In this article, you’ll find reviews of 8 best budget multimeters and detailed buyer’s guide.
Our Top Picks
Autel AutoLink AL539 Multimeter
- 2.27 pounds
- No Batteries Required
- 12-months Warranty
Best for professionals
KAIWEETS HT118A Digital Multimeter
- 1.1 pounds
- 2 AA batteries
- 36-months Warranty
Best For Bugdet
Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter
- 9.9 ounces
- 2 AAA batteries
Before buying any product the first wish we make is to get it at the possible cheap price. Of course, nobody would like their budget for essentials getting comprised of these extra expenses.
Just like that multimeters donâ€™t come in essentials but are a necessary and must-have gadget for every home. So, either now or in the future, youâ€™ll have to spend some bucks buying it.
Our first task should be to find the best cheap multimeter that fulfils our requirements. Additionally, it doesnâ€™t feel a burden on our monthly budget also.
Worry not, weâ€™re here to help you in making the purchase process simpler. Weâ€™ve enlisted 8 budget multimeters with each suitable for different applications. So, you can choose the one that best matches your requirements and budget.
A detailed buyerâ€™s guide after the product review section will further solve your ambiguities of what to look for in the cheapest multimeter to best perform the required job.
So, without further due, letâ€™s move forward!
What it has?
What it lacks?
Bright Backlit LCD
No Magnetic hanger
Auto Link AL539 OBD2 Scanner is another best cheap automotive multimeter or testing tool that should be part of every automotive technicianâ€™s tool kit. But, keep in mind, its AVO meter can only test current, voltage, and continuity. It is incapable of checking temperature, resistance, frequency, and capacitance measurement.
While checking the status of the carâ€™s charging system, one has to just connect the testing probes. The scanner shows the output as normal, high, low, or excessive ripple behaviour. Moreover, by analyzing the cranking status, one can verify whether starter voltage is at its normal level or not.
Just like most of the units in the list, where Auto Link AL539 OBD2 Scanner has a built-in kickstand for upright position testing, it fails to integrate both magnetic hanger and strap, thus limiting its use.
Youâ€™ll also admire its customized carrying case that holds the multimeter. It allows the user to comfortably move a single unit around the workshop.
Despite being a low price multimeter, its sharp display and bright backlight keep the screen glowing all the time. So, regardless of how much illumination the surrounding is, readings will be easily viewable. But, always put a flashlight inside your car seat for emergency testing during night time.
Being an all-around scanner, Auto Link AL539 OBD2 Scanner is capable of performing all basic to advanced testing. Whether it’s a matter of transferring measured data, erasing and reading codes, data freezing capability, or onboard monitoring test. Additionally, with its data printing flexibility, it wonâ€™t disappoint ever.
A best automotive 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.
If you are new to engine testing, weâ€™ve briefly explained few of its features below:
- Live PCM data streams quickly identify discontinuous behaviour of being measured variable to filter out which part is wrong. Moreover, for checking the emission status of a vehicle, the OBD II scanner quickly generates results that confirm whether your car passes the smog test or require maintenance.
- For maintaining the best fuel economy, low-level emission, and stable power, you should frequently check the O2 Sensor’s performance as itâ€™ll give you an early heads up in case of any serious issue.
- Whether itâ€™s the graphical data display, digital measurements, or any other diagnostics results, one can freeze the display instantly to analyze the recorded data calmly while going back in the office. Moreover, you can share this data with fellow technicians to devise better solutions.
Its ability to absorb shock and blows is much higher than normal traditional multimeters. Thus, it can effectively withstand the workshop environment. Handling this rugged unit with a great case helps the unit in lasting longer. It makes the OBD2 scanner a one-time investment for technicians for their automotive testing.
Auto Link AL539 OBD2 isnâ€™t passed through different testing phases so hasnâ€™t got the backing of any category safety ratings. But, as automotive testing doesnâ€™t involve transient voltages, missing this feature wonâ€™t make a major difference. However, depending on your applications, you may find some part of overall testing hard due to lack of NCV detector or live line testing functionality.
