Best Multimeter Buying Guide 2021
Usually, professional electricians, DIY newbie people use multimeters. It is helpful for all types of electrical projects. DIY newbie use these gadget. A best multimeter is beneficial while doing any kind of electrical projects. These are easy to use, efficient as well as safer. You can get this multipurpose tool at an affordable price.
What is a Multimeter?
It is a device that you can use to measure circuit currents. Besides, you can check the voltage also with the help of this device. Even, you can identify if there is an electrical problem by using it. The primary purpose of this product is voltage metering. However, nowadays the new models come with plenty of different features. These are known as VOM or multitester.
Types of Multimeters
Both Air conditioning units and heating systems require 220V power to run. That’s why you must need such a tool that can withstand a vast amount of power. This diagnostic HVAC multimeter won’t get damaged even if you plug these wrongly. You should not use the one that cannot handle 220V power. If you use, those low calibration tool then the vast amount of power can damage it. Besides, it can cause potential danger to the operator.
If you want to measure the resistance, then you need this type of tool. Firstly, you need to attach the meter with the resistor. Then, you need to start the searching process and continue it until you get the appropriate range. But the automotive type makes the job done easily. With the help of it, you will get an accurate range. Besides, the advanced ones can check voltage, resistance, and current.
These refer to digital units. The primary purpose of manufacturing this product is to bear rough treatment. It comes with a waterproof feature. These can withstand high humidity, shock, and dangerous drops. Besides, the fluke ones allow you to check batteries. These are similar to those which people use in their homes. Also, it enables you to transmit information to your desktop or phone. If you keep the tool within a measuring distance, you will take the readings from the phone. Then, you can easily share the stored data with your electrician or co-workers.
Analog type relies on the older electrical technology. It represents the measured power quantity value. These incorporate a micro-ammeter. You can use these to measure the duty cycle, current, voltage, and resistance. In this case, the chosen range and sensitivity are the most dependable factors. The real resistance depends on these two. These can handle instantaneous changes. But the disadvantage is that it allows you to read amps, volts, and ohms in limitation. Besides, these offer zero adjustments and a continuous deflection of pointer.
Nowadays, most of the multimeters are available in digital mode. This electronic gadget comes with a digital decimal display (LCD). Besides, you can check the measurement in analog to digital converter. In this case, a bar circuit holds the sample current.
A few of these models come with auto shut-off features. It has four components — display, buttons, dial or rotary switch, and input jack. Compared to analog ones, these offer more accurate results. However, the analog ones have lower input impedance compared to these.
If you want to measure reading easily, then choose the digital models. These are the best in this case. Thus, you will get a more accurate reading. Moreover, using an analog device for extended periods can cause damage to the dial pads and accuracy.
When the dial pads are damaged, the moisture starts to build up inside it. Digital units comes in four main categories namely Category One, Two, Three and Four.
Digital Vs Analog Comparison-
There are mainly two types of multimeter in the market. They are analog and digital. Each of these come with a few specific features.
Compared to the analog ones, the digital meters provide you with more accuracy. Besides, you can download the reading measurements on your computer. It is an additional benefit of digital devices that you won’t get in analog devices.
The digital LCD screens offer a more precise vision to read. Even, it allows you to get readings in poor light conditions. It provides a clear vision, enables you to read decimal and numerical readings.
When it comes to clarity and functionality, digital devices are more beneficial compared to analog devices. Most people prefer to use digital models. However, it doesn’t mean that the analog devices are not available in the market. People still use these. It is used primarily by those who want durability and old school functionality.
The analog devices don’t have a clear display. Due to this, you can face difficulties while using the analog models. In the case of analog devices, there is an old fashioned swinging needle. These devices use the needles to display reading instead of using precise numerical digital display. But the drawback is that these offer less accuracy. Moreover, you need to interpret the numbers yourself calculating the gap between the marked marks with the accuracy level’s help.
Most of the professional electricians use analog devices. It is because of the durability of these. Compared to digital devices, these are more stable and durable.
Choosing Best Digital Multimeter (what to look for)
Before choosing the right one, a few factors are there that you need to look for.
Firstly, you have to ensure that it comes with all your required specs and capabilities. Besides, you should also need such a design that can be fitted for the environment where you need to work with it.
