Multimeters are a useful tool for anyone working with electrical components. This tool has been around since the 1920s when radio receiver technology started to become popular. It was a disgruntled British postal service worker who was sick of carrying around a bunch of different tools to repair telecommunication equipment, who invented the volt-ohm-milliammeter. True to the inventor’s minimalist nature, he felt the name did not roll off the tongue (especially in emergency moments), so the multimeter was born.
Although a multimeter is a great tool to have, it is also necessary for HVAC professionals. Any miscalculations in voltage or wattage can cause errors in your work performance. That being said, with all the different options on the market, choosing a multimeter is tough.
As always, we are here to help. We have reviewed the eight best HVAC multimeters below. We share all the benefits and drawbacks, plus the AC and DC measurement capabilities, resistance and continuity features, plus much more. We will also give you some helpful tips on what to look for when you are out shopping.
|Fieldpiece SC260 ||1 Year||4.3/5|
|Klein Tools CL110Kit||4.2/5|
To spare you the suspense, our number one pick for best overall HVAC multimeter is the Fluke 116. This little gadget has the ability to take the necessary measurements as well as the temperature of HVAC components. You have the range of measuring AC up to 600 volts and DC up to 300 volts. You can also test flame sensors accurate microamps.
This model also features resistance, continuity, frequency, and capacitance measurements. To avoid false readings, you also have a low-input impedance, plus min/max/average with elapsed time so you can record signal fluctuations.
With an LED backlight display and up to 400 amps in a tight cable compartment, this option will be able to give you the accurate readings you need to determine voltages and non-linear signals. CAT-III 600V tested, you have the freedom to use it one-handed. It also comes with silicone test leads, a carry case, and an installed 9-volt battery. This model also has true RMS, making it excellent for commercial or home use. Overall, this is the best multimeter for the HVAC industry.
If you are new to the HVAC field, or you need a multimeter for home use, this inexpensive option will be just right for you. This durable option measures up to 750 volts for AC and 1000 volts for DC plus up to 10 amps for both. This model also features a K-type thermocouple feature for temperature readings.
There is also a no-contact voltage reading and audible continuity. You can measure resistance to 40-megaohms, frequency to 10-MHz, and capacitance to 10,000 microfarads. Micoamps are also available for flame sensor data.
To keep the reading as accurate as possible, you have a diode test and duty cycle for troubleshooting and a data hold option with min/max and relative zero modes. The digital display is easy to read with an LCD backlight, and there is a built-in flashlight. This model comes with the K-type thermocouple, test leads, and installed 9-volt battery, and a carry case.
Finally, it does not have a true RMS reading, so it is not designed for bigger HVAC voltage. It is also a little larger, so more difficult to hold one-handed than the model above. All in all, though, this is the best HVAC multimeter for the price.
While it’s a little more on the expensive side, the Fluke combo kit is a great option for commercial and residential use. This option has a built-in thermometer and microamps for flame sensors with an accuracy reading down to 0.1. To avoid ghost readings, you also have a low-input indecency feature.
The clamp meter is true RMS and measures 400 amps for AC and 600 volts for both AC and DC. Also, this model can read resistance, continuity, frequency, and capacitance with accuracy for commercial HVAC systems. This model is CAT-III certified and can be used one-handed.
With this multimeter, you can measure currents in a 400-amp tight cable compartment. You also have min/max/average reading with elapsed time and signal fluctuations. Included with this model is a hard point test lead, thermocouple clamp and adapter, temperature probe, and a carry case with magnetic strap. The downside of this option is the thermocouple is not as accurate as our first choice. Also, the magnetic strap is not strong enough for its purpose. Beyond that, however, this is a great option for multiple use.
Moving on to the number four spot is an HVAC multimeter that has a true RMS measurement, and can measure voltage for both AC and DC components. This model reads up to 400 amps for AC electrical only. You do, however, have the ability to measure up to 40 megaohms with a 0.01 resolution. The tool comes with test leads, a 9-volt battery, and a soft carrying case.
Another great feature of this option is that it allows you to read the temperature in Fahrenheit and celsius. The backlight provides an easy to read display, and it comes with a low battery indicator. You can also utilize the autoselect mode to save time, and help choose the right measurement. As customary, this is a CAT-III certified model.
