12 Replies Latest reply on Jul 27, 2020 3:55 PM by the-dubster

    Looking for a Good Multimeter

    garythomas

      I've been pouring over Amazon, looking for a good Digital Multi-meter.  I have a nice analog meter from the 70's (I bought it from Radio Shack when I was in my teens), but it does not measure capacitors.

      I'm looking for something in the price range of 0 to $100.  If I have to go over I can. I found a few that were under $25 too. (you get what you pay for)

      Lowes and Home Depot seem useless unless you want to use it on home wiring.

       

      Almost every model they have has some kind of bad reviews. I know some people would complain about everything, so I thought I'd ask my find community here what you all use in your projects.

       

      Thanks all

        • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
          luislabmo

          I think besides price point, what you expect to do with the multimeter is important to know. There are multimeters for electricians, HVAC, for pure electric engineers, etc. Also it'd be good to know the minimum specs you are looking for (like auto range, capacitance, need one with thermocouple to measure temp, RMS, etc). I assume you are looking for a handheld multimeter, from experience I can tell you:

          • Sparkfun sells a good entry level multimeter for USD $15. I own one of these, and they have sold many of these among their customers.
          • Next in the list I know is Uni-T (my father used one for many, many years), is not high end but comes packed with features and they tend to last. I know some models have USB port so you can plot changes in Voltage, etc (like a very, very cheap oscilloscope)
          • I personally use a Fluke 115Fluke 115 (which can measure capacitance, something I see you are looking for), but price has gone up over the years and is over your price range (a bit cheaper on Amazon)
          • Another popular option I know of is the BM235 sold by EEVblog which is featured in many of Dave's videos, but once again is out of your price range.

          I don't have experience with these but have you explored the Tenma 72-10415Tenma 72-10415?. Tenma is a very popular brand on Newark's newsletter and is within your price point.

           

          Luis

          8 of 8 people found this helpful
          • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
            jadew

            If you want to use it on home wiring, then all the cheap ones are out of the question.

             

            This is probably a good place to start:

            https://www.youtube.com/user/EEVblog/search?query=multimeter

             

            If I had a budget of $100 and needed a meter, I'd probably look for a Brymen. If I had more, I'd go for Keysight or Fluke, whichever you like best.

            4 of 4 people found this helpful
            • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
              avnrdf

              What are you going to use your multimeter for?

               

              If you plan on using it anywhere around high voltages (home repair, troubleshooting/HVAC), you'll need a good one, as the cheap units usually skimp on input protection (HRC fuses etc.)

              If it will be restricted to electronics use, you could probably not worry much about this and get a cheaper unit with less protection & more features (at a lower price).

               

              I use a Tenma 72-7780, which seems to be a rebranded UNI-T 139C: it's a relatively cheap unit, but has a pretty well built input protection (HRC fuses) & build quality. It's got capacitance measurement and quite a few other features too (temperature, non contact voltage detection) and is powered by 2 AA cells - longer battery life than the 9Vs!

              6 of 6 people found this helpful
              • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
                korn

                I think everyone else said it already. It depends on your intended use.

                 

                 

                I have a few and each has its purpose.

                 

                A good fluke for precision stuff like setting bias on analog circuits.(has 5 digits some go way higher than that...)

                 

                A decent radio shack one for general use (4 digits).

                 

                A greenlee amp clamp for AC work (3 digits)

                 

                An automotive specialty one that does Pulse Width and Freq display

                 

                a dc amp clamp for auto testing

                 

                don't forget specialty leads like piercing probes, hook, SMD tweezers. all these are useful if you need em. or just overkill if you don't

                2 of 2 people found this helpful
                • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
                  garythomas

                  I'm so sorry. I never said what I was going to use it for, and so I assumed since this was an Arduino forum, it would be for electronics.

                   

                  I want to use it for building circuits and testing/reading components, i.e resistors, capacitors.  I have NO intentions on using it for house wiring.  I have other things for that.

                  Purely electronics.  I have looked at fluke and they are high end.

                    • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
                      korn

                      No need to to apologize.

                       

                      Some my of my Arduino projects are automotive related.  Search speeduino

                       

                      Others are home automaton and I use 230v solid state relays

                       

                      I even made an Arduino sousvide and a smokerduino controller for my electro outdoor smoker.  Heavy duty power there

                       

                      its  fun to see how far you can go with the little wonders.

                       

                      For a meter the $25-$40 dollar ones are good. I’ll let others share their choices. I like radio shack but that’s gone.... I do grab any that come up on Craigslist ..

