Best Multimeters

Review & Comparison, Last Update April 7, 2017
When dealing with electric equipment in any way we consider a multimeter, which is a tool capable of measuring various electric and thermal parameters an indispensable device. We offer you to check a helpful buying guide that contains the comparison of  5 best multimeter models available. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Measurement Type
Limits of Measurement
Accuracy
Range Selection
Display
Functionality
Safety
Casing
Convenience Features
Warranty
 
PROS
This Fluke multimeter provides a high measurement accuracy and a large variety of parameters that can be measured in a wide range. All these features combined with the device's convenience make this model a perfect choice for both professionals and amateurs.
CONS
Despite ensuring the multimeter versatility some Fluke 116 features and capabilities might be excessive for a home use and make it pricier.
OUR VERDICT
One can say that this instrument is one of the best multimeters for solving any tasks that electrotechnical engineers face. The Fluke 116 model is especially good for HVAC systems troubleshooting and maintenance.
detailed parameters
Measurement Type
Contact
Limits of Measurement
7 in 1 DC - 600V AC - 600V Ohms - 6.000 MΩ Diode Test - 2 V Capacitance - 1000 μF Temperature: -40°F to 752°F AC/DC - 600 μA
Accuracy
Up to 0.5%, high accuracy
Range Selection
Auto ranging
Display
Digital: 6000 counts
Functionality
Built in thermometer for HVAC applications Microamps to test flame sensors
Safety
6 kV peak per IEC 61010–1 600 VCAT III, Pollution Degree 2
Casing
Compact ergonomic design for one-handed operation
Convenience Features
White LED backlight
Warranty
3 year-warranty
PROS
Being one of the best digital multimeters for the money this multimeter offers a fast measurement and small response time together with rugged design. In addition, the multimeter is equipped with a flashlight for working in dimly lit areas.
CONS
With the overall ergonomics of multimeter design, the input leads are not long enough.
OUR VERDICT
The wide range of different parameters measurement and sufficient accuracy make it possible to use this multimeter not only for residential but for light commercial applications too.
detailed parameters
Measurement Type
Non-contact
Limits of Measurement
8 in 1 AC - 600 V DC - 600 V Resistance - 40.00 MΩ AC Current - 10.00 A DC Current - 10.00 A Capacitance - 4000 μF Temperature: -40 °F to 1832 °F Frequency -10 MHz
Accuracy
From 0.8% to 1.2%, average accuracy
Range Selection
Auto and manual ranging
Display
Digital: 6000 counts
Functionality
Built-in flashlight, Built in thermometer Audible continuity test
Safety
CAT III 600V safety rated
Casing
Durable, rubber overmolded enclosure
Convenience Features
Data hold and relative zero mode, Backlit LCD display
Warranty
1 year-warranty
PROS
The Craftsman 34-82007 multimeter comes in the supply package that includes such advanced accessories as Voltage Detector + Flashlight. The device case is highly optimized for one-hand operation.
CONS
The non-contact voltage detection probe is incapable of detecting a live wire in a wire bundle.
OUR VERDICT
At a moderate price this digital multimeter offers rich functionality and high accuracy to solve various electric house tasks.
detailed parameters
Measurement Type
Non-contact
Limits of Measurement
8 in 1 DC Voltage - 600V AC Voltage - 600V DC Current - 20A AC Current - 20A Resistance - 40MΩ Capacitance - 100µF Frequency - 10.00MHz Temperature: -4 to 1382°F
Accuracy
Up to 0.5%, high accuracy
Range Selection
Auto ranging
Display
4000 counts backlit LCD
Functionality
Test Leads Included Temperature Probe Flashlight
Safety
IEC1010-1 (1995): EN61010-1 (1995) Overvoltage Category III
Casing
Compact ergonomic design for one-handed operation
Convenience Features
Auto Power Off, Data Hold and a Backlit LCD, Low Battery Indication
Warranty
1 year-warranty
PROS
This Etekcity multimeter model is supplied with an excellent manual that provides a profound description of the device application and features and comes in an ergonomic case for a firm grip.
CONS
The ergonomic case design makes you put a lot of effort when performing the battery replacement.
OUR VERDICT
For those who decided to run their houses on their own this multimeter will prove a critical tool for solving the electricity issues. The accuracy and measurement ranges supported by the device will fit for laying and repairing wires both in your house and vehicles.
detailed parameters
Measurement Type
Contact
Limits of Measurement
4 in 1 DC Voltage - 200V AC Voltage - 500V DC Current - 10A Resistance - 200MΩ
Accuracy
From 1% to 2%, average accuracy
Range Selection
Manual ranging
Display
Maximum readings: 4000 (frequency 9999)
Functionality
Diode Test, Continuity Test, Low battery indicator, Continuity buzzer, Overload protection
Safety
IEC61010 CAT.III 1000V, CAT.IV 600V overvoltage and double insulation standard
Casing
Protective rubber sleeve for drop protection
Convenience Features
Built-in support stand for hand free use, Data Hold and a Backlit LCD
Warranty
1 year-warranty
PROS
The main advantages of this multimeter are the price and the combination of a compact size with convenient controls arrangements.
CONS
The device is not suitable for RMS measurements.
OUR VERDICT
This model packs all the basic features and functions required for a residential use. While the accuracy this digital multimeter provides is not of the highest rate it is very good from the pricing point of view.
detailed parameters
Measurement Type
Contact (probes) and non-contact (jaw opening clamp)
Limits of Measurement
4 in 1 AC current - 400A AC voltage - 600V DC voltage - 600V Resistance - 2-20MΩ
Accuracy
From 0.8% to 1.5%, average accuracy
Range Selection
Auto ranging
Display
Maximum readings: 1999
Functionality
Diode test Continuity test Resistance test
Safety
IEC61010 CAT.II 600V, CAT.III 300V overvoltage and double insulation
Casing
Plastic compact case for one-handed operation
Convenience Features
Safely insulated test probes with plastic gripping
Warranty
1 year-warranty

