Best Multimeters Reviews & Ratings in 2021
Technological advancements in the recent decades did not escape the multimeter industry and has completely transformed the machines from analog tools reserved for repairing and maintaining radios and telegraphs. Today, the vast majority of multimeters are incredibly advanced. With their assistance, gauging different aspects of electrical systems has never been quicker and more accurate. Aside from their ability to measure voltage, resistance, continuity, frequency, DC and AC, and the like, modern multimeters are similarly capable of recording fast-changing values with the same precision and speed of older brothers. Coupled with their ease of use, versatility and high-performance, electricians, enthusiastic Do-It-Yourselfers, and novices are having the time of their life diagnosing, repairing and troubleshooting electrical issues in electrical systems quicmeasure AC & DC voltagekly and accurately and without breaking a sweat.
Our Top 3 Picks
While they are the indispensable tool that comes handy for diagnosing various electrical components both domestically and commercially, you need to exercise extreme caution, so you don’t get the wrong one. And choosing the most suitable is honestly going to be a hell of a task. There are thousands of them out there. In-Depth research is, therefore, necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff, refining your search some more until you narrow down on one that best suits your specific needs. This buying guide aims to save you the heartache of reading through thousands of reviews (no pun intended), comparing the capabilities and features of different models, and of course the time and effort
10 Best Multimeters
1. Fluke 115
Nearly all Fluke meters are easily recognizable with their standard yellow colour, and the Fluke 115 is no exception. Its yellow case makes it stand out from other tools in your toolbox and it also boasts a solidly built shell that considerably extends the lifespan of the meter, allowing it to stand up to rigorous use in the different work environments. The LCD screen is sufficiently large, and the readings are clear enough so that you don't have to strain to take readings. Also, choosing between the different settings is relatively easy as the dials and function buttons are adequately large. The back is equipped with a convenient plastic stand that allows for hands-free readings.
Furthermore, it comes with a CAT III certification, meaning that it can handle a maximum load of 600V. Professional electricians understand the significance of the accreditation in enhancing safety whenever one works with high load capacities. The vital point to keep in mind is that the multimeter features professional construction and because calibration is done by the company, it's one of the most accurate on the market. With additional certifications from such trusted international bodies like the UL, CSA, TUV, and the VDE, the accuracy of it is really not in question.
Actually, it's even more accurate than it lets out, it's just that all the values are rounded off to fit the display. Another plus for the multi-meter is its ability to measure true RMS voltage. Some loads are known to vary with time, which makes it incredibly difficult to extrapolate their true voltage accurately. That's however not the case with the Fluke 115.
It works as advertised. It's incredibly easy to use even for novices, beginners, and homeowners with no working knowledge or experience using multi-meters. There are the already mentioned kickstand and LCD display that make the tool easy to use in different settings. Even when working in situations where the lighting conditions are less than ideal, the display is backlight to help you take measures clearly and accurately. During the day, though, you can keep the light turned off using the button placed below the screen.
You have several modes or settings to testing for different things. For one, there is the continuity mode that's handy for ascertaining that two wires are correctly connected to one another. By touching the leads to the circuit, you'll hear a beeping sound if the circuit is working correctly. In case there is no sound, the implication is that there is a short somewhere in the circuit that needs rectifying. While the process may sound terrifyingly complicated to an untrained person, it's actually quite simple, plus you have instruction manuals that diligently walk you through the entire process. Lastly, there is the Min/Max setting that great for taking the getting the highest and lowest values for products with inconsistent loads, such as speakers. Pushing the button a second time gives you the average measurement. With such incredible versatility, there is no point doing laborious and time-consuming diagnostics using pricy logging meters.
In all, the Fluke 115 is not only a popular multi-meter model, it also boasts incredible safety, accuracy, durability, and functionality. The product comes with CAT III, UL, CSA, TUV, and VDE certifications meaning that it not only meets but also exceeds industry expectations. It's by far your best bet if you need a trouble-free performance while troubleshooting various dangerous systems. The safe and secure assembly of the product, its protective casing, and its professional construction make it one of the best products on the market. However, being a basic model, it lacks the milli-amp measure system, which inevitably restricts its usage to checking electrical systems instead of electronic circuits. It is a solid choice for any person in search of a multi-purpose multi-meter that practical, usable, durable, high-performance, and accurate.
