10 Functional Multimeter Reviews - The Full 2018 Guide

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. Etekcity MSR-U1000 Auto-Ranging Digital 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.

Product NameImageMeasuresOverall RatingDetails
TekPower TP9605BT Auto Ranging Digital True RMS Smart Multimeter temperature, continuity, current, frequency, voltage 8 Check price
Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage Detection current, resistance, voltage, capacitance, microamps, duty cycles 9 Check price
Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter voltage, current, frequency, temperature 10 Check price
INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter temperature, frequency, voltage, inductive RPM pickup, vehicle RPM 8.5 Check price
Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter with NCV and Type K Temperature voltage, temperature, frequency, duty cycle 8 Check price
Klein Tools MM7000 Digital Multimeter current, resistance, capacitance, voltage, frequency, AC/DC voltage 7.5 Check price
Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter continuity, frequency, capacitance, diode test 9 Check price
Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multi-functional Digital Multimeter DMM, Lux meter, humidity meter, sound level meter, thermometer 9.5 Check price
Southwire Tools & Equipment 14090T AC and DC Voltage, lows AC Voltage, AC and DC current, continuity, resistance, Capacitance, frequency, duty cycle, temperature, and diode 9 Check price
Triplett 1101-B Compact Digital Multimeter temperature, resistance, DC current AC/DC voltage 8.5 Check price

TekPower TP9605BT Auto Ranging Digital True RMS Smart Multimeter 

TekPower TP9605BT Auto Ranging Digital True RMS Smart Multimeter

What if there as a brand that created a multimeter so incredibly versatile and affordable that it became an instant hit with professional electricians and DIY backyard warriors as well?

Wonder no more, because TekPower has heard our pleas for a low cost, yet highly functional unit with all the bells and buttons that make your work a whole lot easier. They've created the TekPower TP9605BT Auto Ranging Digital True RMS Smart Multimeter that truly lives up to its name.

Like all other true auto-ranging meters, the TP9605BT measures ohms, diodes, and holds to the maximum and minimum results for future reference.

Want to learn more about the TekPower TP9605BT's top features? Of course, you do!

Features:

  • World' first cell phone connectable multimeter with free download for android
  • Comes with wired UB connection available
  • Free data logger Software included
  • Fully functioning 6000 count True RMS Multimeter with intelligent connection
  • Smartphone compatibility

Conclusion

Do you want to hear something cool?

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.

PROS:
  • Highly effective auto ranging feature that adds to the convenience
  • Safeguard from hazards such as electrocution
  • Extremely affordable despite host of features

CONS:
  • Customers have claimed that the batteries may not be quite as durable as pricier models

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Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage Detection 

Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter

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.

C'mon, how can you beat that?

Their newest creation comes in the form of the Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage Detection that is almost half as cheap as most of the brand's other units. And as if that's not enough, Amprobe went ahead and packed a ton of features and toys for an even more comprehensive test.

So, who else (apart from us budget-conscious buyers) wants to learn more about the 510's top features?

Great, let's hop to it then, shall we?

Features:

  • Dual thermocouple records simultaneous readings of temperature on both low and high side of HVAC
  • Voltage up to 6000VAC and similar Vdc with duty cycle, low pass filter, auto and manual ranging
  • Patented VolTech technology for non-contact voltage detection
  • Built in flashlight
  • Kickstand for convenience and safety
  • Rigorously tested to meet all CAT IV 600V as listed by CSA and ACMA

Conclusion

Let's take a step back and be realistic for a moment here. Sure, the AM-510 has been listed as suitable for both residential and commercial use.

But at such a low price tag, just how much commercial service are you going to get out of her?

Fortunately, Amprobe cleared that right out for us. Their response to our reviewers was that the Amprobe AM-510 is actually built for advanced residential application and some light commercial work. 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.

