# Buying a new multimeter ..#2

#### AmandaStone

Joined Aug 26, 2020
3
Guys, any recommendations about these models? I read the thread, but still don't completely understand which one to pick (I wanna gift it to my husband for Christmas)

#### jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
Hi Amanda,

This thread is about whether one should put extra value on a meter that can measure hFE. hFE is a characteristic of transistors. The consensus, including me, is that a lot of meters have it and that for most purposes it is pretty useless. In fact, I have to go check whether my newest meter has it.

Lo and behold, of the 3 meters I use most, one has that facility. Of course, most of us have one or more Harbor Freight type of $3 meter -- the ones given away free with any purchase. They work, but I suppose that is not what you are looking for to match the diamond or new GMC your husband is giving you. The multimeter I use regularly is a BK Precision Test Bench 391 (probably no longer made). It is a typical multimeter and in addition offers frequency and duty cycle percentage. I found that quite useful before I had an oscilloscope. Other bells and whistles are "logic"(rarely used), True RMS voltage, diode test (used often) and data hold (used rarely). The diode test is nice because it sounds a weak buzzer when there is continuity, which means you can keep your eyes on what you are doing and not the meter. It does not have hFE. The other multimeters I have are not worth mentioning. Some other meters I do use are not strictly multimeters, that is they are not for voltage, resistance and current. It is one of those meters (Wavetek LCR55) that offers hFE. The other one (DER DE5000 LCR) does not have hFE. All of the meters mentioned (excep HF ones) are made in Taiwan. The BK Precision 391 has served me well for more than 20 years, and I see no reason to change it. Just checked, the BK391 is now the 391A and is still made. You can follow the selections here to find it: https://www.bkprecision.com/multimeters Suggestion: 1) Be sure your husband wants a handheld meter. That is likely the case, but not certain. 2) What sort of work is he doing? Is it just for around the house or automotive or is he into electronics? 3) Does he tend to stick to things? I do. That is, when I buy any tool, I keep it forever. I would tell my wife, "It's capital," in hopes of justification. So to me, I usually get something above household quality, but not industrial. 4) Most important, you may get much better responses if you start a new thread with this question. Thread Starter #### AmandaStone Joined Aug 26, 2020 3 1) Be sure your husband wants a handheld meter. That is likely the case, but not certain. 2) What sort of work is he doing? Is it just for around the house or automotive or is he into electronics? 3) Does he tend to stick to things? I do. That is, when I buy any tool, I keep it forever. I would tell my wife, "It's capital," in hopes of justification. So to me, I usually get something above household quality, but not industrial. 4) Most important, you may get much better responses if you start a new thread with this question. 1. He's been telling me that for the whole week 2. Just for the house, yes 3. He surely does! You just said as you know him, huh 4. I guess I should have done this, maybe just too shy Thanks a lot! #### jpanhalt Joined Jan 18, 2008 11,088 1. He's been telling me that for the whole week 2. Just for the house, yes 3. He surely does! You just said as you know him, huh 4. I guess I should have done this, maybe just too shy Thanks a lot! 1) I meant handheld versus bench. 2) For household use the 391 or lesser should suffice. Even a$3 HF will work, but I wouldn't go that deep. I haven't checked, but I suspect something in the $50 to$100 range would be sufficient. The ability to measure frequency and duty cycle was very useful in the days I was playing the "NE555's." That might be something to consider useful.
3) I don't know your husband, but I have have decades of experience with the type.
4) I dropped a note to the moderators to maybe give you a fresh thread.

John

#### Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,273
Hi Amanda do you have a certain budget? The BK precision is nice but expensive and very sensitive and a bench meter, the price ranges quite a bit. I’ve got flukes and cheapies... any meter is better than no meter as long as they’re safe and accurate. You can get an inexpensive one under $50 if there’s a budget requirement. Some of us consider these lifetime tools and will go for$200-400 Fluke or similar... if he’s a hobbyist there’s no need. I have 2 of these Thsinde B+ (\$20) I actually love mine
https://www.amazon.com/Ranging-Digi...06ZZG2F2N/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_pdt_img_top?ie=UTF8
and leave one in the garage and don’t mind if they get damaged or dirty, It’s good and has real ceramic fuses and decent protection. Range is 6000 count and very usable. It rates high because it works well.
if your budget is higher Look at the Flukes like 115 or better.

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
23,501
1) Is your husband a DIY person?
2) Does your husband have a multimeter already?

My wife does not buy any tools as a gift for me for very good reasons.

Does your husband have an iPad or tablet? One of the best gifts I have received (from my daughter) is a Hercules brand tablet holder. It gets used every minute of the day.

#### Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,273
My wife does not buy any tools as a gift for me for very good reasons.
I have a nice collection of tools as gifts from my wife, some great, some not so great... she now checks with me to make sure it’s what I want or need. This way we don’t end up with a gift with good intentions but something I can’t use.

#### Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
2,162
I used to regularly buy multimeters for my father. I say "regularly" because he had a tendency to measure the current from the mains, and then need a new one.
Eventually I bought him a Fluke 10, which has no current ranges. It was five times the price, but saved me money in the long run.

Joined Jul 18, 2013
23,084
Guys, any recommendations about these models? I read the thread, but still don't completely understand which one to pick (I wanna gift it to my husband for Christmas)
I would think for the average meter, the editors choice Crenova would not be a bad model for around the house use and the odd electronic purpose.
Max.

Joined Jan 15, 2015
5,934
Guys, any recommendations about these models? I read the thread, but still don't completely understand which one to pick (I wanna gift it to my husband for Christmas)
Really in all honesty and sincerity this is one of those things where you may wish to simply consult your husband. Yes, it will remove the element of total surprise but I am sure you want your husband to be happy with his new gift. I don't know what features your husband may want in a meter. There are things my wife will buy me knowing I'll like it. There are other times she just comes out and ask me that being especially true of certain tools and items for my hobbies.

Ron

#### MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
8,709
The other considerationsnot mentioned include the battery type. I have a very nice very small meter that takes a stack of button cells costing a few dollars. I have two other digital meters that use a standard 9 volt battery, evailable almost everywhere.
Another consideration not mentioned is how many digits? My Beckman lab multimeter is a 4 1/2 digit, my fluke is 3 1/2 digits.
Another consideration is controls. Some have a bunch of "keys" to select the function, subject to dirt getting inside. A rotary switch is easier to select from the many ranges. And one more consideration is the number of input connections. A horrible accident happened when a tech grabbed a mmeter that I had been using to measure current with and without changing the probe connections put it across a 480 volt circuit. He survived with only a few burns, the meter was destroyed. A meter with only 2 inputs would not be as likely to have that problem.