Table of Contents
- 1 Best Multimeter Overall
- 1.1 Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
- 1.2 Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter
- 1.3 Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter with Temperature and Microamps
- 1.4 Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
- 1.5 INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter (10 MegOhm/UL)
- 1.6 Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician’s Multimeter
- 1.7 Amprobe AM-530 TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage and Temperature Detector
- 1.8 Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multifunctional Digital Multimeter
- 2 Best Multimeter Buying Guide
- 3 Conclusion
A VOM (Volt-Ohm meter), multitester, or multimeter is an electronic tool used to measure in one unit a combination of several measurement functions.
A standard multimeter should at least be able to measure resistance, current, and voltage. Non-digital or analog multimeters can be used with the help of a microammeter that has a pointer that moves across a calibrated scale that covers all different measurements. So what is the best multimeter out there?
Nowadays, most people use digital multimeters or DVOM or DMM, so they’re a good starting point when searching for the best multimeters around. Look for DMMs that display information either in numerals and a bar with its length that’s proportional to the measured quantity. In some cases, analog multimeters are preferable for monitoring values that rapidly vary.
You should ask yourself before discussing which multimeter is the best in the market who needs to use the device and what type of job is it going to be used for. It’s mainly electricians who depend on multimeters that are precise, dependable, durable, and excellent at what they do. With that said, do you necessarily need to spend at least $100 to get the best multimeter around? Not necessarily.
|Picture||Model||Editor Ratings||Our Review|
|Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter|| (4.8 / 5) |
|Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter|| (4.8 / 5) |
|Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter|| (4.7 / 5) |
|Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter|| (4.8 / 5) |
|INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter|| (4.5 / 5) |
|Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician's Multimeter|| (4.7 / 5) |
|Amprobe AM-530 TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter|| (4.4 / 5) |
|Mastech MS8209 5 in 1 Multimeter|| (4.4 / 5) |
Best Multimeter Overall
Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
Fluke is a trusted name when it comes to multimeter offerings. All electricians agree that Fluke is the Holy Grail of Multimeter Brands the same way DeWalt is the Holy Grail of Radial Arm Saws. Its products are renowned for their interesting features, precision, and numerous functions.
As far as this digital multimeter review is concerned, it’s no fluke that the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter made it into this list. In fact, there are multiple Fluke-brand models available in this list. In regards to the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter, it’s not only the most expensive multimeter on this list it’s also one of the most worthwhile investments you can get regarding advanced multimeter measurement for industrial-level or commercial-level projects.
If you require the most precise measurements and data for your electrical needs, then you might as well go with the highest quality DMM you can find. This is a major purchase, though, not quite like getting a car but at least on the level of getting a television set or a computer desktop.
Is the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter the best fluke multimeter? It’s certainly one of the best ones around, which mostly justifies its high price. In terms of specs, the Fluke 87-V includes an auto ranging system that allows you to switch from auto to manual, an analog bar graph that follows rapidly changing channels, a positive function that measures as high as 10A and 20A for every half-minute, and a negative feature wherein the device beeps whenever the input jacks are placed in the wrong outputs. See our full review of the Fluke 87-V here.
Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter
Although Fluke 87-V is ideal for advanced measurement of different electric units, so much so that as long as you make full use of all its functions, it’s well-worth the money you spend on it. To get a more cost-effective version of the 87-V, why not try out the Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter, the best multimeter for electronics?
Only a few electricians with the most complex of jobs will use the 87-V to its fullest capacity. For every other important job, the reduced functions of the Fluke 117 will suffice. It’s the choice that arguably makes the most financial sense. If you only need some of the 87-V multimeter’s specs and offerings, then it’s about time you gave the Fluke 117 a shot.
The Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter is the second best Fluke choice in this list because it has fewer specs and special modes than the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter. However, it comes with the caveat that the Fluke 117 probably has more functions you’ll use in your everyday electrician needs compared to the advanced features of the Fluke 87-V that you’ll only use rarely, if ever.
That’s why it’s one of the best multimeters out there. Although it’s still too costly for anyone who’s just dabbling in the electrician and electronics field, this is the multimeter to have that’s sure to become an engineer’s best friend of sorts. In other words, this is the choice of professionals, with its auto-ranging system to one of the best LED screens around. See our full review of the Fluke 117 here
Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter with Temperature and Microamps
As far as highly specialized multimeters are concerned, the Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter with Temperature and Microamps serves as an excellent example. Rather than be a general-purpose DMM, the Fluke 116 is specifically built to do electrical measurements for HVAC (Heater Ventilation and Air Conditioner) applications. This is what makes this DVOM the best multimeter for the money.