The device you have chosen should come with sufficient overload protection.
You need to choose the right category rating— CAT II, CAT III, CAT IV. Select the exact one that you may require for the task you have.
Always choose such a model that is highly rated one. People who want to measure 4880 volts require CAT III 600V rating, CAT IV 600V or CAT III 1000V.
Try to choose those that can measure the frequency accurately. You should use those models that can monitor the voltage as well as current. However, these models can monitor within a given range.
You should always know the energy capacity of the circuit that you are going to work. It will let you know the highest supported transitory voltage of your device.
Resolution means the number of digits up to which you can measure the signal strength. It indicates the change of output signal.
A Digital device is a heavy-duty tool. It enables you to measure the accurate measurements and read data easily. This factor is essential when you measure any sensitive electronics. A device having low impedance mode can prevent the ghost voltage. LCD screens are always better as the backlit display. You can use this easily in low light situations.
People who want the recurrent thermocouple monitoring feature should go with the digital devices. These have a dual differential temperature function. This feature permits the user to take two temperature readings simultaneously.
Advantages of Digital Meter
People who are electrical workers must need these. It helps to change a junction box, install a ceiling fan, etc. Besides, it can let you know if the power connection is poor. The primary purpose of the design is to measure three basic elements— Amps, Ohms, and volts. These contain two wire leads that allow you to measure the electrical energy. As soon as you touch the wires, these will let you know the readings.
The three main advantages of digital devices are as follows:
Automatic Reading Display:
The output of the digital devices comes in digits automatically. In this case, you can get help from a seven-segment display. Alwaysrely on Digital devices as there is no risk of human errors. It is beneficial for those who have poor eyesight.
Give Accurate Results While Testing:
You can use these to get accurate results while testing the fuel injectors and hybrid engines. The digital devices offer more precise results than analog devices. These can provide the reading for up to four decimal places. On the other hand, analog devices don’t allow you to see the number in decimal places. If there comes any fluctuation number within the range of it, then it is known as valid.
It means that the digital models can read negative values of voltage. You only need to keep the test probe in the opposite polarity. As soon as you place it, you will get a negative value. It is also an additional benefit that you can get using digital devices.
You can see an error when there will be any fluctuations.
LCDs rely on an external power source (battery). That’s why if the battery power is low, the display becomes dim. Therefore, people face difficulties while reading.
There are voltage limitations for digital devices. When the voltage exceeds the highest range, it gets damaged.
DMM is not the ideal one for adjusting the tuning circuits.
These models are very expensive due to their high manufacturing price.
Why Do You Need to Use a Multimeter?
Two main reasons are there for which most of the people prefer to use this device.
Precise diagnosis: It is the first reason for which people want to use it. These give valuable information that helps to diagnose electrical problems in any system. Besides, these can pinpoint the issue in your electrical system. In this case, it firstly pinpoints the change in current. After that, with the help of various tests, it lets you know what is wrong with your system.
Safety: When you do any electrical work, you need to look for the safety factor, first. The equipment you are using in the electrical system is hazardous. Because if you use such equipment carelessly, it can cause injury, even also death. That’s why it is essential to use it with safety precaution. It is crucial for professional and home users to do multimeter testing while working with any electronic device.
How to Measure Resistance
In this case, you need to adjust the setting of your multimeter. Adjust it with resistance or ohms. At first, what you need to do is switching on the device. Then you need to locate the ohm scale. Usually, it is available at the uppermost scale beside the left side of the dial. The value goes down to zero to the right side. It is completely different from the other measurement techniques.
After that, your job is to check the indicator. In case you find that the test lead is not touching anything, then the pointer will be at the left side. It means that resistance is infinite. That notifies that circuit is open. Besides, it indicates that there exists no path between the red and black probe.
Now, you have to hook the test leads. Here, you need to take the black one. Then, link it up on the jack labelled “-“. Next, you need to attach the red one on the jack. Connect it with the omega or R sign. Remember to adjust the range to R x 100.
Next, your job is to grab both ends of the probe. Then, you have to adjust them together. In this case, the pointer moves slowly to the right side. Now, your job is to look for the knob that is marked as zero. Try to keep the multimeter near 0 as much as possible. Ensure that the tool is at the zero points when you change the resistance.
