Top 10 Best Multimeters of 2016
You cannot begin a discussion about the best multimeter on the market today without first asking a very important question: who is going to be using that particular multimeter and for what type of jobs. If you are a professional electrician and are looking for a good, sturdy, reliable, and safe multimeter, you will need to spend in excess of at least 100 dollars to get the best multimeter for your job.
However, if you are just know learning your way around a breadboard, you do not need to spend that much money because there will be at least a couple of years until you will need something as high end as that. However, there are a couple of key features that both professionals and electronics green horns need to look out for and they are a good balance between price and functionality and also an audible tone that will allow you to test continuity without having to look at the multimeter all the time. That is why we have actually divided our top 10 best multimeters list in 2 halves. The first half is mostly geared towards high end professionals, while the second half is more focused on the needs of beginner electricians or professionals who could use from owning a multimeter, but who do not use it that often. However, we have also created in depth reviews for each product so make sure to scroll past the list and check out for yourself which features and price range best suits you.
|Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter||4.8/5||$$$|
|Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter||4.7/5||$$|
|Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter with Temperature and Microamps||4.8/5||$$|
|Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter||4.7/5||$$|
|INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter (10 MegOhm/UL)||4.3/5||$|
|Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician's Multimeter||4.5/5||$|
|Amprobe AM-530 TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage Detector and Temperature||4.5/5||$|
|Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multi-functional Digital Multimeter||4.3/5||$|
|Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter with Built In Thermometer with Type K Remote Probe||4.2/5||$|
|Craftsman 11-function Auto Range Digital Multi-meter and AC Voltage Detector with Flash Light 34-82007||4.6/5||$|
Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
When it comes to multimeters, all electricians agree that the holy grails has to be one produced by Fluke. Exactly which one that ultimate multimeter might be, is still up for debate, but the one that has the most numerous functions, best accuracy and most interesting features is the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter. It is the most expensive multimeter on our list so we strongly encourage you to think long and hard on whether you need to pay that much. It is certainly worth the money but only if you are going to use it at its maximum potential. It has an auto ranging system, but you can switch it to manual if you need to. It creates an analog bar graph that you can use to follow rapidly changing signals, thus making it an even better choice than an analog multimeter for this type of situations. There are 2 features that set the Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter apart from all other multimeters on the market, above all others. The positive function is the fact that it can take measures as high up as 10A and 20A for 30 seconds at a time. The negative feature is that the multimeter will beep if you get the input jacks wrong, and while an experienced electrician will always set them correctly without any problems, beginners may often get them wrong, particularly in situations where you measure the resistance and thus do not really care about the poles.
Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter
While we absolutely love the Fluke 87-V, and we really think it is well worth the money, we must agree that even most professional electricians will not use it to its maximum capacity. So our second best choice, and perhaps the one that makes the most sense from a financial perspective, is the Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter. It is still too expensive to make any sense for anyone who just dabbles in the field to buy, but it is just what the engineer ordered for most professionals. It has a modern auto ranging system that can be switch to manual if you need to, and it has one of the best LED screens we have ever had the chance to test. In terms of design it is so well put together that even women electricians will be able to comfortable hold it in the palms of their hands. Among its many features the more significant is the fact that it uses a true RMS for accurate measurements of non linear loads. The one thing that you should know from the on start is that Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter does not come with a holster so you would better order one at the same time as the multimeter itself.
Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter
The Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter is one of the best, highly specialized multimeters on the market today, so you need to be very careful if you decide to go for it. It does have a built in thermometer for HVAC applications and a microamps feature that would certainly put it in the company of other, more expensive multimeters. However, the way Fluke have been able to keep the price down is that they have taken out the entire high amperage section of the device. Of course, people who usually require HVAC applications do not need to measure amperages that go above 1 Amp, but it is well worth noting that, if you do not need those 2 functions, you would better be served by other products on our list. It is also worth noting that the Fluke 116 has LoZ system that prevents false readings and the LED screen is just as good as the one on the Fluke 117.
