Best Automotive Multimeters – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

In this article, we’ll review 8 best automotive multimeters with a detailed buyer’s guide.

Best Automotive Multimeters

Our Top Picks


Best Overall

Power Probe IV Automotive Testing Tool

  • 2.5 pounds
  • Direct Connection
  • 3-Years

 

Best for budget

Autel AutoLink AL539 Multimeter

  • 2.27 pounds
  • No Batteries Required
  • 12-months Warranty

 

Best For Basic Level Testing

Actron CP7677 Auto Multimeter

  • 1.3 pounds
  • One 9V battery
  • 2-Years

 

If you are tired of going to the car testing center every week for very minor troubleshooting and end up paying good money for servicing to the technician?

Now you want to solve little engine problems and keep a check on your car’s performance, that too at the comfort of your own home or garage?

Then, you have landed on the right article!

Well, in order to diagnose potential engine problems, you must have the best automotive multimeter or car scanner in your toolbox. However, whether you’re a serious mechanic or simply love to tinker with your car, you should make sure you are buying the right unit.

That’s where, our efforts come into play!

We have reviewed the 8 best multimeters for automotives available in the market. The ins and outs of these devices are clearly explained to make the choice simpler for you.

Moreover, with an easy-reference buying guide, you’ll get the proper knowledge of features you should keep in mind before buying the best automotive multimeter.

So, without further due, let’s dive deep into it.


Top 8 Best Automotive Multimeters


1. Power Probe IV Digital Meter

Power Probe IV Best Automotive tester

What it has?

What it lacks?

Clear Bright Backlit LCD
Auto-ranging
True RMS
Good Drop Protection
Menu Driven Navigation Bar
High Resolution LCD
Gold Plated Testing Probes
Fan Speed check
Fuel Injector Test
Feed Test
Data Recording Capability

Auto-Shutoff


Measurements:

The power probe IV is a great diagnostic tool, the best auto volt meter you can say, perfect for testing the engine electronic circuits and related components. With this tool you can check AC/DC Voltage, current, frequency, + and – pulse width and it can also be used for testing fuel injectors, PCM/ECM drivers, and ECT2000 signal tracing.

Design:

The navigation is menu-driven. Thus, you won’t have to press buttons to shift the unit from one mode to another. Thanks to its large LCD, you can easily go through all available options.

An electrical cable that you’ll get with this car diagnostic tool is 23 feet long that gives the user an edge especially when the current supply isn’t near the testing area. Moreover, you can easily move the tool for testing different areas of the car. 

The jacks of the power probe are gold plated and there is a fixed 8 amp thermal self-resetting circuit breaker that protects the multimeter in case of current spikes. So, you won’t be at risk of unexpected shocks. 

It has a high-resolution LCD with a very bright display from which readings the measurements isn’t difficult even for old people with weak eyesight. So, regardless of how low light intensity is, you can easily note down the measurements.

Power probe IV, on its AC-RMS peak to peak mode, measures the output of alternator and sensors to ensure that they are performing well and with its driver test mode, one can safely analyze the computer circuits that run the relays solenoids and other motors.

The power-up mode can be used to verify the light fans and relays are working properly or not and being a water-resistant unit, you won’t have to worry about garage water entering into the power probe but save it from oil and other lubricants reputing its circuit. 

Functions:

Being an Auto-ranging circuit tester, it’ll automatically adjust the range for measuring any signal and its TRMS functionality will allow accurate measurement of varying or nonlinear signals. This results in getting accurate diagnostic data that directs the technicians in the right kind of troubleshooting.

Additionally, by turning on the min/max measurement mode, one can capture the voltage spike or dropouts in a circuit. This feature helps in filtering out the signal’s highs and lows. 

Fuel Injector Test – By connecting the fuel injector circuit and power probe IV will instantly display all testing information. By saving the settings help technicians in injector circuit diagnosis. You just have to turn on the FUEL INJ mode. Thus, it omits the need for lab scope that is normally required for this type of testing.

FEED TEST – Power Feed Test (PFT) is an amazing addition to power probe IV’s features as by loading the circuit with a small current during the voltage and ground testing, one can easily get resistance value as an output.

Data analysis by the circuit loading is more reliable in identifying the circuit weakness. It is normally caused by the corroded and faulty wiring that is hard to find via static voltage check. No other best automotive multimeter can perform the tests and features that power probe IV is capable of performing.


Power probe IV is one of the best car electrical testing tools that has an elegant and ergonomic design with a tough outer casing that can withstand the Jobsite abuse. So, although this testing tool is a bit expensive than traditional multimeters thanks to its long-lasting nature, consider it a one-time investment.


Pros
  • Performs advanced engine testing.nEasy navigation of menu.nLong cable connection. nEasy to use ergonomic meter. nEquips self-resetting circuit breaker. nEasy to read, high resolution display. nWide range of measuring features. nAccurate measurement with fast response.n
Cons
  • Slightly expensive.

2. Autel AutoLink AL539 Multimeter

Autel AutoLink AL539 Best Automotive Multimeter

What it has?

What it lacks?