By omitting the need of paying a hefty amount to car mechanics, youâ€™ll see a significant decrease in your monthly expenses. Moreover, an on-time inspection ensures the safety of your car and life. Lastly, you wonâ€™t find any other cheap digital multimeter option for automotive testing other than Auto Link AL539 OBD2.
What it has?
What it lacks?
Safe NCV or live line detection.
No magnetic holder.
KAIWEETS HT 118A is another high performing cheap multimeter that, apart from identification of current polarity, can measure all parameters and has the capability to perform all basic testing.
The feature that it can measure includes ac/dc voltage, ac/dc current, temperature, frequency, capacitance, and resistance while continuity, diode and transistor check are three tests, Kaiweets is capable of performing.
The built-in kickstand of KAIWEETS HT 118A is very sturdy that provides good support during the testing process. It is the only multimeter in the list that comes with a built-in flashlight. Thus, omitting the need for holding a separate flashlight with you all the time.
However, neither youâ€™ll get any magnetic hanger nor will there be any carrying pouch with the unit. So, if you are not willing to buy them separately, you may face a hard time operating this device.
With 6000 counts, the thick digits on 2.9â€ LCD have a plain view that doesnâ€™t distort even when viewed from an angle. Its backlights, in combination with a flashlight, make it the best affordable multimeter for night use.
If you would be frequently playing with variable speed drives then go with this unit, its TRMS analysis mode and min/max measurement functionality will make the nonlinear analysis pretty straightforward and accurate. To make the nonlinear analysis more entertaining, a bar graph is shown in real-time at bottom of the overall display.
Auto/manual ranging mode availability enhances the user experience of technicians as they can enjoy taking readings at any of their desired settings. While staying functionless for few minutes, auto-shutoff feature gets activated that switches off the multimeter on its own. This feature is necessary for battery conservation. Lastly, its data hold feature, located at the front interface, will also make troubleshooting easier.
Youâ€™ll hardly find any multimeter that provides three-layer of overload protection in the form of anti-burn, PTC thermistor, and dual ceramic fuses. This feature makes Kaiweets HT 118A competitive with high priced meters in the market.
Another reason that makes this unit a good buy is its protective outer casing made up of silicone that takes the responsibility of absorbing all harsh environments starting from wear till high impact drops.
Moreover, itâ€™s the only multimeter in the list that is backed by the multiple certifications, including the IEC, CE, RoHS, and two safety ratings of CAT III (1000V) and CAT IV (600V). Thus handling the transient voltages would be this beast’s responsibility. Youâ€™ll get a notification, in the form of an alarm light and loud buzzer, both while detecting the voltage with its NCV detector and live line testing. However, few users have faced issues with its detector but thatâ€™s the case with very limited customers.
KAIWEETS is a wonderful product having all basic to mid-range features that make it an all-around product suitable for diagnosing circuit faults, inspecting home wiring, or repairing home appliances. Basic testing can be easily done with Kaiweets HT 118A.
What it has?
What it lacks?
NCV detection or live line testing
Not True RMS
Extech Ex330 is another great option for people looking for a basic multimeter at a cheap price, even below 100$. It comes with AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, frequency, capacitance, resistance, and temperature measurement capability due to which itâ€™s a highly popular unit among hobbyists.
Few more frequently used features include continuity and diode check. But, youâ€™ll miss performing transistor check and polarity identification with this unit.
Youâ€™ll enjoy limited flexibility of hands-free operation as only its tilting bail would be assisting you during in-house testing with no magnetic hanger or mounting strap. The lack of built-in flashlight makes EX330 unsuitable for night use.
Extech EX330 has one of the largest display screens in our list of best cheap multimeters and having intuitive resolution; readings would be clearly readable even if the unit itself is placed far away.
With a fair screen display counts at 4000, this unit lacks both backlight and flashlight. So, choosing this product for night use would be a very regretful decision.
