14 Best Multimeter Reviews 2019: Top Rated Picks for Beginners, DIY Home Improvement, Electronic Hobbyists and Electricians

best multimeter

Today I will be reviewing what I believe are the 10 best multimeters on the consumer market in 2019.

A multimeter is a diagnostic measurement device used to gather a variety of useful data about electrical systems. As it tells us right there in the name, the device measures two or more electrical values for the user.

Typically the average multimeter will measure electrical power (voltage or volts), resistance (ohms), and current (amperage or amps). However, some come with additional diagnostic tools, such as temperature sensors for use in HVAC repair. The Fluker 116/323 is the best multimeter for HVAC (click here to view on Amazon)

Multimeters are vitally necessary in any significant electrical project. They are standard issue for electricians and many other technicians, but there are also dozens of options out there for folks who embrace the DIY and electrical hobbyist mindsets.

Multimeter Terms

Before we dive into the best multimeters review, I would like to clarify the meaning of a few terms I’ll be using. This is to make things a little easier on those beginning to venture into the world of multimeters.

  • Analog: Analog Multimeters have fixed display against which a needle moves, like speedometers in older cars.
  • Digital: Digital multimeters have a display that changes to present the data, usually in some form of LCD screen.
  • Autoranging: Autoranging multimeters will analyze the test conditions and determine what you’re testing for with minimal input. This is sometimes at the expense of precision and accuracy, but makes them easy to use.
  • Manual: Manual input multimeters require the user to set the specific functions being analyzed. This takes a bit more effort and know-how, but also makes them very accurate and precise for the tests they’re used for.

Top Rated Multimeters Comparison Chart 2019

I have selected the top 10 multimeters that represent the best options available to those looking for a multimeter for personal, hobbyist, or home improvement use. I will take a look at several factors, including cost, core functions, and additional features that make these the best picks in 2019. (In mobile view, you can horizontally scroll towards right to see any hidden columns on your smartphone screen)

Photo Name Auto-Ranging Auto Shut-Off Backlit Price
 style= AstroAI Digital (Budget Pick) No No YesCheck Price
 style= Innova 3320 Yes Yes NoCheck Price
 style= Mastech MS8268 (Best Value) Yes Yes YesCheck Price
 style= Tacklife DM01M No Yes YesCheck Price
 style= Etekcity MSR-C600 Yes Yes NoCheck Price
 style= Klein MM500 Yes Yes YesCheck Price
 style= Extech EX330 Yes Yes NoCheck Price
 style= Fluke 116 Yes Yes YesCheck Price
 style= Fluke 87-V (Editor's Choice) Yes Yes YesCheck Price
 style= Fluke 88V Yes Yes YesCheck Price
 style= Fluke 297FC No Yes YesCheck Price
 style= Merket Digital Clamp Meter Yes - YesCheck Price
 style= Mastech MS8229 Yes Yes YesCheck Price
 style= Cen-Tech 11 Digital Multimeter No No NoCheck Price

Best Multimeter Reviews 2019 – (Recommended Picks)

The best multimeters category are the real “star” performers. These are the machines with extensive features and functions, rugged design, and outstanding reputations in the multimeter world.

These will definitely cost more than other choices on the list, because they’re designed first with function in mind. These get the job done, and users will need to pay for that capability.

However, these multimeters are well worth the price and offer outstanding power for their price point.

1. AstroAI Digital Multimeter with Diode Test and Volt Amp Review

AstroAI Digital Multimeter ReviewHolding the first place in the list of best multimeters, we have the AstroAI Digital Multimeter. It is a perfect option for anyone who wants to check automotive and household electrical stuff. It is comfortable and safe to operate and offers many important functions to measure voltage, resistance and current.

You can also use this multimeter to perform transistor, continuity and diode testing, which is for both automotive and household uses.

