If you want to troubleshoot anything that runs on electricity, you better have a multimeter close by. In this day and age, pretty much every device out there uses electrical current in one way or another. So a good quality multimeter is an essential tool, not just for the pro electricians, but also for amateur engineers, home users, and DIY enthusiasts of all kinds.
True to its name, this device includes multiple measuring devices. It carries an ammeter, ohmmeter, and voltmeters for AC and DC power. It can measure several aspects of electrical circuits, like current, voltage, and resistance.
But that is just the basic definition. The modern multimeter market is truly vast and varied, with several highly specialized product categories. You can find multimeters for commercial/industrial use, for automobiles, household appliances, and for a host of other specific situations.
This is why we have compiled this shortlist for our readers. We have tried to include the best bits from all the different niches in the multimeter market. So regardless of your particular situation, you should be able to find a suitable device on our shortlist.
One other thing. This is the age of digital technology, and multimeters are no different. Like many other devices, digital devices have largely overrun the market. For the average user, a digital multimeter is often the best and readily available option. For this reason, our shortlist mainly includes digital multimeters.
Are you in a rush? Got no time to read long and detailed reviews? Worry not, we got you covered! Check out this easy to scan comparison table. It includes all the relevant info about our top picks for the best multimeter available online.
|Product||DC/AC Voltage Range||DC/AC Current Range||Resistance Range||Battery|
|Fluke 179 Editor Choice||0.1mV-1000V||0.01-10A||0.1-50МΩ||1x9V|
|TekPower TP9605BT||0,1mV-600V|| 0-10A||0-60MΩ||1x9V|
Fluke 179/EDA2 Industrial Multimeter Kit – Best Digital Multimeter
Coming from the industry leader regarding quality and reliability, this is advanced multimeter kit, aimed mainly at professionals and commercial use. As an advanced kit, it comes at a premium price point. It is also suitable for advanced electronics DIY projects involving complex circuits.
This is a kit containing a Fluke 179 multimeter and five pieces of sensors and probes. These include an integrated temperature probe, test probes, leads, a magnetic meter hanger, and hook clips. The device is stored in a soft carry case.
A rugged build quality is the highlight of this Fluke multimeter. It is the most durable and reliable multimeter on our list by a long shot. The controls are intuitive and easy to use. This thing can handle anything that you throw at it, except maybe situations where the amp requires a clamp.
Verdict: The Fluke 179 Kit is a serious instrument for serious work. It is reliable, accurate, and easy to use. Even that steep asking price is not a major issue, as you get full value for the price. It is an excellent choice for the serious hobbyist/professional.
Amprobe is a well-known name in the world of commercial and home-grade measuring equipment. This US brand makes robust and reliable devices, including multimeters. And the 510 is a very reliable digital multimeter for hobbyists/DIY enthusiasts, and for the occasional testing of home and car electrical circuits.
Along with the usual amps, volts, and ohms, this device can also measure the capacitance, microcurrents, and duty cycles of your electrical system. The auto-ranging system enhances the speed at which this multimeter takes the readings. It can also take temperature readings, which make it an excellent choice for HVAC systems. The device also has non-contact voltage testing features. It has NIST certification.
One the design front, the device is very compact, with anti-slip textures on the sides. The inclusion of a flashlight and kickstand increases the overall utility and versatility of the multimeter. With the kickstand, you can do hands-free testing which is much safer. The flashlight allows you to see wiring in dark places.
Verdict: Despite the minor niggles, the Amprobe 510 is a really good basic multimeter for home and amateur use. It is packed with useful features and comes at a not too low but still affordable price point.
Innova 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter – Best Budget Multimeter
Innova is not among the A-tier brands as far as digital multimeters are concerned. But they are still a very reliable brand, and the 3340 is an entry level multimeter focused mainly towards garage and auto use.
This is a handheld digital multimeter with UL certification. Along with the basic multimeter features, it also has temperature probes, and RPM clamp, and auto ranging features. It comes with a pouch and has a black body with colored jackets.
Everything is labeled clearly, and the display also works well with large digits. The main strength of this device is its ability to test a wide range of automotive systems. It can be used on solenoids, breaker switches, alternators, duty cycles, and all the wiring and switches in your vehicle. It has auto shut-off for better safety, and protective rubber guards as well. The built-in stand allows for hands-free testing, which is always a great safety feature.
Verdict: On the whole, the Innova 3340 is a reasonably competent multimeter for your garage, with a few major weaknesses. If you want passable visibility in low light conditions, look elsewhere. Also, some of the niche features, like RPM clamp doesn’t work as well as we would have liked. If you can forgive these flaws, this is probably worth a buy.
Fluke is the go-to brand in the world of multimeters. This is the top-tier brand that every other product is compared to. The 101 is one of their low-end products, designed for use in home electrical systems.
There is some confusion regarding the origin of this model as it features Chinese. As it turns out, this is an original Fluke product but designed initially for the Chinese market. Other than that, it is a basic digital multimeter, with diode and continuity testing features.