What is a Multimeter

A multimeter is a multi-purpose measuring instrument, which functionality encompasses those of multirange ammeter, ohmmeter, and voltmeter. This small device allows detecting faults and faulty connections in a power network, checking coils inductance, measuring line voltage, DC and AC current. These are only the basic tasks, which multimeters are designed to perform. Though to be able to access all those possibilities and features you need to approach the choosing of a multimeter correctly. Our today’s review aims at explaining the parameters you should focus on when choosing an electronic multimeter and helping you decide on a specific model.

Another indispensable item the car owners should have at hand is a car battery tester, the peculiarities and capabilities of which you can learn from our reviews.

What Features to Compare

Measurements and Accuracy

When choosing an analog or digital multimeter first you need to determine the multimeter operation method and types of parameter measurements you plan to perform with the device. For clarifying the required multimeter features you should figure out the electric parameters you need to measure. Thus, specialized DMM (digital multimeter) devices for professionals are capable of measuring not only basic parameters (AC and DC voltage, current, resistance) but also capacitance, inductance, temperature, frequency as well as pulse width and interpulse periods. Some multimeters can perform a continuity/loop check.

The second important pair of parameters for you to pay attention to includes measurement accuracy and range. Relative accuracy, which is often specified in multimeter datasheets and ranges from 0.025% to 3%, is the error of a multimeter measurement compared to the value obtained with the device used to calibrate the multimeter. With that, a multimeter with a 1.5-3% relative accuracy will meet the basic household demands, while a multimeter with better accuracy is optimal for laboratory testing or engineering work.

The measurement range defines the smallest and the largest values measured for a given parameter. The bigger the range is the better multimeter suits industrial and engineering purposes.

