For a low dollar multimeter, this one is truly amazing. It has all the features you’d find on a much more expensive multimeter, but at a fraction of the price. The meter allows you to select auto or manual ranging, per your needs. It also measures capacitance, frequency and duty cycle. In addition, it has specific testing capability for both transistor and diodes, along with a continuity tester.
Amprobe is best known for their clamp-on amperage meters, but that’s not all they make. This multimeter from them comes at a very reasonable price. It also has a built-in non-contact voltage detection function, which allows you to verify whether electric lines, outlets, switches and devices are hot, without having to connect the meter. That’s a great timesaver and also saves having one more test device in your pouch. Finally, it has a built-in flashlight for those times when you just can’t find something, but didn't bring one with you.
This multimeter offers something a little different than most, the ability to connect it to a computer for documenting and recording test data. It is also auto and manual range selectable, allowing you to select the means of operation that will work best for your needs. In addition to standard voltage and impedance readings, it also offers capacitance, frequency and temperature test functions. When doing continuity checks, it has a buzzer that sounds to save you having to look at the meter.
This handy meter is made to fit in your pocket, so that it is easy to take with you. The case has a rubber holster for added drop protection, along with a built-in tilt stand. It is manual ranging with eight functions. In addition to the normal multimeter functions it does type K temperature readings and diode testing. It also has built-in battery test functions.
Klein is known for making tools for electricians and electronic techs. This simple multimeter has all the basic functions at a really low price. There is a hold function for any reading, allowing you to save the data in the meter until you can disconnect and write it down. It also has a built-in battery test function for testing batteries under load.
If you want the best of the best in analog multimeters, go for a Simpson. No, this isn’t Homer Simpson, it’s Simpson Electric, one of the oldest and biggest manufacturers of analog multimeters. This model, which I believe is the top of their line, carries a hefty price tag, but it has the specifications to back it up. It is designed with safety in mind, being certified to EN61010-1 to 600V, Category III for safety. It is rated up to 600 volts, 10 amps, and 200 m ohms. The meter has built-in overload protection, to prevent it from getting damaged. The mirrored scale allows accurate reading of all ranges. It comes with a padded case.
For those that don’t want to pay the high price for the Simpson, but still want a high-grade analog multimeter, Triplett puts out this model at about half the price. In addition to all the standard functions, they also have a decibel function included for use in audio work. Another unusual thing about this multimeter is that it only has a single pair of input jacks, not the three or four that other meters have. Even when you are using the meter for high amperage work, the same set of jacks are used, in order to prevent damage caused by operator error. The meter’s window is still made of glass after all these years, to protect it from chemical damage. It has diode overload protection, as well as two fuses.
This meter from Hioki is designed to be drop proof. That means you can drop it from a height of one meter, without causing it any damage. That’s pretty amazing for an analog meter. In addition to the standard readings, this one will provide LED checks, battery checks and temperature measurement, with optional probes. It measures from 0.3 to 600 volts DC, 12 to 600 volts AC, 60 microamps to 30 milliamps and 0 to 300 k ohms. Comes with a protective carrying case and a very nice set of retractable test probes.
For those who are looking for a low-cost analog multimeter, might I suggest this model from Mastech. It is designed to be highly portable, coming with a belt holster. The scale plate is mirrored to eliminate the problem of parallex, a feature you normally only find on high-dollar meters. It is fused to protect the internal circuitry from over-current situations. A red rubber boot around the meter protects it from shock damage.
While this meter is far from scraping the bottom of the barrel, it definitely qualifies as low cost. Besides the standard multimeter ranges for voltage and impedance, this one provides loaded battery testing for 1.5 and 9 volt batteries. The leads are permanently connected to prevent loss; however, this prevents you from using other leads with it. A rubber overboot protects it from shock damage.
Fluke is the biggest manufacturer of digital multimeters around. This unit provides both manual and auto-ranging capability in the same meter. It will measure up to 1000 volts AC or DC, plus 10 amps, 20 amps for short periods of time. It comes with a selectable filter for accurate voltage and provides a true RMS reading for AC. An analog bar graph on the display helps see what is happening quickly, for fast changing or unstable voltage signals. It also has a built-in temperature measurement function for HVAC technicians.
I normally dont like giving two spots on a list to the same company, even less the top two spots; but I couldnt help it. Fluke truly makes excellent equipment and deserves the recognition. This meter is designed specifically for electricians, providing the functions that they need the most. It is a true RMS meter, providing the most accurate AC voltage reading. A voltage detection circuit helps quickly determine if circuits are live or not. Auto ranging helps get the reading, without having to make adjustments. It will also provide min/max/average readings for a circuit, plus measure both frequency and capacitance.
This meter by Fieldpiece provides a wide range of measurement capabilities, over and above what would be normally expected from a multimeter. It can also measure temperature, capacitance, microamps and frequency. A clamp on probe (included) allows you to measure current flow through existing circuits. Range is manually selected directly on the setting dial. It is designed to connect directly to a series of Fieldpiece accessory heads.
Klein produces some of the finest electronic and electrical tools around, so its no surprise to see them on this list with one of their multimeters. This unit provides true RMS readings for the greatest accuracy for reading AC power. It can also measure capacitance, frequency, duty cycle and temperature. Like the Fluke, it has an analog bar graph for reading transient and rapidly changing unstable voltages. It can measure up to 10 amps.
This is another true RMS multimeter, providing the most accurate AC readings. It can also measure temperature, capacitance, frequency and duty cycle, in addition to the standard impedance, amperage and AC and DC voltage. The meter is auto-ranging for ease of use. It has a built-in thermocouple for surface and air temperature measurement.