So you want to tinker around with some electrical systems and appliance huh? Well obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be painstakingly browsing the interwebs for the best multimeter.
For our newbie electricians, a multimeter is simply a standard tool used by auto mechanics, electricians, and other technicians to keep circuits and electrical appliances running in peak condition.
This device allows us to easily detect faults in electrical systems and find quick solutions before things get worse. If you’re looking for a multimeter, you can rest easy because you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve compiled a detailed review of the best models of multimeters, their rightful application and some very helpful information after the reviews.
As a professional electrician, you’ve sweated blood to make ends meet and deliver exceptional services to your clients.
Since you work hard, then it’s only fair to have equipment that works just as hard as you, am I right?
And I’m sure there’s one thing that we can all agree on; quality and accuracy do not come cheap. When it comes to anything multimeter, all electricians concur that the holy grail has to be something produced by Fluke. Introducing one of the pricier models on our list, the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter is quite the popular little helper among professional circles.
The Fluke 87-V is packed with so many features that we wouldn’t have a conclusion if we listed them all. It’s plain and clear to see why professionals and experts only trust the best there is. If your productivity is on the line and what you need is instant problem solving, then the Fluke 87-V is your new best friend.
Incredible array of advanced features that are ideal for professionals
Constructed to be as durable as they come
Comes with a lifetime warranty
Highly advanced for beginners to decipher
Unquestionably one of the most expensive and highly recommended multimeters in the industry
The newly released MS8229 is actually an improved, modified and upgraded version of the widely purchased MS8209 from the same brand. Besides combining a sound level meter with a multimeter, this little bugger also incorporates a thermometer, lux meter, humid cimeter, and many more.
The absolute best way we can describe the Mastech MS8229 is that it is a jack of all electrical trades, but (sadly) a master of none.
While it is indeed packed with exciting features, we were sort of disappointed by the fact that it only goes as high as 1000V. This is why we recommend getting this unit only if you dabble in light residential electrical projects once in a while.
Includes both visual and audio signals to indicate proper connections
Large, well-lit LCD display makes it easy to get readings in low lit environments
Built-in sensors for instant and convenient readings
Insanely affordable unit
Multimeter is incompatible with certain leads
Slightly augmented precision makes readings a bit inaccurate
When it comes to producing some of the most affordable devices on the planet, Amprobe has definitely carved out a niche. These guys boast of the cheapest multimeters with the majority of them under 50 bucks.
Professional electricians might want to get something with a little more functionality. However, this unit does not disappoint with its array of features. From a holding function and a backlight, LCD display to an auto and manual ranging meters for measuring current, resistance, voltage, capacitance, microamps and duty cycles, this bad boy really does it all.
Attractive price range for budget-conscious buyers
Comes with a built-in flashlight for those dark and hard to see projects
Comes with detachable test leads
Incredibly safe since it passes ACMA and CSA requirements
Don’t you just hate it when every electrician refers you to equipment so expensive that you’d have to work weekends and holidays to afford it?
This creates a dilemma since while you want to save some money, you still need to provide your clients with exceptional service. If you’re looking for a safe and reliable compromise, then the Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter is exactly what you need.
While it doesn’t have as high a price tag as the previous version, this model still retains all the features we have come to love and rely on. In terms of quality, durability, and functionality, the 115 is clearly superior to all the other lower priced models on this list.
However, you’ll still have to shell out quite a considerable amount of green to enjoy this bad boy. We especially loved the safety feature that alerts you in case you have not set your unit for the correct voltage meter or amperage instead of giving you the old false zero.
Easy to learn and use for both beginners and professionals
Unbeatable price for all the wonderful features
Allows easy readings in poor light
Rated as incredibly safe according to CAT III ratings
The rotary knobs are usually the first to malfunction after a while
There’s always something inviting about a multimeter designed by electricians for electricians. This multimeter operates just like a Swiss Army knife – it’s quite versatile.
For starters, it speeds up the process of recording measurements whilst offering you the convenience of remote operability. If user-friendliness is your craving, the 14090T will certainly amaze you with its dynamic screen and eye-catching design.
Beyond what other average multimeters offer, this voltage tester comes with a mobile app which gives you the ability to capture data using your smartphone. You can even take measurements without touching the actual meter.
Whether you’re looking for a multimeter to use in the kitchen, living room or even for checking your AC, this one from Southwire is sure to reward you with simplicity and accuracy.
