Making the choice in the best multimeter under 100 dollars is easier than you think! Even with numerous choices, there are only a handful that stands out for their excellent quality. Keep in mind that a $100 multimeter isn’t exactly the most expensive multimeter with the most advanced features but it’s more than sufficient for general uses.
The great thing about these under $100 multimeters is their combination of relative affordability and high quality. These are also reliable in terms of the accuracy of their readings, a must when testing electrical appliances, devices and circuit boards.
10 Best Multimeters Under 100 Dollars
1. Extech EX330- best automotive multimeter under 100
Don’t dismiss the Extech EX330 because of its comparatively small size! Aside from being a product of a trusted brand, its excellent features make it the best multimeter under 100 dollars for many users. Professionals point out its automatic ranging, non-contact AC voltage detector and capacitance features as more than what they expected.
2. INNOVA 3340- best digital multimeter under 100 dollars
The Innova 3340 is tailored for the unique needs of the automotive market and, in fact, it’s a common tool for engine technicians and car electricians. But it’s also useful in standard electrical measurements for household appliances, circuit boards and even HVAC, thanks to its numerous input ranges. These are among the reasons why we consider it as the best budget digital multimeter under 100 dollars, too.
3. Klein Tools MM600 HVAC Multimeter- best multimeter under 50
The MM600 earned its place as the best hvac digital multimeter under 50 bucks because of its versatile applications. It’s a true root mean square device and, thus, it’s a useful multimeter for professionals working with variable AC drives, as well as for HVAC electricians and general purpose users. Its versatility is a product of its wide range of features including auto hold, low impedance mode and temperature input.
4. Proster VC99 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter- best multimeter for the money
Professionals and serious hobbyists consider the Proster VC99 as a good multimeter for occasional use, as a spare meter, and suitable for lower energy work. While it has its limitations, it’s a reliable multimeter for measuring numerous testing ranges in the voltage and current criteria. It’s useful for measuring up to 20A albeit timed.
5. Oscilloscope Multimeter 2.0 Update- best cheap multimeter
This Liumy-branded voltage meter is considered as the best multimeter for under 100 dollars because of the significant updates that have been made to it. While the old model delivered satisfactory performance, it fell short on many performance aspects. The update, fortunately, features faster sampling speed, better accuracy and better safety features.
6. Meterk Digital Clamp Meter- best clamp multimeter under 100
The Meterk MK06 is the best clamp multimeter under 100 because of its true root mean square range, a must if you’re looking for a high level of accuracy. Its large digit LCD screen clearly displays the readings while its intuitive layout makes it even easier to choose the testing range. But it has its minor flaws, too, such as its comparatively slow response rate.
7. Fluke 101 Multimeter- best Fluke multimeter under 100
The Fluke 101 is the best multimeter under 100 because it goes beyond being a beginner digital multimeter. Professionals consider it as basic because it doesn’t have the sophisticated functions of more expensive multimeters but it more than suffice for basic electrical tests. Serious hobbyists agree since it’s a great multimeter for residential and commercial, even HVAC, uses.
8. Klein Tools MM400- best cat 3 automotive multimeter under 100
The Klein brand is proudly made in the USA and it’s among the reasons for its continued popularity. The MM400 is in the running for the best digital multimeter under 100 because it combines a tough build, a variety of testing ranges and a suitability for most applications. But we have to note that it’s best not to use it beyond light industrial applications lest it becomes a safety hazard.
9. AstroAI Digital Multimeter- best true RMS multimeter under 100
The AstroAI brand is known for its reliability in terms of accuracy of readings and robust testing capacity. This is true for this AstroAI digital multimeter that, according to the manufacturer, can measure voltages up to 1,000 VDC and 750 VAC, or a CAT II safety standard rating. It’s a handy multimeter for testing solid-state HAM radios and automotive circuits aside from the usual residential and commercial applications.
10. Anbes Soldering Iron Kit 60W – best inexpensive multimeter
While its primary use is as a welding tool, this Anbes kit can also be used in measuring AC/DC voltage. You can then use it for checking household appliances and automotive issues, as well as soldering connections and the like. Don’t be put off by its small size as it’s a useful device for repairing a wide variety of electrically powered issues, too.
