Using the best multimeters has a range of unique benefits. As their name suggests, they are actually used in a wide variety of measurements. But not all multimeters offer the same measurements. For some users, it is actually a matter of preference. Used by professionals, some of the best multimeters can test voltage, resistance, continuity, frequency, etc. Most multimeters are actually used by professionals with diodes or transistors. At home, multimeters can be used with electronics and even in the garage, testing out various auto electronics is possible as well.
- Certifications and safety for the best multimeters
- The 10 Best Multimeters 2020
- 1. AstroAI WH5000A Multimeter
- 2. AstroAI AM33D Digital Multimeter
- 3. Etekcity MSR-C600Digital Multimeter
- 4. Etekcity Measure-Up Digital Multimeter
- 5. Etekcity MSR-A600 Digital Multimeter
- 6. Innova 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
- 7. Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter
- 8. Neoteck Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter
- 9. Klein Tools Digital Multimeter
- 10. Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter Pocket Portable Meter
- Guide to Buying the Best Multimeters
- Can I multimeter troubleshoot all electric problems?
- Is a multimeter a professional’s tool?
- Are electronic lead test kits included?
- Are all hold functions the same?
- Can a multimeter blow up?
- How to choose the best multimeters
- Range of measurements
- Design and ease of use
- LCD screens, battery life, and controls
- Included accessories
- Final considerations
Certifications and safety for the best multimeters
When it comes to certifications, it must be said most multimeters have none. It is still up to the user to test out the device and see if its results are as those advertised by the manufacturer. A few select devices come with CAT III 600 and 1.000V abiding regulation construction on the UL listed devices. This makes them safer than most other products.
The 10 Best Multimeters 2020
Why we like it: With a wide range of tests, this magnetized multimeter is a complete solution for professionals.
Designed with a modern approach, the multimeter has one of the largest and most detailed LCD screens in its class. There is a large knob to adjust the reading easily underneath it. Since it is made for professional use, its design has a few characteristics made for maximum return on investment. Its rubberized edges are perfect for an improved grip and for extra protection in case of slips.
The function switch knob is also one of the largest in its class. It represents a practical solution for quick adjustments. A 10A jack, an input jack, and a Com jack are also found on the device. Navigation buttons are also included. With strong rubber, they are easy to press even when working in busy places such as on construction sites.
One of the favorite features users considers this multimeter for comes with the included magnet on its back. The multimeter can stick to various metal panels, meaning less effort is needed when making measurements. Combined with its large size, it leads to one of the best designs in its class.
One of the most convenient features of the multimeter comes with its various readings, close to what even the most expensive devices are capable of. With AC/DC voltage reading, current, resistance, continuity, diode, capacitance, frequency, and even temperature readings, the device is truly capable.
With included cables, the multimeter can test for the circuit integrity. Called the continuity test, it connects two points of a circuit to check for any possible interruptions. With other applications for electrical problems, the device has an even wider range of application. It can even test out various stand-alone or part-of-a-circuit batteries. With overload protection based on a double fuse design, the multimeter is extra safe and useful in the long term on various jobs as a result.
With an attractive screen and a long list of possible measurements, the multimeter offers top performance at an affordable price.
- Made with an impressive LCD screen
- Measures temperature
- Includes continuity test compatibility
- Anti-burn double fuse safety protection
- The back magnet can attract metal objects and accessories
Why we like it: With class-leading customer service, AstroAI offers the AM33D as one of the pocket-friendly affordable multimeters for professional use.
With a compact design, the multimeter has multiple uses. But most importantly, it can be one of the best choices when it comes to practicality. The last thing professionals need is to actually have to deal with different types of heavy designs when measuring for circuit continuity.
There is a small but elegant LCD screen dominating the multimeter. It is not the largest screen seen from AstroAI, but it certainly is above average in build quality. A backlit button is also available. The added function is among the most suitable when it comes to saving battery life.
A range switch similar to what is seen in other AstroAI multimeters is added as well. All connecting jack ports are added to the bottom of the multimeter. Specifically made to troubleshoot electrical problems, the very affordable multimeter can also be used in electrician’s training. But since its results are mainly accurate, it can be used on the job as well.
With a sampling speed of 2 readings per second, the multimeter is quite accurate for what it has to offer. In many cases, it represents a solution which is easy to deal with for longer readings, such as those done in training. For this purpose, overload protection has been added as well.
There are a number of readings the multimeter can offer. Debuting with AC/DC readings, it is also able to measure current. Diode and continuity are measured as well. The continuity test includes two cables for accurate circuit troubleshooting. All electrical problems have a range in which they can be tested with the multimeter.
