Your Opinion of a Good, Cheap Digital Multimeter

buffumjr

Joined Mar 24, 2018
52
There are so many, it is difficult to choose. I know, or think I know, Fluke is the best, but I don't want to spend $125+. I'm interested in the under$50 level.

I'm interested in your experiences. Chinese meters are OK.

-Durable
-VAC and VDC to 400 at least
-Amperage as much as I can get
-Transistor testing
-Diode testing
-Capacitor testing
-Resistance
-Temperature would be nice to have, but is not necessary
-Frequency

Usage level is, perhaps, twice a week, most of it on the bench, or at the tool

Will be used to test many things, but primarily electric power supplies, switching, diodes, resistance, continuity, power transistors.

I'm looking on Ebay for my next multimeter. My current multimeter is an analog Radio Shack cheapo from the 1980's, that doesn't do half of what I need. Its circuitry is iffy, and needs to be recycled.

Ian Rogers

Joined Dec 12, 2012
763
I have a cheapish one that I use for "everyday" use it's a Tenma.. It's now 6~7 years old and the dial switch is getting dubious!! I've cleaned it many times with alcohol, but it's had its day... For £40 ( $52 ish ) I definitely will replace it for another... But!! If you don't have a bench DVM then I would suggest a bottom end fluke.. It will last longer than the mid range, and it's far more accurate. The difference between my bench fluke and the mid range £40 meter is apparent when working at precision!! The Tenma was just for field work.. I reckon £100+ ($140ish ) will get you a decent DVM...

buffumjr

Joined Mar 24, 2018
52
Models I am looking at are
Unbranded Chinese DT151D - $25 Jensen Tools JTM-69A -$40
Klein M400 - $34 Unbranded Chinese Eoteck -$40
Fluke 15B. - $99 The Fluke has half the features, and costs twice as much. The Fluke 101 costs about$50, and does most of what the Fluke 15B does. Both lack a transistor test, though that can be done with current checks in three steps.

The old Radio Shack cost $10, decades ago, but now, you have to tap it to get a reading, occasionally. I had to fabricate new test leads out of nails, heat shrink tubing, and wire. The case is badly cracked. It needs to go. Dodgydave Joined Jun 22, 2012 9,089 Try Tenma, Uni-T, Velleman, Duratool, Amprobe, Extech, compare the functions you want in your price range, Autoranging is better. Thread Starter buffumjr Joined Mar 24, 2018 52 Ooooh! I like the Extech 380280. Costs a little more, but has all the whistles and bells. -$65
The Mastech MS8269 looks good, too. - $35 Looking at Flukes that cost$65, the Fluke 177 does everything except transistor. Same with Fluke 106. The AN8008 has similar features. This from what I read on Ebay.

I'll probably go with the Extech.

Joined Apr 30, 2011
1,569
This is from 2010 but still good.

buffumjr

Joined Mar 24, 2018
52
Liked the video.

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,185
Skip the transistor testing function of a meter, buy the Fluke.

buffumjr

Joined Mar 24, 2018
52

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,185
AHA! The 101 IS a clone. So are the 15B and 17B. Looks like buying the name Fluke does not guarantee safety, unless you are willing to spend more than a C-note.

The online reviews are very mixed. Basically, there are two crowds: #1, BUY QUALITY. #2, Cheap is good enough. It seems to boil down to what you intend to do with them. If you are a pro, climbing around in pipes and wiring closets, only quality should do. Failure is an unacceptable annoyance. If you are DIY, and use it once a week, cheap but good is enough, esp if you baby it. If you are a researcher, relying on good data, the most expensive does not guarantee the best readings. GAAA! The review video liked three of the under $50 offerings. A meter is a meter until it fails for some reason with a high energy power supply. Sure, a Fluke might stop working but most likely you will still have your fingers. Thread Starter buffumjr Joined Mar 24, 2018 52 What I want to avoid is spending$50 or so, and having something that is trash can filler after the first few uses. I've seen a few reviews where a tested multimeter fails for some unknown reason.

Worried about Chinese Fluke clones, as, if it fails, into the trash can it goes. Horror Fright Tools is all full of Chinese tools.