Maker Pro
Maker Pro

Need a new multimeter - any thoughts

punkieys17

Feb 7, 2016
45
Joined
Feb 7, 2016
Messages
45
So as a hobbyist i use the multimeter all the time. Unfortunately the display on my relatively cheap (then) Maplin sourced meter is giving up. I've been amazed just how cheap digital meters are nowadays. Does anyone have experience of Angeng meters - they are selling an amazingly low priced meter that does it all including capacitance and frequency. It not really about price but woudll like to hear comments and recommendations as I tend to stick with my purchase even if it annoys me...
 

Harald Kapp

Moderator
Moderator
Nov 17, 2011
13,758
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
13,758
I don't know the Angeng meters so I can't comment on that brand.

But I can offer some general thoughts:
  • What are you going to do with the meter? If you're up to using it regularly, maybe even for precision work, get a brand article, even if it is a bit more expensive. If you use it only occasionally, not for precision work, you can probably buy any meter and it will be good enough.
  • Are you going to work on mains with the meter? Then look for one with a rating of 300 V CAT III as minimum requirement. CAT IV will be required if you are going to use the meter in the main switch panel (where the electricity meter sits). If you are working on 3 phase systems you will need a 600 V rating instead of only 300 V. Even if this is not your application, 600 V will add a safety margin. So 600 V CAT III or CAT IV would be my recommendation unless you have special requirements.
  • As for the number of digits: Carefully check the stated accuracy versus the number of digits. Some meters with a high number of digits offer a deceptive accuracy which is moot when looking at the actual figures in the technical data. Don't pay for worthless trailing digits that are good aas random number generators at best. In my experience 3 1/2 digits will take you a long way.
  • As for power supply: I favor batteries over rechargeables. Rechargeables tend to be discharged when you need the meter. So do batteries, but swapping in a new battery is faster than charging a rechargeable.
  • Add-ons like frequency, capacitance, temperature and whatnot may come in handy from time to time, but usually aren't very accurate in cheap multimeters. Anyway, I use these functions, too, for sheer convenience - so I don't have to grab another instrument. For precision measurements you will need precision instruments, however.

I use really inexpensive meters from my local electronics hardware store (these meters are pre-Internet, no online shops available at that time). I know their limits and thus can use them with confidence. My recent acquisition is a combined multimeter/oscilloscope made by Hantek, Although the use of this instrument as an oscilloscope is a far cry from using a real oscilloscope, again it comes in handy for a quick check of waveforms without having to resort to my old tabletop scope.

Cheers,
Harald
 

ratstar

Aug 20, 2018
485
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
485
Second hand multimetres are all u need and sometimes they pack more features than the new ones. Any multimetre will do the job for you, even limited ones can still be good. If looks like a cheap plastic little toy, it can still do the job for you. Maybe you look even cooler that way.

Saying that I do have quite an expensive one, maybe next time I wont bother. I got the micron q1088, and its missing temperature, and inductance, but its got capacitance detection, and thats mainly what I use.

Auto ranging you dont need it, its actually worse in a way because you have to wait for the system to jump around before you get a result.
 
Last edited:

shrtrnd

Jan 15, 2010
3,876
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,876
They say you get what you pay for, but my experience is that unless you REQUIRE an expensive meter, and it sounds like you don't, you're wasting money on a big-brand name. Too many companies are all having their gear made in third world countries with no quality control. I have expensive meters and cheap ones. When the expensive ones experience problems, the manufacturers no longer support them, and the cheap meters last just as long. (I suspect they're both often made in the same third world factory).
I look at the situation now as multimeters are throw-away items, whether you pay $10 for one or $1000. Instead of buying one $1000 multimeter, buy 100 of the $10 ones, and throw them away as they break.
I'm saying this to you as a hobbyist. There are some applications where you expect high accuracy and you are expected to pay a high price for that accuracy. For tinkering, the cheap meters are pretty darned good.
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
6,977
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
6,977
Just for hobby use, almost any would do the job.

Problem with most hobbyists though is, at some time or other they cannot resist the need to shove the test prods into a mains connected device.

Meters have catagories, starting from 1 and up to cat iv.
Each has internal breakdown and protection of different levels in the event of any fault occuring while testing.
Long and short of the matter is, connect a cat 1 meter to a cat 4 situation and you are asking for trouble.

