Best Digital Multimeter- the #1 Buying Guide & Product Listing
Ask any electronics expert and they’ll definitely agree to the fact that a multimeter is one of the most important equipment you could get. Narrowing down your options, a Best Digital Multimeter might just be the best you could get as far as multimeter options are concerned.
Digital multimeters can be bought from a lot of different sources as well as a lot of different competitive prices but getting the best digital multimeter isn’t that easy and there’s a lot that you should definitely take into account.
What if I told you that by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what you should take into account when looking for the best. Even better, I’ll present to you 10 of the best that will give you a whole new experience as far as using a multimeter is concerned.
One thing you should know is that regarding the price, there are those that are on the bottom of the scale and of course if you want the best, you should be ready to spend a little bit more on it.
Without further ado, let’s move on to our review, shall we?
3 of the Best Digital Multimeters You could possibly get.
To save you the hassle of having to read all through, you can have a quick look at 3 of our best picks.
Best Digital Multimeters: How will you be using it?
“a digital multimeter is just a digital multimeter, it doesn’t matter the use, right?” whereas some of you may think this is true, it may turn out to be the biggest mistake you’ll make when making your purchase.
Take for instance if you want a multimeter for use generally at home; this will definitely be different to the one you'll get for industrial use. The difference between the two is the level of reliability you’ll be getting from wither regarding their intended purpose of use.
In either case, the price difference varies and you have to be ready to spend more or less regarding the accuracy level and purpose which brings us to the next point…the accuracy level.
The safety ratings on the multimeter.
When it comes to measuring electrical units especially voltage, a multimeter that does not observe the safety ratings is definitely not the best digital multimeter for you.
When measuring for instance voltage during electrical installations, the IEC 1010 categorizes the electrical meters based on the level of safety ratings. These ratings will not only take into consideration the working voltages of the electrical appliances concerned but also the level of resilience to peak transient working on the lines
Also, other than just the IEC 1010, you should also pay attention to the physical appearance of the multimeter. By looking at how the meter is actually designed, you should know whether or not it is safe enough for you to use.
Does the multimeter come with internal blast shields? Are your fingers protected from slipping down past the probe insulation? These are some of the simple things that most people ignore when shopping for a multimeter and also some that may end up costing you a lot.
Under the safety you should be expecting from the best multimeter, the overload protection feature is one of the most important things. The volt and ohm terminals on the multimeter will give you utmost protection from overcurrent hence it is not necessary to have fuses on the digital multimeter.
Overvoltage is not catered for by the voltage terminals and it is therefore important that your multimeter has the best of this. Overvoltage protection is taken care of by a high voltage circuit which ensures that the voltage levels are acceptable, moreover, the thermal protection circuit can detect an overvoltage condition.
Upon doing so, it ensures that the meter is protected from any damage until the condition is removed before it returns it automatically to its normal working condition
Taking this into account, you should, therefore, be keen when choosing your multimeter so as to ensure it is best suited for carrying out its intended task. Regarding the safety rating, you may need to spend some more cash if you want to get the best.
How bad do you need the auto-ranging feature?
When it comes to getting the best digital multimeter, whether you’re going for an upgrade of a digital multimeter, one feature that you should definitely have in mind is the auto range capabilities it has.
What the auto range simply does is save you the hassle of having to set the range on your own. This can come in handy a lot if you’re using it for the first time. In order for you to use this, all you have to do is select what unit of measurement you’ll be taking after which the meter will do all the hard work for you.
This can be quite handy if you are using your meter especially for field services where having to select the range each time will be cumbersome.
Using the digital multimeter.
When it comes to multimeters, what you’ll be measuring in the digital ones is mostly what will be going on when it comes to the analog ones. The only difference is that the former is much more accurate when it comes to taking the measurements.
The first and commonly measured unit we'll be looking at when using a multimeter is voltage. So as to take this, first of all, power off the circuit then have the black/ ground probe in the COM port and the red/positive probe on the socket that is marked V which can in some cases be marked with the omega symbol.