With dual operating mode, Extech EX 330 clearly has an upper hand over many high-end single-mode multimeters that limits the use to either professionals or beginners. With this unit, anyone, having any level of expertise, can complete their job easily.
However, this unit falls in the list of non-TRMS multimeters, and having no min/max analysis mode restricts the unit to troubleshooting linear or non-varying systems. This is a major drawback this has.
Anytime during the operation, just press the hold button and the multimeter will hold the display for you to note down the readings whenever you want. A very handy feature especially in dark area operations.
Another rare functionality this unit has is the REL button that helps in checking the signalâ€™s variation from a set value. The output is shown in the + or â€“ to that set reference.
Lastly, Ex330 also equips an auto power-off feature that, by turning off the multimeter after 15 minutes of no activity, helps in avoiding frequent battery replacement due to quick draining.
Ex330 has good input protection at both circuits that limit the current below the maximum value. But, this overload protection canâ€™t be regarded as high end with no HRC fused connections.
However, thanks to its high-end casing construction, it shows great resistance to blows at the workplace, frequent drop impacts, harsh environment, and abusive use. So, expect it to remain the shine of your tool kit for years to come.
With its high-end outer insulation, Ex330 effectively protects the user operating it by securely handling the transient voltages. CAT III (600V) and CAT II (1000V) safety ratings further build userâ€™s trust over this unit.
Although it comes at a pretty low price, still Extech has integrated NCV detector and live line testing support. That’ll, not only makes testing at inaccessible places simpler but makes EX530 a standout product in the list.
Whether itâ€™s your car, computer, behind the wall wires, duct electronics or any other household task, Ex330 would be the right choice. One can use it for light industries but not for three phase systems. Having all basic testing features at minimal is why Ex330 is mostly loved by Weekend DIY enthusiasts and electricians.
What it has?
What it lacks?
Built in kickstand
No Built-in Flashlight
By filtering out the transistor check and current polarity identification from the list of measurements, this unit can test all basic function.
Despite being pretty cheap, it stands out from many expensive multimeters having the same capability of measuring the AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, temperature, frequency, capacitance, and resistance.
Moreover, diodes can also be tested and the existence of a connection between any two points can also be instantly verified with a loud buzzer.
This might not be the right product for HVAC testing due to the absence of a hanging magnet that acts as a third hand for the user in tough working conditions. That includes checking air conditioning ducts, air conditioner mounted on the wall, etc. But the sturdy built-in kickstand makes the operation simpler by allowing hands-free testing on a flat surface.
Expecting a below 50$ multimeter to come with a carrying pouch wonâ€™t be fair as there are carrying cases in the market that are more expensive than the multimeter itself. So, spending some bucks in buying it separately would be justifiable.
Without any doubt, youâ€™ll praise the thick digital display on its wide backlit LCD that remains clearly visible, without any distortion, irrespective of the angle at which you are viewing the screen.
In addition to its good view, the resolution, with 6000 display counts, is also admirable as rarely cheap multimeter provides as good resolution as of Keenstone Morpiolet 17B. Either operate it in the lighted area or bring a flashlight with you as the multimeter unit misses this built-in feature.
Keenstone Morpiolet 17B is an all-round product having all of the required basic testing options including the auto/manual ranging mode. Both modes are preferable for slow or quick testing respectively. Moreover, auto-shutoff feature to ensure its batteries last longer, min/max function for better recording and analyzing the fluctuations is also possible with this unit.
Lastly, the data hold feature that gives technicians an increased time span to comfortably record or note down the measurement. Thus, youâ€™ll get a complete package of features in this best budget multimeter at a very minimal price.
Keenstone Morpiolet 17B will show the highly accurate output without relying on the type and nature of the waveform. Regardless of how varying the signal is, how much it fluctuates during the measurement process, you’ll get accurate results. Thus, it can handle the nonlinear signals very effectively. Still, donâ€™t expect its accuracy to match with that of industrial Fluke meters. But still, it would be enough for the right diagnosis.
