Fluke 87v Digital Multimeter | Review
If you are bound to have to handle electrical or electronic troubleshooting every once in a while, then you definitely owe it to yourself to work only with the best multimeter.
Whereas the standard multimeters may be able to handle automotive or household tasks quite well, this may not be the case if you will be working with industrial appliances. Taking this into account, we’ve put a lot of time and resources to give you an in-depth review of one of the best industrial multimeters in the market- the Fluke 87v.
We’ll be taking a look at why this multimeter is worth every penny- from the build quality and the construction design to how good it is as far as performance is concerned. After all, being in operation for quite some time, we can expect no less than the best from Fluke.
Without further ado, let’s get started with our review right away, shall we?
The First Impression
Being a digital multimeter, the Fluke 87 definitely has got a large LCD display on the front face which, I’m sure will blow your mind. Right below the LCD display are some functional buttons- a total of 8 on two rows.
Right below these is the dial. this has got the off position starting from the extreme left and the measuring stations are a total of 7. I believe that these will just be what you need to handle whichever industrial task you want to.
Below the dial are the banana input jacks. There is one COM port and three others ports for using with the positive probe.
In general, the labeling on this multimeter is clear. The functional buttons on the top are labeled clearly which is the case on the different measuring stations as well as the labels on the banana input plugs.
Having had a glimpse of what you should be expecting from the Fluke 87, let’s move on to looking at what you should be getting from it as far as build quality and performance is concerned.
The Build Quality And Design.
As compared to other digital multimeters in the market today, I’d say that the most striking feature of this multimeter is the design quality.
First off, this multimeter is neither too large to be uncomfortable in your hand nor is it too small for you to be able to use comfortably. You can comfortably have it in the palm of your hand without having to worry about it slipping off from your grip.
For the sake of protecting it from potential damage, each of the designs is tested and verified of being able to withstand any drops, shock and even a reasonable level of humidity.
Something else you should know about the design quality is that this multimeter comes with a removable holster. This has got a built-in probe and LED storage.
Unlike other multimeters that require you to remove the whole back panel so as to replace the battery, this one saves you all that trouble. Despite the rest of the multimeter being tightly sealed for the sake of durability, there is an access door at the back of the Fluke 87 which makes battery switching quick and easy.
When it comes to the usage of this multimeter, I’d say that the accuracy is probably one of the best as compared to most of the other industrial multimeters in its class.
Being a True-RMS multimeter, not only do you get the advantage of using it for both the sinusoidal and the non-sinusoidal waveforms but you’ll also enjoy a high level of accuracy. Due to this, you can be able to use it even when troubleshooting household appliances.
For the accuracy, it is worth pointing out that this multimeter is accurate to 0.05 DC voltage which is quite dependable. In addition to this, there is also a selectable filter which is yet another factor that contributes to the high level of accuracy you’ll be getting on this multimeter.
What’s more is that with the Fluke 87v, there is an analog bar which allows for the measurement of unstable or quick-changing signals.
When it comes to the frequency measurement, you’ll be getting accurate results on adjustable speed drives which can only be credited to the low pass filter. The multimeter can measure frequencies up to 200kHz.
Switchable Between The Auto-Ranging And The Manual Ranging Function.
Yet another feature that makes this worth every penny is the capability of being able to switch between the auto range as well as the manual range.
This simply makes the multimeter suitable for use for a first-timer just as it is for an expert-level technician. With the auto-ranging function, you’ll not have to worry about having to set the range yourself; as a matter of fact, you’ll save both the time and effort it takes to do this and get accurate results all the same.
On the other hand, if you’d like to set the range yourself, you can switch to the manual ranging function. This as well will give you accurate results.
A Built-In Thermometer For Temperature Measurement.
Whereas the manual and auto-ranging function will be able to give you quite a high level of versatility, there is an added feature that will definitely blow your mind- a built-in thermometer.