If the meter is a manual ranging one, you’ll have to set it to measure either the DC or the AC voltage. On the other hand, if the multimeter is the auto-ranging type, you'll have to set the dial to the V symbol with the setting for either DC or AC.
So as to measure voltage, you’ll need to have the multimeter connected in parallel with the voltage source. this simply means that both the black and red probe should be in parallel with the circuitry.
Touch the black probe on the first point of the circuit, power up the circuit then just touch the other end of the circuitry while observing all safety precautions. Having done so, take the measurement on the LCD screen and you're good to go.
Other than voltage, current is another unit that’s commonly measured. Here’s how you’ll go about when it comes to measuring current…
First off, turn off the power on the circuit that’s being measured. Having done so, have the ground/black probe in the COM socket and the red/positive probe in either the mA or the high current circuit that’s normally marked 10A.
Something to pay attention to…
The mA socket is normally marked with the highest current and if you happen to take an estimation of the current to be greater than this value, you should use the 10A. doing otherwise may result in you blowing a fuse.
Unlike measuring voltage, you should connect the meter in series for current measurement. If its auto-ranging, turn it to the highest current range- the 10A or the 20A range regarding the meter you're using. Alternatively, if it is an auto-ranging meter, set it to the A or the mA. Turn on the power and then take the measurement on the LCD display and you’re good to go.
If you want it for home use, then you’ll in most cases use it to check for breaks in appliances, blown fuses or tracing PCB paths.
So as to measure continuity, you should simply have the dial set to the continuity range which is normally a symbol marked by a what looks like a series of arcs. Have the probes connected to the meter in the same way you would for measuring voltage.
If you need to check for the continuity of any conductor on the circuit board, also ensure that it is powered down. Have the tip of a probe on each end of the conductor or the fuse that needs to be checked.
When measuring continuity, the resistance is also indicated on the display. If the resistance is less than 30 ohms, you'll hear a beep sound from the meter. On the other hand, if there happens to be a break in the continuity, you'll see a 1 displayed on the meter
Checking diode continuity using a digital multimeter
Another outstanding feature of the digital multimeters is that they can be used to check whether a diode is open circuited or whether it has a closed circuit. Since a diode is meant to allow electric current in one direction only, a multimeter will indicate voltage across it if the diode is working.
Here’s what you should do to check for diode continuity:
Have the dial of the meter set to the diode test setting that is indicated by the diode symbol (a triangle with a vertical bar at the end.) then have the two probes on opposite ends of the diode.
With the black one at the cathode and the red probe on the anode end, the diode should conduct and the meter will indicate the voltage which should be about 0.2 for the Schottky diode and 0.6 for the silicone one. Alternatively, if the probes are reversed, there should be a 1 indicated on the diode since the circuit will be open and non-conducting.
Finally, let’s have a look at measuring resistance, shall we?
First off, power off the circuit an then disconnect one end of the resistance from the circuit. Having done so, connect the probes as you did when measuring voltage (the black probe in the COM port and the red one on the V port). You should then have the dial in the lowest ohm range then place a tip of the probe in each of the ends of the resistance that is being measured.
If you see an ‘I’ displayed on the screen, it means that the resistance is greater than can be displayed hence you’ll have to move to a higher range. Do this until there’s a value displayed on the LCD.
How much should you expect to spend on the digital multimeter?
Regardless of the price of a digital multimeter, it surely will have some use. On the other hand, as it is expected form any cheap product, there are problems that you should definitely expect to deal with when using the cheap multimeters.
Taking for instance safety, whereas a cheap multimeter may meet the safety standards, it does not necessarily mean that it will be durable enough to remain in the state it was when you bought it.
Something else that’s worth pointing out is the level of accuracy regarding the price of a multimeter. There is always a cost for calibrating multimeters since no meter stays within its factory limits forever. To keep it in this accuracy, you may need to pay some cash. You’ll also need to pay for the components to do the calibrations as well as the labor.
