Safety should always come first when it comes to working with electricity. The last thing you want is to test out a circuit with a multimeter, and then the whole thing ends up exploding. Having a great multimeter is thus absolutely necessary when working with electronic circuits. A good quality multimeter should give you accurate measurements of many different kinds of current without any risk of injury to you.
Of course, it can be difficult to know what multimeters are good, so we’re here to help you. We’ve written this guide on the best multimeters to help you to make the best and safest decision for you. Read on for our product recommendations, in addition to a handy buyer’s guide to help you to make the best decision for you.
Top 5 Best Multimeters
OUR TOP PICK
The AstroAI TRMS 6000 is by far the best multimeter on the market. This is a fantastic option that provides you with double protection, coming with two explosion proof ceramic fuse tubes. You have no need to worry about danger with this multimeter because it’s designed with the utmost durability.
The multimeter is able to do a bunch of different tests, such as voltage, resistance, current, temperature, capacitance and frequency. It also comes with a bunch of handy extras too that make it truly worth the money that you pay. To start with, it includes a backlit LCD with means that you can see easily even if it’s dark.
In addition, the multimeter comes with a data hold feature that means you won’t lose any measurements that you don’t end up recording. It even comes with a hanging magnet and a kickstand that’s really handy when you, well, have no hands! Naturally, it has its issues, in that the magnet can have a habit of picking up small metal objects such as debris and nails, but for the price its available for, it’s a truly impeccable option.
- Backlit LCD screen
- Good value for money
- Comes with a kickstand and magnet
- It is able to take a range of different measurements
- The magnet can pick up metal debris
Fluke is a pretty well known name when it comes to electrician’s tools, and the Fluke 117 is a great example of why the name has such a great reputation. This is certainly one of the best multimeters on the market, and while it is a little expensive, it is certainly worth the investment.
To begin with, this is an RMS multimeter, which essentially means that you are going to get impeccably accurate measurements for non linear loads of electricity. You can choose between either a graphical display or a numerical one depending on your personal preference, and they both respond incredibly quickly. For reliability, there really aren’t many other options that can even compare.
In addition, this multimeter also comes with a blast shield for extra safety, so if anything does end up going wrong you shouldn’t be worried about being affected by any explosions.The device is also very durable, so it’s perfect if you just need something hard wearing that you can toss in your bag - not that we would recommend doing that for the price!
- Blast shield casing
If you want an effective multimeter with a bunch of great features, you’re looking in the right place with the Extech EX330. This multimeter has a lot of great things going for it, as it’s easy to read, provides a number of measurements and so much more.
To start with, the Extech EX330 comes with a non contact AC voltage detector, which is ideal if you are doing a lot of simple electrical work in your home. All you really need to do is put the meter near to a power source and from there it will tell you whether it’s live.
In addition, the device comes with other measurement abilities, like frequency, temperature and capacitance. If you happen to drop the device, no worries! Your device will be kept safe by the impact resistant covering. Of course, it should be noted that it’s not the best as far as durability is concerned, with an LED display that’s easy to scratch, so this is something that you should consider before purchasing it.
- Easy to read
- Impact resistant cover
- Can take a number of measurements
- Not the most durable on the list
You aren’t going to get all of the bells and whistles with the Innova 3320, but what you will get instead is a reliable device that’s affordable. Of course, the key selling point of this device is actually not its affordability, its actually how durable it is!
The Innova 3320 features a very rugged design that’s ideal for when you’re out on the job. It also has rubber guards around the device designed to protect it.The device comes with a standard set of probes, and while you can get better it’s pretty good for the price the device is available for.
The multimeter features a 10 megohm input impedance so you can be sure that it’s incredibly effective despite the low price point. It should be mentioned, however, that the quality control with the device definitely needs a little bit of work - you should keep an eye on this. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with the price point on offer.
- 10 megohm input impedance
- Quality control requires some work
The Amprobe AM-510 Multimeter is ideal for anyone looking for an effective multimeter for a decent price. It has a lot to offer for the price point, though it is not without its faults.
The device comes with non contact voltage detection. Of course, the most important thing is that the device meets CAT-IV 600V and CAT-III 1000V standards. It is also available at a decent price, so you don’t need to worry about spending a fortune on this handy tool.It comes with a backlit LCD display that gives you bar graph functionality.
Are you working in the dark? Not to worry, the Amprobe AM-510 Multimeter comes with a built in flashlight that will light up your work. You can also operate the device hands free due to the kickstand that comes with it. Of course, it is not possible to talk about this multimeter without mentioning the glaring issue. It is a great option, but there are a few features and settings that don’t work very well. You should remember this before you choose to buy it.
- CAT-IV capabilities
- Well priced for what it offers
- Useful backlit LCD display that will give you bar graph functionality
- Not all of the functions work very well
Best Multimeters Buying Guide
What is a Multimeter?
Multimeters are important tools if you work with electronics. These devices give you a range of useful information about various electrical measurements. Generally, the devices are able to help you to pinpoint any issues in an electrical system. The multimeter calculates readings by measuring the electrical values and figuring out the difference between them. It measures things such as current, resistance and voltage.
There are primarily two main kinds of electrical current that your multimeter should absolutely be able to measure. These are the AC and the DC. Not every multimeter on the market actually does measure both, however.
