Best Digital Multimeter 2018

All electric connections, be it a large complex circuit or the simplest of components like a diode or a battery need regular and thorough checking. A multimeter is the primary tool in an electrician’s arsenal for quality control and taking measurements.

Aside from electricians, multimeters also find plenty of use in mechanics workshops, auto shops, laboratories across various technical institutes and even DIY enthusiasts and electronics hobbyists. Furthermore, a multimeter comes in very handy in dealing with everyday household electrical problems like faulty wiring or the checking of dead batteries. Thus, having a multimeter around in the house could prove very convenient and might even save you some cash on the electrician’s fees if the problem you’re facing is a minor and easily fixable one.

Compare: The 10 Top Rated Digital Multimeters

RankPictureNameBrandPriceRating
1Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital MultimeterFluke$$$$
2Mastech MS8268 Digital AC/DC Auto/Manual Range Digital MultimeterMastech$$$
3INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital MultimeterInnova$$
4Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential MultimeterAmprobe$$$
5Tekpower TP8268 AC/DC Auto/Manual Range Digital MultimeterTekpower$$$
6Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multi-functional Digital MultimeterMastech$$$$
7Etekcity MSR-P600 Auto-Ranging Digital MultimeterEtekcity$
8Extech MN35 Digital Mini MultiMeterExtech$
9Crenova MS8233D Digital MultimeterCrenova$
10Klein Tools MM100 Manual Ranging MultimeterKlein Tools$$

Our Digital Multimeter Reviews

INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter – Best Cheap Digital Multimeter

This one from the highly renowned Innova is our pick of choice for the best cheap digital multimeter available on the market today. It bears UL certification and is very adept at solving a number of automotive and household problems with electrical appliances with pinpoint accuracy and reliability.

A large digital display and easy-to-read labels and color coding make it very simple to use and view results. All in all, if you want a simple basic multimeter which does what it’s supposed to and does it well, you won’t be disappointed if you decide to invest in the Innova 3320.

Pros:

  • It is auto-ranging, thereby eliminating the need for selecting the correct range while making any electrical measurement.
  • It features color coded LEDs, which allow you to quickly test household batteries to see if they are working correctly. Green indicates it’s in good working condition, yellow indicates it’s weakening, and red indicates that the battery needs replacement.
  • The significantly high 10-MegOhm input is completely safe and reliable for every regular household usage be it power outlets, wires, fuses, car batteries, automotive circuits, etc.
  • It features one single-setting resistance for checking both AC and DC voltage.
  • It also comes packaged with test leads, a stand and holders to ensure completely hands-free usage, thereby completely eliminating any chance of personal injury from electric shocks.
  • It is outfitted with sturdy rubber guards along the corner, to protect it from damage in case of accidental drops.
  • It is equipped with reverse polarity protection and shuts down automatically, saving energy.

Cons:

  • Being one of the more basic and cheap models out there, it lacks certain advanced features like an RPM reader, an alternator test or a temperature reader.
  • When exposed to sufficiently high-potential voltages, this multimeter might fail to perform and may even be potentially dangerous.

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Mastech MS8268 Digital AC/DC Auto/Manual Range Digital Multimeter – Best Digital Multimeter for the Money

This one from Mastech is a fairly advanced multimeter hosting a ton of features while also staying relatively affordable. When it comes to getting your money’s worth, this digital multimeter would be very hard to beat.

The quality of the multimeter is evident in the military grade design itself, featuring a doubly-insulating protective jacket. Compact and portable, it can be rested on a stand on top of a table allowing you to work with perfect ease.

The Measurable Voltage Range is: 400 mV to 750 V

Capacitance Range: 4 nF to 200 μF

Current Range: 400 μA to 10 A

Resistance Range: 400 Ω to 40 MΩ

Pros:

  • It features both manual and automatic measurement modes, depending on your preference. It also has a relative measurement mode where you can compare readings.
  • A rotating function switch allows you to select your type of measurement, be it DC or AC voltage, resistance, capacitance, frequency, current, space ratio or overload protection. The entire range of measurements is protected from burning by an in-built fuse. (400 mA/ 250 V)
  • All the input sockets are protected from errors. If an error is made, an audible alarm of a buzzer sound is triggered along with another visual alarm on the display screen.
  • The LCD display is exceptionally clear and features 4000 counts along with background light for use in dark conditions. The model also features a Data Hold Function. The current reading can be maintained on the screen even after the leads are removed. To simultaneously hold a reading on the screen and measure new readings, you need to switch to the manual mode from the automatic to get the new readings.
  • It has the capacity to measure transistor functions as well. (1 to 1000 hFE) The multimeter measures and displays the forward voltage drop across a diode.
  • It is compliant with international safety standards CATEGORY 2 and CATEGORY 3.