Spending more on the service cost when doing the calibrations than you will when buying a new one may result in it being better to replace the meter each time it gets too inaccurate. Though it’s a gamble to use the meter considering its level of accuracy and safety, you may actually get a cheap meter if you’re on a budget.
Which type of probes would you prefer to have on your multimeter?
The best digital multimeter pays attention to even the tiniest details which are why you should greatly take into account the probe design on the meter prior to purchasing it.
Banana to tweezer probes
If you know anything about the surface mount technology, then you do know that getting a pair of probes for testing SMD components is not that easy. With the banana to tweezer probes, however, it will be much easier for you to do the testing.
Banana to test probes
You never know when something’s going to go wrong, right? Well, with these probes, it will be quite easy to replace if you happen to break one
Banana to alligator clips
If you are looking for something that's outstanding when it comes to connecting large pins or wires to a breadboard, you should definitely go for these. They also just so happen to be the best for performing long-term tests in which case you won't want to hold the probes all the time.
Banana to IC hooks
Integrated circuits can be quite cumbersome to work with especially if they are small in size. With the banana to IC hooks, however, you'll be able to work almost flawlessly on smaller ICs as well as the IC legs.
2018’s 10 of the Best Digital Multimeters
Moving on to the second part of our review, let’s have a look at some of the best digital multimeters you could get for your money.
1. Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeters
Starting us off on our list is one of the best from Etekcity- the Etekcity MSR-R500. Let’s take a look at what it packs under the hood, shall we?
First off, as far as ease of use is concerned, this one just so happens to be the best. The multimeter comes with a data hold and backlit LCD display which just so happens to be the best you could possibly get if you’ll be using the multimeter in dimly lit areas. Other than this, the digits on the display are quite large hence you won’t have to squint to see them clearly.
Whether you need it for home use or industrial use, it is just as good in either case since with it, you’ll be able to measure voltage, current, resistance, diode and continuity and much more. The best part about this meter is that despite being affordable, it’s accuracy is not compromised.
To have it up and running all you need is a single 9-volt battery. You also get this included for you after purchasing your multimeter.
With the overload protection feature in all ranges, the meter is protected from any damage from excessive voltage hence you won't be replacing your meter anytime soon just in case of an overload.
2. AstroAI Digital Multimeter
Safety is one of the most important features on a multimeter, right? Well, starting with drop protection, the multimeter has got protective rubber corner guards all around it which minimize the chances of it coming apart just in case you happen to drop it.
Other than this, it comes with the overload protection feature- this is made possible by a fuse within it that protects the meter effectively on all ranges.
Powering it up only requires you to have a single 9-volt 6F22 battery and moreover, you get this included for you right out of the box.
Another mind-blowing feature you get to enjoy upon getting this multimeter is that it comes with the data hold feature. In addition to this, the LCD display is quite large and more so, it is backlit which makes it convenient to use even in dim light
Whether you want it for industrial use or domestic use, you’ll conveniently be able to use it to test continuity, measuring current, voltage, resistance, diode testing and much more.
3. Tacklife DM02A Classic Digital Multimeter
Though it's not something that you'll get any multimeter, the Tacklife DM02A comes with a non-slip plastic all around it which makes it easy to have a hold on. Just in case you happen to drop it, there’s a slightly soft plastic all around it that protects it from drop protection.
The multimeter also does come with a stand that angles at 45 degrees. This makes the screen easy to see and you also do get to use it hands-free. As for the display, you get a 3.5 digital LCD screen for fast reading that is also visible in dimly lit areas.
With the non-contact voltage detect feature, the backlit LCD lights up and the buzzer sounds. This happens when the voltage is detected to be greater than 90V RMS. The NCV visual and audible alarm mechanism ascertains you of utmost safety.
