Good Bench Multimeter

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by jrdoner, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. jrdoner

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 21, 2012
    I have played with electronics all my life (which even goes back to vacuum tubes), and now that I've retired, I want to retread myself as a serious electronics designer.

    On that front, I am making progress, and I have reached the point where my cheap and old Micronta multimeter is beginning to irritate me. It is slow, low resolution, and doesn't measure over an adequately wide range.

    Now there are many good looking bench multimeters out there, and on a budget of about $300, what is a good choice? I want to measure the usual basics, plus transistor hfe, diodes, frequency, henries.

    I'd appreciate any tips on good, bad, or horrible meters.


    John Doner
  2. praondevou

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 9, 2011
  3. wb2vsj

    New Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    I had to cut back on the amount of meters I had (14 at one time). :) My main two are an HP-3468A, similar to praondevou's suggestion, just older and a HP-3456A (Huge i.e rack mount and overkill). A good fluke hand held DMM will get you most of the way to what you want. But for reading inductance, caps and transistors/diodes you may want to go individual units or similar.

    I have the ESR, Semiconductor, and the Passive Component Analyzer from Anatek.

    Yeah, it'll blow your budget but it's something to think about. I'd love a Sencore LCR meter...

  4. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    I don't know if I would call myself a serious electronics designer. Even though I have access to expensive equipment, I prefer to use an inexpensive handheld DVM. I will usually grab a cheap analog meter when I am doing continuity tests on bipolar transistors.

    One thing for sure, I would not get an auto-ranging DVM. I don't want the meter to be switching ranges on me.

    Without any doubt, my number one choice for a test instrument for the type work that I do would be a good digital scope. My favorite is a Tektronix TDS 220.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  5. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    The handheld meters usually give more bang for the buck because assembly cost is less than a standard "benchtop" style meter. You should get a true RMS meter wit at least 50kHz AC bandwidth.
  6. thatoneguy


    Feb 19, 2009
    I use Fluke 87-V for bench and in field readings. That way I know exactly what all the controls are, what the bandwidth is, etc.

    If I need more precise, I use a scope, as Flukes are extremely accurate if kept calibrated, calibration instructions are available for them as well, or you can send it in for $75 and have it done.