What is a multimeter?

Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter

Multimeters, known by specialists also as VOMs (volt-ohm-milliammeters), are special devices that can be used to measure a wide variety of electrical values. They are probably the most useful inventions in the electrical troubleshooting field, as they offer users the ability to test and measure voltage, current, resistance, capacitance and many more. Car owners, DIYers and electricians are usually those who benefit from all of the advantages that such a device offers.

Lately, the market offers consumers mostly digital multimeters, also known as DMMs. Although analog multimeters are also useful, they cannot offer the advanced features and functions of digital instruments. High accuracy, speed and efficiency are some of the most important reasons why electricians prefer using them in favor of analog multimeters.

When looking to buy a digital multimeter, you should take into consideration the fact that the devices that you can find on the market can fall under a variety of categories. They can be designed to be used for general purposes, as testers, as well as:

  •  Standard
    Advanced
    Compact
    Wireless

The difference between classic, old-fashioned multimeters and modern ones is that the latter can detect extremely small fluctuations and differences that analog ones could not have been able to spot. Also, they test higher ranges of voltage and amperage and can be used for a multitude of applications.

Why you should own a digital multimeter?

Digital multimeters are practical and versatile devices that are equipped with a variety of sensors. For instance, there are digital multimeters on the market that have built-in thermometers and can be used for testing HVAC systems.

Here are a few of the most common uses of standard devices:

  •  Testing car batteries
    Testing extension cords
    Checking out light bulbs
    Spot hot wires
    Finding bad switches
    Troubleshooting HVACs

A multimeter’s main function is to measure the following:

  •  Voltage
    Current (direct and alternating)
    Resistance
    Continuity
    Diode

Luckily, using one of these electronic devices isn’t rocket science and you don’t need advanced technical knowledge. There are four main components of a multimeter that you must know how to use. These are the display, the controls/buttons, the rotary switch or dial and the input jacks. Every multimeter comes with flexible wires that are well insulated. Manufactures invest a lot in their products’ safety features, so in most cases, you won’t have to worry about not being able to use a multimeter safely.

Multimeters can be used at home or in industrial environments. However, if you are planning to use one for work, you have to ensure that it is capable of delivering the results that you need. This means that you or your company has to invest in an advanced device that has plenty of functions and high accuracy.

In conclusion, if you like to be the first to troubleshoot, test and repair the electronic devices in your home or car, a multimeter is the best tool to own. It is easy to use, practical and helps you understand exactly what isn’t working properly.

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