The grip of the multimeter is around the edge of the entire multimeter. And it kickstands on the back, so you don’t have to be hold the whole time while you want to use it. The multimeter comes in handy to diagnose any possible issues, assemble and finally repair wiring and circuitry.

Some of the other nice features include continuity buzzer, overload protection and low battery indicator. You can use the multifunction socket to measure capacitors and transistors.

Click here to see the price of the AstroAI Digital Multimeter on Amazon.

2. Innova 3320 Autoranging Digital Multimeter Review

Innova 3320 Autoranging Digital Multimeter ReviewThe Innova 3320 is an auto ranging multimeter for safe and accurate testing of various automotive and household electrical issues. Its auto ranging scales eliminate the need to dial in the correct range when making electronic measurements. The color LED is allowed for quick battery condition check while rugged rubber guards protect it against accidental drops. Also, the built-in standard wrist straps allow handsfree testing. It is easy to read labels and screen, making it easy to select desired tests and view the results. Besides it offers handsfree digital multimeter.

Click here to see the price of the Innova 3320 Autoranging Digital Multimeter on Amazon.

3. Mastech MS8268 Series Digital Multimeter Review

Mastech MS8268 Series Digital Multimeter ReviewThe Mastech MS8268 multimeter is equipped with sound and light alarms against misconnecting of test leads. It has both a standard range and auto range switching. It measures hfef transistor and capacitance by using special multifunction socket for more accurate value. Also, it features a backlit screen and data hold function plus AAA batteries power. The range button changes from AC to DC and switches between diode and continuity. It features an automatic indication of function and unit symbols with a built-in resettable fuse. Besides it has full overload protection and dual insulation protection. Also the detachable over molding rubber case is shakeproof, skidproof and offers good touch feeling.

Click here to see the price of the Mastech MS8268 Digital Multimeter on Amazon.

4. Best Utility Multimeter for Electronics Hobbyists: Tacklife DM01M Advanced Digital Multimeter

Tacklife DM01M Advanced Digital Multimeter ReviewRegarding the Tacklife DM01M, I found this one of the best multimeters for electronics hobbyists just because of the additional features it offered. It is designed to safety and accurately address automotive and household electrical issues. It comes with k-type thermal couple which helps you to quickly monitor the temperature of the object. The display’s intensity changes based on the input the device is receiving, giving a kind of “natural” visual support to the data. The multimeter also provides beeps for audible cues, and has red indicator lights separate from the display that turn on when warnings are needed. It features 600 Milliamps’ and 10 Amp fuses and provides good protection in terms of safety for the multimeter. It offers a flashlight and backlight that work in well-organized way to conserve battery for long hours. Also, it has a continuity buzzer and flashes LCD to ensure that your electrical components are whether in good working condition. It offers a maximum measuring temperature for k-type thermal couple, dispatch that random is 482 degrees Fahrenheit and its instant measuring value can reach 572 degrees Fahrenheit. These additional features, plus the True RMS capability, make this digital multimeter a very handy tool for electronics hobbyists who want an inexpensive but still capable cheap multimeter to sort through a variety of inputs. The additional audible and visual cues also help for people who have different “processings” styles.

Click here to see the price of the Tacklife DM01M Advanced Digital Multimeter on Amazon.

5. Etekcity Digital Clamp Multimeter Review

The Etekcity MSR-C600 is an auto-ranging clamp multimeter that measures AC currents, AC DC voltage and resistance. It also provides good support for diode and continuity tests. The clamp measures the AC and conductor up to 26 millimeters without interrupting the circuit. Using a sufficient capacity of up to 400 Amps, you can use the clip which can easily extend to test cords and can wire up till 28 millimeters in diameter. With the safety insulated test probes and plastic gripping, you can measure objects safely. Besides it features a whole results and max value button for quicker operation. Also, the jaw opening measures AC and a conductor up to 26 millimeters without interrupting the circuit. And it automatically enters sleep mode after 15 minutes of inactivity for energy conservation.