- Comes with a large, easy-to-read display with backlight
- Has durable and robust leads and cables
- Ideal for outdoor electrical tasks
- Has a CAT III rating, which makes it very safe to use
- Exceptionally accurate and precise performance
- Has a generous 36-month warranty
- Lies on the costly side
- Does not have a milli-amp measurement
2. INNOVA 3340
It has a marginally pricier price tag than most entry multimeters on the market, and that alone is indicative of its performance. Because it is designed specifically for automatic purposes, the tool is a perfect choice for users looking to carry out preventive vehicle maintenance and repair without the need for incurring additional expenses of seeking professional assistance. The multimeter proudly boasts a UL certification, just like most multimeters featuring on this list.
For ease of use, it features a pretty big LED display that lights up in the dark where the lighting conditions are less than ideal, thereby eliminating the need to strain to take readings accurately. The LEDs are also colour coded and easy to distinguish in different settings. The likelihood of pressing the wrong button and ending up with an erroneous reading is non-existent. Apart from readouts, the bright LEDs also help you keep track of other critical aspects such as the status of the battery and how much juice you still have left. To make it even much easier to read DC and AC voltages, the manufacturers thoughtfully included a single-setting resistance function with the product. The function efficiently takes the effort and time away from measuring resistance both in DC and AC, making it one of the easiest to use multimeters on the market currently.
As for the quality of construction, it carves a path for itself. You’ll find it extremely easy to use the machine in different weather conditions, whether it is the cold, the simmering heat of the summer or high humidity. In addition to that, the multimeter features a high-quality and long-lasting construction. Accidentally dropping the tool on hard surfaces or hitting it with another abrasive object won’t have any significant impact on its performance and accuracy. This is mainly because of the inclusion of protective rubber corner guards that keeps it safe from high impact activities.
The similarities between the Innova 3340 and the Fluke products is striking, which is not to say their performances are at par. Like the Fluke, this multimeter is equipped with convenient and time-saving probe holders that allow for hands-free operation. The auto-ranging feature, on the other hand, takes the guesswork out of identifying the most suitable range. Also, there is a temperature probe that works by making sure all the critical electrical parts of it are working correctly and at the optimal temperature.
Overall, it is the best multimeter for the money. It comes with several specialized automotive features in addition to measuring voltage, resistance, continuity, frequency, DC and AC, and the like. It has a CAT I certification that's more than adequate to allow for accurate and precise automotive diagnosis. There is an inductive RPM clamp, an auto-shut-off feature, overload protection and the auto-ranging mode, all of which make it an ideal choice for the weekend warrior and enthusiastic Do-It-Yourselfer out there. With large and easy-to-read prints, and a lightweight and compact design, using it won’t present the user with any challenges whatsoever. It’s a solid choice.
- The readouts are large and comfortable to read
- Constructed using durable, robust and heat-resistant components
- Equipped with a convenient and time-saving RPM reader
- The pricing is both reasonable and justifiable
- Measures accurately
- Delays in adjusting its readout
- Only CAT I safety rating
3. Klein Tools MM1000
Like all other premium but affordable choices out there, it comes with several auxiliary features. You get a bar graph, auto-range mode, and several more that make your work both effortless and enjoyable when handling sensitive electrical devices. Like all other multimeters, it is for measuring AC and DC voltage, duty cycle, capacitance, resistance, and even frequency. The interface has adequate settings to allow the user take whatever reading or measure flawlessly, accurately and quickly. Now, it's time to dive deeper into the technical details of it to understand why exactly it comes third on this list.
The machine has a CAT III certification for 1000 V and another CAT IV for 600 V, making it one of the safest multimeters for diagnosing a wide range of electrical systems both at home and on the construction site. With its 24-month warranty, you have the peace of mind and confidence to go about testing different electrical components and systems. If you value economy, efficiency, and functionality, then it is the product for you.
Two other equally important and time-saving features are the data hold function and the high resistance levels. The former is for storing a particular reading when you don't have a place to jot it down. Until you do, you can use the "hold" button to keep the value on the display for some time rather than struggling to memorize large readouts. As mentioned, the feature is both time and effort-saving for those working in a busy work site and working with several other large numbers that need analysing. The high resistance feature is relatively self-explanatory. It means the unit can measure resistance levels reaching a maximum of 40 Ohm, which essentially allows for measuring and checking the effectiveness of the resistor, in addition to whether it's working optimally.
The display is both large and backlit for pretty obvious reasons. Measuring different objects in the dark can be difficult if you can't see the display. Rather than use your phone or carry an LED flashlight, you can just turn on the backlight and voila, reading the values becomes smooth and effortless. Also, you won't have to strain to take reading as you can view the readouts or measurements from several angles, which makes it possible for you to work in awkward positions or confined spaces. Distinguishing between symbols and numbers when the unit is tilted at a 45-degree angle won't be a problem. The auto-shutoff feature comes handy when you forget to turn off the machine. After just 15 minutes of inactivity, it will help you conserve battery by turning itself off.
