What digital multimeter should I buy ($150-$200)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by AKnogood, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. AKnogood

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 21, 2013
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    I'm a student in electronic engineering and looking to buy a handheld DMM in the range of ($150-$200). I think a Fluke or Agilent would be nice. Any particular model that you would recommend?

    I might try to buy a used model on ebay. So you can list some models that are more expensive than $200.. Thanks!
     
  2. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    You should go to the Fluke website and look at the features of each model. Think about what you intend to do and choose one that does what you want...even if it hurts to pay that price. That's what I did, and it has been my every day meter for 35 years.
     
  3. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Yep.. YOU should list what sort of features you need.. not the price you want to spend.
     
  4. AKnogood

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 21, 2013
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    Is Fluke a good choice for Electronic or should I go with Agilent or else?
     
  5. Dr.killjoy

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2013
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    I would love to get an Agilent meter but can never seem to find one used but the you could buy is a Fluke 87 .. But for me I am finding out that it really helps to have couple meter to several measurement....
     
  6. Digital101

    New Member

    May 27, 2013
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    I work for Fluke here in South Africa, AKnogood.

    I would go for either the Fluke 287 or the Fluke 87V. High accuracy multimeters ideal for Electronics. The 287 also has additional specs for the Electronics enthusiast. These might be a tad too expensive though.

    Other option are the Fluke 177, basic multimeter missing some things that you would want to use for electronics.

    Note the above mentioned do have lifetime warranty. Which proves the saying, "A Fluke for Life"

    The ideal ones might be the Fluke 17B or the Fluke 117 for you.

    Be sure to have a look at the new range, Fluke 106 and 107. But those are more for guys at home, DIY stuff around the house or car etc.

    PM me if you need some data...
     
  7. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    In general, the consensus on this site is that Fluke is among the best. It might even be the best for people like us. Buying a Fluke stopped me buying DVM's for a very long time because I haven't needed anything better.
     
  8. Digital101

    New Member

    May 27, 2013
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    That being said, True RMS would be important, so try and look for a Fluke 87 V. But a 287 would be fantastic!!!
     
  9. liquidair

    Active Member

    Oct 1, 2009
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    +1 for the Fluke 87! Great DMM!
     
  10. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    I would say as a student you do not need a very high prised brand as Fluke. Go for a cheaper brand. What kind of measurents do you expect to do with your DMM. That is a more importent question
     
  11. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I agree with that, too. A $4 Harbor Freight DMM might last a year while you are studying and do what you need for your classes. When you get to the real world, where anything that can go wrong, will, a Fluke will get you through.
     
  12. Digital101

    New Member

    May 27, 2013
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    This is very true!

    I also used other DMM's while studying. Money during this time is much more important on other things :D
     
  13. AKnogood

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 21, 2013
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    It's hard for me right now to know what functions I'll need and what kind of measurements I'll do. But I found a used 87V for 275$. I think I'll go with that one. Thanks everyone!
     
  14. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    BK precision used to be the best meter for the money in that price range. get a 4 1/2 digit with true RMS.

    http://www.bkprecision.com/products...-rms-dmm-with-protective-rubberized-case.html
     
    #12 likes this.
  15. liquidair

    Active Member

    Oct 1, 2009
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    I don't know about this "get something average because you are a student" talk, no offense. If the OP can see him/herself using a DMM quite a bit, it makes sense to only buy something once. If you can afford a Fluke, it's not money wasted. Buying a decent DMM like the B&K only to replace it with a Fluke or Agilent later is just wasting money.

    I made this same mistake buying B&K stuff to start out, only to have it (the DMM) not last so long under minimal use. That was just $150 down the drain.

    The Harbor Freight suggestion completely circumvents this problem though.
     
  16. scoobydoo

    New Member

    Nov 25, 2013
    8
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    If you can afford it the 87V is the way to go. Its the standard by far. I've used it in industry and its a great workhorse. I'm back in school changing careers from electronics to industrial automation. I couldn't afford to buy my own Fluke so I opted for the school recommended Ideal model 61-340. I paid around $70 from a local supplier (special school deal). Retail price at Lowes was about $100. Its not true RMS, but otherwise I'm very pleased with it. The model 61-342 is true RMS if you want to go that way.

    Remember Cat III at the very least is important if you plan on working on line voltage (ie household) circuits.
     
  17. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    For $150 total I would really suggest buying 2 or 3 multimeters.

    In the price range of $50+ per meter you can get some pretty nice mid-brand models, some come with things like capmeter/inductance/freq etc built in.

    3 meters chosen for spread of features gives a lot more total features than one $150 meter, AND of course you can use all three meters at once which is something even the world's best DMM cannot do.

    And for extra value you could get a $20 analog moving needle type meter, these are great for ammeter tasks, or long term votls/amps monitoring in the background (as they do not use a battery!).
     
  18. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Problem is you will need at least one (maybe two) good meters to back them up for getting accurate readings. I have one cheapo meter that is 3 1/2 digit and about 0.5% basic accuracy but I haven't used it in years because I have two better ones.
     
  19. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Now to be the odd guy out I would highly recommend staying away from the new Flukes.

    2 - 3 decades ago they were the top of the line in design and quality but now they are mostly just riding on their butts/names down hill. :(

    I worked for a place a few years ago that sold Fluke and to be honest the return rate on them was way high for the prices they sell for. The #1 return issues was buggy display readings on the meters making them unusable. #2 was autorange not working and locking up. #3 was just going dead or cycling on and off at random. :(

    For what you would pay for a basic Fluke you can buy several high end world wide brand name units for that will have equal specs warranties and durability plus 2 - 3 times the function all in one package.

    I have a Mastech 8265 Multimeter that does everything and to 5 1/2 digits in readings. Price wise I got mine for $120 as a factory reconditioned unit with a warranty that was longer the FLuke gives plus it matches or beats FLuke on the its tolerances as well all while having loads of functions. :D

    Just for comparison I have ran my meter against several Flukes using pression calibration test bench sources and to be honest it matched every one in every function to well within the rated design tolerances. The only difference was it took three FLuke meters worth around $1500 to do what my one Mastech did. :p

    Now for real world electronics troubleshooting and work any meter that has better than +- 2% average variance is more than accurate enough. Very few electronic circuits you will see in daily life are even built to that tolerance which is obvious in what you see in most common power sources and supplies for computers, TV's and logic circuits. The 5 volt rails are usually 5 volts +- .3 - .5 volts depending on how much load they have and everything worst just fine and thats a +- 10% variation!

    If you got money to burn to make yourself look good by name association buy a Fluke and a Harley Davidson edition Ford pickup to carry it around in while rolling on your custom edition Eddie Bauer rims and Michelin Fuzion sport tires. That way everyone will automatically know what/who's the most expensive 'tool' is where you work. :rolleyes:

    However if you plan on doing normal real life day in and day out test work buy a few mid range name brand meters. You will get far more done for far less cash and not feel bad if you loose one at a jobsite. :cool:
     
  20. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,252
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    Lose one at a job site!:eek:

    Sir, I'll have you know that I still have the 3/8 inch Craftsman socket set I bought in 1970.:D
     
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