Without having to carry a separate instrument in order to measure temperature levels, the built-in thermometer will quickly allow you to do this. You can be able to measure from -200 degrees Celsius to 1090 degrees Celsius/ -328 degrees Fahrenheit to 1994 degrees Fahrenheit with the built-in thermometer.
Even though you will be getting a built-in thermometer coming along with this digital multimeter, you’ll also get an external temperature probe. This measures from -40 degrees Celsius to 1090 degrees Celsius/ -40 degrees Fahrenheit to -500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Either way, whether you need it for home maintenance or industrial use, the Fluke 87v is equally an outstanding digital multimeter to use.
How Safe Is This Multimeter?
I bet we can both agree on the fact that if a multimeter is not safe enough, then it definitely is not worth your money, right?
That being said, let’s take a look at how the Fluke 87v performs as far as safety is concerned, shall we?
In order to ensure that this is truly an industrial-grade multimeter, it’s been constructed and conforms with the CAT III 1000V as well as the CAT IV 600V safety rating.
Whereas the CAT III 1000V rating renders this multimeter suitable for use in household appliances as well as for measuring mains voltage, the CAT IV, on the other hand, renders it suitable for industrial use. The latter will be quite helpful considering you will be protected from overcurrent as well. The CAT IV 600V protection also comprises the test leads; the alligator clips as well as the 9-volt battery that you’ll be getting along with this multimeter.
Something else that’s worth pointing out about the safety level on this digital multimeter is that it has got an audible warning against the incorrect use of input jacks. I believe that this is yet another reason that makes this multimeter ideal for use by an expert in a power plant as well as an entry-level user just troubleshooting an electrical circuit at home.
Besides safety, the display is yet another thing that we should really look into when purchasing a digital multimeter.
In the case of the Fluke 87V, you’ll be getting quite an outstanding display. Besides it being a large and easy-to-read LCD, you’ll also have a 2-level backlight feature. The two of these combined makes the multimeter quite ideal to use even in dim light conditions. This, as compared to other multimeter is significantly easier to read.
As for the resolution, you’ll be getting 6000 counts and 3-3/4 digits. This is not all though, if you’d like to tune this up a little bit more to get more precise measurements, you could switch to the 4-1/2-digit mode that works at 20,000 counts.
Either of these will be quite outstanding especially for industrial use and more so, not every multimeter out there will give you the luxury of being able to switch as this one does.
The display quality coupled up with the true-RMS capabilities of this multimeter undoubtedly make it one of the best there is in the market.
Yet another outstanding feature about the display is that you can clearly be able to see the icons of different measurement functions regarding what you have selected using the dial. Considering the display is a large, clear to see and has got the backlight feature as well, you will easily be able to make out even the tiniest details displayed
Optional Magnetic Hanger.
At times, while using a multimeter, you may, momentarily need to do something else and maybe have both of your hands occupied. Whereas you may have to live with the struggle of handling other multimeters in such a case, the Fluke 87v comes with a magnetic hanger.
With this, you can either set up the multimeter safely when not in use or alternatively, you can set it up so that it can be easy to view if your hands are occupied doing something else.
I think we can both agree on the fact that it’s quite difficult for you to find this level of flexibility and convenience in other multimeters
The Measurement Functions
Considering the Fluke 87v is an industrial multimeter, you can be able to handle quite a lot of measurements using it.
For starters, if you’ll be able to take voltage measurements for both AC and DC depending on where the rotary position is and the same goes for both the AC and DC currents as well. For the current measurement, you can measure from 0 mill amperes to 600 mill amperes or alternatively measure from 0 to 10 ampere.
In addition to current and voltage measurement, you will also be able to measure resistance, continuity, and capacitance as well. It is worth mentioning that all of the mentioned functions are all handled with the rotary at the same position and to switch to capacitance, you’ll have to press the yellow button on the first row and at the extreme right.
The 600Mv DC voltage range and temperature are handled at the same station and you can switch between either.
