Last Updated December 12th Welcome to Multimeter HQ! I created MultimeterHQ to help anyone that is interested in joining the construction/home repair field in picking the right product for your needs. Over the past few years, I have spent 15 years in the construction field. During this time I have reviewed and tested quite a few different multimeters, and there are some that I would recommend, and some that aren't worth the money. I have tested products from nearly every brand and I have created posts to outline the advantages and disadvantages of each model. When it comes to multimeters, you definitely want a quality product. Because when you are dealing with electricity, you need something that is accurate and can give you a reading that will make your job easier! Any multimeter that makes your job easy and accurate is the best multimeter for you!
Because multimeters have been around for so long, there are quite a few choices on the marketplace now a days. Over the years, I have gone through and tested quite a few different multimeters. The majority of them are decent designs, but there are some that are leagues above the rest.
My Third Choice
- CAT II
- 250 V / 15 A Limit
- Rating: 3/5
The Best of the Best
- CAT III
- 600 V / 20 A Limit
- Rating 5/5
My Second Choice
- CAT II
- Bullet Point 2
- Rating: 4/5
What Is The Best Overall Multimeter?
If you have ever taken a stroll down your favorite home repair store, you might have noticed that there are quite a few different testers available on the market. That being said, it can be quite difficult to pick the best type of multimeter for your needs. Thankfully, after countless years and testing quite a few of these products, I will be able to guide you through some great choices!
Fluke 115 Multimeter Review
Fluke has been around for over fifty years, and they are known for their electronic systems. The 115 model has been extremely popular model because of its overall quality and its durability. It is designed to be a mid to high level tester which has enough functionality to handle any needs a home tinkerer or even a small electrician will have. Along with this, the design is compact enough to be easily handled, and the accuracy is second to none! Overall I think the Fluke 115 is the best multimeter for most people's needs!
This tester is a little bit higher priced than the others. This is because this is a mid tier product while the others are more aimed for beginners or people that will only use it once or twice a year. The Fluke 115 has the following specifications:
- True RMS Functionality
- CAT III Safety Certification
- Can Measure Up To 600 Volts, and 20 Amps!
- Can check continuity, Frequency, Capacitance, and Can Even Do Diode Checks!
- A Great Backlit White LED Screen That Enables You to Read the Screen No Matter the Lighting.
Overall, if you are someone that is going to use their multimeter more than a few times a year, then I definitely suggest the Fluke 115 model. It has a durable design that will take a beating and it will last you years. Along with this, it has the functionality to be able to pretty much be used on any device or electronic.
Innova 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter
Innova is a research and development firm which has been around for the past ten or so years, and they are known for producing quality testing tools. The Innova 3340 is a great automotive multimeter that is packed in for a great price. Originally designed purely for automotive uses, this multimeter has taken the auto world by storm and is quickly becoming a great multimeter for any home uses as well!
This is another mid-tier multimeter that has great functions which will help your troubleshooting ability. It is designed for automotive pieces like engines and batteries, so it does a great job doing large measurements, but it does lack the ability to get very precise measurements you might need for smaller electronics. The Innova 3340 has the following specifications and features:
- UL Certified!
- Tests Alternator Diodes, Breaker Points, Fuse Wiring, and Switches!
- Features a Temperature Probe Which is Great For Testing Automotive Pieces.
- Features Auto-Ranging and Auto-Shutoff/Overload Protection!
Overall the Innova 3340 is a great multimeter and I would definitely recommend it for someone that plans to be working with automotives. It provides hands-free testing and also includes test lead holders! Along with the durable design and the ability to measure up to 10 MegOhms, this makes this one of the best multimeters in the market!
Klein Tools MM1000 Electrician's Multimeter
If you are interested in multimeters you are probably aware that Klein provides some great testers! Along some of their best is the Klein MM1000 Multimeter. The MM1000 is an entry level multimeter that really packs a punch and truth be told, we really like it! It is outfitted with the ability to test up to 1000 volts and 10 amps which is quite good, along with an easy to use auto-ranging feature.
The Klein MM1000 is one of the best entry level multimeters that I have used. For a low low price you are awarded with auto-ranging ability, a great durable design, and a the ability to measure up to 1000 volts and 10 amps. The Klein MM1000 has the following specifications and features:
- Measures Up To 1000 Volts and 10 Amps!
- Easy to Read Backlit Display For Any Lighting Situation.
- Features a Thermocouple to Measure Temperatures On Any Appliance or Surface!
- Ability to Display Signals on an Analog Bar Graph.
