Best Multimeter Under 50 USD – 2019’s Best of the Best.
From something as simple as checking for any disconnections in your wiring to checking the battery life of your car among other super useful functions, a multimeter just so happens to do the task just right. Just as it is the case for any electrical equipment, there are different types of multimeters that go at different prices as well.
If you’re getting one for the first time, then you probably wouldn’t want to spend too much cash on it which is why in this section, we’ll be having a look at the best multimeter under 50.
Before we get started, one thing that I’d really like to emphasize on is the fact that someone else best should not necessarily be your best. in addition to this, the brand or the price should not be your driving factor when it comes to making your selection of the best multimeter.
Without further ado, let’s get started with the buying guide then move on to the product listing, shall we?
- 1 How to get the Best Budget Multimeter
- 1.1 Which type of multimeter do you prefer?
- 1.2 Types of probes the Multimeter
- 1.3 Banana jacks
- 1.4 Alligator clips.
- 1.5 IC hooks.
- 1.6 Tweezers.
- 1.7 Test probes.
- 1.8 Using a Digital Multimeter
- 1.9 Measuring voltage and current.
- 1.10 Measuring continuity.
- 1.11 Measuring resistance.
- 1.12 Checking for diode continuity.
- 1.13 Resistance mode
- 1.14 Diode mode
- 1.15 Diode test analysis.
- 1.16 Safety measures when using a multimeter
- 1.17 The Fuse
- 1.18 The probes
- 2 Best Multimeter Under 50 $ - 2019’s Top 10
- 2.1 1. Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeters
- 2.2 2. AstroAI Digital Multimeter, TRMS 6000 Counts Volt Meter
- 2.3 3. Crenova MS8233D Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeters
- 2.4 4. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
- 2.5 5. Dr.meter Digital Multimeter Tester Non-Contact Voltage Detection
- 2.6 6. Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter
- 2.7 7. Tacklife DM07 TRMS 6000 Counts Auto-Ranging NCV Multimeter
- 2.8 8. Tacklife DM03 Auto Ranging Electronic Voltage Multi Meter
- 2.9 9. Neoteck Pocket Digital Multimeter 8233D PRO 2000 Counts
- 2.10 10. URXTRAL 6000 Counts Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter
- 2.11 Final Verdict
Pick any from 3 of our Best Selection
To save you the hassle of having to read through a whole 5000-word article to get to our top 10 picks, we’ve sampled out 3 of our best for you.
How to get the Best Budget Multimeter
Moving on to the first segment of our article, let’s take a look at some of the key things you should consider before making your purchase.
Which type of multimeter do you prefer?
If you know anything about electronics, then you surely do know that a multimeter is one of the most important equipment. Well, when you've finally set your mind to get one, you'll have only two options to choose from- it's either you get the digital or the analog multimeter.
The analog multimeters.
This type of multimeter has been around for the longest time and truth be told, it is also one of the simplest to use. The analog multimeters show a real-time change in both voltage and current but on the other hand, you can easily misread the electrical unit in concern.
Not unless you know how to really use this kind of multimeter, you should not even try it out if you’re doing something that’s really important which brings us to its alternative- the digital multimeters.
Being the type of multimeter that is trending presently on the market and one that you can't miss anywhere, it is definitely worth trying out. Let's find out why, shall we?
Though it may take some time for you to take a stable reading on the digital multimeter, they just so happen to be the most stable type of multimeter you could get for your money. Under the digital multimeters, you can get either the manual ranging or the auto-ranging multimeters.
If you get one of these, then you’ll definitely be working with the multimeter under 50. The best thing about this kind of multimeter is that the multimeter itself automatically detects the range of the electrical unit you are measuring. This way, even if you’ll be getting one for your first time, it will be much easier to use.
Manual ranging multimeters.
Other than the auto-ranging multimeters, there are manual ranging ones. These ones are obviously cheaper as compared to the auto-ranging ones.
The measurements the two take are pretty much the same but the difference between them is that for the manual ranging multimeter, you’ll have to select the range yourself. This can be quite a hassle at times which is why you’ll be better off when you start with the highest setting and work your way downwards.
Besides the main difference between the multimeters being based on whether they are digital or analog, there are other minor differences. One multimeter, for instance, may have a separate port for measuring current and a separate one for measuring voltage which is a safety issue that most people tend to overlook- both for the meter and yourself.
