When it comes to buying multimeters, you need to learn everything you can about them. Often, the best products out there aren’t always the most expensive. We strive to get the best value for our money, but it’s even better if we got it for less? If you’re looking for a multimeter, here is some good news for you. We’ve compiled a list of the best cheap multimeters under $50 / $100 along with a buying guide to help you decide. Multimeters are very handy tools for measuring electrical properties like resistance, voltage, and current.
When buying this tool, never sacrifice quality. Remember the risks the device may pose to your health and the task at hand. A multimeter has must have accuracy, durability, and shouldn’t cost more than it should. Whether you are a DIY guy or a professional electrician, the multimeter should be one of your staple toolbox items. Read on to learn more!
- Features to Consider in Good Multimeters
- Best Cheap Multimeters 2020 (Under $50 / $100)
- 1. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
- 2. Etekcity Auto Ranging Clamp Meter, Digital Multimeter
- 3. AstroAI Digital Multimeter
- 4. Tacklife DM01M Digital Multimeter
- 5. Craftsman 34-82141 Digital Multimeter
- 6. Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter
- 7. Klein Tools MM400 Digital Auto-Ranging Multimeter
- 8. Mastech MS8268 Multimeter
- 9. Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter
- 10. Amprobe PK-110 Electrical Test Kit with Voltage Probe
- Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Multimeters (under $50/$100)
- Bottom Line
Features to Consider in Good Multimeters
If you were to buy a multimeter, what should you look for? There are so many options in the market today that choosing just one can seem overwhelming. But you need to consider a lot of things before making a purchase.
When buying online, you won’t have the chance to test the device’s full capacity until after you receive the item. This is one good reason why you should research about the product you’re interested in before you buy it.
Multimeters come in many variations, there are even features specific to one model or brand only.
Generally, though, all multimeters share basic functions. Here are the basic features to consider when choosing the multimeter to purchase:
Manual or Automatic
This is very important, especially for beginners, as the device detects the range it’s under. Auto-ranging refers to the gathering of the most significant number values. A multimeter with an auto-ranging feature should automatically provide the range for you. There’s no need for you to input data.
As for the manual models, they already have preset ranges. Whichever you choose, both types have the capacity to determine the range.
Digital or Analog
The analog multimeters are the dated designs, the ones used by older, seasoned professionals. These are still preferred by many professionals because of their reliability and ease of use. Multimeters have a sensitivity that catches the electrical values running in a circuit continuously.
The digital multimeters can record and display measurements automatically in an electrical circuit in digital form. These are more convenient to read, especially for those who haven’t undergone special training. It’s up to you to choose which one best suits your needs.
Most kinds of multimeters have high accuracy, although there’s still a debate on whether a digital or an analog type can provide the most accurate readings required. Also, these devices need some calibration after you haven’t used them for a long time.
This keeps a level of accuracy on the information it provides. Skipping this process isn’t a good idea as it can affect the device’s accuracy. Keep this in mind when you buy a new multimeter. It may be new but its accuracy might get affected because it stayed on the shelf of the store for too long.
If you constantly use a multimeter, purchase one that’s solidly built, preferably with a casing made of metal to ensure that it won’t break easily. Some of the newer models even have rubber exteriors to cushion the device in case it falls. Always take extra safety precautions when using the device.
Remember, there is always a potential danger when dealing with electricity so chose a multimeter that has basic safety features. They may cost you more, but it will be worth it. Whether you are a professional or a DIYer, never skimp on what is both useful and safe for you.
This means buying a multimeter made of durable materials that could withstand the test of time and frequent usage. As a buyer, you want only the best value for your money – a device that will stay fully usable for the many years to come.
Best Cheap Multimeters 2020 (Under $50 / $100)
This auto-ranging multimeter is user-friendly and versatile too. Its design allows you to deal with a wide range of electrical problems with safety and accuracy. It has an input of 10MegOhm that’s safe for household and automotive uses. This means that you can use it for automotive circuits, household outlets, wiring, fuses, and more.
The INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter comes with color-coded LEDs, allowing for quick checks – red means replace, yellow means weak, and green means good. This device also includes test leads, a stand, and holders, allowing for hands-free utilization. Also, the auto-ranging feature of this device allows you to measure electricity without having to dial in the specific voltage.
