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Multimeter Buying Guide

Multimeter Buying Guide

Digital multimeters are the most important devices needed to carry out most electrical troubleshooting tasks.

They are used for installation, repairing, troubleshooting, and testing of electrical appliances. Due to the wide availability of this device in the market, choosing the best model can be confusing.

When buying a multimeter, what are the things you need to consider?  

This buying guide is intended to help you select the ideal multimeter for your electrical troubleshooting needs.

Things to Consider

Digits and resolutions

Resolution simply means a change in the output signal that is caused by a proportionate change in the input signal. The multimeter resolution is determined by the number of digits the multimeter can display. When buying a multimeter, make sure you select the most suitable one with the right display range of about ±1,999 or ±19,999.

Accuracy

One very important feature of the best multimeters is extreme accuracy. Generally, the accuracy of a multimeter is expressed as a percentage of reading. When selecting a multimeter, try to choose a product with about ±0.1 accuracy since they offer more precise readings than most other models. This feature is the most important feature in a multimeter because the effectiveness of a multimeter is always measured by its level of accuracy.

Average Responding or True RMS multimeter

There are basically two types of multimeters: Average Responding and True RMS. The latter is usually more complex and more expensive than the former. If you want to buy the best quality multimeter, it is always better to select the True RMS multimeter because it provides all the features you will need to carry out your work.

Input Impedance

The input impedance of a multimeter is usually very high. However, there are difference levels of input impedance obtainable with the different types of multimeters. When selecting a multimeter, select one with high impedance to make sure you measure with the highest rate of accuracy.

Manufacturer

When choosing a multimeter, you don’t have to depend only on the design or features of the product. Select a multimeter from a trusted manufacturer with a proven track record of quality and efficiency.  There are different types of multimeters out there and it may sometimes be difficult to know their difference if you don’t have a solid knowledge of the functionalities and features of a multimeter. One way of making your search easier is by selecting a multimeter from a trusted manufacturer with lots of good reviews and high customer ratings. Even if you are a professional and can differentiate between a good and bad multimeter, it is still recommended to select a good manufacturer because they may have a better product warranty than that offered by less popular manufacturers.

Reviews are important

Finally, product reviews from customers and websites like this can help you a great deal when buying a multimeter. Look at the Amazon product page of the website and see what customers are complaining about or recommending about the multimeter.

There are different types of multimeters meant for different types of troubleshooting tasks. If you go through customer reviews you will be able to find out whether the multimeter is right for your needs.

A multimeter will always be a vital tool for any electrical problem solving. If you follow the above tips and guide, you will be able to confidently select the ideal multimeter for your effective electrical diagnostics.

How to Find the Ideal Multimeter

 

 

How to Find The Most Ideal Multimeter

The multimeter is an important troubleshooting tool needed by everyone who owns an electrical appliance.

You have no need to take every damaged item to the electrician or to a professional. There are certain simple tests you can carry out with a multimeter even if you don’t have much technical knowledge.

A multimeter is simple to use and can be used to test voltage, current, continuity and resistance. There are other technical uses of the multimeter but the above purposes are the most common ways in which we can make use of the gadget.

Not all multimeters are the same. Each has their specific functions and features so it is important to select the perfect one for the type of jobs you need it for. Think carefully about this.

Below are some key points to consider before selecting the ideal multimeter for your needs…

Accuracy is key

The most important aspect of the functionality of a multimeter is accuracy. For a multimeter to perform its task effectively, it has to be accurate when reading circuits. When it comes to accuracy, you should not compromise it for anything. Usually, a digital multimeter should be the preferred choice if you are simply looking for the best meter in terms of accuracy. They are more precise in readings than the analogue model (although they are more expensive). Do not look at the cost because the benefits in the long run definitely outweigh its cost. So, whenever you are ready to buy a multimeter, select a product with high accuracy. This will eliminate any risk or error and improve the level of efficiency when troubleshooting electrical appliances. If you are buying a multimeter for commercial use, it is always better to select the one with the most accurate reading.

Look at the features

As explained before, there are different types of multimeters and they offer different kinds of features. Some are strictly intended for household use and for troubleshooting simple electrical appliances. Others are for industrial purpose. There are also multimeters that are designed for troubleshooting electrical faults in automobiles. When selecting a multimeter, understand the features it offers and make sure it has all the required elements needed to help you measure whatever you intended it for. If you are interested in more features apart from the usual basic ones on offer, you will need to get an advanced multimeter with additional functionality. This will be a better choice if you need to use the multimeter heavily on a wide range of electrical appliances.

Product warranty

guarantee

 

The durability of a product is somehow linked to the warranty offered by the company. If a multimeter is designed to last for a long time, the manufacturer will surely provide a good warranty on the product. Most high quality multimeters come with a product warranty of more than 2 years. This is one of the areas to look into if you want to select a superior meter. Usually, the best companies provide assurance and warranty to back the quality of their product. Do not consider any multimeter without this product warranty. That is an early indication that you may be buying a poorly manufactured piece of kit.

