Multimeters are critical for electric work. Electricians require the utmost precision both to attain positive outcomes and to maintain their safety. A good multimeter will feature an intuitive interface and accurate readings. A bad unit is virtually useless, and possibly even dangerous.
We have tested many dozens of tools based on their accuracy and ease of use. Of the many tools we tested, we were able to identify seven that should get the job done for a wide range of people.
Whether you are a professional or a do-it-yourselfer that wants a reliable product, read on for some multimeter reviews!
|AstroAI Digital Multimeter|
|Fluke 287||90 Days||4.30/5|
|Klein Tools MM700||2 Years||4.20/5|
The Fluke 117 is an intuitive and easy to use reader that features accurate measurements and a range of other user-friendly features. With this unit, you will be able to check for voltage without actually making contact with the wall.
The tool is designed to be ergonomic and hooks easily to utility belts via the magnetic contact point. You may also appreciate the backlit display and a handy built-in kickstand that makes it easy to scroll through.
The tool is designed for electricians, and therefore, is pricier than most of the other multimeters on our list.
However, if you are an amateur that is trying to get the most out of their equipment, this will be an appealing option.
If you liked the features but not the price of our top choice, you may appreciate the AstroAI. We identified this unit as the best budget buy.
Though affordable, the AstroAI is still able to measure all of the important factors: current, voltage, resistance, etc. It features low profile pins that can easily enter a wall to take data without leaving damage behind.
The system also makes use of a backlit display for easing reading and it can be hooked up magnetically to tool belts for general ease of use and storage. Perhaps most important of all, it features built-in ceramic tools that protect against overloading, explosions, and fires.
We have observed that the exterior of this reader is somewhat frail. If it takes a bump or spill on the job site it may break. Regardless, if you are looking for an affordable reader that can deliver pro-caliber results it would be hard to beat this tool.
The Fluke is a premium kit that comes with a range of accessories. With this package, you get the multimeter, a carrying case, and various probes that will prepare you for a wide range of situations.
We like the display on this unit. It is backlit and very vivid in its rendering making it easy to few measurements in any setting. The interface is also easy to use. Most of the features are accessed by a spin wheel that empowers you to effortlessly sort through the various details presented.
It is also lightweight, ergonomic, and easy to attach to your tool belt via an onboard magnet. Most importantly though, this multimeter is also hyper-accurate, which will make it optimal for professional minded users.
We have observed that the probes themselves are a little bit fragile. They can be replaced if the need presents itself but that does add to the cost of an already very pricey tool.
If you have a tight budget, this is not going to work for you. However, if you are looking for something pro-grade, this is going to be a top contender.
Fluke 177 vs 179 – What’s the best?
The Fluke 287 is a high-quality product that is in many ways similar to the other options we’ve seen from this company. It features a large backlit screen and a variety of test points that allow you to read for anything that you might need.
It takes data extremely quickly and it can be hooked up to computers to seamlessly transfer information. It will certainly suit professionals but there are a few reasons this has been placed lower on our list.
For one thing, this tool is even more expensive than the already quite pricey Fluke tools we’ve seen to this point. The user interface is also pretty complicated. The layperson may favor something a little easier to use.
The Klein Tools MM700 is an affordable option that will be excellent for amateur users. It is built to be durable and is advertised as being able to withstand a fall of up to six feet in height.
This package includes a soft carrying case, as well as all of the tools and wires needed to perform a wide range of tasks. It is going to be great for light use, but some hiccups account for its lower spot on our list.
For one thing, the layout is pretty complicated. The interface features a wide range of buttons and cable connection points that can be a little bit complicated to navigate.
It’s also just very limited in what it can read. The product claims that it is good for measurements on 10-amp sources. However, it really seems to start struggling around six amps. For this reason alone, professionals will need to look for a different tool. However, if you need something for light work, this could be acceptable.
The Amprobe is an affordable no-contact multimeter that can take measurements wirelessly. It is rated as being safe to use on sources with up to six amps of electricity. It is also durable, ergonomic, and able to attach easily on your built via a magnetic connection point.
Of course, with a range of only 10 amps, it is fairly limited in what it can work with. And, we have unfortunately identified that it also is not adequately accurate relative to the other tools we have seen. We have also found that the display is a little bit challenging to read, especially in low light scenarios.
It’s ok for very light use, but it won’t be suitable for the needs of a professional.
We conclude our list with the Mastech. This is an extremely affordable product that will be enticing for buyers on a restrictive budget. However, the accessible price tag is pretty much all that this tool has going for it.
The readings are not very accurate, the exterior is fragile and leaves much to be desired, and it struggles with sources that are more than six amps.