                       

                      Ones made for auto use can measure pulse width which turns out to be useful with Arduino  Pwm

                      I got a couple of these cheapie component testers.

                       

                      https://www.taydaelectronics.com/esr-meter-transistor-tester-lcd-diode-multimeter-capacitance.html

                       

                      Check their Facebook page for promo codes. Every month they offer 15% off

                       

                      I hate using an eye loop to read resistor and  capacitor  values.  There’re great but not precision by any means. They can read caps and tell mosfets from bjt’s and show you the pinout.

                       

                      Not itoo sure I trust their esr reading. It’s more of a go / no go tester for me.

                    • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
                      dougw

                      I have approximately one zillion multimeters. I have just as many excuses for buying them as well. I have favorites, but I like them all for different reasons. Here are some things I look for in a meter:

                      • big high contrast digits
                      • fast update rate on the display
                      • if it is autoranging - fast lock onto the best range
                      • long battery life
                      • ergonomics - rapid selection of the desired function
                      • a stand that works - preferably allowing the scales and functions to be selected with one hand without tipping over
                      • wide viewing angle
                      • lots of extra features like measuring frequency, capacitance, temperature, diodes, transistor hfe
                      • tare function
                      • lots of digits (mostly for frequency readout)
                      • nice carrying case with good probe accommodation
                      • sharp probe tips
                      • flexible probe cables

                       

                      There are also lots of other features that others will be more concerned with:

                      • certification to some standard
                      • accuracy
                      • current capacity
                      • over voltage protection
                      • computer interface
                      • peak detect
                      • reading hold
                      • backlight
                      • true RMS
                      • mechanical shock protection

                      etc. etc.

                       

                      You can get a decent meter that has every feature listed here for less than $50.

                      5 of 5 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
                        jw0752

                        Hi Gary,

                        This is my favorite:

                         

                         

                        http://www.uni-trend.com/productsdetail_1964_1104_1104.html

                         

                        It is better than my Fluke 177 and cost just a little over $100.00 . The Chinese even shipped it for free.

                         

                        John

                        4 of 4 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
                            mcb1

                            It is better than my Fluke 177

                            Depends on what you base the decision on.

                            I see that it is labelled as Cat IV 600v, but I wonder if it has the certification to prove it.

                             

                             

                            Some time back (actually many years ago) I had Fluke meters and the boys I was working with used some cheap other thing.

                            They couldn't understand why the voltage measurements they were taking were different  to when I took them.

                            It turned out the analogue supply had some ripple and their meter was adding the ac component to the DC and giving them something else.

                             

                            While some would argue this was right, others would argue it wasn't because the device wasn't getting the required DC voltage.

                            The Fluke showed the DC voltage and if you switched to AC it showed the ripple component.

                             

                            Shortly afterwards that guy went and brought a Fluke.

                             

                            I still have the Flukes, although I did manage to break one with a very high voltage and it's BER.

                             

                            So the original question was "What is the best Multimeter to Buy".

                            my answer would be it depends on what you want to use it for as luislabmo pointed out/

                             

                             

                            I would buy one of those component testers that measure capacitos, resistors, inductors and even transistors for $10? or so from the asian suppliers.

                            This leaves you $90 odd dollars and even in NZD I counted 20 meters that might suit a general use (mostly Tenma which is element14).

                            There are a lot under $50 as well, but you tend to start sacrificing the speed and digits.

                             

                            My motto is buy the most expensive tools you can afford, as they'll last longer, you'll look after them more, and while you only need them for this today, you never know tomorrows use.

                            (by most expensive I'm not suggesting paying over the top for a name but features, safety, and longevity)

                             

                            Mark

                            3 of 3 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
                            willh83

                            Hello! I've got a few weeks ago. Fluke 117 is one of them and it's really useful tool, i must admitt.

                            • Re: Looking for a Good Multimeter
                              the-dubster

                              Tenma again here - I've got the 72-7780. Not expensive at under £50 / $74

                               

                              https://uk.farnell.com/tenma/72-7780/digital-multimeter-handheld-3/dp/2450662?scope=partnumberlookahead&ost=72-7780&searchref=searchlookahead&exaMfpn=true

                               

                              https://www.newark.com/tenma/72-7780/6000-count-true-rms-digital-multimeter/dp/26Y8885?scope=partnumberlookahead&ost=72-…

                               

                              As others have said though, depends on your needs, the linked beastie is good for general purpose stuff and beyond.

                              3 of 3 people found this helpful