Conclusion

Before you make your choice, it is important to consider customer reviews on the multimeter you want to buy. See what other customers who have actually used the product have written about the product and find out the best you can about the multimeter you are considering. It is always important to pick the right multimeter that will serve you best. With proper research and an insight into the different features of the multimeter, you will be able to select the ideal one for your electrical troubleshooting tasks.

Features of The Best Types of Multimeter

Multimeters are great tools that can help you effectively solve any electrical problem you have with your appliance.

Every household should have one of these devices because it can help you out of many tricky situations when troubleshooting an electrical appliance.

You don’t have to be a professional to check simple things like AC or DC voltage on your appliance. But before you begin any troubleshooting task, it is important to understand the different features of the multimeter. When you are familiar with what each component or feature does, it will help you effectively fix any electrical problems.

So, what are the features of the best types of multimeters?

Read on to find out.

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The Best Multimeter Features

Graphic Function

The best quality multimeters have graphic functions which display AC measurements in real time. If you notice irregularities, this feature will come in handy to help you easily detect any fault with your appliances. It is even more useful to those who work with nonlinear AC waveforms.

Data Logging

This is another excellent feature that enables you to monitor and record your measured data over a long period of time. The software can record data over a prolonged period and also show the general trends within that period. After the data is collected, it can then be utilized for further analysis. This feature is much needed for the repair and installation of systems such as air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Low Pass Filter

If you want to troubleshoot motor drives, this feature will be perfect. Most of the RMS used may not have this feature but the best quality models will not let you down.  The low pass feature is meant to prevent unwanted voltages when measuring voltages that are higher than 1 KHz if measuring AC frequency or AC voltage.  It will also improve the level of accuracy when measuring voltages and current on appliances such as inverters and frequency motor drives.

Low Impedance Mode

This feature is necessary for preventing induced voltages from measurement. The voltage can result from capacitive coupling between energized wires. If the induced voltages are noticed, it can lead to more accurate measurements.

Smart Ohm

This is an advanced feature of the multimeter, and it’s available in a few different types of multimeter. It is also known as offset compensation, the feature that allows you to achieve greater measurement accuracy in some situations. This feature is needed when testing resistance with two distinct test currents to find out if there are offset voltages present in the input circuit.  With this check, it displays a corrected measure and eliminates any unexpected DC voltage within the circuit.

Voltage Tests

Voltage test is the most common feature of the multimeter. Almost all types of multimeters (whether digital or analogue) have this capability. The voltage test begins at the highest range and moves down to the most ideal voltage range for the appliance you intend to measure. However, if you want to measure voltages at different locations within the circuit you need to make use of the test leads to identify and effectively read the voltage differences. When measuring, remember that DC modes and AC modes are not compatible. Another important thing you need to know is to always measure your voltage first in order to find out if the circuit is DC or AC.

Measuring Ohms

Finally, a multimeter will not serve its rightful purpose if it is not able to measure ohms. It is the most important feature of the multimeter. The measuring ohm is required when checking for consistency of current on an appliance or a circuit. If a switch is open or a wire is broken, you may not be able to detect the fault until you make use of this feature. The ohmmeter will help you check for consistency when troubleshooting your device.   Although you can test for continuity using another method since some multimeters have a different feature that only test for continuity, those multimeters that can read both continuity and ohms are more preferred since they can also be used to test network and SCSI terminations.

Basic Uses of the multimeter

The multimeter is an integral part of any electrician’s working tool.

Without the multimeter, no meaningful troubleshooting task can be carried out. To a professional, using a multimeter may not be a big ask. However, a home owner or an individual who is not technically savvy will need to understand the basic functions of the multimeter before making effective use of the gadget.

Basically, a multimeter is used to measure AC/DC voltage, current, resistance, continuity and for diode checking purposes. Apart from knowing the functionalities of this gadget, it’s wise to understand its safety measures in order to remain safe when working with the multimeter.

This article will provide a detailed explanation of the various uses of the multimeter and some safety measures to make sure you remain safe when troubleshooting electrical appliances with the multimeter.

 

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Uses of the multimeter

Measurement of AC/DC voltage

One of the primary things to do with a multimeter is to measure AC/DC voltage. When choosing a multimeter, it is necessary to select one with higher main voltage rating than traditional multimeters. It should be higher than most household voltage ratings, which is below 10 percent of 230 V. With the right kind of multimeter, you will able to accurately measure the AC/DC voltage of your electrical appliances to detect any issue with the appliance.

Measurement of AC/DC current

The same method of measuring voltage is also applied when measuring current. However, when measuring current it is important to adhere to safety rules. High current can result to electrical hazards which may be escalated by the use of cheap multimeters. This is the reason why you need to select the most ideal multimeter that will provide accurate and safety readings when troubleshooting your appliances.

Never make use of the multimeter above the range it was intended for.

This may lead to frequent cases of electrical hazards.

With the correct use of the multimeter and if the right safety measures are followed, the multimeter will definitely help you solve most of your electrical troubleshooting problems.

