Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Picks for the Best Multimeter in the Market 2019
- 1.1 1. Fluke 115 Digital Multimeter
- 1.2 2. Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
- 1.3 3. Fluke 117 True RMS Multimeter
- 1.4 4. Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter
- 1.5 5. Fluke 179/EDA2 Multimeter Combo Kit
- 1.6 6. Fluke TLK289 Industrial Master Test Lead Set
- 1.7 7. Fluke 324 True RMS Clamp Meter
- 1.8 8. Amprobe AM-570/TL35B Digital Multimeter Bundle
- 1.9 9. Fluke 116/323 HVAC Multimeter and Clamp Meter
- 1.10 10. Extech EX330 Mini Multimeter
- 1.11 Types of Multimeters
- 1.12 Uses of a Multimeter
- 2 How to Choose the Best Multimeter
- 3 Conclusion
If you like repairing car on your own rather than bringing it to a pro, you need to invest in a multimeter. The latter is a handy tool that will help in the diagnosis of a potential problem through electrical tests. Whether you are a registered electrician or a hobbyist, having a multimeter can let you do many things beyond your car.
Searching for the best multimeter? If you go online or visit a physical shop, you will be confronted with a long list of choices. Do not pick one based on what is the cheapest. Rather, be responsible to differentiate and narrow down the possibilities. The rest of this post intends to educate you as a buyer, increasing the likelihood that you will make the right choice.
Top 10 Picks for the Best Multimeter in the Market 2019
1. Fluke 115 Digital Multimeter
This product comes as a bundle. Aside from the actual digital multimeter, which is compact and lightweight, it also has a soft case with zipper. The latter protects it from dust and other external elements that can speed up wear and tear.
It comes with a LED backlight, making it easy to see the display, even if you are working in an area that is poorly-lit. Nonetheless, there are some complaints on how the backlight does not stay on for a long time.
In terms of its functionality, this true RMS multimeter is capable of measuring continuity, capacitance, and frequency. It has 10A AC/DC current measurement. More so, it has a maximum voltage of 600V.
Even if you have a small hand, there is no problem in holding the multimeter. It has a compact and ergonomic shape, making it easy to grip. The design of the case is also commendable. It opens laterally from the top, which means that you can use the multimeter without taking it out of the case.
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to use even for beginners
- Can be easily operated with a single hand
- Backlight does not stay on long
- Does not measure milliamps and microamps
2. Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
The expensive price of this multimeter is perhaps the first thing that you will notice. The cost, however, can be justified by the fact that it is designed for HVAC professionals, not just for car enthusiasts.
With the safe and convenient design of the multimeter, it will be greatly effective in the improvement of productivity. It offers accurate measurements in a clear display. It also has troubleshooting features that make it effortless to diagnose and resolve the most common problems.
For versatility, this product comes with auto and manual ranging. It also comes with a built-in thermometer, making it more multi-functional. This means that there is no more need for you to use a separate instrument if you have to measure temperature.
In terms of its capabilities, it can measure up to 1,000-volts AC/DC and up to 20A for 30 seconds. There is also an analog bar graph on the small screen, making it easy to spot signals that are unstable. It also measures continuity, resistance, and diode test.
- Delivers accurate and precise readings
- Ideal for industrial applications
- Solid construction
- Expensive price
- Probes could have been better
3. Fluke 117 True RMS Multimeter
Among others, one of its commendable features is the non-contact voltage detection. This makes it possible to complete the job quicker while also preventing the possibility of secondary detection.
For safety, this multimeter has CAT III 600 V safety rating. This means that it is rated even for professional use, providing an assurance that safety should not be a significant concern. There is a ceiling of 600 volts when it comes to what you can test and measure with the use of this tool.
Other technical features that you can expect from this product include automatic voltage selection and true RMS. There is also low input impedance, which helps to lessen the inaccuracy and false readings that can result from ghost voltage.
The resistance range of this true RMS multimeter is from .01 to 40 ohms. The diode check, on the other hand, has a limit of 2V. Meanwhile, the amperage sensitivity is 1 milliamp. Like most of the multimeters in the market, it can also measure capacitance, frequency, resistance, and continuity.
- Battery can be easily accessed
- Compact and ergonomic design
- Large backlit display
- Does not measure microamps and milliamps
- Does not include a holster
4. Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter
What is it that you need to measure? Whether it is capacitance, frequency, resistance, or continuity, this HVAC multimeter has got you covered. It also comes with a built-in thermometer for precise temperature measurements. The microamps, on the other hand, can be useful for testing flame sensors.
While there are many ways to use this tool, the manufacturer designed it in such a way that it will be ideal for HVAC applications. Especially for professional repairmen, this can be an indispensable tool. From residential maintenance to troubleshooting, it has a wealth of uses.
For beginners in using multimeters, there is no need to worry. It has user-friendly features. Aside from being compact and easy to hold, it has a good interface. It has plug-and-play functionality, which means that it is ready to be used right out of the box.