If you have an HVAC on hand, this is the multimeter for it. What’s more, it has a microamps feature that gives it extra value for your money because you can get to get data on another aspect of electrical measurement that few other multimeters can cover. Fluke has made this a cost-effective choice because the high amperage section of this equipment has been removed.
You have the microamps measurement in exchange of high amperage measurement, simply put. With that in mind, you should make sure that your HVAC application requires measurement of amperages that go beyond an amp, or else you don’t really need this HVAC Multimeter variant to make measurements for your heaters, vents, and air conditioner appliances (whether they’re separate equipment or multiple functions on one machine).
As many digital multimeter reviews would allege, rest assured that there are many other multimeters from Fluke and otherwise available out there for your multimeter requirements if you don’t need these two functions offered by the Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter. The Fluke 116 also makes use of the LoZ system to ensure reading accuracy and prevent false readings. Meanwhile, its screen is just as excellent as the Fluke 117‘s screen. See our full review of the Fluke 116 here
Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
As for the Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter, its main claim to fame is the fact that it’s part of the mid-level market. What this means is that a little over $100, you can get your own Fluke 115 and still get a lot of value out of your investment regarding construction quality, dependability, and overall accuracy. This is arguably the
This is arguably the best automotive multimeter around due to its inexpensiveness without devolving to outright low-grade cheapness. You can consider the fact that it’s not under $100 a bit of a drawback because true mid-level multimeters cost around that range, but in Fluke’s effort to maintain its high standards, costing a little over $100 is an acceptable sacrifice.
It’s also available for beginner electricians who want to get used to using multimeters to their fullest capacity. This is because the Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter is also one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use multimeters in the market for novices everywhere. That’s how you can get the best bang for your buck when it comes to this particular device.
It shares the same auto ranging system as Fluke 117 that you can switch to manual, plus it ensures accuracy on nonlinear roads because it’s a true RMS system to boot. However, because it can only measure as high as up to 10 amps, it’s therefore not the best choice for professional electricians everywhere that the Fluke 117 and Fluke 87-V are. See our full review of the Fluke 115 here
INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter (10 MegOhm/UL)
The first non-Fluke multimeter on this list, the INNOVA 3340 can stand out because it’s an even better beginner multimeter than Fluke 115. More to the point, it’s the best digital multimeter you can get your hands on if you want to become an apprentice electrician who wants to enter the field of electronics and the automobile world.
You can use it to diagnose the condition of your automatic window mechanism, wiring, or car battery in short order. If there are things in your vehicle that aren’t working anymore, you can better assess their state and healthiness with this handy device. The INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter is backed by a company that’s been around the auto industry for decades.
Therefore, the 3340 is a continuation of a long line of quality auto multimeters, which are devices that are an INNOVA specialty of sorts. Their automotive multimeters are specifically designed with the home or professional mechanic in mind.
Furthermore, multimeters of the INNOVA brand live up to their parent company’s name regarding innovation and evolution. This is why this multimeter comes complete with UL certification and great reviews from articles such as this. You need to see the INNOVA 3340 Automotive Multimeter in action to fully appreciate it. To give you a better idea of its capabilities, let’s take into consideration the fact that it can measure up to 10 mega ohms as a measuring range. Few multimeters could top that.
Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician’s Multimeter
As for Klein Tools, it has the daring claim that it’s the Electrician’s Multimeter. It can back up such allegations by being an entry level multimeter that’s marketed to professionals and amateurs alike. Even if you’re not an electrician, it’s possible to be well-versed with the inner workings of a multimeter.
With the MM1000, you can measure AC voltages, check continuity, and test batteries if they’re still working. In other words, it has the most basic functions of an average multimeter. In turn, you can depend on the Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician’s Multimeter for accuracy and features. When tested against the Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter, the Klein Tools MM1000 compares well to its Fluke counterpart. It’s a device that can measure as high as 1,000 volts and 10 amps.