Bright Backlit LCD
Carrying pouch availability
Built-in kickstand

No Magnetic hanger
No Mounting straps


Measurements:

Auto Link AL539 OBD2 Scanner is a car diagnostic automotive tester that every car owner must have in its backseat. Being equipped with an AVOmeter, one can instantly check current, voltage, and continuity to test any electrical system of a car.

It also diagnosis the cranking status that helps the user in deciding whether the starter voltage is normal or not and by checking the charging system status, it shows normal, low, high, or excessive ripple as an output on the screen.

An OBD2 scanner is dedicatedly designed for performing high-end engine testing. It can neither be used for temperature, resistance, frequency, and capacitance measurement nor be used for testing diodes and transistors.

Design:

Auto Link AL539 OBD2 Scanner equips a built-in kickstand that keeps the unit in an upright position for quick measurements.  However, it lacks a magnetic hanger or strap that puts certain limitations on its use.

However, you can securely keep the multimeter in your car tool kit by packing it in its carrying pouch that is dedicatedly design by the Autel for Auto Link AL539 OBD2 Scanner.

The overall display of Auto Link AL539 OBD2 Scanner is pretty sharp and clear. Moreover, its LCD backlight keeps on brightening up the display all the time so you won’t find any hurdle in taking the measurements. However, always keep a separate flashlight in your car to use it for emergency testing during night time. 

Functions:

Auto Link AL539 OBD2 Scanner is the only best automotive multimeter or testing tool having the ability to read and erase codes, live data transfer, freezing the value, O2, and on-board monitoring test, live data graphing, data stream playback, and data printing flexibility via PC.

A brief explanation of few of its main features is given below:

  1. Live PCM data streams are continuously displayed on its screen. It aids in discovering the abnormal behavior of measuring parameters that further identify the parts which are wrong.
  2. This OBD2 Scanner easily detects the reason for the check engine light blinking and turns off the light on the dashboard. That feature not only helps in diagnosis but helps in saving a lot of money that we have to spend in the auto service center.
  3. One can check the emission status with this OBD II scanner that helps in identifying whether it passes the smog test or not.
  4. The performance of the O2 sensor is analyzed to make sure it is performing well as the best fuel economy, lowest emissions, and power totally depends on it.

Thus, firstly it’ll help you in keeping a check of you engine secondly it will save you from heavy fines.

Lastly, one can freeze the measured frame data that can be further used to efficiently diagnose the main problem. Thus, you’ll have the flexibility to print out the results of the diagnostic and related information via a PC. It can be further analyzed or discussed with automotive technicians that leads to a much better solution.

Safety:

The OBD2 Scanner is rugged and pretty safe to use with its strong rubber holster. It surrounds the meter and absorbs the accidental drop impact from a small height. Being very affordable, it is one of the best automotive multimeters for the money.

Moreover, It can also withstand any kind of wear, tear, and limited abuse. However, the more care you take of this multimeter, the more long-lasting it’ll be. 

This scanner isn’t tested to get the safety ratings of any category nut as you’ll be using it just for automotive testing, you won’t worry about highly transient voltages. Besides that, NCV detection and live line testing aren’t possible with Auto Link AL539 OBD2 as well.


It doesn’t matter which car model do you own, Auto Link AL539 OBD2 will your perfect automotive voltmeter that’ll remain your testing partner for years to come. This little investment will not only save you from spending hundreds of bucks on weekly or monthly automotive inspection but you’ll also be able to do prior diagnosis that will help in the timely inspection. So, all in all, you should definitely go for this scanner.  


Pros
  • Advanced car scanner.nPerforms many different tests.nCustomer support is excellent.nFast response. nIncredible value for price.nCompact in size.nSuitable for all car models.nConvenient touch screen.nHigh resolution display.nData recording and transfer.n
Cons
  • Can’t measure basic electrical parameters.nRequire great care in handling.n

3. Actron CP7677 Auto Multimeter

Actron CP7677 Best Auto Multimeter

What it has?

What it lacks?

Built-in Kickstand
Clear Backlit LCD
Data Hold
Auto shutoff
Overload fused input protection
Drop protection
UL and ETL listed

No hanging magnet
No mounting straps
No auto-ranging
No true RMS
No carrying pouch availability
No built-in flashlight
No safety ratings


Measurements:

Actron CP7677 is dedicatedly designed for performing standard automotive-specific tests with its ability to measure AC/DC voltage, DC current, rpm, dwell, and resistances along with continuity and diode testing.

Additionally, one can instantly switch between 4, 6, 8 cylinder modes depending on the engine type. However, it fails to measure AC current, frequency, temperature, and capacitance with no ability to test transistors.

Design:

Actron CP7677 lacks many design elements that limit its freehand use. Its fold-out kickstand will be enough to aid the automotive technicians to perform their job single-handedly but having no magnetic hanger or strap, you won’t use it for other purposes involving testing in a standing position.

Moreover, prepare yourself to spend extra bucks in buying a separate carrying case as Actron doesn’t ship one with this multimeter. The absence of a flashlight further restricts its use in daylight testing only.