The True RMS function is also worth highlighting, which improves the accuracy of its readings. This allows the device to deliver optimal performance even when in an unfavorable environment, such as when there is a ghost voltage.
- Can measure temperature
- Ideal even for novice users
- Allows thumb operation
- Calibration when measuring temperatures can take some time
- Display may be unclear at some angles
5. Fluke 179/EDA2 Multimeter Combo Kit
The expensive price of this product can be justified since it comes as a 6-piece set, providing you with almost anything that you will need to conduct a quick electrical test. It has 80BK-A integrated DMM temperature probes, which are useful for advanced troubleshooting. There is also a soft carry case.
The multimeter also comes with a built-in thermometer, a bonus function that makes it a multipurpose tool. No more need to bring a sperate tool if you have the intent of measuring temperature.
It also has a backlight, which will allow you to easily see the readings from the display, whether it is day or night. This is particularly useful if you are working in a dim environment.
In terms of input protection and safety, this is also commendable. It can withstand even surges from large motors, providing you with an assurance that it will not easily shatter into pieces, which is common in the cheaper multimeters.
- Comes with a complete kit
- Delivers quick and accurate readings
- Easy to use
- Expensive price
- May not last long
6. Fluke TLK289 Industrial Master Test Lead Set
Before anything else, take note that this is not an actual multimeter. Rather, it is a set of leads and probes that you have to attach to a multimeter. Because the multimeter is not yet included, a lot of you might find the price quite high compared to most of its competitors.
Aside from the carrying case that makes it easy to organize all the pieces, the set is inclusive of test lead set, alligator clips, magnetic hanger, temperature probes, and hook clips, which are compatible with most multimeters, especially those that are also from Fluke.
The set is also exceptional because of their overall construction. They are made from premium materials, which is perhaps one of the reasons why it is expensive. You can have peace of mind knowing that they can be useful through the years, even with frequent use.
- Has a carrying case
- Wide choices of leads for different tests
- Expensive than other replacement leads
- No double-angled leads
7. Fluke 324 True RMS Clamp Meter
This digital clamp meter is a compact and lightweight tool that offers the best in terms of portability. Its maximum AC measurement is 400 amps. The AC and DC voltage, on the other hand, is 600V. Meanwhile, for the resistance, it is 4 kiloohms.
With true RMS sensing capability, it can measure both linear and non-linear loads. This will be accurate regardless of the waveform and one of the reasons why this can be considered as a trustworthy tool.
Another thing that you will love in this product is the continuity sensor that is easy to hear. This will provide you with easy notification that electricity runs on the circuit that is being tested.
The manufacturer also makes sure that it will deliver optimal safety to the user. To do so, it has a Category IV rating and safe to be used at up to 300 volts. For Category III rating, on the other hand, it can handle up to 600 volts.
- Handy and portable design
- Ideal even for industrial technicians
- Has a backlight
- Does not provide measurement of frequency
- Lead quality could have been better
8. Amprobe AM-570/TL35B Digital Multimeter Bundle
Rugged design with reliable results – these are two of the things that you can expect from this product. It is made by a company with over six decades of experience in the industry. It has a durable body that can withstand long-term use.
From a technical perspective, this multimeter has both automatic and manual ranging. Its AC/DC voltage is up to 1,000 volts. It can be used for measuring temperature, continuity, resistance, capacitance, diodes, and voltage, making it a great multi-use tool.
For your safety, meanwhile, it comes with non-contact voltage detection. The latter is an innovative feature that makes it easy to detect the presence of a voltage with an audible sound. It also has a Low Z mode, which can easily detect if there is a ghost voltage that is present.
The top part of the multimeter has a built-in flashlight, which will provide the illumination that you need when you are working in areas that are poorly lit.
- High-quality design and solid construction
- Large and easy to see display
- Has a LED flashlight
- Auto ranging is quite slow
- Detector range is short
9. Fluke 116/323 HVAC Multimeter and Clamp Meter
Fluke accuracy is perhaps one of the biggest selling points of this product. It is made by one of the most reliable brands available in the market. This does not come as a surprise since almost all of the products that I have listed in this post are from Fluke.
Yes, it might be expensive, but there is a reason for such. Aside from being made by a reputable brand, it is also multifunctional and functions as a clamp meter as well. It can provide various measurements, such as resistance and frequency.
It has low input impedance. In case you are unaware, this simply means that it is not able to detect ghost voltage, which is one of the reasons for its accuracy.
The set comes with a temperature probe, which eliminates the need for a separate thermometer. With regards to its measurements, meanwhile, it can measure as much as .01 milliamp. For current, it can measure up to 400 amps.
- Comes with a combo kit
- Compact and lightweight
- Simple to use even for novices
- A bit expensive
- Clamps can easily get damaged
10. Extech EX330 Mini Multimeter
With a total of 12 functions, this definitely makes a great choice for a multimeter, especially given its affordable price. It can measure capacitance, frequency, temperature, and duty cycle, among other things. It has a built-in thermometer that can provide both Celsius and Fahrenheit readings.
