How to Find the Best Multimeter: Top Picks for 2021
When working on circuits regardless of the kind, you must have a digital multimeter (DMM) beside you. This is because you can use it to measure some electrical units like the voltage, current, and resistance for both direct current (DC) circuits and alternating current (AC) circuits. Because of its multipurpose functionality and usage, it may sound like it is on the expensive side, but in reality, you can get various affordable multimeters for Kids in the market or in online stores like amazon.
Aside from measuring circuits, you can use it to troubleshoot circuits in an electronic project, but before you buy one, there are some things you should know.
The basic functions of a multimeter are to measure current, voltage, and resistance. However, it could as well measure the current in a diode, the continuity mode of circuits, frequency, capacitance, temperature, etc. The average measurement of your multimeter should be able to measure is 50mV and 20mA of current at the least and 1000V and 20A at the maximum. For instance, you can use it to check an LED that consumes 20mA. In measuring resistance, it should be able to measure from a few ohms to a few Mega Ohms.
If you have a battery in your car and after a while, it cannot hold full charges again, then you can simply use a multimeter to check the power it is storing. With this, you will know how long you can use it and when you will have to get a new one. The need for replacement will be when you find it with a voltage of 0.99V or less.
To be able to do this, you get your multimeter and locate the two probes on it. You will have to connect the probes to the terminals of the battery and the charge of the battery will appear on the screen of the multimeter.
However, if you find out there is an electrical issue in your car and you just checked the battery and found it to be in good working condition, then you can simply test other components of the circuit board like the motors, resistors, etc, and following the same pattern of connecting the probes to the two terminals too.
What can multimeters measure?
You can use the voltage across two points in a circuit, the resistance in a wire or circuit, and as well the current flowing through the circuit. It is this feature that makes them sometimes call it a “multitester”.
Several multimeters have a continuity check and give out a loud beep to show two things are connected electrically. This is very useful, especially when you are building a circuit and connecting wires or soldering; if you run a continuity check and you hear the beep, it means that all your work was carried out well and there won’t be issues of short-circuiting.
A diode is like a one-way valve that only lets electricity flow in one direction and some multimeters can check if it is functioning properly too. Though it may vary across different multimeters, you should find out in your user manual how it functions.
Finding the best Multimeters: Factors to consider when looking for kids Multimeter
It could be a tricky task to find the right multimeter for your electrical work or personal use since there exist numerous and different types in the market. However, we have outlined some tips here that would help you know the best one that will suit your needs. These tips include: –
1. Digital vs. analog multimeter
In the world of technology, there are digital products and analog products. In previous times, the analog products were widely in use till the invention of the digital but this does not mean that it knocked it out completely since there are still lots of people who prefer the analog to the digital. However, when it comes to getting a multimeter, it is advisable to go for the digital one as there are several reasons for that:-
- The first reason is since you cannot see your measuring parameters easily since it possesses no screen like the digital. To see your values, you will have to manually and meticulously read a needle movement.
- If you don’t have a steady eye, then you will not be able to read it accurately.
- Additionally, you will need a training tutorial on the way to read values as the ones marked on it are quite condense and messy.
2. Auto range vs. Manual range
It is only when your budget is not wide or you are still a beginner that you can purchase a multimeter with a manual range as it is very stressful to work with. For the auto range multimeter, all you will have to do will be to connect the device, choose the parameter you wish to measure, and read the value that pops up on the screen while the multimeter will choose its range by itself
However, a manual multimeter is annoying and stressful as you will have to do all the work yourself. In a case when you have numerous values and components to deal with when carrying out a project, you will tire pout along the way. Hence, you should save yourself this stress and get one with auto range.
3. Safety features (CAT safety measures)
When using electronic or electrical tools, you must pay utmost attention to safety. As a beginner, it is advisable to work on DC circuits first before you can begin working on AC.
However, when you are measuring high currents whether on DC or AC circuits, then you should look for a professional and high-quality multimeter. This is because they come with some features that not all multimeters possess. Some of these features include;
- The type of fuse in the multimeter. The average fuses used in plugs are the glass fuses, but these are not reliable, and you should steer clear of them. However, the more reliable form of fuses in multimeter is the high-quality cartridge fuses, and these are paramount if you want to measure high current or low currents since they can resist bursting or causing a fire outbreak.
- Secondly, you should check if it has a CAT III rating, which tells that the multimeter will not explode when you mistakenly decrease the mains.
- Finally, the probes of the multimeter should be of high quality, i.e. they should be made from silicone rubbers.
4. Range limits
The ranges that your multimeter can measure should also be checked so that after using it in for a particular project, it can as well serve in another one and you will not have to purchase a new multimeter. For instance, you could buy a multimeter that can measure currents in milli-range and you originally bought it for amperes. This will cause you to go get another which can do that.
Hence, you should check out these recommendations for the ranges you should seek in a multimeter.
