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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    Default What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    I'm planning to buy a multimeter or VOM soon, and would like some input. There are many models to choose from, but I don't want to spend more money than I have to. I will use it for general tests aroung the house and farm, and when troubleshooting on my tractors. Are there any options I should look for, or stay clear of? I think digital is a likely choice. Auto range, number of ranges, overload protected, etc?
    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Treemonkey1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    It sounds like pretty much anything should work for you. Get something with decent enough insulation on the leads so that you don't get zapped testing high voltage AC. I test and repair DMM's here at work. Flukes are nice but spendy. Autorange is best so you aren't fiddling trying to find the range while holding the leads. I like having test leads with pointy ends and some with alligator clips so that you can keep your hands clear. 3.5 digits are typically good enough. If you are like me I keep a couple of cheap ones in different areas so that I don't have to run out to the garage or something to test. Radio Shack and Auto parts Stores have a decent selection for DMM's. For troubleshooting transistors I prefer an old Analog Simpson meter. Having a 10 amp current test might be nice but I haven't used that at all. Circuit protection is ok as well. If it is a cheap meter then toss it and buy another.
    1st Peter 1:6-9

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    FWIW, during my 23 years in the electric utility industry I have found Fluke to be the most durable....at least in the applications we use them.

  4. #4
    Gold Member vic4news's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    I used an analog craftsman multimeter for over 20 years. A couple of years ago I upgraded to a digital auto-range multimeter. I really like this one a lot more than the analog one. One really nice feature is the audible continuity test.

    Since this will be the last meter I will buy, I bought a Fluke.

    Vic

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    I got one in Sears that I'd recommend.

    Its a nice tidy meter, not too complicated. It also has a thermometer plug in capability which is a nice feature. Apart from the AC/DC multimeter function which is what I use it for mostly, the clamp on ammeter has been handy from time to time. I have a couple of other expensive meters I've picked up thru work over the years, fluke, megger etc, but the one I put my hand to first time, every time seems to be that $40 crafstman ammeter for some reason...

    Craftsman Digital Clamp-On Ammeter

    Sears item #03482369000



    This one I've just found on the sears website is for $60 but the one I bought in store last year was about $40, maybe it was on offer, I dont recall.

    EDIT: Actually, Just something slightly off topic but.... I wanted show my favourite continuity tester, i've owned for about 20 something years!! Still works, and for continuity testing, this "bleeptest" from Hosiden Besson is my first choice. Cant get simpler, not even an on off switch on this puppy..
    Last edited by Blagadan; 01-12-2009 at 03:31 PM.

  6. #6
    Gold Member WantedWolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    great advice , ive yet to kill even a cheep vom but the supplied leads dont get me started. build the best ones you can (alligator and point) I envy the clamp models

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    If you don't need a high degree of accuracy you can pick one up at Harbor Freight for just a few bucks. My son and his friends borrow them as fast as I buy them. They're good unough for vehicle trouble shooting. I wouldn't work on expensive electronic gear with one though.

  8. #8
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ford850 View Post
    I'm planning to buy a multimeter or VOM soon, and would like some input. There are many models to choose from, but I don't want to spend more money than I have to. I will use it for general tests aroung the house and farm, and when troubleshooting on my tractors. Are there any options I should look for, or stay clear of? I think digital is a likely choice. Auto range, number of ranges, overload protected, etc?
    Thanks for your help.
    I'd like to kick in a recomendation for extech.. it's near as good as a fluke, and costs less.

    You can get models with temp probes and frequency meters.

    I generally don't like an auto-ranger for a tractor application... especially old tractors.. points and brush noise often confuse cheap consumer grade meters... hard to get a good reading on an armature with a cheap autoranger.

    That said.. cheap analog meters are in the 10$ range.. and you can always pick up that and a cheap autoranger int he 30$ range.. radio shack has some decent consumer grade models too.

    I still have an old micronta around here somewhere..

    soundguy

  9. #9
    Elite Member wushaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    I figure the pecking order like this.

    Analog - Simpson
    Digital - Fluke

    Having said that I have two Radio Shack analog meters in the shop and digital in the house then I have the Fluke digital at work.
    I think everybody needs both digital and analog just because you always need a backup.

    There are certain things at work that can only be tested by a analog meter or you get really inaccurate readings so we have to use analog Simpsons otherwise Flukes are the mainstay.
    Kubota L2800HST, Mitsubishi 372, bh75, 45" Agric tiller, 5' home made disk, 42" Bush hog, PHD, 66" Cammond BB.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Treemonkey1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good choice when buying a Multimeter?

    Just had another thought that is very useful to me is Capacitance check on the DMM. Right now I have a Seperate capacitor checker with a lot more ranges. That would help on Ignition condensors if you end up testing that.
    1st Peter 1:6-9

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