Dealing with electricity can be dangerous, and which tool you choose to measure current is a crucial decision that can have serious implications.
However, don’t let this scare you away.
A quality multimeter can give you accurate measurements of the different types of current without risking personal injury.
While it’s not hard to find a multimeter nowadays, it can be quite challenging to find a good one, especially in the sea of available options in the market.
Fortunately, if you’re in search of a decent choice, we shall provide you with an honest and unbiased review of the best multimeters that we consider worth checking.
This as you would expect from us is an EPIC post so grab a coffee before you start and see how we cut through every product and review it with precision. IF YOU ARE SHORT ON TIME and need to know the results of our reviews , CHECK THE RESULTS TABLE BELOW!
Quick Comparison Table & Our Pick!
Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
Both Auto and Manual
Other Great Recommendations
Fieldpiece SC260 Clamp Multimeter
Top 5 Multimeters in The Market for The Money
Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter - Best for HVAC
Topping our list of the best multimeters is the Fluke 87-V, which is often considered one of the best all-around Fluke multimeters.
It’s an ideal option for the professionals and projects demanding precise measuring. In particular, it has all the desirable features you need to conduct tests and troubleshoot HVAC applications.
Sure, it runs a little expensive, but totally worth it, especially when you start to realize how fantastic and dynamic of a device this is truly is.With a multimeter, it becomes easier for you to measure current, resistance, and volts safely.
Features and Benefits
Fluke has integrated a built-in precise, and reliable thermometer that can read the room temperature without a probe.
Alongside the thermometer, you’ll also find a thermocouple that can measure the temperature of almost anything, including liquids.
Fluke 87 features both auto and manual ranging, contrary to most of the multimeters that have a single ranging function.
The dual ranging function is beneficial to both the beginners and professionals.
The beginners, for instance, will find the auto-ranging function uncomplicated to use, while professionals prefer the manual function as it lets them narrow down certain aspects of their tests.
The True RMS function not only enhances safety, regarding precision and accuracy, but it ensures that the readings are free from any sort of false inputs due to ghost voltages.
It’s quite a handy feature, especially if you’re a professional and depend on accurate readings.
The "Hold" function eliminates the need to have a pen and paper by your side all the time.
It automatically saves your data, and so, you can always refer to the last reading, until otherwise, you overwrite it with a new reading.
The auto shut off feature conveniently shuts-off the multimeter after 15 minutes of inactivity to avoid battery drain.
But the good thing with this feature is that if you’re conducting tests longer than 15 minutes, then it’s going to recognize the activity and won’t shut off.
For everything you do wrong, you get an audible warning.
This is a great way to ensure that get a perfectly accurate measurement.
Away from the high admission tag, some people also feel that the size of the screen is not big enough, but that’s purely individual.
In my case, I think the size is quite decent, and though a bigger screen would have been better, it’s not a huge deal breaker by any means.
- Accuracy and preciseness
- Ideal for HVAC professional
- Premium price
Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter - Best Automotive Multimeter
If you’re looking for an affordable multimeter with a set of useful functions for a car, then the Fluke II5 might probably be the ideal choice.
The Fluke 115 is a contrast to the Fluke 87 in terms of performance metrics such as resistance, capacitance, and voltage. Still, they've similarities in other aspects such as data saving, True RMS, auto power off, and much more.
Features and Benefits
As far as the design element is concerned, Fluke 115 is quite compact and portable, and handy element that makes it useful for the fieldwork.
It uses a small 9V battery; it’s small and can easily fit into your pocket.
It's also easy to get it out, conduct measurement, and put it away in an instant, as opposed to dragging a clunky gadget in your toolbox.
Users who are likely to benefit from this feature are the beginners who lack the experience with digital multimeters.
It's a handy option since you'll not have to go through the hassles of setting range and potentially damaging the instrument.
Away from the range automation, if you happen to set an improper mode, then this machine is going to sound an audible warning.
The True RMS feature offers accurate and precise readings, even in unfavorable conditions.
It saves you from recording false data and inaccurate readings.
I find it quite helpful in troubleshooting and reading sensitive electronics such as PC circuits, electronic ballasts, HVAC applications, and more.
Like the Fluke 87, this model also features a data hold function that automatically saves your last reading until you take a new one.
Professionals like this feature because it saves time and effort and alleviates the need to have a pen and paper to write down the value.
Sporting a large 6000-count backlit screen, it’s easy for you to read the data from an angle and in the dark.
This is crucial because many of the multimeter display screens tend to lose contrast under angles, making it hard to read the symbols.
Low Battery Indicator
I know this feature seems quite trivial, just as the auto power-off option.
However, a lot of people appreciate the audible warning when the battery warning is low.
The biggest flaw on the Fluke 115 is the lack of an mA and uA range. To top it off, the error scale is also slightly unreliable, especially if the readings go as low as 0.001A.
- Big display
- Unreliable error scale
Amprobe PK-110 - Best Under $50
With such a budget-friendly price, you can only expect so much from the Amprobe PK-110.