As a basic, entry-level device, the strengths of the Fluke 101 lies in its compact and lightweight design. It can be easily wielded in one hand. The device has a CAT III 600V Safety rating, which makes it ideal for use on all home electrical systems. The device is easy to operate and comes with auto shutdown feature for better safety.
Verdict: The lack of warranty is a potentially serious issue for some buyers. But this is an affordable low-end product from a very reputed and reliable brand. So if you don’t mind the lack of that safety net, the Fluke 101 is an efficient and reliable performer. Buy at your own risk though!
Extech is a decent brand with a long history dating back to the 1970s. Though not top tier, this US manufacturer is still well regarded as a reliable entry-level device supplier. The EX 330 is a very affordable multimeter that comes packed with a range of advanced features.
This is a UL listed CAT III 600V device, ideal for a wide range of testing in your home and garage. It has an auto range and a built-in Non-Contact AC voltage detector. Along with the usual trio of meters, it has a duty cycle, frequency, and temperature sensors. It also has convenient functions like Max Hold and Auto Hold.
The main advantage here is that wide range of features, which is available at an entry-level price. The inclusion of a type K probe, which can switch between both Celsius and Fahrenheit scales, increases the versatility of the device. The compact size, and rubber sheathing around the body also improves its grip and overall safety.
Verdict: For the price, you do get a lot from this digital multimeter with some very advanced features and functions. But all that value is somewhat offset by lack of essential features like backlit display and intuitive controls. If you can forgive these missteps, the Extech EX330 could be worth a buy.
Tekpower is a brand owned by Chinese electronics manufacturer Kaito. The brand has a presence in both US and China and is known for cheap and feature-packed products. And true to form the Tekpower TP9605BT is an advanced smart multimeter, available at an entry-level price point.
This is a compact full-function thermometer with auto ranging, capacitance, and continuity functions. It has Bluetooth and USB connectivity. A dedicated app is available for both iOS and Android devices for free. The multimeter is rated at 600V and suitable for most household testing requirements.
This is the only device in our shortlist with advanced connectivity features like Bluetooth and USB. This multimeter can stream data in real-time to your PC or Android device using this feature. That is the main feature that truly sets it apart from other similarly specced devices.
Verdict: on the whole, you get what you paid for. No top-tier brand would provide these kinds of features at such a low price. So if you want Bluetooth and USB support on a low budget, Tekpower is well worth a shot. But if you want bulletproof reliability and quality, look at a Fluke or some similar brands.
The Fluke 113 is an advanced multimeter for home and professional use. There are two options to choose from here: a cheaper standard version, and a much more expensive calibrated model with a NIST certificate.
Both the standard and NIST certificate versions have advanced settings, like capacitance, continuity, and diode tests. Unlike other testers, this one has true RMS. The device is safety rated for both Category III (600V) and Category IV (300V). This is a digital handheld multimeter with auto ranging and manual modes.
The standout feature is the true RMS function. It ensures that this Fluke multimeter is far more accurate than every other RMS multimeter out there in the sub-$100 categories. It also very versatile, and has the trademark reliability and durability we have come to expect from Fluke.
Verdict: If you can afford it, the Fluke 113 is the best digital multimeter for home and hobby use. It has no significant flaws and delivers bulletproof reliability and accuracy. It comes highly recommended.
Crenova is a brand owned by Shenzhen Dreamland Co., a Chinese electronics manufacturer. They have a presence in both US and EU and delivers affordable products. The 6016A is a very cheap entry level multimeter from the brand.
This is a clamp meter, which is a current measuring tool with some voltage features as well. In contrast, a true multimeter has voltage measuring at its core, with some current features as well. The Crenova has advanced features like capacitance, continuity, and diode as well. It is rated up to 600A and CAT III (300V) and can work on both AC and DC systems.
The clamp has a wide-ranging jaw, which can be applied on conductors up to 30mm in size. Features like Data Hold and Maximum value hold make this digital clamp meter very useful and versatile. It also has auto shutdown feature and auto ranging features.
Verdict: when you scrape at the bottom of the barrel, you get what you pay for. This is a very cheap product, and it feels and works like one. Only buy if you are on a strict budget.
Extech MN35 Digital Mini Multimeter – Best Cheap Multimeter
At this price point, you get a multimeter with manual ranging and no automatic function. It has an ultra-compact profile and has a relatively large display as well. The extra features include continuity, diode, and type K resistance.
the low price and compact size are the main highlights of this mini multimeter. The display is also easy to read, which is plus on such a small device. You also get a protective rubber case, much like its bigger sibling from Extech. A handy tilt stand adds to the overall value of this package.
Verdict: The Extech MN35 is one of the better options in the very low budget category of digital multimeters. It is more reliable than the competition from Chinese brands. If you must simply have a multimeter for under $25, this has to be it.
At a sub$20 price, you do get a tester that is UL rated. And it is a hands-free model, with a built-in stand and wrist straps. It is manual ranging and has just the basic multimeter functions.