Lastly, you need to use a light bulb. Then, look for the two electrical contact points. You can get these available at the bottom base centre and the threaded base. During this step, you need to observe the needle. It is because the needle moves from left side to right.
How to Measure Voltage
Adjust the tool first to the highest AC volt range. Sometimes, you may find the voltage at an unknown value. In that case, you need to choose the maximum setting. It makes you sure that the tool is not damaged.
Now, your job is to keep the probes on the jacks. To do this, first, take the black probe. Then, you need to put it in the jack marked “-” or COM. Next, you need to put the red one in the jack marked “+” sign or V.
After that, you have to search the voltage scales. In this case, the range is a dependable factor. The scale depends on the range. It is essential to match both the max value of scale and the selector range.
Now, what you have to do is to test the power outlet. The volts are usually either 120 or 240 in the United States. However, in some nations, the voltage is 380 volts. In this case, first, you have to adjust the black probe. Set it in any electrical outlet slot. Next, your job is to keep the red one in another slot. Don’t forget to check the tool. Make sure that it is signifying the voltage near about 120 or 240.
Next, you have to remove the probes. Here, you need to point the selector knob towards the lowest range. Make sure that the range should be greater than the voltage measurement.
At last, your job is to put in the probes. In this case, you have to insert probes as you have done before. Now, the tool can read 125 or 110 volts. You need to focus on the meter range as it is vital for getting the proper reading. In case you see that the pointer is not moving, then ensure that you have selected DC. Recheck it and select AC. You need to test these in such a way so that you don’t need to hold them simultaneously.
How to Measure Amperes
- You have to ensure that you have taken the voltage measurement.
- Next, your job is to check the circuit, whether it is AC or DC.
- You need to measure the voltage.
Do it as we have described.
Now, set the tool to the highest range of AC or DC. A few multimeters are available that can measure merely a small level of current. The current values flow in the electronic circuits. But the range of these current is smaller than the standard flow in household appliances and car circuits.
Features of Best Multimeter
Voltage selection capability:
You can get the most accurate reading because of the variable voltage ranges.
The tool enables you to measure the resistance vs continuity in the circuit. By doing so, you can know whether there is any damaged wire or not.
AC/DC switching ability:
It is a vital feature needed for standard home electronic repair jobs. Most of the handheld models come with both AC and DC settings. However, you should recheck it before buying.
This feature can change the range of the tool depending upon the connected circuit. Despite being convenient, the average persons cannot get the benefit from this feature that a professional can.
This feature is not mandatory usually for basic electrical jobs. However, it helps to measure the temperature of electronics housings. People use it sometimes for computer work.
This feature is not so vital. But most of the professionals prefer such models that come with this feature. It is because they may require to measure amperage.
Usually, these are available between $10 and $300. But the premium models cost about $1500. Tools that you can get only $10 come with ordinary functions.
That’s why if you want to get a high-quality model, you need to invest $100. These models come with multiple functions that can meet all electrical needs. If you spend $300 Or more than that, you can get a professional box multimeter. These contain multiple numbers of ports and LCDs.
Parts of a Multimeter
Display: It can show a negative sign and a maximum of four alphanumeric symbols. This part consists of a digital or quartz crystal screen. It is available at the front side of the tool.
Knob: It is actually the selection dial available in the middle part of the tool. With the help of this, you can change the settings. However, it depends on which type of electrical work you are doing.
Ports: These are the places where you need to connect the probes. Here, you can see two ports— Common port and a secondary port. You can use the Common port for grounding.
Wires: These help to attach the tool with connectors. The connectors can easily fit the machine ports. Each device comes with one red and one black wire.
Probes: These are available at the opposite side of wires. Usually, plenty of probe clips are available in the market. But most of the people prefer to use the alligator clips.
What is an Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter?
This type of tool can find the accurate range of reading. For instance, when you want to measure current, just choose the ‘current’ setting option. The device will make your rest work done for sure. There is no necessity to choose ‘low current’ or ‘high current’.
What is a Ghost Voltage?
We know it as a phantom reading. But it is when there is no connection between circuit and power source. If you want to overcome the ghost voltage, then go with a digital one. These have low input impedance.