Like all products from the manufacturer, overload protection is included. Even at such a low price, it still represents a top design for optimum safety. But one of its most convenient features actually comes with the data hold button. Pressing the button will actually hold the readings on the screen, helping professionals take the required action and without losing the specific readings to compare with. Built with an open support stand on its back, the little multimeter offers plenty of features for learning or for professional electrical troubleshooting.
Used on various electrical faults, the multimeter has a wide range of readings while offering a more compact alternative to oversized devices.
- Made with overload protection
- Suitable for continuity testing
- Backlit LCD design
- Included data hold function
- AC measurements can off at times
Why we like it: With a unique clamp design for quick readings, the multimeter is an affordable solution with plenty of innovation.
One of the first things users notice about the multimeter is its compact yet intriguing design. With its unique easy clamp control, it is one of the simplest and most efficient designs of its class. Unlike many other similar multimeters, it actually provides a good solution for readings on the go, without having to invest in a more expensive device.
There is a convenient LCD screen on the multimeter as well. It shows all reading intervals but it can also hold these readings if needed. But its safe design is what actually makes it worth the purchase. Measuring AC current without needing to remove a single circuit cord makes it a safe product. It avoids direct contact with the circuit, which also makes it a recommended learning tool.
The auto-ranging assistance is a convenient feature included in the multimeter. Users can expect readings in the areas of AC/DC voltage, diodes, resistance and circuit continuity. All of these readings can be made in a short period of time and the included hold function can be a quick method of actually better understanding possible issues.
In terms of accuracy, users can also expect great results. It has a 0.1 amp difference compared to more expensive multimeters which are not important. Voltage readings are also in the 0.1 to 0.2 range difference with premium alternatives which means the device is indeed reliable. One possible issue which seems to come up from time to time is with the auto shut-off function. A few older releases were not inclusive of this function. But latest product releases included the function. After 15 minutes, the multimeter shuts off automatically.
With its impressive clamp design, the multimeter can also be a handy solution. There is an included pouch which ships with the device. But even professionals can find it to be as reliable as needed, especially with its special features such as max reading.
Compact and made with a distinct clamp system, the multimeter is as reliable as devices a few times more expensive. It’s also covered by a 1-year warranty.
- Made with a compact design
- Uses a unique clamp system
- Suitable for continuity tests
- Designed with a large LCD screen
- Clamp levers can become loose
Why we like it: The compact meter is a quick solution for DC current and resistance measurements.
Dominated by a large function switch button, this compact multimeter is among the minimalist devices for quick readings. But even with its simplistic approach, it manages to offer a few readings useful in different instances. Unlike other Etekcity multimeters, it can only measure DC current. But with a large LCD screen which can even work with a hold function, the multimeter is one of the most reliable in its class.
Built with a large backlit LCD screen, the multimeter is easily among the most important devices for proper measurements even in low light conditions. This is often the case when working with large circuits or in construction areas where natural light is low and where artificial light is still not in place.
Being such a small multimeter means that the device is also energy efficient. It’s not like multimeters are big consumers, but having a single battery power up the device for an entire year can be seen as a practical advantage. However, unlike other multimeters, the device still needs to be opened up for battery replacement.
There are a few readings the multimeters can do very well. Used in household and automotive measurements, the device is actually advantageous even over a few more expensive alternatives. Its price is not its only strength. In fact, the multimeter is actually known for its prices readings. This is possible due to the 3 times per second sampling speed, which is unheard of with such affordability.
Unlike a few other multimeters, the compact device is also quite capable when it comes to safety. For this purpose, the manufacturer installed a 2-fuse protection system. Based on 10A fuses for DC current, the multimeter is suitable for various reliable current readings.
The added hold function is now seen on the best multimeters and it represents a suitable option for a range of users. At the same time, the device also comes with the support stand prop up, seen on other practical devices as well.
With minimum readings and precise results, the 3 times per second sampling speed multimeter is used for its accurate results.
- Made with a pocket design
- 2-fuse protection system
- Used in household and automotive troubleshooting
- 3 times per second sampling speed
- Only measures DC current
Why we like it: With a rubberized construction, the multimeter can be used for its extra durability and large LCD screen.
Similar to the Measure-Up multimeter, the MSR-A600 is a true alternative for the busy professional. This is why it has actually been designed with a rubberized case which is suitable for protection in case of drops. With a height of just 5.5in, the multimeter is one of the compact solutions to use in different scenarios such as automotive or household electronics.