In all, the Klein Tools MM1000 is an easy-to-use and affordable multimeter that all the family members can use without any assistance. Its durable and robust construction means you can use it both at home for diagnosing common electrical connections and even on the work site. And while its casing is not resistant to drops, high impacts and the like, it can nonetheless stand up to heavy use. Its versatility makes it a solid choice for measuring things like AC and DC voltage, duty cycle, capacitance, resistance, and even frequency.
- Very straightforward and effortless operation
- Budget-friendly pricing
- Works precisely and accurately
- Features durable and robust construction
- The screen and the readouts are both large
- Fitted with an auto-ranging feature for greater accuracy
- Lacks complimentary alligator clamps
- Taking off the rubber protection is cumbersome
4. Fluke 87-V
It is a solid choice for professional electricians, the weekend warriors, and enthusiastic DIYers who frequently work with HVAC units. It's common knowledge that instruments optimized for measuring HVAC applications come with a wide-ranging resolution compared to traditional multimeters, which makes them the best at measuring voltage, frequency, and capacitance, current and sometimes temperature. In addition to these features, the multimeter is fitted with a thermometer whose precision and reliability overshadows that of conventional ones. Couple that with the incorporation of a handy thermocouple and you have the unprecedented ability to take temperature measurements of nearly everything found in an electrician's workshop, even liquids. However, take care not to dip it in any corrosive liquids as it could compromise its accuracy and interfere with its normal optimal functioning.
Another unique selling point is its combination of both manual and automatic ranging, which lead to very apparent advantages. While the auto-ranging mode is more suited to the needs of a beginner, the manual ranging happens to be a better choice for professional electricians. The manual ranging mode is perfect for when the user needs to get to the bottom of particular facets of the test or diagnostics. While the mode is not at all complicated, it’s highly recommended that novices and the less experienced users stick to auto-ranging mode.
Another notable highlight is its sturdy and durable design, which aims at ensuring ease of use for both experienced professionals, novices, and even extreme Do-It-Yourselfers. Like all other Fluke products on the market, this multimeter draws on the several years of expertise and experience of its parent organization to provide the user with a flawless, smooth and trouble-free experience in all sorts of environments. Consequently, the user has the liberty of subjecting the Fluke 87-V to the rigours of the busiest work settings, situations and weather conditions without worrying about wear and tear.
The product's durable shell is also capable of withstanding drops and shocks. Essentially, its shock-resistance capabilities totally eclipse those of its closest rivals, and that's on top of the fact that the product comes with a lifetime warranty to cater for replacement of the whole thing or malfunctioning parts resulting from the manufacturer's use of poor-quality materials and substandard workmanship. The Fluke 87-V would not be deserving of the fourth position if it didn’t have the True RMS technology. The feature gives the user a sense of safety and productivity knowing that their work will be both precise and accurate. It’s been established time and again that multimeters equipped with multimeters are way more accurate than their counterparts without the feature. If your work heavily depends on the accuracy of the readings given by the multimeter, it would be worthwhile deciding to go with the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter in your purchasing decision.
Another feature that enables us to vouch for the multimeter confidently is the fact that it comes with an auto-shutoff feature. Should you inadvertently forget to switch it off, it will automatically do so after just 15 minutes. While it may sound trivial, the feature can save you some substantial resources you would have otherwise spent buying batteries after they have run out. The auto-shutoff feature also preserves its sensitivity, allowing you to work flawlessly in the future.
The Fluke 87-V is also built with the safety of the user in mind. When something goes wrong, you're promptly notified through an audible warning sound, and it would be prudent that your reaction is both swift and efficient or things could go south really fast. Also, like the Fluke product reviewed earlier, this one also comes with an auto-hold function that allows for hands-free usage. By pressing the auto-hold button, the multimeter automatically stores the most recent reading, allowing you more than enough time to jot it down before overwriting it with a new one.
It comes with a few minor downsides the user needs to be aware of before making a final purchasing decision. The most notable is the price. Nothing good comes cheap is a mantra that holds true even in the power tools niche. Compared to its competitors, the multimeter is a considerably pricier model. We are however of the opinion that the price is fair and justified, considering that the multimeter comes with all the flair and very impressive and premium auxiliary features.
In conclusion, the Fluke 87-V is an all-around multimeter designed by professionals to be used by other professionals. It is robust and long-lasting and boasts unrivalled reliability in the multimeter industry. Whether the temperature changes for the worst or the product suffers shocks and high impact occasioned by being dropped on the ground, its accuracy and precision are never affected.
