Any electrician worth their salt know how vital a multimeter is. While analogs are a classic, the precision, accuracy, convenience of digital multimeters are on a whole other level. There are plenty of these tools out there, but if you’re not sure about what to get, you won’t get the results you want.
Don’t worry. With our review and guide, you’ll find the best digital multimeter for your work. There are plenty of great models that specialize in one feature or another. Some are just great value-for-money deals others have a better user interface, and so on.
Now then, let’s get our cords and outlets ready and dive into the guide!
Why You Should Buy This?
There are many people around who’ve heard that they need a multimeter but don’t know why they’re so important. So, we’re going to take a moment to explain.
Mandatory for All Electrical Work
In simplest terms, multimeters are a measurement tool that helps a user measure voltage, resistance, and current.
Whether you’re experimenting with robotics or just replacing a fan, you’ll need to have accurate voltage measurements. Random estimations of voltage and current could have extremely dangerous repercussions. That’s why multimeters are an essential tool for pretty much every electrical job.
Let’s look at an example. Imagine your TV stopped working. It’s not turning on anymore, but there’s no indication that the TV itself is damaged. So, you check its outlet. You use the multimeter to check if it’s dishing out the necessary voltage to turn the TV on. If it’s not, then you figure out what to fix.
Yes, one of the main uses of a multimeter is diagnostics. They help technicians figure out what is lacking in your electrical devices and outlets.
Also, some of them have bonus features. These help technicians with specialized tasks that they can’t get out of through their basic use. That’s why a multimeter targeted towards a simple tinkerer is different from one meant for a professional technician.
In essence, if you have any plans on working with electrical equipment, you must have a multimeter. They’re the best way you can diagnose electrical issues and perform vital experiments.
5 Best Digital Multimeter Reviews
- AstroAI Digital Multimeter
- Amprobe – 4018636 AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter
- Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter
- Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter
- INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
Now that we know why we should get these fantastic devices, let’s get the best ones. After reviewing numerous digital multimeters and evaluating them based on performance, price, features, and longevity, we found 5 outstanding models that deserved your attention. So, let’s check out their reviews.
Without a doubt, the AstroAI multimeter seems simple. It’s very small and portable. However, what astounded us is that this small device can handle so many tasks with incredible efficiency. The simple design makes it extremely user friendly, and it boasts an easy-to-grasp user interface.
Its sheer range of measurement options is outright staggering. Whether you want to do some basic voltage measurements, to frequency and temperature, this AstroAI model has you a lot more than covered. It adds a plethora of useful features such as auto-ranging, diodes, and temperature testing, and so on.
AstroAI made sure to make this one of their highest quality multimeters ever. Any professional needs to rely on these tools all day. That’s where this truly shines.
It can handle an immense workload. So, you can keep working all day long and get completely accurate results every time — no wonder it’s highly recommended by professionals everywhere.
We can’t go anywhere without talking about AstroAI’s outstanding UI. Every number is big and clear, leaving no room for misinterpretation. The buttons are easy to press and highly reactive. Each unique command is visible for easy access.
The dial is pleasant to turn. It has colored labels to make them easier to identify and use. You’ll save a lot of time through each of its design choices. Most importantly, it has a backlit display. Its convenience is astounding!
Moreover, the AstroAI boasts ultimate safety. It has some ceramic fuse tubes that are explosion-proof. As such, you can breathe easy when working with volatile outlets.
The double protected cables mean that the tool can handle any kind of electric pressure without malfunctioning. All of these incredible features combine together to make something nothing short of a masterpiece in multimeter technology.
When it comes to portability and accessibility, there’s something special about each of Amprobe’s models. However, it’s not like they’re fully focused on comfort as they deliver top tier performance as well. The AM-510 is a prime example of that. It’s a fantastic model in almost every regard. Let’s go over why!
A device that constantly works with electricity always has a chance to shock you. That’s always a risk. However, it can be averted through the right design.
Amprobe covers the multimeter with rubber so that it can never shock you while you use it. On top of that, the rubber makes it easier to grip and more comfortable to use.
The display is large as they make sure each digit is instantly recognizable. It has a backlit display to make sure you get the right numbers as soon as they pop up.
This guy will have your back no matter how dark it gets. Need to save up data for future reference? Well, it can hold data and maintain a relative zero mode so that you won’t have to readjust settings each time.
Furthermore, this is very light and compact. The device is easy to carry around and use and boosted by the interface and the new display. It also lasts for quite a while. If you need something for commercial work, this multimeter will have your back.
