A multimeter is a great tool to have if you have a lot of electronics in your home. These things were built by humans and they are bound to fail at one point as a result of prolonged use, current and voltage spikes, and mechanical shock. The last multimeter that you had was handed to you by your old man as a result of continued use, it is not working properly. You, therefore, have to buy a new one if you are to continue troubleshooting problems with your machines.
So in your quest to become self-sufficient electronically, you head to the nearest store to buy a multimeter. You are surprised to find the store full of them and this makes the selection process a lot harder. So do you pick the one with the brightest colors or which is the criterion for choosing such items? Worry not as our comprehensive guide has you covered in that regard. We will highlight some of the things that you have to consider when choosing a multimeter, especially if you are on a budget, as well as highlighting a few worthy models that you can pick.
|Best Overall||Klein MM400||
|AstroAI TRMS 6000||
|Best Value||Innova 3320||
|On a tight budget||Etekcity MSR-R500||
The Klein MM400 is our top pick if you are shopping for a multimeter on a budget. It can measure up to 600V of both AC and DC voltage, 10A AC, and DC current, as well as 40 MΩ resistance and this, widens the scope of the troubleshooting gigs that you can perform with this multimeter.
Other than this, you can also use this tool to measure capacitance, temperature, frequency, and to check for continuity making this multimeter your go-to tool for all your household and professional troubleshooting needs. You will also be able to appreciate the sturdy build that allows it to take falls of about 1 meter without getting damaged.
The only thing that we didn’t like about this multimeter was its hold function. It is not able to keep readings for long and this made it a great liability especially if you don’t have somewhere to note your readings.
All in all, we think that this is the best budget multimeter of 2020.
If the Klein MM400 is the best multimeter that you can get if you are on a budget, then the AstroAI 759974998225 is not far behind when it comes to specs and its ability to troubleshoot electrical and automotive problems. Its large and clear LCD display and data hold feature make it easy to take and store readings from your electrical measurements.
The multimeter that you get for your troubleshooting needs should be safe to use and the AstroAI 759974998225 is one of the safest tools in this regard. With its built-in ceramic fuses, this multimeter offers you added security when taking your measurements.
It shuts off automatically when not in use and this will help you save the battery. With all these amazing features you would expect this multimeter to be our top pick for budget multimeters but it falls to make the cut as it has an annoying beep that is set off by very insignificant things like a button change.
Budget wise, the Innova 3320 is the best value for money multimeter that you can get. It is affordable yet able to offer you all the excellent functionalities that you need to troubleshoot issues with your electrical equipment.
It has been certified as a safe product and this allows you to take your readings accurately without the fear of getting electrocuted. Another feature that you will enjoy when using the Innova 3320 is its auto-ranging scale that eliminates the need for keying in the desired range when making measurements.
The Innova 3320 is, however, not able to make it into our top 2 picks as it has a poor outer body that reduces the stability and durability of the multimeter. It is also not consistent with its readings and this really affects its accuracy.
See also: HVAC multimeters of the year
If you are on a really tight budget but still need a multimeter for your troubleshooting needs, then the Etekcity MSR-R500 is one multimeter that you can consider. You should, however, be prepared to struggle to make your readings as the backlight is not bright enough for you to do so with ease.
The Etekcity MSR-R500 is also not that accurate and you can even get readings that are 2 – 3V higher than the actual value and this could really affect how you troubleshoot problems with your electrical appliances. It, however, makes up for its flaws by being quick to make readings, being easy to use, and the presence of a stand for hands-free use.
All these, however, are not enough for us to make the Etekcity MSR-R500 one of our top picks as we believe that a multimeter should be able to make accurate readings for it to be considered as great.
There is nothing going on with the Cen-Tech 69069 other than its price. It doesn’t make accurate readings and this way you could make the wrong diagnosis when troubleshooting issues with your electrical and automotive components.
Another thing that we noticed with this multimeter is that it was unable to measure ohms and this greatly limits your troubleshooting capabilities when using the multimeter. We have also received reports from other users who received the multimeter with some of its parts not connected and this way, they were not able to use the device immediately after purchase.
We, therefore, don’t recommend this multimeter if you need to get some serious measurements done as the output quality is poor, and dealing with this multimeter is very stressful.
There are a few things that you must consider when buying a multimeter other than its price. Of course, the price of the device is one of the important things that you have to consider when buying a multimeter as you would want to get value for your money but there are other factors that you have to look at if you want to get a device that will help you take measurements and troubleshoot problems and with ease. Some of these factors are;
Multimeters are either analog or digital. Analog multimeters are more visible and give better readouts but they are usually difficult to judge as the values keep fluctuating with changes in the input.
Digital multimeters, on the other hand, are more sensitive than analog multimeters as they have a higher input impedance. They can also make a variety of measurements and this makes them ideal if you are working on multiple electronics.
A multimeter with auto-ranging capabilities can recognize what you are trying to test and as such, you won’t have to input the range. This saves you the struggle of having to know the value ranges of what you are testing.
With a manual ranging multimeter, you will have to know the range of values your measurement falls for you to get a reading.
If you will be dealing with high voltages, then it’s wise that you get a multimeter that has been designed with safety in mind. You should, therefore, be on the lookout for multimeters with internal blast shields, highly rated fuses, and isolation slots to prevent arc over.
These security features will ensure that you operate in a protected environment without risking your safety and that of the electronic you are working on.
The Klein MM400 is our top pick as it can offer immense value for its price point. The AstroAI 759974998225 came in second with its ability to give accurate readings as its biggest selling point. Our value for the money pick was the Innova 3320. The Etekcity MSR-R500 being the multimeter that we would recommend if you are on a tight budget. We were not impressed by the Cen-Tech 69069 and that’s why it is not one of our recommended models. Choosing the best budget multimeter is not as easy as there are a lot of things to consider. But hopefully, we’ve simplified the process for you.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!