Finally, you do have the frequency, resistance, continuity and capacitance readings with this model. Although this is an accurate option, the temperature gauge can be off by a couple of degrees at times.
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Next, we have the Klein tool kit that measures AC current through the clamp option with auto-ranging up to 400-amps. You will be able to measure voltage resistance, continuity via the test leads. This model comes with a carry case, batteries, and test leads.
With this multimeter, you can test for wiring problems in open ground, reverse polarity, open hot and neutral, and hot/ground reverse GFCI outlets. This model can draw current up to 15 amps without splitting loads on the power cord, as well.
The display has a backlight for working in dark environments. Although this model does not have true RMS or capacitance capabilities, it is CAT-III certified. It is perfect for checking live currents in residential homes.
The Fluke 902 allows you to safely capture and measure trends outside the arc blast zone. Using the field Fluke connector, you are also able to create reports in the field and send them via Bluetooth directly from the multimeter.
Capable of measuring 600 amps of AC current, you also have the customary resistance, continuity, and frequency features that are measured with accuracy. One drawback to this model is the temperature reading which is between 14 degrees and 752 degrees Fahrenheit. Although this is a large range, the gauge tends to be off by four to five-degrees which can cause an issue with accurate HVAC work.
The temp reading is also an issue as this option does have true RMS capabilities. It can read up to 1,000 microfarads of capacitance, as well. Flame sensor analysis is also available. Plus, you have a min/max reading option, though you do not have an average capture feature. Finally, this model does not have millimeter measurements for large commercial work.
Moving right along we come to a model with very basic features. This option has AC current measurements up to 2000uA. The unit can measure 400 amps of AC current using the clamps, and the test lead can detect 750-volts.
This option is also able to read resistance measurements up to 40 ohms and has a frequency and duty cycle feature, as well. Continuity and diode tests are also equipped, although you do not have capacitance or true RMS capabilities.
This basic option is meant for testing live conduct and circuit loading or breakers. The measurements, on the whole, can be off slightly, so we recommend this model for residential use only. On the other hand, it does have a dual display, auto-ranging, and automatic power-off feature. If you need a multimeter for home use, or you are just learning the ropes, this could be a good option for you.
Our last model on the list is the TACKLIFE clamp multimeter. While this model does have a lot of the bells and whistles, it is better used for residential purposes due to the lower range of measurements. This option does work well for AC current and voltage, however, the DC range is low and inaccurate. Also, the resistance and capacitance does not read correctly either.
This tool features auto-ranging, a thermocouple readout, and a low-impedance option. Keep in mind though, the thermocouple is also not as accurate as it should be. You can use this for true RHM, but it is not recommended for commercial HVAC projects. This model also does not have min/max/average reads which can make measurements more difficult.
On the bright side, you can use the data hold, backlight display, and strong clamp mouth for small at-home projects. When all is said and done, however, you are better off with one of the other options we have reviewed.
When you are working on an HVAC project, whether commercial or residential, accuracy is an important component of a successful job. When working on commercials systems, measurement and temperature reading are essential.
When purchasing a multimeter for this purpose, there are several features that are important:
While these are the most important features of a multimeter, if you are working on a commercial HVAC system, there are some other options that can come in handy. Backlight displays are a great example. They allow you to work in almost any environment. Another example is auto-ranging, min/max/average readings, and data hold.
All of these features will make your job easier, plus give you accurate readings to keep everything running smoothly. Finally, dealing with electric currents and other frequencies can be dangerous and detrimental to your health. For that reason, make sure your multimeter is CAT-III certified for safety.
Working with a multimeter is good practice when dealing with HVAC systems. To recap, our overall best pick is the Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter. It is designed to work with commercial and residential use and has all the necessary features you will need. If you prefer something more cost-efficient to begin learning, try the Amprobe AM-520 HVAC Multimeter which is the best value for the money.
We hope you have enjoyed the reviews above and they have shed some light on the different options for an HVAC multimeter. All of the options were chosen to make your job and life as easy as possible.
Written by Shannon MacDevine
Featured image credit: Amprobe, Amazon
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!