Leave the task of overload protection to the dual ceramic fuses and thermistor installed at input circuits of Keenstone Morpiolet 17B. You can get your job done without risking your life. What these components do is that they instantly trip off as the current tries to go beyond a defined value. These are rated at this value, thus preventing high amperages from burning the multimeter or shocking the user.
In addition to being compact in size, Keenstone Morpiolet 17B is the best mini multimeter has a super strong outer shell that is highly effective in absorbing the drop impact. This feature prevents its effects from reaching the internal circuits. Thus, if you are planning to perform only the basic troubleshooting with it, itâ€™ll be the only investment youâ€™ll make in years for your electronics testing. Moreover, having CAT IV safety ratings behind its back, Keenstone Morpiolet 17B is a perfect device for a home inspection. As it equips both NCV detection and live line testing functionality, it is more loved by its customers. These features would be frequently used and is rarely present in cheap multimeters.
Keenstone Morpiolet 17B would be best suitable for home use. It is pretty quick in diagnosing and testing switches, socket, circuit breakers etc. But will also act as a handy product in many other major testing areas. That includes the workshop, electronics lab, automotive testing centres. But restrict it to basic use only. Thus, a great diagnostic tool to spend money on.
What it has?
What it lacks?
No NCV detector or live line testing.
For people looking for budget multimeters that can perform all basic measurements, that too with good accuracy, Klein MM400 should be the choice. With its ability to measure AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, frequency, capacitance, resistance, and temperature, one can get done all of his basic testings by using this tool.
Few other frequently used features, that Klein MM400 is equipped with, are continuity and diode testing. Testing transistors and current polarity identification are two areas where Klein loses its reliability over other best budget multimeters in the list having these features.
Few missing design elements like a magnetic hanger or mounting strap limits the use of Klein MM400 to some extent. But, thatâ€™s the case with stand-up position testing or automotive troubleshooting only. With its built-in kickstand, you can comfortably perform in-house lab testing using this best bench multimeter.
Thanks to its easy to rotate dial, rubbery buttons, good quality testing probes, Klein MM400â€™s interface clearly beats out many high priced multimeters.
No doubt youâ€™ll get this budget meter at a pretty low price. But buying a separate carrying case will be costly as Klein doesnâ€™t ship it in the same packaging. However, if you want to avoid this expense, manage the multimeter in your tools bag.
With the integration of white backlights, youâ€™ll have the same experience working with Klein MM400 both during the day time or night. But, its resolution isnâ€™t high end, still fair enough to be easily readable.
Klein MM400 is included in the list of dual ranging budget multimeters. Moreover, to make its operation more user friendly, Klein has added the auto-shutoff and data hold functions. So, with more flexibility in testing, battery conservation, and instant data freezing functionality, youâ€™ll definitely love this product.
Having perfection in linear systems analysis, MM400 is highly reputable for its accuracy. But, being an average RMS unit, its results for nonlinear signals analysis, involving high electrical disturbances, will disappoint you. For high-end applications, spend some extra bucks in buying a multimeter having a TRMS feature.
However, knowing the highs/lows of the signal is pretty easy, thanks to the addition of the min/max function. What youâ€™ll have to do is to press the min/max button before measuring the signal and after filtration, youâ€™ll get your desired results.
Klein isnâ€™t one of those brands that lower the cost of their products at the expense of user safety. With 500mA and 10A input, HRC fused connections, neither the overloaded current will burn the circuit nor youâ€™ll be at the risk of receiving shock that makes MM400 a safe to use a multimeter.
Very few multimeters are certified by ANSI for their good shock absorption capability. Klein MM400 is lucky one to be included in those devices and its tested drop height is 1m. Another reason for trusting this brand is tough to build with a strong casing. That saves the multimeter from deterioration at Jobsite regardless of how tough the working conditions are.