And there’s more – in case you’re shopping for a wireless-enabled multimeter, this one has certainly got you covered.
Excellent LED screen that can be read even under sunlight
Almost everyone has tried to fix some home appliance or another. Needless to say, it’s a well-known fact that the most padawan electricians usually come from the auto world. And it’s usually home mechanics who need to do simple tasks such as diagnose the car battery, wire automatic window mechanisms or other electrical tasks.
Here’s a quick history check for the informed buyer. For years now, Innova has been designing multimeters specifically for people in the auto industry. And we definitely have to agree that the 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter is one of their best works yet.
Not only can users rest easy with the UL certification status, they can also check their engine wiring down to the tiniest detail thanks to the RPM clamp and temp probe.
It’s also worth noting that the unit can go as high as 10 mega ohms and has an auto-ranging feature that is quite similar to Fluke’s. And while Innova can’t quite boast of as much sensitivity as Fluke, they did a darn great job considering the low price tag on the 3340.
Specifically built for automotive electrical systems and engine
Features a wide range of protective features such as test lead holders
May not be as sensitive as higher quality models
Some buyers complained that the voltage reading may be unstable
Granted that the Triplett 1101-B Compact Digital Multimeter is made by a relatively new brand, it ranks pretty well in most multimeter sites. Apart from the usual measurements such as DC current, AC/DC Voltage, Resistance, Continuity and others, it also tests for temperature and diode tests. However, it’s the protective features that made us wonder where in the heck the brand thinks we’ll be using their multimeter.
There are the rubberized boot and rubber surround that provides impact and drop resistance even from a considerable height. As if that wasn’t enough, Triplett had to go ahead and incorporate an auto power off features to help maximize battery life for a longer operation time. All these features are actuated by an industry standard CAT II design that provides more resistant to damage.
And like all other US made products, there’s no single component that will compromise your quality or performance.
High quality, US-based manufacturer
Unbelievably low price tag
Auto off function saves battery life
Well protected from falls
Exceptionally strong plastic smell when immediately unwrapped
9V batteries are more expensive than 2 or 3A cells
Like all other true auto-ranging meters, the TP9605BT measures ohms, diodes, and holds to the maximum and minimum results for future reference.
The TekPower TP9605BT is designed with a two-way connector. Sure, we’ve all heard that it connects to Windows or Android, but what exactly does this mean for you?
For starters, it allows you to combine your average meter with APP and even USB and let them mesh using your PC or phone. So after any test, you could just you display the result and proceed to share with anyone on your email, Facebook, or other social media.
But that’ not even the best part. This multimeter is actually designed with a K-type kind of thermal sensor that allows people to carry out the temperature measurement in addition to the continuity, current, frequency, voltage, and other measuring units.
Highly effective auto ranging feature that adds to the convenience
Safeguard from hazards such as electrocution
Extremely affordable despite host of features
Customers have claimed that the batteries may not be quite as durable as pricier models
At first glance, you’ll notice that the EX330is quite cheap and affordable. However, even our reviewers were surprised by just how many features this small and cheap unit holds.
The Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter is more than ideal for all sorts of home electrical troubleshooting. Plenty of appliances can malfunction around the house. Using resistance settings, you can test faulty appliances such as your ovens, washers, dryers, dishwashers and furnaces.
Thanks to the built-in non-contact AC, voltage detector, the device uses a combination of audible beeps and indicator lights to alert you to the presence of any voltage near outlets, switches, wires and more.
There’s also a Max Hold function that allows you to capture and record the highest readings for future reference. All these are visible of the 2000 count LED display that features larger, 1-inch digits for easy reading in limited light.
Measures a wide range of factors
Relative functions store measurements for reference
Incredibly affordable price tag
Array of protective features such as rubber holsters
There have been claims that the auto range has very low resistance
This TRMS (true root mean square) tool is one of the most reliable AC voltage meters out there. What’s more, the system can handle up to 40MΩ resistance on 10A AC/DC currents.
But as with any other electrical equipment, it’s important to have your multimeter operating at its safest level – fortunately, this one from Klein Tools is CAT IV 600V safety-rated, meaning it is resistant to much higher transients than any other rated in lower overvoltage categories.