Types of probes the Multimeter
You need to take into consideration the types of probes the multimeter comes with. Let’s have a look at some of the most common ones, shall we?
First off, one thing that you should know is that the end of the probe that is plugged into the multimeter is the banana jack and the other end that you use on your electrical components is the probe tip. Other than banana jacks, you can get pin jacks on other multimeters, these ones are normally smaller as compared to banana jacks.
The red probe is normally used for positive and is otherwise known as the live probe. As for the black probe or the neutral one as some prefer to refer to it, you use this on the negative connections.
The first kind is the banana to the alligator clip. On one end of this one is the normal banana clip that we're normally used to and on the opposite end is an alligator clip. This type of clip is normally recommended for connecting to large wires or pins on a breadboard. They are quite ideal when it comes to performing long-term in which case you won’t have to hold the probes in one position for so long.
Integrated circuits can be quite a hassle to work on with a multimeter at times. If you have the IC hooks, however, you can do this quite conveniently since you’ll be able to use them on the small IC legs without much hassle.
SMD components normally use the surface mount technology, right? Well, in order to use a multimeter when testing the SMD components, then you should probably get a banana to tweezer probe.
This is probably the kind of probe that comes with most multimeters. The test probes are the normal probes we are used to and can be used for most basic multimeter functions such as current, voltage and resistance measurements. Just in case you break yours, they are quite easy to replace.
Using a Digital Multimeter
If you’ll be getting one, then you should definitely have utmost knowledge when it comes to using it. A multimeter is a must have both for industrial electrical maintenance and maintaining simple household electrical equipment.
Measuring voltage and current.
Whereas some multimeters may not be able to measure some electrical units, any multimeter is designed to measure two major units- the current and the voltage. If it cannot be able to measure either of these, then you’d be better off getting a replacement.
Starting off with the voltage which is otherwise known as the electrical potential across a circuit, you’ll need to have the black probe (the neutral probe) in the COM port and the red one in the port that’s marked with a ‘V’.
Unless you have an auto-ranging multimeter, you should switch the dial to the voltage setting and start with the highest setting first. Have the black probe on the negative side and the red one on the positive side or pretty much connect the multimeter to the electrical component in parallel. Once you get a stable reading on your meter, take the reading displayed on the LCD and you’re good to go.
Other than voltage, current is another important electrical unit. Here’s how you should go about measuring it:
First off, unlike in voltage, you should connect your circuit in series when measuring current. With the black probe in the COM port and the red one in the “A”,” I” or “AMP” port, switch the dial to the current setting.
Just like you did in measuring voltage, you should switch to the highest setting if you’re using the manual ranging multimeter. Connect the red probe to the current source and have the black one to the current input. Taking the reading in an auto-ranging meter should be easy.
If you are using the manual multimeter, switch to a lower setting if you don’t register any readings and you’re good to go.
Of all the uses you can put a multimeter into, this one is probably the simplest of them all. Measuring continuity is simply checking whether or not two points in an electric circuit are connected.
Before you measure the continuity if a given circuit, you’ll first need to be certain that the power is off. Having done so, ensure that the black probe is in the COM port and the red one is in the voltage port. You should then have the dial switched to the setting that’s marked with an audio symbol. Place the probes on the points that you want to check for continuity and if the meter makes a beep sound, then you’re good, if otherwise, then you should probably check for any disconnections or shorts
Here’s how you should go about when it comes to measuring resistance.
First off, as usual, the black probe should be in the COM port and the red one should be in the port with the ohm symbol- or simply the port marked ‘V’. The dial should be switched to the setting marked with the ohm symbol. If you are using a manual ranging multimeter, you may be forced to approximate the range.
The connection of the probes to the component being measured for resistance does not matter. Place the probes on either side of the component, take the reading and you’re good to go.
Checking for diode continuity.
Another use of a multimeter is checking for diode continuity. A diode is meant to allow electrical current to move in one direction only. Whether or not your multimeter has got the diode setting, you can be able to measure for continuity either way. You can use resistance mode or the conventional diode mode
For resistance mode, you should know that it does not always indicate whether or not a diode is good enough for use. You should also ensure that the diode is not connected to the circuit just to ensure that you don’t get any wrong readings.
