Owning a utilitarian, durable, and fairly priced multimeter with accurate values is a desire for every electronics hobbyist. A device of such caliber simplifies the process of troubleshooting various electrical components.
Then again, selecting the best multimeter from the numerous brands in tool stores is a puzzling undertaking. You will need lots of time to vet several multimeters and then narrow them down to one that fits your budget and quality expectations.
If you lack the time and skill needed to distinguish the best unit from cheap multimeters, this roundup is for you. We have selected the best 6 multimeters for everyday troubleshooting. To do this we have taken into account usability, affordability and durability.
As an extra, this piece provides some insights to minimizing the chances of buying substandard multimeters for hobbyists.
What to Consider When Looking for the Best Multimeter for Electronics Hobbyist
Multimeters for hobbyists come in different versions. Some are designed to offer service for several years, measure multiple electrical parameters, and help you take accurate readings. Others are pretty flimsy and less accurate. They can only test a few basic things. If you wish to avoid the latter type of multimeters, here are some quick tips to help you make a sane buying verdict.
Buy Multimeters from Respectable Manufacturers
Purchasing multimeters manufactured by respectable manufacturers can save you from buying substandard products. The respectable tool manufacturers have a name to protect. For that reason, they tend to make high-quality units to avoid a backlash from unsatisfied customers.
Some of the great brands you would want to consider when hunting for the best multimeter include Fluke, Extech, Hioki, Ideal, Protech, KAIWEETS, Hantek, AstroAI, Extech, Gossen Metrawatt, Klein Tools, Tekpower, and Agilent. This list of respectable multimeter manufacturers is not conclusive.
Look for a multipurpose multimeter
The best multimeter for electronics hobbyists should measure three basic things—AC & DC voltage, resistance, and current. According to electronic experts, a good multimeter should be capable of measuring voltage ranging from 200 millivolts to 1000 volts, a resistance ranging from 20 milli-amperes to 2000 amperes, and a current of 10-20 amperes. As an extra, a good multimeter should measure other additional parameters like continuity, diode, temperature, and impedance.
Make sure the multimeter you buy has a safety fuse
Testing electrical components with high voltage and current can blow up your multimeter. For this reason, technicians suggest that you get a multimeter fitted with a safety fuse with a high rupture capacity to minimize the chances of ruining your unit when troubleshooting electrical parts. The fuse will blow up to safeguard your multimeter from the effects of high voltage.
Shop around for a rugged unit
Durability is critical when looking for the best multimeter for electronics hobbyists like any tool. It will save you from wasting dollars replacing your multimeter. Durable units are made from industrial-grade plastic of ABS. These materials can withstand fair use and abuse for a reasonable period. Other units might have a rubber sleeve around the edges for maximum protection against impact.
6 Best Multimeters for Electronics Hobbyists
Fluke 117 True RMS Multimeter
The high-end Fluke 117 multimeter features a rugged construction that will offer years of service. The industrial-grade plastic used in the multimeter’s construction will not shatter easily when the Fluke 117 drops or collides with objects.
In fact, before releasing the multimeters to the end-consumer, Fluke’s technicians pass each unit through a rigorous fall, humidity, temperature, and shock test. Fluke only supplies rugged multimeters which pass the test.
As an extra, this meter comes equipped with a fuse to protect it from high voltage that could ruin its internal electrical components. Other great features on Fluke 117 digital multimeter include the cutting edge LOZ function, which detects false readings from ghost voltage, and the volt alert technology, which detects AC voltage without contact.
With this multimeter from Fluke, you can measure a current of 10 amperes, continuity, capacitance, frequency, and voltage of 600V. Its large, backlit screen makes work in dimly lit settings easy.
- Rugged construction lasts long
- High accuracy
- CAT III safety rated
- Great for professional-grade tasks
- Supports hands-free operation
- User manual only available online
AstroAI TRMS 4000 Digital Multimeter
The AstroAI TRMS 4000 is a versatile machine that you can use to test an AC/DC voltage of up to 600 volts, resistance ranging up to 40 milliohms, and a current of 10 amperes. You can also use this unit to test a 12V battery, live wire, and diode.
AstroAI TRMS 4000 is designed to test AC voltage automatically without contacting the electrical component under test. The unit will beep and flash red lights to notify you of a high AC.
This well regarded digital multimeter has an auto-shut-off function to power it off when you forget to, a flashlight to use when working under dimly-lit workstations, and an indicator to alert you when the unit is running out of juice.
The AstroAI TRMS 4000 supports the data hold function, which records the reading on the screen for a while. Its double ceramic fuse will blow out when the multimeter receives a current that could potentially burn internal components.
- Tests a wide range of electrical parameters
- Easy to take readings
- Rugged construction
- CAT III safety rated
- Multiple buttons can confuse first-time users
AstroAI 2000 Counts Digital Multimeter
The AstroAI 2000 costs a fraction of what most multimeters cost. This makes it an ideal fit for hobbyists who are on a budget. Though affordable, the multimeter can troubleshoot a decent range of electrical parameters.
You can use it to test DC voltage of up to 120V and resistance ranging from 10 ohms. In addition, you can use this budget multimeter to test the diode and continuity battery quality test. Unfortunately, this multimeter cannot test AC, a setback you ought to consider before buying.
Taking readings using AstroAI 200 is an easy-peasy task. Thanks to its generously sized backlit display. You will not strain reading the numerical values on the screen. The multimeter’s detailed user manual will guide you through the testing process and a data holding function that captures the screen’s readings.
