A multimeter is one of the basic tools of an electrician’s trade. A typical multimeter’s job is to measure voltage, current, and resistance. This makes it useful for determining if there’s something wrong. It also helps in locating where the problem is.
Electricians of various stripes use multimeters to do their job. There are several varieties of multimeters in the market and there is no single best multimeter that works for everyone.
Each product out there provides a mix of features that make, them appropriate for a particular job. If you are in the market to buy one, you will need a little help.
There are several factors you should consider when buying a multimeter. This starts with the range of features that the multimeter has. If you want the best multimeter for the money you are spending, then what it can do is a dependable measurement.
Another factor is what sort of purpose you will be putting it to. The best automotive multimeter will not be as useful for checking out cellphones. You will want a multimeter designed for your needs.
There are more elements to consider, but these two are the most important. Even with these factors to help narrow down your choices, there are still a lot of products to pick from.
To help you out, here are 09 of the best multimeters in the market today. Check them out to see if they fit your needs.
The Best Multimeters for the Money – Reviews
1. Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
Field service technicians looking for an ideal multimeter for their purpose can check out the Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter. Made for use in a variety of conditions, it comes from one of the best multimeter brands in the market. It can be of great use to both beginners and experts alike.
There are several features that make the Fluke 115 a favorite among multimeter users. First, it is very portable. It is lightweight and has a compact design. It fits snugly in your hand.
This makes it ideal if you walk around the house measuring voltages and testing out the switches and fuses. You can also hang it on anywhere with a handy magnetic hook or support it with a stand. You can even use it in dark places thanks to its back-lit LCD display.
Another reason why the Fluke 115 should get your attention is that it is pretty simple to operate. All you need to do is set the leads on what you are testing and you should get a basic reading. The product auto ranges and does most of your work.
It even detects any problems like forgetting to switch the leads to amps when taking a reading. The Fluke 115 is also pretty durable. It can slip out of your hands and fall to the ground without you worrying that it will affect the device’s performance.
It also has some pretty impressive safety features. It boasts of a CATIII 600V safety rating, which ensures that you won’t get hurt testing out your household electrical devices. It even has overload protection in case of surges.
If not the best digital multimeter out there, the Fluke 117 is one of the top 10 in the market. You won’t regret buying it at its very reasonable price point.
- It has brand recognition. Founded in 1948, the Fluke brand is well-known in the electrical industry. It has released several multimeter products. All have been well-received.
- The Fluke 115 is user-friendly. All the buttons and dials on the device have clear labels. Additionally, the user manual is clear on how to use the multimeter. You do not even have to check the readings to know a wire or fuse is working right. The Fluke 115 beeps if everything is in working condition.
- The Fluke 115 is inexpensive. Multimeters can have high price tags. Yet, the Fluke 115 has a reasonable price. With all its features, it can be more expensive. The Fluke 115 can handle measurements from 200ma to 1A. This should be enough for most purposes.
- If you are an electrician, you may want a multimeter is that a lot more sensitive. It cannot measure lower voltages. It also does not have readings for milli-amps and micro-amps.
- The above $100 price tag can be intimidating. There are other multimeters with a lower price.
2. Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter
As a serious electrician, the best multimeter out there for you is the Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter. An improvement over the Fluke 115, the Fluke 117’s design came from the minds of electricians. This means that it is ideal for use in commercial settings.
Electricians have a demanding work environment. A simple mistake can lead to electrical fires and worse. This is why you need accurate readings and the Fluke 117 can deliver that.
Weighing around 400 grams, this multimeter fits well in your hand. You can carry it around as you take readings all over a building. As part of its ergonomic design, You can use just one hand to operate the Fluke 117.
This is great for situations when you need to have another tool in your hand. As another part of its convenience, the Fluke 117 also has a back-lit LCD display. This lights up in dark places.
The Fluke 117 is a professional’s tool and it shows in its features. The multimeter has a 6000 count display which is pretty accurate in its readings. This updates every four seconds.
It also has a bar-graph display that updates every second. This makes it good when dealing with distorted measurements. This ensures that you get the best data possible.