Conveniences

The third aspect we suggest you consider is the instrument convenience, including ergonomics, readouts displaying and general controls arrangement. You need to evaluate the device’s ergonomics in terms of a good grip; thus, a device with better ergonomics will provide a better grip. The multimeter convenience also influences the measurement precision. However, such useful features as a built-in flashlight, continuance check, auto shut-off, and the Hold feature for retaining your measurements are also beneficial for the measurement precision. Another convenience-related design element is the multimeter display. The display size is crucial: the bigger the display is the more numbers it can show and the higher is the multimeter resolution. The multimeter resolution in the vast majority of cases is specified as a number of decimal digits displayed. If the most significant of these digits cannot take all values from 0 to 9 it is often termed a fractional digit. For example, a multimeter, which can display up to 19999 (plus an embedded decimal point) is said to display 4.5 digits (99999 for a full 5 digit device), while the 3.5 digits device shows measurements up to 1999. The display backlight will enable you to see the readings even in the dark.

In terms of a measurement method, multimeters can be divided into contact and non-contact. There are also combined electronic multimeters, which are capable of obtaining readings with both contact tools (probes) and non-contact (jaw opening clamp) tools.

Usability

The last but not the least multimeter parameters to keep in mind are safety and usability. It’s all about choosing a measuring device that conforms to anticipated operating conditions and has an adequate protection (moisture and splash protection, shockproof plastic, protective case). The next noteworthy feature is the electrical protection of multimeter inputs along with the electric safety class (protection from an electric shock in case of high voltage current occurrence on multimeter inputs). In most cases, the electric class or IEC protection class is clearly specified on a device label and manual. According to the requirements of the IEC1010-10 standard all multimeters are referred to one of the four electric safety classes: CAT I — for the operation with low-voltage devices circuitry, CAT II — for local power supply circuits, CAT III — for distribution power supply chains installed indoors, and CAT IV — for analogous distribution chains laid outdoors.

The electric protection of multimeter inputs is very important too as in most cases multimeters get damaged due to nonobservance of maximum voltage or current measured, occurrence of electrical fast transients and when connecting multimeter probe tips to a live wire with the multimeter switched to resistance measurement mode. To avoid a multimeter failure in the mentioned cases, manufacturers implement multimeter inputs protection of different types: electronic and electromechanical (thermal protection), with a conventional fuse or a combined protection. Electronic protection means are most effective as they provide protection for a widest current value range, offer the best versatility, rate of response and reset time.

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Review of Fluke 116 HVAC With Temperature and Microamps

Fluke 116 HVAC With Temperature and Microamps

Fluke 116 HVAC With Temperature and Microamps

A Fit for Professionals

The Fluke 116 was designed for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) systems. This electric multimeter model has a vast arsenal of features, which allow obtaining correct root-mean-square values. That is why the multimeter is perfect for HVAC system maintenance. The device’s forte is the high accuracy and the range of all features required for a complete and accurate maintenance and examination of HVAC systems, including such features as temperature gauges and microamp meter. That is why this Fluke digital multimeter is indispensable for engineers and professionals. On the other hand, the 116 HVAC electronic multimeter makes the testing and maintenance of any electric and heating equipment much more simple and easy even for amateurs.

Review of Fluke 116 HVAC With Temperature and Microamps

Optimized for the Most Arduous Tasks

This digital multimeter by Fluke refers to so-called True-RMS measuring instruments as it enables you to perform high-precision measurements in systems and circuits with nonlinear loads and frequency interference, for example, compressor drives. This measuring device is optimized for the use in rough conditions. The high-contrast display with the backlight of this Fluke 116 HVAC multimeter makes the readings easily discernible and readable even in poor lighting. At the same time, the ergonomic design and well-calculated control buttons arrangement this Fluke digital multimeter has, enable its one-handed operation. If required you can position this modern device on a flat horizontal surface using a kickstand on the meter back. The Fluke 116 model has a CAT III 600 V electric safety class. For the note, a device manufactured in conformance with the CAT III requirements is capable of enduring greater voltage surges than a device that conforms to the CAT II. As the specification says, the maximum voltage this multimeter can measure while retaining its operability is 600V. In addition to its user safety-oriented design the digital multimeter by Fluke offers a 3-year warranty that leaves you with no worries about maintenance costs. It is worthwhile noting that Fluke 116 multimeter was introduced into the market in several editions, which differ only in terms of supply package.