Click here to see the price of the Etekcity Digital Clamp Multimeter on Amazon.

6. Best Multimeter for Electronics Hobbyist: Klein Tools MM500 Auto Ranging Multimeter

Klein Tools MM500 Auto Ranging Multimeter ReviewThe Klein MM500 Auto Ranging Multimeter is my choice for best “overall” multimeter for electronics hobbyists.

The MM500 is true RMS, which is an important feature. In short, this multimeter can accurately measure and display the data of electrical activity without distortions or inaccuracies. This makes the readings far more precise than with non true-RMS units.

An electronics hobbyist is different from the typical home improvement/DIYer, because they’re in it for the specifics of how electronics and their components function. Precise, detailed readings from multimeter give more information. Someone installing a light switch might not need that same level of precision, for example.

There are more expensive multimeter brands offering still greater functionality and capability, but the MM500 Auto Ranging is a good device that will fill a lot of needs without too many compromises. It is the best multimeter for electronics hobbyist.

Klein MM500 is the best multimeter for the money.

Click here to see the price of the Klein Tools MM500 Auto Ranging Multimeter on Amazon.

7. Best Multimeter for Home Use: Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter

Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter ReviewThe Extech EX330 is the best multimeter for home use.

The Extech is a simple, utility-oriented home multimeter that makes it a solid general purpose device. It can read resistance, power, current, and temperature, giving the the usual “core 4” functions that were stressed in the higher-end multimeters. The meter comes with an array of probes for these functions, eliminating some of the expense of finding them elsewhere.

The Extech EX330 does lack more precise measurement capability, but it has a very readable digital display and should fit the needs of a variety of DIY projects. If you need a very precise electronics measurement device, this is not best multimeter for you. However, if you need to make sure your new ceiling fan is properly hooked up before you seal the wall back up, this is the best buy multimeter.

The Extech EX330, my choice for best multimeter for home use.

Click here to see the price of the Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter on Amazon.

8. Fluke 116 Digital Multimeter for HVAC Review

The Fluke 116 HVAC comes with an embedded thermometer for HVAC functions. It can take temperature and microamp measurements and delivers the capability that professionals demand to troubleshoot and repair HVAC machines plus flame sensors quickly. It can measure resistance, capacitance, frequency and continuity. Also, the compact design allows one-handed operation and the large-sized LED white backlight to make it possible to work efficiently in any environment. It includes a built-in thermometer to measure temperature from -40 degree Celsius to 400 degree Celsius. Besides this, the multimeter also features low impedance input that helps to prevent bogus readings caused by unknown voltage. It offers a large white backlight to work in poor lit areas.

Click here to see the price of the Fluke 116 Digital Multimeter on Amazon.

9. Best Digital Multimeter Overall: Fluke 87-V

Fluke 87-V reviewWhen it comes to the best digital multimeter overall, the market is clear that the Fluke 87-V is the big standout.

In many ways the 87-V is designed for dedicated electrician applications. It is absolutely packed with features and functionality.

For example, the Fluke 87-V has both an autoranging setting and a manual setting, allowing users to switch back and forth as needed. It has a thermometer, and a very generous display area.

However, the multimeter also has features not directly related to its core use that make it very easy to use. One is the optional magnetic hanger, allowing the user to mount it to any iron or steel surface that’s handy. The other is that it has very clearly spaced and decently sized buttons, making it easy to use even when wearing protective gloves. Professionals prefer Fluke 87-V, which makes it the best multimeter for electricians.

It’s these bits of attention to detail and additional touches that lead me to consider the Fluke 87-V the best multimeter overall.

It does come with a more substantial price tag than other choices on our best multimeters list, however. It is also the price for the base unit and some simple accessories. Additional accessories for additional tasks will, of course, cost additional money.

If you are an electronics technician and looking for the best possible option, then check out Fluke 287 here which is the best multimeter for electronics technician.