One can praise Klein MM400 for using high-end circuit boards for electronics and providing double outer insulation. Being CAT III safety rated further increase the userâ€™s trust over this unit. Still, NCV detection and live line testing functionalities are missing in Klein MM400 that may limit its use depending on your requirements.
Apart from complex industrial and high power residential applications, you can sue Klein MM400 anywhere. Whether itâ€™s your lab experiments, shop testing, home wiring, or any low power application, Klein MM400 will perform at its best.
What it has?
What it lacks?
Carrying pouch availability
No Kick stand
One cheap option in the clamp meters category is AMP 210. Spending around 100 bucks may seem heavy amount but its amazing features definitely justifies its price.
DC current, current polarity, and transistor check canâ€™t be done with this unit. Apart from that, it measures and tests everything whether itâ€™s AC/DC voltage, temperature, capacitance frequency, resistance, ac current or continuity, and diode testing.
Being a clamp meter, you wonâ€™t need a kickstand support as hardly youâ€™ll use it in the lab. But, not having a magnetic hanger will create a massive difference in your testing experience as you wonâ€™t be able to a helping hand during voltage measurements.
Still, handling the unit wonâ€™t require much struggle as you can easily pack it in its carrying case. The best part is that it is shipped with the multimeter, to perform the testing at multiple places at Jobsite. Moreover, you can also bring along other testing accessories.
6000 display counts, shipshape interface, and amazing screen resolution make a perfect combination that wins the hearts of its customers. Additionally, you can perform your job without considering how dark or lit surrounding is. But, arranging the flashlight would be your responsibility while operating AM 210 in dark.
The amp-tip functionality extends the multimeter use to low current measurements. Even 0.1 amp current can be measured with great accuracy. But keep in mind, not all clamp meters have this functionality so choose wisely.
Where the auto-ranging function makes this clamp meter easy to use for beginners, the low pass filter assists in getting the precise results of different parameters while playing with variable frequency drives!
Its TRMS analysis mode will frequently help the technicians while troubleshooting in an electrically noisy environment. Moreover, the min/max function is a handy feature during recording and analyzing abrupt fluctuations of the measured signal.
While operating the AMP 210 in inaccessible places like roofs and HVAC ducts, press the â€œRECâ€ button to easily note down the reading. The reading will remain visible on the screen until you press the button again.
Lastly, inactivity of 30 minutes put AMP210 on rest mode thus, short memory people like me wonâ€™t have to worry about quick battery draining and every other day replacement.
AM210 is a well-tested device so there are zero chances of an early breakout due to accidental fall. Even, years and years of tough working environment wonâ€™t deteriorate the unit and itâ€™ll remain rigid forever.
Bear in mind, AM210, being a clamp meter, measures the current with no direct connection. Thus, with zero chance of overloading, it wonâ€™t put your life at risk during the troubleshooting process.
Only CAT-III rating is backing AMP 210 which ensures that this best budget multimeterâ€™s use wonâ€™t be limited to low power systems only. In fact, you can also inspect medium power systems using this multimeter.
NCV detector is installed in AM 210 that verifies voltage presence in inaccessible places like behind the wall wirings, sockets, high power wires, etc. Moreover, live line identification functionality is present in this unit as well.
If you arenâ€™t willing to buy a traditional multimeter and you intend to perform basic household or residential testing then you can go with this clamp meter. With its amazing feature, itâ€™ll be equally useful for both experienced professionals and beginners who are new to this game.
What it has?
What it lacks?
Jacks' input warning
No safety ratings.
With all basic testing functionality, including the measurement of AC/DC current, AC/DC voltage, frequency, capacitance, and resistance, Tekpower Mastech MS8268 is another cheap multimeter choice for beginners who are just getting started. However, if your testing involves frequent temperature measurement then this wonâ€™t be the right choice.
Moreover, it wonâ€™t take you more than one minute to verify current polarity, checking the working condition of diodes, and testing transistors.