PROS:
  • 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

CONS:
  • May not be as accurate as higher priced models
  • Limited manufacturer warranty

Manual

Amprobe AM-510 Multimeter User Manual

Amprobe AM-510 Multimeter User Manual

The Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter is designed for light commercial and advanced residential applications. Re-wire electrical panels, install heated floors or new light fixtures, troubleshoot and repair home appliances, electrical sockets and automotive electrical problems with this easy-to-use multimeter.

Pro Tip

If multimeter is rated CATIII avoid using it on the service switchgear. If it’s categorized us a 1000V capacity unit, avoid using it on medium-voltage equipment.


Jim

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Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter

Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter

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.

Let's dig a little deeper and find out why the 87-V just might be the electrician's holy grail.

Features:

  • Incorporates input alert that provides audible warnings in case of improper jack use
  • Selectable filter for accurate reading of voltage
  • Includes analog bar graph for unstable signals and fast changing
  • Manual and auto ranging for optimum flexibility
  • Shielded for accurate adjustments over chaotic electrical fields
  • Temperature probe for surface measurements

Conclusion

Can I be totally honest with you?

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.

Apart from delivering unrivaled levels of accuracy, this unit troubleshoots all the capabilities you need and takes the guesswork out of troubleshooting.

PROS:
  • Incredible array of advanced features that are ideal for professionals
  • Constructed to be as durable as they come
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

CONS:
  • Highly advanced for beginners to decipher
  • Unquestionably one of the most expensive and highly recommended multimeters in the industry

Manual

Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter detailed specifications

Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter detailed specifications

For Model 87 accuracy is in the 4 1⁄2-digit mode, multiply the number of least significant digits (counts) by 10.

 

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 INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter

INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter

How many of you here dabble in a little electrical work at home?

Just what I thought, almost everyone here has tried to fix some 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.

If you prefer to do your own auto electrical work, then listen close because Innova designed the 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter just for you.

Want to see what the 3340 has to offer? Let's check out the unit's top features.

Features:

  • Runs tests for duty cycles, diodes, solenoids, wiring, breaker points, switches, wiring and more
  • Incorporates auto ranging, overload and auto shut off protection
  • Comes with inductive RPM clamps, temperature probe and carrying case
  • Designed to pinpoint engine problems in vehicles and other auto electrical issues
  • Includes test lead holders for even more protection and hands-free operation

Conclusion

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.

PROS:
  • Specifically built for automotive electrical systems and engine
  • Features a wide range of protective features such as test lead holders
  • Relatively pocket-friendly
  • UL Certified

CONS:
  • May not be as sensitive as higher quality models
  • Some buyers complained that the voltage reading may be unstable

Manual

INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter User Manual

INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter User Manual

Congratulations. You have purchased a precision instrument manufactured to the highest quality standards. This Digital Automotive Tester is a general-purpose instrument designed for use in general electronics, home electrical applications, and automotive electrical/electronic systems.

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Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter with NCV and Type K Temperature

Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter

If there's another brand that has really proved themselves in the industry, it would have to be Extech. Today, we check out their latest release in the name of the Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter with NCV and Type K Temperature.

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.

Who would have guessed that Extech had so many tricks up their sleeve?

Still not an Extech believer? Then let's see what this affordable unit offers in the top features.

Features:

  • UL Listed 600V Cat III
  • Incorporates Type K temperature probe
  • Built-in non-contact Ac (NCV) voltage detector
  • Rubber holsters that protect you and the meter
  • Auto ranging 4000 count multimeter that measures resistance, current, and both AC/DC voltage

Conclusion

Let me level with you here;

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.

PROS:
  • Measures a wide range of factors
  • Relative functions store measurements for reference
  • Incredibly affordable price tag
  • UL certified
  • Array of protective features such as rubber holsters

CONS:
  • There have been claims that the auto range has very low resistance
  • Temperature sensors may be slightly off at times

Manual

Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter User Manual

Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter User Manual

Congratulations on your purchase of the Extech EX330 Meter. The EX330 offers AC/DC Voltage, AC/DC Current, Resistance, Diode, Continuity, non-contact Voltage Detection, Capacitance, Frequency, Duty Cycle, and Temperature (Type K) functions. Proper use and care of this meter will provide many years of reliable service.