Continuity test and overload protection…
On the meter is a PCT protection circuit for resistance measurement and if you measure anything less than 100 ohms, the buzzer sounds. With this kind of accuracy, you’ll conveniently be able to troubleshoot a number of automotive and electrical appliances.
4. Tacklife DM02A Classic Digital Multimeter
If you’re looking for the perfect multimeter for a first time user, do consider having a look at this one. Let’s take a look at what it’s got in store for us, shall we?
First off, the Tacklife DM07 has got the auto-ranging feature which saves you the hassle of having to set the range on your own. In addition to this, the LCD display is 3.5 which makes it easily visible. The display also does happen to be backlit which makes this one of the few multimeters you could use in dimly lit areas.
So as to save on the battery power, there is the auto power off feature which is activated if you leave the multimeter idle for some time. speaking of power, you get 4 X 1.5V AA batteries out of the box that you’ll be using to power up the multimeter.
As far as safety is concerned, the fact that it comes with both an overload protection feature as well as a short circuit protection feature renders it one of the best multimeters.
The multimeter comes with not only the beep for continuity test but there is also the LED light. If the measured resistance will be less than 40 ohms, the LED sensor will be green and steadily on and the beeper will sound continuous. If it's between 40 and 60 ohms, the LED will be on. This way, you can be able to judge the circuit much quicker.
5. Amprobe 15XP-B Compact Digital Multimeter
We’re now halfway on our list and we’re doing good so far. Let’s take a look at what the Amprobe 15XP-B packs under the hood, shall we?
First off, if you’re looking for something that will be just as good for home use as it is for industrial use, this is definitely your meter. The meter comes with a data hold display that freezes the display hence allowing you to take your measurement quite easily.
For accuracy, the meter comes with an outstanding 2000-count resolution meaning that it can display as much as 1,999 units before you have to change the operation of the meter.
The meter also does meet the IEC safety standard 61010 and is certified for categories 1, 2 and 3. Other than safety, it is also worth mentioning that the meter comes with magnetic straps that can be used to hang the meter on metal doors or fixtures.
Included out of the box with the multimeter is a 9-volt battery that’s already installed for you and can keep the device going for quite some time. There are also usage instructions that will come in handy especially if it’s your first multimeter.
6. URXTRAL 6000 Counts Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter
If you’re looking for your first multimeter, then you should definitely consider taking a look at this one. First off, it comes with a portable waterproof bag right out of the box. Other than offering ideal convenience when carrying the multimeter outside to work with, it can also be used to preserve the multimeter when not in use.
For a first time user, this one might just be the best since it is an auto-ranging multimeter. You won't have to worry about going wrong when selecting the correct range within which to take your measurements.
The fact that it does come with an auto power off feature saves on quite an ample amount of power. This, in turn, saves you a lot of cash as far as replacing the batteries is concerned. Something else that’s worth mentioning about this multimeter is that it does come with a backlit LCD display that is at the same time large enough for you to see clearly even in dim light conditions.
Included for you out of the box is a pair of 1.5-volt batteries that can easily be replaced upon exhaustion. Backed up with the auto power off feature when idle, these will last for quite some time.
7. Digital Multimeter, Acekool Auto Ranging Multimeter
As far as accuracy is concerned, this multimeter may just be exactly what you are looking for. Considering it comes with an outstanding 6000 count, you’ll be able to measure AC/DC voltage, current, frequency, resistance, capacitance, and diode continuity accurately.
The meter also does have the auto power off feature hence if you happen to accidentally leave it on, it will automatically turn off after 15 minutes hence saving on a lot of power. Also, to make things much better for you, the auto power off feature can be deactivated by pushing any of the buttons r turning the rotary switch.
The backlit LCD display makes this one of the few meters you could use in low light conditions and in addition to this, it does come with the data hold feature that freezes the readings on the display before you can take them. The meter also does come with a backlit LCD display that allows you to use it conveniently in low light conditions.
Out of the box, you get a drawstring pouch as well as 2x1.5-volt AAA batteries for portability and powering up the multimeter respectively.