Click here to see the price of the Fluke 87-V on Amazon.

10. Best Automotive Multimeter: Fluke 88V

Fluke 88V reviewThe best automotive multimeter I examined was the Fluke 88V 1000V Automotive Multimeter.

There is no coincidence that Fluke has popped up multiple time in the best multimeter list. The Fluke family of multimeters have been an industry standard for years, with many reviewers commenting that they always seem to come back to Fluke in the end. Without doubt, the 88V is the best multimeter for automotive work and repair in 2018.

The Fluke 88V is a very rugged, sturdy multimeter. In addition to the usual array of Fluke features, such as switching between manual and auto-ranging states and the magnetic hanger, it has been purpose made to withstand a high-power environment.

For example, this meter is rated to resist surges of up to 8000 volts without taking damage. It can measure 10 amp currents for extended periods, and measures higher currents for 30 seconds at a time.

These automotive multimeter features make Fluke 88V useful in a world where electric and hybrid gas-electric cars are becoming more common. After all, not everyone wants to stop working on awesome vehicles just because the technology is changing.

The Fluke 88V automotive multimeter comes with a lifetime warranty. This makes it one of the best value multimeters a user can buy.

Click here to see the price of the Fluke 88V on Amazon.

11. Best Specialty Multimeter: Fluke 279FC Wireless TRMS

Fluke 279FC Wireless TRMS reviewThe best, high powered, specialty multimeter is without a doubt the Fluke 297FC Wireless. This multimeter is full of all the standard features: AC voltage, DC voltage, temperature, and 10-foot drop protection. It is the best multimeter for DIY electronics repair.

However, this speciality multimeter has two features I think really make it stand out as worth its incredible price (seriously, this thing will give you sticker shock the first time you see it).

First, the multimeter has an inbuilt thermal imaging display. Remember the Predator’s “infrared” heat vision? The Fluke 279FC puts this capability into your hand. A generous display allows you to see hot and cold spots, demonstrating potential overheating problems in electrical wires quickly and clearly.

Secondly, the screen is “true” digital. Most digital screens are a variation on LCD screens, with the typical “segmented” numbers digital clocks and watches have had for years. Fluke multimeter has a true digital display that shows values and images in clear, crisp detail that is exceptionally easy to read. Further, it can synch with the bluetooth capability of most smartphones to record and transmit data.

These features make the Fluke 279FC quite amazing to behold, but come with a price. This is the best speciality multimeter at this time.

Click here to see the price of the Fluke 279FC Wireless TRMS on Amazon.

Best Multimeters

However, the above multimeters are just the high end toys. Most folks don’t need every bell and whistle. Hobbyists want accuracy and functionality, of course, but they probably don’t need detailed thermal mapping or magnetic hangers on their multimeters.

So for our next bit, I would like to cover a range of best multimeters. This is a reasonable, sensible price point most folks can probably spare or save up for. It makes purchases in this range the best multimeter for the price that many home use and electronic hobbyists will find.

12. Best Digital Clamp Multimeter: Meterk Digital Clamp Meter 4000 Counts Auto-ranging Multimeter

Merket Digital Clamp Meter reviewI found the Merket Digital Clamp Meter to be the best overall multimeter.

The digital multimeter isn’t specifically for electronics, or automotive, or home repair uses. Rather, it has a variety of utility functions that make it valuable in a number of situations, without standing out in any of them.

Well, there is one area it stands out, and that is in ease of use. This is a clamp multimeter, with a large clamp that can be opened and closed around a cord to get a quick reading of the current running through. Probes can be used for more precise readings of course, but this is a handyman multimeter for quickly going over a problem.

This digital clamp multimeter also has a probe on the end of one of the clamps that can be used for “no touch” evaluation of whether a site is active and running current before digging in with your tools. Again, a highly convenient feature.

Click here to see the price of the Merket Digital Clamp Meter on Amazon.