Cons:

  • It is fairly power intensive, requiring the usage of 3 AAA batteries.
  • It does not have the functionality to measure impedance.

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Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter – Best Digital Multimeter Overall

The Fluke 115 is our pick of choice for the best digital multimeter of 2017. Garnering unanimously positive reviews from several customers worldwide, it has quickly established itself as one of the best selling multimeters on the market today. Rugged, reliable and accurate, it matches up to CATEGORY 3 safety standards, making it an exceptionally safe model. The whole host of features available easily lets it tackle almost all of the more common household and automotive electrical problems.

Measurable Voltage (ac/dc): 0 V to 600 V

Measurable Current (ac/dc): 0 to 10 A

Measurable Resistance: 0 to 40 MΩ

Measurable Capacitance: Up to 10,000 μF

Pros:

  • The best feature of this model is the ability to measure true RMS values very accurately on nonlinear, intermittent loads. This feature, coupled with the 600 count resolution gives an incredibly accurate reading on fluctuating AC loads.
  • It has a whole host of measuring capabilities, including continuity, frequency, and capacitance which makes it suitable for a broad range of applications.
  • The large, easy-to-read display also features a white LED backlight for working in poorly lit areas.
  • The quality of the make is top-notch, and each product is subjected to a number of tests to extreme conditions of humidity, temperature, and shock and drop resistance. This multimeter is extremely sturdy and is guaranteed to serve you reliably for years to come.
  • It comes packaged with a holster, test leads, and a pre-installed 9V battery.
  • The manufacturers provide a warranty of up to 3 years.

Cons:

  • Being one of the more premier models available, it is slightly on the more expensive side but the high-quality craftsmanship and features more than make up for the hefty price tag.
  • It does not include a temperature sensor.

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Our Top Rated Digital Multimeters

 

Best Overall

Best For The Money 

Best Cheap 

What Is A Digital Multimeter?

Put simply, a multimeter is an electronic device that measures electric voltage, current or resistance. It combines three electronic testing tools into a single compact, portable device: an ammeter, a voltmeter, and an ohmmeter. Engineers use multimeters as a testing tool when designing new equipment. Multimeters are also vital components of every mechanics tool set.

A multimeter is sometimes known to industry insiders as a VOM, an acronym which stands for Volt Ohm Meter. Generally speaking, a multimeter is a single device that combines the ability to measure several different aspects of electricity, specifically voltage, current and resistance. They are generally used either to repair or troubleshoot electrical equipment, including home appliances, as well as advanced technological equipment like computers. Effectively, a multimeter works by using a test probe or probes and measuring an aspect of the current flowing through the multimeter.

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What Are The Advantages Of Using A Digital Multimeter?

A multimeter allows anyone who can read a screen and hold a pen perform to precision readings on any electrical device or circuit. Depending on your electrical engineering skills, a multimeter can be one of the most important tools to have in your home or vehicle. Some of the advantages are below.

Measures Voltage

When used as a voltmeter, a multimeter can be used to measure the potential difference between two points. All you need to do is touch the meter prongs to two different parts of the system, and the machine will show the voltage difference between those two points, without making any changes in the circuit.

Measures Resistance

It can be used to gauge the resistance that any particular element offers to current flow. To this end, the element must be removed from the circuit and then measured. Trying to measure the resistance while it is still connected to the circuit might cause irreparable harm to the multimeter.

Measures Current

The multimeter measures current as a part of the circuit. Thus the circuit must be broken first, and then the multimeter itself must be included in the circuit so that the current passes through the multimeter, giving you the required readings. Advanced Low-voltage household multimeters offer a host of other utilities as well, like checking various household devices, fuses, batteries, bulbs, etc. Advanced, more expensive multimeters also let you check transistors, diodes and also integrated circuits (ICs.) Auto multimeters are used for investigating problems in automotive electronics such as car batteries, etc.

Some multimeters are equipped with oscilloscopes which are used to record readings over a specific period of time. This is used to understand the fluctuation of a given piece of equipment over time. Some multimeters even allow you to download the readings onto a computer and review it.

