The best multimeter is going to mean something different for every user. An electrician may want a meter that has auto-ranging and a focus on high voltage alternating current, while a hobbyist is looking for a model that offers a full range of testing options.
Analog multimeters with an actual swinging needle-gauge are still manufactured, but precision electronics will demand the accuracy of using a digital meter.
All of the top rated models below are digital multimeters, called DMMs. Whether you are in need of a multimeter for auto diagnostics, hvac work, home use, or other electronics use, here are three highly rated units.
TOP PICK:Fluke is widely recognized as one of the best multimeter brands on the market, and the 115 model is a great example. The meter is capable of performing dozens of tests, including decibel levels, resistance, and the usual assortment of AC and DC functions.
Since it includes auto-ranging, the selector switch has fewer multimeter symbols and options but more functionality than most other models. It costs a bit more than the options below, but most users agree it is well worth the investment.
One of the more remarkable design enhancements is the offset selection dial that allows you to change settings with your thumb instead of requiring both hands to make a quick change.
This flaw is a result of the LCD display, and will continue to be a problem until a new type of display becomes popular.
Another common problem is that the leads which come with the unit will not fit the accessories that you can buy separately. For those, you will have to buy another set of leads, and that means adding a few more dollars to the cost of the multimeter.
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RUNNERS UP:You can’t go wrong with a Triplett 1101-B. Designed to give you the most options for the least cost, this DMM even includes some functions not available with more expensive models and remains a fairly easy to use model.
There are a couple of minor drawbacks that could affect your choice, though. For example, the selector switch is hard to turn, and that can be a problem in situations where you need to change the setting with one hand, because the whole meter has a tendency to turn instead of just the selector.
Another problem, and this one is common with all low-cost DMMs, is that the support stand seems to be an afterthought and is not well-suited for supporting the DMM for optimal readout viewing.
The Triplett 1101-B will never be the equal of a Fluke DMM, but it’s one of the best multimeters you can get for the money, and has an excellent set of features.
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Considering that the Mastech MS8268 is very inexpensive, you might be surprised at how functional it really is. This digital multimeter allows you to use auto or manual ranging, and includes a set of functions that is unrivaled by even higher-end DMMs.
Unlike many of the top ranked multimeters, the support stand for this unit actually works quite well and allows you to position the meter for easy viewing.
On the other hand, the backlight shuts off after about 15 seconds, and that can be very annoying. On the plus side, the whole meter automatically shuts down after 10 minutes, and that can save your batteries if you forget to turn the unit off after a quick use.
You might want to buy a Fluke if you are going to use your DMM professionally, but the Mastech model is adequate enough for almost anything you would need it for in the shop or around the house.