For even more accurate readings, the Fluke 117 helps filter out the false readings. The low input impedance feature of the device does this.
Another interesting element of the Fluke 117 is it can do non-contact voltage detection. Traditional multimeters need you to place the leads on the tested device. The Fluke 117 uses patented VoltAlert technology. This allows it to check for voltage without needing to use leads.
You just need to place the device near the testing area and you can get an accurate measurement of the voltage.
- The device’s design is for professional use. Being an electrician is a demanding occupation. You will want to make it easier and the Fluke 117 can help out a lot. Its designers were electricians themselves. Their work experiences guided their design decisions. The result is a tool that is durable, accurate, and convenient.
- The Fluke 117 features both VoltAlert and AutoVolt technology. VoltAlert technology allows for quick voltage measurements. This is useful if you are checking out an entire building. AutoVolt technology takes out a lot of the extra steps when measuring for voltage.
- The Fluke 117 is not just for general use. It may not be the best auto multimeter, but it can also measure voltages on various car parts. Especially important is the “hold” feature. This allows you to keep the data on your display for later checking. This is useful if you are checking under the hood or beneath a car.
- Besides a few features, this is the same as the Fluke 115. If you are not an electrician, it would be better to save some money and just buy that instead of the 117.
3. Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
The Fluke brand is one the best multimeter brands out there. It managed to get its reputation by releasing great products. This includes the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter. This is one of their best products. With all its features. It is easy to see why.
The main reason why you would buy the Fluke 87-V is because you want fast and accurate readings. This is a digital multimeter, which means you get a straight digital readout. This is better than the old analog readings that had you guessing the accuracy of the results.
Furthermore, the Fluke 87-V can measure complex signals and interpret them with ease. Designed to measure voltages of adjustable speed drives, this device needs that functionality. Fluctuations and various elements can affect electrical readings for these drives.
This device can cut through all that and produce accurate readings that you can use. Another reason for buying the 87-V is that it can ensure your safety. Working with electricity can be dangerous. If you are not careful, wild surges can shock you.
This product can handle up to 8.000 volts of surges. It has two safety ratings. One is for CAT III 1000V and the other is for CAT IV 600V.This should be enough to protect you in any situation.
The Fluke 87-V also boasts of excellent product design. You can hold and operate it with just one hand. Additionally, it is durable compared to other multimeters. You can drop it by accident and it should still be able to function without problems.
The product is also use-friendly. The manual is clear in its instructions on usage. Additionally, the device has labels on all its parts so even a beginner can use it. Combined with a large and clear display, users will find the 87-V simple to operate.
- The Fluke 87V does accurate readings. The error percentage of the device is at +/- 0.05%. That is pretty good for a multimeter. It ensures that you have the right information. This is important when you do your repairs and troubleshooting.
- It is user-friendly. Most of the time, people tend to make mistakes when using a multimeter. This will not happen with the 87V. It has clear labels and even warns people with a beep if they are using the wrong jacks.
- The 87V has a lot of special features. For example, it can do auto and manual ranging for measurements. This gives it a lot of flexibility. It even has a built-in thermometer if you need to measure if a device is overheating.
- The Fluke 87V comes with a hefty price tag. Do not expect to get this device below $300, even during a sale. You may only want to buy this if you need accurate measurements. Either that or you are a professional electrician.
4. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
The INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter is the best cheap multimeter. That is the main reason why you would want to buy it. Amazon has it as its #1 bestseller among multimeters.
With a price tag of below $20, this is not a surprise. The big question is whether the low price is worth the buy. This INNOVA 3320 is not exactly aimed at the electrician’s market.
The target for the device is to measure computers and automobiles. It is also used for minor devices. There are several features that do make it stand out besides the price.
A unique feature of the INNOVA 3320 is its battery tester. All multimeters can check whether a batter still has a charge. The difference is that the 3320 sends a load across the battery.
The results are more accurate this way, giving you a better idea of how much charge the battery has left. Another interesting feature of the 3320 is the arm strap. When you are working with electronic and electrical devices, your hands are often full.
