So you like to sort out electrical issues at home with a clamp meter? Well if you do then you should always be on the lookout for the best clamp meter so the results will be accurate and dependable when needed.
Finding a clamp meter isn’t too difficult as there are a lot of websites to choose from, but how will you know which one is reliable and which is not? Well I know how frustrating it can be to use a poorly made clamp meter, so I picked not one, but ten you can choose from.
The following reviews detail my findings and I have tried to make each one as comprehensive as possible. All right, let’s get on with the reviews.
Our Top 10 Picks for the Best Clamp Meters
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your hands on the best budget clamp meter, one that’s well built, accurate and affordable?
Well, there are a lot off clamp meters that claim to be the most affordable and the best, but the Fluke 323 is one that can back it up. This is a true RMS sensing meter and that tells you how good it is, but there’s more.
The review above gives you an idea of how versatile the Fluke 323 is, but there are a few more things I would like to stress.
The standard version of the Fluke 323 works great and should fit the needs of most DIY buffs and electricians, but there is another one with NIST certification. Both however, are well designed and do what they’re supposed to.
Fluke is known for a wide range of quality tools, and the 323 is one of the better ones I have seen. With its accuracy and versatility it’s as good as they come in this range.
When people start talking about the best clamp meters for HVAC, the name Etekcity comes up a lot. That’s not surprising since the brand is well known for quality electrical tools and devices.
And no doubt one of their superior products is the MSR-C600 as it is packed with a lot of features that you’d expect from a more expensive package. What’s even better is the clamp meter remains easy to use.
Can I just add a few more things here?
One of the things I really like about the MSR-C600 is that it works great out of the box. It’s not just the specs that are impressive but also the weight. It’s got some really nice heft, the display is clear as are the markings.
There are a lot of cheap clamp meters that make a lot of claims but never live up to it, but the MSR-C600 does. It’s accurate, simple to operate and reliable. Really, you can’t ask for anything more than that.
If you’re looking for the best clamp meters for automotive or HVACR, then you’d expect a quality product, right? Well I am happy to point out the SC260 does that. Fieldpiece has made a lot of good electricians’ tools and this is one of them.
One of the problems with most clamp meters is they don’t have enough features, or feature packed but hard to use. After a thorough review i can say the SC260 offers the best of both worlds, which should please the hobbyist and professional.
Before I end can I point a few more things?
First, the required batteries are installed so you can use this right away. And while this tool is mainly for home improvement, the SC260 is versatile enough for professional use. Yes the competition is stiff among clamp meters, but the SC260 holds its own.
The SC260 also comes with a lot of features but it’s user manual is easy to follow. Whether you’re checking capacitance, temperature, capacitors or other ranges, the results are accurate and can be depended upon.
So who among you have tried to use a meter to measure a range? Well if you’re reading this chances are you did and still do. And I can tell you right now you’ll get accurate results with something like the CM01A.
Clamp meters re a dime in a dozen, but that doesn’t change the fact some aren’t any good. The CM01A is made by one of the best clamp meters brands and it lives up to the name in terms of features.
What else is there is to say except the CM01A is one good clamp meter? I’ve tried a lot but the features here are better implemented compared to those on other cheap clamp meters, that’s for sure.
The design is friendly for even new users. With the backlit LCD and automated features, you’ll get pinpoint measurements with little trouble.
I also like that a carry pouch is included. It’s soft but durable so that’s good. And the test leads are among the best I’ve seen.
The DL369 makes this list of the best clamp meter for electricians by virtue of its capabilities. It’s the kind of clamp meter you’ll find useful for measuring different ranges with accuracy and without compromising durability.
We will look at its features shortly, but right now I want to point out that with regards to performance and accuracy, the DL369 is one of the most consistent. It also manages to strike the right balance between usability and capabilities. And that is not an easy thing to pull off for sure.
UEi Test Instruments has made a name for itself by making good products, and I’m going to be straight with you, the DL369 is a good one.
I will not rehash the stuff I mentioned in the review, but I’d like to point out that this is also one of the most durable clamp meters in its range. Even under difficult circumstances and environments, the results are still accurate.
The bottom line is that the DL369 is a solid, well rounded clamp meter that works as well as advertised.
Who wants an ideal clamp meter? Of course we all do and based on digital clamp multimeter reviews, the Clamp Pro Clamp is one of the top options available.
If you’ve been using digital multimeter for a long time, the Ideal brand should be familiar as they make a lot of good clamp meters. After reviewing the Clamp Pro Clamp it’s easy to say this ranks up there among their most efficient.
The Clamp Pro Clamp isn’t your run of the mill meter, as it’s filled with lots of practical features. There are a few more I would like to take note of here too.
This is a solidly made clamp meter that holds up well to use in rugged environments. But what’s even better is it comes with a soft pouch case. If you’re an electrician who’s always on the go, this makes carrying the clamp meter around easier.
I’ve tried my fair share of non contact clamp meters, and I have to say the implementation here is superb. Overall, a dependable device.
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Are you a clamp meter fan? I’m pretty sure you are, and I am also sure you’ve heard of the name Milwaukee before. And the 2235-20 really shines in the versatility department. It’s very easy to use and measures a vast array of ranges.
The 2235-20 is being marketed as an all around clamp meter, designed for volts, ohms and other readings. It’s also got good protection, built for consistency and the essential features minus the fluff.
The 2235-20 is a powerful, full featured clamp meter that’s designed to endure. A lot of clamp meters make that claim, but this is one that can walk the talk.
The 2235-20 has many of the same features I’ve come to expect from a good clamp meter. But it has the advantage of not needing endless calibration. This is one clamp meter you’ll be using for a long time.
So is the 2235-20 good enough for professional electricians? Yes, but it’s also easy enough for the DIY buff and anyone who wants a god clamp meter.
