A multimeter is a vital tool for those who deal with electronics. In fact, without a multimeter, there is nothing much an electrician can do. This is why it is important to select the most ideal one for better performance on the job.
There are different types of multimeters and it may become very difficult to select the most ideal one if you are not very familiar with their features and workings. The best multimeter will always have the right features to make your work easier and more efficient.
This review is going to examine the best types of multimeters based on their features and general user ratings. The products reviewed here are superior because they are so popular and have received high ratings and reviews from customers who have actually made use of the products.
Read on to find out which one is on the list…
Here is a Fluke multimeter model that has become very popular in the electrical tools industry. This is specifically designed for the entry and mid-level market. Those still learning how to use a multimeter will find this tool to be a great asset. It is compact and performs incredibly well compared to other types of multimeters. When it comes to strong design, reliability and accuracy, there are certainly very few multimeters that can properly match this model.
Just like other Fluke models, this one is also expensive. However, you should not object to the price if you are looking for a high-quality product. It is better to get something that will help you increase your efficiency rather than buy a product that gives you a periodic headache.So, if you can afford it, you will understand why it is highly rated among users of the product.
This multimeter can go as high as 10 Amps making it one of the strongest available. This model is incredibly safe, has a 9V battery and also comes with a holster. These are some of the features every skilled electrician wants to see in a multimeter.
Although the Fluke brand has dominated the market for the past few years, there is another that has also become very popular among multimeter users. Tekpower is one of the greatest brands ever produced. This particular model has all the features found in other brands and is even less expensive. It also comes with both manual and auto measuring system with an RMS measuring mechanism.
However, this model has an extra edge over other multimeter models: it can actually be paired with a smartphone and makes use of its own app which amplifies its functions to a large extent. This multimeter model can be connected to your personal computer to download software onto the system for better performance. Tekpower has set the pace for others to follow in that direction. There are very few options available on the market that can be compared with this model when it comes to ease of use and versatility.
If you are an experienced auto electrician, you will know that most high-quality auto multimeters come from the Innova brand. But this Innova 3340 Automotive Digital multimeter model has provided a great option for home mechanics who also want to enjoy the quality of the Innova brand.
It has been in the industry for many years now, winning the hearts of many home electricians who have seen the first-hand benefits of using the multimeter. It has all the features you will ever need in a digital multimeter, such as a temperature probe, an inductive RPM clamp, and a high measurement of about 10 mega-ohms. It also has a manual and auto-measuring range just like the Fluke models. This is a great option for those looking for cheaper multimeters with the same capacity as other high-quality multimeters that are more expensive.
This is arguably one of the best multimeters you will find on the market today.
There are many reasons why the Fluke model is so popular among seasoned technicians. One of those reasons is the fact that the company is among the best producers of multimeters and all its products are of the highest quality. Just like other Fluke models, this multimeter has the most features and everything you will ever need while working with a multimeter.
The product makes use of an auto-ranging system but there is an option for manual if you want. This multimeter creates an analogue bar that can be used to track rapidly changing signals which makes it a preferable choice than a straight analogue multimeter.
Two features put the Fluke ahead of the competition…
First is the feature that makes it beep when the input jack is connected wrongly. The second is the fact that it measures as high as 20A for 30 seconds at a time. The first feature makes it suitable for use even by an inexperienced technician. Most beginners usually take the wrong measurements but with this multimeter they will be notified when the wrong measurement is taken.
Although it is one of the most expensive models around, its features and efficiency makes it worth the money. If you want to have the most effective multimeter when reading currents and doing many other things, this Fluke model will definitely serve you well. For those who really want a high-quality product and are not too constrained by budget, this is the ideal multimeter to buy.
Amprobe is already a household name in the multimeter industry. This model has been around for several years earning lots of encomiums and high reviews for users of the product all these years.
It is designed with lots of beneficial features. It has an ability to take RMS measurement, a feature which is absent in many other types of multimeters in the same category as this one. It is not affected by current fluctuations which is also great.
The Amprobe AM-530 has high-quality durable battery and a properly designed flash light that will come in handy when working in dark areas. However, the only flaw with this product is the fact that it does not measure more than 600V. This will not be a problem if you are dealing with currents less than that. But those who want to measure more volts can select one of the other multimeter options above.
This Amprobe multimeter is quite affordable and less expensive than other Fluke models which explains why it does not measure very high volts. So, this will be the ideal option if you are looking for a moderately priced multimeter for use on simple electronic gadgets. This is quite huge for an entry level multimeter.
The difference between a high quality multimeter and an average one lies in the features.
A great multimeter will have all the important functionality that can make your work more efficient and less stressful. This is why it is very important to select the wisest multimeter to improve your performance on the job.
