Multimeters can be a key tool in many of the electric tasks that you might need to do around the house. They are used to measure current, voltage and resistance which can be essential to the success of your project. Not to mention that such measurements are also required in order to stay safe during your electric work and after your task is done.
The market offers two types of multimeters nowadays: analog and digital multimeters. While both types come with advantages and disadvantages, there are certain aspects that you need to consider when you want to invest in such a useful tool. Keep reading to understand the best choices that you can make and what are the most appreciated multimeters that you can buy.
Review of the best Digital Multimeters
1. Fluke 101 Digital Multimeter
The Fluke 101 is one of the best digital multimeters on the market. It weighs only 140 grams and it has the shape of a smartphone which is why is considered a “pocket” multimeter. This digital multimeter is AVG responding and it can measure a voltage of 600 V in DC as well as 600 V in AC. As for the accuracy, the DC Accuracy is ± 0.5% + 3 digit while the AC Accuracy is ± 1% + 3 digit. Fluke 101 has a resistance of 40 M ohm. Also, the resistance accuracy is ± 1.5% + 3 digit and its capacity is of 100 μF. The manufacturer offers one year of warranty so you don’t have to worry about the reliability of this product.
When you receive the package, it will come with TL75 test leads, 2AAA batteries (installed), user manual and calibration certificate.
2. Fluke 4404231 17B+/IN CATIII Digital Multimeter
This Fluke digital multimeter is AVG responding and very easy to use. It can measure a voltage of 1000V in both DC and AC with an accuracy of ± 0.5% + 3 digit in DC and ± 1% + 3 digit in AC. The current goes for 10 amps in both DC and AC and the resistance is 40 M omh. Also, the resistance Accuracy is ± 1.5% + 3 digit and the capacity is 1000 μF with an accuracy of ± 5% + 5 digit. This digital multimeter is CAT III 600 volts safety rating.
What you will like about this product is the large display that makes readings a lot easier. It also comes with one year of warranty provided by the manufacturer. The item has a weight of 455.0 grams.
3. HTC Instrument DM-97 3 3/4 Digital Multimeter 4000 Counts, Capacitance, Frequency, Temperature
HTC offers you a more affordable version digital multimeter that is very reliable and accurate. It has a frequency of 0.1Hz ~ 30MHz and the DC voltage can measure up to 1000 V while the AC voltage can measure 750 V. If you order this digital multimeter, you will receive a package that contains a test leads, holster, manual, TP 01 temperature probe bead type. The dimension of this item are 185 (H) x 93 (W) x 35 (D). Since it has a weight of 502 grams, you can carry this around without too much struggle.
4. Mastech MAS830L Digital Pocket Multimeter, Colour May Vary (Yellow or Green)
The Mastech MAS830L comes in two colors options: yellow and green. It comes with one year of complete warranty and it has a high level of portability thanks to its weight of 118 grams. This digital multimeter comes with a display value of maximum 1999 and fuses of F 250mA or 250V and F 10A or 250V. It requires 9V battery to work properly. Mastech digital multimeter is waterproof and has a safety class of I CAT II 600V. The Operating temperature is 0~40 degree Celsius (32~104 degree Fahrenheit) and the Storage temperature is -10~50 degree Celsius (14~122 degree Fahrenheit).
This is a great device to measure the resistance as well but make sure you read the instructions before doing it. The display updates the readings in 2 or 3 seconds so you won’t have to lose time.
5. Mextech MAS830L 3 Digit, 1999 Counts, 600 AC/DC Voltage Digital Multimeter
Mextech MAS830L digital multimeter is a great and affordable option to consider when you are shopping for such a device. It is made of ABS material and has the size of 138mm x 69 mm x 31 mm and a weight of 170 grams. This device comes with a 3 ½ digit display with 1999 max counts that is very easy to read. In order to function properly, it needs a working environment of 0⁰C to 40⁰C < 75% RH and a storage environment of -10⁰C to 50⁰C. Mextech is made in India and can measure a voltage of 600V in both AC and DC. The accuracy is ±0.8% rdgs (DC Volt), ±1.2% rdgs (AC Volt).
Review of the best Analog Multimeters
1. HTC Instrument Yx-360 Tre-B Analog Multimeter
This HTC Yx-360 Tre-B is an analog multimeter that is commonly used by technicians thanks to its increased accuracy. It has a mirror scale, an inbuilt buzzer as well as a LED 0W adjustable. It can measure up to 1000V AC Voltage with an AC accuracy of ±4% while the DC voltage is also 1000 V and the accuracy is ±3%. The DC Current is 50µA-10 A and the resistance can get up to 20 M ohm with an accuracy of ±3%.