- Offers accurate and precise measurement readings
- Constructed durably and sturdily
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Boasts a wide assortment of premium features
- Best choice for working with HVAC
- Lacks non-contact voltage detection
- The display is not sufficiently large
5. Amprobe AM-510
Our recommendation of the multimeter is not by pure chance. At face value, the multimeter looks like any other off-brand multimeter flooding the market. It's only by taking a closer look, or scratching the surface, if you will, that you discover the product's real potential. To learn more about the impressive, auxiliary features of the Amprobe AM-510, keep reading.
It is equipped with the innovative and game-changing VolTect technology. The feature provides a safe and secure way for expert electricians, enthusiastic DIYers, and novices to detect voltage in electric wires in a non-contact manner. Additional auxiliary features the multimeter offers the user, and which make it a perfect all-around candidate for domestic and commercial use, are audible continuity, diode testing, as well as the combination of manual and auto-ranging measurement. Together, these features deservingly put the performance and ease of using it at par with several other top model multimeters on the market. As for accuracy, the multimeter boasts an error range of 1.5 percent that is considered to be more than accurate.
You can similarly use the flashlight for illuminating the units of measurements that the machine displays. Another feature that makes it widely appealing to the mainstream of electricians around the world is the inclusion of a special compartment on the casing of the machine, allowing you to quickly, safely, and conveniently keep all the product's probes that come with the packaging. The days of misplacing or losing a probe that you left lying around somewhere around the construction site or house are without a doubt long gone. To further increase ease of use and convenience, the Amprobe AM-510 comes with a kickstand fitted securely on the back. The features provide for hands-free operation as you can place it on any flat and horizontal surface, thereby freeing your hands for other equally important work relating to wires and circuits.
The ergonomics of the case make it possible for the user to firmly and securely grab it in their hands without the slightest possibility of it slipping off in the middle of an operation. As if that's not good enough, another icing on the cake is the incorporation of an auto shut-off feature aimed at ensuring conservative and economical use of batteries. As a result, the machine will automatically turn itself off after a pre-set duration of inactivity. And in case you're running out of battery power, the unit will notify you in good time with an audible notification. There is no room for surprises.
The budget-conscious consumer will come to highly appreciate the feature-rich and reasonably priced Amprobe AM-510. Finding a multimeter with a dual thermocouple, a maximum voltage of 6000 VAC, an innovative VolTech technology that's perfect for non-contact voltage detection, a convenient and useful kickstand, and backlight is not easy. A majority of manufacturers will compromise on one or two aspects to keep the prices of their products down to appeal to more consumers. Fortunately, that's not the case with Amprobe. It goes all the way to deliver the best and the best price. If you're a professional electrician or an experienced DIYer in search of a multimeter for advanced residential use and light-duty commercial application, the Amprobe AM-510 is the machine to go with.
- Cost effective pricing for budget-conscious consumers
- Equipped with a flashlight for use in dimly lit conditions
- Has removable test leads
- Exceptionally safe to use
- Lacks the accuracy of pricier models
- Very short warranty
6. Extech EX330
Additional features that make it stand out include remarkable ease of use, lightweight and compact design, an ergonomic design, and most importantly, versatility. The last feature makes the Extech EX330 a multipurpose multimeter suitable for diagnosing and repairing a wide array of electronic equipment. The list of features would not be complete mentioning its competence at withstanding up to 10-amps of current, a data hold and auto shut-off feature, a projective holster, a stand, and test leads, among several others. Now, let’s dive into the juicy details.
First on the list of ground-breaking features is the non-contact voltage detection. With this feature, it allows the user to quickly and accurately detect mains voltage in hard-to-reach places such as behind a wall. The presence of voltage is audibly and rapidly announced by a flicker of the LED lights and a notification buzzer sound. The test for voltage ranges between a low of 100V to a high of 600V. While the feature is exceptional in every right, it, however, doesn't provide value readings on the screen plus it lacks the accuracy to pinpoint cable runs inside the walls, much like a voltage stick would.
Because it's an affordable alternative, it's surprising that it's capable of taking temperature measurements. Who would have thought, right? Anyways,it comes with a Type K thermocouple wire probe that the user simply and straightforwardly plugs into the jack sockets and it starts displaying temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius. With this feature, you can measure the temperatures of a wide range of items, including liquids. However, take care not to dip it in corrosive materials. The data hold feature is yet another pretty standard feature on multimeters these days. It comes handy when you're dealing with or analysing several large values and don't have a place to jot down the reading or value you're getting quickly. The feature not only saves the user significant effort and time, but it also eases the process when you have to compare several large values against one another.
