Multimeters combine voltmeters, ammeters, and ohmmeters in a single, versatile device that electricians everywhere can use with the certainty that all the registered measurements are entirely factual and reliable. These devices have come a long way over the years, both in regards to their portability and reliability. They can be used to test batteries, electrical systems, circuits, power sources, motors, and electrical components of any kind. With this in mind, let us find out what are the ten best multimeters the market has to offer and what to look for when buying one.
Best Multimeters – Top List
10Flexion Digital LCD Multimeter
Starting off with one of the more affordable products, the Flexion Digital LCD Multimeter stands out for all the right reasons. Topping that advantage list is its automatic shut-off feature that ensures your battery is always preserved when the device is not in use. The item also uses automatic polarity indication for easier and quicker readings. It also makes it easier to read difficult components thanks to the built-in continuity tester in the circuit. The large LCD screen displays accurate readings and is great for home repairs.
9Klein Tools MM700 Auto-Ranging 1000V Digital Multimeter
Another reputable manufacturer in the multimeter industry is Klein Tools and their MM700 Auto-Ranging 1000V Digital Multimeter stands out from the rest in terms of performance. It is an ideal option for small tasks in and around the house. For household and industrial equipment, this multimeter is king. When it comes to measuring current in wires, power supplies, household appliances, motors, and other electrical and electronic components, this product is perfect for the job. Furthermore, let us point out that it can measure AC and DC voltage accurately and has a CAT IV 600V safety rating.
8RAGU 81D Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter
Next on the list is the RAGU 81D Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter. This device stands out as it comes with a CMOS circuit built into it. There is also an on/off beeping alarm that is not present in most multimeters. As far as displays go, this product has a large and bright one that displays readings up to 1999 that is ideal for most tests. With a wide capacitance range, this multimeter delivers the kind of performance you would expect from the very best multimeters out there.
One of the sleekest multimeters in this list is the Mastech MS8268 MS8261 Series Digital AC/DC Auto/Manual Range Digital Multimeter. The device comes with an audible alert when you use the jacks incorrectly. With a better flexibility, the device allows you to choose between automatic and manual range settings. It has an auto shut-off feature that saves battery when not in use. The device is also designed well and fits comfortably in the hand with ergonomic grips that ensure no spills occur.
6Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter
Good things often come in small packages and that is true in the case of the Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter. There is a built-in non-contact AC voltage detector, you can easily get the results you want safely. Thanks to the 4000 count, you can measure AC and DC voltages, frequency, duty cycles, and resistance. There is also a built-in thermometer for reading temperatures accurately. There is a rubber holster to protect the device from electrical damage. Overall, it is an excellent device and is a reasonable option for measuring electrical loads of any intensity.
5Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter
For a more convenient way to measure electricity, Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter is definitely the way to go. With the help of its unique clamp, the device can measure up to 400 amps of AC current as well as up to 600V of DC voltage. This multimeter is best used for non-linear load measurements thanks to the True-RMS sensing technology used. Without even touching the circuit, the product can provide an accurate reading thanks to the jaw opening.
4Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
Even though it is placed at number 6, the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter is a truly powerful product. It is made of plastic but is extremely durable and hardy. The multimeter comes with both a manual and an auto-ranging functionality that delivers excellent service and flexibility. One ideal feature that is very rarely found in multimeters is the ability to read unstable or fluctuating electrical signals. There is an analog bar that helps you identify fast currents and comes with selectable filters for a more accurate reading. The device also features loud alerts when using the incorrect jacks so you’re always aware of what’s going on.
3Extech TL809 Electronic Test Lead Kit & Multimeter
Boasting a number of features that cannot be found on cheaper multimeters, the Extech TL809 Digital Multimeter is a great solution when it comes to high-end multimeters. Although it comes with a rather high price tag, its performance is unmatched. The product allows you to check diodes, capacitance, continuity, and frequency easily. For absolutely accurate readings, the multimeter uses True-RMS technology which is displayed on its big LED-lit screen. It is CAT III 600 V safety rated which ensures you never have to face accidental shocks.
2Fluke 117 Electricians True-RMS Multimeter
If you’re an electrician, the Fluke 117 Electricians True-RMS Multimeter is, quite obviously the best option for you. Although it doesn’t come with a holster, the features and performance outweigh its negatives. With its True-RMS technology incorporated, reading non-linear loads becomes more accurate and safer. The product comes with a big LED screen that is backlit for a better reading capability. Despite its rather small size, the device performs better than most of the other multimeters in its category.
