A handheld multimeter is one of the essential devices for any electrician. They are used for troubleshooting, testing, installation, or repairing electrical equipment. That’s why car owners should invest in buying the best multimeter, which combines three devices into one- ammeter, voltmeter, and ohmmeter. This will help you test different functionalities of your car and consequently make it easier for you to determine the problem and resolve it successfully.
However, because of the wide variety of the multimeter brand on the market, it can be a daunting task to choose the best one for you. Selecting an automotive multimeter with a lot of features that you may not use can mean that you’ll overspend. On the other hand, if you choose a device that is under-equipped for your applications can expose you to electrical hazards.
We have compiled a comprehensive guide to help you choose the right device for your applications and needs. Our buyer’s guide to choosing the best multimeter in 2017 includes the top 6 multimeters as well as other valuable information about multimeters.
What Is A Multimeter And Why Do You Need It?
A multimeter, also called Volt-Ohm meter (VOM), or a multitester, is an electronic tool that’s used to measure in one unit, several combinations of measurement functions. A standard multimeter should be able to measure current, voltage, and resistance.
There are several reasons you might want to consider purchasing an automotive multimeter;
– Checking the function of batteries and fuses
– Testing integrated circuits, transistors, bulbs, and light switches
– Measuring circuit, volts, and resistance
– Troubleshooting boiler electrics, and electronics
General speaking, you need this handy device to make it easier for you to determine the main cause of the problem in your car electrical system, you don’t need to visit your mechanic every time you suspect there’s a problem in your car as you’ll be able to identify the problem using your multimeter.
With That In Mind, Let’s Get Down To The Real Business; Reviewing The Six Best Automotive Multimeters.
#1 Fluke 88 V/A KIT Automotive Multimeter
Fluke 88v is one of the excellent multimeter models from Fluke brand. It’s specifically designed to help auto professionals solve their auto problems in a quick and easier manner. This model comes with loads of features that can help you carry out any electrical task more effectively. It has measurement and troubleshooting functions that can solve any electrical problem with conventional and hybrid vehicles.
Interestingly, this automotive multimeter can be used to test household electronics too, and therefore even if you purchased it for automobile needs, this doesn’t prevent you from using it to test other electronic gadgets if a need arises. This makes it versatile thanks to the tons of features that it possesses.
The Fluke 88 V/A KIT Automotive Multimeter has all of the features you’d expect a digital multimeter to have. Besides, it’s made by a company that’s regarded by many automotive enthusiasts as the best brand making multimeters in the industry.
This product comes with a complete kit, which provides you with all the diagnostic tools that you’ll need; even the probes, pins, and clips are all included in this kit. Therefore, whether you are testing diode, resistance, or continuity, you can be sure that with this automotive multimeter, all that is possible. It also comes with a large display that is clear even during the day. In most devices, sunlight reduces the clarity of the screen, but with this model, there are two levels of backlight as well as brightness, which will help boost visibility.
The classic design of Fluke 88 V/A KIT Automotive Multimeter is also worth emphasizing; you can hold it with one hand, allowing the other one to carry out other tasks. Besides, you can also use magnetic hanger so that both hands are free.
The Pros of Fluke 88 V/A KIT Automotive Multimeter
– It comes as a complete kit unlike most multimeters on the market
– It’s also powerful in discerning problems
– It has a clear display screen
– The only major problem with this product is the price; it’s quite costlier than most brands but its well worth the money.
#2 INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter
This automotive multimeter is among the best multimeters for beginners and those who want to become apprentice electricians. It has all the basic features of a digital multimeter. You can use it to diagnose electrical problems in your car wiring and car batteries. If there are things in your car electrical system that are short circuiting or that aren’t working, you can assess their healthiness and state with this handy device. Having been made by a company that has been making automobile tools for decades, you can be assured that this device is quality.
Therefore, INNOVA 3340 is a continuation of a long line of quality digital multimeters that INNOVA has been making. Their auto multimeters are specially designed with professional or home mechanic in mind.
It is a perfect choice for those looking for an auto multimeter that can prove to be useful for a number of functions such as when it comes to verification of electrical continuity, troubleshooting rays, and checking the alternator output.
The temperature probe included in this unit is also a notable thing. You don’t need to have a separate thermometer which makes it easier to have an accurate measurement of the engine water. To ensure that this device last longer, its manufacturers added an overload protection feature. This will prompt the device to stop functioning once it reaches its maximum capacity automatically.
The pros of INNOVA 3340
– it is easy to use and offer value for the money by having tons of useful features
– it comes with a large LCD so that you can see the information displayed in an easier and quick manner
– Achieving steady zero with this device is quite difficult
#3 Amprobe AM-530
Amprobe AM-530 has some key features that make this device eligible to be in the best multimeters list. It has continuity test that’s incredibly precise and audible. Although it can only measure a maximum of 600volts, this device makes up for by being able to take real RMS measurements that cannot be altered by any variations in the current.
The battery of the Amprobe AM-530 has enough juice in it to test and power capacitor to boot. This auto device also has a built-in flashlight that makes its display as clear and readable as possible even in high-light conditions.