Ease of use is another reason why you might want to choose this above its competitors. It has a large and backlit display so that you can easily see the readings. It also produces an audible sound when testing and there is an indicator to let you know when the battery is running out.
The Max Hold function is also great, which makes it possible to capture the highest reading of the multimeter. More so, the Data Hold function allows the multimeter to freeze what is currently on display so that you can note it down.
It also has non-contact voltage detector, one feature that is commonly found in most of the multimeters that I have mentioned above. This makes it possible to measure voltage by just hovering the device instead of making physical contact.
- Economical price
- Has a rugged and portable body
- Comes with a low battery indicator
- Test leads have short metal tips
- Probes can easily flex when too much pressure is applied
Types of Multimeters
One of the first considerations when buying a multimeter would be the specific type that is appropriate for your needs. In this case, the two choices that you will have are:
Analog Multimeter: This is the cheaper between the two and easy to recognize as it includes a dial and a needle. It is an electromechanical device that transfers electrical to mechanical energy. To increase its accuracy, one of the most important is to have a high sensitivity.
Digital Multimeter: Most of the newer and more expensive models belong to this category. They have a digital screen where the reading is displayed, which makes it more user-friendly. Nonetheless, take note that it may take quite a while before the analog reading can be converted to a digital format, so this is not suitable for constantly changing values.
Uses of a Multimeter
Why would you need a multimeter? The following are some of its most common uses, which can help you to be convinced that you need one:
Measuring Current: It is used for testing amperage, which technically refers to the electrical current that flows from a wire. This is important to make sure that the current is not too high. Otherwise, the wires will melt and can be catastrophic.
Measuring Voltage: When used as a voltmeter, it measures the difference in voltage or electrical energy. In cars, its most common application is to test if the battery has enough voltage to function.
Measuring Resistance: If you are testing wires or completing DIY projects that include electricity, a multimeter can also be used to test resistance.
Testing Continuity: This test is conducted to let you know the completeness of a connection. Under this mode, you are using the multimeter as an ohmmeter, which is basically almost the same as using it for measuring resistance.
How to Choose the Best Multimeter
To narrow down your list of choices, below are some of the most important factors that you have to consider:
Reviews: The first thing that you have to do is to perhaps read reviews from actual users. Go online and learn from what other people have to say about a specific product. Use their experiences to determine the pros and cons of the choices in the marketplace.
Durability: The multimeter must be long-lasting. That being said, it must be made from durable materials that can withstand wear and tear. Especially the probes, they must remain fully-functional through the years if you want the best value for money.
Display: Especially if you are buying a digital multimeter, see to it that the display is exceptional. It should have a backlight and be large enough for you to easily read the display. Whether it is used in a bright or poorly-lit environment, the display must be clear and visible.
Accuracy: This is perhaps one of the most important things for a multimeter. The readings must be accurate, regardless of what it is measuring. Choose only those that are made by reputable brands to be sure that there will be no false readings.
Versatility: More than just being accurate, the multimeter must also be multifunctional. Some of the things that it must measure include capacitance, resistance, and voltage. It will also be good if it can measure temperature so that a separate tool will no longer be necessary.
Usage: Where do you intend to use the multimeter? Do you need one for small DIY projects or for repairing your car? Are you an HVAC professional or an electrician? The use of the product will determine which one you should get.
Design: With regards to the design, it should be compact so that it will be easy to hold, even with the use of a single hand. An ergonomic design is also important so that you will feel comfortable when it is used.
Safety: You also have to look at the features that will ensure the safe use of the device. For instance, it should offer protection from polarity and overloading. To add, it should be made from high-quality components so that it will be exceptional when it comes to safety.
Warranty: This is important as this can give you peace of mind. Choose a product that comes with at least one-year warranty. Better yet, look for one that has a lifetime warranty so that the manufacturer can provide free repair and replacement parts.
Safety in Using Multimeters
To be sure that you are safe when using a multimeter, pay attention to the precautions that will be briefly mentioned below:
Perform a quick inspection of the multimeter before it is used, making sure that there are no visible damages. This is especially important for the probes or clamps.
Before connecting the multimeter, see to it that the circuit has been completely discharged or de-energized.
Use protective equipment, such as gloves, which will help in the prevention of shock.
Take a look at the technical specifications of the product, especially for matters related to safety. The multimeter must be used only in conditions that are approved by the manufacturer.Choose the right location when conducting any test or diagnosis with the use of the multimeter. Avoid doing this in an area that is damp or humid. In the same way, keep out of places with atmospheric hazards.
Read the instructions from the manufacturer before conducting a test. Different products may have different ways by which they work, so operating them can vary.
The best multimeter is an important diagnostic tool that you need to have, especially if you like repairing cars and electrical systems. It is not reserved for the pros. If you want one that is accurate and reliable, you need to pay attention to differentiating the options to be assured of making the right decision.
Have you used a multimeter before? Do you have other recommendations? Let your opinions be heard by leaving a comment below.