The AC stands for alternating current. This is essentially when the electricity consistently moves back and forth in either direction. This is what you will usually find in electricity that keeps your home all powered up, so usually if your electronics need to be plugged in then they are going to use an AC current.
Alternatively, you have the DC current. This is basically a current that can flow constantly in just one direction. You usually find this kind of current in electronics that are powered by battery.
Of course, this can largely depend on the model of multimeter that you choose, but often a multimeter will come with one of more sets of probes that can be used for a bunch of different applications. Some of these probes allow you to measure by contact, while you can just grip the item you’re planning on measuring with others. There are a range of different probes, including grabber/hook, alligator, SMD tweezer, socket and temperature.
There are some relatively cheap multimeters on the market, but these options usually only come with two ports that you can connect the probes too. These are called the common port and the input. Usually with these devices, the input is what you use to measure the different kinds of current. This can be a little bit problematic in a safety sense as the levels of electricity can vary so much between them. When you purchase a model with just a single input, you need to be very cautious about the settings that you use. If you measure a current that’s too powerful for the multimeter’s settings you can put yourself in danger, and the device can even explode.
If your multimeter is better quality, then there will usually be separate inputs designed for different measurements. The one input is used for measuring the current and the other will measure the voltage and resistance. This is much safer than a single input model, because the chances of user error are significantly reduced.
You can find multimeters for a range of different prices online, from really cheap versions made in different countries to some of the more expensive ones that professionals use. You may not think they’re all that different but there’s a big divide between the two. They can usually measure different things, and the safety of cheaper devices tends to be more limited in comparison to high end models.
Ideally, you should be trying to spend a little bit more money on a multimeter just to make sure that the device doesn’t end up malfunctioning or blowing up when you’re using it. It doesn’t happen with all multimeters, but it’s much more common with incredibly cheap, low quality options.
With that being said, you also don’t necessarily need to be spending a fortune on a multimeter either. You can find some pretty affordable options for a low price, that are plenty functional and can be used with lots of different currents and electrical devices.
This may sound like a strange term, but it’s pretty important when considering a multimeter to buy. Basically it signifies the amount of impact that the multimeter is going to have on the circuit that it’s measuring. If your multimeter doesn’t have very good input impedance, it’s going to measure the circuit in parallel, and this can decrease the resistance level. This may mean that the reading is faulty.
The majority of digital multimeters currently on the market have very high input impedance usually amounting to 1 megohm or more. This means that it isn’t going to mess around with the performance of the circuit so you will get a more accurate reading. You tend to find that more sensitive electronics require you to get more input impedance.
You don’t necessarily need to get a multimeter with a bunch of features, but there are some things that can certainly make the device more useful. For example, a backlit display can help because when you’re in a low light condition you may not be able to see the reading, so a backlit display can save you a lot of time and effort.
You may also wish to consider getting a multimeter that comes with a kickstand or a hanging magnet. When you have a probe in your hands you aren’t going to have any extra hands to hold the meter with, so having a magnet means that you can go hands free by attaching it to a tool or a wall that’s close to you. This is ideal if you are lying on the ground working because it means that you can put the multimeter over your head for easy visibility. In addition, a kickstand lets you put the meter onto a flat surface where you are able to see it with ease without worrying about knocking it down.
There are some extra features such as more probes, multiple inputs and graphical displays, but you don’t necessarily need them. You may find that they are useful to you though so make sure that you consider your requirements and what things are going to come in handy for you.
Digital or Analog
You can either choose to buy a digital or an analog multimeter. Of course, both of these have their own pros and cons so it’s worth considering both carefully.
You will usually find that digital multimeters are more accurate than analog multimeters, and they also allow you to be able to download readings onto a computer. They usually come with digital LCD screens that are easier to read in the dark, and they also give precise readings. Most professionals tend to prefer digital over analog multimeters now because of these things.
Of course, some still prefer to have analog multimeters. This is usually because of their enhanced durability and the functionality.
Analog multimeters are usually harder to read than digital multimeters because the display doesn’t tend to be particularly clear. They will show you the readings with a swinging needle, whereas with a digital version you will get numerical values instead. They don’t tend to be as accurate and you need to interpret the numbers yourself which can waste some time. They are more reliable and stable than digital multimeters in general though.
Auto and Manual Range Multimeters
Auto range multimeters can be really handy to help you to determine the precise range in order to get the most accurate measurement. All you need to do is choose the kind of current that you need to measure, and you will get a reading from the device. If you are using a manual range meter, you will need to look at every particular denomination until you can get your accurate reading. Of course, because of this auto range multimeters can be very handy. You also aren’t missing out in most cases either, because auto range meters tend to come with a function that lets you do manual measurements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you need to use a multimeter?
Primarily, there are two reasons that people use a multimeter. To start with, you will get a clear diagnosis from them to tell you what’s wrong with electrical systems. They can show you the exact changes that have happened in your electrical circuits.
In addition, they are vital for safety. Error in electronics can kill, so it’s important to remain safe. A multimeter helps you to ensure that you are safe when working with electronics because it helps you to check that nothing is active when you start working. This is so important to help to keep safe. Multimeters aren’t very expensive either so it’s a relatively small price to pay for safety.