This model isn’t suited for the professionals, but rather the hobbyists and DIYers, who are looking for a multimeter occasional voltage tests.
Nonetheless, its simplicity, ease of use, and, more importantly, the price makes it an incredible option for the DIYers and hobbyists.
It's also a great option for the beginner because everything is straightforward, and it's easy to get most of the things done with a single push of a button.
Features and Benefits
The design is okay, but it's nothing impressive, especially when you compare it with the above two models.
I love its durability and sturdiness, but I found it less ergonomic.
While it will certainly fit into your hands, it’s not as comfortable as I would have preferred.
Nonetheless, this is just but a minor drawback, and aside from ergonomics, other design elements such as weight and size are perfect.
3-in-1 Testing Kit
Despite being a budget option, it’s a value-added pack, because unlike other models on the list, it’s a kit as opposed to a single unit.
The Amprobe PK-110 kits include an AM-420 multimeters, socket tester, and non-contact voltage.
All these three components help to diversify what you can measure with this tool, including voltage, capacitance, resistance, test batteries, and more.
GFCI Wiring Tests
One of the useful features of this model is that it can check for GCI wiring because if your wiring is faulty, it's just a ticking time bomb.
The VP1000B non-contact detector plays a crucial role for quick checks and diagnosis.
The simple pen-shaped tool with an integrated LED will turn on whenever it detects the voltage.
I like how easy it is to use the device, since you simply have to place it near the source, and if it reacts by lighting, you know there's a voltage present.
The ST102-B socket tester, which resembles a typical socket jack is handy in checking if a socket is "live."
Data Hold Function
Data hold function is quite standard with many multimeters, but on the Amprobe PK-110, it’s quite an impressive addition since it’s a budget option.
It’s a great option for storing your last recorded metric, which is quite useful in rushed and urgent situations.
There’re several flaws on the Amprobe PK-110, but if you consider the price, it’s nothing out of the usual.
The biggest drawback is the lack of True RMS technology, which often results in a lack of precision.
Sure, it’s not a major shortcoming on the Amprobe PK-110, but it would have made this gadget even better.
- Data hold
- No True RMS
INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter - Best for Beginners
INNOVA 3320 is perfectly suited for DIY enthusiasts and those in the automotive industry, especially those working of cars, motorcycles, and trailers.
Also, with the INNOVA 3320, it's easy to diagnose the faults in your home wiring and electrical appliances, as well as examine your electronic circuitry.
Features and Benefits
Like any other lightweight and beginner-friendly tester, the INNOVA 3320 is not as robust as the more substantial meters we’ve reviewed.
However, the sturdiness doesn't count for the beginner options.
Away from the design-build, other elements on this model are quite functional, and this includes a handy rear strap for easy holding.
However, it lacks the frills and frays of the premium options, including the absence of a button, but this is expected to keep to costs down.
Battery Test Function
The battery test function is perhaps the selling point of this multimeter.
INNOVA 3320 has dedicated checks of 1.5V, 6V, 9V, and 12V, all with corresponding LEDs that allow you to know the current status of your battery easily.
Further, the LEDs are appropriately color-coded to let you know the status of the battery.
And if the LED fails to light up, then it’s an indication the battery is fully drained.
The most eye-catching element on the INNOVA 3320 is the large, clear display and digits.
Even though I would have preferred a backlit display function, the display is still impressive at this price.
It's also quite functional since it makes it easier for users to read the labels.
Function and Performance
The performance on the INNOVA 3320 is not far off from what we’ve seen with other meters on our list.
For instance, this model incorporates an auto power function that preserves the battery by shutting down the meter after 15 minutes inactivity.
It also has an auto-ranging function, which is essential for the beginners, who are still new to multimeters, as it helps in the accurate reading.
Electronically, this model has overload protection that preserves the integrity of the multimeter against unwarranted electric surcharges.
This model has some pretty nifty features, but unfortunately, they are only suited for lightweight tasks and not the heavy-duty work.
- Budget option
- Accurate for the lightweight tasks
- Useful battery test function
- Auto-ranging is sluggish
Fieldpiece SC260 Clamp Multimeter - Best for HVACR
The Fieldpiece SC260 is designed for use on the HVCAR.
Besides performing all the functions of HVACR multimeter, it also has other features such as true RMS measurements and direct current to ensure accurate testing of frequencies.
Features and Benefits
Ergonomic and Compact
A compact unit, the Fieldpiece SC260, saves you from moving around with complicated oversized multimeters when you can perform the required task with a smaller and compact design.
Away from the compact design, this mode is ergonomic, meaning it fits snugly into your hands, and you won’t have any issues holding it.
Auto Select Mode
It's easy to think that the autoselect is a standard feature among all multimeters, but not all have this function.
On the Fieldpiece SC260, the auto-ranging function makes it easier for you to save time and effort, as it offers a more straightforward way of setting up the multimeter for measurement.
Like the premium Fluke 87 model, Fieldpiece SC260 also features a temperature-measurement function that will allow you to detect temperatures in various conditions.
Though it doesn't have a thermocouple for measuring fluids, the temperature function can withstand the high temperatures.