This digital multimeter has a low battery indication to notify you when to replace its two AAA batteries. Its AstroAI’s sturdy plastic construction has a rubber corner guard to protect the multimeter from shattering during accidental falls.
- Measures several electrical parameters
- Double fuse protection
- Shuts down automatically to save power
- Does not measure current
KAIWEETS Digital Multimeter
Equipped with double anti-burn fuses, KAIWEETS digital multimeter is an excellent option for professionals looking for a unit that can handle testing high voltage systems. Hobbyists can use it to measure an AC/DC voltage of up to 600 volts, a current of up to 10 amperes, and a resistance of up to 2000 milliohms.
The multimeter has tons of features that will come in handy when testing electrical components. It has a backlit display to help you take readings in dark settings and a support stand to free up your hands when troubleshooting electrical appliances.
The KAIWEETS digital multimeter has a hold key, a feature that enables you to record values for ease of reading. No more reading values on the LCD screen in haste. The unit comes with a free storage case where you can keep the multimeter and its testing probes.
- User manual for beginners
- Fairly priced
- Safety certified
- Great for professional use
- It does not measure AC
Klein Tools MM400 Auto-Ranging Multimeter
This auto-ranging multimeter from Klein Tools can test 600 volts of AC/DC, an AC/DC of 10 amperes, and a resistance of up to 40 ohms. As an extra, this unit comes with an electrical tester that can test diodes, duty cycle, temperature, capacitance, and continuity.
Klein’s technicians made this unit to save you from the hassle of having to master the corresponding range for electrical parts you are testing. Thanks to the multimeter’s auto-ranging capability.
Klein Tools MM400 auto-ranging multimeter boasts a super-rugged construction that will withstand the test of time even when used frequently. The construction can survive a 3-foot drop without shattering.
In addition to the rugged construction, Klein Tools MM400 has a fuse to protect against high power surges while in use. Its backlit display makes reading easy, and its battery indicator notifies you when it is time to replace dead batteries.
- Great for light applications
- Built to stand the test of time
- Supports hands-free operation
- CAT III certified
- Quite costly
Riiai Digital Multimeter
The Riiai digital multimeter has a minimalist design and lightweight construction, making it ideal for highly mobile electronics hobbyists. The multimeter will take little storage space, alongside adding a lightweight to your luggage.
Though compactly sized, the Riiai digital multimeter has a similar capability to large-sized units. It can detect an AC voltage of 600 volts without contact. Besides current, this digital multimeter can test continuity, temperature, resistance, capacitance, diode, and frequency.
This portable digital multimeter uses breaking ground chipset technology to give accurate voltage, resistance, current, temperature, and capacitance readings. Its components are protected against destructive power surges by a high-quality fuse.
Unlike ordinary digital multimeters, the Riiai digital multimeter has a low-battery indicator that reminds you when to replace batteries, a flashlight to help you work under poorly lit situations, and a protective sleeve to protect the unit when it falls accidentally.
- Wide application
- Protected against falls and power surges
- easy to take readings
- Not ideal for professional use
Time to Pick the Best Multimeter for Electronics Hobbyists
Picking the suitable multimeter from the array of options in stores should not be an issue. You need to shop around for one with a rugged plastic or ABS construction and an ability to test critical electrical parameters like the voltage, capacitance, resistance, and current.
The meter you pick should have protection against high voltage power and a large backlit screen for ease of reading. If you lack that time to shop around, this roundup has suggested and scrutinized some of the great multimeters that beginner and professional hobbyists can consider buying.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a suitable multimeter for beginners?
If it is your first time using a multimeter, there are two basics you need to take into account. First, look around for a digital auto-ranging multimeter rather than a manual ranging multimeter.
The auto-ranging digital multimeters will save you the hassle of selecting the suitable corresponding range when testing various components for voltage, capacitance, and resistance.
Secondly, shop around for a unit with a reliable safety fuse. The fuse will protect your unit from high voltage power during those learning moments when you play around with various electrical components.
2. Who manufactures the best multimeters?
Several manufacturers make high-quality digital and analog multimeters. The most reputable brands include Fluke Corporation, a leading manufacturer of professional-grade multimeters, and Klein Tools, specializing in mid-range multimeters for hobbyists and do-it-yourself enthusiasts.
Other leading multimeter manufacturers include AstroAI, Innova, KAIWEETS, Etekcity, Amprobe, and Extech. However, when looking for a good multimeter, the brand should not mislead you into buying the wrong unit. Instead, consider essential aspects like safety, construction, and functionality.
Are analog multimeters any good?
Though considered outdated, analog multimeters are an excellent pick for professionals who understand how these multimeters work. The analog multimeters offer more accurate values than the digital multimeters, which estimate.
On the downside, many starters claim that using and reading values portrayed on the analog multimeters’ screen is relatively challenging. They prefer digital multimeters, which are supposedly user-friendly.
Why are multimeters from Fluke expensive?
Fluke is respected for high-end manufacturing units for professionals. Their multimeters are expensive because they have a super rugged construction that can endure several years of use, properly insulated probes, and an excellent safety rating.
Fluke’s multimeters are expensive because they have a better count and offer actual RMS measurements. You can hardly find a unit packed with all these features in middle-range products.
What is the average price for a good multimeter for hobbyists?
Like any other product, the price for multimeters differs from one brand to another. However, with $50, one can get a unit with decent features. Such a multimeter will measure a broad spectrum of currents and last long.