5 Best Multimeters to Buy
Klein Tools MM500 Auto Ranging Multimeter
Description: Do you have proper knowledge about the electrical wiring to work on large appliances like electric stoves and refrigerators? A few people are there who have such skills. They know about the installation and repairing process of these appliances. If you are proficient in installing and repairing the wiring in the home, trailer, or RV, choose this model.
This tool works on two AAA batteries. However, it doesn’t come with the batteries. It features an auto-ranging capability and a backlit display. Besides, this model can test AC/DC voltage, resistance, and current. But this tool doesn’t include any probes. It is the best multimeter for DIY electronics.
Easy to use: It comes with three buttons that allow you to use these with ease. With the help of the buttons, you can easily measure resistance, continuity, and voltage. It can detect the voltage, whether it is AC or DC. The kit can calculate voltage up to 750V. Besides, it features both visual and audible continuity. The resistance range of the model is 4000Ω.
Display: It features Auto-Hold ability that allows it to capture a stable value. The product comes with a 4000 count LCD. Moreover, it has self-storing leads. These help you to measure the parameters easily.
Additional features: The tool includes bright display/ backlight, low battery indicator and auto power off. It has a battery door that contains some captive screws. Also, the model is IP 67 Dust and waterproof. There is also a safety feature. It comes with 3-meter drop protection. Moreover, it has CAT III and IV safety ratings for 750V and 600V, respectively.
- 4000 count LCD
- Low battery indicator
- Easy to use
- Auto power off facility
- No drawbacks
Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter
Description: This tool is designed especially for residential/commercial electricians. However, the HVAC or R technicians, industrial maintenance professionals can also use this kit.
Every tool of this brand undergoes a lot of tests. That ensures that all the kits of this brand come with the latest IEC and CE safety regulations.
Measurements: The kit measures AC and DC to 10 amps, frequency up to 10 megahertz (MHz). It can also measure resistance up to 40 Mega-ohms, AC and DC voltage to 600 volts (V). Capacitance to 100 Microfarads, and Microcurrent up to 4,000 Microamps. In this case, the duty cycle can be measured up to 99%.
Wide range of use: With the help of this tool, you can install electrical panels, home appliances, electrical sockets, etc. Besides, you can effortlessly troubleshoot any light fixtures. This model is ideal for automotive applications. For example, it can help you to check battery voltage and alternator output.
Safety: It features non-contact voltage detection that can increase safety. This kit comes with a built-in flashlight that allows you to see fuses and wires in the dark. Moreover, it has a rubber tilt stand and probe holder. You can use these while taking any measurement as ‘third-hand’.
Additional accessories: This commercial kit comes with an installed 9V(6F22) battery, Test Leads and user Manual.
- Ideal for HVAC or R technicians
- 9V battery is included
- built-in flashlight
- Rubber tilt stand and probe holder
- Doesn’t last long
Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter, Standard— Best for HVAC
It comes with a complete solution for HVAC troubleshooting. This HVAC Technician’s Combo Kit can solve the electrical problems with ease. It has about all essential accessories that one HVAC professional may require in the compact carry case.
It features Validate motor, compressor, heat pumps, condenser fan motors, and capacitors. Also, there is a built-in thermometer that you can use in HVAC applications. These have micro-amps that help to flame sensors. Also, it features LoZ that helps to get the right readings. The model comes with a large white LED backlight. It allows you to use the product in poorly lit areas.
Measurement capabilities: This kit is designed mainly for the HVAC professional. You can use the tool to measure voltage, resistance, continuity, frequency, and capacitance. Besides, this model is capable of measuring temperature and microamps also.
Reliable: Fluke is a trusted brand since 1948. The tools offered by this brand allows you to work safely. It can meet all the safety standards. Besides, the model undergoes a few tests for checking whether it is safe in CAT III 600V environments or not.
Additional features: This Digital Multimeter includes Fluke TL75 silicone test lead set. Besides, it comes with 80BK Integrated Temperature probe, a holster, User manual and an installed 9 V battery.
- Comes with Validate motor, compressor, heat pumps
- Safe in CAT III 600V environments
- LoZ helps to prevent false reading due to ghost voltage.
- Slow auto-ranging
INNOVA 3340 Multimeter— Best for the Electricians
Compared to other models, this one is very useful and offers better performance. It allows you to use it on different things like motors, pedometers, and humidity sensors. Besides, the model has a UL-certified safety rating. Most importantly, it is the right choice for professionals. The product weighs merely one pound.