The Best Cheap Multimeters

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that “cheap” is a relative term. It can mean low cost and low quality, depending on who’s doing the evaluating. In this case, I’m referring to low cost of the multimeter.

I did not choose anything with particularly low quality, although the price point does limit multimeter features and options somewhat.

These cheap multimeters are best for people just beginning to use multimeters as a tool, such as brand new electronics hobbyists or DIY mechanics.

13. Best Digital Multimeter Overall: Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multi-Functional Digital Multimeter

Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multi-Functional Digital Multimeter reviewThe Mastech MS8229 5 in 1 is what I feel is the best overall multimeter.

The MS8229 really demonstrates the concept that inexpensive doesn’t necessarily mean incapable. It has a variety of standard multimeter functions, and includes a thermometer and even a humidity sensor.

This inexpensive multimeter makes a handy “general purpose” tool for just about anyone’s toolbox.

The screen space is reasonably generous, making it easy to use and adaptable.

It isn’t True RMS, meaning it might not have the precision of other best multimeters, but it will provide good service in most toolboxes.

Click here to see the price of the Mastech MS8229 Multi-Functional Multimeter on Amazon.

14. Best Multimeter for Beginners: Cen-Tech 11 Function Digital Multimeter with Audible Continuity

Cen-Tech 11 Function Digital Multimeter reviewI found the Cen-Tech a very good “entry” type multimeter for the home hobbyist who’s interested in getting into electronics and electrical measuring.

Again, the beginner multimeter lacks the high-end capabilities of more expensive units, but it also has a number of clever touches that make it quite handy and useful despite its limitations.

In particular, I quite like the tilting/swivelling display screen, allowing for easier viewing.

It is the best multimeter for beginners.

Click here to see the price of the Cen-Tech 11 Function Digital Multimeter on Amazon.

What is a Multimeter?

A multimeter also known as VOM (volt ohm milliammeter) is an electronic measuring instrument that combines several measurement functions into one unit. It can measure current (amps), voltage (volts) and resistance (ohms). There are two types of meters available on the market which are called analog and digital multimeters.

The analog meters consist of microammeter that shows readings with help of a moving pointer. On the other hand, digital multimeters display numerals and can also show results using a graphical bar. This type of device uses latest technology and is more common among users. It is because of its wallet-friendly price, better accuracy and performance. However, if your readings tend to fluctuate a lot, you may want to buy an analog multimeter instead.

The Multimeter is highly portable diagnostic instrument that acts as a multirange voltmeter, ammeter and ohmmeter. It is used to test circuits, batteries, breadboards and study electronic designs. With multimeters, electricians can troubleshoot and rectify a system with safety. A typical multimeter consists of 3 main components: display, selection knob and ports. You can use different types of probes with ports available on your device.

If you are searching for the best multimeters, then check out our review section to get to know about the latest products available on the market right now.

Why do you need a Multimeter?

In short, anyone who intends to work around electricity needs multimeters to be able to measure what it’s doing. Whether you want to work on the wiring in your car or your house, or just tinker around with the electronic components of an old AM/FM radio, a quality multimeter is essential for accuracy and safety.

What to look for when Buying Multimeters

multimeter

There are scores of multimeter buying guides going into the value of the specific functions that multimeters offer, so I’m not going to try to duplicate that. The multimeter review would become much too long!

Instead, I’ll say this. Look for quality multimeter reviews – do people trust this brand? Look for included accessories – what value multimeter are you getting for your money? Does it include common probes for the purpose you’re using it for? And finally, look for a sensible multimeter warranty.

What makes a multimeter ‘good’ depends on your needs and the ability of your chosen device to fulfill those requirements. The cost of each meter depends upon its offered features, built-quality and brand reputation. Most of the experienced users prefer to buy multimeter with embedded continuity feature.