Overall I would definitely recommend this multimeter to someone that wants to have a multimeter that has some advanced functions, but don't think they will use it enough to warrant a more expensive option. The MM1000 will give you the ability to test nearly any item a light part-time user might need and I definitely recommend it!
TekPower TP9605BT Multimeter Review!
Another great option for a multimeter is the TekPower TP9605BT! TekPower has been around for a few years and their parent company Kaito Electronics is known in the radio marketplace. Overall they are known for quality and affordable electronics, and the TP9605BT is no exception! This is generally thought to be a entry level to mid level multimeter simply because although it has a good safety rating, it doesn’t have all the features that the Fluke 115 and other higher level tools have.
I think the TP9605BT is great for anyone that needs a multimeter and will use it a few times a year, and might need a few of the more advanced functions. This tool has the following specifications:
- Can Connect to Window's and Android Phones to Share Results Via Bluetooth
- True RMS Device
- K-Type Thermo Sensor
- CAT III Safety Certified
- Can Measure Up To 600 Volts and 10 Amps
Overall this is a great little multimeter. It has some neat functions like the USB and android phone connections. Along with this, it can handle a good deal safety wise, and it really will last you a good amount of time! I definitely suggest this to people that like to occasionally tinker and fix home electronics.
Innova 3320 Multimeter Review!
My last recommended multimeter is the Innova 3320! This little multimeter is a great little piece of machine. This is definitely an entry level multimeter but that doesn’t mean it can’t pack a punch! This is a great multimeter for students to use to learn about electricity and testing!
It features a large LED display which is extremely easy to read. Along with this, it is an auto-ranging digital multimeter so you don’t have to worry about dialing in every time. The Innova 3320 has the following specifications:
- Features a Large Screen For Easy Readability
- Auto-Ranging System
- CAT II Safety Rating
- Durable Design to Withstand Drops on the Job!
Overall this is a great beginner multimeter. It will definitely help you test some small electronics and circuits, but it shouldn’t be used on bigger projects. This is only a Category II safety rating so it will do the job for low voltages, but for anything potentially dangerous you really should consider a stronger tester. I think this is great for a home tinkerer, and definitely for students as well!
What Is The Best Multimeter For Me?
When you are dealing with an electric circuit, you need to be able to get an accurate reading on the voltages being produced. You need this to accurately troubleshoot a circuit, and identify how much energy and where the energy is. If this reading is accurate, it can save you and your firm thousands of dollars and many hours of labor, and that is why it is do important to get accurate readings.
But what features should one look for to find the right multimeter? The following segment is going to concentrate on what exactly you should know when purchasing a multimeter, and what you can do to make sure you select the best one for your needs! After reading the following passage, you will have all the knowledge you need to make an educated purchasing decision.
Digital Multimeter Vs. Analog Multimeter
In general, when you are dealing with multimeters there are two distinct types you will encounter, analog and digital. Digital multimeters are usually referred to as DMM, and analog multimeters are usually referred to as AMM.
These are simply multimeters with an analog display. The main advantage of analog over digital is the fact that you can more accurately read changing trends than on a digital multimeter. Although newer digital multimeters are starting to become produced with the ability to feature a graph that will try to show these changing trends a little better.
- Very Simple To Use!
- You Can Accurately Read Changing Trends in Real Time!
Overall digital multimeters are all the new craze, and they are actually pretty great! The main advantage of a digital multimeter is that it has a much higher input impedance compared to analog meters. This is important on a multimeter because when you have a higher input impedance you can measure any type of voltage.
- Much Higher Input Impedance Than Analog Testers.
- The Ability To Read Quite a Few More Types of Energy Compared to Analog Testers!
- Extremely Simple and Easy to Read Measurements!
Overall I think digital multimeters are what you should really look into. There is a lack of supply for analogs and sometimes the price isn’t really worth the lack of features. That being said, there are also quite a few meters that feature both analog and digital, so if you like the features of a digital but you also want the simplicity of an analog then these might be a great option for you!
Multimeter Design Types
After you have chosen whether you want analog or digital, you also need to take into consideration the design. Generally speaking, when you are selecting a multimeter you want to select something with a durable design. There are always small mishaps that happen on the job and these mishaps might include dropping a tool. So, if you do drop this tool, you don’t want it to immediately break, now do you? Some different design specifications you should take a look at are as follows:
- Durability: If you are on a construction site, you might need something that can take a beating!
- Ergonomics: If you are going to be holding the tester for a while, you will want something that is comfortable.
- Material Type: I have seen multimeters made out of rubber, hard plastic, and even some with a metal frame.