If you’ve already used the diode mode to test for the diode continuity, you can use resistance mode to verify whether or not it’s good or bad for use in a specific application using resistance mode.
Here’s how you should go about when measuring continuity in resistance mode:
First off, ensure that the circuit is powered off and there is no voltage at the diode whatsoever. Even if the power is off, the voltage may exist in the diode due to capacitor charge hence, in this case, you need to have the capacitors discharged. Having done so, set the multimeter to either DC voltage or AC voltage
Turn the dial to the resistance mode after which you should then connect the leads on the diode after removing it from the circuit and then record the measurement. You should then reverse the test leads and record the measurement as well.
After ensuring that there is no voltage in the circuit and all the capacitors are discharged, here's how to go…
Turn the dial to the diode test mode or the diode symbol (an arrow with a vertical bar at the pointed end) and then connect the probes to the diode. record the measurement displayed then reverse the test lead connections to the diode and record the resulting readings.
Diode test analysis.
For a working forward biased diode, the voltage drops on most commonly used silicon diodes will range from 0.5 to 0.8 volts whereas, for most germanium diodes, the voltage drop will range from 0.2 to 0.3 volts.
For reverse biased diodes…
A multimeter will display OL which indicates that the diode is operating as a switch that is open.
A bad diode will not allow for current to flow in either direction and if the diode is open, it will display OL in both directions. For a diode that is shorted, it will have the same voltage drop reading in both directions
Safety measures when using a multimeter
Truth be told, if you are on a budget, getting the best and the safest is a 50-50 gamble. When it comes to multimeters, safety is one of the major things that should not be overlooked whatsoever and you need to take your time so as to ensure you’re getting the safest.
Though it is somehow seldom to get one of these, the best multimeter under 50 should have a fuse which protects it from too much current.
When too much current than is needed flows via the fuse, then it is the fuse that’ll burn out rather than damaging the whole multimeter. This way, you’ll only replace the fuse rather than the whole thing which we can all agree is quite economical.
Still, at the fuses, some multimeters have got different fuses depending on the amount of current you'll be measuring. If for instance, you may have a multimeter with two fuses, one that is 10 Amperes and another that is 200 milliamperes.
If you are measuring a current that is lower than 200mA, then you should plug your red probe in the latter port, if it is a high current and probably higher than 10 Amps, then you should have it plugged in the 10 Ampere port
Besides the fuses, you also need to ensure that you’ve got the best probes. When using the probes, you should ensure that your fingers do not touch the metal pins no matter what since this could result in a serious injury due to electric shock.
A system is normally as strong as its weakest link. When it comes to the multimeters, the test leads are the weakest link. For instance, the test leads need to have voltage ratings on them since using one that doesn't have such may result in you burning your fingers and worse enough, you may injure your entire forearm.
as much as you may be using the best multimeter, having test leads that are vulnerable to damage is quite risky. The wires should be thick enough and in addition to this, your fingers should be guarded against coming in contact with the metallic test leads. The point of connection simply has to be thicker than the rest of the rod so that your fingers do not slide down to the metallic leads.
Best Multimeter Under 50 $ - 2019’s Top 10
Now that you know exactly what to look for when it comes to shopping for the multimeters, it’s time to have a look at 10 of the best. let’s get started, shall we?
1. Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeters
Starting us off on our list, we have the Etekcity MSR-R500 which is one of the best you could get under 50. First off, it comes with a backlit LCD display that makes it quite easy to use if you are working in dim light. Other than the LCD display just being large, it is also large enough for you to see without squinting.
It also does come with the data hold function that gives you ample time to take your readings.
The multimeter does come with a support stand which you can open up if you’re working on a bench. This way, you’ll be able to see the readings clearly without holding it up. Besides this, another bonus you get on the meter is a rubber sleeve all around it. This protects it from wear and tear as you’re working and more so, you won’t have to worry about it being damaged just in case it accidentally falls off your working bench.
If you need something that’ll work flawlessly both in industrial and home application, you should go for this multimeter. It does measure voltage, electrical current, diode continuity and circuit continuity quite well.
2. AstroAI Digital Multimeter, TRMS 6000 Counts Volt Meter
If you’re looking for something that’s going to give you the biggest bang for your buck, then this is definitely it. First off, it can measure a wide range of units inclusive of which are voltage, current, resistance, continuity, capacitance, frequency diode continuity, and temperature as an added bonus.
