best multimeter today?

Thread Starter

VernonLS

Joined Oct 9, 2019
42
I have been shopping for a new multimeter to replace my decades old analog meter. Some of the models I have looked at are the Mastech 8268 for about $30, the AstroAI 4000 for about $25 and the Fluke 115 for about $150. There seems to be quite a price gap between the ones in the $25 -$40 range and the Fluke. I know that Fluke is an old and trusted test equipment mfg, but I know nothing about Mastech or AstroAI.

I would like to measure voltage, current, (all AC/Dc and from mv to no more than 250V and currents from ma to 10A) resistance and capacitance and would like to have an audible signal for continuity checking. About 3 to 4 digits seem enough for me. Extra features would be diode checking, temperature, frequency. Good test leads are important, but "standard" test leads that can be easily replaced in the marketplace are a necessity. I don't need a recording capability, but it would be nice if it held the last display for a few seconds.

Any reports from people that own one of these models (or another one that they are thrilled with) would be helpful as Christmas is coming up and Santa might bring me one.

thanks,

Vern
 

tautech

Joined Oct 8, 2019
34
If it's your intention to invest in good gear get a Brymen or a Fluke.
I have a Chinese made Fluke 15B and while it could be better featured it's a great DMM with good accuracy and excellent battery life.
You can find them on AliExpress for ~$70
 
Last edited:

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
1,474
I have the AstroAI, Aneng AN870, VICI bench meter, and an old Fluke 27. I invariably keep dragging the old Fluke out to use for something the others won't do well. Consider looking over used meters on fleabay. The AstroAI is a good cheap meter to have as a backup.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
9,321
I have been shopping for a new multimeter to replace my decades old analog meter. Some of the models I have looked at are the Mastech 8268 for about $30, the AstroAI 4000 for about $25 and the Fluke 115 for about $150. There seems to be quite a price gap between the ones in the $25 -$40 range and the Fluke. I know that Fluke is an old and trusted test equipment mfg, but I know nothing about Mastech or AstroAI.
Best is a subjective term and you don't need the "best" unless you're doing critical work. If this is for a hobby, I'd go with the Mastech. My daily use meter is an ~$40 Centech from Harbor Freight.

But I'd get something better than the one you referenced from CS. I don't buy from Circuit Specialist unless they have a free shipping offer. Some of their prices are competitive, but shipping obliterates their competitiveness.

EDIT:
The $25 meter from CS is decent.
https://www.circuitspecialists.com/digital-multimeter-csi2010.html
Unless you have a scope and curve tracer, a transistor beta function would be useful. Plus the ability to measure capacitance. My meter can measure temperature, but I have a couple inexpensive infrared thermometers that are more convenient to use.
 
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SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
1,474
You can get the Aneng AN870 "Fluke Killer" from fleabay or AliExpress for ~20$ if you can be patient for ~4 week delivery. It has all the bells and whistles and I like mine. HOWEVER, it is slow settling down on displaying the measurement. It is accurate and cheap. Probably more accurate than I really need.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
1,474
I also recommend one of the cheap chinese "transistor testers" or "M-Testers". It quickly identifies components, tests for faults, displays pinouts for Xstrs, does ohms, farads. and henrys. Does not do chips.
 

rsjsouza

Joined Apr 21, 2014
214
Whatever tautech said. There is not necessarily a "best" meter but one that meets your features/durability/price.

Brymen has some excellent models that are quite durable and featured for around $100 USD (BM235, BM257S). Comparable in features, the UT139C is quite well built, reasonably safe and cheaper.
 
I have been shopping for a new multimeter to replace my decades old analog meter. Some of the models I have looked at are the Mastech 8268 for about $30, the AstroAI 4000 for about $25 and the Fluke 115 for about $150. There seems to be quite a price gap between the ones in the $25 -$40 range and the Fluke. I know that Fluke is an old and trusted test equipment mfg, but I know nothing about Mastech or AstroAI.