The weight of this multimeter is 534 grams which makes it easy to carry around and use as you need. The package comes with all the accessories you need such as Test leads, holster and manual. Also, the HTC analog multimeter has the dimensions of 148 (H) x 100 (W) x 35 (D) millimeter.
2. MLabs MetroQ Analog Professional Analogue Multimeter With Holster MTQ 890
The MLabs MetroQ analog multimeter is a professional tool that you can trust every time you use it. It comes with ABS housing as well as a protective holster. This multimeter can measure a resistance of 20 M ohm maximum with an accuracy of ±3%. The dimensions of this product are 160(L) x 105(W) x 40(H) millimetres and it has a weight of 380 grams. The DC and AC voltage ranges can get up to 1000 V while the DC accuracy is ±3% and the AC accuracy is ±4%.
This product might come in different colors according to what is available in the stock.
Factors we considered for choosing the best multimeters
Before pulling your credit card out to invest in a multimeter, there are certain things that you need to take into consideration.
The resolution of a multimeter, particularly of a digital one, is the number of counts it shows. You should consider choosing a device with a high resolution so you will get more exact results. This is a great tip to follow by beginners who need exact readings in order to make fewer assumptions. Plus, a high resolution can save you of a lot of unnecessary work.
2. Voltage and resistance range.
All multimeters can measure up to a certain voltage and resistance value. The larger these ranges are, the better for you. Choosing a device that measures the same range in AC and DC can only work to your advantage. And if this range is large, you can definitely use it for more purposes and measurements which increases its functionality.
You will see in each description that multimeters come with a certain accuracy regarding the voltage and resistance measurements. You want this accuracy to be as exact as possible so you can rely on the readings the device gives you.
These devices range from hundreds of dollars and thousands of dollars. Ultimately, it is up to the budget that you have but keep in mind that digital multimeters are usually more expensive than the analog ones. But even so, make sure to check the rest of the feature before investing in a pricey product because more money doesn’t always mean a better quality.
5. Weight and dimensions of the product
Think about how often are you going to use your multimeter. If you are just planning to use it around the house and not carry it with you, you can probably settle for one that is heavier and focus on more important features. But if you are a technician or an engineer and you consider taking your tool with you in many places, try to choose a pocket multimeter. They come in light weights and small dimensions so you will not see carrying it around as a struggle.
More General Info
Types of Multimeters
As mentioned, multimeters can be analog ones or digital ones. And there are significant differences between these types of multimeters that you need to be aware of before purchasing one or another.
These multimeters took the place of needle-based meters that were very popular a few years ago. They are used by professionals because they are thought to be more accurate in their measurements. Digital multimeters are also a lot more reliable and have an increased level of impedance. The main advantage of digital multimeters is that they can combine more features in one product. This allows technicians to test resistance, voltage and current by using a single digital multimeter which is very convenient. Most digital multimeters come with different features such as a display, keys to select different functions, a dial switch as well as input jacks. They also have test leads attached that go into the object that needs to be tested.
Even if the digital multimeters are slowly taking over the market, there are still many people who prefer the analog ones and for good reasons. One of the advantages of an analog multimeter is that they show the result faster than the digital ones. They are also more resistant than the digital ones so you won’t have to replace your device as much. Unlike the digital multimeters, the analog ones use a needle that swings over the scale in order to show the result. Because they use a needle and a coil instead of a display, these multimeters also tend to have an increased sensitivity to vibrations.
Analog vs digital multimeter pros and cons, comparisons
It might be hard to decide which type of multimeter is better for you but keep in mind that ultimately, only you can make this call. These devices are used in the same purpose but they work in different ways and that comes with many advantages and disadvantages for both types. So, let’s look at each type of multimeters and see why you should consider using them as well as why you shouldn’t.
- they tend to come at a more budget friendly price
- they last longer than the digital multimeters
- they can measure voltage, current, resistance, frequency and signal power
- analog multimeters are more accurate when testing a diode
- These multimeters are harder to use by beginners because the reading is done by a needle calibration and not a display
- They can exhibit a lower resistance
- they are highly sensitive to vibrations and shock
- they can measure voltage, current, resistance, frequency and signal power
- easy to use and read by everyone
- The measurements on non-diode testing are more accurate than the analog multimeters
- they come with an LED or LCD screen
- they are usually used for measuring voltage
- they have a higher resistance
- digital multimeters tend to be more expensive than the analog ones
- they have a shorter lifespan
Analog or digital – which one is better?
Ultimately, the decision you make regarding which type of multimeter you will go for is up to you and your necessities. Generally speaking, the digital ones are more appreciated thanks to the variety of features they come with. They are also easier to use and have a higher level of portability. And even if they tend to be more expensive than the analog ones, buyers think the difference in price is well worth it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find a high-quality analog multimeter. You just have to know what you are looking for when you are shopping for one. Hopefully, this guide answered all your questions and made your decision easier!