With a large LCD screen, reading the measurements is as straightforward as users would hope for. A backlit/hold button is also included. A mode selection buttons are added as well. These are the only 2 navigation buttons included which make the multimeter very easy to use.
Unlike many other multimeters, it also comes with an audio alert when making measurements. A loud beep is heard from an electromagnetic buzzer. For some users, it can be a learning tool while for others, it can be a professional multimeter. Suitable even for hobby electronics, it can test the circuitry of the LED strips.
With 2 included testing leads, the multimeter is one of the strongest designs in its class. It represents a top design especially due to the accuracy of its results. With 3 measurements per second, it comes up with precise results with a small margin for error. The good news is that compared to the Measure-Up multimeter, it can also measure AC current alongside DC current.
Suitable for continuity testing, the multimeter is among the leading designs in terms of proper circuitry testing. It can be useful for standard home electronics as it can also be useful on automobile electronics which can fail with age.
The safety convenience of the multimeter is impressive as well. With reverse polarity protection, it can be used for all types of measurements. Overload protection and a low battery indicator are available as well.
Compact and very well protected physically and against overloads, the multimeter is suitable for professional work as well as for learning purposes.
- Added physical drop protection
- Impressive sampling speed of 3 times per second
- Backed by a 90-day return policy
- Strong audible beeps
- Fuses are expensive to replace
Why we like it: An auto-ranging scale is a quick tool for professionals with added rubber protection.
With quick measurements, the multimeter might as well be one of the most responsive in its class. It comes with a thin body which is easy to grip with one hand. The manufacturer added a few rubber protections on the corners of the multimeter. They might not fully protect the device against falls, but it is an extra layer of protection in case of accidents.
The large LCD screen is also one of the top screens in the affordable class. However, many users can be used to hold buttons next to the screen, which is not the case with the device. Those needing to remember the measurements might find this problem quite annoying.
Used on household electronics and on automotive measurements, the multimeter is one of the accurate devices to use. In this price range, it is also one of the few auto-ranging designs. This means users don’t actually have to dial in the correct range when making measurements. Of course, the results are also less in the control of the user in case of any misreads, which do happen from time to time. This can happen with the continuity tester which has small delays and which can come with false negatives from time to time.
With AC/DC measurements, battery load tests as well as continuity tests, the compact multimeter is versatile and comparable with the best releases in its class. But unlike other multimeters, the color-coded LEDs can help the user experience as well.
With no need to set measurement ranges, the multimeter is suitable for basic electronic readings done quickly.
- Made with extra rubber protection
- Based on auto-ranging scales
- Built-in LCD display
- Designed with color-coded LEDs
- Slight 0.25 seconds delay on continuity tests
Why we like it: Based on non-contact voltage measurements, the multimeter is among the most practical in its class.
There are many multimeters to consider at the moment. But not all of them are actually able to offer non-contact voltage detection. With simple controls, the multimeter is not complicated to use for those who’ve already made measurements with such devices.
There’s a large LCD screen to make show all the measurements’ data. Buttons for minimum and maximum range settings are included alongside the hold button which freezes the results for reference on the screen. But the design of the multimeter is also compatible with a magnetic hanger which can be used in various locations to directly stick to metal.
The most convenient feature of the multimeter lies in the non-contact voltage detection function. This means that the tool is perfect for professionals and those who need the device on the job, rather than those who are still learning the ropes of electronics and cabling. The detection is as reliable as the contact alternatives and there’s no reason to worry about its accuracy.
4mm silicone test leads are also included in the pack. They can be used alternatively to the non-contact measurements. However, the main use of the multimeter lies in electronic troubleshooting. Most users find it easy to handle when it comes to maintenance tasks. Eliminating false voltages and making basic wiring checks are among the tasks where the multimeter is used the most. Frequency checks and capacitance checks are also performed by the device.
Given its non-wired approach, the multimeter also comes with a compact size with a smaller screen than the average alternative. This finds it suitable for one-handed operation and most users can actually rely on it even when working in hard to reach areas.
With impresses wired and non-wired voltage readings, the multimeter can be used to troubleshoot electric problems.
- Made with a compact design
- Includes the VoltAlert technology
- Suitable for non-contact measurements
- CAT III 600 V safety rated
- Poor screen illumination
Why we like it: The affordable multimeter is specifically made to offer a non-slip design as well as all the measurements including current and voltage.
It goes without saying that well-built multimeters can last longer. This is where Neoteck placed extra attention by actually adding a protective case around the device for extra durability. Designed with a digital LCD screen, the multimeter’s measurements are easy to read. They can represent one of the crucial devices in terms of practicality in a world where many products complicate measurements too much.