This is one of the best cheap multimeters under $50 / $100 because of how functional and sturdy it is. The INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter provides accurate readings on a clear LCD display and sturdy construction.
The device has protective guards for all of its corners to provide protection even if you drop it by accident. This device runs on double-A batteries and a convenient auto-off feature that helps conserve energy.
Value for money
This is a compact and convenient device that serves as an excellent addition to any toolbox or garage set. Despite its durability and functionality, it still offers great value for your money. If you only need to use the multimeter occasionally and you’re looking for an affordable option, the Innova 3320 is one of the best.
The Etekcity Auto Ranging Clamp Meter, Digital Multimeter combines user-friendly features with innovation. These make it the perfect device for a wide range of electrical projects. With this multimeter, you can easily test resistance, continuity, diode, and DC or AC voltage. It also has a convenient clamp, allowing for safety measurements of AC currents.
With this device, you don’t have to break circuits or strip cords to perform measurements. It also has max value and hold result buttons, making it easier and faster to use. The auto-ranging feature allows you to obtain accurate measurements each time.
Using this device ensures that electricity maintenance is both easy and safe. With all of the features, you can use the multimeter to take measurements without direct contact which can be extremely dangerous. The device comes with a clip, allowing you to extend wires and rest cord up to 28-mm. Its test probes come insulated for safe handling while you take measurements.
The great thing about the Etekcity is that it offers several convenient features. For one, the clamp allows you to measure AC currents safely without stripping any wires. The voltage test allows you to get quick and accurate results for both DC and AC voltage. This is a multifunctional device that includes select, max, and hold buttons.
It offers auto-ranging assistance, making it easier to use. The continuity and diode testing functions ensure that all of your electrical connections are completely safe and correct. The device even comes with an auto-off feature to maximize usage by saving battery life. Its large LCD display allows for easier readability and clear measurements.
The design of this multimeter allows professionals to use it accurately and safely – whether you’re a DIYer or a professional working in a commercial or industrial environment. This device provides more power than standard models. Despite all of its advanced features which allow it to measure virtually anything, it’s completely safe to use.
The AstroAI Digital Multimeter is one of the best models available because of its superior versatility. First of all, you can use it for troubleshooting electrical issues. It’s a professionally-designed device that can also be of help for electronics training. You may use this device for continuity testing by connecting the leads to the circuit you want to test.
This multimeter comes with double protection, making it more reliable and secure. It has built-in fuse tubes that are explosion-proof and made of ceramic material. These fuses effectively protect the device on various ranges. It even has a multifunctional socket for measuring transistors and capacitors. With this device, you can measure temperature and read the result on the large LCD display.
One of the best features of this multimeter is its user-friendliness. Aside from having superior performance, its ease of use ensures that the work you do is as precise and as comprehensive as possible. No matter what you’re measuring or testing, this device delivers.
Some of the best user-friendly features of this device are its large screen with a backlight, auto power-off feature, and data hold. All of these features make the device simple to navigate, allowing you to focus more on the task at hand.
The Tacklife DM01M Digital Multimeter is a digital multimeter with an advanced design that enables you to accurately and safely address household and automotive electrical problems. Use it as a general tool for measurement for cables, fuses, automotive batteries, household sockets, charging systems, automotive circuits, universal batteries, and so on.
This device offers overload protection to ensure safety during operation. Other safety features include the Thermistor protection circuit and ceramic fuse to give you the highest level of security while you work. This device has a good design and even an auto shut-off feature, allowing the device to power down after 15 minutes of no usage.
The sampling speed of this device is 2 to 3 times per second, allowing you to troubleshoot various household and automotive issues accurately, quickly, and safely. The device comes equipped with a flash LCD and continuity buzzer to ensure that all of your electrical components work properly.
The versatility of this device gives you great value at an affordable price. For current testing, simply connect the test leads for current detection. You can use this for testing DC or AC voltage so you know if you need to charge your batteries. For continuity testing, the multimeter’s buzzer will sound off to indicate that it’s still intact.
This device allows for no-contact voltage testing to ensure your safety. You don’t have to set the range of the test manually for the device to work. You can even connect the leads to a socket to test for live lines. It’s an advanced multimeter with several uses to optimize your experience whether you’re a beginner or a professional.