But what are the features one should look for when selecting the right multimeter?
This segment of the review is going to concentrate on precisely that…
In most cases, the quality of an item determines its cost. But this is not always the case…
When considering a multimeter, do not dwell only on the cost. Instead, concentrate on the features and overall ratings customers have given the product. Of course, you need to look at the reasons why you want a multimeter and the particular problem you want to solve. For instance, if you only want a multimeter for home use and not for commercial purposes, there is no need to buy one with high voltage measurement capacity since you may not need such a multimeter. These models are more expensive and are designed particularly for professionals or those who are dealing with high voltage electronics.
Obviously, a cheap meter has limitations on the situations in which it can be safely used and on the questions it is expected to answer.
Also, remember that multimeters need to be calibrated occasionally to keep them at optimum performance. Because of this, it may not be wise enough to buy a very cheap multimeter which is not possible to calibrate. Instead, settle for a calibrated meter straight from its factory accuracy limit. This will help you make use of the meter more efficiently and for longer than anticipated. So, when selecting a multimeter based on price, it is better to either go pro or go for the one with the most basic features for your needs.
The accuracy of a meter is another feature to consider when selecting the ideal multimeter for your needs. If you are working on a professional basis, you may want to consider only a meter that reads accurately. Although this may not be a major problem for DIY electronics, you will need this feature if you want to differentiate between a properly functioning meter and a poor one. A multimeter with high accuracy will be better for commercial purposes and more serious tasks than those that are not. So, if accuracy is an important factor to consider for you, don’t settle for a multimeter that will not permit calibration.
Another interesting thing to consider is the quality of the design. A high quality meter usually has a better fit and finish. Their probes are usually insulated with silicon rather than the PVC found in lesser quality models. Also, the mode dials of high quality models feel better when turning, their probe tips are usually sharper and they are usually more durable. These are some of the differences between a high quality multimeter and a lesser quality one.
If your job requires you to test circuits of more than 30 volts, you need to focus mainly on the multimeter designed to provide the best safety. Do not depend solely on its measurement category rating but also on the design of the meter. Does it have enough input protection? How about isolation slots designed in the multimeter’s PCB to prevent arc-over? Are the banana plugs shrouded on the probes? Does it come with internal blast shields?
These are some of the safety features you have to consider before selecting the right multimeter for your use.
This consideration will largely depend on what you want and the type of task you are trying to accomplish. You must decide whether you want an analogue meter, a digital meter or both. Digital multimeters usually go by the acronym “ DMM” and the multi part is used to mean that the meter has several meters joined in one system. So, which one do you select?
You should know their differences before choosing…
The main benefit of analogue over digital is the fact that the analogue readouts are more visible and are easier to see changing trends than the digital meters. This is why cars with digital speedometer are more difficult to judge acceleration with than those with a traditional speedometer. This is the same thing with electronics and to an even worse degree. Although some digital multimeters have bar graphs which try to emulate analogue readouts, it does not give the same level of clear visuals as the analogue reader.
This is the only major problem with a digital multimeter. However, an analogue meter has rather more issues.
First, an analogue meter has far lower input impedance than their digital counterpart. This impedance sends a message to indicate the sensitivity of the measuring current. It is important to have higher input impedance in order to measure any type of voltage.
Secondly, analogue meters are traditionally limited to amp readings, ohms and volts. But most modern digital meters are designed with more features. This is particularly important if you are working on several different electronic gadgets and you need to be fast and efficient at the same time.
Another benefit of the digital multimeter over the traditional ones is that the latter is getting more difficult to find. Even the ones available are more expensive than they should be. This is a result of their low demand caused by their limited features.
From the above, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of people prefer digital meters over their analogue counterparts. But there are models that give you the options of having both analogue features and digital features in one model. The multimeters reviewed below all have options for digital readings and manual readings, which give the user flexibility when using a multimeter.
Multimeters are of different grades and different qualities. There are some for basic use and some others more suited for commercial and professional use. The above multimeters reviewed all have great features and have been regarded as the best based on the reviews and high customer ratings they have generated.
Now that you know the features of the best multimeter, it won’t be a problem to select the ideal multimeter from the options reviewed above.
What are the main differences when using a digital versus an analogue meter?
Digital multimeters are more precise and more accurate than analogue models. An analogue meter requires the user to set the needle to zero and adjust its position on the dial. Digital meters do not leave room for errors caused by this problem.
What is the Min/Max mode on the multimeter?
The Min/Max mode is the highest and lowest reading that the instrument has measured from the time the values of measurement were recorded. The measured signal’s maximum or minimum should be a few seconds or milliseconds longer to get a more accurate reading.
How many things can a digital multimeter measure?