Masteck MS8268 clearly lacks in its usability with basic design elements missing. Apart from the kickstand, that keeps the unit in an upright position, you wonâ€™t get a magnetic hanger, mounting strap, or carrying pouch.
Although, itâ€™s the initial cost may seem minimal but buying these things separately would add up to make it a very expensive buy. So, if you can manage with these features missing, only then buy this product.
This unit doesnâ€™t require light for its operation as with its blue backlight, having good on time, the measurements would be easy to see. It has 4000 display counts with a screen refresh rate of 3 times per second.
Masteck MS8268 allows easy switching between auto and manual ranging mode even while performing the experiments. So, both beginners and professionals will love this unit. However, TRMS analysis mode and min/max measurement functionality are missing in MS8268 that makes the unit ineligible to be used for nonlinear applications.
For easy memorization and comfortable testing provision, data hold feature is added in this unit. Thatâ€™ll contribute its part in simplifying the overall testing process. Moreover, by turning on LED and loud buzzer, it directs technicians to insert the jack in right place, if they mistakenly insert it in the wrong slot.
Another element that differentiates MS8268 from the rest of the best budget multimeters is its relative mode that records data in + or â€“ to any respective value stored by the user. However, its auto-shutoff feature works the same as other multimeter units.
The main amperage circuit equips a 10A input ceramic fuse, and a resettable temperature coefficient PTC fuse on its milliamp circuit prevents overloading affecting both its circuits. Thus, high-quality circuits with good input protection make the unit long-lasting.
A combination of the tough outer casing and shock-absorbing rubbery boot resists the Jobsite abuse and accidental falls. No risk of early break out gives peace of mind to technician operating it. So, without any doubt, you can rely on this product.
One canâ€™t expect every claim by the manufacturer to be correct. The absence of any kind of protection on the main terminal jack doesnâ€™t meet the criteria to have good safety ratings. Thus, limiting the MS8268 to low energy circuits would be beneficial. However, with no NCV detector and live line testing provision, its use will be very much limited.
As mentioned earlier, Masteck MS8268 is most suitable for beginners. However, DIY enthusiasts can equally get their job done with this unit. If you just want a cheap multimeter for basic household troubleshooting and computer power supplies diagnosis then you can go with this device.
What it has?
What it lacks?
No Hanging magnet
Another great option to definitely consider for the best cheap multimeters is Neoteck NT8233D. The only two features that this unit lacks include the temperature measurement and transistor test. Otherwise, name any other parameter, and NT8233D will measure it for you.
The list of measured parameters includes AC/DC current, AC/DC voltage, resistance, continuity, frequency, and capacitance. Youâ€™ll also love its quick response during the continuity verification and diode check.
A little extra money spent on buying the hanging magnet or strap would be one of the best investments as they donâ€™t come with the unit. However, their huge range of benefits justifies the price. Moreover, when used in combination with a built-in kickstand would further enhance the flexibility of performing your duty single-handedly.
If you have a tight budget then go for another cheap multimeter that includes a carrying case at the same pricing. With NT8233D, youâ€™ll have to spend not only on buying a hanging magnet. But, carrying a pouch, to keep all testing equipment together, as well.
Donâ€™t expect NT8233D to have a high-end resolution like that of expensive meters like Fluke. But thick digital data representation compensates for its low-resolution display to some extent. So, if you arenâ€™t suffering from weak eyesight, taking measurements with this unit wonâ€™t be an issue. Its overall display counts stand at 2000 and the screen equips white backlight. Just donâ€™t forget to bring a flashlight with you for night hours testing.
If you can deal with the slow responsive auto-ranging mode, no min/max, or TRMS analysis mode. So, if you intend to perform only the basic linear testing then go for this unit. But, do keep in mind all these missing features will certainly limit its accuracy and performance.
However, the auto-shutoff feature notifies the user in the form of a loud buzzer, before it activates. Moreover, youâ€™ll always have the option to freeze the measuring value anytime which is hard to note during tough job operations.