Actron hasn’t specified the resolution and display counts for its CP7677 model but its LCD is pretty large though. So, one can easily see the readout during engine testing in broad daylight but an absence of backlights snatches the flexibility of using the multimeter during nighttime. 

The leads are solid and have a nice rubber coating to them. So, you can expect this best automotive multimeter to be long lasting and user friendly.

Functions:

It’s true that Actron CP7677 can measure many different parameters that are mentioned earlier in this review, but you’ll have to set the range for these parameters manually as there is no auto-ranging mode in this multimeter.

Actron CP7677 doesn’t incorporate the min/max function so there is no way to analyze the signal fluctuations. Moreover, it doesn’t have the TRMS analysis functionality so don’t expect the results of electrically disturbing signals to be very accurate!

However, just like other multimeters in the list, Actron CP7677 also shares auto-shutoff and data hold feature which is equally helpful in conserving the battery and making the measurement process easy.

Safety:

A dedicated fuse is installed at the input of the main amperage circuit which is rated at 10A. So, whenever the current exceeds this limit, the fuse will blow itself to protect the multimeter unit and it’ll take no more than 10 minutes of yours to replace the fuse with a new one.

Actron CP7677 isn’t a type of multimeter that wears out in a few weeks; in fact, its tough outer casing makes it strong enough to withstand all kinds of job site abuse. Moreover, its protective rubber boot provides great resistance against accidental drop impact. So, without any doubt, it’ll remain your testing partner for years to come.   

Although, Actron CP7677 is included in the list of UL and ETL listed tools. But it fails to get the safety ratings of any category which makes it slightly less reliable. Moreover, having no NCV detection and live line testing functionality, Actron CP7677 has limited functionality.   


Actron CP7677 is dedicatedly designed for testing starting and charging systems of an engine, fuel delivery systems, and in the filtration of faulty engine wires and related components. So, those having a limited budget can go with this unit but clearly, it lacks a lot of main components and features so keep this in mind. But using it as an ammeter for a car won’t be a bad decision.


Pros
  • Light weight and highly portable.nNicely written instruction manual.nExcellent build quality.nUser-friendly to operate.nReliable with good accuracy.nCan perform advanced automotive testing. nSafe to use meter. n
Cons
  • Limited warranty.nNot suitable for old vehicles. n

4. Innova 3340 Digital Multimeter

Innova 3340 Best Digital Multimeter

What it has?

What it lacks?

Carrying pouch availability
Built In Kickstand
Auto/manual-ranging
True RMS
Data Hold
Auto shutoff
Overload Fused  input Protection
Drop Protection
UL Listed and CATII Safety Rated

No Built-in Flashlight
No Backlit LCD
No Mounting straps
No Hanging Magnet
No NCV or live line testing


Measurements:

Innova is the leading manufacturer of automotive multimeters. Customers highly love this unit due to its very reasonable price and wide areas of applications.

Innova 3340 is its recent model that can measure AC/DC voltage AC/DC current, temperature, resistance, frequency, dwell, and RPM that makes it the best automotive multimeter.  Apart from the features mentioned earlier, it can also test diodes and verify the circuit’s continuity.

Design:

The Inclusion of test lead holders provides hands-free protection. With its amazing features, you’ll also love the large nylon storage case that Innova ships with its 3340 multimeters. It’ll be very handy for you to put all multimeter accessories in a single pouch and place it under your car seat. So, whenever you find a need, all testing accessories will be one hand away from you.

With 3999 display counts, Innova 3340 hot got a fair resolution and while testing your car in a garage or on-road, you won’t find any problem in reading the measurements. However, having no backlight limits its use to light areas only so if you are intending to buy an automotive multimeter that’ll be equally beneficial for both day and night, then this won’t be the right choice.

It’s true that this unit doesn’t incorporate any magnetic hanger or strap but that not having these features in an automotive voltmeter won’t make much difference in automotive testing as by flipping out its kickstand near your car’s engine you can do the troubleshooting singlehandedly. Not having these features is a major concern for electrical testing in a standing position.

Functions:

Two functions that you’ll be frequently using include the dwell angle and rpm measurement. One can activate these functions by pressing the CYL button below the screen. Moreover, being an auto-ranging multimeter, it will set the range for any parameter on its own. You just have to change the measuring parameter by pressing the SEL button. Thus, you’ll be able to quickly analyze different parameters.

Innova 3340 falls in the list of automotive multimeters having the TRMS analysis capability that monitors the signal’s behavior irrespective of its shape and by filtering out the electrical disturbances. This eventually helps automotive technicians to get accurate results that lead to correct fault detection and diagnosis.

Additionally, its min/max function allows the user to record a wide set of data out of which highs and lows of any measured signal can be filtered out. It helps automotive technicians to estimate fluctuations.  

While testing the engine in a difficult posture where one can’t note the value being shown on screen. Thus, you’ll have the option to freeze it by pressing the hold button. It’ll keep holding the measured value even after disconnecting the circuit. Moreover, Innova 3340’s auto-shutoff feature will conserve the battery by shutting off the unit when not in use.