You may choose this product if you’re on a tight budget but understand that for a little more money you can get something that is much more reliable.
Here are some buying considerations that will make it easier to navigate and understand the many different features associated with multimeters.
Multimeters either take measurements wirelessly via sensors or through point of entry. Contact units feature tiny pins attached to wires that enter into your wall to take direct data.
Contact units often actually tend to be more accurate because they work closer to the source. However, some people are not fond of them for the fact that they leave a mark in its wake. A good wired multimeter will be subtle enough to leave behind only the most inconsequential of marks, but subpar tools have been known to leave ugly marks.
Some tools can take readings via either option. In any case, there are great tools of both varieties. You just have to choose which works best for you.
Ideally, you will be able to find a tool that includes a backlight on the display. It’s a relatively simple feature that you can find even on budget-friendly tools, but it can potentially make your experience much smoother.
A backlight simply makes it easier to read measurements even if you are in a dark space.
Price can range substantially in the world of multimeters. Ideally, pricier units tend to be more accurate. However, you can find very reliable products on the budget buyer end of the spectrum as well. However, if you want pro-grade results, you will need to warm up to the idea of paying pro prices.
Then, there are features you don’t need but can benefit from. We saw many of them in the list above. For example, a magnetic belt attachment is not necessary, but it is handy to have, especially for pros with lots of tools on hand.
Similarly, a kickstand can make it easier to view your multimeter, and an intuitive interface can save you lots of time.
Naturally, safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to electric work. We saw several features that facilitate this ultimate goal on the list above. Of them, it is most beneficial to have internal fortifications that prevent fires, explosions, or overheating.
For example, we saw several tools that included built-in ceramic inserts that regulate temperature and combustibility. Fire and explosions are not very common with multimeters, but you want to protect yourself in any way possible.
You want to invest in a durable tool. Multimeters are often taken to rough locations and wear and tear accumulate quickly. A poorly built tool can get taken out of commission by a single drop so invest in something that is properly fortified against catastrophe.
As with anything, it is always nice to get a good warranty on your multimeter. They get put through quite a lot, and for that reason, a good warranty can save you plenty of money. A good warranty will keep you covered for around three years.
It can also be handy to keep in mind that a warranty tells you more about a product than simply how long it is supported by the company. Warranties often also signify how confident a manufacturer is in their product. Businesses with an eye on profit don’t promise to fix products they think will break.
Obviously, multimeters handle tons of data. For the sake of preservation and easy access, it can be really handy to have a way to effortlessly document it all. Some of the tools on our list included data upload components.
With this feature, you can export information to your computer for easy viewing and comprehension. This feature is more commonly found on pricier units but for pros, it is very handy to have on hand.
As you may have also seen, many of the lower end choices on our list are quite limited in what they can work with. For example, the last few products on our list could only measure at ten amps or less. For amateur use, this may very well be fine. That said, you always want to get something that features a higher main voltage than the things you are doing your readings on.
However, if you are a professional, it will be much more important to get something that is more versatile.
Every multimeter reads a little bit differently. Similarly, every user has different things that they need to read for. It is always important to pay close attention to what a multimeter can do before you finalize a purchase.
Accuracy levels on a multimeter are very quantifiable, and it is possible to get a decent understanding of what you’re getting yourself into. Many multimeters will advertise their accuracy based on their DMM Accuracy rating.
This figure denotes the maximum level of accuracy that you are likely to encounter with the product. For example, it may have a DMM accuracy rating of 2 percent. This means readings may be as much as 2 percent off.
Granted, even the accuracy rating can be inaccurate. Still, this figure is a decent indicator of what you can expect.
Buying a brand name is not always necessary. However, a case can be made that it is a good idea in the world of multimeters. Why? Brand name products usually feature better accuracy ratings, higher amp compatibility, more features, and better warranties.
You can still get a decent product without spending a lot of money on it, but when it comes to a product as important as a multimeter it is a good idea to invest in something reliable. All of the products featured in the guide above come from trustworthy manufacturers.
Did you have a favorite multimeter review? Hopefully, at this point, you know exactly what product you will be choosing. However, we also know that it can be hard to choose from seven awesome products. That being the case, we do have a couple of recommendations that might make your decision easier.
Buyer’s looking for the best of the best will find it in the Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter. However, if you are on a tight budget it is still possible to get a great product.
For example, our best for the money pick, the AstroAI Digital Multimeter TRMS 6000 does a great job of combining value and quality.
In any case, you know plenty about multimeters now, so you shouldn’t have a problem picking the perfect product for your needs!
Featured Image Credit By: Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter, 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!