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Klein Tools MM7000 Digital Multimeter (Auto-Ranging)

Klein Tools MM700 Auto-Ranging 1000V Digital Multimeter

Hands up if you consider yourself a multimeter aficionado?

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. 

So buckle up people, because we're taking you through a quick tour of the top features.

Features:

  • Low impedance mode (LoZ) for improved accuracy
  • Rugged case and holster, ideal for hardy environments
  • IP42 ingress protection
  • 2-meter drop tested (6’6”)
  • Easy to access batteries and fuses (no need to open up the case)

Conclusion

Generally, the MM700 is designed for use in tough, challenging and rugged conditions. 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.

PROS:
  • Well built
  • Reasonably priced
  • Comes with alligator clips
  • Temperature input plus micro-amps in place

CONS:
  • Low screen resolution

Klein Tools MM700 True RMS Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter

Video about Klein Tools MM700 True RMS Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter

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Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter 

Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter

Just when you thought you'd seen it all from Fluke, here they come with another incredible release. The Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter is another winner and a slightly cheaper holy grail if you like.

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.

With its simple operation, ease of use and compact design, what more could you ask for?

How about a fast run up of the 115's top features? Glad you asked:

Features:

  • Rated as safe for home and commercial use
  • Checks for frequency, continuity capacitance, and diode tests
  • True RMS for accurate measurements on nonlinear loads
  • Large backlit LED for poorly lit areas

Conclusion

As the intro says, the Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter is a compact, simple and easy to use a unit from Fluke. 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.

PROS:
  • 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

CONS:
  • The rotary knobs are usually the first to malfunction after a while

Pro Tip

Always keep your multimeter inside its pouch. Avoid wrapping the test leads around it as this compromises the integrity of leads.


Jim

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Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multi-functional Digital Multimeter

Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multi-functional Digital Multimeter

So, what do you do when you're just starting out your electrical repair journey and have less than 50 bucks to your name?

Well, the solution is a no-brainer and is actually simpler than you think. You just have to buy the Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multi-functional Digital Multimeter and you'll still have change in your pocket. But don't mistake the low price for low quality even for a second.

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.

I can see that you're almost convinced, here's the final nudge that will help you make a decision.

Features:

  • Combines an array of meters and functions into one compact and affordable package
  • LED indicators and audible warnings that direct lead plug
  • Large and crystal clear blue LED backlit display
  • Built in humidity and temperature sensors for direct environmental readings

Conclusion

You know what I'm tired of hearing?

It's a brand that creates a cheap product and has the guts to tell us that it can be used for commercial purposes. Fortunately, Mastech is loud and clear about what their products can and can't achieve. 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.

PROS:
  • 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

CONS:
  • Multimeter is incompatible with certain leads
  • Slightly augmented precision makes readings a bit inaccurate

Pro Tip

It’s always a good idea to for a multimeter anticipated loads instead of merely focusing on the present needs only.


Jim

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Southwire 14090T Tools & Equipment TechnicianPRO

Southwire Tools & Equipment 14090T TechnicianPRO Auto-Ranging TrueRMS

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.

How cool is that?

What to know more about the 14090T's top features? Of course, you do.

Features:

  • Fully-fledged backlit controls for enhanced operation even in dark rooms
  • Rugged housing for improved protection against accidental falls
  • IP67 rated cover which is both dustproof and water resistant
  • mApp mobile app for improved user experience
  • CAT IV 600V safety-rated for added flexibility and safety

Conclusion

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.

What’s more?

Being a digitally-powered unit makes it a refreshing solution for anyone who might be looking for simplicity. And there’s more – in case you’re shopping for a wireless-enabled multimeter, this one has certainly got you covered.