Let’s not forget, it has revolutionary measurement capabilities. You can measure voltages that go as high as 600 AC/DC. Also, you can measure resistance, current, capacity, battery tests, and even more. We shouldn’t forget it comes with a great built-in flashlight for easier and safer measurements.
There was no way we could’ve made our list without the AM-510. It’s clearly one of Amprobebest models. The sheer number of features makes this an outstanding model. That’s why we had to introduce this as our second entry on our list.
When we’re carrying around our tools, size really matters. You need to make sure that you can pack up everything in your toolbox or bag. However, if your tools are too big, you’re going to have to deal with a lot more weight than you should. Generally, multimeters are small and compact.
Nevertheless, Extech pushes new heights as their mini multimeter incorporates safety procedures like rubber enclosures while also weighing just 9.9 ounces. Despite that size, this guy has a ton of features to make it work every penny.
We’re all surprised at how a device this small managed to include a fantastic Type K Temperature probe. All the information is reflected in the large LED display. There are also very handy features such as the tilt stand and auto power off system that makes it much easier to use and deal with.
The automatic power-off system also helps decrease power consumption. As such, it lasts a lot longer than you’d think. It also has must-haves, such as auto-ranging. Temperature can also be converted from Celsius to Fahrenheit. So, no matter where you are, you’ll understand the temperature with complete accuracy.
It also has audio beepers to deliver important information with zero-delay. You can relax as the device performs its tasks. Other features, such as the non-contact voltage detector, make analysis faster and a lot more convenient.
Furthermore, it’s also full of convenient tools such as data hold that stores values within the multimeter for future use. You can use the relative function to draw from that stored data and compare it with other fast analysis values.
Simply put, diagnostics become a treat when you have your hands on this fantastic multimeter.
We all know Fluke has been on the market for a very long time. They’re one of the best multimeter brands out there. What separates them from everyone else is how well they integrate their years of experience into every model.
Once we go over every little thing this fantastic multimeter can do, you’ll realize that their success isn’t a fluke but the real deal.
There’s nothing that throws technicians off more than ghost voltages. They throw off your readings and demand multiple checks to get an accurate measurement.
That’s why Fluke’s 117 implements something called a low input impedance. This effectively prevents ghost voltages from having an impact on the measurement.
So, you can rest assured you’re getting a completely accurate reading. It has non-contact support as well. Moreover, true RMS also leads to much higher accuracy. The 117 does everything it can to make sure you measure with the most convenience. That’s why the large white LED display is backlit.
The battery life is on a whole new level. Without backlighting, it can last about 400 hours! That’s no joke. It maintains a fairly cool operating temperature as well.
Fluke’s genius developers made sure that this was a device a veteran technician would grow to love. This 117 model’s dial has an opening on the left. It allows you to turn it without just one hand. As such, it enables complete single-hand use.
All in all, there’s no understating the sheer greatness of this multimeter. It’s filled with a ton of measurement features such as automatic voltage selection, making it an incredible diagnostic tool. Though it’s priced quite high, it deserves every dime.
Right from the first glance, you’ll know that the INNOVA 3320 means business. They’re striving to offer an affordable, light, but capable device. They’ve dished out countless models, but the 3320 hits the sweet spot in terms of price and performance.
This is due to its gallery of features that would attract any technician. Where to start? Well, there’s an impressive list of powerful measurement features. This includes must-haves such as auto-ranging that’ll dial the proper range for you. Features like these just make your life a lot easier.
Of course, the device looks very pretty. However, you haven’t seen anything till you turn it on. The LED is color-coded to offer much more enhanced visuals. Usage becomes a lot more convenient duty to the stellar UI.
Next up, we’ll talk about the rubber casing. While it’s not completely enclosed, corner protection gets the job done. If you drop it by any chance, the rubber will decrease a significant amount of damage. On top of that, 2 of its sides have holsters for your cables for added convenience.
Did we mention how this guy weighs just 8 ounces? Let’s not forget that it packs in a ton of features regardless. Want resistance for AC and DC voltage? Well, never fear, the 3320 has you more than covered.
There’s no doubt that there aren’t many multimeters that can claim what Innova can. They managed to make a great device that’s compact, affordable, and convenient. It meshes a plethora of fantastic features and convenient design options to make our final entry for the reviews.
Features to Look for Before Buying?