There’s an input terminal situated at the bottom of the multimeter. This design characteristic is already seen in many other devices and it allows users to connect the included test leads to the device. The function knob of the multimeter has its place as well. It is among the suitable knobs for small and large fingers which are actually made to last.
Various measurements can be made with the multimeter. Debuting with voltage and current readings, the device is also able to make other measurements between 2000μF capacitance and 200KHz frequency. The backlit screen is also among the best in its class and this turns the device into a design which is easy to read in low light conditions.
Other advanced functions are included for better user experience. The low battery indicator represents a simple graph which tells users when the time comes to change the batteries. This will not be seen too often as the multimeter simply works up to a year without new batteries. The auto power-off function of the multimeter also helps the device save battery life.
Measuring AC/DC current, making diode checks and continuity checks, the multimeter is suitable for all types of measurements and resistance checks up to 100Ω. Powered by a simple 9V battery, it is a device which is great for longevity.
With a practical design, the multimeter is versatile and it also comes with included test leads and a banana plug to alligator clip cable.
- Made with anti-shock protection
- Measures AC/DC current
- Suitable for continuity checks
- Diode check-compatible
- Ships with included test leads
- Continuity beeper can be improved
Why we like it: Available in auto and manual ranging, the multimeter is primarily made for those who could drop the device in various demanding locations.
It’s obvious the manufacturer placed an emphasis on the durability of the multimeter. While it is not the most affordable in its class, it is actually designed to withstand a3.3 foot drop. This is why it is one of the best-protected designs in its class. There’s a low battery indicator which can work for the safety of the device as well. Users always know when the internal battery needs a quality replacement.
Used in various environments, the multimeter is true to Klein Tool’s versatility. It works for residential, business and light-industrial environments and their electronic troubleshooting. In terms of design practicality, all of its controls have a similar layout to what is currently seen in this segment. From a dedicated backlight control to the range, min/max and hold function buttons, users have quick and dedicated control over its most important features. The mode select knob is made from durable plastic as well.
Measuring AC and DC voltage, the multimeter has good versatility. Used in continuity tests, it can show users where there’s a certain problem on the circuit. In other cases, it appears to work well for capacitance and duty cycles. But unlike most other devices, it also measures temperature.
In terms of safety, it is one of the few devices actually certified to CAT III 600V safety ratings. All of these characteristics are important as they are added in the context of a sturdy body. Even working at heights can come with no issues for the device as it has been tested for compliance on 1m drops.
The CAT III 600V certified multimeter is a top choice for working at heights in commercial spaces.
- Made with a sturdy case
- Includes a travel pouch
- Resists 3.3 feet drops
- Available with auto and manual ranging
- Lag on the continuity tester
Why we like it: Suitable for learning and residential use, the simplest multimeter design can work for a short learning curve.
Designed with a simplistic look with only a few controls, the multimeter is one of the easiest to handle. It offers a compact design, mainly suitable for traveling needs. While there are not many buttons on the multimeter, the hold function has a dedicated button to keep the readings on the screen for longer.
A large LCD display has been placed on the device, even if it’s not the most high-quality choice. The screen is also where users are able to see the battery charge percentage, a feature which is surprisingly not seen on all multimeters at the moment.
In terms of actual practicality, the multimeter works with AC/DC voltage at 600V. Its tests include resistance, continuity, diode, capacitance, and frequency. Basic DC accuracy is within 0.5% limits. The continuity test is also attached to a buzzer which is a feature normally seen in more expensive multimeters.
With a rugged design, it seems that the multimeter is not one of the devices which need maximum protection. With a simple scratch protection pouch, it can even be a basic multimeter to use for years to come. However, users need to know that both the protective pouch and leads are sold separately and not included in the pack.
With a simple and rugged design, the multimeter works best for AC/DC and diode measurements.
- Made with just a few controls
- Offers a long battery life
- Suitable for diode tests
- Covered by CAT III 600V regulation
- False readings on rare occasions
Guide to Buying the Best Multimeters
Can I multimeter troubleshoot all electric problems?
A multimeter is mainly used as a troubleshooting tool. Its purpose serves for AC/DC current measurement, transistor, resistance, capacitance, frequency or temperature. These measurements can offer a better indication over the state of a circuit either in a home, on business premises or on an automobile.
Is a multimeter a professional’s tool?
A multimeter is used by professionals. Most devices made today actually offer quite precise results and this is why they can be used for professional troubleshooting.