PROS:
  • Excellent LED screen that can be read even under sunlight
  • Built-in capacity to collect data and record it
  • Highly accurate readings
  • Fantastic user interface

CONS:
  • Pricier than your average multimeter

TechnicianPRO™ Meters - ResidentialPRO™ Meters - Specialty Meters

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Triplett 1101-B Compact Digital Multimeter

Triplett 1101-B Compact Digital Multimeter

Finally, we've made it to the end of our list with another great multimeter to wind us off. But like we always say, just because a product is number 10 doesn't make it any more inferior to the other 9.

As a matter of fact, sometimes we even save the best for last. But today, we've saved the multimeter that saves you the most money for last. The Triplett 1101-B Compact Digital Multimeter pretty much says it all in its name. It might be compact, but you'll be just as surprised as we were when you take a gander at this unit's top features.

  • Product

Shall we cast our camera lenses on the 1101-B's best features?

Features:

  • Automatic power off as well as a low battery indicator
  • Double insulated, shock absorbing case with overload protection
  • 1999 count display (3-1/2)
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Measures temperature, DC current, voltage, and resistance

Conclusion

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.

PROS:
  • High quality, US-based manufacturer
  • Unbelievably low price tag
  • Auto off function saves battery life
  • Well protected from falls

CONS:
  • Exceptionally strong plastic smell when immediately unwrapped
  • 9V batteries are more expensive than 2 or 3A cells

Manual

Model 1101-B<br /> Compact Digital Multimeter User Manual

Model 1101-B
Compact Digital Multimeter User Manual

The Triplett Model 1101-B is a 3 1/2 digit, handheld Digital Multimeter with Auto Power Off and a backlit LCD display. At its core is an LSI (Large Scale Integration) integrated circuit that uses dual slope A/D conversion for stability and accuracy. The meter can measure AC and DC Voltage and DC Current, Resistance, Temperature, Transistor gain, and perform a Diode and Continuity Test. Overload protection makes the meter resistant to damage from accidental overloads

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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.

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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.

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.

  • Safety Features

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.

  • Voltage Range

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.

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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.

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Accuracy

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.

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 Digital Vs Analog Multimeters

  • Digital 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.

  • Analog Multimeters

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.

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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.

10 Functional Multimeter Reviews - The Full 2018 Guide
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9.5 Total Score
Our Verdict

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.

Price
9.5
Features
10
Durability
9.5

8 Comments
  1. Reply
    pablo April 23, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    is there is a way to check if an AC house wire has voltage present on it?

    • Reply Jim Barry
      Jim Barry April 25, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      In order to confirm if your AC house wire is live or not, it’s recommended to use a voltmeter. It’s recommended to get training in this field prior to attempting a test of this nature, though.

  2. Reply
    jessy April 23, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Clamp meters do the same thing, isn't it? What’s the difference between a multimeter and a clamp meter?

    • Reply Jim Barry
      Jim Barry April 25, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Multimeters measure current when the leads are connected in series with the load. In other words, one has to insert the leads by breaking the circuit. On the other hand, clamp meters require putting the clamp-meter to the wire by opening the jaws and clamping it around the conductor.

  3. Reply
    apollo 13 April 23, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    is it possible to check a diode with a multimeter?

    • Reply Jim Barry
      Jim Barry April 25, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      Most modern multimeters come with a diode checker built-in. You only need to switch your multimeter’s mode to “diode test mode” using the rotary switch, place the test leads on a diode and record the measurements displayed. Then reverse the test leads and take the measurements displayed.

  4. Reply
    mistert April 23, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    How to determine whether an output is AC or DC?

    • Reply Jim Barry
      Jim Barry April 25, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      The best way to run this test is by using a DC voltmeter. All you need to do is connect the DC meter to the load and if there’s a deflection, then the output is, without doubt, DC. If there’s no deflection, ultimately, the output is AC.

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