We’ve gone over 5 of the top models. However, you might still be unsure of what to get. For that, you’ll need to do some vital reading. We’re going to go over everything you need to know to find the best multimeter for your job.
Notice the Range
Multimeters are very different based on their voltage range. You shouldn’t work outside this range as it might cause damage to the multimeter and yourself. Generally, you’ll want to have something with up to 600 Voltage range.
However, that might not suit your needs. Only you can know what kind of voltage range you need for your work. So, always check out the ranges of a multimeter before you choose to buy.
Digital multimeters are hardly wrong. They’re meant to provide the most accurate numbers possible. However, there are many situations where there might be certain conditions that can throw off your answers.
If you work in an environment where ghost voltages are a common occurrence, you need a multimeter to handle that.
You’ll want to get something that has true RMS readings. These counter conditions that can throw off the measurements and provides the most accurate results. If your work involves high bandwidths or ghost voltages frequently, you’ll have to take these means to combat it.
Continuity Response Time
Response time is vital for any technician. If you need to make a lot of measurements, slow response time can be excruciating. The slower speed will make you less efficient, slower, and bored.
On the other hand, fast response times make your job much easier, bearable, and efficient. If you need to deal with a ton of measurements in short periods, you should examine the continuity response time.
Like the previous point, this is essential for professionals. Time is money, and you don’t want to waste it buying new batteries and replacing old ones. You should just buy one and have it last you a substantial amount of time before you worry about changing.
That’s what makes battery life so essential to any commercial user. Always use running time as a measurement for battery life. The longer it lasts, the better it is.
Multimeters aren’t calculators. They don’t need to display millions or billions. Usually, 0 to 39,999 is good enough. However, not all multimeters can display that. It all depends on the minimum and maximum count of the multimeter in question.
In simple terms, the higher the count, the more numbers it can display. For example, a 4000-count display will return values from 0 to 39,999. On the other hand, if it had a lower display count, such as 2,000, it can return values from 0 to 19,999.
Of course, you’ll generally want higher display counts if you have the money. If your work doesn’t call for it and you’re looking for the best budget multimeter, you don’t have to worry about this much. However, if you’re working with a wider range of electronics, a higher display count is necessary.
Yes, a traditional digital multimeter aptly measures voltage. However, these multimeters can do a lot more now. Whether it’s the measurement of temperature, or anything else, a proper multimeter should allow you to do so.
Like we’ve mentioned before, temperature measurement is an important measuring tool for tons of thermocouple monitoring.
Measuring currents and resistance is important as well. Which forms of measurement tools you take depend upon the kind you need. Get an idea of the ones you do and make sure that they are present in each unit you consider.
Working with multimeters means that you’ll be dealing with electricity a lot. We all know just how dangerous electricity can be if things go wrong. So, we should always strive for a tool that can keep us safe while we use it. Rubber encasings are a great example of this.
Rubber nullifies electric shocks, so it keeps you relatively safer than when working without one. Not only that, they can keep your tool safe, in case you might drop it.
There are other features for safety as well. Multimeters can have cables that prevent explosions and prevent tearing. All of these are vital for a safe work environment, so make sure you always pay attention to what you’re getting.
Trust us when we say there are practically countless additional features that make a multimeter unique. There are a ton of unique features in every model that is worth taking a look at.
It can be small features such as a handy built-in flashlight or a pop-up stand to make sure that you can keep using the tool without having to hold it up all the time.
One extremely handy feature is the no-contact measurement that allows you to take measurements without fiddling with cables and such. Backlighting is also another must-have as it allows you to see all numbers clearly and immediately. All of these make your job significantly easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are these rechargeable, or do they need batteries?
Most need AAA batteries, but there are some rechargeable models out there.
- Should I get analog models instead?
Analog models severely lack the accuracy and features of a digital multimeter. You should try sticking to a digital model instead.
- How long do they last?
Battery life wise, it depends on the battery and the particular model. For the models itself, you should strive for a model that lasts for at least 3 years.
- Can I work without getting a multimeter?
Almost all electrical work requires a multimeter. So, if that’s what you’re doing, you must get one of these.
- Can they be dangerous?
If you have a defective unit or use them improperly, they can be somewhat dangerous. Of course, most developers take a lot of safety measures to ensure they are as safe as possible.
There’s no doubt that multimeters are a must-have for any and every technician. Now that you’ve gone through the article, you’ll know what multimeter to get for your work or projects. So, head off and become the greatest electrician with the best digital multimeter!