- Current Range: 10uA to 10A
- Resistance Range: 10 Ohm to 20MOhm
- Some picofarad to a decent high range (maybe in milli-range)
There is no specific range measurement of voltage since it is not advisable to use them for measuring high voltages. Rather, you can simply use your multimeter to measure voltage from a few millivolts to 600V.
5. Input resistance
The input resistance of a multimeter is the resistance it offers to the device connecting across its probes and if the resistance is high, then you should know that you have a good multimeter. The average input resistance on a multimeter is at 1MOhm.
6. Input Impedance
This is one of the features several people ignore when buying a multimeter and this can lead to a lot of issues. For instance, you buy a multimeter with a few 100k ohms impedance and you want to measure a circuit with high impedance ranging to about 1M ohm. Once you connect your multimeter probes across such a circuit, it will disorganize the whole circuit and this will decrease the effective resistance so it is advisable to get one with 10M ohm input impedance at the minimum.
The accuracy of the multimeter is not a very important feature when choosing one though the average multimeters have and accuracy of A 0.5% DC volt with 4000 or 6000 counts. If you get one with a higher value than this, then you have just wasted your money to get an unprofessional multimeter.
8. Diode Measuring feature
If you access the diode or continuity function symbol on your multimeter, you will find this feature. A majority of the multimeters have this function, though their voltage range is about 2V instead of 4V like the average multimeter and that is a problem.
9. Continuity response time
Your multimeter should have a quick response time to prove its superiority and professionalism. This is necessary when dealing with short or open circuits as slow response time is very annoying and confusing.
10. Battery time
This is one of the most important features you should look out for. If the battery of your multimeter cannot last for more than 1000 hours, then you have a wrong multimeter.
11. Auto hold function
This is the ability for the reading you take with your probes to still be visible on the screen even after you have removed the probes. This is very good, especially when you are trying to connect your probes carefully and avoiding to touch an open wire.
Our Top 5 Picks: The Best Multimeters Reviews
Since you have seen what you need to look out for in a good multimeter, now let’s introduce you to our top best selections that you can use to do your electrical stuff without stress. These include;
The Innova firm is a popularly known producer of good and quality multimeters and you can be assured of durability and capability. Since it is widely known, it does not insinuate that it is meant for just professionals. As a beginner, this is the perfect multimeter for you regardless of whatever you want to do in the electrical or electronic field.
The multimeter is a fitted with a color indicator on its display screen and this shows when you are testing your batteries especially that of your vehicle. The green color indicates that the battery power is sufficient; yellow indicates that the battery is weak and when it is red, it means that your battery is expended and you need a new one.
If you are on a tight budget, the INNOVA 3320 is suitable for you as it is budget-friendly. It has auto power-off, which trips it off 15 minutes after it is not in use. Aside from these, it has auto-ranging and can measure AC currents from 400 amps including resistance, continuity, and voltage.
Additional accessories you will find in this multimeter include test leads, holders, and a stand. The rugged red rubber covers, fixed at the edges, prevent it from wearing out or breaking though it adds to its beauty too.
The Elenco multimeter is a very special one that comes with a soldering kit. Aside from using it to measure your various values, you can as well employ the aid of the solder for small tasks at home.
Also, it is a very wonderful, reliable, and affordable tool that even kids can use. Aside from the test leads, it comes along with a 9V Battery and a very smart instruction manual you can read carefully and understand all you wish to do without asking any questions.
This manual explains to you all the components with clear, well-labeled, and concise diagrams and tips.
- Pocket size
- 7 Functions / 17 measuring ranges
- Easy and clear instructions
- A quite sticky selector dial
- Slow changing modes
- Cheaply made probes
As an electrician or one wanting to take on electrical tasks as a hobby, the Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter is a great and practical tool for you. It has an easy operation that can be used to measure various values of measurements like current, voltage, and resistance, continuity, transistor, and test diodes. It has a manual range dial which makes it less stressful when selecting the range you want to use before carrying out your measurements.
Additionally, it has a continuity buzzer that ensures your electrical components are working fine as you assemble, diagnose, and repair your circuits. You can use it in everyday tasks as it has a data hold function that keeps your measurement visible on a large display till you are done recording them.
Additional features you would find with the MSR-R500 are a low battery indicator, continuity buzzer, overload protection, removable test lead extension caps, LCD backlights for use at night and in the dark, and a tough rubber sleeve to protect it from drops that may happen while on the job.
This will be highly useful for children engaged in kids’ science experiments. It’s equally good for a science camp that teaches children from grades 4 to 6. It’s great for the type of experiment that requires students to create a super battery and take the voltage readings while adding more cells. It’ll equally work for experiments that require children to produce a flashlight using an LED powered by pennies and zinc washers.
The multimeter comes with excellent functionality and features wide range of voltages. The continuity feature is very essential for helping students discover any issue by examining every constituent of the super battery. The meter is solid and sturdy and produces lucid clear readings. It can be used for a lot of kids’ scientific experiments. By all means try this, it’s highly recommended.