The next two features we'll quickly and lightly mention are the auto shut-off feature and the low battery indicator. Over time, the auto shut-off feature gets to prove its significance by saving you substantial amounts of money you'd otherwise spend on new batteries after the old ones run out of juice for forgetting to switch off the machine after use. When the battery gets low, the performance of the Extech EX330 will naturally drop. The work of the low battery indicator is to inform you in good time that you need replacement batteries before the installed ones wholly run out.
A multimeter would not be usable if it were heavy and bulky. To make it easy to use and manoeuvrable, the professionals at Extech took all the possible measures to ensure it is both lightweight and compact. A lightweight multimeter is not only manoeuvrable, but it also keeps the user from suffering hand fatigue or straining their hands when undertaking overhead electrical projects. The diminutive profile also means portability is not an issue. The tool slips comfortably into the pockets and can also be moved about in a toolbox, and in both cases, it only takes up a fraction of your storage space. The curved design of the machine provides for an effortless grip, especially with the rubber holster.
In all, the Extech EX330 is an ideal choice for electricians, both expert and novice, in search of a multipurpose multimeter for troubling different electric components or appliances. The resistance settings are convenient for testing whether different domestic electronic appliances like dishwashers and ovens are working optimally or malfunctioning. Detecting the presence of voltage in wires, outlets, and switches are made easy with the non-contact voltage detection feature. Other features that underscore the ease of use and convenient argument include the hold function, a clear and easy to read LED screen, UL certification and the protective rubber holsters among others.
- Capable of measuring a broad range of factors
- Comes with a hold button for freezing measurements
- Reasonably and justifiably priced
- Has a long-lasting and robust casing
- Comes with an assortment of safety features
- Comes with a high-resolution LCD screen
- The metal tips on the test leads aren’t long enough
- There's no backlight
- The auto-ranging feature is a little off
7. Mastech MS8229
The Mastech MS8229 comes with several unique selling points. One which particularly stands out is its vigorously attractive looks. It might sound trivial, but the attractive design allows it to blend seamlessly with the other tools in your toolbox, which goes a long way in preventing it from standing out like a sore thumb. Additionally, though this applies to usability, the multimeter has a noticeably large, easy-to-read LCD display. Boasting an ability to display four digits, the LCD screen also has a backlight feature which comes handy when you have to work in dark places or where the lighting conditions make it particularly hard to take readings from the display.
The display is not just large or easy to read or capable of accommodating four digit readings. It additionally comes with a hold function for freezing the requested data point for future reference or so that you have enough time to jot it down on a piece of paper or compare it to other values or analyse it. Overwriting the frozen numerical only requires the user to press the hold button again. In case the battery is running low, it will also give you a quick and prompt notification through the display, thereby giving you adequate time to look for fresh ones or get ready to install the ones you already have.
Using it is very straightforward and effortless. You don't have to have several years of experience or any working knowledge on multimeters to achieve the same efficiency, accuracy, and productivity of seasoned users. There is a centrally placed switch on the multimeter to allow you flip seamlessly through the numerous measurement options, choosing the right one as you go along. For instance, you have an easy to reach and easy to use auto shut-off function that goes a long way in helping you conserve your battery as it automatically turns off the machine after a few minutes of inactivity.
In closing, the Mastech MS8229 is one of those products that don't necessitate overselling. Its assortment of convenience and performance features and capabilities allows it to sell itself. It is a spectacular lightweight and compact multimeter whose versatility, ease of use and high-performance properties earn it a permanent home in every serious electrician's toolbox. The unit allows you to quickly and accurately diagnose or troubleshoot and repair various electrical systems and components around the house. Considering its top-end construction and accuracy, you can put it to use literally the next minute after receiving it.
- Has a commanding presence in the hand
- Visually and audibly notifies the user of successful connections
- The LCD screen is large and adequately illuminated
- Very affordable
- Comes with usable and intuitive buttons and controls
- Has LED backlight for illuminating measurement readings in the dark
- Incompatibility between product and some leads
8. Etekcity MSR-R500
As is the case with virtually every multimeter featuring on this list of best multimeters, it can measure current, voltage, and resistance in addition to continuity. Furthermore, it has no qualms ascertaining or checking whether transistors and diodes are working optimally or not. The functions of the multimeter extend far beyond those already mentioned. Within the first few minutes of owning it, you will come to appreciate its indispensability when you have to check and rectify power outlets, electric wiring, fuses and even automotive wiring, all without seeking any professional assistance. It is such versatility and flexibility that makes it the go-to tool for the vast majority of expert electricians, enthusiastic DIYers, homeowners and even novices.
