Electricians are among the essential workers of our society because of their vital roles in the installation, maintenance and repair of electrical systems. Nearly everything we use depend on electricity, in one way or another, and electricians are there to ensure that these things are running smoothly. Among their vital tools are the best electrical digital multimeter since these are used in getting precise measurements of ac voltage, current and resistance, among others.
These digital multimeters are used in residential, commercial and industrial settings and, as such, are designed for reliability and durability. But like all tools, their safe and efficient use still lies in the hands of their users.
14 Best Electrical Digital Multimeter Reviews
1. Fluke 87-V – Best Multimeter for Electricians
Ask the professionals about the best multimeters for electricians in their opinion and a Fluke digital multimeter will be among their first choices. The Fluke 87-V is a popular digital multimeter among them because of its guaranteed accuracy, reliability and durability, the three qualities that electricians look for in their tools.
It’s such a trustworthy tool for troubleshooting electronic and electrical systems, even those with complex signals and high current levels (up to 20A). Its accuracy comes from its built-in RMS technology, as well as from its proudly “Made in USA” mark. From its excellent dal resolution screen to its testing ranges, it’s number one in our books.
2. Fluke 115 Compact Multimeter- Best Multimeter for Electronics
Fluke also offers its Fluke 115 digital multimeter, also widely considered as the best multimeter for electrical engineer applications because of its reliability and robustness. Since it’s a true RMS multimeter, it can also be used on electrical systems with variable drives, low input impedance and give correct readings.
Like most Fluke meters, the Fluke 115 can be relied on for measurements of AC and DC current, voltage and frequency as well as perform diode tests. It’s an all-in-one measuring tool that electricians carry around in job sites without being too bulky or too heavy.
3. Mastech MS8229- Best Pocket Multimeter
We consider the Mastech MS8229 as the best multimeters for budget because it combines affordable price and fair reliability. Keep in mind that it’s a Chinese-made digital multimeter so long-term durability isn’t its strongest suit but since it’s packed with extra functions, it’s a good buy, too. Aside from the standard testing ranges, it can also measure sound, light, and humidity, as well as temperature.
Other features that electricians commonly use are the milliamp and micro-amp ranges for testing electronic circuitry, manual range option, and jack socket warning lights.
4. Innova 3320- Best Cheap Voltmeter
The Innova 3320 is the best multimeters for electrical and electronics diagnostics, whether for major projects requiring correct readings or for household repairs. It has features that electricians usually use in the field, from measuring current, voltage and capacitance to measuring temperature, diode and continuity. It’s a solidly-built digital multimeter that can withstand the rigors of job sites that electricians work in.
We love that it has a battery tester that goes beyond checking the voltage. Its battery tester places the battery under a slight load with three LED lights showings the levels. Indeed, it’s a basic digital multimeter that goes beyond its expected performance.
5. Extech EX330- Best Small Multimeter
With its ultra-compact size, the Extech EX330 is our best home electrical multimeter, a unit that works well in DIY jobs and professional diagnostics. While it’s considered as a budget multimeter, most of its functions don’t compromise on overall reliability, particularly on the accuracy of its readings due to its lower input impedance features.
Despite its small size, it’s packed full with extra features that give good value for the money. These include measurement of capacitance and temperature, non-contact voltage detection and data hold.
6. Fluke 88 V/A KIT- Best Fluke Multimeter for Electronics
The Fluke 88 V/A is the fifth generation of the 88 digital multimeter and it shows in its outstanding performance. It’s certainly the best multimeters for auto electrical purpose in our books because of its high level of accuracy, superior features and solid construction. We see it in the tool box of many automotive technicians who want a reliable tool for a reasonable price.
Aside from the standard functions, as expected of most Fluke digital multimeters, it also comes with several other advanced measurement functions.
7. Fluke 114 Multimeter- Best Fluke Multimeter for Electricians
The Fluke 114 may not be the best Fluke multimeter for HVAC and commercial electrical work, it’s still a popular basic multimeter. Then again, it’s useful for basic HVAC and commercial diagnostic work, not to mention that it has a few extra features that extend its functionality.
Only the basic standard measurements, namely, voltage, continuity and resistance, are covered but it has merits that offset its simplicity. Its ergonomic design allows for one-handed operation and its control panel is easy to use, even for an apprentice electrician.
8. Amprobe AM-530- Best Industrial Multimeter
The Amprobe AM-530 is a solidly built voltage meter with a nice feel when in use. Since it’s a true RMS digital multimeter, it gives fairly precise readings for devices with regular and irregular signals. But it’s also CAT III safety rated (up to 1000V) so its applications are limited to residential and light commercial only.