Here are some of the most sought-after features among top multimeters:

  1. Autoranging vs Manual Ranging Multimeters – The auto ranging feature is an excellent option and only found in digital multimeters. As the name states itself, this type of multimeter automatically detects the range and saves you from the hassle to select the right range to measure voltage, resistance and capacitance, etc. This means that you do not need to input anything and multimeter automatically detects tested stuff. These type of multimeters are slightly expensive and offer superior built-quality. You can also switch to manual mode on autoranging multimeter if required. Under few circumstances, the autoranging feature is of no use due to fluctuations in voltage and current at regular intervals. For manual range multimeter, you must have an idea about input value to select the right range on your device. In this way, you will be able to fetch the accurate readings from the multimeter. As always, you must be aware of all the device functions for its proper operation and best output.
  2. Backlit Display – The backlit display is kind of fancy but very useful when using your multimeter under dark places. Under circumstances where light is minimal or working outdoors at night, a backlit multimeter is your best option.
  3. Quality of Selection Knob – The higher quality of selection knob is crucial when buying a multimeter for the long run. When holding the multimeter in your hands and rotating the knob for the first time, you will be able to judge its quality. Usually, if it makes a good click sound during rotation, it is a good durability sign. The soft knob multimeters depict lower quality and do not last much longer.
  4. Probes Durability – Getting a multimeter with high-quality probes is a definite plus. Overtime, probes tend to break at flex points. Once you see some wear and tear, it is a good idea to replace them to avoid problems in near future.
  5. Auto Shut Down Feature – The auto turn-off feature is normally found in high-end multimeters. You won’t be able to find this feature in cheaper units. It is equally appreciated by beginners and advanced users. With this nice feature, your multimeter will automatically shut down after a certain period of inactivity. It adds up to save battery which may run out if you forgot to turn off the meter.
  6. Analog vs Digital Multimeter – Multimeters are classified in a number of ways, including whether they’re manual or auto-ranging, analog or digital multimeter reviewsmultimeters, and what purpose they fulfill (such as HVAC or Automotive). When trying to determine what type of multimeter you need, consider the job you’re doing and use common multimeter keywords associated with it. When buying multimeters, the most important decision you need to make is to choose between analog and digital type.
    If we look at analog multimeter, it is more user-friendly and offers better visibility during higher fluctuations. With digital multimeter, it becomes quite difficult to notice accurate reading due to sudden up and down jumps. The display experience is very similar to what you see in analog and digital speedometers used in cars.
    Some of the electronic hobbyists prefer to use analog multimeters due to their low input impedance as compared to digital multimeters. The impedance is actually the sensitivity of current under observation. With higher input impedance, you can measure any type of voltage with accuracy. The analog meters provide limited functionality as compared to digital counterparts. Your measuring capability is only limited to volts, amps and ohms with analog devices. On the other hand, digital multimeters not only look appealing but also offer many key functions. With an All-in-One top-notch digital multimeter, you are capable to record variety of measurements at the same time.
    The digital multimeters deliver accurate results and offer better visual readings during use. These are advanced and use latest technology for precise measurements. We also did not include any analog device in our multimeter review. It is because digital multimeters are our handpicked choice and exceptional in terms of features. When checking analog multimeters, you won’t be able to find any model that provide best value for the money. Majority of these devices are obsolete due to advancement in technology and shift into digital age.
  7. Accuracy – The digital multimeters are more accurate and precise as compared to analog equipment. The accuracy of machine varies based on its quality and operating environment. When you spend a great deal of money on a top-notch device, you also expect it to work perfectly. However, this is far from truth and there is always chance of slight errors, things can go wrong too. The 100% accurate readings are only possible in perfectly stable environments with least distortions.
    For electronic hobbyists and casual users, the ideal accuracy may not be the number one priority. On the other hand, professional users prefer to buy a perfect multimeter to get correct readings for their testing. For these reasons, you may need to invest in an expensive multimeter for best results with zero chances of error.
  8. Safety – When buying multimeter, you should always check the safety mechanisms provided in the device. No matter if you are using the multimeter probesmeter for smaller values, the electricity should be always considered dangerous. There is always a certain amount of risk involved, which can be avoided if you use the multimeter properly.
    Before using the multimeter, you can inspect the device for leaks, cracks or physical damage that can alter results and risk your safety. So, check multimeter readings on a known voltage to see if it shows correct results. If it provides incorrect values, then definitely there is something wrong with your device.
    The inspection of probes is also mandatory before you begin to use the multimeter. You must verify if they are shrouded and aren’t cracked or broken. If they are damaged, you should never try to repair. Always use the best quality probes on the market to use with multimeters.
    Some of the key protective equipment for multimeters include gloves, insulated mats, headwear, etc. If you are going to apply a voltage of more than 50V, it is safe to make use of protective equipment. As a rule of thumb, always avoid damp areas and humidity when using multimeter.
    It is a good idea to check the measurement category mentioned for the device. With improper use or failure to comply with rules, you may end up damaging your multimeter.
  9. Quality and Design – When looking for the best multimeter, you should always opt for something that comes with a rugged casing. It is definitely a plus to opt for a device that is visually unique due to bright colors. This feature can help you pick your device easily out of so many gadgets. Bumper corners protection and reputable brand makes your purchase literally risk free.