Fluke 116 HVAC With Temperature and Microamps in the use

It Is Interesting to Know

The Gymnotiformes fishes (South America) determine the dominant male by the electric signal of the highest frequency, which is generated by the male.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter with Temperature and Microamps
Fluke 116 HVAC With Temperature and Microamps
Fluke 116 HVAC With Temperature and Microamps
 
Review of Amprobe AM-510 With Non-Contact Voltage Detection

Amprobe AM-510 With Non-Contact Voltage Detection

Amprobe AM-510 With Non-Contact Voltage Detection

Designed for Light Commercial and Advanced Residential Operations

If you experienced a need to replace or repair the electric wiring in your house, decided to install an underfloor heating system or to repair some electric equipment, then we highly recommend using the Amprobe electronic multimeter. Consider: the VolTect™ technology, which found its implementation in this multimeter model allows for non-contact voltage detection in electric wires. The auxiliary features, which the Amprobe AM-510 offers and which may be useful for both commercial and residential use include audible continuity and diode testing and a very important feature of automatic and manual measurement range setting for a better performance and ease of use. The AM-510 as contrasted to many analogue multimeters provides a maximum error within the 1.5% range, which is quite acceptable.

Review of Amprobe AM-510 With Non-Contact Voltage Detection

No Useless Features and Details

Aside from measuring various parameters in a wide range the AM-510 multimeter boasts a set of additional but not insignificant features, which ensure high convenience of its use. For example, the multimeter design makes provision for the built-in flashlight, using which you can illuminate the wires and units that you are working with. The casing of this digital ohmmeter&voltmeter by Amprobe has a special compartment, in which you can store all the multimeter probes supplied. The design of this current and voltage multimeter provides the kickstand on the back, which enables you to free your hands for working with wiring and circuitry by laying the device on any flat horizontal surface. We also evaluated AM-510’s convenience of use, in addition to case ergonomics, and found out that the manufacturer ensured conservative power consumption for this device. For the cases of turning this  measuring instrument on and leaving it not in operation, the manufacturer provided the auto shut-off feature, while the coming battery depletion is very unlikely to take you by surprise as the device provides a corresponding notification.

Amprobe AM-510 With Non-Contact Voltage Detection in the use

A Few Interesting Facts

At the dawn of the era of electrical phenomena study, due to the lack of specialized tools, scientists were forced to sacrifice their health for the sake of the science. Vasily Petrov, who provided the first scientific description of an electric arc phenomenon had to cut the top layer of the skin on his fingers to be able to feel weak electric currents better.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Evaluating low cost DVMs Part 8 CAT I The AMPROBE AM-510
Amprobe AM-510 With Non-Contact Voltage Detection
Amprobe AM-510 With Non-Contact Voltage Detection
 
Review of Craftsman 34-82007 With AC Voltage Detector & Flashlight

Craftsman 34-82007 With AC Voltage Detector & Flashlight

Craftsman 34-82007 With AC Voltage Detector & Flashlight

Your Right Hand In Performing Residential Tasks

We think that all masters of the house who run the house and do home repairs by their own reports will agree on the indispensability of a multimeter . If you encounter a power network failure or a failure of some electric piece of equipment the troubleshooting always starts from locating the failure. It is then this arguably best digital multimeter for the money helps you to quickly locate the network or equipment failure or even find the failure cause. The functionality implemented in this Craftsman digital multimeter encompasses 11 functions allowing for measuring various parameters. The major functions include the measurement of alternating and direct current, impedance, capacitance, temperature and frequency. Which is impressive for such a compact device. Another advanced feature of this 34-82007 digital multimeter is the non-contact voltage detection (NCV). What is more important for many professionals is that the measurement error this multimeter has is comparable to the one of the professional-class multimeters and is capped at 0.5%. The minimum error enables this Craftsman digital voltmeter and ohmmeter to perform electric and temperature measurements with surgical precision and obtain reliable readings.