Another plus with this unit is that it is incredibly user-friendly. For instance, it comes with a low battery-life indicator, micro-amps, manual ranging mode, backlit screen and so forth. Above all, if you’re looking to save battery life, there’s a handy auto-off feature to make that work happen easily and fast enough.
Comes with alligator clips
Temperature input plus micro-amps in place
Low screen resolution
If you’re in the market for a multimeter, there’s an entire host of features and functions that you’ll need to keep track of. How about we give you a quick breakdown of the most important features to look out for when shopping for a multimeter.
What Is a Multimeter?
Wouldn’t it be great if someone defined a multimeter without all the confusing words and electrical jargon?
It sure would, that’s why we’re doing it today without all that nonsense. Many people consider these handy little devices to be way too complex to handle. However, don’t let all the fancy terms and knobs fool you. Simply put, a Multimeter is a hand-held device used to measure a wider range of electrical functions.
So when you need to measure your appliances and electrical systems for things like resistance, raw voltage, and even capacitance, then you’ll definitely need one of the 10 bad boys we just reviewed above.
In the field, professional electricians use multimeters to test if a wire is live or not before being able to diagnose it and carry out repairs.
Today, these tools are an absolute essential and can be found in kits of electrical installers, appliance repairmen, HVAC technicians and even auto mechanics worldwide.
But while all multimeters perform similar basic functions, the honest truth is that not all units are made equal. Multimeters vary greatly according to a number of features as well as accessories and design. Many of them will have add-ons and special probes for whatever your purpose is. This takes us to our next segment where we will look at the top features of a great multimeter and how you match them to your job.
Main Features of the Multimeters
It’s been said time and time again but we’ll go ahead and reiterate; the real difference between high-quality multimeters and your average tester lies in the features. A reliable unit will have all the crucial functions designed to make work easier and more efficient.
I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that you want to keep all your fingers and actually make it home alive after a day on the job. If yes, then you need to make sure that you are as safe as possible and fully protected. After all, live currents and the human body have a way of disagreeing once in a while.
Fortunately, multimeters are rated at different CAT levels so that users can quickly discover if their choice is safe for the operational range or not. Additionally, it’s not just the main voltage that you’ll have to worry about; there’s the transient voltage that could come into play. In our reviews above, you’ve undoubtedly come across ratings labeled CAT. Let’s find out more about how that works.
CAT I: If your multimeter is labeled CAT I, then it is designed to be used only in circuits that are not connected to the main power supply. The ideal setting would be bench power supplies or 24V circuits.
CAT II: Multimeters with this rating are suitable for use with electronics that are directly plugged in. But there is a caveat; the circuit must remain under 100A at all times and must be protected to keep it under 22,000V. CAT II multimeters are ideal for systems reading 110V to 240V.
CAT III: Multimeters rated as CAT III are engineered for pretty much all applications prior to the main breaker. This basically means all categories for devices directly plugged into the main such as refrigeration systems and three phase motors.
CAT IV: A rating of CAT IV on a multimeter is practically as high as it gets. This means that your multimeter will be suitable for working with a direct power source from a transformer and into a building.
Other models take your protection to the next level by adding layers of security. One crucial feature is the automatic cut off that keeps you safe just in case the amperage reaches unsafe levels. Additional safety features include banana plugs to protect probes, wide flanges for slip resistance and internal blast shields for when the dung really hits the fan.
Aside from the safety aspects of your multimeters, others are rated according to the specific range of electrical energy you will be operating around. Let’s look at it this way; your needs will be quite different from someone working with small energy circuits at home if you operate in massive industrial circuits.
Typically, many high-end meters are more than able to cover a broad variety of uses, from working with a power main to measuring mV. You should make sure you take note of the fact that the different ranges of measuring capability may and will vary between AC and DC power sources.
As such, there are two different specifications you’ll definitely want to check on. And while some multimeters are able to find their own range, others require you to input it. This is where the Auto Vs Manual ranging debate comes in.
Build, Size and Design
The size and durability of your tool are very important, especially for professionals who are always out in the field. With all the hazards and dangers out in the field, you’re going to want to check a few boxes off when inspecting the design of your multimeters.
Now, this may come as a surprise and may not be on top of everyone’s checklist, but you might want to consider a multimeter that is orange or yellow. This helps prevent accidents and losses since you’ll be able to spot vibrant colors much easier.
Similarly, some of the top multimeters are actually tiny so as to help maneuver around tight spots easily and allow for more portability on the field.