The Amprobe AM-530 also comes at a competitive price making it a perfect device for those on a budget. This auto-ranging multimeter from Amprobe has proven its mettle and has become a choice DMM for contractors and pro electrician thanks to its competitive price and its value that makes it a great bargain.
The pros of Amprobe AM-530
– It comes at budget-friendly price
– Has a precise and audible continuity test
– It can only measure a maximum of 600 volts
#4 Fluke 77-IV Digital Multimeter
This device oozes quality in virtually all areas. Fluke has been producing high-quality auto multimeters, and Fluke 77-IV Digital Multimeter is no exception. The tool is easy to use, accurate, and reliable. The fact that it’s made in America makes it credible that it has passed all the safety standards.
It is an all-purpose multi-meter that has all the basic features needed to detect any electrical faults in your car. Although it is made for auto purposes, this meter can also be used for other application at home. The tool is easy to use, unlike most multimeters that are designed in a technical fashion.
It has both auto and manual ranging which makes it versatile. It can be used for bench repair, auto repair, as well as field service. The Fluke 77-IV Digital Multimeter has a sizeable display that makes it easier to read on the screen. It also has faster response rate than most models in its price range.
Overall, this auto device has all the basic features that you’ll ever need in a multimeter to help you achieve better performance at any electrical work.
– It has a large display enabling you to read data in a quick and easier manner
– It’s made in America, and therefore you can have confidence that its quality
The cons of Fluke 77-IV Digital Multimeter
– It lacks advanced features that are needed by professionals
#5 INNOVA 3320
This is a feature rich auto multimeter that is hard to surpass in terms of functionality and quality. It’s known for its hands-free testing, which is one of the reasons this device has been labeled the most user-friendly multimeter. It comes with a strap, stand, and a wrist.
It’s also worth mentioning that this device is UL Certified, and this provide you with a guarantee of its utmost safety. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that it’s tested thoroughly to ensure optimal safety.
Finally, it has an automatic shutoff feature, meaning that it automatically turns itself off after some time of being idle. This will help to save battery life.
– It has rapid resistance and auto changing features making it a reliable option
– It’s also more accurate than most auto multimeters
– It’s not specific when it comes to measuring high amp loads
#6 Fluke 115 Compact
Although it’s one of the most expensive multimeters on our top 6 list of best multimeters 2017, the Fluke 115 Compact is another quality product from Fluke that has been highly rated by consumers. In terms of reliability, built quality, and accuracy, this device is clearly a superior option to many devices that are on the market
Although it’s costlier, this device offers value for the money by loading tons of features. It can be used by beginners as it’s easier to operate. It has an auto-ranging system that can be switched between RMS and manual system for accuracy on the non-linear loads.
This device can also go as high as ten amps, and that makes it a great tool for professional electricians, but it’s still a valuable tool for amateurs. Fluke fitted large LED display for easier view of the readings. Other features that may interest you is that it comes with a 9V battery and a holster in the package. It has an auto alert to notify you if you have set incorrect voltage meter or amperage, instead of displaying false or zero reading like many multimeters. This feature also makes it incredibly safe.
The Pros of Fluke 115 Compact
– It has a large LED screen
– Comes with a powerful battery
– Has an alert to notify you when you’ve set incorrect voltage meter
– It is a bit costlier than most brands on the market
What Are The Factors To Consider When Buying A Multimeter?
Type of Multimeter- generally, there are two types of multimeters; digital and analog. Digital multimeters differ from analog multimeters in several ways including the level of accuracy achieved, how readings appear, and a potential for transferring data to a computer. Data on a digital multimeter appears on the LCD screen. These read-outs are explicit, and the accuracy level is considered to be within 2% for AC and 1% for DC. You can download readings from digital multimeters to your computer for more analysis. Analog meters provides readings that are not straightforward; they display a bar along with a numeric scale. You then interpolate values that are between the marked numbers to obtain an accurate figure that’s considered to be within 2.5%.
Accuracy- this’s one of the most important consideration to keep in mind. You cannot physically test a device and know how accurate it is. That’s why we read customer reviews to know what other people are saying about each of the devices we’ve listed above. Therefore, before buying a multimeter, go online and read customer reviews. This will make it easier for you to know how accurate the device is.
Safety- you need to know the safety features of the device you are considering to buy. If a multimeter is made of cheap materials, it can be prone to exploding. Aside from choosing a product that’s well-built, you need also to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer all the times, especially those concerning safety.
Ease of Use- make sure that the multimeter you are considering to buy is user-friendly so that you can have an easier time using it without professional guidance. Ensure that it has an easy-to-read display so that you can see all the data that will be presented.
The Bottom Line
Repairing and maintaining an automotive or electronics is a vital job that requires the best tools for effective troubleshooting. Those who have experience in repairing and maintaining their automobiles understand how important a multimeter is. We hope that you’ll find the best multimeter for your needs in our simplified list of top rated multimeters. The above models are the crème de la crème on the market.