Just as good for home use as it is for industrial use. With the meter, you get the auto-ranging capabilities which will come in handy if you are using this as your first meter. In addition to this, there is also the true RMS feature for both AC current and voltage
For convenience, it’s got a backlit LCD display and a data hold feature. These two make it both easy and convenient to use the meter under low light.
A little extra added on this meter that you won’t easily be able to get on any other meter is the auto shut off feature, and a hanging magnet. The former simply saves on power since the meter automatically powers off when not in use and the former allows you to store the meter AstroAI Digital Multimeter conveniently when not in use.
3. Crenova MS8233D Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeters
Moving on, we have the Crenova MS8233D which is unlike any other multimeter you’ll get out there in the market. Here’s what it packs under the hood…
First off, it comes with the auto power off feature which is something that you will get in only a few budget multimeters. If left idle for 15 minutes, the meter will automatically turn off so as to save on power. After the auto power off is triggered, pushing any button or turning the rotary switch will resume your session.
When it comes to the display, the meter has got a 3 ½ digit LCD display with a backlight which makes reading the values quite easy even in low light. Still, at the display, it is worth mentioning that the meter comes with the data hold feature which simply allows you to take all your readings conveniently.
It does come in handy quite well…
As far as usage is concerned, you can use the multimeter for measuring both AC and DC voltage as well as current, continuity of electrical circuits as well as diode continuity, frequency, and resistance among other electrical units.
Before using the multimeter, it is advised that you install a new battery. This can be done by simply removing the back cover screw after which you should open the lid and install the 9V battery. If you’re using it for the first time, read the user manual keenly and when it comes to cleaning it up, you can use a soft clean cloth; avoid using liquid solvents.
4. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
The 4th multimeter on our list is the INNOVA 3320. First off, from its name alone, you can tell that this is an auto-ranging multimeter. Being so, you won't have to go through the trouble you would when using the manual ranging multimeters. This eliminates the need to have to dial in the correct range when making the electrical measurements.
Other than just having the auto-ranging feature, it does come with a protective rubber corner guards for drop protection which guard it against being damaged just in case you drop it.
As far as accuracy is concerned, the meter is UL certified which makes it one of the best when it comes to troubleshooting a variety of household and electrical problems. For most of the household electrical appliances, you can use the 10A input.
On the meter is a large digital LCD display for easy visibility even under low light. other than this, there is a color-coded LED light for battery quick check. It lights green when the battery is good, yellow when it is dropping or rather weak and it lights red when you need to make a replacement.
For hands-free use, the multimeter comes with a stand. In addition to this, the test leads are attachable.
5. Dr.meter Digital Multimeter Tester Non-Contact Voltage Detection
We’re now halfway on our list and we’re doing good so far. Coming up 5th is the Dr.meter Digital Multimeter. Here’s what you should be getting from it…
First and foremost, as far as accuracy is concerned, the fact that it comes with an outstanding 6000 count display renders it the best multimeter under 50. This is so because it can conveniently and easily be able to measure AC/DC voltage, current, resistance, diode, transistor, capacitance, lifeline test among other electrical units.
With the data hold feature and easy to read backlit LCD display, you'll conveniently take your readings even under dim light and with the data hold, you'll be able to freeze your readings and conveniently note them down.
the physical size of the meter is 190cm x 89cm x 50cm which you can work with by simply holding it in the palm of your hand. Besides this, it does come with a protective rubber sleeve protection all around it. This protects it from damage just in case of any accidental drops.
Besides the backlit display, it is also worth mentioning that the LED light at the back allows you to illuminate objects under test. The NCV detector also senses near AC voltages which makes it more convenient and definitely a safer multimeter to use.
If you'll be using it for long, there is a built-in support stand on the multimeter which makes it suitable for hands-free usage. The input overload protection feature within 1000 volts of DC voltage and 600 volts of AC voltage increases safety while using it.
6. Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter
We’re already past halfway on our list and we are doing good so far. Well, moving on, we’ve got the Amprobe AM-510. If you need something that is equally as good for residential use just as it is for industrial use, then this one multimeter that you should definitely try out.
Starting with the convenience it has to offer, you can measure both AC and DC voltage to 600V, AC and DC current, resistance, capacitance frequency and battery test among other electrical units. The best thing about it is that you can do this with utmost accuracy.