This device is one of the best cheap multimeters under $50 / $100 as it offers a number of basic functions along with manual ranging and several audible signals which serve as indications for notifications and warnings. This device runs on a 9V battery which lasts for more than a year as long as you maintain the device’s good condition.
The Craftsman 34-82141 Digital Multimeter is an excellent tool for quick measurements. It has a compact design, allowing you to bring it with you wherever you go. Despite all of its great features, it comes at an affordable price to ensure that you get great value for the money you spend on it.
This device is so small that you can place it inside your pocket. Even when you place it inside your toolbox, it won’t take up a lot of space. Apart from its handy size, it also has an auto shut-off feature. This is important for conserving energy when the device isn’t in use.
Easy to use
This feature is one that a lot of users appreciate. Since the device is easy to use, you can start using it as soon as you turn it on. You don’t have to spend a lot of time reading the manual even if you’re a first-time multimeter user. It even comes with a rubber holster to protect the device from accidental bumps, hits, and drops.
The Craftsman comes with a tilt stand at the back, allowing you to position the device vertically when you need to. The stand is both sturdy and stable so it won’t slide around when placed on a smooth surface. It even offers various ranges to ensure accuracy each time you use it.
The design of this multimeter allows you to use it for basic electrical troubleshooting and resting. It offers accurate and reliable measurements, making it suitable for commercial and residential electricians, air conditioning and heating technicians, other professionals, and even homeowners. This is a compact, lightweight device that fits into your hand comfortably.
The Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter also comes with a rugged design to ensure that it withstands daily utilization for years to come. If you’re looking for a professional-grade multimeter, this device is one of your best options.
Easy to use
This multimeter comes from one of the most well-known and trusted brands in the multimeter world. This is one of the main reasons why this model made it on our list. Apart from the superb features, this device is user-friendly too. It has a superb safety rating, it offers superior accuracy, it’s easy to maintain, and changing the batteries is a breeze too.
Value for money
Fluke is a reputable brand that produces high-quality devices – and the Fluke 101 is no exception. You can use this model for various testing purposes from air conditioning, heating, electrical devices, and more. It has built-in microamps and a thermometer, allowing you to use it for HVAC applications.
Even with all of these features, the device comes at a reasonable price. This means that you’re getting great value for your money. Even though this model doesn’t include a high selection for amperage, most types of HVAC applications don’t require this high selection anyway.
You can use this auto-ranging multimeter for measuring different values like resistance, AC or DC voltage, and AC or DC current. You can also use the Klein Tools MM400 Digital Auto-Ranging Multimeter to measure frequency, temperature, duty-cycle, capacitance, and more. This device comes from a reputable brand in the industry that’s well-known for manufacturing high-quality products.
This multimeter is part of a product line that the brand had exclusively designed from scratch by electricians for electricians. It is a professional-grade, premium tool that delivers the precision, performance, and durability you need for different tasks. It even comes at a very reasonable price.
The multimeter comes with a sturdy design that sets it apart from the competition. It’s durable enough to withstand bumps, daily wear and tear, and even a 1-meter drop. The device’s battery compartment is easily accessible, allowing you to change batteries without difficulty. It also has an indicator for when the battery gets low.
Another feature of this device worth mentioning is its ability to measure temperature. This is a standard feature of high-end models, making it a pleasant addition to this affordable multimeter. The device includes a thermocouple that you have to connect to the unit, set the mode, and start using it.
The versatility of this multimeter ensures that you can use it for a wide range of applications around your home or workplace. Another notable feature of this device is its safety. It has a high safety rating to give you the assurance that you won’t be in danger while using it.
Easy to use
This model is newly-released as a digital multimeter that you can use for an auto and manual ranging. It comes with a number of useful features like the light and sound warning for incorrect jacks and the LCD screen with a backlight. This device runs on AAA batteries and it includes a user manual and test leads.
The Mastech MS8268 Multimeter is one of the best devices for your money because you can use it for different applications. It’s one of the latest products released by Mastech, one of the most trusted brands in the multimeter world. Even with all of its features, it still comes at a very reasonable price.
This device is also a multi-tester. It has an auto shut-off feature to conserve energy when not in use. You can clearly see the results of various tests like AC or DC voltage, diode checks, and more on its LCD display screen.