The low price is the all-important feature here, along with the UL certification. It has an easy to read screen and labels as well as intuitive controls.
Verdict: The Innova 3300 is a very strange product. To create the lowest priced product on the market, they had to remove everything except the basic multimeter functions. It is only worth it if you cannot afford to buy a better multimeter available for a few extra dollars.
Digital Multimeter Buyers Guide
Multimeters are highly specialized and versatile devices. You have to know some key factors to be able to make the correct decision when picking a multimeter to suit your needs. If you are new to the market, check out our short but detailed guide to learn more.
Let’s start with one of the most important factors. In the case of multimeters, it is pretty elastic. You can find some dirt cheap, and you can also find them costing more than the latest iPhone, that too by a wide margin.
As with most other digital products, you get what you pay for. If precision and advanced features are important, you will obviously have to pay anywhere from a couple of hundred bucks to over several thousand, for the laboratory and industrial-grade benchtop multimeters.
At the low end of the scale, you can pick up cheap and portable handheld multimeters for as low as $20 or less. But multimeters under $100 are usually not calibrated using the highest quality standards. If you don’t know what that means, fear not, we have a section devoted to that below. Basically, if you want more precision and features, expect to pay at least more than $100, if not several hundred.
Each device, wiring, or circuit has its power and voltage ratings. The light fixture inside your home will not have the same specifications as the wiring inside your car. For this reason, multimeters are also manufactured with different sensitivity ranges. Depending on your usage and requirements, you will have to pick a multimeter that is suitable for that particular voltage range.
A multimeter may not be able to function equally well on all circuits. For instance, an automotive multimeter is designed to look at high voltage circuits that use your car battery. These may not be able to pick the weaker current in low voltage batteries in your home devices. Depending on your requirements, you can select from the following main categories:
- For simple home and hobby use
- For pro electricians and advanced hobbyists
- For industrial-grade use
- For use in cars and garages primarily
Analog Vs. Digital
This is a fascinating question. Analogs are the old guard, using classic analog dials with needles to show your measurements. The digital multimeters rule the roost at the moment, and for a good reason too. They have easy to read LCD screens and advanced internal circuits.
Digital multimeters have the following advantages:
- More accurate than analog meters
- Displays exact numbers that are easy to read
- Less moving parts, make them less fragile
- Saves time with faster measurements
- More compact and affordable options available
But analog multimeters have the following advantages over digital counterparts, making them the better option in some scenarios:
- They are better at dealing with fluctuating signals
- They don’t require any batteries or external power sources
- They are hardier in outdoor conditions
- Ideal for situations where you don’t need pinpoint measurements
- More long-lasting than digital multimeters
- Often cheaper than digital multimeters
So, from the above points, it is abundantly clear that while digital multimeters are the popular choice, there are some situations where analogs do have some sizeable advantages.
All measuring devices have to undergo a process called calibration. This is done to ensure that the device is measuring things accurately. Usually, calibration involves comparing the readings of a device to a standard device. This standard calibrator device is usually a more accurate, higher quality device, with better specifications than the test device.
Most manufacturers calibrate their digital multimeters against popular and established standards like NIST and ISO. Check the product specifications to understand what standard the device has been calibrated. Expensive Industrial-grade devices usually undergo the highest quality calibration out there.
RMS Vs. True RMS
AC voltage is valued at its Root Mean Square, or RMS. Since AC voltage is constantly changing (as opposed to DC), multimeters take an average of readings across a period. Most cheap multimeters use ordinary RMS function to calculate the voltage. If the AC wave is closer to a pure sine wave, the multimeter will be more accurate.
But if it is in the form of a pure sine wave, like in the case of adjustable motor or heat controls, the RMS will often lead to very inaccurate readings. True-RMS is a more accurate but expensive system. It is overall the better option if you want really accurate readings regardless of the type of AC power wave.
Some Common Features And Their Benefits
Autorange: this is a time-saving feature, ideal for situations where you have to run multiple tests. It allows the multimeter to adjust itself to match the input currents automatically.
Displays: larger displays are ideal if size is not an issue. Features like backlight and large digits are standard these days and offer much better visibility in different ambient light conditions.
Display Rate: Check this feature to learn how accurate your readings will be shown. This is the speed at which the LCD gets refreshed. Faster is generally considered to be better.
Hold: This is another useful feature often available with LCD multimeters. The hold feature enables you to pause the display. If you want to take notes or something, this can be a handy option to have.
Capacitance: Modern digital multimeters usually have this additional feature, which allows you to measure the capacitance in the circuit. Capacitance is the ability of that system to store electric charge.
Temperature Sensors: this feature is pretty self-explanatory. This is ideal if the systems you plan to use the multimeter on are temperature sensitive.
The market for affordable digital multimeters is very mature and highly competitive. It is also strictly stratified based on budget and quality. If you want more of the latter, you will have to pay more. Which one of the ten products listed here would you like to buy, and why? Please share your thoughts and impressions with us in the comments section, along with any suggestions you may have about the article content. Hope you found this page informative and interesting. Thanks for visiting!