What do you use to test cables? (loaded question)

If you’re old school like me, you’ve probably been using a multimeter to test cables for most of your career. It’s not a bad way to go, at least for some cables. It’s a bit of a hassle for coax and network cables though. For coax, it’s like you have to have 3 hands… one holds the cable and the other two hold the terminals. Am I right?

And testing network cables or phone cables… what a drag! For a while I had a pair of extra terminals where I’d filed down the points to be extra thin so I could get right into those contacts. But then you have to do 8 tests for every network cable and there’s a good chance you’ll get messed up and have to start over.

I recently added one of these Tech Choice EZChecker cable testers to my tool bag. It’s about darn time, and I wish I’d put it out there years ago.

First of all you get screw-in/push-in capabilities for phone, ethernet and coax cables, even satellite cables and those RJ12 cables used for older business phone systems. It says it will test USB but I’ll be honest, there’s no USB connector so I would guess if you really wanted to do that you’d need to put together some frankencable with a USB female on one end and an RJ45 on the other. It could be done if you really wanted it.

The kit comes with the tester, a generic cloth bag, a couple of F-to-BNC adapters so you can test BNC cables, and a garden variety battery that you’ll probably put in a drawer when you put in a proper alkaline one.

What’s slick about it — you can see this from the photo — is that the two halves of the tester slide apart from each other so you can test cables that are already fished through walls. That’s a big timesaver, and so is being able to reattach the two halves when you’re done so you don’t lose one of them.

Folks, take it from me this is one of those things that just works and I feel like a total moron for not getting one before. The good thing is that they’re pretty darn inexpensive over at Solid Signal so if you don’t have a tester like this you’ll be able to rectify that easily.

I’m one of those guys who tests every coax cable I make so that takes a little bit of time. With this tester I’m going to be able to make cables a lot, lot faster, and that means, you guessed it, more time for blogging! Win-win for everyone!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.