Furthermore, it has the requisite auto ranging feature to boot. Its screen is also easy to see in the dark because it has a back light. Compared to the Fluke 116, it’s not quite as good during high daylight conditions. However, when everything is said and done, the display is decently readable on the Klein Tools MM1000.
Car enthusiasts rejoice, because they could also use this multimeter for the sake of checking the integrity of their engines because the device comes with its own thermocouple. Unlike other multimeters out there that are just a new version of a previous model, the Klein Tools Test and Measurement Line was engineered and built from the ground up by electricians themselves for their fellow electricians to use.
Amprobe AM-530 TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage and Temperature Detector
As for the Amprobe AM-530, it has some key features of note that made it eligible for this Best Multimeters List. Although it can only measure up to 600 volts, the device more than makes up for this fact by being able to take true RMS measurements that won’t be altered by any fluctuations on the current.Furthermore, it also features a continuity test that’s audible and incredibly precise. The battery of the Amprobe TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter has enough juice in it to power and test capacitors to boot. What’s more, it has a built-in flashlight that makes the testing display as readable and clear as possible even in low-light conditions.
Furthermore, it also features a continuity test that’s audible and incredibly precise. The battery of the Amprobe TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter has enough juice in it to power and test capacitors to boot. What’s more, it has a built-in flashlight that makes the testing display as readable and clear as possible even in low-light conditions.
There’s also the fact that the Amprobe AM-530 is quite popular as a budget multimeter on Amazon.com, which is tremendously impressive for an entry level multimeter that’s not from the Fluke brand. This auto-ranging digital multimeter from Amprobe has proven its mettle and has become a choice DMM for pro electricians and contractors because of its price and its value that makes it more of a steal rather than just a mere bargain.
Even if a system is affected by harmonics you can depend on the Amprobe AM-530 TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage and Temperature Detector to measure everything accurately thanks to its true RMS capabilities. It can also double as a Non-Contact Voltage and Temperature Detector thanks to how versatile it is.
Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multifunctional Digital Multimeter
Last but not least is the Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multifunctional Digital Multimeter. It was able to land a spot in this list because it’s the most multifunctional and versatile digital multimeter on this list. While the Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter and the INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter are specialist multimeters for specific applications and the Fluke 117 and Fluke 87-V are more general appliance DMMs, the Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range is the multimeter with the better coverage among all multimeter applications. Multimeters, like Fluke 87-V, are kind of more “broad strokes” in their applications. The MS8229, on the other hand, specifically covers all fronts. It’s a jack of all trades but a master of none, in a sense.
It’s better at general application multimeters in catering to specific applications, but specialist multimeters trump them in that department. It has loads of features and it can go as high up as 1000 volts or 400 megahertz in measurement limits. This is a perfect choice for novices who are just learning how to wire an LED. What’s more, like the Amprobe, it has extra functions like the ability to measure sound levels and humidity.
This is the perfect multimeter for people who want to cover all the most common multimeter usage possibilities. It has a thermometer, a luxmeter, and so forth. It can basically measure anything relating to electrician, engineering, or mechanical work. It can even be helpful in ensuring that your engine probes are working correctly while keeping your disk breaks from overheating.
Best Multimeter Buying Guide
If you want to get the best multimeter that money can buy, you need to first define your needs. You have to be aware of what you want. What do you want to use it for? This article covers everything you need to know about choosing multimeters and how they can assist you in your DIY (do-it-yourself) home electronics troubleshooting and maintenance for regular homeowners who don’t necessarily have electrician training. This should also assist beginner electricians with no experience in their work yet about the important of meter.
By nature, the whole guide is kept general on purpose although there is specification and focus on the needs of DIY electronics. You’re specifically looking for a meter that’s considered affordable by the budget of students at a university or even breadwinners of a family.
How Much Should You Pay for a Multimeter?
As far as basic DIY electronics are concerned, even the cheapest meter is useful for your needs because you don’t need to read too complicated a signal (that’s for trained electrician or technician professionals to worry about). However, you should nevertheless beware since cheap meters have their share of issues.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re going to have to go the cost-effective or affordable route, then at least buy from a highly recommended and quality source and brand, like Fluke multimeters. Their products regularly get high ratings on Amazon.com and the Fluke name is synonymous to topnotch meter the same way DeWalt is synonymous to cream-of-the-crop power tools, like the radial arm saw that they’d innovated. With that said, a cheap meter that’s not made by Fluke isn’t necessarily outright bad; it just has limits to the measurements it makes or the types of things it can measure.