Safety:

Innova 3340 provides one of the best overload protection by integrating 10MΩ input impedance on its main amperage circuit and an HRC fuse, rated at 500mA, on its milliamps circuit. Thus, as soon as the current exceeds these limits, fuses will trip off to protect the engine being tested and the user who is testing and multimeter unit itself. 

For folks who are dedicatedly buying Innova 3340 can expect it to last for the next few years without deteriorating, thanks to its extended corner guards that withstands the drop impact from accidental drops with its rubber boot protecting it from all kinds of wear and tear.  Thus, Innova 3340 can be categorized as one of the most rugged best automotive multimeters.

Being listed by the UL makes Innova 3340 is a risk-free multimeter. But being backed by only one CAT II rating losses the trust of customers over it. But, if you’ll be doing only basic engine testing then go with this cheap automotive multimeter.

Lastly, keep in mind that you can’t perform non-contact voltage detection and live line testing with this unit but for automotive purposes, you will rarely find a need for these features.


Innova 3340 best suits automotive testing but having all-around features, one can also use this multipurpose meter for electronics shop and home troubleshooting. Moreover, hobbyists and beginners can also go with Innova 3340. However, it lacks rpm measurement so it’s not as advanced as other automotive multimeters with tachometers.


Pros
  • Good range of car testing features.nHigh resolution with brilliant display.nFast response.nHigh precise results.nInexpensive multimeter.nElegant design with impact resistance casing.nUser-friendly interface.
Cons
  • Not suitable for night time testing.nProbe leads aren’t of high quality.nCan’t perform advanced automotive tests.n

5. Klein MM700 Multimeter

Klein MM700 Best Car Multimeter

What it has?

What it lacks?

Built-in kick stand
Carrying pouch availability
High resolution LCD
Auto/manual-ranging
LoZ mode
True RMS
Data Hold
Auto shutoff
Overload fused input protection
Dust Proof IP42 Ratings
Drop Protection
CATIII and CATIV Safety Rated

No built-in flashlight
No hanging magnet
No mounting straps


Measurements:

Klein automotive MM700 is a multipurpose tool that can fulfill the basic automotive needs and will be equally useful for home testing involving the measurements of AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, temperature, frequency, capacitance, and resistance. It can be considered as a perfect battery voltmeter and you are free to check car batteries as well.

Moreover, it’ll be handy in verifying the circuit’s continuity and checking diodes. But, don’t expect it to have professional testing capabilities like dwell measurement, O2 cross counts, and rpm. Moreover, you’ll be limited to check transistor and current polarity while performing lab work. Klein MM700 fails to perform transistor check or polarity identification.

Design:

While testing the car’s battery, you can flip out its kickstand and rest it on any flat engine area to perform your task singlehandedly. But, the lack of a built-in magnetic hanger or strap limits its freehand use to garage and shop only and not for HVAC tasks where you’ll have to seek help from someone to hold the unit in hand for you to get your job done.

With Klein MM700, neither you’ll have to spend extra money on buying a carrying pouch nor will you misplace the related accessories. Klein ships a nicely designed carrying pouch with the unit that can hold all related accessories starting from the thermocouple to multimeter extra batteries. So, after testing your car, put everything in it, and throw it behind your car seat.

Klein MM700 is one of few automotive electrical testers that equips a high-resolution backlit LCD. Technicians highly love this product as it doesn’t cost much. By spending just 100 bucks, you can get this bright display multimeter that’ll provide the same testing experience both in dark and broad daylight.

To better analyze how much the testing signal is fluctuating, an analog bar graph is added to the display. That gives old fashioned technicians an analog touch and helps in more accurate fluctuations estimation. However, in order to perform the testing in dimly lit locations, always keep a flashlight in your tool kit.

Functions:

Klein MM700 falls in the list of auto/manual ranging modes. It is highly popular for its highly accurate results, thanks to its low impedance mode. Operating at this mode filters out a stray voltage which might alter the measurements. So, one can perfectly rely on its output. Its accuracy really

Along with Loz, its TRMS data analysis functionality further improves its accuracy. Thus, without relying on the type of signal and nature of waveform, it’ll be always very handy in playing with nonlinear signals.

Moreover, by recording the signal’s behaviour for a certain time, its min/max function will give the highest and lowest value as an output that the signal attains during its cycle.

Lastly, just like nearly all car electric testers on the list, Klein MM700 also equips an auto-shutoff and data hold feature. That prolongs multimeter life and gives enough hold time for technicians to note the measurement respectively.

Safety:

MM700 is one of those lucky multimeter units that are dustproof and backed by the IP42 ratings. Moreover, with the integration of 10A and 500 mA input protection fuses, Klein provides one of the finest overload protection. This protection is there both on its main and milliamp circuit respectively. Thus, even if you mistakenly connect it with a high amperage source, you’ll be safe. 

Klein is not one of those cheap multimeter brands that have low multimeter price but scrimp on build quality due to which their multimeters don’t last long. Thus, MM700 is a meaty multimeter that will bear any kind of Jobsite abuse and harshness without any deterioration. Moreover, it’s the only product in the list that is drop tested for a 2m height.

