Are you searching for the best inexpensive multimeter? Like many other people, I believe your answer is yes. Maybe you are a first timer and would like to buy the best device right from the word go, or you are a seasoned user looking to replace an aging or faulty meter.
Well, with so many options available on the market, it may be a little overwhelming deciding which one you should go for. Should you stick with a trusty analog meter or go for modern digital multimeter (DMM)?
Ok, maybe that last question isn’t a difficult one, since so many people prefer digital meters. (See here if you are shopping specifically for an analog meter.)
Is it possible to get a quality device without burning holes in your pocket? What are some key features of a good multimeter? These are just a few of the questions you may be pondering.
Before we go any further – lets get something out of the way. If you stumbled across this page, you are probably looking for a good, yet cheap or inexpensive multimeter.
Although the team here at MultimeterExpert loves Fluke meters and recommends them frequently, they are far from inexpensive.
Thus, we will not be covering a Fluke meter here. You generally pay a bit extra for the Fluke name, which inflates the price a bit.
A multimeter is simply a tool that helps in checking and measuring electrical parameters and values. These include voltage (V), Current (Amp), and Resistance (Ohms).
It features two probes, one red and the other black, and the two ends are normally connected to the object being tested. The original form (analog multimeters) featured a micrometer with a needle that moves inside a dial, indicating the readings. Digital Multimeters display the readings in numerical form and are generally easier to use.
A DMM is useful in checking for electrical faults, short circuits, open circuits, resistance, voltage/ current leaks, and much more. It is also useful for testing various parts such as fuses, resistors, diodes, wires, bulbs, sockets, plugs, circuit boards, transistors, etc.
Multimeters come in different sizes, designs, brand names, functionality, and more. What may work for you may not be the best for another person.
For instance, an inexperienced person may find using an analog type a little challenging in comparison to a seasoned professional. And like other people, you want the best meter that is accurate, easy to use, durable, practical, features a clear display and is reliable.
-Auto repair specialists/ mechanics
-Computer repair experts
Our recommendation – Innova 3320
Here are the highlights of the 3320 – If you are looking for more details on this meter, check out our full review of the Innova 3320.
-Large digital display
-Single-setting resistance function
-Rubber corner guards
-Hands-free Use stand and holder
-Reverse Polarity Protection
-UL Safety Certification
We also love the decently sized digital display that relays clear numerical values. To add on to this, the multimeter is Auto-Ranging meaning that it automatically detects the parameters and you don’t need to keep changing the set values.
One of the key things that drew us to the INNOVA 3320 is its rugged look and feel. The unit feels very solid to handle regular use, accidental bangs, and abrasion, shock, impact, vibration and more. This aspect is further improved by the rubber corner guards that take the impact or shock instead of the sensitive internals.
The item features a versatile and universal design and should work okay in most settings. These include automotive use, HVAC, home electrics, electronics repairs, electrical circuits, computer repairs and for a hobbyist. For easy use in different electronics, DC or AC, the gadget includes Single-setting resistance.
In comparison to some of its rivals, the INNOVA 3320 has a larger and clearer display. These should make reading the values not only easier but also quicker.
The manufacturer went a step further to incorporate color-coded LEDs for easy checking of a battery’s status. Green means good, yellow means it’s a little weak, while red is telling you that the battery needs replacement.
Just like the size, the weight of the multimeter is within range. You won’t get too tired of carrying or using it. For an easier experience, you also get built-in wrist wraps and stands for Hands-Free testing.
The Reverse Polarity feature is yet another strong selling point for the device. And true to the claims of many analysts, the company, and consumers, this digital multimeter works well.
It won’t get damaged due to connecting the probes in reverse order. And for extra protection from electrical shocks, the multimeter has a robust and rugged design.
We agree with many other people that it’s among the most affordable meters on the market. Despite its range of features, sturdy construction, and decent quality, this gadget will generally set you back less than $25 (prices vary, so we don’t display them here – please check with Amazon).
And if you are among the people who worry about your safety while using a multimeter, then you be more at ease with the INNOVA 3320. This is because it is UL certified in regards to safety and quality.
What we like:
-Easy to use and read
-Sturdy construction and durable
-Large and clear digital display
-Good quality and well-priced
-A range of great features
What we don’t like:
-The multimeter is not very large
-The knob is somewhat small
-The beep/ sound emitted in continuity testing is a little soft especially when there’s lots of background noise
-Auto Ranging: A good multimeter should be able to automatically recognize the testing parameters. In contrast to manual ranging, you won’t need to set values all the time.
-Accuracy: Top meters are accurate and this helps to give proper readings. This is essential to prevent an incorrect diagnosis or failure in finding a fault.
-User-friendly: We also focus on how easy it is to use the multimeter. The display should have a decent size, the digits or numbers should be clear and the knob well-placed for easy reach. Reading a digital multimeter is way easier than the analog type (for beginners at least).
-Safety Features: A good item will protect the user from voltage and current. This is done but using a shockproof casing, using circuitry that can handle high current, the probes will feature shrouded banana plugs and the unit may also come with internal blast shields.
-Price: We also paid attention to the cost of the item. Our intention was to find a high quality, reliable, durable and effective piece that costs less than $25.
The following are the key advantages of using a multimeter:
-Prevents electrical shock: The device will allow you to work on electrical circuits while minimizing the risk of an electrical shock or electrocution. It supports both DC and AC voltages.
-Correct diagnosis: Owing to its many values/parameters (amperes, voltage, ohms, continuity, polarity…), you will be able to unearth a problem much faster while using minimal effort.
-Saves time: Using a multimeter is not only easier than other methods but also fast and safer. Simply set the value, attach the prongs, and get the outcome on the display.
-Cost effective: This accessory saves you the trouble and time of using guesswork or Trial & Error. The top types are easy to use, fast and also very accurate.
The Innova 3320 scores highly for its range of features which make using it easy even if it’s your first time. It also gets the nod for being among the easiest to operate thanks to the large digital display, good size and weight, hands-free capability, and good accuracy.
All-in-all, in our honest opinion, anyone looking for the best inexpensive multimeter will find the Innova 3320 Autoranging Digital Multimeter worth buying.