You can get the user manual in three different languages— English, French, and Spanish. Moreover, the kit comes with a large backlit display. It allows you to read even in low lights with ease. You can use the model to measure diode checker, 4000-count backlit display, and continuity.
Also, you can use this kit in plenty of ways. Although the product is handheld, it has a stand and wrist strap. These features allow you to use it in a hand-free manner. The 10M Ohm circuitry makes you sure that this procedure will not damage the engine control unit. The tool enables you to use it with ease. Moreover, it can detect the origin of the engine problems easily.
Used for professionals: The primary purpose of the design is to pinpoint engine issues.
Wide range of test: With the help of this kit, you can test duty cycle, alternator diodes, solenoids, breaker points, wiring, switches, and so on.
Additional features: It comes with inductive RPM clamp, temperature probe, and carrying case. The model has auto-ranging, an auto shut-off and over-load protection features. Besides, it comes with test lead holders that make the model more protective.
- Ideal for professionals
- Easy to read
- Useful auto-range function
- Comes with CAT III 600 Volt safety rating
- Measures AC/DC voltage, resistance, and current
- Poor display quality
The AstroAI WH5000A— Best for Beginners
It is a very recent company set up in Canada. It is the ideal model for beginners. However, along with beginners, others can use it also.
You can use it as your lab device also. It is the best beginner multimeter for hobbyists. The Auto-Ranging feature of the model helps you to save your time. Besides, the 6000 counts can provide you with extra accuracy. What makes the kit exceptional is that it can measure both micro and milli-range AC and DC currents.
Moreover, it comes with a CAT II, III safety. The tool features temperature measurement that helps you to check whether the components are overheated or not. It includes a Backlit LCD and holds function, hanging magnet, and Multifunction socket.
Measurement: The kit allows you to measure resistance, voltage, current, Continuity, Capacitance, Frequency, and so on. Besides, it also enables you to measure temperature and tests diodes transistors.
Built for professional usage: The model features Auto-Ranging capability and True RMS. Both of these help you to measure AC Current and Voltage.
Easy to use: You can get here convenient features such as Data Hold, Large LCD Backlit Screen, Auto Shut-off and Hanging Magnet, etc. These help you to measure the voltage, current even more comfortable than ever before.
Perfect for commercial: You can use the kit for its wide range of heavy-duty capabilities for the entire day. Besides, the model comes with Built-in F400mA or 600V and F10A or 600V explosion-proof ceramic fuse tubes. These features give double protection to the product and make the device more secured. It is very reliable also. Also, the fuses of the product can keep the kit protected. The model comes with a 3 Year Warranty.
- Ideal for the beginners
- 600V explosion-proof ceramic fuse tube
- Auto-Ranging feature
- Three years warranty
- Large LCD Backlit Screen
- Easy to use
- A few users reported that this model doesn’t work correctly.
Best Multimeter Buying Guide
Before buying, you need to ensure that the tool must have abilities to test AC, capacitance, voltages, resistances, and other parameters. That’s why you need to confirm that the model you are purchasing comes with all of these features. People use digital ones to repair, test, and install electrical devices. Nowadays, a lot of brands are there that are manufacturing these tools. That’s why you may face difficulties while picking the best multimeter. Here, we have given seven factors that you need to consider before buying.
The performance of the device is dependent on the specification of the product. Here, specification means its ability to calculate the AC/DC voltage, current, and resistance. Always try to select such a model that comes with a CAT safety rating.
The model should accommodate more current than the power source can withstand. It helps to prevent electrical problems. However, if you want to buy a high-quality one, ensure that it has True RMS value and low input impedance.
There are also some essential features that you should consider which follows:- Internal blast shields, shrouded banana plugs, wide flanges, isolation slots, large backlit, auto shut-off feature, cat ii -iii, and input protection. Make sure that the tool you have bought can measure all parameters.
Before buying, you need to ensure that you have checked the accuracy of the product. It is such a factor that comes error most of the time in meter readings. You need to ensure that the tool can test electrical current and alternating current (AC) testing.