Multimeter Features and Benefits

We’ve discussed an array of the features in this best multimeters review above, such as whether a multimeter is True RMS, has probes included, or has nifty additions such as thermal imaging screens.

The benefits of these features all rest on one question; do these attributes help me do the job I need this multimeter for?

Everything depends on what you need to accomplish, and no multimeter review can give you all of that information. This is a place to begin, and I heartily recommend you also speak to electronics and automotive hobbyists about the top multimeters they use in their machines.

Good luck, and let us know if you purchased one of the best multimeters we reviewed here.

How to Measure Voltage and Current using Multimeter?

best multimeters

If you want to measure voltage but you choose current instead, then you are probably going to get a short or damage your multimeter. Try to buy a multimeter that gives you separate points for voltage and currents to avoid confusion. Always try to use the best quality test leads available in the market. It does really make a difference and make life a lot easier when using the multimeter. If you are able to get silicon leads, then it is great because they do not get tangled easily and can handle higher current with least amount of risk. Even if you make a mistake, the leads will not heat up or start to melt down.

In this example, we are going to measure voltage and current. This will help you get a better understanding about how electricity works. We are going to use our good old Fluke 177 True RMS multimeter. It is nice entry-level device doing basic electronics and electrical measurements. When looking at the device, you will notice the following:

  • Hold Feature for holding measurements that you take.
  • Min/Max
  • No need to adjust for different ranges (alternate range multimeter) but you can select a manual range if you want.
  • Yellow key which selects a secondary function on your selection dial
  • Down on the multimeter are plug points where you can insert your leads
  • Black lead plugged into the Common
  • Red lead plugged into this voltage point over here

Before using multimeter, always ensure your safety as electricity can be dangerous. Do not just plug the test probes of multimeters to measure AC voltage. You have to be aware of what you are doing because it can damage your equipment, electricity can stop working in your house or you can also hurt yourself. Just take care and be aware of these kinds of issues. 

The Voltage acts like pressure and current is more like volume. The multimeter acts as a gauge to measure both pressure and volume of electricity. When you want to measure voltage, you just tap into electrical component or piece of wire. The other component of electricity is volume or amount of electricity. And the quantity of electricity is correlated to current or Amps. And, there is strong correlation between two of these (current and voltage) working together to give you power. A multimeter can measure high amount of voltages quite safely.

When you want to measure current, all the flow or volume needs to be passed through the multimeter. You can potentially burn or melt down things depending on the limitations of your multimeter. On the other hand, voltage measurement is more like tapping into a wire and get the reading. You can only measure the current when its actually flowing. While, voltage can be measured on a small battery just like gauging potential or pressure it has. If you do have something connected on the battery, the pressure is going to drop.