1Innova 3220 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
The Innova 3220 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter is a remarkable product that is ideal for repairing and maintaining vehicles and other electrical components. It comes with a UL certification which ensures its safety and accuracy while testing various components. Thanks to its automatic ranging capabilities, there is no need to manually dial in the required range. The large LED display ensures that you always get a correct reading. With rubber guards on its corners, the product will be safe to use even when dropped by accident repeatedly over long periods of time.
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What To Look For In A Multimeter
Perhaps the sensible thing to do is to point out just how much multimeters can vary from one another. For starters, they can be either digital or analog and they can differ in regards to the range of values that they are engineered to record. So perhaps the determining factor when looking at a multimeter’s characteristics should be the application-based measurements it is capable of. From household batteries to automotive electrics, various multimeters can perform a wide range of tasks, thus the need to learn as much as possible about what makes them different from one another.
Uses For A Multimeter
In principle, multimeters can be used to run three kinds of tests on electrical components or circuits – voltage, resistance, and current readings. The point of measuring resistance in circuits is to determine the resistance a circuit offers in a certain electrical flow. With current readings, you must ensure that the test is done with the meter attached to the circuit itself in a way that breaks the circuit in order to redirect the current flow through the meter. As a voltmeter, the main use of a multimeter is to measure the potential difference in electrical energy or voltage between two points.
Types Of Multimeters
Even though the sensitivity range of a multimeter usually designates the overall purpose of the device, the fact that this range can vary means that the devices themselves can vary. In broad terms, multimeters are either digital or analog, but there are certain criteria to differentiate multimeters even further if you are looking for specialized devices. For instance, the ones that are engineered for automotive purposes are not usually able to read low-voltage power sources.
Digital Multimeters – What makes digital multimeters differ from analog versions, apart from the obvious, is the overall accuracy achieved and the potential to download readings to a computer. As you would imagine, these devices also benefit from a digital LCD screen for added visibility. These readings are also decimal read-outs and unequivocal, which is where digital multimeters also tend to differ from analog versions.
Analogue Multimeters – With these multimeters, you get readings that are somewhat more difficult to read because of the display alone. Due to their decreased visibility, they tend to be less user-friendly, yet good enough to be used by professionals everywhere given their durability. We should also point out that whatever readings these multimeters record have to be interpolated by the user between the marked numbers and the recorded accuracy.
Versatile Multimeters – Although versatility sounds like a great feature for a measurement instrument, this might not be such a good thing when it comes to multimeters. We say this because multimeters that handle multiple readings tend to not have the required sensitivity to positively record low-range readings. Automotive multimeters, for example, are the perfect example of
that on account of the generic low-voltage recordings of many power sources.
Multimeters with Oscilloscopes – These multimeters allow readings to be made over time. This makes them very useful when in need to figure out if the equipment being measured suffers from any fluctuations over a certain time period. Interestingly enough, both digital and analog multimeters can have inbuilt or attached oscilloscopes, even though it is generally the digital models that offer the capacity to transfer the recorded data to another device.
When selecting a multimeter, one must pay attention to certain characteristics that usually describe the intended purpose of each device. These features also tell you a lot about the measurement standards each device has, mostly in regards to sensitivity range and reliability.
Temperature Sensor – This sensor measures the temperature of any given device, a feature that recommends it for the control of any temperature-sensitive hardware or circuit.
Capacitance – The purpose of this function is to measure a system’s capacity to store an electric charge. This function is mostly found on digital multimeters, especially high-end models.
Autorange – A multimeter with an auto-range function can readjust itself automatically according to the measurement range of each measured input. This is intended to save you time when running multiple tests.
Display Rate – The display rate of a multimeter represents the speed at which its digital display refreshes the image. When using one with a faster display rate, you get slightly more accurate readings because of its convenience.
Transistor Testing Circuits – You want a high-end multimeter to be able to check whether a transistor is functioning as part of a larger circuit or electronic assembly. Such a feature enables you to test digital logic circuits and integrated circuits of any kind.
ISO or NIST Calibration – This indicates the compliance for certified companies, a flexibility that allows you to get good readings when using third-party accessories. Needless to say, this vastly improves a multimeter’s accuracy levels.
Hold Function – Last but not least, a quality multimeter should definitely have a ‘hold’ function to keep the display from erasing the readings from the screen. This is particularly useful when writing down multiple readings.