Sometimes, you can see that the price depends on the sturdiness. But it is not always going to be true. Therefore, you should examine the specifications of the tool first. Then you need to determine whether the cost is appropriate as per the features of the product or not.
For example, when you require a tool for home usages, you should not buy such a model with a high voltage measurement function capacity. However, a few high capacity voltage measuring models are available in the market. The primary purpose of manufacturing such models is to help the professionals and high voltage electrical systems.
These features allow you to use it in a hand-free manner. These features available in cheap model that you can use safely. Besides, you should also remember that these tools need to be calibrated occasionally. Moreover, these can offer optimal performance easily. You can choose a calibrated device from the factory directly also.
Thus, you can get a more efficient model that can last for more extended periods. If you want to buy the best multimeter based on price, then choose the branded models. Try to buy the one that comes with most of the required functions.
It is also an essential factor to consider. Before buying, you need to check the building quality of the product. Usually, a high-quality model can fit with your home usages easily. These models come with such probes that are insulated with silicone. Usually, low-quality brands don’t use PVC. Whereas, the superior quality models come with more durable and sharper pencil tips. These are a few differences between a high-quality and a low-quality model.
If you need such testing circuits that can exceed 30 volts, you need to check the safety aspect. You should not depend only on the measurement class. Check the design also. Proper protection can keep the circuit and the user safe.
Easy to carry:
You need to buy such a tool that has a practical design. Therefore, you can carry these tools easily from one place to another with ease. The small ones are very easy to handle. Always try to buy a handy product. It gives you more comfort and enables you to use it daily.
This feature is not so mandatory. However, if you are looking for the best model, try to choose those models with rechargeable batteries. You can use solar millimetres also. It also makes your job easier.
Plenty of things are there that you need to consider while picking the best multimeter. However, you can follow these steps that we have given above. Here, we have elaborated the top 5 best products. You can pick your required model as per the specifications and budget.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the Best Multimeter?
The best multimeters are:-
- WeeProVpro 850L
- FLUKE-116/323 kit
- Amprobe PK-110 electrical test kit
- Extech EX505-K heavy-duty industrial kit
- Greenlee TK-30AGFI GFCI electrical kit
- Neiko 40508 830B
- Power Probe CATIV
- ESYNIC RMS 6000 counts auto/manual ranging meter.
What is the best multimeter for automotive?
The best one for automotive are as follows:-
INNOVA 3340- Best Car
Mastech MS8229- Best Cheap Automotive
Faradigi Auto Range- Best automotive Voltmeter.
Fluke 88V/A KIT – Best for Cars Audio
Fluke 77-4- Best Fluke one for Automotive.
What is the best multimeter for electricians?
The best one for electricians are:-
- Klein Tools CL800 Digital Clamp Meter — top pick
- Klein Tools CL380 Digital Clamp Meter — best budget
- Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter — Runner-Up
- Ideal 61-746 Digital Clamp Meter — Runner-Up 2
- Fluke 117 Electricians’ True RMS — Best Upgrade Pick
What is the best digital multimeter?
The best digital multimeters are as follows:-
- INNOVA 3320 auto-ranging
- Klein Tools 69149 Electrical Test Kit
- AstroAI Digital and Diode Voltage Meter
- Etekcity MSR-R500
- Crenova MS8233D auto-ranging
- WeeProVpro 850L
What is the best electronics multimeter 2021?
Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS is the best multimeter for electronics 2021. It is very reliable. Also, it comes with a decent design.
Which fluke multimeter is best for electronics?
Fluke 117 is the Best for electronics. Moreover, you can use it for general-purpose. The durability and affordability make the product very unique and exceptional.
Which brand multimeter is best?
The best brand is:-
Fluke – ( most popular brand )
Brymen – (Greenlee – one of the alternatives to Fluke)
Extech – ( top-end one of time)
What is the best cheap multimeter?
The best cheap ones are as follows:-
- Fluke 179 ESFP
- Fluke 88V
- Extech EX330
- Adada Hard EVA
How accurate are cheap multimeters?
The cheapest but budget-friendly one is Adada Hard EVA. Some are more accurate since they are based on IC chips. Do not think expensive meters never fails and the cheapest one are worthless.
What is the best fluke multimeter for electronics?
The best fluke meter for electronics is
Fluke 115. The compact design and the latest True-RMS Technology make the product exceptional.