Lastly, Klein MM700 is safety rated to CAT III (1000V) and CAT IV (600V). So, both you and your multimeter will be safe from high transient voltages. But, bear in mind that MM700 fails to perform NCV detection and live line testing. So, without making the physical connection you can’t verify voltage presence. But, this feature will be rarely needed while automotive testing.


No doubt, it is the perfect tool for both beginners and professional technicians as it serves in wide areas of application. However, it can’t be considered as the most professional automotive multimeter. That’s why it doesn’t stand at the top in the list of the best automotive multimeter.

Still, with this device, you can check car battery with this multimeter, car audio or sound system, and engine wiring but not high end professional automotive troubleshooting. So, if you are ok with the basic functions it can perform and you don’t wanna spend extra bucks in buying another meter for your home then, you can go with this multipurpose battery voltage meter


Pros
  • Highly reputable brand.nImpact resistant structure.nReasonable price.nGood multipurpose meter.nElegant design.nCan be used for night time testing. n
Cons
  • Slow response on auto ranging. nSuitable for basic automotive testing.n

6. AstroAI DM6000AR Multimeter

AstroAI DM6000AR Best Automotive Multimeter

What it has?

What it lacks?

Built-in kickstand
Hanging magnet availability
Large Backlit LCD
Auto/Manual ranging
Data Hold Feature
True RMS
Auto shutoff
Overload fused input protection
Drop Protection
CATII and CATIII safety rated
3 years warranty

No carrying case
No flashlight
No NCV or live line testing


Measurements:

AstroAI DM6000AR is another multipurpose meter in our list of best automotive multimeters that aren’t specially designed for automobile testing but can be used for basic operations like testing sound systems, checking engine wires, etc. The parameters that AstroAI can measure include AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, temperature, frequency, capacitance, and resistance.

While using this multipurpose multimeter in the lab, one can test diodes, transistors, and check the circuit’s continuity with current polarity identification.

Design:

AstroAI DM600AR includes all basic design elements like a kickstand, magnetic hanger, and mounting strap that make the job of the technician easier. Thus, by providing support with its kickstand or mounting the multimeter alongside your car’s body, you can get your testing done instantly.

Moreover, AstroAI equips a high-resolution backlit LCD, having 6000 display counts, that make readings easily both in lighted and no light areas thus no limitations in this area. However, you’ll have to buy a carrying case, to hold related accessories, and a flashlight, for dimly lit area operations, on your own!

Functions:

By allowing the operation at both auto and manual ranging mode, AstroAI DM6000AR is the automotive digital multimeter for nonlinear signals analysis involving highly varying signals. Its TRMS functionality will help you in getting the exact data during the diagnosis process that serves as the basis for its troubleshooting.

Additionally, for identifying the signal’s peaks due to some kind of disruption, you can turn on its min/max mode that’ll filter out the highest and lowest value of the signal over a defined time period. You can later use this data for estimating the fluctuations.

Just like most of the units in the list, AstroAI DM6000AR also has the auto-shutoff feature to help the multimeter batteries last longer. Moreover, hold function to make the diagnosis process easier by allowing the technicians to note the readings even when probes are disconnected.

Safety:

Dual fuses protect both the milliamp and main amperage circuits, which prevents n unexpected current spikes. Being rated at 400mA and 10A, these ceramic type fuses instantly trip themselves off to disconnect the path of current to main circuits thus not only saving the multimeter itself but the user, who is operating it, as well.

AstroAI multimeter can withstand the harsh environment of garages and auto testing centers. Having a hard outer casing with a shock resistance rubber holster, this rugged multimeter can easily absorb the frequent drops and wear. So, you can expect it to last for years!

CAT III and CAT IV safety ratings behind its back ensure that AstroAI DM6000AR isn’t like a cheap multimeter. Thus, it can handle transient voltages but still, not having the HCV detection and live line testing feature, it is very limited in its operations. But, if you are intending to buy it for automotive testing, missing these features won’t be a major concern!


This car voltage tester can only perform the basic level automotive testing like diagnosing engine wiring faults, checking sound systems, and testing car batteries. However, if you also wanna use the same unit for another home testing, then you can go for it.


Pros
  • Inexpensive.nResponse is pretty excellent.nHigh sensitivity.nLong lasting with its solid structure.nPretty easy to handle. nLarge screen with elegant look and resolution. nAmazing customer service.
Cons
  • Limited to basic automotive testing only.nNo clear instructions in manual.nPoor quality test leads. nLeads are very short.n

7. Fluke – 892583 88 V/A KIT Multimeter

Fluke - 892583 88 V/A KIT Multimeter

What it has?

What it lacks?

Built-in kickstand
Hanging magnet
Mounting straps
Carrying pouch availability
Two level White Backlit LCD
Auto/manual-ranging
REL Mode
Data Hold
Auto shutoff
Overload fused input protection
Drop protection
CATIII and CATIV safety Rated

No built-in flashlight
No TRMS
No NCV or live line testing


Measurements:

Fluke – 88 automotive kit or fluke automotive multimeter is the perfect voltmeter for a car that can measure AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, temperature, rpm, frequency, capacitance, and resistance.  One can also perform continuity and diode check but just like other automotive multimeters in the list, it also fails to test transistors and identify current polarity.