Neoteck NT8233D doesnâ€™t only has the elegant look and feel but its non-slippery soft plastic touch will provide good drop protection as well. Thus, frequent drops wonâ€™t fracture the unit instantly.
But, with no HRC fuses, the overload protection provided by the Neoteck NT8233D isnâ€™t high end. Still, its integrated fused connections act as a barrier against overload current burning circuit or harming the user. So, this shouldnâ€™t be a major reason for ignoring this product.
Neoteck NT8233D falls in safety class IEC 61010-1 for its best overload protection. Moreover, being a CAT II (600) rated product, itâ€™s pretty safe to operate and handles the transient voltages well. However, do note, neither is the NCV detector installed in this unit nor is the live line identification functionality.
Two dedicated areas where this unit performs the best include automotive testing and electrical household troubleshooting. Still, hobbyists and weekend DIY enthusiasts will equally enjoy doing experiments with this beast.
What to look for before buying the best budget multimeters
One thing that limits our choices while purchasing any product is its cost. In most cases, itâ€™s our tight budget that doesnâ€™t let us buy the item of our desired specifications. But, worry not, thatâ€™s not the case with multimeters.
You can buy a multimeter with a price as low as 20 bucks. But how can we compare these cheap products with high-end costly multimeters and how do they differ from each other? If these questions are echoing in your mind then stick to our buyerâ€™s guide. Weâ€™ll be going through five major elements that help in comparing two multimeters having different prices and specs.
These features include the multimeter measurement capability, overall design elements, features, safety, and its area of applications. Hold still, as weâ€™ll discuss each factor independently.
Without further due, letâ€™s got to point:
Without a doubt, cheap multimeters will definitely lack many features when compared with a high price, professional multimeter. But, regardless of how low the price the multimeter is, it should be capable of performing frequently used, basic multimeters.
These include measurement of AC/DC current, AC/DC voltage, temperature, resistance, capacitance, and frequency, and a few testing involving circuit continuity, diodes, and transistors.
Even if you are looking for the best cheap multimeter that can only perform basic household tasks or experiments at home, these functions must be there. If your selected unit lack any of these features, simply donâ€™t waste your money on it.
With good measurement capability, another impact aspect to consider is the usability of the multimeter. How easy or difficult the multimeter operation is, totally depends on how many design elements the unit has.
Few basic design elements that help in improving the overall testing process include easy to use interface, high-resolution LCD, hanging magnet, kickstand, flashlight, and LCD backlights.
A brief overview of how these features will be your helping hand is given below:
- The kickstand is the most basic need for performing lab experiments. By omitting the need of holding the multimeter in hand, itâ€™ll shorten the time, in half, that youâ€™ll be spending in the lab. The best part is, you wonâ€™t need any assistance in getting your job done.
- If you are intending to perform a lot of testing in a standing position, then having a built-in magnetic hanger and strap is a must thing. The missing hanging magnet may make the troubleshooting harder for you. So, you wonâ€™t be able to attach it with any metal surface. Missing the strap will snatch the flexibility of hanging the unit with a belt while moving around the job site.
- Having a bad resolution and small LCD that makes the measurements difficult to read will nullify the fact of how advanced the multimeter is. So, if you intend to operate the cheap multimeter in areas with no light access, then make sure the selected unit has high resolution with bright backlights.
- Only the high-priced multimeters equip a built-in flashlight. So, itâ€™s not of the major design element. You can also compensate for this feature by buying a separate light source with you. But, having this feature would be a plus point.
With good measurement capability and excellent design, the next major area to look into is how many functions the multimeter has. Although, few of the advanced functions like data logging, remote data transfer, measurement printing, etc arenâ€™t available in nearly all cheap multimeters.
But, TRMS analysis mode, min/max data recording, data hold, and auto-shutoff functionality are a few of the necessary or must-have features that must be present in whatever meter we buy.
Buying a unit that lacks these features would be a waste of both time and money.