This is a problem if you also need accurate readings. With the arm strap, users can have the 3320 placed on their wrist, keeping their hands free to do the needed work. The auto-ranging feature of the INNOVA 3320 makes it ideal for beginners.
More complicated multimeters need you to give the range of measurement. With the 3320, all you need to do is select what you are measuring. You should then get your readings with no problem.
The device can measure up to 10 amps for DC, while it has a 200.0 mA limit for AC. This should be good enough for most purposes. This is because DC is most often used for daily usage. However, if you are going to be measuring AC a lot then you may need to buy something else.
- The main reason you will want to buy is the price. For $20 or even less, the INNOVA 3320 is one of the best multimeters for the money. The device is in impulse-buy range. The fact that it has become an Amazon bestseller should be no surprise.
- Another reason for buying the INNOVA 3320 is the excellent wrist strap. Other multimeters have kickstands and magnetic holders. None of them have a wrist strap though. The convenience that having one is well worth the sale price.
- The 3320’s battery load tester is another positive for it. If you want to get an accurate read on the batteries around your house, this device is your best bet.
- The 3320 also has an auto shut-off feature. It will turn itself off if left unused for some time. This ensures that its batteries will have a long life.
- This device is good enough for most purposes. You will want a more accurate multimeter if you are a professional electrician.
- The INNOVA 3320 also has limits on its capacity. The most notable limit is it cannot read AC circuits that operate above 200 milliamps.
5. TekPower TP9605BT Digital Wireless Multimeter
Multimeter reviews have been raving about the TekPower TP9605BT. The main reason for this excitement is its data-logging innovation.
With normal multimeters, you often have to get the readings off the display by hand. With the TP9605BT, that is a thing of the past.
The reason for this is that TekPower’s offering has cellphone integration. This is a world’s first, though it is only for Android phones. TekPower has app that you download from Google Play.
This allows you to send your readings from the multimeter to your smart phone. With this functionality, you can keep a record of your measurements.
You do not even have to have a smart phone. You can hook the multimeter up to your computer via USB. The data that it recorded is then moved to your desktop. Though it is not earth-shaking, making record keeping easier can be a good way to attract buyers.
Better data-logging is not the only positive feature of the TP9605BT. It is a good multimeter on its own. It is a functional auto-ranging multimeter. This means that all you need to do to start your testing is to specify what you want to take readings on. You should be then good to go.
The device can measure quite a few electrical properties. This includes voltage, resistance, current, capacitance, and even temperature. It has a pretty good accuracy rating for its readings. You can be sure that you are getting good data from your measurements.
It shows all its readings on a good enough LCD display. There are better screens on the market though. There is a back light though for low-light situations.
The product’s design does seem a bit cluttered, with the labels crammed in on the face. Despite this, it is a good enough device for most users.
- The main reason you would buy this is for its smart phone connections. A problem that many electricians face is that they have a hard time keeping a complete record of their multimeter readings. The app allows you to do so with just a simple click of the finger.
- Another reason for buying the TP9605BT is that it has some features you would usually find on more expensive multimeters. The most notable one is its thermo sensor feature. This allows you to do temperature testing if necessary.
- The TP9605BT is the best multimeter for the money you spend on it. Considering it is an auto-ranging multimeter, the price for the device is a lot lower than you would normally be paying for it.
- The device is pretty durable. TekPower offers a two-year warranty on it just in case you manage to break it.
- The device has terrible battery life. Some reviews have noted that it consumes batteries quickly. There is an auto shut-off feature, but it seems to be too sensitive. It can keep the device on for far longer than it should.
6. Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter
The Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter is an excellent example of why there are a lot of multimeter types out here. Designed to work in the HVAC market, it gets rid of features that HVAC technicians won’t be needing.
This includes features like high safety ratings and high sensitivity. The result is an affordable multimeter for HVAC purposes. The features that the Fluke 116 has are all important for those who work in the HVAC industry.
First, there is the AutoVolt low impedance measurement. This ensures that you will not be getting any false readings. This is useful for checking whether HVAC units are getting enough power.