Can I use a multimeter at home?
A multimeter can also be used at home, alongside other measurement tools. It is not complicated to use and it represents a tool which has similar characteristics across multiple brands. Once a person uses a multimeter, the skills learned can be transferred from brand to brand.
Are electronic lead test kits included?
Electronic lead test kits are included with most multimeters. However, users are still advised to double check this as there are plenty of devices which sell lead test kits separately.
Will a multimeter show different readings if I drop it?
Most unprotected multimeters will not survive a drop even from a low height. It is why a few products are made with special reinforcements and they can be relied upon even when working on heights. Of course, even with extra protection in place, it only takes a higher drop to ruin or to damage the multimeter. Some of the best products made today are drop tested up to heights of 3.5 feet.
Are all hold functions the same?
Not all hold functions are the same. Some only hold data after measurements while others set the hold function and then hold the data before the measurement. In essence, both approaches make the user’s life easier.
Can a multimeter blow up?
Certified multimeters cannot blow up. They have extra safety systems in place which protect the circuits from overloading. At the same time, the multimeters are also among the only tools to come with replaceable fuses for extra safety on the long-term.
How to choose the best multimeters
With many similar designs, multimeters offer similar results and they are even used in the same way. However, data accuracy, durability and even the way in which data is displayed varies. Given multimeters are quite affordable, this is not a big concern, especially since they can easily be upgraded to a newer version. However, to save on possible upgrades, users can consider the follow basic characteristics when making a purchase.
Range of measurements
The range of measurements is the most important element of a multimeter. Starting with AC/DC measurements and continuing with diodes and continuity tests, the range of measurements is a list which needs to be checked when it comes to the best devices. There is also room for additional measurements which include temperature or capacitance.
In most cases, purchasing a multimeter able to perform just a few measurements defeats the multipurpose approach of the device. This is why most users should actually invest in a capable multimeter, which represents a future proof purchase.
Design and ease of use
The design of the multimeter is at least as important as its list of features. One of the leading complaints users have is actually based on the design of the device. For many users, it is actually a matter of personal preference and manufacturers are now switching to smaller designs. It’s hard to complain about a multimeter which is operated with a single hand. This is why the 5-inch multimeter is actually not difficult to find anymore.
LCD screens, battery life, and controls
LCD screens are also part of the design of a multimeter. However, screens have remained large even as the devices got smaller over time. It’s worth noting that the size of the screen is not the ultimate judge of quality. It is actually its display capacity, the information shown to the user and the backlit design which can be so helpful in many situations. A few multimeters have no backlit screens at all. Others have an intermittent backlit option which allows users to turn the illumination on and off.
In most cases, when a screen is bad, users will not appreciate the multimeter to its true capacity. One such example is seen with screens which actually don’t show any data regarding battery life. It is why users don’t know how much battery life is left in the device. Having a multimeter fail on a job due to an old battery should be avoided as much as possible.
The controls of the multimeter are worth having a look at as well. They can indicate the number of buttons users need to master, their quality and the speed in which measurements can be made. With many automated designs, the user input is kept at a minimum. However, a few multimeters allow users to set minimum and maximum measurement range which is the ultimate control for the user when it comes to troubleshooting. Hold functions also have dedicated buttons.
The included accessories are limited to multimeters. In the best scenario, users would also receive test leads, thermocouples, and multi-function sockets. But in other cases, users will only receive the multimeter and the user’s manual. Test leads can be purchased separately. Some professionals also purchase carry pouches or additional magnetic loops for the device. Those who want to keep their hands free as much as possible on the job still have the alternative of purchasing a multimeter with a built-in magnet.
Magnets are seen both as an advantage and as a disadvantage. They can certainly help the user as they can be placed on any metal surface, even during measurements. But on the other hand, magnets attract all types of small metals such as coins or paper clips. Working in commercial settings might live users with no real options when it comes to proper versatility and magnets might be one of the top features in a capable multimeter.
One of the best reasons to use the best multimeter is that it actually replaces other devices in making electrical measurements. This means users save time and money as well as storage space with this versatile device. In most cases, multimeters can work very well even if they come at an affordable price. But there are a few products which come with false readings or even lag on some of their functions.
Testing out the multimeter is recommended before taking it out on a job. Most features can be tested out at home. For safety purpose, it is always advisable to read the full user’s manual and check out whether there are any specific settings users need to make.
A multimeter will also ship without batteries due to safety reasons. A regular 9V battery should be enough to power the average device. But it’s worth investing in quality batteries as they can last up to a year for the average multimeter user.