Review of Craftsman 34-82007 With AC Voltage Detector & Flashlight

An Excellent Device for the Money

In addition to the basic features, this Craftsman electronic multimeter offers a lot of advantages at a comparatively small price, which we just could not pass by. On the outside, the Craftsman 34-82007 multimer is very compact, which definitely will be highly appreciated by users as such design provides a firm and convenient grip in a palm of literally any size. Another plus of the device is a long period of operation on one battery charge, which is achieved owing to the multimeter’s high energy efficiency and implementation of the auto shut-off feature that turns the multimeter off after 30 minutes of device nonuse. The LCD display with high brightness and contrast is capable of displaying the readings in 0-4,000 range. The Craftsman company even concerned itself with the issues of device storage and transportation and included a specialized case in the supply package. Not of the least significance is the safety of the multimeter use as the aspect of ensuring safety of use may not be obvious for a consumer not experienced in solving electricity-related issues; not seasoned consumers may also not realize the hazards of repairing any electric equipment by themselves. The Craftsman company has taken care about eliminating these hazards as the 34-82007 digital multimeter was made conformant to the CAT III-600V international standard.

Craftsman 34-82007 With AC Voltage Detector & Flashlight in the use

Several Bits of Interesting Information

Many animal species are capable of generating electric current with their bodies. For example, electric eels when resorting to self-defense may produce an electric current of up to 500 V. That is why inhabitants of some areas on the Amazon river when hunting the eels protect themselves from an electric shock by "discharging" the eels with a herd of cows in the water.

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Craftsman 34-82007 With AC Voltage Detector & Flashlight
Craftsman 34-82007 With AC Voltage Detector & Flashlight
 
Review of Etekcity MSR-R500 Electronic Volt Amp Ohm Meter with Diode and Continuity Test

Etekcity MSR-R500 Electronic Volt Amp Ohm Meter with Diode and Continuity Test

Etekcity MSR-R500 Electronic Volt Amp Ohm Meter with Diode and Continuity Test

The Multimeter That Suits Non-professional Users Perfectly

Do not get misled by the low price of this digital multimeter because the widespread  “low-priced product is a low-quality product” cliché is not relevant to this device. This small multimeter packs a lot of instrumentation features, which really turn it into a necessity for amateur and enthusiast users. The measurement precision this digital multimeter exhibits allows to refer it to medium-precision instruments. The maximum measurement error not exceeding 1.5% justifies this statement. Just like many much more expensive peers this multimeter is capable of measuring electric current, voltage and resistance as well as continuity and is capable of testing transistors and diodes. This model will prove itself indispensable in checking and repair of power outlets, electric wiring, fuses and automotive wiring. To eliminate the electric shock hazard the Etekcity MSR-R500 multimeter was manufactured in a case with double isolation and electric shock protection. To ensure the integrity of the multimeter and its components the casing was made shockproof and conformant to IEC61010 CAT.I 600В, CAT.II 300В standards.

Review of Etekcity MSR-R500 Electronic Volt Amp Ohm Meter with Diode and Continuity Test

Nothing Is as Complicated as it May Seem

Owing to intuitive controls and ergonomic design combined with usage safety this multimeter becomes a good choice for inexperienced users. To perform a measurement with this digital multimeter all you need is to set the measurement type with the switch and use the device. With that, the MSR-R500 digital multimeter was designed compact and suitable for one-handed operation. The Data Hold feature permits saving the readings to compare them afterward with the newly obtained ones and evaluate the efficiency of the measures taken. With the overall minimalistic controls arrangement approach, the manufacturer designed this multimeter with two buttons beside the dial. The first button activates the Data Hold function mentioned above the other button is a display backlight switch. The backlight comes in handy when you have to perform measurements in dimly lit areas. To facilitate the multimeter use even further, the MSR-R500 is equipped with a kickstand on its back side, which helps keep the device in place when put on any horizontal surface and freeing your both arms to manipulate the probes.