Another interesting feature meant for HVAC technicians is the Fluke 116’s temperature meter. When working with HVAC units, users will want to know how much heat or cold the unit can produce.
This is a sign of how well the unit is functioning. The device can measure temperatures in either Celsius or Fahrenheit.
Finally, there is the fact that it gets rid of 10 amp inputs. HVAC technicians do not usually use that function. Instead the device focuses on using microamp inputs. This is for better testing of the flame sensors in boilers and heaters.
The Fluke 116 also has all the hallmarks of the Fluke brand. Designed for comfortable use with one hand, this device fits well in your grip.
Additionally, it is durable. You can risk it falling from your hand once in a while with no worries on it breaking. It can even stand up against water dripping on it with no problem.
It is also pretty accurate in its readings. The margin for error in measuring the various voltages, resistances, and more are in the single digits. Additionally, the device is pretty sensitive. It can quickly detect and register changes in voltage.
- If you are an HVAC technician, then the Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter is the device for you. It has all the features that you need in a solid package. It also gets rid of features that you won’t be using often.
- The device features true RMS. This means that the multimeter can measure a lot more accurately than ordinary multimeters. It keeps track of the fluctuations that are present in the voltage. More accurate readings means users can better find out if there are problems and where they are.
- The product comes from a solid brand. The Fluke brand started back in 1948 and is one of the best multimeters brands. The company developed a reputation for good products these past decades. The 116 is no exception to that rule.
- The 116 is at a good price point. At around $150, the multimeter is a lot less expensive than most of its competition.
- This device is primarily for the HVAC market. For general use, you would be better off with other Fluke products.
- There are some complaints about the temperature sensor being inaccurate.
7. INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter
Cars nowadays have a lot of electrical components. This has made the work of auto electricians a lot harder. They are going to need an excellent set of tools to get their job done. One of the essential pieces of their toolkit is a multimeter.
However, with the many multimeters in the market today, it can be hard to pick the right one. The decision is a lot easier now thanks to the INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter.
Currently, it is the best multimeter under 100 dollars for those who work with cars. Buyers can get a lot of bang for their buck with this purchase. First of all, there are a lot of features packed in this small package.
The 3340 can help users check batteries, light sockets, and more on a car. This just showcases how flexible this multimeter is. Users will probably only use one or two most of the time, but having the options available is reassuring.
Secondly, the device is great for troubleshooting engine problems. The engine is the heart of a car. It also has several electrical components that need checking.
The INNOVA 3340 helps a lot in detecting in electrical-based engine problems. With its 10 MegOhm impedance, it also avoids any damage to any electrical components during the checking.
Thirdly, the 3340 is great for working under the hood. While working on the engine, users will want their hands free. Thanks to its built-in kickstand, they can set it up on the side. They can also use the included wrist straps. Strapped to the user’s wrist, it can be used hands-free.
Finally, the INNOVA 3340 is also an excellent general multimeter. Though designed for use with cars, the product can also check most electrical devices. Thanks to the accurate readings it presents, buyers will appreciate its extended functionality.
- Automobiles have special testing requirements. This multimeter designed for use with cars. That way buyers can be sure that they have all the features that they need for testing and troubleshooting automotive problems.
- The 3340 allows for true hands-free operation. Thanks to the included wrist strap and the test lead holders, owners of the multimeter can have their hands free for note-taking or repair.
- This product has a good price. Like its other product, the 3320, INNOVA is offering the 3340 at a bargain price. Considering that it has a wealth of features, the fact that the 3340 is selling for below $100 makes it well worth your money.
- The device is user-friendly. With all its parts labeled and a large LCD screen, operating the 3340 should be a simple task.
- There are reports of some quality issues. Considering its low price, people can expect that faulty products will pop up once in a while.
- Majority of the complaints are about faulty screens and inaccurate measurements. Fortunately, INNOVA has an excellent customer service hotline.
8. Amprobe AM-530 TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter
Professional electricians will always need a multimeter in their toolkit. Not all multimeters are equal though. It takes a great product get the attention of the electrician community. This is why Amprobe’s AM-530 is such an interesting device.