Aside from high performance, the Etekcity MSR-R500 also boasts intuitive controls and dials and an ergonomic design, which, coupled with its ease of use and safety features, make it the best bet for novices and beginners. The controls and dials are large and easy to find in the dark without necessarily using a flashlight or torch. By ergonomic design, we mean the machine, in addition to its lightweight and compact characteristics, also fits comfortably and securely in the hand and will under no circumstances fall off while the user is working. Together, these properties ensure the user doesn’t suffer any hand fatigue or strain while working, which in turn encourages to work for several hours on end if they have tight deadlines to meet. You can operate it with just one hand, thereby freeing the other for related tasks like jotting down readings.
Measuring different ranges with it is relatively easy and straightforward and involves merely setting the measurement type by using the right switch. And in case you don't have a standby piece of paper for writing down the measurement value, you can take advantage of the hold data function that allows you to save the reading for later comparison with other values recorded earlier. The feature ensures accuracy and efficiency and also save you time and effort, making using the Etekcity MSR-R500 a hassle-free endeavour.
And it's not like there are several confusing buttons you'll have to work with. The first button is for activating the Data Hold features indicated in the previous paragraph while the second one is for activating and deactivating the display backlight. With the latter feature, you can work comfortably and confidently in areas with dim lighting. Yet, another feature that greatly facilitates ease of use is the kickstand fixed on the back of the Etekcity MSR-R500. The kickstand allows for hands-free operation as it makes it possible for the user to put the multimeter on a flat, horizontal surface. Subsequently, you can put your free hands to better use like taking, analysing or comparing readings or manipulating the probes to get the most accurate readings.
With the Etekcity MSR-R500 in your toolbox, you can quickly and accurately measure the standard ranges that include AC/DC current, AC/DC voltage, resistance, and test for continuity, among others. On the downside, it only has a manual ranging selector which might complicate things for novices and beginners. With an accuracy of 1 percent, an affordable price tag, large screen and easy to use dials, a hold function, and an auto shut-off function that kicks in after 30 minutes of inactivity, the multimeter is by far one of the best multimeters on the market.
- Lightweight and compact design increase ease of use
- Comes with a backlit display for efficient use in dark conditions
- Flip out stand allows for hands-free operation
- Has a hold and low-battery feature
- Cost effective pricing
- Offers very accurate and precise measurement readings
- No manual ranging scales
- Current measuring capacity not very good
9. Fluke 117
The happens to be the most lightweight and compact of all the multimeters in the Fluke 110 series. With a weight of just 400 grams, it fits comfortably and firmly in the hands. Such a firm and perfect fit is important for giving the user extra controllability and manoeuvrability necessary for accessing hard-to-reach and tight spots around the workshop. The ergonomic design furthermore facilitates one-handed operation of the multimeter, freeing your other hand for other equally important tasks.
Like its brother reviewed earlier, the Fluke 117 is both versatile and easy to use. It allows the user to measure pretty much all the measurements an electrician is interested in. Whether it’s testing diodes, measuring voltage, capacitance, and even frequency, the multimeter is always up to the task. It offers a range of 600mV and is capable of measuring voltage as low as 0.001V. What makes it truly exceptional though, is the fact that it's equipped with a True RMS feature that substantially augments its accuracy and precision. The function also ensures consistency with the results while significantly minimizing fluctuations.
With the Fluke 117, you also get to use a bright digital screen displaying easy-to-read numbers. So clear is the screen that you won’t have difficulties differentiating between numbers and symbols, as is often the case with off-brand models. You can also view the readings from several angles without straining your eyes. Couple that with the backlight function and you have a machine you can use seamlessly and trouble-freely in all sorts of environments. As was mentioned in the introduction, it also has an auto shut-off function. The feature eliminates the need always to turn off the machine when not in use to conserve battery. It might sound trivial, but after years of using, the cumulative benefit is substantial.
It's clear it is loaded with several cool features. However, the one that makes it hugely appealing to seasoned electricians, Do-It-Yourselfers, the weekend warriors, and even homeowners are the non-contact voltage detector. It eliminates the need for using test leads, which in turn saves the user lots of time and effort and enhances efficiency and productivity. By simply hovering the multimeter over wall sockets, outlets, appliances, control panel boards, and other electrical objects, you'll be able to safely and accurately check for the presence of voltage. If the multimeter positively detects voltage, it notifies you by producing an audible beeping sound.