Design:

Fluke 88, being equipped with a built-in kickstand, hanging magnet, and mounting strap, provides greater flexibility for hands-free operation. During the automotive fault diagnosis or testing of HVAC appliances, you can place the unit in an upright position, hang it with any metallic surface, or mount it alongside your bed.

You can keep the multimeter and related accessories in the nicely designed durable carrying pouch. It is included in the Fluke kit’s thus won’t cost you any extra money. Thus, you can pack everything in it and place it with your other car tools. 

Fluke 88 has a very high-resolution LCD with 6000 display counts. Moreover, a responsive bar graph on the bottom of the screen is very handy in analyzing the unstable signals that frequently change.

Moreover, thanks to its two-level white backlight that brightens up the display when operated in dark areas, you won’t feel any difference in its readability irrespective of the light intensity.

Functions:

To give users advanced flexibility, Fluke 88 operates in both auto and manual ranging modes. However, being a non-RMS multimeter, its results of fluctuating loads measurement or of varying signals might not be as accurate as of a TRMS multimeter. Still, Fluke is widely praised for its accuracy!

Two very handy modes that you’ll have with Fluke 88 are its min/max and relative measurement mode. On the min/max mode, the multimeter record a wide group of data and keeps on updating the signal’s highs and low to filter out highest and lowest value while the relative mode is beneficial when you plan to take measurements in + or – to a se reference. These features give users greater flexibility in operation.

Fluke 88 also shares a selectable sleep mode that maximizes its battery life and freezes the data with a single push of a button. Thus, Fluke maintains its user-friendly nature in this multimeter as well.

Safety:

Being a pretty expensive car electrical tester, Fluke ensures the safety of the user and longevity of its meter and for that, it incorporates two fuses that provide overload protection to its milliamp and main current circuit. The later one is rated at 10 amp and is a slow burn fuse. So, it can withstand current up to 10A for 10 seconds before it blows out. Moreover, it takes no more than 5 seconds to replace them.

No meter brand produces meters as wear-resistant as the ones produced by the Fluke. With its rubber hostler that significantly absorbs the high drop protection and a tough outer casing that won’t deteriorate irrespective of how harsh the working environment is, you can expect Fluke 88 to last for years. That’s one of the reasons why buying a fluke meter is a onetime investment!

There is no risk of voltage spikes as a result of load switching and industrial circuit faults. Thanks to the Fluke 88 being safety rated to CAT III (1000V) and CAT IV (600V). Thus, it withstands volt spikes up to 8000 V. That will protect both the user and multimeter unit against transient voltages.

The above-mentioned feature might not be of major concern in automotive testing as voltages don’t rise that much but if you are buying a multipurpose multimeter you can go for it.

Lastly, one can’t use it for non-contact voltage detection and live line testing features. That makes it a bit less reliable than the other best automotive multimeters in the list having these features.


Definitely, Fluke 88 VA kit is mainly designed for automotive troubleshooting. But, it’ll be equally beneficial for commercial, residential, and industrial purposes. So, it’s a pretty good investment to make!


Pros
  • Suited for basic to medium level testing.nReliable and accurate results.nFast response. nLifetime warranty. nVery high resolution. nTough and long lasting structure.nEasy battery and fuse replacement.n
Cons
  • Bulky in size.nExpensive.n

8. OTC 3505A 100 Series Multimeter

OTC 3505A 100 Series Multimeter

What it has?

What it lacks?

Auto/manual-ranging
REL mode
Data Hold
Auto shutoff

No kickstand
No hanging magnet
No mounting straps
No carrying pouch availability
No built-in flashlight
No backlit LCD
No true RMS
No overload fused input protection
Weak Drop protection
No NCV or live line testing


Measurements:

OTC is a less reputable brand producing automotive meters. Its OTC 3505A model of 100 series can measure AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, temperature, frequency, capacitance, resistance, and rpm. It is also suitable for dwell measurement and performing diode and continuity checks.  However, it can’t check transistors but the absence of this feature won’t make much difference in your automotive testing.

Design:

OTC doesn’t incorporate a kickstand, magnetic hanger, or mounting strap, neither it comes with a carrying pouch or built-in flashlight. Thus, OTC 3505A lacks most of the design elements that make it difficult for automotive technicians to do this job single-handedly.

However, you’ll get heavy-duty test lead probes and removable alligator clip ends in the same packaging. But, even that can’t justify its high price.

Moreover, to keep everything in place, you’ll have to either spend some bucks in buying an additional carrying case or empty some space in your automotive tool kit.

Being a compact, OTC 3505A is an auto-ranging multimeter that has a small LCD screen that has a very fair display. So, you’ll have to concentrate a bit to see the readings clearly. Additionally, keep in mind that there is no backlight in OTC 3505A. That makes it ineligible to be used for night time automotive testing.