Easy to use
This device has a compact design, although it’s not as lightweight as other models. Some people may wonder why the lead sockets light up, but this only happens when you don’t plug the leads correctly or you use the wrong jacks. This is a very convenient feature, especially for beginners.
This device comes with holders for the test leads that are securely molded into the back. These holders have slots that accept the flared part of leads, allowing you to store the leads on the device without getting them tangled up. The auto-range feature of this device simplifies its operation, making it suitable for newbies and professionals alike.
This device is perfect for various troubleshooting tasks. The product includes two meters in one device that’s easy to read and comes in a convenient size. The Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter is a full-featured digital device with a non-contact detector for voltage. It measures DC/AC voltage up to 600V and DC/AC current up to 10 amps with a basic accuracy of 0.5%.
You can also use this device to measure continuity testing, diode testing, and resistance. It has a LED display that’s easy to read, a LED indicator, an audible beeper, and an indicator for low battery. It also comes with a Type K probe, allowing you to measure temperature.
This multimeter makes use of a combination of red-colored indicator lights and sounds to notify you of the presence of voltage when you place it near live switches, outlets, wires, and more. The LED display of this device features large digits, allowing you to make quick and accurate readings no matter how much light your environment has.
One of the most convenient features of this multimeter is its auto-ranging function that allows you to choose the appropriate range of measurement while you work on different components. It also has a max hold function for you to capture the highest reading of the device and a data hold function for you to freeze the current reading.
This multimeter has a superior design that sets it apart from other models. The compact size of this device allows you to place it in your pocket for when you’re on-the-go. It also comes with a tilt stand and a rubber holster that provides protection for the multimeter. This holster protects the device from bumps, falls, and more.
Easy to use
This kit comes with three different electrical testers that come with various testing functions for different applications. From identifying the presence of voltage to verifying the correctness of wiring, this kit offers all the features you need to perform electrical tests safely and quickly. You can also use it for troubleshooting fuses, light bulbs, and more.
This kit contains special electrical components that possess the features you need for troubleshooting, interventions, and testing. The Amprobe PK-110 Electrical Test Kit with Voltage Probe includes the AM-420 multimeter, VP-1000 non-contact probe for checking voltage, and an ST-102B tester for sockets.
The measurable DC or AC voltage of this device is up to 250V, the maximum DC for current is 200mA, and you can measure resistance up to 2 Ohms. This device has a 110V to 125V operating voltage for standard sockets in Canada and the US.
With this kit, you can accurately take measurements and perform tests and verifications. It’s a complete kit that includes everything you need for various purposes. The continuity function allows you to troubleshoot fuses and light bulbs. The voltage function allows you to test cords and verify the proper wirings of outlets.
The non-contact detector for voltage allows you to detect the presence of voltage in different electrical systems. The socket tester allows you to detect different kinds of wiring faults while the illuminated lights indicate the type of wiring issue that exists.
Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Multimeters (under $50/$100)
Because of the abundance of multimeter brands available today, you have a choice on which device to opt for. But for professionals, finding the ideal multimeter needs research. This involves some factors that you should take into consideration before finally choosing the best product for your own needs.
Although most of the units are under $100, not all of them are the same. Some multimeters have more features than others and some are of better quality with great resolutions. Making the choice now depends on your personal preferences.
What important factors should you consider when buying multimeters?
When choosing a digital multimeter, one important feature to consider is a good display screen. This means that the screen should be large enough so you can read the results displayed without issues. The screen should also have a backlight. This allows the display screen to be both clear and visible in different environments.
As for the size, the best multimeters have a compact size. This makes it easier to grasp even with one hand. There are also multimeters available that sport an ergonomic design which makes you feel more comfortable while holding it.
Most multimeters found in the market share the basic standard features including measuring DC and AC currents, resistance, capacitance, and voltage. But some offer extra functions like battery test, diode test, transistor test, continuity test, and others. Then there are those which have special functions like analog bar graph, auto-range, true RMS, and so on.
These features make the devices more useful compared to the usual standard multimeters. Check the device’s specifications and product details to find additional functions. You can base from these the selection of your desired multimeter.
Ease of Use
Buyers usually shun away from devices with usage instructions that are too complicated. The best cheap multimeters under $50 / $100 should be intuitive, allowing you to figure out easily how to select variables and immediately understand how to set everything up. If you work in poorly illuminated areas often, a multimeter with a light would be a good choice.