To conclude, the Fluke 117 will be of great benefit to experienced electricians and enthusiastic Do-It-Yourselfers. Given its sturdiness, high-performance, ease of use and durability properties, it is ideal for use in different settings, most notably around the house, in hospitals, institutions of learning, and even commercial buildings. So, if you're any in search of a versatile and accurate multimeter to use on a range of projects both domestically and commercially, take a serious look at this multimeter. Its price is great, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Easy to use
- Works accurately and precisely
- Allows for hands-free operation as it’s compatible with optical magnetic hangers
- Equipped with a backlit LED display for ease of use in dimly lit conditions
- Ergonomically designed
- Very versatile performance
Durable and reliable construction
- Lacks the accuracy of its competitors
- Does not have a milli-amps and micro amps measurement
- Poor display resolution
10. INNOVA 3320
Couple the diminutive profile with its large, easy to read screen, snug rubberized handle and intuitive dials and buttons, and you have yourself a multimeter that's both easy to use and versatile. Subsequently, the multimeter is ideal for performing a wide range of electrical tasks around the house, be it replacing, repairing or installing a new electrical wiring system, diagnosing or checking if the power outlets, fuses, and other electrical systems are performing as per expectations. The overview would not be complete without mentioning that it comes with a factory-installed auto-ranging scales allowing for the quick and effortless setting of range before taking measurements.
Setting the range on the INNOVA 3320 is both a quick and straightforward endeavour. Simply flipping the centrally placed switch does the job for you, saving you some time and effort it would otherwise take with manual ranging models. The entire process lasts a pleasant 30 or so seconds, depending of course on your level of expertise. Being a machine that brings you close to electricity, it’s vital that the multimeter is both accurate and safe to use. Very few brands put as much thought into making their products safe and easy to use as much as Innova does. The INNOVA 3320, for instance, boasts a UL certification, meaning that it complies with all UL safety and accuracy standards. If that doesn’t give you the much-needed safety assurance to enable work confidently and with peace of mind, we doubt if anything else will.
To say this multimeter is an amazing, feature-rich, and affordable multimeter would actually be an understatement. The performance, usability, practicality, and durability of the multimeter far exceed expectations. Its accuracy, compact and lightweight profile and versatility make it the best tool for experienced electricians and Do-It-Yourselfers to use in identifying and rectifying electrical issues in circuits and electrical systems. With its quick auto-ranging scales, accuracy is guaranteed.
- Comes with a fast-acting auto-ranging function
- Provides very accurate and precise readings compared to pricier models
- Has a battery status indicator
- Large and easy to read display
- Design allows for hands-free operation
- Leads are not sensitive
- Can’t measure high AC current loads
Criteria for Choosing the Best Multimeters
We’re going to stick our necks out and assume, with absolute certainty, that you put a lot of emphasis on self-preservation when dealing with electricity. As a result, you don’t want to partake in any activities or tasks that increase your risk of electrocution, which would make safety one of the most important concerns when shopping for a multimeter.
All multimeters come with a measurement category rating, often abbreviated as CAT, and it’s the quickest and most fool proof way of gauging the safety level of a particular multimeter. In this regard, you have the CAT I, CAT II, CAT III, and lastly the CAT IV. Level of safety progresses as you move along the spectrum with a CAT I multimeter being an ideal choice for use on circuits not connected to the main power supply. On the other hand, a multimeter with the highest measurement category rating, the CAT IV, allows the user to work directly with a power source.
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Additional safety measures the user will need to look out for include but are not limited to internal blast shields, shrouded banana plugs for protecting the probes, wide flanges for preventing slippages, and isolation slots for avoiding arc over, among others. While a multimeter with most if not all these safety features is considerably more expensive, it’s in the interest of self-preservation that we recommend you overlook the affordability factor.
In an ideal world, the readings provided by multimeters would have 100 percent accuracy. Unfortunately, there is a myriad of factors that affect the readings ranging from a possibly shoddy manufacturing process, unavoidable and sometimes inadvertent human error, and use of substandard material during the manufacturing process, to extreme weather conditions. Different from domestic applications, multimeters for commercial use need to be as accurate as possible, and professional electricians would go to all lengths to get the most suitable one for the project. High-end multimeters are renowned for the incredible precision of their accuracy range. However, you need to be careful not to pour your earned money on an expensive multimeter with a high accuracy offering more precise readings if you’re no intention of using it commercially. For domestic applications and projects, anything with a range of between 1.5 and 3 percent accuracy would suffice.
The vast majority of modern multimeters come with several features that aim to increase ease of use and provide for efficiency. Some of the most outstanding features to look out for are ergonomics, the screen or display, and the general construction quality and arrangement of controls or dials on the multimeter. A multimeter with exceptional ergonomics, for instance, provides the user with a firm and secure grip, minimizing the possibility of it slipping off your hands while working. A lightweight and compact tool also fits comfortably in the hands and is easy to manoeuver and control, especially in tight and awkward spaces.