I would like to measure voltage, current, (all AC/Dc and from mv to no more than 250V and currents from ma to 10A) resistance and capacitance and would like to have an audible signal for continuity checking. About 3 to 4 digits seem enough for me. Extra features would be diode checking, temperature, frequency. Good test leads are important, but "standard" test leads that can be easily replaced in the marketplace are a necessity. I don't need a recording capability, but it would be nice if it held the last display for a few seconds.

Any reports from people that own one of these models (or another one that they are thrilled with) would be helpful as Christmas is coming up and Santa might bring me one.

thanks,

Vern
I own the Fluke 117. My first Fluke was the 77 30 years ago then came the 87 and that did fine until I retired from fixing business telephone systems. Perhaps the 7 series appeals to me but I like that I can always depend on my Fluke meter to deliver accurate readings, consistently!!!
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
9,321
Perhaps the 7 series appeals to me but I like that I can always depend on my Fluke meter to deliver accurate readings, consistently!!!
Less expensive DVMs are more than sufficient for casual use.

I have lab grade HP, Fluke, and Simpson DVMs, but I still use my $40 Centech most often. The Simpson 467 is battery powered and probably more accurate than the Centech, but I'd much rather drop or lose the Centech than the Simpson.

For digital circuits, an analog meter is fine. You rarely need more than 0.1V accuracy. 5V parts are spec'ed to operate from 4.5-5.5V and 3.3V parts will operate from 3.0-3.6V (IIRC).
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
6,577
I still keep a Simpson 260 on the bench. Sometimes an analog meter is best for relative measurements of signal magnitude changes.

 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
9,321
I still keep a Simpson 260 on the bench. Sometimes an analog meter is best for relative measurements of signal magnitude changes.
The Simpsons 467 has an analog bargraph feature that's useful for observing rapidly changing values on volts or current.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
23,735
Are you interested in whether the meter measures true RMS AC voltage?
If they don't say True RMS, the meter measures the rectified average value but displays the RMS value of the equivalent sinewave (0.707 / 0.636 of the average).
True RMS is not needed if you measure only sinewaves, but it is useful in measuring the true value of other waveforms.
For example a 0-10V, 50% duty-cycle square wave measures 7.07V RMS with a true-RMS meter, but 5.56V on an average responding meter.
A ±5V 50% duty-cycle square wave measures 5V true RMS but 5.56V on an average responding meter.
A 10V peak half-wave rectified sine-wave will measure 5.00V true RMS but 4.63V on an average responding meter..
 

bob2

Joined Jun 15, 2019
143
I think Fluke wins. Both in terms of durability and accuracy.
Yes, FLUKE multimeters are very reliable and durable and work almost without fail.
A good mid-range model, given its good feature set and basic DC voltage accuracy of 0.5%, is the FLUKE 115.
Measures capacitance of capacitors with acceptable accuracy, up to 10000uF.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
9,321
Love the youtube clip from"The Forbidden Planet".
I checked that movie out from the library a few years ago when I was checking out old TV series that I watched when I was a kid (Combat, My Favorite Martian, Lost In Space). They seemed so good when I was a child, but I'm not a fan now. But, as corny as it is by today's standards, I still like The Forbidden Planet.
 

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
6,780
Hi,

I have an expensive Mastech that has a lot of digits but if you dont need more than 3 3/4 digits then go for the cheaper ones.
This means a count of 3999 which is usually good enough but dont settle for the 3 1/2 digit ones anymore which is a count of 1999 because the prices are now comparable.

I bought a real cheap Harbor Freight meter a long time back and it was complete junk couldnt even use it to measure a 12v battery because the reading would change drastically when i started the car.
HF makes some decent stuff but some stuff is complete and utter junk., It should be called Harbor Fright :)
 

DarthVolta

Joined Jan 27, 2015
159
Depends on your skill level too. I broke 3 cheap meters, because I was forgetful and not used to using meters. Now I have 2 quality meters, that can take the abuse from being forgetful or sloppy.

I wish I didn't break the cheap Vici99 I had, that was fine enough for lots of hobby work, if used carefully. But it's a toy by comparison to my Byrmen's and their input protections.
 
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