In line with this, you should also consider the device’s power source. Many multimeters use batteries while others draw power from a power plug. Then there are models that use both. An auto shut-off feature is great for conserving battery life. Just make sure that it doesn’t turn off too soon as this becomes inconvenient.
This is one factor that is frequently overlooked when choosing multimeters. Select the model for the anticipated maximum load. Of course, you would have to spend more as the load goes up. Multimeters fall into three main categories.
Category I multimeters are for small electronic projects. Category II devices are for testing portable tools and household appliances. Category III devices are for testing distribution bars, cables, bus bars, socket outlets, and more. You can also use these to test motors with permanent power connections safely.
Going higher on the category scale improves your safety, especially in a commercial or industrial environment. There are also Category IV multimeters designed for origin of installation or utility measurements. These are the most expensive and rare. Devices of this category are exclusive to installers of industrial equipment and linemen.
Next, look for a product coming from trusted manufacturers with proven track records of quality and efficiency. With such manufacturers, even their cheapest models would still have some level of reliability.
Professionals can distinguish between well-made and poorly-manufactured models. But even DIYers and homeowners should opt for products made by trusted manufacturers. Moreover, these products come with a much better guarantee. This gives you more confidence in the device you have just purchased.
For this factor, the product you choose should come with at least a one-year warranty. This makes you feel more at ease when it comes to possible malfunctions and defects.
Why you should buy a multimeter
Every professional electrician knows the importance of a multimeter. It’s their primary instrument for testing and troubleshooting electrical circuits and connections. Although the design of most multimeters allows them to measure basic circuit characteristics, the newest models can do much more. Here are the top benefits of using a multimeter:
High-quality multimeters display high accuracy readings up to four decimal places. With regards to current fluctuations, as long as these are within the device’s range of fluctuation, you don’t have to worry about the readings.
Automatic Output Display and Polarity Function
Even for beginners, gauging multimeter readings shouldn’t be too difficult. All it takes some practice. Most multimeters use a multi-segment display to show the results automatically on the device’s LCD screen.
There’s no need to distinguish the needle pointer’s position on the scale to get values as you would on analog multimeters.
How to use multimeters
You can use multimeters to check DC or AC voltages, continuity, and resistance of electrical (or electric) components, and even small current amounts in circuits. You can use this device to detect the presence of voltage on circuits.
If a current exists, the multimeter can help you with a wide range of useful applications like measuring volts, amperes, and ohms. If this is your first time to use this kind of device, here are some steps to guide you in using it correctly:
Learn more about your device
- Find the multimeter’s dial of the multimeter. This has scales with an arc-shape that you can see through a window along with a pointer that indicates the values from a scale. Many newer models have digital readout displays instead. The functions for both multimeter types are the same but with the digital type, you obtain a numerical reading.
- Locate the selector knob or switch. With this, you can change functions between ohms, amperes, and volts, and change the device’s scale too. Many of these functions have different ranges, so it’s essential to set both correctly. This avoids any harm or damage to you or your device.
- Find the openings in the casing where you insert the leads.
- Find the test leads. Such a device should have two test probes or leads. Use these to connect to the device you plan to measure or test.
- Find the fuse and battery compartment. On most multimeters, you can find this at the back. However, in some models, you can find this on the side. This compartment holds the battery and fuse that supply the power to the meter when you use it for resistance testing.
- Find the knob for zero adjustment. It’s a small knob that’s located somewhere near the dial. Use this knob in the resistance range while the probes touch each other.
- Set the device to resistance or ohms.
- Observe the meter indication.
- Connect the leads.
- Hold together the probes at the end of the leads.
- Measure the resistance of a device or appliance that you know is in good working condition.
- Try various ranges.
- Test resistance between hands.
- Check the accuracy of your reading.
- Set the device for the highest AC volts range provided.
- Insert the test probes.
- Locate the voltage scales.
- Test a working electrical outlet.
- Remove the probes.
- Reinsert the probes on the device you want to measure.
- Don’t hold both probes to ensure your safety.
- Make sure you have measured the voltage before measuring amperes.
- Set the meter to the highest supported DC or AC Ampere range.
- Consider using a “clamp-on” multimeter. If this is your first time to measure amperes, such a device helps ensure your safety.
- Check for filter capacitors or any other elements that require an inrush or surge current when switched on.
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