7 Replies Latest reply on May 2, 2019 5:26 PM by abrain

    Why is this the meter of Choice, Fluke 87-5?


      Hello I working on some new marketing content with Fluke


      What makes the Fluke 87-5 The meter of choice?  It's called an "industrial multimeter" but community members, students, engineers and hobbyist aren't really using it in an industrial setting. 


      I assumed mA MilliAmp, mV millivolts, ohm settings and display range made it a fit.  But, I was curious what everyone else thought.


      Thank TB 

        • Re: Why is this the meter of Choice, Fluke 87-5?

          Hi Tom,


          I can only speak for myself, but I'm guessing all those categories of users want it for the brand, and all that goes with it (i.e. reliability, safety) and availability/support for many years, and the perception that Flukes stay close to calibration for decades. The 87-V still has some uniquenesses making it very suitable for design engineers, because it can measure current and voltage to extremely fine granularity - ideal for modern circuits.

          But, on a technical level alone, there are other multimeters (from Fluke and other manufacturers) that have better performance in certain areas, and higher count, and are more feature-rich (and some of those features are extremely compelling), but that only partially is responsible for the purchase decision. It can be the other stuff as mentioned too.

          Against non flagship brands, it is easy to make a distinction. Some can drift, others can have flaky rotary dials after a few years, (I experienced that with UNI-T and it put me off forever) and so on. Most students and hobbyists might not use the multimeter at high voltages often, but low-end brands can still fail even if you treat them with kid gloves. So personally I believe it is attractive for the brand associated qualities, plus the very handy granularity - so not necessarily the number 1 choice, but still a good choice depending on price. Anyway it's just an opinion : ) personally I'd like to use one of the logging Fluke's but the current Flukes I use are the 87-V, and 170 series, both purchased new, and an older Fluke model purchased used that I can't recall.

          I think the one observation I've realized over the years is that all engineers want to do more and want higher accuracy and granularity and features, so the multimeters of a decade or two ago that were considered fine for handheld use, although they still function, are no longer as desirable, hence the attraction of meters like the 87-V and other modern multimeters in general.

          If you need more thoughts on this, do let me know.

          6 of 6 people found this helpful
            • Re: Why is this the meter of Choice, Fluke 87-5?

              I’ve got both an 87 and a179, but have had the opportunity to try one of those logging versions, a 200 something, I can’t remember which.


              Whilst the display was nice, the menu system just wasn’t quite as easy as simply turning the dial and pressing one or two buttons, so for me that ease of use while you’re trying to get your measurements was really important, more than I’d realised.


              Flukes are definitely dependable, and on those few occasions when the display seems to show something a little odd going on, there’s always been something odd going on that needed some investigation (like when you’re sure that’s a dc supply, but somehow the smoothing caps were left out and you’re measuring an unsmoothed fully rectified output instead....)



              2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Why is this the meter of Choice, Fluke 87-5?

              I don't own one at the moment, but have bought Flukes in the past. People buy them because they have an edge in the following areas:

              reputation - Fluke has had an excellent reputation for building fine DMMs for many decades

              features - this meter has has all the great features of a high end DMM, including RMS, high resolution, frequency, capacitance and temperature

              user interface - Flukes have familiar intuitive controls that they popularized for decades

              ruggedness - Flukes have proven they can survive regular abuse

              quality - Fluke has always provided high quality DMMs with good safety features

              The combination is pretty compelling.

              5 of 5 people found this helpful
              • Re: Why is this the meter of Choice, Fluke 87-5?

                I have the Fluke 87-V and it is heavy, meaty and looks great on the bench. It's measurements are accurate and almost a standard for the bench. The only thing that comes near it on my workbench is the Brymen MB235 that jancumps sent me a few years ago. Its light and robust and has that uA range along with all the other bells and whistles of the 87V. (And might be better in some respects especially the price.)


                Depending upon the application and the user, a multimeter can be a useful or useless instrument. I had an array of Uni-t UT33C meters that I used and lent out to a few friendly students. Some came back with a lost calibrated while one had been sentenced to the electric chair when the continuity setting was used to measure 220 AC mains. Oops? But it was part of the learning curve and the boys will always check the settings twice.


                Summary: Novice users need cheaper DMMs with less settings,

                Intermediate users can use cheap DMMs with more smarts like the BM235 while

                expert users with specialized tasks can take advantage of the precision and quality of the expensive stuff.

                5 of 5 people found this helpful
                • Re: Why is this the meter of Choice, Fluke 87-5?

                  I've got an 87-III and an 89-IV (both ancient - the 89 must be 20 years old) as well as several bench DMMs (mainly recent Keithley or Keysight).


                  I look from time to time at new Flukes but the old ones keep on going just fine - so the reason I don't buy a new one is also the reason that I would buy a new one from Fluke !


                  They've been reliable, accurate and have enough features (newer ones have more features).


                  I just don't need more than two hand-helds at a time.



                  4 of 4 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Why is this the meter of Choice, Fluke 87-5?

                    I think others hit excellent points all around. I have the following "buzzword" to add: dependability. The track record of Fluke multimeters is unparalleled in the industry and you can always count on them being quite accurate after years of abuse and hard work. It is not uncommon to see used Fluke meters being sold on the aftermarket that look absolutely terrible but are still as accurate as the day they left the factory.


                    Disclaimer: I used to have a 179 that was built like a war tank and I currently have some antiques: the 8020A, 8060A, 8062A and 27/FM. The first three are almost 40 years old and the latter is 30 years old. All of them required absolutely zero calibration when compared to a traceable 8.5-digit multimeter.

                    2 of 2 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Why is this the meter of Choice, Fluke 87-5?

                      Great points above, which I'd have to echo. The world of engineering is akin to an apprenticeship in any trade e.g. a budding carpenter should always try and get a quality set of wood chisels otherwise they just get annoyed when they blunt or chip easily....the same is true in electronics/electrical engineering. This model of Fluke has stood the test of time, is robust and does the measurements that 'most' users need to a decent level of accuracy.


                      I also note the old/recent post on the https://www.element14.com/community/message/58662/l/re-fluke-233-meter-review-important-follow-up#58662 and battery life. I suspect these older model Fluke have great battery life and so are ideal for in labs and learning facilities where they will often be left on until the auto poweroff kicks in.



                      2 of 2 people found this helpful