Legitimate Uses for Multimeter and Cost-Effectiveness
On the flipside, having a more expensive multimeter— like say the $400 or so Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter —isn’t necessarily needed if you’re looking to use it on the DIY context. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better, especially if you don’t need to be that accurate in diode test, capacitance, frequency, and continuity checks.
The Fluke 87-V is that expensive because it’s a heavy duty multimeter that deals with advanced troubleshooting and complex signals (Read: Irregular signals that are rare to happen)? These advanced and costly meters aren’t as wise an investment as a more generalized meter, like the $150 Fluke 115 True-RMS Technicians Multimeter. Buying an advanced and expensive multimeter and expecting it to work every time is as silly as expecting major surgery to cure all your ailments, even if it’s just the common cold.
Finding the Middle Ground in Terms of Multimeter Cost and Efficiency
Even if you’re an electrician looking to do regular electronics and outlet checkups, you should go about finding the right balance between price and ability on your multimeter. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for a multimeter if you don’t need something advanced. A handheld meter that costs $50 to $100 that’s not necessarily from Fluke is enough for most DIY applications. You should also keep in mind that you need to occasionally calibrate the meter to make it stay factory accurate or as accurate as the day it was bought.
Therefore, you might have to factor in calibration tools and infrastructure to make sure your precision instrument stays precise. This might cost you an extra $100 on top of the cost of the meter. If you want a meter for specific applications, like troubleshooting HVAC systems or dealing with distorted signals via a True RMS, take those things into consideration too.
You need a meter with safety measures included in its design if you have to test circuits with more than 30 volts or can put out amperes of current at any given time. You don’t want your unsafe cheap multimeter to cause you to get shocked or worse. You should only look at the measurement category rating like to CAT III, 1000 V, EN61010-1 CAT IV 600V, and ANSI/ISA S82.01 (3rd Edition). You should also be on the lookout for how the meter was made. Safety features beyond mere tests and certification includes shrouded banana plugs on the probes and internal blast shields. You should purchase meters that have isolation slots that prevent arc-over by cutting into the meter’s PCB, wide flanges that keep your fingers safe from slipping down the insulation of the probe, and sufficient input protection, among other things.
For even greater info on safety considerations, this is a good video on Safe Use of Multimeter from MJLorton. It’s a 7 minutes well spent 🙂
Digital or Analog?
Let’s save the best for last: The eternal debate when it comes to multimeter. Should you go analog or digital? Digital is the most common type of multimeter out there but the analog meter still exists. The obvious advantage of going analog is that you don’t need batteries and these VOMs (another name for analog multimeter) measures in milliameter, ohmmeter, and voltmeter (the initials of which spell its alternate name). You can see trends to a changing value better with VOMs.
Meanwhile, digital meters, like digital watches, are more precise, exact, and down to the last digit. You can even do reads of more things with a digital multimeter, from temperatures to even voltages as well as microamps. You can also use both in order to enjoy the best of both worlds. It’s all good.
Greater detail could be found in this 11-minute clip, where MJLorton compares Analog and Digital Multimeter, covering the pros and cons for each type. The 2 Multimeres used in the clip are The Fluke 87 V and Mastech M7040
When choosing the best multimeter for you and you’re only learning your way around a breadboard at this time, then you don’t need to spend too much money on an overly sophisticated multimeter because you won’t be able to make full use of its capabilities yet. It’s like a student driver wanting a Porsche or some other brand of sports car when he still hasn’t learn how to drive his Dad’s car. It will be a couple of years before you’ll need something high-end, and even then unless you’re an electrician there’s no need to buy the most expensive multimeter out there. You should be aware of what you need to streamline your multimeter shopping endeavors.
Greenhorns and pro engineer or mechanic buyers still both need to be aware of key multimeter features regardless. Like with anything else, always make sure you’re getting the ultimate value for your investment. Make sure that your multimeter is worth every penny by realizing what your needs are and if it’s meeting those needs. You should also be aware of what you don’t need.
If you don’t necessarily need the readings from an analog bar graph that follows rapidly changing channels, then you don’t have to buy the expensive Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter. If you wish to use one for basic functions like measuring AC voltages, then the Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician’s Multimeter is for you.