The most basic digital multimeters are able to measure voltage, current and resistance of circuits and other electrical components. More advanced instruments can measure volts for amps, direct current and alternating current. Some can perform diode checks and determine if there are breaks in the circuit.
Put simply, the peak mode measures the positive and negative extreme voltages of a signal. For a 120V AC line, its peaks will be presented as +169 volts and -169 volts.
What do CAT levels mean for a multimeter?
There are four safety ratings from CAT I to CAT IV, and they are put in place to prevent exceeding the maximum current and voltage levels of the tool. Overloading the device can destroy the meter or even be fatal. Most low priced devices will have the lowest safety rating.
A multimeter, also called the volt-ohm meter, is a special piece of equipment used to measure voltage, current and resistance. It usually comes as a hand-held device so it can be carried in the field or used at home. Furthermore, multimeters are not expensive devices. So if you need one at home, it can be picked up online or at your local hardware store from a range of prices. There are two types of multimeters, analog and digital, and they differ in various ways.
An analog multimeter is like an analog clock, it shows it measurements using a needle that moves over a scale. It is usually harder to read compared to the digital multimeter, especially for beginners. Also, it is more prone to damage if not handled with care. However, some few good points about the analog multimeter are that it is good for measuring small amounts of current, as an ammeter and also slow-rising voltages and a voltmeter.
These are the more commonly used type of multimeters. They are more durable and cheaper than the analog. And they also come in simpler versions for DIYers and
more advanced versions for electronic engineers or professionals. Unlike the analog, they don’t have a moving needle but rather an LCD screen that display easy-to-read readings. It also gives a much more accurate reading compared to the analog multimeter.
Multimeters are great at reading a wide range of values (hence the term ulti’). These include voltage and amperage (both DC and AC), electrical resistance, capacity,
conductance, decibels, duty cycle, frequency, inductance and temperature (both Celsius and Fahrenheit).
In addition, you can attach accessories to the multimeter so as to make additional readings. These are light level, relative humidity, wind speed, alkalinity and acidity.
The broad categories of multimeters are General Purpose (also known as Testers), Standard, Advanced, Compact and Wireless. Each has certain specifications, advantages and disadvantages that will suit your specific needs.
First, you have the display, this is where you can view the readings. Then, you have the buttons, here you are able to choose from the variety of options. Next is the dial. It is also called the rotary switch and with this piece, you can choose the main units of measurements. For example volts (for voltage), amps (for current) and ohms (for resistance). Finally, you have the input jacks which is which where you insert the test leads.
Going back into history, the first person to invent the multimeter is still unknown. The first multimeter dates back to the 1820s where it was called galvanometer. It could measure voltage and resistance but it was large and bulky. Over the years (and century) engineers and scientists developed and improved the galvanometer until it became the Avometer in the 1920s. The man that mostly spearheaded the development of the Avometer was the British Post Office engineer, Donald Macadie.
When testing the multimeter, always disconnect the digital multimeter from the component being tested and plug out any power supply. Also, you have to make sure that the capacitors are drained. Doing this, will protect the component being tested, the multimeter and, most importantly, you from any electrical harm. Also, it goes without saying, that you should make sure to don any protective gear and refer to the user’s manual for further instructions.
The resolution of the multimeter refers to the amount of numbers that you can see on the display screen. For example, 5 digits mean that five digits from 0 to 9 are displayed on the screenand the means that a number, either 0 or 1, is displayed. By adjusting the resolution your multimeter, you can make your device more or less precise.
For digital multimeters (which are more accurate than their analog counterpart) the accuracy of the device means how close the readings are to the true value. The
accuracy of standard digital multimeters is close to 0.5%, which is pretty accurate.
Luckily, nothing life-threatening or dangerous happens. The readings you get will just be negative.
Yes. Most digital multimeters require a power source. For example, the hand-held devices operate on batteries while the bench devices make use of outlet power.
Most definitely. As a matter of fact, you ought to calibrate it every year. By doing this, you are able to maintain accurate and precise readings.
Multimeters come with different price tags. It mostly depends on the quality that you require and the purpose for the device. The range is usually between US$10 and
US$5000 for the laboratory models.
It is advisable that you consult the instructions manual for your device, since different brands of multimeters may have specific instructions. However, the general instructions are that:
1.Turn the device on
2.Put the probes into their correct connections
3.Set the switch to correct measurement and range
4.Adjust it for the best reading
5.When it is finished reading the component, insert the probes into the voltage measurement sockets and increase the voltage range to the maximum.
But again, check your instructions manual for more details.
At home, you can use a digital multimeter to test batteries, check the integrity of old extension cords, to know if old or blown bulbs still work and to find a bad switch.