8. Meterk Digital Multimeter Multi Tester Trms 6000 Counts
Moving on, we have another one from Metrek. As far as accuracy is concerned, this might just meet your exact needs. First off, it is a 6000 count multimeter. In addition to this, it tests AC/DC voltage and current, diode continuity, resistance, capacitance, frequency, temperature and much more.
As for the display, it has a backlit LCD screen that’s easily visible in the dark. There is also a flashlight included on the multimeter which adds on to the convenience of using it the low light conditions.
Besides its outstanding performance when taking electrical measurements, the design is also not left out. The meter boasts a fashionable appearance with smooth lines all. It also is shockproof, anti-skid, anti-fall and anti-static.
Besides protection from physical damage, there is also protection from electrical damage since it has a precision circuit board as well as an overload protection feature. With the double protective tube, overload and short-circuit protection, you won’t have to worry about burning any electrical appliances.
On the multimeter is a bracket with which you can easily support the multimeter and even better, you can use it to collect test probes for your convenience.
9. Tacklife DM01M Advanced Digital Multimeter
We’re almost done with our review now, coming up second last is the Tacklife DM01M. how about we take a look at what it packs under the hood, right?
First off, considering accuracy is one of the things that sets apart the best from the worst, this one will give you the best since it measures DC and AC voltage to 1000V and 750V respectively. The current is measured to 10 amperes and the resistance to 60MΩ. The capacitance, on the other hand, is measured to 100mF.
As far as safety for use is concerned, it meets the 600V CAT IV, 1000V CAT III safety standards. The 6000 count display, on the other hand, makes it possible for you to take the largest readings from your electrical appliances.
There is also an added bonus that you'll not get in most multimeters- temperature measurements and a flashlight. The former is the K-type thermocouple that measures up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit and as for the flashlight, you get to use it with utmost convenience in dim light.
Coming along with the multimeter are 4 x 1.5 AA batteries. These will last you for quite some time considering it also does have the auto power off feature.
Beep continuity test with LED:
So as to give you a much better experience, it has the beep continuity test with an LED light. if the resistance is less than 40 ohms, the LED will be a steady green and the beeper will sound continuous. If it’s between 40 and 69 ohms, the LED will remain on so that you’ll get to judge the circuit much quicker.
10. Auto Ranging Pocket Digital Multimeter
Wrapping things up, we have possibly the best multimeter for you whether you are looking for an entry level multimeter or a replacement. Here’s what you should be expecting from this one…
First off, it comes with the auto-ranging feature that'll come in handy especially if you're taking field measurements. This also does come in handy for you are using a multimeter for the first time. besides just having the auto-ranging feature, it does have a large LCD display that makes it quite easy to take the measurements.
The maximum display is an outstanding 4000 count. Though it’s not the largest, you’ll surely be able to take a wide range of measurements on this multimeter as compared to other multimeters in its class- definitely the best multimeter for you.
Still at the display, it is worth mentioning that it’s a backlit LCD meaning that you can use it with utmost convenience even in dim light conditions.
Something else that’s worth pointing out is that you’ll only be needing 2 x 1.5V AAA batteries to power it up. To make its usage even much better and more economical, there is the auto power off feature.
Utmost portability. Taking into account that it only weighs 126 grams, it’s quite easy to carry around with you. Besides being lightweight, its safety is not compromised since it does have the overload protection feature. You should use the PT protection circuit for both resistance and frequency measurement.
Comparison on 10 Best Digital Multimeter in 2018
We’ve seen what makes a digital multimeter the best, what you should do when you go about measuring different electrical components as well as 10 of the best that you could possibly get in 2017. Taking into consideration the use, the budget as well as the safety, you should be able to get the best one for you regarding your preference.
Now that you’ve got 10 of the best at your fingertips as well as the usage of the meter, all that’s left is for you to shop for one.
Everyone else best should not necessarily be your best- remember to pay attention to the details