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What is the safe distance that I need to keep to my devices?

Various objects are sensitive to the static magnetic fields of permanent magnets. We will provide you with information on the type of equipment where the disruption is only temporary as well as devices which will be permanently damaged.
Table of Contents

Unproblematic electronic devices and objects

Below you can find an (incomplete) list of objects that should not get too close to permanent magnets. For each object, we included the recommended safe distance to a variety of disc magnets.

Recommended safe distances neodymium magnets

Object Magnetic field damaging at: S-45-30-N
(strength 69 kg)
(strength 11 kg)
(strength 6.2 kg)
(strength 1.8 kg)
(strength 740 g)
High-quality magnetic card (credit card, ATM card) 40 mT
(= 400 G)
46 mm 19 mm 15 mm 9 mm 6 mm
Cheap magnetic card (parking garage, admission ticket) 3 mT
(= 30 G)
134 mm 55 mm 42 mm 24 mm 15 mm
Pacemaker new 1 mT
(= 10 G)
201 mm 82 mm 62 mm 35 mm 22 mm
Pacemaker old 0.5 mT
(= 5 G)
257 mm 104 mm 80 mm 43 mm 28 mm
Mechanical watch, non-magnetic pursuant to ISO 764 6 mT
(= 60 G)
103 mm 42 mm 32 mm 18 mm 12 mm
Mechanical watch, not non-magnetic 0.05 mT
(= 0.5 G)
571 mm 230 mm 176 mm 98 mm 61 mm
Hearing aid 20 mT
(= 200 G)
63 mm 26 mm 20 mm 12 mm 7 mm
Hard drive Unclear
For your convenience, we also summarised all of the information about recommended safe distances for neodymium magnets in a PDF document:

Download PDF

Recommended safe distances for ferrite magnets

Object Magnetic field damaging at: FE-S-100-15
(strength 11 kg)
(strength 4.7 kg)
(strength 1.4 kg)
(strength 100 g)
High-quality magnetic card (credit card, ATM card) 40 mT
(= 400 G)
21 mm 20 mm 18 mm 3 mm
Cheap magnetic card (parking garage, admission ticket) 3 mT
(= 30 G)
119 mm 70 mm 35 mm 11 mm
Pacemaker new 1 mT
(= 10 G)
182 mm 106 mm 53 mm 16 mm
Pacemaker old 0.5 mT
(= 5 G)
235 mm 137 mm 69 mm 21 mm
Mechanical watch, non-magnetic pursuant to ISO 764 6 mT
(= 60 G)
89 mm 53 mm 27 mm 8 mm
Mechanical watch, not non-magnetic 0.05 mT
(= 0.5 G)
522 mm 308 mm 154 mm 48 mm
Hearing aid 20 mT
(= 200 G)
45 mm 30 mm 15 mm 5 mm
Hard drive Unclear
For your convenience, we also summarised all of the information about recommended safe distances for ferrite magnets in a PDF document:

Download PDF

Information about individual devices and dangers

Cameras, mobile phones, smartphones and tablets contain non-magnetic storage media. Therefore, static magnetic fields near those devices cannot delete data. We even offer a magnetic mobile phone mount in our online shop.
However, it cannot be ruled out that very strong magnetic fields might magnetise and possibly damage mechanical parts or the built-in speakers of these devices. When in doubt, keep these devices away from strong magnets.

Pacemaker and heart defibrillator

A pacemaker or heart defibrillator is implanted in people with heart rhythm disturbances. These devices are implanted under the skin in the chest area. They produce electrical impulses, which regulate the activity of the heart, if the patient's body cannot produce these regular impulses itself anymore or if cardiac fibrillation occurs.
A static magnetic field can cause pacemakers and heart defibrillators to switch into special mode. The characteristics of special mode can be programmed and are determined by the manufacturer. A physician can initiate a controlled switch into special mode with a strong permanent magnet. He does that to
  • control pacemaker and heart defibrillator
  • set a determined frequency for some cycles (independent from the actual need of the body)
  • disable certain functions of the defibrillator
As soon as the magnet is removed, the pacemaker or heart defibrillator starts working normally again.
Newer pacemakers switch into special mode at 1 mT, older models already at 0.5 mT (=5 gauss). Therefore, you need to adhere to the safe distances to permanent magnets outlined in the table above.