Measurement of resistance and continuity

This is another important feature of the multimeter. When measuring resistance between two points, it is done by moving current through the present component being measured. To do this effectively, you need to remove the component from the circuit. Closed circuits usually have a little resistance while open circuits have infinite resistance. All these will be familiar to you if you are an experienced electrician. However, if you are not so tech-savvy, you need to understand their differences to be able to do a better job when using the multimeter. Most multimeters are designed with a beeper which indicates the measurement of the small resistance through an emitted tone. Some are even designed with a visual alert, particularly a red light, to help users correctly detect the signals. When selecting a multimeter, choose a device with a good indicating light and tone that doesn’t delay when giving signals. This is why it is important to opt for a high quality multimeter because your work will be more effective if you are making use of the right piece of equipment.

Diode Checking

There are good multimeters with special features that can enable you perform diode checking on your appliance. This features show the forward voltage drop of the diode. When buying a multimeter, even when you only intend using it for household appliance, it is important to select a product which is diode checking enabled because you never know when you may need such features for your troubleshooting tasks.

Capacitance measurement

There are also some digital multimeters that can equally measure capacitance. But the digital multimeters measure capacitance in different ways than the handheld multimeter. The former makes use of AC signal which is more accurate than computing the voltage rate of change, used by the handheld multimeter. However, this measurement is not accurate when you want to measure capacitors with traits like equivalent series resistance, dissipation factor, leakage or dielectric absorption. In this case, a LCR meter should be pressed into action instead.

Frequency Measurement

Finally, a multimeter is also used for measuring frequency. This can be important if your appliance depends on a steady current and AC voltage for proper performance. You can monitor current or real time voltage with the frequency measurement within a specific pulse width, duty cycle or frequency. However, remember that not every multimeter is designed with this feature. It is always important to see what features the multimeter has before purchasing.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Multimeter

If you are looking to buy a multimeter for your electrical troubleshooting tasks, there are certain key things you need to consider.

You need the right information to ensure that you are getting the smartest deal and the best bargain.

Some crucial elements to bear in mind include the features, ease of use, how to use the multimeter, cost and overall design (whether it’s portable or too large). Some of these considerations are based on what you want to accomplish with the multimeter.

Read on for more information on the things you need to give think about before buying a multimeter.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Multimeter

Cost

Obviously, one of the first questions that pops up in your mind when buying a multimeter is, “How much should I pay?” Multimeters vary in terms of brand and price; some are very affordable while some others at the higher end of pricing. But to give you an idea, you can spend anywhere between $50 and $500. Usually, the calibrated multimeters are more expensive than ones that are not calibrated. However, you may need it to be calibrated on a yearly basis to keep it very accurate. This additional expense can quickly outflank the initial cost.

Usually, cheaper models are designed with only basic features and may not have the extended functionality that comes with the more expensive ones. Handheld multimeters are a good example of cheaper options. But it is advisable to buy a high quality product with all the right features if you are a professional. You don’t want your customers to be disappointed with your service due to the use of inaccurate reading material. So, a bench top multimeter is ideal for most professional troubleshooting jobs.

What features are you looking for?

The feature of the multimeter are paramount.

Before you invest, understand what you are looking for to select the multimeter that will best serve that need. If you want a simple functioning meter with just basic features to help you accomplish simple tasks, you can settle for a product with straightforward measuring features.

However, if you are a professional who require a wide range of choices with a multimeter, it is better to settle for a more feature-rich product.

Usually, digital multimeters tend to be more accurate with more measuring features such as current, resistance, DC and AC voltage, capacitance and continuity. Most high quality units come with features which include data acquisitions, removable data storage, adjustable sample rating, auto ranging and DB ratings.

There are varying ways you can use a multimeter just as the name implies. You can use a multimeter on switches, power sources, components, motors and batteries. An auto-ranging feature is another excellent feature that high quality multimeters have. With an auto-ranging feature, you will be able to select different range of voltages since you will be dealing with a very flexible device. It is great for wiring systems and detecting computer malfunctions.

Brands and Quality

The brand of multimeter you buy is also very important.

In most cases, you will find good models made by high quality brands. Good brands want to maintain their standards and they would not want to manufacture products with poor quality design. The best brands of multimeters always maintain high quality control.

So, when you are ready to buy a multimeter, do not neglect to look at the best brands and see what they offer before you make your purchase. Known brands provide superior products that are more efficient and highly accurate for all kinds of electronic troubleshooting. They boast the highest customer ratings and reviews on retail websites such as Amazon.

Before you buy a multimeter, make sure to search for the best brands and settle for the product with the best measuring ability.

Conclusion

There are different options available for you if you are looking for a high quality multimeter to buy.

Before you settle for one, always try to conduct your research and select the product with the highest ratings and reviews on retail websites. Select the meter with the best features based on your needs and the kind of task you want to accomplish.

If you conduct proper research before buying a multimeter, you will be able to select the ideal model that will help you accomplish your task more effectively.