Functions:

OTC 3505A falls in the list of dual operating mode multimeters with its ability to measure data on both auto and manual ranging mode. But, it lacks a TRMS feature that limits its use to linear or non-varying signals. This might not be well suited for troubleshooting complex engine problems involving electrically disturbing signals.

However, with its min/max and relative measurement function, you can, firstly, record the whole signal’s data for a specific time period. From the stored data, the signal’s peaks and lows can also be filtered out.  Secondly, you can set any desired value as a reference and see how much signal deviates from that set reference in + or -. The latter feature is very handy in automotive testing.

Last, but not least, OTC 3505A also has a data freeze option for lazy workers. Moreover, its auto-shutoff feature puts the multimeter on sleep mode in case of no activity for a few minutes.

For testing fuel injectors, one can instantly measure the millisecond pulse width and peak volts that help in the analysis. Additionally, you can also check the O2 cross counts to ensure the oxygen sensor is working properly.

Safety:

Although, OTC 3505A lacks many design elements and main features. But it does take care of the users and prevents overloading with its fuse, rated at 10A, installed on its main amperage circuit. It’ll trip off and stops high current from damaging the multimeter or giving shock to the user.

However, one can’t comment on how strong the multimeter is. But, being made up of abuse-resistant material, you can use it for automotive testing which doesn’t involve too much harshness. But, keep in mind, it isn’t suitable for industrial troubleshooting process. Moreover, don’t drop it quite often as it may not withstand the impacts of the frequent drops.

OTC 3505A fails to perform non-contact voltage detection and live line testing. But, you would rarely find a need for these features in automotive testing. So, lacking this function isn’t a major concern!


OTC 3505A proves to be a handy multimeter for automotive use. But you should look for some other options mentioned in the list due to two main reasons. Firstly, it misses out on a lot of important features and secondly, it is slightly expensive. Moreover, one can get a better product at this price. But, do keep in mind, it’s the only unit that can check O2 cross counts which no other best automotive multimeters in the list can!


Pros
  • Long life.nFuel injector testing capability.nFast response.nEasy to hold in hand.nEasy to move around.n
Cons
  • Very small LCD.nExpensive.nLimited number of features. n

What to look for before buying the Best Mutimeters for Automotive:

As a result of high saturation in the market, filtering out the best automotive multimeter isn’t less than a hustle. So, there should be certain criteria based on which, one can compare different options. It helps in finding which unit is better than the other and WHY. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll focus on five different areas that should serve as the basis for comparing multiple parameters.

These include the design of the multimeter, the number of parameters it can measure, different functions that it can perform, how safe the unit is, and lastly its area of applications.

Let’s briefly discuss each area individually:

Measurements:

Every multimeter is designed by keeping in mind its area of application. Few basic parameters that any automotive multimeter can measure include, AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, temperature, rpm, frequency, dwell, and the verification of continuity between any two points of the engine. It is especially known as the best automotive multimeter with rpm functionality.

Apart from these basic parameters, few advanced automotive multimeters can also test various other features. These include testing different sensors in the engine, monitoring emission status, O2 cross counts check, and engine performance analysis. Moreover, live data graphing, data printing via PC, and numerous other advanced functions are also pretty handy.

Generally, people get the above testing done in a car testing center. However, having the voltage meter for the car helps in saving a good sum of money that you spend every month. Moreover, weekly basic car inspection at home can also save you from paying heavy fines. But, keep in mind, very few advanced car scanners have these features. 

Design:

Regardless of how advanced the multimeter is, it should be user-friendly in the first place. Few elements that make it easy for an automotive technician to operate the multimeter include a built-in kickstand, hanging magnet and strap, good resolution LCD, flashlight, and backlights. 

How each element contributes in simplifying the testing process is briefly explained below:

  1. The backside kickstand allows the automotive technicians to flip it out and place it on the engine. This gives you the option to perform the testing single-handedly. Apart from that, it’ll also cut down the testing time a technician takes, on average, for specific testing operations.
  2. For professional automotive technicians, the magnetic hanger is very handy to mount the unit at any part of the car. Whether it’s a car body, exhaust pipe, tire rim, or any other metal surface. Thus, allowing the hands-free operation. This simply speeds up the overall testing process. Besides that, by hanging the unit around your belt with its mounting strap, one can easily move the multimeter around different places in the workshop.
  3. If you perform car testing in the garage, not having a built-in flashlight won’t be a major problem. But, it’ll be very useful while testing underneath the car where light is barely reachable.
  4. Readings on the LCD of the multimeter should be bright enough to be clearly visible, even from an angle, as the testing experience won’t be the same while testing cars in comparison with lab work. Having backlights will give you the same advantage as that of the flashlight in reading the measurements.

Functions:

If you are using a traditional digital multimeter for basic automotive testing, few basic functions must be there. These include auto/manual ranging mode, True RMS analysis capability, data freeze feature, auto-shutoff feature, and last, but not the least, min/max function.