Auto Ranging or Manual Ranging?
As the name suggests, auto ranging multimeters have the ability to immediately recognize what it is you are testing. Imagine, you don’t even have to input your range!
Just set up the device and let it do all the work and output your desired measurements. Not only does this save you the time and effort involved with calculating ranges, it also helps avoid the hassle of having to know all those capacitance, resistance, voltage and other values involved.
On the other hand, manual ranging multimeters are a whole different ballgame. With a manual unit, you will have to find these values yourself, often a very painstaking process for newbies.
Sure, some of you here will argue that you don’t have to know the ranges since some multimeters come with preset values. However, these preset values are not usually custom made for every single appliance, electrical system or engine on the planet. And you still have to know and account for values like voltage, resistance, and capacitance.
The accuracy of your meter is another crucial feature that must be considered when selecting the ideal unit. This especially applies to professionals who require extremely accurate readings. Without an accurate multimeter, you might as well be using your fingers as temperature and voltage probes.
Of course, it’s only in a perfect world where all multimeters give 100 percent accurate readings. Due to factors like cheap components, manufacturer defects or user errors, a lot of things could go wrong.
This is why it’s always advisable to spend more money and get high-quality instruments that won’t falter or fail when it matters most.
And while some of our cheaper, less fancy models may not be as accurate, you’ll still appreciate something that gives a good ballpark value.
Digital Vs Analog Multimeters
Also known as DMM, Digital multimeters are used by technicians in the electrical industry to measure values such as resistance, current, and voltage. These units replaced needle-based analog models and brought a new level of precision and accuracy. Digital multimeters combine an array of features in one small device to give you a numerous task meter.
Typically, most digital models incorporate advanced features for technicians who require specialized instruments. Your average digital meter will have components such as display, buttons, rotary switches and input jacks for test leads.
Modern DMMs have evolved significantly when it comes to precision and sensitivity. Not only do these units give users a ton of versatility, features like auto ranging save you plenty of time and hassle.
Whereas digital meters are steadily taking over, analog multimeters are still pretty useful and relevant for good reason. The main difference between these models and digital units is the way they deliver readings. An analog meter has a needle that swings across a calibrated scale compared to digital LED displays.
So, why on earth are analog multimeters still relevant?
For starters, they deliver results much quicker and with more precision than digital models due to the lack of any delay. Analog models also don’t break down as much as digital units due to the lack of sensitive components and electronics.
However, the needle and spring mechanism in the model can be de-calibrated by shock, vibration, and impact. The analog scale will also require some expertise to read and interpret correctly.
Landing a Balance Between Multimeter Cost and Efficiency
Let me ask you this, dear readers; how far would you go to ensure that you get the best value, performance, and efficiency out of your products?
Poll’s in and the results say that you should go as far as your budget allows you.
However, you should never go shopping with the notion that an item’s quality determines the case. More often than not, this is usually not the case.
Our word of advice is that you should not dwell on the cost when looking for a multimeter because you’ll only end up shopping by budget and not by purpose. Instead, try to concentrate on the overall customer rating and most importantly, the features and reasons why you want a multimeter.
For example, people looking for a simple unit for occasional home use may want to go for less accuracy and fewer features which ultimately translate to lower costs. There’s no point spending loads on features like high voltage capacity and pinpoint accuracy unless you want something for commercial purposes.
Long story short.
The key to finding a middle ground in terms of multimeter cost and efficiency is shopping according to the device’s intended purposes and applications. You simply can’t go wrong with that approach.
We’ve finally come to the part where all our reviewers come together and have a brutal fight where the winner gets to decide our champion product for the day.
As always, the criteria for our decision is always both customer and performance oriented. We have to consider how easy to use and convenient the product was as well as what serious users are saying about it. So without further ado, allow us to introduce the highest rated, most recommended, do it all multimeter and champion of them all – the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter.
The Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter is packed with so many features that we wouldn’t have a conclusion if we listed them all. It’s plain and clear to see why professionals and experts only trust the best there is. If your productivity is on the line and what you need is instant problem solving, then the Fluke 87-V is your new best friend. Apart from delivering unrivaled levels of accuracy, this unit troubleshoots all the capabilities you need and takes the guesswork out of troubleshooting.
We’ve done our part and delivered the top 10 best multimeters and what makes them excel; the ball is in your pitch now. All the best of luck in your search; do let us know how it goes.