Finally, you can also be able to handle diode testing, the duty cycle as well as frequency measurement.
Something to have in mind…
When taking all these measurements, the position of the black banana input plug never changes- it should always remain in the COM port. For the positive probe, you should be careful when taking the different measurements not only to avoid taking the wrong readings but also to avoid damaging the multimeter.
Besides just knowing what you can be able to do with the rotary switch at a given position, it is also important to know what the different push buttons will allow you to do. Let’s take a look at each of them.
The yellow button.
By taking a look at the stations around the rotary switch, you’ll probably notice that some of the stations have a yellow label of a given measurement with the rest being labeled white.
The function of the yellow button is to allow you to select capacitance, temperature, the low pass filter function and switches between AC and DC current. All this is dependent on where the rotary switch position is.
Considering that the auto power off feature can be enabled or disabled, you can press this button while powering up the multimeter to disable it at will whereby the meter will read ‘Poff’.
The min/max button.
With the rotary switch at any position, you will conveniently be able to use this function. It starts the recording of maximum and minimum values. It steps the display through the MAX, MIN, and AVG (average) and then presents the readings. In order to cancel this mode, all you have to do is hold the button for one second.
Also, when powering up the multimeter, it enables you to calibrate the multimeter. Upon holding it down as you power up the Fluke87v, the display will read ‘CAL’ and you can easily calibrate your multimeter.
With the switch at any position, you can switch between the available ranges for the selected function if you are in the manual ranging mode. To return to auto-ranging, simply hold down the button for 1 second.
You can use it to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit temperatures and also enable the meter’s smoothing mode until you release it.
This captures or rather freezes the present readings displayed with the switch at any position. When a new stable reading is detected, the meter beeps and the previous readings are replaced with this
If the rotary is at the frequency counter, it will stop recording without erasing the recorded values and if it’s in MIN MAX recording, the multimeter stops and starts the frequency counter.
As you power up the multimeter, you can be able to turn on all the LCD segments upon pressing it down.
The brightness button.
This button simply functions to turn on the backlight. Holding it down allows you to enter the high-resolution mode i.e. the 19,999-count mode.
The continuity button.
With the rotary at the continuity, resistance or capacitance position, you can either turn the continuity on or off.
If the rotary is at MIN MAX recording, you’ll be able to switch between Peak -250 μs- and the normal 100ms response times.
If at the Hz, Duty Cycle position, you can toggle the multimeter to trigger on the positive or the negative slope. As you power up the multimeter, you will disable all the beeper functions.
This button simply stores the readings that are presently displayed as a reference for other subsequent readings. The stored reading is subtracted from the other subsequent readings.
As you power up the multimeter, you will enable zoom mode for the bar graph until the button is released.
With the rotary at any position, pressing this button enables frequency measurement and starts the frequency counter. Pressing it one more time allows you to enter the duty cycle mode.
As you power up the multimeter, you’ll enable the high impedance mode if you’re using the mV function.
Sleep Mode For Battery Saving.
Coming along with this digital multimeter is a 9-volt battery. Even though this could take you a while, there is an included improved selectable sleep mode.
With this feature, the multimeters will automatically switch off if left idle for 30 minutes hence optimizing the battery usage. Considering most of the other digital multimeters give you a window of about 10 minutes before they automatically power off which can be rather inconveniencing to some, the 30 minutes you get in this multimeter is quite a lot of time.
Coming to the end of our Fluke 87v review, we can definitely see that this multimeter is indeed worth every penny. Its level of versatility is unmatched and the same goes for accuracy as well as safety and durability.
Besides the interior design, the accessories you’ll be getting will allow you to handle pretty much anything.
If you’re looking for an all-around digital multimeter that you can pretty much use to do anything, then I’d highly recommend the Fluke 87. As for the budget, I’d say that this is definitely worth every penny and since you owe it to yourself to get the biggest bang for your buck, you should go for it.