Klein Tools have been around for a while and they’ve come up with some really cool utilities. But I have to say the CL800 surprised me by how good it is. If you have been looking for a high quality clamp meter fit for professional use, the CL800 is one not to ignore.
One of the problems with clamp meters – most tools really – is there is a compromise between features and capabilities. But Klein didn’t compromise with the CL800. It’s a true auto range clamp meter, but it does much more than that.
I’ve gone over the major features of the CL800, and it’s clear to me this is superior to the average clamp meter. When it comes to functionality, quality and versatility, you won’t be disappointed here.
The CL800 is marketed at both professionals and anyone who needs a good clamp meter, and it lives up to the marketing hype. While it has a lot of features, it’s still easy to use and of good quality.
So what are you supposed to do if your old clamp meter just doesn’t cut it anymore and you need something better?
The answer is you should turn to a high quality clamp meter like the AMP-210. This is a major improvement over the other Amprobe clamp meters, no small feat considering how good those are.
Yes, I’m also sick of brands claiming they have the best product ever, only to fail miserably. But I am happy to report the AMP-210 is an exception to the rule.
It’s not an exaggeration to say the AMP-210 is a jack of all trades designed to handle different tasks. There are also several versions available such as the clamp meter bundle, the with NIST certificate, HVAC motor clamp cleaner, industrial motor clamp meter and more.
Regardless which style you choose you get the same level of quality, one that’s good enough for the pros.
Who among you wants a low cost, feature rich, easy to use clamp meter? Yes, that’s pretty much all of us. It’s hard to find a combination like that, but the MS2108A provides just that. In simple terms, it’s loaded.
The MS2108A has gotten a lot of good feedback from electricians, and after reviewing the product, I have to agree. This isn’t your run of the mill clamp meter as it is built for heavy duty use.
If you have just gone through the review above you’d agree the MS2108A is one heck of a clamp meter. The feature list alone says a lot, but there’s more.
Its metering features are great, but in addition to that the MS2108A provides protection for every range. This means you can use the MS2108A knowing it won’t damage the circuits. It’s also one of the most accurate ones available today.
When it comes to clamp meters there are a lot of features to consider. But safe to say the MS2108A meets my expectations.
Best Clamp Meters Buying Guide
Can’t make up your mind on what clamp meter to buy? The first thing you need to look at are the ranges it can measure.
This is the main measurement of a clamp meter. However, the way clamp meters measure current varies per model. Even so, current measurement is built in all clamp meters.
The supply voltage is the first thing an electrician checks if an appliance experiences technical problems. Many clamp meters can check AC and DC voltage. AC voltage is emanates from a generated current and distributed, while DC is measured via battery volts.
This refers to to the difficulty a current goes through to pass an element. Ohms is the method used for measuring resistance.
This determines whether an electrical circuit is closed or open. Majority of clamp meters come with a continuity beeper. The device makes a beeping sound if the circuit is closed and halts if the circuit is open.
This refers to waveform measurement. This is obtained by checking its peak value against the RMS value. This is important in assessing if a circuit is overloaded.
Types of Clamp Meters
There are many kinds of clamp meters, but they can be broken down into the following categories.
- The basic clamp meters with current measuring capability. These are the simplest versions used by electricians.
- The high performance, pocket sized clamp meters. These are either AC or AC/DC with a large current range and very accurate measurements. These are made for installers, maintenance teams and contractors who do work in residential, commercial and industrial projects.
- Clamp meters with large jaws for high current applications. These are usually CAT IV rated and used in utility applications and bus bars.
- Lightweight clamp meters designed for use in hard to reach areas. This is used in cases where ordinary clamp meters can’t handle it.
- Iron vane clamp meter: this clamp meter has a moving iron vane used for measurement. These are true RMS devices which measure AC and DC. This is used mainly in industrial facilities.
- Rogowski Coil: this clamp meter has flexible coil used for measuring AC. A Rogowski Coil is most suitable for use in tight locations such as a building’s phase unit.
- Hall Effect Clamp Meter: this clamp meter measures both DC and AC voltage, and many clamp meters today are designed in this manner.
- Current Transformer Clamp Meter: this can only measure AC.
Apart from these, there are also there kinds of clamp meters available today. Some are packed with a lot of features that they are more like digital multimeter in terms of functionality. Others can measure all types of ranges and have a lot of power.
Basic clamp meters have limited features but also have some digital multimeter function built in. These are also called open jaw meters and are equipped with current forks.
Low quality clamp meters are only capable of AC measurement and don’t always produce precise current measurements.
More versatile clamp meters measure DC and AC current. These meters can do this without needing to interrupt the circuit or break it. Many also have capacitance and temperature measurements included. There are also non-contact voltage clamp meters now available.
Clamp meters with closed jaws are also available, and they provide higher resolution and more precise measurements. There are also a wide range of easy to use, compact clamp meters with varied current ranges from 600 A to 30 amps.
The biggest benefit of using clamp meters is that they’re compact, simple to operate and fit in tight spaces where ordinary clamp meters cannot. Look for clamp meters with good resolutions (10mA is nice) and the ability to measure low and high amps.
You should also look into other features like auto range and one hand use so you’ll be at ease when using it.
For instance, there are clamp meters capable of measuring as high as 600A and as low as as 25A. You may have specific needs so take that into consideration as well.
True RMS is becoming more important because it provides accurate readings even if the waveforms are distorted. It is most effective when used for low energy lighting devices. It is also used for power sources that produce harmonics.
If a clamp meter does not have true RMS, it is calibrated for sine waves measurements. Without a proper calibration the results will be prone to errors and render readings up to 50 percent lower.
Given a choice between a true RMS and one that does not have it, always go with true RMS as it is more accurate.