Bank card / magnetic card

Magnetic stripe cards (aka magnetic cards or swipe cards) come in expensive and cheaper versions:
High-quality magnetic stripes are usually found on credit cards or cash cards and are dark brown to black in colour. For some time now, these stripes have been manufactured using the high coercivity process. Thanks to this method, the magnetic stripes of today’s cards are much better protected from magnetic field damage than before. As a result, magnetic stripes on bank cards are generally unaffected by magnetic mobile phone accessories because the magnets in this type of equipment are not strong enough. However, our experiment conducted in 2019 showed that direct contact with magnets can erase the data on the magnetic stripe. You can find the related information in the video Magnets vs. Credit Card.
But even if the data on the magnetic strip were to be erased, the cardholder wouldn’t have to worry because magnetic stripes no longer play a role in payment or withdrawal transactions conducted within Europe. For that, only the chip on the card is now relevant. As of 2033, magnetic stripes are slated to completely disappear from cards issued by Mastercard (more on this can be found in the article Goodbye Magnetic Stripe on the Mastercard website).
Cheaper magnetic stripes are light-brown and frequently used on car park or trade show tickets. These stripes are much more sensitive. It takes only 30 mT to demagnetise them. However, field strengths of up to 3 mT certainly do not cause any harm.
The chips on bank cards, also known as EMV chips (EMV = Europay International, Mastercard and VISA), are much more resistant than magnetic stripes. Common household magnets can not damage the chip on your bank card. However, as a precaution, avoid exposing the card to strong magnets to ensure the longevity of the card.
A strong magnetic field can magnetise parts of mechanical watches, like for instance the spiral spring. The parts then react to other steel parts in the clockwork or to the clock case. This may lead to the watch being fast or slow.
Most of the standard watches now follow the ISO 764 standard and are "non-magnetic". Such watches need to be able to resist a magnetic field of 60 gauss (=6 mT), which means that after being exposed to this magnetic field they can only be off by a maximum of 30 seconds per day. Some manufacturers offer especially designed non-magnetic watches that can withstand up to 1'000 gauss.
It is difficult to indicate a safe distance for not non-magnetic watches. If you want to be on the safe side, you should keep as much distance for the magnetic field to equate only to the natural Earth's magnetic field of about 0.05 mT.
If a mechanical watch was magnetised by accident and doesn't work properly anymore, you can bring it to a watch maker. He can demagnetise it with a special demagnetisation device, which creates an alternating magnetic field.
Analogue quartz watches can be disturbed by a strong magnet, because the strong magnetic field interferes with the motor. They might all of a sudden be fast, slow or stop working altogether. But as soon as the magnet is removed and the time is corrected, the quartz watch should be working normal again.

Hearing aid

The following components of modern hearing aids may react to static magnetic fields:
  • The speakers
  • The coils responsible for the wireless communication between two hearing aids or between hearing aid and remote control
A magnetic field strength of 200 mT or above can cause permanent damage.
A magnetic field strength from 20 to 200 mT can cause temporary malfunction. Such malfunction may include:
  • Distorted acoustic signal
  • Strongly reduced remote control reach
  • Collapse of the bidirectional radio link hearing aid <->hearing aid or hearing aid <-> accessory (e.g. Bluetooth audio relay)

Vehicle key

A static magnetic field does not damage a vehicle key or the built-in transponder for the anti-theft device. Therefore, you can hang your car key on a magnetic board without hesitation.

USB stick, memory card

USB sticks and memory cards (CompactFlash, SecureDigital, etc.) are not magnetic data carriers and will therefore not be damaged by static magnetic fields.


CDs and DVDs sticks are not magnetic data carriers and will therefore not be damaged by static magnetic fields.

Hard drive

You can find much contradictory information regarding this topic. Hard drive manufacturers themselves don't like to talk about it. But generally, hard drives are much more resistant to big magnets than expected. The hard drive coating usually provides a high level of coercivity. This means you would have to bring a very large magnet very close to a hard drive in order to delete files. As long as you don't unscrew the top cover of the hard drive, you won't be able to get close enough. A strong magnetic field, however, can damage mechanical components of the hard drive. A magnet can, for instance,
  • block the motor of the reading head
  • influence the position of the writing head or
  • damage the writing head
All the above may lead to irreparable damages.
Hard drives of PC’s, laptops and notebooks: A magnet is hardly a danger for hard drives built into a desktop computer because you cannot get close enough. Compact hard drives of laptops and notebooks, on the other hand, are more vulnerable to permanent magnets as they are generally located near the bottom cover plate. We cannot provide safe distances due to lack of data and different hard drive designs, but even our biggest magnet should not be able to damage a hard drive at a distance of 20 cm.
Intentional deleting: If you intend to permanently erase data on a hard drive, using a permanent magnet is not a suitable method. Instead, you should use special file deletion software that completely overwrites the hard drive multiple times.

RFID tag

The data on an RFID tag is transmitted using a radio signal and is not stored magnetically. Information on RFID chips can not be erased with magnets.