What’s the best kind of equipment for a beginning ghost hunter to buy?

This article is from 2021 and may be outdated. We're working on restoring a newer version.

The best ghost hunting equipment includes tools you can afford and learn to use, easily.

Learn from my mistakes.

Until you’re confident about becoming a ghost hunter, don’t invest in expensive or specialized tools.

Use tools you already own. They don’t have to be “ghost hunting tools.” In fact, some of the most reliable investigation tools are household and personal items.

For example:

Cameras and voice recorders can be useful for more than ghost hunting.

multiple 'ghost orbs' at gilson road cemetery
Haunted Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NH (USA)

If your phone is also a camera and a voice recorder, you don’t need to buy anything else.

Not until you’ve taken a few hundred photos at haunted sites.

Then, you’ll know what to look for, and if you enjoy taking ghost photos.

Don’t buy a specialized voice recorder until you know whether ghosts (literally) “talk to you” and you’re adept at EVP.

Expensive heat-sensing tools could be a waste of money if ghost hunting isn’t fun, after all.

(However, some cameras include them. If yours does, see if the heat sensors are useful for your research.)

Know your budget… and stay within it.

I’ve been involved in paranormal studies for decades, and I still don’t use my most expensive equipment very often.

Oh, I keep buying new tools that sound hi-tech and impressive. “Ooh, shiny!” toys will always suck me in. At least half the time, I never even take them out of my backpack. (Yes, I need to remember that.)

If I don’t use hi-tech tools, you probably won’t, either. Not as a beginner.

Start with simple equipment. Learn exactly how your tools work. Use them in a variety of locations to see if they work well for you.

For example:

Some of my best photos were taken with point-and-shoot film cameras, and digital cameras.

Nikon Coolpix cameraSo far, I’ve gone through three low-end Nikon Coolpix cameras and take consistently surprising “ghost photos.”

More than 50% of the photos at my ghost hunting websites were taken with this kind of camera.

The Nikon Coolpix is good for ghost photos. But, the other big reason I like them is because they use household batteries.

If a ghost drains the batteries in my camera, it’s easy to replace them with batteries I carry in my backpack.

At some haunted locations, I may have to replace my camera batteries three or more times. (And, if I run out of batteries during an investigation, I can almost always buy more at a local convenience store.)

So, if you’re buying a ghost hunting camera, keep the battery issue in mind. At many haunted sites, you’ll be glad you’re using cheap, easy-to-replace batteries. The “battery-draining ghosts” issue is more commonplace than you might think.

In addition, I own two fairly expensive, complex digital SLR cameras. They have lots of bells & whistles. I’ve never made time to figure out how they work. Not well enough to rule out “user error” when I see an anomaly, anyway.

So, those cameras dead weight (no pun intended) in my ghost hunting backpack.

I keep going back to my Nikon Coolpix. (As I’m writing this, I’m about to buy my fourth Nikon Coolpix. Each holds up well for many thousands of photos, but – as a ghost hunter – I take a lot of photos. Even the best camera can wear out, eventually.)

Sometimes, simple ghost hunting equipment is the best.

Good ghost hunting equipment doesn’t have to look impressive. The simplest (and perhaps cheesiest) tools may produce the best results.

For example:

Ghost Meter ProWhen my Ghost Meter Pro arrived, I couldn’t believe it came a box that said “As Seen on TV.”

The whole thing seemed pretty silly. I felt as if I’d wasted my money.

But, within the first 10 minutes, I knew how to use every tool in the device.

Within the first half hour, my tests showed its responses were at least 80% accurate.

Note: I use it only as a regular EMF meter, and in “seance” mode. So far, the other settings still seem kind of silly.

But, be sure to buy the “pro” model, anyway. (It’s the one I linked to, above.)

My cousin bought the less expensive model and it has only one setting. It’s fine for casual ghost hunting, but if you might go professional, later, invest in the “pro” model from the start.

Sure, my Ovilus III is an amazing tool. It’s practically the Swiss Army Knife of ghost hunting. It impresses fellow researchers, so I tend to loan it to team members during investigations.

But, the Ovilus III is so complex, I use only a couple of settings.

Was it worth the $350+ I spent on it…? Maybe. So far, I’d have to say no.

(One of these days, I’ll figure out how everything works. For now, I keep defaulting to the Ghost Meter Pro.)

Note: Many products from Digital Dowsing – including the Ovilus – are limited editions. They can be expensive, too.

At the moment, the Ovilus III isn’t available; it’s probably been phased out. The Ovilus 5 is for sale, as I’m writing this (Oct 2016). I haven’t seen the Ovilus 5 in action, and haven’t tried it, myself.

But, I’m sure that the Ovilus meters (and a related tool, the Puck) are superb equipment. If you want something impressive, that’s a good place to start.

On the other hand, I’ve tried Digital Dowsing’s EMF Pump. So far, I haven’t been impressed, but I need to test it in more, different settings before I say that it’s not worthwhile.

Sometimes, even after a product is sold out by the manufacturer (like Digital Dowsing), you can find it at a site like GhostStop. It’s worth checking, and they carry products from other companies, as well.

I’ve purchased products from both companies and I’m impressed with their service.

Regarding the Ovilus: I may look for one of the early, first-edition Ovilus devices. The ones I tried in the field worked great.

Free equipment can work, too.

My ghost hunting kit always includes dowsing rods. I use them at almost every site I investigate. You can make your own without spending a cent. (See my instructions.)

I also carry a very small, lightweight ball, like an inflatable beach ball. If I’m sure there aren’t any drafts (detected with a feather or a candle flame, if it’s safe), a beach ball can be placed on the floor and watched carefully.

At some haunted sites, the ball will roll on its own. If that happens, ask the ghost to move it (or stop it) on command. When that works, it’s more impressive than any fancier ghost hunting equipment.

Author: Fiona Broome

Fiona Broome is a paranormal researcher and author. She describes herself as a "blip analyst," since she explores odd "blips" in reality. But mostly, she investigates ghosts and haunted places.