Naturally as the cat rating increases, so does the cost and usually exponentially.
Accuracy is not essentially the difference in cost as some would claim.

https://www.ee.co.za/article/abcs-multimeter-safety.html
CATratingdiagram.jpg
 
Last edited:

dave9

Mar 5, 2017
1,188
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
1,188
This is too broad a topic for a single forum thread. Define your budget, look up what models fit within it, and check out some youtube shootout style videos that compare meters within that price point.

Generally your choices are do you pay for more durability and/or safety, or more features.

Remember, you are not required to only own ONE multimeter. It is very useful to own at least two, for simultaneous voltage and current measurements if nothing else.
 

punkieys17

Feb 7, 2016
45
Joined
Feb 7, 2016
Messages
45
They say you get what you pay for, but my experience is that unless you REQUIRE an expensive meter, and it sounds like you don't, you're wasting money on a big-brand name. Too many companies are all having their gear made in third world countries with no quality control. I have expensive meters and cheap ones. When the expensive ones experience problems, the manufacturers no longer support them, and the cheap meters last just as long. (I suspect they're both often made in the same third world factory).
I look at the situation now as multimeters are throw-away items, whether you pay $10 for one or $1000. Instead of buying one $1000 multimeter, buy 100 of the $10 ones, and throw them away as they break.
I'm saying this to you as a hobbyist. There are some applications where you expect high accuracy and you are expected to pay a high price for that accuracy. For tinkering, the cheap meters are pretty darned good.
I'm afraid I agree with you. The last meter was from the local hobby electronics chain and lasted me very well with only a minor repair on the main terminal soldering. Its finally died with the screen showing only a few bars and defying attempts to reseat the contacts. Im amazed at whats available from $£8 to £25 and their capabilities/
 

hevans1944

Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
4,889
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
4,889
I got the micron q1088, and its missing temperature, and inductance, but its got capacitance detection, and thats mainly what I use.
If you click on the link, you are sent by Electronics Point to a website that features an 8-pin component in a plastic DIP, not a multimeter.

Can someone PLEASE TURN OFF this gratuitous linking of irrelevant "information?"
 

bertus

Moderator
Nov 8, 2019
3,348
Joined
Nov 8, 2019
Messages
3,348
Hello,

@hevans1944 , The link in Ratstars post is auto inserted by the software and that does not always works perfect.
In the Electronics Point (Old) style the links are not inserted.
You can change the style in the preferences of your profile.

For reference, I printed the page posted by @Bluejets to a PDF and attached it here.

Bertus
 

Attachments

  • The ABCs of multimeter safety - EE Publishers.pdf
    693.2 KB · Views: 4

crutschow

May 7, 2021
856
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
856
One good thing is to have automatic power off so you don't inadvertently run down the battery.
I'm not sure how many of the cheap meters have this feature, but my free little Harbor Freight one doesn't, so the battery goes if I forget to turn it off.
 

Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
4,956
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
4,956
One good thing is to have automatic power off so you don't inadvertently run down the battery.
I'm not sure how many of the cheap meters have this feature, but my free little Harbor Freight one doesn't, so the battery goes if I forget to turn it off.
I have both and they are both as good as each other.
While trying to measure parasitic battery drain on many vehicles, you have to wait upto 45 minutes for the computers to shut down and go to sleep.
So the auto shut off is of no use in those circumstances.

Martin
 

hevans1944

Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
4,889
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
4,889
In the Electronics Point (Old) style the links are not inserted.
You can change the style in the preferences of your profile.
Thanks, @bertus! Found it, changed it, works again as before.

You can of course still highlight some text in the usual way, and then use the link icon to insert a web page you want to link to. But that means you have to go to that web page and highlight and save its address, an extra step the New Style attempts to bypass by using the AllAboutCircuits.com website as a universal parts search link.
 

bancroft

Apr 23, 2021
81
Joined
Apr 23, 2021
Messages
81
I think according to the needs of your project and money budget to choose the corresponding price range of the multimeter will be fine.
 

gim4611

May 21, 2021
4
Joined
May 21, 2021
Messages
4
I used to ridicule people who bought Flukes, saying you don't need that sort of quality... I now own four Flukes. I also have three cheapies as well.
 
Top