When it comes to the display, the large LCD display is not something you’ll be getting on just any multimeter. Besides being clearly visible, you can also be able to use the meter conveniently in low light just as you would in good lighting.
There is also a rubber over-molded enclosure that guards it against any accidental drops and more so, the multimeter qualifies the CAT III 600V safety rating.
7. Tacklife DM07 TRMS 6000 Counts Auto-Ranging NCV Multimeter
Another multimeter that will definitely give you a bang for your buck is the Tacklife DM07. First off, from the title alone, you can clearly tell that this is an auto-ranging multimeter which gives you an easier time since you won’t have to select the ranges all the time.
There is also a beep continuity test with LED. If the resistance is less than 40 ohms, the green LED sensor will be on and the beeper sounds continuous. If it’s between 40 and 60 ohms, the red LED sensor will be on. This way, you can be able to judge the circuit much quicker.
As for the display, this is a 3 ½ large digital LCD display for easy visibility even in dimly lit areas. When it comes to taking the measurements, you’ll be able to use it to measure continuity, capacitance to 1000 mF, resistance to 60MegaOhms, current to 10A, DC voltage to 1000V and AC voltage to 750V.
With the 6000-count max display, you’ll be able to take a wide range of readings. Something else that’s worth pointing out is that out of the box, you’ll be getting 4 x 1.5V AAA batteries and a 1 X K-type thermocouple.
8. Tacklife DM03 Auto Ranging Electronic Voltage Multi Meter
Here's another digital multimeter that'll prove to be quite a bargain for you- the Tacklife DM03. Just like the previous one on our list, this one too does have the auto-ranging capability which is quite a bargain considering you won’t be spending too much on it.
As far as convenience is concerned, you can measure AC/DC voltage and current, frequency, resistance, and diode continuity. This renders it an ideal choice for home use and basic industrial use.
As for the display, it is an ideal LCD backlit display that also does have the Max Value hold. This way, you can use it in the dark and always have your highest measurements recorded just in case you need to refer to them in future.
There is also an auto power off feature included which works in such a way that if you leave it idle for 15 minutes, it powers off automatically. You can turn the meter on by pushing any button or changing the rotary switch.
With the data hold function, you can be able to record your readings even after removing the probes from the multimeter.
9. Neoteck Pocket Digital Multimeter 8233D PRO 2000 Counts
The 9th multimeter on our list is the Neoteck Pocket Digital Multimeter. Since we’re looking at the best multimeter under 50, all I can say is that getting this one is quite a bargain and will save you a lot of money. Let’s take a look at what it packs under the hood.
With the low battery indicator on the meter, you’ll know when to make a replacement so that you are not distracted as you work with it whatsoever.
For durability, the meter is constructed with a non-slip cover and in addition to this, there is a soft plastic all around it that guards it against drop protection. There is also a stand included which places the meter at a 45-degree angle for hands-free usage.
On the Neoteck 8233D PRO is a 15mm LCD display that is also backlit which makes the usage of this multimeter almost flawless even in low light conditions. The meter does have the data hold function hence you can take your readings even if the probes are not plugged in.
10. URXTRAL 6000 Counts Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter
Finally, wrapping things up, let’s take a look at the last one on our list, shall we?
First off, it is a 600 count digital multimeter. This simply means that you can be able to take a wide range of readings using this meter. Some of these include voltage, current, frequency, resistance, diode continuity, and capacitance among others.
The meter does come with a portable waterproof bag which makes it easy to carry when on the go and also convenient when it comes to storing the multimeter. Speaking of convenience, at the back of the multimeter is a compartment lid secured by only one cross head screw that’s quite easy to remove.
The multimeter comes with the auto power off feature which saves battery life by turning the multimeter off when left idle. The display is a back-lit LCD for use under low light.
The multimeter also does have the data hold feature that slows you to take your readings even after detaching the probes from the electrical components being measured.
Summing up, the best multimeter under 50 is now much easier to come across, right? With utmost attention paid to detail, we’ve given you 10 of the best to choose from and in addition to this, there’s also a buying guide to lead you when it comes to making your selection.
The best is not dictated by the price or the brand name but rather whether or not it will be serving you as you expect it to. if you know exactly what you want, you should go ahead and shop for one and truth be told you’ll be better off getting one from our top 10 list.