With its small size, it’s a great high quality multimeter for tight places while its features enable measurements necessary for carrying out diagnostics and repairs.
9. Klein Tools Electrical Test Kit- Best Multimeter for DIY Electronics
Klein Tools is a trusted American brand that continues to give its customers durable and reliable measuring tools. These include the MM330 digital multimeter, a safe and effective multimeter that electricians prefer for field work. With its rugged construction, it will withstand years of field work, even the occasional drops from a 1-meter height.
10. Fluke T5600- Best Basic Multimeter
Yet another best Fluke multimeter for electricians is the Fluke T5600, a high-precision measuring tool that electricians use in residential, commercial and industrial settings. Its rugged exterior complements its equally tough interior, both of which will remain intact even from drops a meter or so high.
11. Klein Tools MM400- Best Automotive Voltmeter
The MM400 multimeter is a budget-friendly meter that can be used for both residential and commercial applications.
It’s widely considered as the best AC multimeter for the money because of its auto ranging features, as well as wide range of electrical current functions and test ranges that hobbyists and average users will need. The voltage measurement is up to 600V and its amperage up to 10A, while other measurements include capacitance, frequency and temperature.
12. INNOVA 3340- Best Hobby Multimeter
For its affordable price and useful features, the Innova 3340 is hands-down the best automotive multimeter for the money. Many auto technicians consider it a must-have tool because of its usefulness in measuring most testing ranges in an automobile. These ranges include amps, volts and resistance as well as dwell angle, alternator diodes and RPM.
Standard electrical measurements, such as AC/DC voltage, amps, frequency, resistance and capacitance, can be made with this meter.
13. Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter- Best Buy Multimeter
The Fluke 116 is arguably the best HVAC multimeter for the money because most of its features are aimed toward the HVAC industry. While it’s relatively basic in terms of features, its functions are sufficient for troubleshooting numerous heating and cooling issues. This can be used for diagnosing capacitance and flame sensor problems, too.
14. Fluke 117- Best Handheld Multimeter
The Fluke 117 is an electrician’s dream with its wide testing ranges, straightforward layout and durable case. It’s suitable for use in residential, commercial and light industrial scenarios, as well as for beginners and professionals. It’s compact without losing its functionality so it’s a must-have portable tool.
Buyers’ Guide of Ultimate Electrical Multimeter for Electricians: FAQs Section
Who Created the First Multimeter?
Donald Macadie, a British Post Office engineer, is widely credited with the creation of the first multimeter. He thought that carrying several separate instruments in maintaining the telecommunications circuits of his day was inefficient. He then invented an all-in-one measuring tool that can measure volts, amperes and ohms.
This innovative multimeter was known as the Avometer, a multifunctional meter that consisted of switches and socket for range selection, voltage and precision resistors, and a moving coil meter. It was manufactured by Automatic Coil Winder and Electrical Equipment Company (ACWEECO).
How Do I Operate a Multimeter?
If you ask me what what types of multimeters should I Buy? Right now analog multimeters are outdated so you should buy Digital Multimeter.
We suggest starting with the best multimeters for electrical engineering students because it’s designed to provide for learning. Be sure to know its different parts and their relationship to each other before actually sticking the probes into an outlet.
First, there’s an LCD display screen that shows the readouts and a selection knob for choosing the testing range. There are usually buttons for the hold function, on/off switch and switch from auto to manual ranging, among others.
Second, there will be two to three ports where the probes are plugged in prior to testing.
- The common port (COM) into which the black probe will be plugged in.
- The VΩmA port into which the red probe will be inserted into when measuring voltage, resistance and current. In many digital multimeters, it’s also the port for measuring continuity and current <200mA.
- The 10ADC port is used when measuring current >200mA.
Tip: Read the instructions manual as there may be completely separate ports for measuring other testing ranges.
Once you know its parts, you can then use the multimeter for measuring voltage, current, resistance, among others. Let’s start with voltage as it’s the most common testing range. Many of these steps outlined here also apply to other testing ranges.
- Turn on the meter.
- Plug the probes into their appropriate ports.
- Set the dial selector to the highest number value. (It may be 500V but check the owner’s manual)
- Place the black probe on the battery’s negative end and the red probe on its positive end.
- Look at the reading on the screen.
- Adjust the selection knob, usually by decreasing the number of volts, to get a more accurate reading.
Exchanging the position of the red and black probes will not cause explosions. But you will get a negative reading so it’s best to plug in the right-colored probes into the right end of whatever it is you’re testing.