The AM-530 is a true RMS multimeter designed for the use of professionals. It can test and measure for all the required electrical qualities and more. This includes everything from voltage in AC or DC to the temperature of the device.
Thanks to its true RMS capacity, these measurements are also quickly updated. This is so that users can track the changes in the electrical system. Electricians need accurate measurements when dealing with electrical devices.
The correct data allows users to detect and correct any problems. The AM-530 presents results with a small margin of error. The device has a digital screen that displays the results accurate down to the last decimal point.
The AM-530 has the capacity to measure voltages of up to 750V in AC mode and 1000V in DC mode. It also works to measure currents of up to 10 amps in both modes. This is a wide range and should give users the flexibility to use it for most devices.
Another reason why electricians like this product is that it is simple to use. For example, owners can choose to either do automatic ranging or manual ranging. With a simple click, users can select what to measure and then test for it.
The device’s design allows for people to use it quickly and with no fuss. The AM-530 also has some interesting features that make it an interesting purchase. First, there is the audible continuity feature. That can help detect short and open circuits.
Second, it can do non-contact voltage detection, which makes testing quicker. Finally, the device has a built-in flashlight. This allows it to operate in low-light conditions.
- Professionals like its wide range. Electricians need to check for a lot of factors when they troubleshoot electrical systems. The AM-530 provides them with a single tool that can help detect the problem, whatever it is.
- The AM-530 is a user-friendly device. Thanks to its revolving dial, users can quickly change from one testing mode to another with ease. The LCD display also helps greatly by showing the results clearly.
- Finally, conveniences like the built-in flashlight and kickstand make it easier to use.
- The device is also pretty safe to use. It has CAT III safety ratings for both 600V and 1000V. It also has a good overload protection feature in case you there is a surge while testing.
- Some users complain about the responsiveness of the device’s auto-ranging feature. Other multimeters respond faster that the device. This should not be so considering the brand’s reputation.
- Another complaint is about how the LCD screen has a poor viewing angle. You need to hold it just right to be able to see the results. This can be a problem, especially when the lighting is poor.
9. Mastech MS8209 5 in 1 Multimeter
If a person needs to do some testing, then the Mastech MS8209 5-in-1 Multimeter can meet their needs. A lot of people think that multimeters are only for electricians. The truth is multimeters are useful to even ordinary people. The MS8209 is especially useful because of its interesting features.
Designed by Mastech, the MS8209 is all about its flexibility. The device has over 14 different functions. Also, it has 39 different ranges for its testing. This gives users the chance to test almost anything on this multimeter.
Interestingly, the MS8209 can measure temperature, humidity, sound level, and luminance. Temperature-measuring multimeters can be easily found on the market. But, you will probably never find any other multimeter measuring for the other three.
Humidity and temperature checks can ensure a house is properly heated or cooled. Luminance testing can be useful to those who want to check whether a light is too bright or an area is not getting enough sun.
Sound level testing ensures that your home is soundproof when necessary. Besides having a lot of features, Mastech’s products are all well-made. This is not a surprise since the company has over two decades of experience.
The MS8209 is a good example of the its skill. The multimeter fits well in a person’s hand and feels quite sturdy. Plus, rubber coats the device for extra protection. This should ensure that drops won’t immediately ruin the device.
The MS8209 is more of a general tool for a home than for a specialist. If your house’s devices need checking, you can use its electrical testing functions. Its other testing functions can be just as useful.
The MS8209 is an excellent tool to add to a home’s toolkit. It gives users accurate enough readings and covers a wide range of testing needs. Considering its price is less than a hundred dollars, this device is well-worth your money.
- The main one is its extended functionality. The multimeter has uses beyond just testing electrical devices. If you want something that is more of a general tool than specialized for electrical testing, then the MS8209 should be a smart purchase.
- Another reason why people would buy this product is the Mastech brand. The company’s operations started over two decades ago. With many years of experience, buyers can be confident in the products it produces. Another plus for the MS8209 is its price point. Most multimeters often have prices higher than a hundred dollars. People can buy this product for a little above half that price. It is a decent budget multimeter for those looking for one.