A second convenience feature is the products’ display. The big screen can accommodate more numbers and boast exceptional resolution quality. Also, multimeters with a higher resolution are more adept at detecting the slightest change in the input signal, making them the best options for undertaking the most sensitive electrical projects. Lastly, there is the method of measurement. While some models come with a non-contact voltage detection function, others have contact voltage detection feature, and the third group comes with both. The non-contact voltage detection method is more convenient, time-saving and of course safe. The other convenience features you need to look out for are a built-in flashlight, auto shut-off feature and the hold function for freezing readings for future analysis or comparison.
Design and Construction Quality
One last significant prime consideration for those in search of a usable and functional multimeter is the overall construction quality and design of the product. For the heavy commercial applications, you need a multimeter made of high-quality and durable materials, so it effortlessly stands up to the rigorous circumstances. On a similar note, it should be impervious to shocks and drops and extreme abuse in the busiest work settings. Also, as crazy as this might sound, make a point of purchasing a product finished with a conspicuous colour like yellow or orange. The recommendation is informed by the fact that such colours significantly reduce accidents and are less predisposed to being misplaced on the worksite. It also goes without saying that the multimeter needs to be lightweight and compact for easy and quick manoeuvrability into tight and awkward spots.
How to Use Multimeters
While using a multimeter is reasonably easy and straightforward, there are a few precautionary measures you need to keep in mind before getting started. We’re guessing you don’t want to be electrocuted, so following the guidelines religiously is key. First, you need to ensure no current is flowing through the electrical appliance, system or object you intend to test. There is very little difference between testing continuity, resistance, and voltage.
To begin with testing for continuity, all you will be doing is switching the dial on the tool to the relevant mode, which is continuity test mode in our case, then plugging the probes into their specially designed holes, or ports. The last step involves putting each of the probes on each end of the component or object you want to test. In case the test for continuity is positive, the multimeter should display 1 besides producing a beeping sound to notify you. If on the other hand, the circuit is non-continuous, you will either see a 0 or OL, the abbreviation for open loop, on the display. The two readings are indicative of an electrical problem that needs fixing.
To test for resistance, you have to follow the same procedure. If you left the probes in place, you get to skip this step and just start by switching the machine to the resistance setting. Unless you’re using a digital multimeter, you’ll have to set the range for which you want to test. If in doubt, use the highest setting as you have the freedom of adjusting it afterward. In case the range you set is too high, you won’t get any measurement readings, in which case you have to set or adjust the range repeatedly until you get a measurement reading. As was the case with continuity, a 0 or OL readout means there is no resistance in the circuit or object you’re testing. The procedure remains the same when testing for voltage. Simply put the probes on both ends of the electrical object. Switch the dial to the voltage setting and check the display for a readout. If there is no readout, continue adjusting the range. For digital multimeters, no readout is an indication of an electrical malfunction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I really need to invest in a multimeter?
A: While it’s not a must-have, a multimeter is one of the most important tools a homeowner, novice, or enthusiastic Do-It-Yourselfer can have. Commercially, a multimeter is important for very obvious reasons: testing duty cycles, diodes, solenoids, breaker points, electrical switches and several other electrical components with glitches. On a domestic level, multimeters have proved to be indispensable when it comes to diagnosing and repairing simple home appliances such as wall outlets, appliances, control panel boards, cars, toasters and other electrical objects. Consequently, by using a multimeter, you’ll be able to quickly and accurately ascertain whether various circuits are working accordingly and fix them quickly if they are not.
Q: How do I know a multimeter it’s safe to use for diagnosing and repairing different electrical components and systems both commercially and domestically?
A: The surest way of judging the safety of a multimeter is by looking at its CAT rating. There are different multimeters out there, and each one is optimized for different uses. The ore vicinity to the power source, the more hazardous it becomes measuring electrical parameters. If you are solely dealing with electrical components deriving power from a domestic outlet, then a multimeter with a CAT II rating should suffice. If on the other hand, you’ll be dealing with the primary circuit breaker, stick to a multimeter with a CAT III rating or higher. Anything closer to the main power source than the primary circuit breaker will necessitate using a IV CAT multimeter. Reserve CAT I multimeters for testing electrical systems that are not outlet connected.
Our list of ten of the best multimeters on the market has it all. If you need a high-performance, accurate, safe, affordable, versatile, practical, functional, and usable multimeter, you don’t need to look any further. They’ll come handy for diagnosing or troubleshooting, repairing, and even installing a wide range of electrical systems and components. They come with a bunch of performance and convenience features that will take the time and effort away from any electrical project. In your search for the most suitable multimeter, it’s paramount to keep in mind that there is none is the absolute best. Your choice, first and foremost, should be informed by the nature of the project you want to undertake, and take all necessary measures to keep you and your loved ones or colleagues safe the entire time. We wish you happy shopping experience.