NOTE: You should be careful when using the multimeter as it shouldn’t be used for all tasks related to AC.
- Accuracy in measurement
- Had a Sampling Speed of 3 times per second
- Very easy to use
- Has safety protection
- A high quality meter
- Consistently accurate on all scales/ranges when compared to 2 much higher priced meters (Tektronix DMM 870 and DMM 850)
- Decent, durable and long-lasting
- Fits well on the palm.
- Nice crisp display with a toggle on/off backlight.
- Has well-sheathed probes.
- Best test beeper tone of the three.
- Handy test tone, great for simple audio circuit testing.
- Very uncommon high mega ohm ranges available.
- Affordable and inexpensive
- Has just a fuse.
- Has no automatic power off.
- Fitted together with cheap screws
The Neoteck Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter is the most suitable meter for electrical or electronics students who are handling any practical work or tasks where they will be obliged to measure resistance and voltage. It has a 15mm LCD with backlight, auto range, can be held relaxingly in the palm, is highly reliable, performs great, and can be used to measure AC/DC Voltage, Current, Resistance, Capacitance, Frequency, check Diodes and Transistors, and Continuity in circuits.
This Multimeter is designed to meet IEC 61010-1 & CAT II 600V, overvoltage category and double insulation, and as well as an 18-month warranty backing it up and explaining that it is from a good manufacturer.
The features that come with this pocket digital multimeter are impressive. You’ll definitely like it. I particularly love the Banana Plug and Alligator Clip Cable. They are a great help. It equally features an Overload protection. The multimeter has a holster in the main body. While this is downsized, it creates a high resistance against any shock that may occur in instances of an accidental drop.
While it’s is a lower quality of multimeter suitable for students and beginners, unlike related products and brand names, it is well built and sturdy. It even comes with better quality than more costly multimeters.
Precaution to take before use:
- This is an automated range digital multimeter with a large internal resistance (also known as high input impedance). It equally has induced voltage interference with an open circuit. The AC DC gear will experience a digital jump anytime it is on, however, this has no effect on the measurement.
- When you turn on the meter and change the dial to ohms, the default reading you’ll get is OL. Don’t be bothered if this occurs as it is normal. What it means in this instance is an infinity of resistance.
When you want to measure the resistance of a material with the multimeter, you start to get the real resistance of the material. You don’t have to reset it if this happens. Just go ahead and measure your resistor, you’ll get a correct right reading (forget about the OL reading)
- Has an amazing meter despite its inexpensiveness
- Comes with alligator clips as well as probes
- Capacitance measurement doesn’t work at all.
- There are many errors on the user manual
5. Anbes Soldering Iron Kit 60W Adjustable Temperature Welding Tool, Digital Multimeter, 2pcs.
This Anbes Multimeter is one that comes along with a Soldering Iron Kit and as a beginner that has an interest in just fixing up things as related to soldering, then it is suitable for you. It comes with everything you need to do simple soldering like a meter, wire strippers, anti-static tweezers.
The electrical outlet it sports can fit in any US electrical outlet in your home or even car. It has 3 soldering iron tips with high functionality, an on/off switch you can use to turn it on or off instead of reaching out to the home electrical outlet always when you are working, and it is fitted with a knob at the base of the soldering iron which you can use to increase or reduce the temp. Additionally, there is a base and coil that you can keep your soldering tool while using it. It has a suspended tip so you wouldn’t worry about it burning anything.
- Please switch to the 200℃ model when not using and please do not keep the soldering iron at high temperature always.
- Do not use much pressure when welding so that you do not damage the tip.
- Please melt a little solder wire on the tip of soldering iron after use, if there is black oxide on the tip, the tip may not be tinned and must be cleaned first.
- Safe to use
- Has numerous features
- It is quite weighty
- Not quite affordable
Frequently asked Questions
What should I look for in a multimeter?
There are numerous things to look out for but the major ones are the ability to select a range of voltages, to measure AC and DC voltages, and to measure ohms.
What is the easiest multimeter to use?
The Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter is very user friendly, though it has the features of a pro model.
How do you check the resistance with a multimeter?
First, you set your multimeter to the highest resistance range available. The resistance function is usually denoted by the unit symbol for resistance: the Greek letter omega (Ω), or sometimes by the word “ohms.”
Next, touch the two test probes of your meter together. When you do, the meter should register 0 ohms of resistance.
What do counts mean on a multimeter?
Counts and digits are terminologies used in describing a digital Multimeter’s resolution.
What is the resistance equation?
Resistance is the ratio of potential difference to current. The equation to calculate resistance is: resistance (R) = potential difference(V) ÷ current (I)
Buying a multimeter is easy, but buying the right one could be quite tricky and failure to do so will result in either having to buy a replacement or simply causing harm to yourself, home or surroundings. Before you buy a multimeter, you should know if it is suitable for you, and can handle your tasks. Hence, with our guide, that should be a problem of the past to you.