- The biggest black mark against the device is that it is not true RMS capable. This means users will not get specific measurements as the voltage changes. If you really need that functionality, then you will have to pass on this product.
- Another problem is with the temperature sensor. It does not measure in dual-units. You only get readings in Celsius.
Things to Consider before Buying: The Best Multimeter For The Money
When you’re in the market to buy a multimeter, you should have a checklist of requirements. This ensures that you won’t have any regrets in your purchase. Here are a few things that you should seriously consider before putting down your money for payment.
You need to know for exactly what purpose you will be using the multimeter. Multimeter makers have branched out from making general-purpose devices to more specialized products.
If you are an HVAC technician or a car mechanic, it would be better for you to buy a multimeter that is made for your testing needs instead of a generic one.
People like getting their money’s worth. This is why you will want to look at the features that each multimeter has. However, you will not want to just buy a device that is packed with features you will not use.
Consider what features you need and buy a multimeter that has those. In addition, consider features that can make the product more easy to use like a back-lit screen or a handy strap.
Multimeters are measuring devices. The results that you get from them can influence your decision on how to fix electrical problems. This is why you will need to get accurate results. Highly accurate multimeters ensure that you make the right choices in your troubleshooting.
Try to check how large the margins of error the multimeter has when making readings. The lower it is, the better the device is for your purposes.
However, you need to consider how much accuracy you need. Higher accuracy means a higher price tag. You may consider a less accurate multimeter so that you do not go over budget.
You will want a device that is simple and easy-to-use. This usually involves having a large LCD screen and clear labels on its various parts. Remember that the easier a device is to use, the faster that you can do your testing.
Digital multimeter reviews are a great way to find out whether a device is worth buying. Check out customer reviews on Amazon and other online stores to learn about other people’s experience with the product.
Good word-of-mouth usually means that the device will please you in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between digital and analogue multimeters? What should I buy?
A: Nowadays, we usually see digital multimeters being sold. They can be recognized through their digital display. Analogue multimeters have a fluctuating scale as their display. The differences are more than just cosmetic though.
Digital multimeters are a lot easy to read and operate. This is because they directly display the results of the test down to the last decimal point. Analogue displays move around too much and depend on users being able to interpret the scale properly.
Most of the time, you will want to buy digital multimeters for their accuracy. However, sometimes analogue multimeters are needed to properly track the changes in the electrical current.
Changes in technology have allowed for some digital multimeters to match analogue tracking, though they can be expensive.
How important is true RMS?
A: RMS refers to “root mean square.” Multimeters that feature true RMS can properly measure alternating current. This is important for some devices like computers and HVAC.
If you are working a lot with devices that use AC a lot, then you should purchase a true RMS multimeter so that you can get accurate readings for your tests.
Do I really need the safety features?
A: A lot of multimeter users are rather ignorant about safety. Many people forget that they are testing electrical systems that can hurt them if they are not careful. A strong enough surge in current can result in harm to you.
This is why you will want to consider the energy capacity other circuit you are working on and to use a multimeter with a matching safety rating. At the highest safety ratings, multimeters can protect you from surges of up to 12,000 volts.
What advanced features should I look out for?
A: The many multimeters sold in stores right now advertise that they have a lot of features. However, you will probably not be using all of them at any point in time. There are some that you should look out for.
For example, you will want a multimeter that features data logging so that you can easily keep track of test results. Other features that you need to take note of are low impedance mode, smart ohm, and a graphic function.
Should I really buy a specialized multimeter?
A: Specialized multimeters are often cheaper than general ones. This is because they remove features that you do not need and focus on the ones that you do. If you primarily work with cars or HVAC units, then you should probably buy specialized multimeters.
In addition, if you work with smaller voltage devices like computers and smart phones, you can settle for a below-$100 multimeter.
Buying a multimeter can be difficult with all of the choices out there. Hopefully, this guide pointed you in the right direction and gave you an idea of what to look for and which products to check.
Remember to always consider your needs so that you can get the best multimeter for you.