Etekcity MSR-R500 Electronic Volt Amp Ohm Meter with Diode and Continuity Test in the use

Things You May Not Know

In the late 1800s, a real war broke out between the inventors of AC and DC current: Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla. Edison's camp made an attempt to eliminate the possibility of alternating current transmission by means of power lines by legislative action. However, as it is well known, the preference was given to Tesla's AC current transmission scheme.

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


VIDEO
Etekcity Digital Multimeter Review
Etekcity MSR-R500 Electronic Volt Amp Ohm Meter with Diode and Continuity Test
Etekcity MSR-R500 Electronic Volt Amp Ohm Meter with Diode and Continuity Test
 
Review of Etekcity MSR-C600 With Clamp Meter & AC / DC Voltage Test

Etekcity MSR-C600 With Clamp Meter & AC / DC Voltage Test

Etekcity MSR-C600 With Clamp Meter & AC / DC Voltage Test

An Aladdin’s Lamp

Seemingly minimalistic design of the MSR-C600 holds a package of capabilities, which will enable you to easily reveal defects and failures of electric wiring and circuitry and to eliminate them on your own. Providing the 1.5% maximum error, which is considered an average value the MSR-C600 is a reliable assistant in household use. The Etekcity MSR-C600 С versatile digital voltmeter and ohmmeter allows for measuring such electric parameters as AC / DC voltage, resistance, resistance and perform diode testing. Worth mentioning is the jaw opening that permits to measure AC current without needing to strip a cord and coming into direct contact with live wires. Needless to say, it is very convenient for detecting faults in complex circuitry or wiring as you don’t need to disassemble anything. Which is also important the use of jaw opening of this Etekcity multimeter reduces the time spent on detection and location of faults in circuitry and power networks. All the front face control elements of the device are arranged in such a way to be easily accessible with a right hand thumb. The one-handed operation that this digital multimeter provides helps eliminate distractions and promotes focusing on a measurement procedure.

Review of Etekcity MSR-C600 With Clamp Meter & AC / DC Voltage Test

Reliable All Over

Owing to its unpretentious and simple design, the MSR-C600 digital multimeter stands a good chance of serving you for many years. This versatile electric multimeter is equipped with a high-contrast LCD display that is easy and comfortable to read measurements from. Not the least in significance is the Data Hold feature that becomes essential in case you need to compare several readings. As the Etekcity company cares not only about user safety but also about the convenience of products use the MSR-C600 multimeter supply package includes a handy carrying pouch. The device casing has a double isolation, which dramatically improves the device electric safety for a user. However, the double-isolated device case is only one measure the manufacturer has taken to ensure the safety of the multimeter use. The MSR-C600 is also manufactured conformant to the IEC61010 CAT.II 600V, CAT.III 300V international standards.

Etekcity MSR-C600 With Clamp Meter & AC / DC Voltage Test in the use

Interesting facts

The first electric circuit was constructed in the times of Ludovicus XV. For the experiment, they used 180 soldiers who had to take in the current, created with the help of the Leiden jar, through their bodies. 

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


VIDEO
Etekcity MSR-C600 Digital Clamp Meter & Multimeter Review
Etekcity MSR-C600 With Clamp Meter & AC / DC Voltage Test
Etekcity MSR-C600 With Clamp Meter & AC / DC Voltage Test
 

Infographics

Comparison of Multimeters

Sources:

1. How to Use (and Choose) a Multimeter!, Instructables.

2. Ken DePue How to pick the right meter, Fluke.

3. Multimeters Buying Guide, eBay. March 19, 2014.

4. How to Use a Digital Multimeter or DMM: choosing a DMM, control settings on the DMM, and DMM features, InspectAPedia. Jan 14, 2015.

5. What to look for in a multimeter? Stack Exchange Inc.

6. Multimeter, Wikipedia. October 7, 2016.

7. How to Use a Multimeter, SparkFun.

8. Juan Rodriguez What is a Multimeter? Where to Use It and When, The Balance. June 21, 2016.

9. How to Use a Multimeter, Science Buddies.