Multimeters are one of the most useful tools for any home. Finding the best multimeter for electronics hobbyist is not that difficult especially when you know how and where to look. Over the years, multimeters have come a long way from simple analog tools to digital devices with advanced features.
What is a Multimeter?
This electronic tool is used to measure current (amps), voltage, resistance, and many other crucial functions. It can be used for a variety of ways from simply checking the battery voltage to complex electronic diagnostics. Needless to say, a multimeter or volt-ohm meter is an electrician’s best friend.
However, since electronics have also become more sophisticated, many DIYers and hobbyists also use this important tool. Multimeters have plenty of practical uses for hardware troubleshooting. In short, whether you are working on a school project or is planning to do some improvements in your car, a multimeter is an invaluable tool.
To help you choose the best multimeter for electronics hobbyists we have put together some of the most recommended.
Reviews of Top Multimeters for Electronics Hobbyist and Technicians
1. Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter
Amprobe AM-510 multimeter offers amazing features at an affordable price. This multimeter is a good choice for electricians, hobbyists, or even for home use because it has easy functions and a long list of features. Amprobe promises to be compact yet tough. Delivering accurate performance for either light commercial to complicated electronic applications. Some of its key functions include ac/dc current of up to 10 amps, AC/DC voltage up to 600Vac and 600Vdc, 2 temperature inputs, resistance of up to 40 megaohms, auto and manual ranging, peak hold (crest), low-pass filter audible continuity, MIN/MAX recording, microamps, diode testing, and duty cycles to 99%.
Additionally, it comes with added features that will make your task easier such as a built-in flashlight, a dual backlit LCD display that comes with an analog graph, a rubber kickstand, and even a probe holder. At an affordable price, this multimeter gives out an amazing value to your money. Still, some users find this product slower compared to other multimeters in the market.
- Excellent features
- Flashlight and backlight LCD
- Can perform slow at times
2. Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
Fluke has a specially designed low-pass filter which allows the 87-V multimeter to deliver highly accurate frequency measurements on ASD or adjustable speed drives. Fluke 87-V is an industrial multimeter which means it can be perfectly used by electricians or at home. It also comes with a built-in thermometer so you no longer need a separate tool to get temperature readings. For added convenience, it also features dual display resolution so you can see small changes in readings without problems. It comes with an optional magnetic hanger so can free your hands for other important tasks.
Fluke 87-V is made mainly for industrial use so it should be able to handle anything that an electronics hobbyist might need it to do. Nevertheless, while it delivers the performance that it promises, many users are unhappy because it does not come with a user’s manual. And compared to other products, Fluke 87-V is one of the pricier multimeters in the market.
- Unique features like a built-in thermometer
- Heavy duty use
- No manuals
3. Klein Tools 69149
One of the top reasons why Klein Tools 69149 made it to the top of the list of best multimeters is the fact that this product is so much more than just a simple multimeter. This is a toolkit equipped with a multimeter, a wall outlet tester, and a voltage tester. Each of the tools comes with its own features that are extremely useful for electricians or hobbyist. For example, the Voltage Tester (NCVT-1) can automatically detect standard voltage in cords, cables, lighting fixtures, breakers, wires, switches, and outlets. Moreover, the Receptacle Tester (RT105) can detect wiring issues in receptacles.
With these unique features, it is easy to see why Klein received good praises from its users. The only drawback is that the screen is not very user-friendly and requires more time learning.
- Complete Toolkit
- The screen is not very user-friendly
4. Mastech MS8268
Every electrician out there will swear by Mastech as a producer of an excellent brand of tools. MS8268 is one of their latest products in the market and promises to provide you with all the necessary features needed in a reliable multimeter. For example, this multimeter comes with a LED/sound warning which sounds off in case wrong banana jacks are utilized relative to a function switch setting. It also comes with an automatic off function which could save you on power – but can also be a hassle if you need it on for a longer period of time. This function can be disabled though. Additionally, it also features a LED blue backlight display.
Among the biggest advantages of Mastech MS8268 are its price and reliable performance. Since Mastech is an established brand name it is easy to see why it gets good reviews from users. Some users though are complaining as it can give a slow performance especially when it needs to reach zero.
- Good features with auto-off for energy savings
- Can be slow at times
5. INNOVA 3320
One of the most affordable multimeters in the market is INNOVA 3320. It comes with excellent features such as auto-ranging scales which removes the need to dial ranges during measurements. The display is also large and color-coded to help see battery checks faster. With its easy functions, it makes INNOVA 3320 one of the best household multimeters. The only issue with this product is that while it comes with a rubber casing, it does not last very long especially if dropped.
- Easy to use
- Not durable
Tips When Looking for Best Multimeter for Electronics Hobbyist
Not everyone will have the time to truly understand the different factors to look into when choosing a multimeter. In reality, most multimeters will and must do the same thing – accurately measure different processes in your electronic products. If it does not give you the right measurement, it becomes good as nothing. In some cases, inaccurate measurements can be dangerous. There are several other crucial factors to consider when making purchasing decisions for a multimeter. We will be sharing these factors to help you pick the best tool for the job.
Know What It Is For
Since there is a wide spectrum of things that multimeters can do, you must know exactly what you are using it for. For example, are you planning to read high voltage circuits or you only want to check the batteries at your home. The actual use of your multimeter can make huge differences in what you should purchase. You need to check the capacity of the multimeter. It is crucial that you avoid using your weaker capacity multimeter to let’s say measuring wall currents. Some multimeters will give you only the standard measurements which may be good for basic projects, while others can give you a wide range of function which may be best for those who are into serious projects.
The display resolution will play a huge role especially if you are working with sensitive electronic measurements. This means the total digits that your multimeter can display could potentially affect the final output of your project. This feature is especially critical with digital multimeters as you want something that you will give you the most accuracy. After all, accuracy and resolution are some of the most important aspects that are associated with any type of digital measurement.
Measure More Variables
All meters will give you the basic measurements that you will need, there are the amps, the volts, and the ohms. However, in today’s ever-changing electronic world, you want something that will provide you with more than your typical reading. Some units are able to measure capacitance, temperature, continuity, transistor measurements, or diode measurements.
Multimeter prices can vastly range so you may want to consider this factor in as well. Depending on the brand and features, your multimeter can be priced between $20 and $2000.
Finding the best multimeter for the electronic hobbyist is easy as long as you know what you are going to be measuring with it. For this review, our most recommended multimeter is Amprobe AM-510 multimeter not only because of its excellent set of features but also because it has a great price. This means you save money and still enjoy the features that you may only get with the more expensive brands.
In the meantime, Fluke 87-V may be an expensive option, but it comes with features which you cannot find in any other cheaper product. Fluke 87-V is mostly used in industrial settings because it offers some functions that are not usually available in a standard home use multimeter.