A multimeter is an essential part of the arsenal of any technician, mechanic, or electrician. In fact, if you’re a home or vehicle owner and don’t want to be spending hundreds upon thousands of dollars on repairs every year, you should probably go out and get your own multimeter. With a good multimeter, you can measure electrical current and voltage and quite often solve the problem yourself.
Because a multimeter is such a handy tool to have, many of the companies which manufacture them put heavy price tags on their products. This is particularly true for some of the most popular brands, as they are aware nobody wants to go with a lesser known brand when purchasing something which could result in death should a major malfunction occur. Thankfully, there are any famous brands which do not charge hundreds for their products, and often times offer a wider array of features than the more expensive models.
To ensure you don’t get mixed up between an inexpensive and cheap models, we have compiled this list of some of the best low-cost multimeters available in 2016 & 2017.
Pros and Cons
Before we start discussing specific models, let’s take a moment to think about the pros and cons of owning an inexpensive multimeter.
This is the most obvious pro of purchasing a inexpensive product. If you’ve already spent a lot of money on items for your home or car, you don’t want to have to go out and spend another couple of hundred to make sure nothing goes wrong again. With an affordable multimeter, you can be sure your appliances, your car, and your wallet all stay out of danger.
There’s nothing more annoying than smashing a much in demand electrical device that you paid a lot of money for. Much of the time, repairing the item can turn out to be more expensive than simply buying a new one, and you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Although the products which we will discuss in this article are all of high quality and extremely durable, they are all easy and inexpensive to replace should a problem arise.
While many budget multimeters can hold their own against the $500 models of the world, most will have a greater set of limitations than the expensive alternative. For many DIY enthusiasts, this won’t be that much of an issue as the multimeter will be used sparingly and on smaller projects, but it could prove problematic for a mechanic or electrician.
This is a minor, minor, minor issue, but there are some people out there who want to purchase the most expensive model they can find just so they can brag about it. If you’re that kind of person, your pride is likely going to take a hit should you decide to go with a less expensive product, but at least you can boast about all the money you saved. If you would like to check the best analog multimeters click here.
Top Rated Cheap Multimeters
Now that we have the pros and cons out of the way, let’s get to the reason you’re here. Here are five of the top-rated, though least expensive, multimeters in the world.
1. Amprobe AM-530
As I said earlier, those who work with electrical currents should probably consider paying extra for a more expensive model. However, that does not mean that there are absolutely no cheap multimeters out there which can be used by professionals. In fact, this product from Amprobe is the go-to multimeter for thousands of electricians around the world.
The AM-530 is a digital auto-ranging model with a plethora of features, with very little limitations as to what it can be used for. With this product, you can determine if a fuse has blown, measure voltage, and determine the strength of electrical connections. It is capable of a whole lot more, but we have other products to get to, so you can research further in your own time.
The Amprobe AM-530 boasts a CAT III 600V safety rating, so it’s the perfect multimeter for if you’re the thrifty neurotic type.
2. Mastech MS8229
The Mastech MS8229 is without a doubt one of the most versatile products on the market and it is available for a fraction of the course of some far less impressive options. This is a multi-functional digital multimeter with auto-ranging and five modes which you can alternate between as you need them. With this one model, you get a DMM, a humidity meter, a thermometer, a sound level meter, and a lux meter.
The Mastech MS8229 has the capability to measure voltage, current, and resistance. It is also a great tool to carry out a diode test in a timely manner. While something with so many features may seem intimidating at first, this is actually one of the more easy-to-use products on the market, and can be easily mastered by anyone.
The Mastech MS8229 is certainly something to marvel at, as it is rare to see all these features crammed into such a small device, especially when said device is readily available for less than $50.
3. Extech EX330
If you keep a toolbox, you are no doubt aware of how frustrating it can be trying to fit everything into it in a way which won’t damage any of the equipment but will still allow you to close the lid. The Extec EX330 can alleviate that problem to some degree, as it is a lightweight, mini multimeter which offers the same power as a full sized one.
This is a 4000 count multimeter with auto-ranging and the ability to measure voltage, current, resistance, temperature, frequency, and duty cycle. It is also fitted with an extra large screen (strange for a mini model) to make reading measurements easier than ever before.
The Extech EX330 offers a total of 12 helpful and convenient features, eliminating the need to switch between tools while you work. The device is fitted with a rubber case for protection, so you can make use of all those features for years to come.
4. Mastech MS8261
Mastech is the only brand to have two entries on this list of the best cheap multimeters, and it shouldn’t come as any surprise to those of you who are familiar with brands. Mastech has produced some of the finest products of recent memory and its MS8261 is among them.
The MS8261 is a sturdy, reliable, 30-range model which has found its greatest popularity among those who dabble in home improvement. This is understandable as it isn’t really a product for professionals, but it does what it is supposed to do and does it well.
Like most other products available, this model can measure current, voltage, resistance and everything else which you would expect a multimeter to measure. However, it also offers date hold and resettable fuse features, which are rare for a multimeter of its price.
While it may not tick all the boxes for a mechanic or engineer, the Mastech MS8261 is a great choice for multimeter novices.
5. INNOVA 3320
INNOVA is one of the leading manufacturers of multimeters in the world, so it is only fitting we end this list with an INNOVA product. Of all INNOVA products, the 3320 is one of the most popular and, funnily enough, one of the least expensive.
This is primarily used as an automotive multimeter, meaning it is utilized in vehicular troubleshooting tasks. However, it can also be used for a variety of indoor repairs, with many users reporting their surprise at how easily the 3320 adapted to household work.
The INNOVA 3320 is surrounded by rubber to reduce the chance of it being damaged by a fall, and is a UL certified product, so you can be sure you’re getting something good.