How each function helps in our testing process is explained below:

  1. Multimeters with both auto and manual ranging modes have an upper hand over single-mode units. As one can operate the multimeter on any mode depending on the nature and type of job. Moreover, a single unit can be used for quick testing by an experienced technician and slow practice by his apprentice on auto and manual ranging mode respectively.   
  2. To avoid electrical disturbances disrupting the accuracy of the multimeter, always go for a TRMS unit. These units have the capability to filter out the stray voltages. Thus, you’ll get accurate results that’ll lead to exact fault diagnosis. Min/max function is handy when you need to check the lower and higher peak of highly fluctuating voltages.
  3. Data hold is a very useful feature in automotive testing. It gives technicians the flexibility to freeze the reading when testing the car and note it later while sitting on the garage deck. Auto shutoff will protect the battery from draining out even when you forget to turn it off.

However, keep in mind that only traditional multimeter equips the above-mentioned features and is only suitable for basic testing purposes. In order to perform the advanced troubleshooting, we have Autel AutoLink and Power Probe IV. They may not have the functions mentioned above. But, these units are the best automotive multimeter, suitable for high-end automotive inspection tasks.

Safety:

Make sure your selected multimeter brand honors this slogan, “Safety comes firstâ€. It should be certified by few of the highly reputable international standard organizations and third-party institutions. Keep this element in mind while checking automotive multimeter reviews.

Other than these certifications, the selected unit must also provide good overload and drop protection. Along with that, having the NCV detection and live testing capability is also a plus point.

How these elements make a product more secure to use is explained below:

  1. Overload protection has the responsibility to save the multimeter and technicians from current spikes and shocks. Fuses are rated for a desired current value. So, if the current exceeds that limit. fuses will quickly trip off and disrupt the electrical connection. Also, fuses must be there in a separate compartment for easy replacement.
  2. The automotive multimeter you are going to spend money on should be rugged enough to withstand the garage roughness. Having a rubber holster that absorbs the drop impact will prolong the multimeter’s life. So, you need to be selective in your choice.
  3. Most of the traditional multimeters have one or more safety ratings of four different categories. If the unit you are going to buy has multiple safety ratings then it ensures that you are completely safe from highly transient voltages. 

Two aspects that professionals often neglect while buying electrical appliances are good warranty and long battery life. Any multimeter fulfilling these aspects is a sign of surety that our money is being well spent. Lastly, as you’ll be buying the multimeter for automotive testing, make sure it has all the above-mentioned parameters. Not paying attention may lead you to spend more money on buying the car voltage meter.


FAQs:

Which is the best automotive multimeter?

Without any doubt, power probe IV is the best automotive multimeter for professional use. However, for basic level automotive inspection at home, Autel AutoLink AL539 is also a great option.

How an automotive multimeter can be useful?

An automotive multimeter can be used to measure AC/DC current, check duty cycles, and test car batteries. One can also measure temperature from different engine locations and identifying faults in engine wiring. Moreover, one can instantly measure rpm, test different engine sensors record the engine performance data, and check the emission level. Thus, doing a complete round-up of the engine to make sure it is working properly and don’t need an inspection. However, depending on the price and model, each automotive amp meter has limited features.

Can someone use an automotive multimeters for testing an electric car?

Using a normal automotive multimeter for electric car inspection won’t be a good idea. As most of the electric cars equip high power batteries, it would be pretty risky to test them with a multimeter. They can seriously harm both the multimeter and the inexperienced user who is using it. So, always seek help from a certified mechanic for the inspection of your electric car.

How to choose the best automotive multimeter?

We have briefly explained a few factors to look for in an automotive multimeter in the buyer’s guide section. Those include a wide range of parameters measurement, excellent safety in terms of drop protection and overload protection, elegant design with numerous design elements. Few must-have design elements include a kickstand, magnetic hanger, and mounting strap. Moreover, auto shutoff, data freezing capability, long battery life, and lastly, excellent warranty, and customer support must also be there. If the selected unit equips most of the above-mentioned features, you can go for it. Without any doubt, it would definitely be the right unit for automotive electrical testing.

Do digital automotive multimeters require calibration?

Well, automotive multimeters don’t require calibration every month but calibrating it once a year will improve their performance. Few factors including the humidity, extreme temperatures may significantly affect their accuracy over time. So, to avoid getting wrong and inaccurate results, calibration once or twice a year would be wise.


Final Thoughts!

So, finally, here is the list of our 8 best automotive multimeters. Each one is suitable for a different type of application and has limitations in some areas of car testing.

You are free to choose any product that meets your criteria and falls below your budget. Still, my suggestion would be to go with Power Probe IV if you can afford to buy it. This is because the overall features provided by this unit won’t be available at rest.

Autel AutoLink should be your second choice if you have a limited budget. Lastly, if you just want to perform basic automotive testing and looking for a single product that can be used for various other home operations as well, then go with Innova 3340.

Hope, our automotive digital multimeter reviews and an in-depth buyer’s guide would have acknowledged you so far. It’ll definitely help you in finding the right product for the right operation.

Do spend some bucks in buying one automotive testing tool. It’ll save you from the headache of visiting a car testing center every week. Thus, saving both time and money!

Happy Testing!

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