What Are The Different Types of Digital Multimeters?

Digital Multimeters make up the bulk of the multimeters available on the market today, a mark up from its analog predecessor. Although the digital multimeter does not produce instant readings like its analog counterpart, the readings are usually much more accurate and precise. A digital multimeter requires batteries to work.

The main types of digital multimeters available today are the auto-ranging multimeter, the fluke digital multimeter, and the clamp digital multimeter.

Clamp Digital Multimeter

This kind of multimeter is equipped with a clamp on top which is used to measure electrical flow. The current passing through an insulated cable is measured by the multimeter. The probes in the multimeter are used for measuring voltage differences. Normally, this type of multimeter does not bear the functionality to measure resistance.

A significant detail about the clamp multimeter is, you need to manually choose the setting that is appropriate to whatever you’re measuring.

Fluke Digital Multimeters

The fluke digital multimeter, one of the most popular multimeters on the market today is used to take measurements and carry out various calibration functions. It can be used to measure current, voltage or resistance across components. The selector knob should be used to select the type of measurement you intend to carry out. A fluke digital multimeter comes equipped with a large LCD screen with a very high count, which makes it really easy to note down readings. The fluke DMM is the average consumers choice when it comes to multimeters.

Auto-Ranging Multimeters

These multimeters are the easiest to use of the lot, albeit being the most expensive. They do not require manual selection of the type or range of measurement. The central knob has a select few positions, and it does not require you to switch to the units of what is being measured. This is the professionals choice of multimeters.

There are different multimeters for measuring varying degrees of loads. The voltage of the load should be in range with the range of the multimeter you are using. Using the wrong multimeter to measure high industrial voltages might lead to electrical shocks and injury. It is imperative to use the right multimeter for the right job. In this respect multimeters are also segmented into four categories:

  • Category I – These multimeters are intended for electronic devices and protected electronic circuits.
  • Category II – These are primarily used for testing domestic loads and appliances, for example, a wall outlet or a plug-in load.
  • Category III – These are intended for use in small industrial circuits, like distribution boards and circuit breakers. Category 3 is also the maximum safety rating for most commercially available household multimeters.
  • Category IV – These are intended for testing commercial power lines and feeds of residential electrical mains.


Considerations for Choosing the Best Digital Multimeter

Much like other multimeters, there are lots of choices available. The good thing about this is that you’re sure to find a multimeter that works for you. The bad part is that you have to weed through hundreds of options and hope you make the right choice. Before you throw money away on a multimeter that doesn’t fit your needs, make sure that you check out these considerations before you purchase. So now let us get right down to it!

What Am I Going To Use This Multimeter For?

Multimeters vary according to the range of values they are designed to read. This makes certain multimeters unique to particular kinds of devices and tasks, from checking a light-bulb to checking your car batteries. Different uses require different sensitivity ranges. The sensitivity range of a multimeter denotes the lowest and highest inputs a multimeter can take, without damage. A multimeter designed to test car batteries will not have a sensitivity range large enough to measure small voltages across an integrated circuit accurately. Similarly, it is dangerous to use a multimeter designed for low voltages across a high voltage power line.

Thus, the primary consideration in selecting a multimeter should be the type of tasks the multimeter will be used for.

Display Count

This is the resolution of a multimeter and refers to the total number of digits that can be displayed on the screen of the multimeter. The higher the count of the multimeter, the more accurate your reading will be, because of the larger number of digits after the decimal point.

Auto-Ranging Function

It can be really beneficial to have the multimeter automatically switch to the measurement range of the inputs. This will save a lot of time on multiple test runs.

Temperature Sensor

A temperature sensor is useful for measuring temperature-dependent components like some diodes.

Capacitance And Transistor Testing Functionality

If you are going to be using the multimeter for testing out digital and integrated circuitry, it is imperative to use a multimeter which has this functionality.

Display Rate

The display rate is important because it denotes the speed at which the readings are refreshed. Thus the higher the display rate, the more accurate and instantaneous the reading on the multimeter.

Accuracy

It is important to use a multimeter which has been designated accurate and bears either ISO or NIST calibration. These certifications ensure high accuracy in the multimeters readings.

Final Words

In parting, when it comes to selecting a multimeter, the first and foremost task of the consumer is to decide on what exactly he intends to use the multimeter for. For most household applications like checking batteries, bulbs, fuses, etc. a simple basic digital multimeter will suffice.