The Symbols on an Electrical Multimeter
The best multimeter for general electrical work has several symbols and icons that make it easy to read which testing range you’re working on.
- “DCV” stands for Direct-Current-Voltage although some multimeters just designate it with “V”. This is the setting used in the measurement of direct current (DC) voltage.
- “ACV” stands for Alternating Current-Voltage; it’s sometimes just denoted with “V~” as well. Use this setting when measuring voltage from AC sources, which are nearly everything we use in modern life. It’s also the current coming from the outlet itself.
- “Ω” stands for ohm. This is the setting for measuring resistance in circuits. The higher the resistance, the harder it is for the current to flow through the circuits and vice versa.
- Diode or wave symbol represents the continuity setting. The continuity test determines whether a circuit is complete or not; the presence of a broken circuit means something’s wrong with the system.
- “DCA” stands for Direct Current Amperage and it’s a testing range that gives the amperage.
- “hFE” means Direct Current Gain, a setting used in testing transistors and their corresponding DC gain. (This isn’t a common feature in digital multimeters since the continuity check is more reliable)
- The battery symbol is dedicated for testing the amperage on batteries including 9V and AA and AAA batteries.
Many of the functions on a multimeter are denoted by abbreviations or by their full terms. These include Min/Max, Rel (Relative) and Hold.
What is the Min/Max Mode on the Multimeter?
The Min/Max mode refers to the highest and lowest readings from the time it was turned on. Take note that the measured signals have to be between 200 and 350 milliseconds in length to get correct readings. This mode works on True RMS volts AC, volts DC and resistance as well as current functions.
How Many Things Can an Electrical Multimeter Measure?
The best electrical engineer multimeter can provide accurate measurements on all testing ranges, of course. The basic multimeters, on the other hand, can only measure voltage, current, resistance.
In advanced multimeters, there will be extra functions like a continuity check and a diode check. The continuity check function usually has an alarm feature, such as a loud beep, in case the probes find an electrical connection between circuits. If there’s no connection, such as when the circuits have become loose, then there’s no beep.
Tip: Use the continuity check function to make sure that two circuits aren’t connected. This is a safe and effective method for preventing short circuits.
Other desirable features include measurement of capacitors and transistors.
What are the Safety Measures That I Have to Put in Place When Operating a Digital Multimeter?
Keep in mind always that electricity is like any other natural force – it can either enrich your life or end it. Electrocution is a real risk when using multimeters and, thus, these safety features should always be adopted.
1. Inspect the multimeter first before using it.
Look for signs of damage on its exterior, such as cracks and leaks, which can also mean damage to its circuitry. Even a small physical damage can adversely affect the accuracy of the multimeter and your safety. Never assume that a multimeter is in good working condition unless you make closer physical inspections, perhaps perform a calibration.
Tip: Keep the multimeter and its accessories, such as the test probes, in its protective case when it isn’t in use.
2. Inspect the test probes, too.
The multimeter’s functionality largely rests on the test probes’ functionality so doing a spot check of the test probes is a must. Never use a faulty probe since there’s a high risk of injuries, especially when working with high voltages. Always test the probes before using them on any unknown outlet or source.
3. Presence of mind is a must
Electrical shocks and electrocution are always a risk when handling circuits, wires and outlets, more so when working with power sources and transmission lines. You must then have presence of mind so that your entire attention is on the multimeter and the circuits being tested.
- Always assume that every electrical part is energized.
- Always wear your personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves and headwear, as well as insulated mats, among other on-body and near-body PPE.
- Have a work buddy, if possible.
- Avoid working in possibly dangerous areas, such as those with high humidity.
- Follow the CAT safety ratings.
Treat electricity with respect and you’re less likely to be reminded that it isn’t your friend per se.
What to Look For in a Multimeter
Your specific needs and wants in a multimeter will determine your choice in it. You must then decide the types of jobs you’re likely to use a multimeter on, your knowledge and skills level, and your possible future needs.
With that said, here are the non-negotiable features when choosing the best multimeter for electricians:
- Safety – Look for MOVs, HRC fuses, and clearance distances
- Separate sockets for A and V
- Flexible test probes and leads
- Sturdy body
- Clear display, preferably with backlight
- Auto ranging option, preferably with a manual auto ranging option, too
- Exact readings
- Extra features like stand, wrist strap, and/or case; Touch-Hold or Data Hold feature; and Min/Max mode
Lastly, choose a multimeter with true RMS technology since it’s more versatile and accurate than an average RMS meter.