How much flexibility will each factor provide is explained below:
- If you are unaware of the difference between these two ranges then the short answer would be auto-ranging has a slow response but loved by apprentices who are just getting started. However, manual ranging mode having fast output is preferred for quick testing. Choosing the unit having dual ranging mode will be beneficial for you in the long run. As, this lets the user to speed up or slow down the testing process depending on the nature of the job.
- Average RMS multimeters are limited to linear signals analysis only and while measuring electrically disturbed signals, the results arenâ€™t accurate. So, always go for a unit having TRMS analysis mode that analyzes the signals without depending on its waveform or shape.
- Another feature that is handy in nonlinear signals analysis is Min/max measurement mode. It stores the minimum and maximum value that signals attain during the recorded time that further helps in checking the fluctuations.
- Another feature that technicians love to use is the auto-hold function. It gives users enough time to note down the measurements by freezing them on screen in real-time that simplifies the overall process.
- Auto shutoff feature is added in the multimeters that put the unit on sleep after staying at rest for a few minutes. This is a handy feature for people with short memory who often forgets to turn off the multimeter. Thus, your battery won’t drain out in a few weeks.
Two more things to consider while finalizing the multimeter unit include product safety and certifications. Choosing a certified product will give you peace of mind by guaranteeing that no mishap will occur. Moreover, having drop protection, overload protection, and safety ratings ensure the product would remain the testing partner for years.
Three of the major safety features are explained below:
- Both upper and lower current range is defined by the multimeter manufacturer. If unknowingly, the measuring current exceeds this maximum value, a fused connection is required at current circuit input that trips off to avoid circuit overloading. So, to stay safe from shocks, make sure the chosen unit is internally fused.
- If you want your multimeter to last long, make sure it has a tough outer casing for withstanding the Jobsite toughness and a rubber holster for absorbing the drop impact.
- Being backed by the internationally recognized safety ratings increase the worth of multimeter. Out of four categories starting from CAT 1 to CAT IV, your multimeter must be backed by at least one, if not more, safety ratings.
Warranty and battery life shouldnâ€™t be ignored while making a purchase as although these things donâ€™t have any direct impact on the multimeter performance but clearly saves technician from headache of frequent replacements.
Lastly, make sure the selected best inexpensive multimeter fulfils your intended purpose of buying the multimeter. So, you may not end up spending money on the wrong product.
The price range for a multimeter can lie anywhere between 20$ to 1000$ and even higher. The more expensive the unit is, the more advance feature it has. Thus, depending on how much you can afford to invest, there would always be multiple options to choose from.
It is indeed pretty hard to find a best budget multimeter especially if you are just getting started. Choosing an inexpensive meter may lead you to investing money in wrong equipment that canâ€™t perform the desired job. Thus, doing a bit a research would prove to be very beneficial.
Without a second thought, Autolink AL539 is the best budget multimeter that could really save you a ton of money by cutting down the frequent visits to automotive testing center. Having this unit would allow you to perform the basic level testing on your own. Thus, spending money on this device would be a wise decision.
Itâ€™s true that cheap multimeters lack certain basic features but they perform nearly the same like other expensive tools. Their accuracy may not be too high but still one can rely on their results.
The answer to above question totally depends on your requirement and budget. If you just want to perform basic testing a 30$ multimeter can also perform best. However, for high end testing you may have to pay more than 200$. But, you can get a decent multimeter unit below 300$.
So, here is the list of the top 8 best budget multimeters. Each product is chosen by giving the low cost as first priority but without compromising on the advanced features and high-end safety. Thus, each product would be safe to use and would perform best in the desired operation.
You can go for any product that you think would right for you. But choosing the Autolink for automotive purposes, Kaiweets HT188A for general purpose use and Extech EX330 as for low-cost option would be the wise decision.
Still, you are open in making the decision on your own and our buyerâ€™s guide would have surely helped you in determining the basic features to look for before buying the best cheap multimeter.