are two problems. Firstly most measurements of sound are made following some form of standard. In the UK these include BS.4142 or PPG24 or the Noise at Work Regulations. Most standards require that the instrumentation used conforms with a particular grade of accuracy. For most purposes the sound instrumentation has to conform to "type 1" or "type 2" grades of accuracy. Unfortunately the cheapest meters are neither of these, so cannot be used for most types of measurement.
The second problem is that most standards require a measurement of either the LA90 or LAeq, i.e. some form of analysis, as opposed to a simple instantaneous reading of the sound. Therefore, even type 1 or type 2 instruments have very limited uses, unless they can at least measure the LAeq.
It might be helpful to look at possible instruments for some relatively common tasks. Please note that in the following sections
Task A - General Noise at Work Assessments