Another benefit of this model is the TRUE RMS function that assures users o accuracy and reliability, even when testing the variable frequencies.
With the Fieldpiece SC260, it doesn't matter the conditions in your environment because it offers an LED backlight that lets you record accurate readings, even in the poorly-lit spaces.
As much as there're plenty of things to love about these devices, there some flaws in it.
Noticeably, it lacks the durability needed for the tedious tasks, as it tends to break when overused.
- High-temperature resistance
- Accurate readings
- Not durable enough
Best Multimeter Buying Guide
Now that you’ve an idea of what are some of the best multimeters in the market, I know you might be wondering what comparisons that we’ve used when building up this list.
Well, in the text below, we shall highlight the important criteria that we used when selecting our list.
Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Multimeters
Type of Multimeters
Multimeters are generally classified into two: digital and analog.
Analog multimeters, like their name suggest, are more traditional and old-fashioned.
Typically, they display the readings through the movement of a needle across the scale.
Despite these, they’re still a popular option, thanks to their affordability and their fast-acting capability.
They are a great buy for light users who don’t use a multimeter frequently, and those that don’t want to spend a lot purchasing the digital multimeters.
The digital multimeters are the new-generation gadgets and are by far more accurate and precise than the former.
With these multimeters, the readings are conveniently displayed on a LED screen.
They’re a great option because of their versatility regarding the electrical items they can measure.
Sure, they might be expensive, but they boast of greater efficiency and accuracy than the analogs.
Ease of use
Multimeters, like any other electronic gadgetry, can be sophisticated in its operation and functionality, especially if you're new to these gadgets.
So, when picking a device, choose one that is easy to master.
Avoid those with heaps of functions, scales, and buttons; instead, choose a model that you can use with your eyes closed.
Compact multimeters are desirable because they're easy to use, especially for the professionals who need to carry out their tests in the field.
Having a compact and lightweight multimeter is quite beneficial as it enhances the overall portability and ease of use.
However, despite the compact nature, always choose a model that doesn't sacrifice on the display screen size to allow easier reading.
The two common modes of ranging are auto and manual ranging; each mode has its benefits and drawbacks.
Manual ranging allows you to select your spectrum value.
It’s a time-consuming task and is suited for the professionals.
It also requires a lot of effort because the ability to pick the right range manually takes years of practice and experience.
If you’re in search of a non-fuss, and convenient rage detection, you should opt for auto-ranging multimeters.
As their name suggests, these gadgets automatically select the correct range by themselves without requiring your input.
Accuracy is challenging to get because there’s no exact formula that makes one device more accurate than the other.
Ironically, you might find the cheap device more accurate than the premium devices, but not at all times.
There're, however, a few tell-tale signs that can distinguish between the reliable and no-so-reliable gadget.
For starters, avoid the cheaply made and the flimsy-type multimeter because they often sacrifice quality to cut on the cost.
The next thing you should look at is the lead probes or clamps. Ideally, they should be new and have no rust on them.
Finally, whatever mode you choose, understand that none is going to give you bull-eye reading, and most of them are going to be off by a few decimals.
A crucial factor to consider when choosing a multimeter is how long the battery lasts.
While most of them have 3 AA or AAA batteries, there may be a difference in the runtime of the individual devices.
Generally, most of these gadgets have their run time labeled on the manual.
However, the rule of thumb with these gadgets is that the more commercial a device is, the longer the run time.
Another thing is that if you need to extend the battery life, consider mode with an auto shut function that allows the device to shut off after a period of inactivity to prevent a drain on the batteries.
Finally, you need to ensure that your multimeter doesn’t pose a safety threat.
Look for models with safety ratings and certifications.
Go for multimeters with the certification of at least CAT I, CAT II or CAT III ratings, but if you’re super serious on safety, choose CAT IV rating.
Whether you’re a professional, or hobbyist, having a multimeter near you is crucial these days.
If properly selected for specific needs, a multimeter is quite handy for both the industrial and household applications.
Current Best Selling MultiMeters!
Are multimeters affordable?
The multimeters come with various features, and the more complex the features are, the higher the prices. However, you’ll always find a multimeter within your budget, making them affordable.
Is it easy to use a multimeter?
Unless you handle complex issues, using a multimeter is easy because you’ll get the reading on your display more accurately. Analog multimeters are popular but getting the accurate value might be challenging.
Are multimeters dangerous when in use?
A poorly maintained multimeter will lead to shock hazards. The use of a multimeter that is not adequately rated can cause an arc flash. Again, if you expose the multimeter to a voltage beyond its range, you will likely defect it.
What do the max and min imply on a multimeter?
These are the highest and lowest readings on a multimeter that help you decide based on the conditions you measure with the multimeters. There is the microseconds measure for accuracy.
Do I need to calibrate the multimeter?
Calibration leads to accurate measurements and hence a must for the user. Depending on the frequency of usage, you need to calibrate the equipment for accurate results. If you are a frequent user, then the number of calibrations should be more.
Originally posted 2020-05-15 18:23:43.