Fluke 115 Compact
Although it is still one of the more expensive multimeters on our list, the Fluke 115 Compact is the one and only attempt that Fluke has made to enter the entry and mid level market. In terms of accuracy, reliability and built quality it is clearly superior to any of the other, under $100 multimeters we are going to feature, but it does have a significant draw back: it costs more than 100 dollars. So, if you can afford it, we would recommend the Fluke 115 Compact even to a beginner electrician because it is the best bang for your buck you are going to get. It has an auto ranging system that can be switched to manual and a true RMS system for accuracy on non linear loads. It can only go as high up as 10 Amps, and that keeps it from being a great tool for professional electricians, but it is still great for amateurs. We also appreciate the fact that they actually used the Fluke 117 LED screen in the Fluke 115 Compact multimeter too, making it a very easy to use device. Other features that may be of interest is the fact that you get a holster and a 9V battery in the package. It is incredibly safe to use even for beginner electricians because it will alert you if you have not set it for the correct amperage or voltage meter, instead of giving you a false or 0 reading like other multimeters do.
INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter
It is a well known fact that most padawan electricians come from the auto world, usually home mechanics who need to diagnose their car battery, wiring or why the automatic window mechanism is not working any more. Innova has been designing multimeters specifically for the auto industry for years, but the INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter is their best design for the home mechanic. And we would have to agree that they did an excellent job with this multimeter that has a UL certification. It comes with an inductive RPM clamp and a temperature probe so you can check your engine’s wiring down to the smallest detail. It is well worth noting that it goes as high up as 10 mega ohms in it measuring range and that it has an auto ranging feature similar to the one on the Fluke. Still, the one thing to not is that the INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter was designed for the automotive industry and it does not have the sensitivity that the Fluke has for small electronics, but it also does not carry that huge price tag.
Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician’s Multimeter
The Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician’s Multimeter is the first jab we take at the entry level multimeter market so professional electricians be warned, here be monsters, at least by your standards. We actually rather liked the Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician’s Multimeter in terms of both features and accuracy which we tested against the Fluke 116. In terms of features it is interesting to note that can go as high up as 10 Amps and 1000 Volts, and it has an auto ranging feature. The screen is backlit so, even though it is not quite as good as the Fluke one in high daylight conditions, it is still quite easy to read. It also has a thermocouple so even car enthusiasts will be able to use it to check their engines.
There are several features that attracted us to the Amprobe AM-530 and decided us to feature it on our top 10 best multimeters list, but we are going to start with its biggest, and only flaw, which is that it can only measure up to 600V. However, some of its more interesting features are the ability to take true RMS measurements that will not be affected by any fluctuations, and the audible continuity test that we were talking about in the beginning of our talk. It is also worth noting that the Amprobe AM-530 has a built in flash light and a strong enough battery to power and test capacitors. Another thing that we really liked about the Amprobe AM-530 is the fact that it has earned a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, which is quite high for an entry level multimeter.
The best way we can describe the Mastech MS8229 is that it is a Jack of all trades, master of none. It is an interesting multimeter with quite a lot of features, but as a multimeter it only goes as high up as 400m and 1000V. So if you are just now learning how to wire an LED then it is a perfect choice, particularly since it also has a built in humidity and sound level meter built in. So even if you only need to use a multimeter once in a while, you are still going to get a lot of use out of the Mastech MS8229. It also has a luxmeter and a thermometer so it can be used by auto enthusiasts who want to make sure that their engine probes are working correctly and that the disk brakes do not get over heated.
Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter
Do not get fooled by the name of the Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter, it is no smaller than any of the other multimeters we have featured here. However, it is also no bigger, and it has many of the same interesting features. It can measure as high up as 10 Amps and 1000V and it has an auto ranging feature that can be switched to manual if you need to. It also has a temperature probe but it is a K probe so it will only help you test you air conditioning system and not the temperature of the engine, unless, you have just started it and it does not run very hot. On the other hand, the Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter comes with its own rubber holster which is quite comfortable and safe.
The last product on our top 10 best multimeters list is also the cheapest one here, the Craftsman 11. It has a huge range allowing you to use it as an auto multimeter, but, because of its relatively low accuracy, that is about all you should be using it for. However, it also comes with voltage detector, it has a built in flash light has a k sensor temperature sensor. And even when measuring resistance and frequency, it works well enough for beginner electricians, so, if you are not sure about whether you will stay interested in the craft or not, the Craftsman 11 is the low level investment that will get you started and you will not regret even if you only use it once, when it arrives in the mail.