There are two plugs called ‘common’ and ‘V’ plug to push inside the multimeter. You can measure DC voltage and AC voltage on the multimeter and each carries its own specific symbol. When buying multimeter, it is good to have both the symbols on it. You might just have one symbol on your multimeter that consents for AC and DC voltage. On most multimeters you need to make the selection yourself on the specific sign you want to use. There is also the 3rd symbol on multimeter that show millivolts. It’s always best to start with the larger reading first or if it is too large then go down.

When you have a large current but you start with a small one, you are probably going to burn a fuse on your multimeter or damage your multimeter. So, always start with a larger reading first. Or if you have manual ranging multimeter, you need to start with larger reading first and then go down. For auto ranging, we can straight put it into the voltage range.

Do not get yourself electrocuted by having wrong settings on your multimeter. Always make sure that your settings are right before you proceed with the measurement. You must always prefer your safety first. Red lead is positive and the black one is negative. There is almost 1.2 volts of pressure inside a normal battery. When your probes are on the wrong side, you get a negative reading. If your probes are on the right sides, you will get a positive reading.

analog multimeter

When measuring AC voltage, you need to take special care of your safety. If you do it wrong, you can potentially damage things in your house, get a shock, trips the electricity or hurt yourself. Thats why it is not recommended to plug the probes directly into the main electricity plugs at your home. Just push the knob of your multimeter onto AC and you will notice the Millivolts moving around. This is because the multimeter is kind of sensitive around these readings. AC volts doesn’t have polarity, so it does not matter which way around you use the probes. Do not allow your probe tips to touch each other when you take the measurement. Do not allow your fingers to be near these. Because in this instance, we are not measuring a low DC voltage. We are measuring a high AC voltage and it will bite. The normal amount of voltage you see is 220 to 240 volts. With a multimeter, you can diagnose issues with your voltage as well.

If you want to measure voltage on minute items, you can get clipping which are easy to buy from electronics hobbyists’ shop. In case, the voltage is constantly fluctuating you can see this on the bar at bottom LCD of your multimeter. This bar is just below the auto range heading on the device. When you apply too much voltage on a little device such as LED, you are probably going to blow it up. It is because LED is more like a pressure vessel. You need to maintain certain pressure to keep it working. A balloon is a better example to explain this. You need specific pressure for a balloon to inflate. But, if you get too beyond on the pressure, it is eventually going to burst.

Having a multimeter which is fused is highly recommended.  Also getting a device with separate plugs for current is recommended. It must not share it with the voltage. You can first use the plug for the higher and once you consider it safe, you can plug in the lower amp. Some multimeters only have 3 connection points to measure high amp values. These are probably common with the electricians.

When measuring current, it flows from within the multimeter. Through one probe, through the multimeter itself and out of the other probe. It can generate heat and can melt down components and wires. This is where the quality of multimeter and its current handling capacity really counts. Some multimeters allow to measure 10amps, 15amps and even 20 amps but only for a short period of time. There are not too many multimeters on the market that enable users to measure higher than this value. Using a current shunt can enable you to measure higher current because it’s an advanced technique to implement.

Always use good quality wires with a rating to measure current. Thin wires can handle voltage but for current the same wires have a very different story to share. A low-quality wire can become hot even with low ampere of current. If a wire is getting hot while you are using it, it can potentially cause fire if that’s literally left in that kind of state. It also means that you encountered losses and lost energy while supplying current to your device. Even when using small devices for testing, try to use bigger plug on current socket for maximum safety. You can use the secondary function “yellow” key to switch between AC and DC currents. To understand things in more detail, you can also switch to lower milliamps.

I hope you liked our multimeter review to help you pick the best device. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and leave your feedback.

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Multimeters
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