Buyers’ Guide: Knowledge Is Essential in the Use of Multimeters
A Brief History of Multimeters
The galvanometer is considered as the first current detection device with a moving pointer. It’s then widely considered as the forerunner of the modern voltmeters and multimeters since it was also used in the measurement of voltage and resistance. It worked through a Wheatstone bridge as well as by comparisons between a reference resistance or voltage and an unknown quantity.
But it wasn’t a reliable device, especially in field settings. The D’Arsonval–Weston meter soon replaced the galvanometer, and it made the measurements of current and voltage easier and faster. This was because the readings or values can be read off directly from its scale.
But even the D’Arsonval–Weston meter wasn’t reliable. By the early 1920s, the first multimeter was introduced and its invention is widely attributed to Donald Macadie, a British Post Office engineer. Macadie’s instrument could measure volts, amps and ohms, and it was called the Avometer and was manufactured by the Automatic Coil Winder and Electrical Equipment Company.
Clamp Meter or Multimeter?
Distinctions must be made between a clamp meter and a multimeter first. For one thing, a clamp meter typically measures up to the nearest hundredth or tenth of a unit instead of the milliunits in a digital multimeter. For another thing, a digital multimeter essentially measures voltage with a certain current measuring ability while a clamp meter measures current with some voltage measuring capabilities.
In short, these are two distinct instruments with their pros and cons.
Which one is best for specific situations? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- If you only need to measure voltage and continuity, a basic digital multimeter will suffice for the job. But if you’re doing power quality work, then you should have a high-end digital multimeter with sophisticated features.
- If you’re making basic current measurements, then a basic clamp meter is a good instrument to use. For example, you can use it in ensuring that the feeders’ three phases have the same current. For intermittent breaker trips, your ultimate choice is a logging clamp meter.
But for accurate measurements of motor inrush current, only an advanced clamp meter will do. This is also necessary for advanced signal processing, particularly in measuring the output of a variable frequency drive.
There are also cases when these two meters are necessary and, in fact, electricians and technicians carry a clamp meter and a digital multimeter for these instances. Electricians, nonetheless, use a clamp meter more while technicians performing more industrial troubleshooting use both a digital multimeter and a clamp meter.
The bottom line: It depends on what equipment you’re working on and the measurements you have to make. You may have to use either a digital multimeter or a clamp meter, perhaps both, so you may want to invest in both these meters.
What Is a True RMS Multimeter?
RMS stands for root mean squares and it’s useful in measuring alternating current and voltage. A true root mean square multimeter can be used for making accurate measurements for sinusoidal and non-sinusoidal AC waveforms.
Sinusoidal waves are considered as pure waves without distortions in their forms. These also have symmetrical transitions between their valleys and peaks.
Non-sinusoidal waves have irregular patterns and distorted forms. These include triangles, pulse trains, spikes and saw tooth patterns.
Use Multimeters for Doing Regular Electrical Inspections
Multimeters should be used with proper training as handling electricity and repairing electrical devices have its share of hazards. Here are a few important safety reminders when using multimeters for regular electrical inspections and repairs.
- Always learn the basics of testing safety for lines and outlets. Your best choice is a formal education, usually vocational in nature, as well as an apprenticeship.
- Hold both the meter probes in the same hand when testing on live outlets. This way, you won’t be at the receiving end of an electrical shock.
- Never let the probes’ metal points touch each other, not even brush against each other for a second, as it can result in a hazardous short circuit.
- Treat each of the three slots in an outlet with caution since each one can carry current. The shorter slot on the right is hot, the longer slot on the left is neutral and the rounded half circle is grounded.
- Always set the multimeter. The first step is usually setting it for voltage measurement, followed by selecting the AC function. By the way, the AC function is represented by a wavy line while the DC function has a dash and solid line.
- Connect the leads and measure the voltage.
Which Is The Best Multimeter For Automotive And DIY Electricians?
If you were to ask us, the best multimeter for automotive under 100 is the Innova 3340. It’s been tried and tested by automotive technicians for its reliability, quality and durability. It has automotive-specific features like RPM checks, tacho checks and alternator output, which are essential for determining engine issues.