- Size: Do you want something that is easily carried in your pocket? Or do you want something that can be set up and remained in one spot?
How Accurate Do You Need Your Multimeter To Be?
The purpose of one of these tools is to test, and if it can’t do that accurately, then it isn’t worth your time or your money? If you are working on a job, then accuracy is definitely something that needs to be spot on.
If you are just working on repairing your sons video game then you can get away with a little lower quality accuracy. But either way, I suggest you find a multimeter that can be calibrated to be sure that it maintains as high as accuracy as possible.
If you are someone who wants a multimeter so you can fix the very occasional issue, then I would recommend a lower tier Digital multimeter, because they usually have an accuracy ±1 %variance. This means that for specific readings these multimeters will have a 1% leeway on readings.
If you are someone that will either use a multimeter quite often, or actually uses it for their profession, I would consider a higher end multimeter like the Fluke 115, and above. These testers have a lower accuracy variance on average than lower tier testers, and definitely analog testers.
Safety of Your Multimeter
Although accuracy is extremely important, you also have to be aware of your safety when you are testing anything with electricity. That being said, there are different measurement categories for multimeters. Some are specifically designed for higher amounts of volts than others are. Because of this, you really need to think about your uses for this multimeter, if you are just doing some random home tinkering, then you can definitely get away with a lower voltage level multimeter, but if you are doing construction or doing professional jobs then you will definitely need to consider having a top tier meter.
When dealing with CAT Safety Levels, the higher the level, the more energy it can withstand. I have listed the available safety certifications below along with what they can handle:
- CAT I: Designed for circuits with regulated low voltage sources and electronics. This is anything that isn't powered by being plugged into the wall.
- CAT II: Designed for circuits powered by local level electric (wall outlet). This can include home appliances, and other electronics that are powered by your home outlets.
- CAT III: Designed for hard wired equipment. This can include circuit breakers, distribution boards, wiring, switches, junction boxes, ect.
Safety is definitely important, so I urge you to do your own research and make sure that you have the best multimeter for your needs, as this will avoid any preventable injuries!
Overall, it can be a difficult decision finding the best multimeter. But when you start to think about your specific needs, then it becomes quite a bit easier in deciding which will fit your needs the best. I hope the reviews in the beginning of the post gave you some good suggestions on which tools to take a look at. I have personally used all of these, and there are some great products out there, but it is a lot to choose from. But, I hope I have helped you throughout this process!
Multimeter Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQ)
What’s The Difference Between Digital and Analog Multimeters?
Analog multimeters require the user to “zero” out the tester. Along with this analog multimeters do not have numbers printed out like digital multimeters. They use a scale type display to show the results of the test.
What Does “OL” Mean On The Multimeter Screen?
If you see an “OL” or a 1 displayed on your display screen, that means the current isn’t detected. Because of this no continuity is detected and it’s an open loop.
What is The Min/Max Function?
The Minimum and Maximum functions on multimeters are used to capture the smallest and largest values that a multimeter picked up in a specific test.
What Are The Category Safety Levels?
There are four safety category levels for multimeters. The lowest is CAT I and the highest is CAT IV. The lower the CAT level, the lower the amount of voltages and electricity the tester can safely handle. If you are dealing with live wires and other powerful voltages, you will definitely need at least a CAT III. This is extremely important because if you are trying to pick the best multimeter then that will depend entirely on what you will actually be using the multimeter for.
What Can a Multimeter All Measure?
Using a multimeter is an important skill for anyone that likes having projects. These testers are so versatile that they can be used to measure a huge amount of things. Generally most multimeters can measure voltage, current and resistance. If you have more advanced multimeter you might be able to have a continuity checker which lets you know if two things are connected electronically, or you could have a diode checker which can be extremely useful to help troubleshoot diodes.
Along with these measurements, more advanced or specialty multimeters might be featured with temperature gauges which is useful to make sure a fuse or appliance isn't over heating, or the ability to measure transistors or capacitors.
How Do You Use a Multimeter?
Before you start testing your multimeter out, you need to figure out what type of multimeter you have, you can either have an auto-ranging multimeter or a manual multimeter. Auto-Ranging are the multimeters that you can begin testing a signal, and the multimeter will guess which type of measurement to use. Manual multimeters you physically have to change the dial to select which type of measurement you want to use for it to work properly.
From there you input the probes or the jacks. Generally black is the input and red is the output. If you have a manual multimeter you will need to now change the dial to select the correct measurement, if you have an auto-ranging tester then you are good to go. From there you are ready to measure.
This was a very brief description on how to use a multimeter, I made a more in-depth guide, and I suggest you take a look here.