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Decent small multimeter?

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
32,212
4,325
126
I have a Fluke, but it's big, heavy compared to my ~1/2 dozen Harbor Freight cheapies. Of course the Fluke is high end and it seems like you hear about them and nothing else when it comes to reliable multimeters. However, I have multimeters everywhere, in drawers upstairs, downstairs, one in the car and they are the Harbor Freight ones. But they are annoyingly unreliable. l suppose it's the dials not making good contact. Drives me crazy sometimes and I generally have the impression that I shouldn't rely on what the HF meters say. The Fluke never fails me.

90% of the time I use a multimeter it's to check on the state of charge of a battery, usually a AAA or AA, Eneloop or alkaline. Out at the car, it's the car battery.

Well, I'm wondering if I pony up more dough I can get me, say, 1/2 dozen small/light multimeters whose readings are reliable. Any ideas?
 

Charmonium

Diamond Member
May 15, 2015
6,373
591
126
You'll get my bill for this OP, but I nonetheless feel your pain. I just don't care. Hehehehe [kidding, of course I do :)]


Best ------ battery ------ tester ------ evar!

It has 9 slots (or for the button batteries, depressions) for every kind of battery you can imagine. The only downside is that it's not calibrated. So if the exact voltage matters for most of your applications, ok, no charge. Or . . . I suppose you could spend an afternoon calibrating them yourself. This is how you find out whether or not you have OCD. [again, kidding]
 

herm0016

Diamond Member
Feb 26, 2005
7,960
714
126
I have a fluke 1507 from a garage sale for about 100 bucks with 2 sets of new leads. HA! new price is over 600.

no more junk.

amprobe is good, they bought wavtek / meterman and have some cheaper options.


what you really need is a Simpson if you want the most accurate, reliable meter. I have been on the hunt for one for a bit at auctions/sales.


other good small stuff:
triplett 310
simpson 160

You can see that cheap and accurate are miles apart, and the 7 dollar one is 7 dollars for a reason.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
32,212
4,325
126
You'll get my bill for this OP, but I nonetheless feel your pain. I just don't care. Hehehehe [kidding, of course I do :)]


Best ------ battery ------ tester ------ evar!

It has 9 slots (or for the button batteries, depressions) for every kind of battery you can imagine. The only downside is that it's not calibrated. So if the exact voltage matters for most of your applications, ok, no charge. Or . . . I suppose you could spend an afternoon calibrating them yourself. This is how you find out whether or not you have OCD. [again, kidding]
Calibration? No problemo. You should see the things I've done, data data data. In fact I calibrated all my digital and some analog thermometers on Thanksgiving along with leveling my newly fixed (by me) refrigerator. They do kind of go hand in hand.

Thanks for the tester idea. I bought a cheapie tester off Amazon over a year ago but I decided it's just about useless. Is there anything wrong with using a multimeter and testing DC voltage with it? I figure it's a proxy for battery charge, but have never looked into it.
 
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Charmonium

Diamond Member
May 15, 2015
6,373
591
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I've always assumed a multimeter is best and it's measuring wattage that requires a load - at least I think that's how it works. I just hate having to juggle the battery and two leads to get a solid reading.

There once was a man from Nantucket
who had 3 hands . . .

It's a work in progress.
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
63,496
17,178
136
I have this one. Seems to work fine.


I gave my Fluke to my tech as he needed it more. I liked the Fluke better but it costed a lot more.
 

Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
10,537
4,486
136
I have this one. Seems to work fine.


I gave my Fluke to my tech as he needed it more. I liked the Fluke better but it costed a lot more.
I have a Klein as well. Seems to work well. Only annoyed it didn't come with alligator clips as well.
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
7,471
1,194
126
Harbor Freight's measuring circuitry for resistance fails to hold up with the likes of crankshaft position sensors. Kleins are a good multimeter for the non-professional DIYer.

I believe the most bang for your buck Klein would be one that has clips to let you measure amperage. But they will not be as tiny as Harbor's multimeter.
 
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Leeea

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2020
1,266
1,521
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I have a Fluke, but it's big, heavy compared to my ~1/2 dozen Harbor Freight cheapies. Of course the Fluke is high end and it seems like you hear about them and nothing else when it comes to reliable multimeters. However, I have multimeters everywhere, in drawers upstairs, downstairs, one in the car and they are the Harbor Freight ones. But they are annoyingly unreliable. l suppose it's the dials not making good contact. Drives me crazy sometimes and I generally have the impression that I shouldn't rely on what the HF meters say. The Fluke never fails me.

90% of the time I use a multimeter it's to check on the state of charge of a battery, usually a AAA or AA, Eneloop or alkaline. Out at the car, it's the car battery.

Well, I'm wondering if I pony up more dough I can get me, say, 1/2 dozen small/light multimeters whose readings are reliable. Any ideas?
I have a small fluke, and it is crap.

No idea who to recommend.

The best small unit I have is an old radio shack from over 20 years ago. I would not touch those now either.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
32,212
4,325
126
I have a fluke 1507 from a garage sale for about 100 bucks with 2 sets of new leads. HA! new price is over 600.

no more junk.

amprobe is good, they bought wavtek / meterman and have some cheaper options.


what you really need is a Simpson if you want the most accurate, reliable meter. I have been on the hunt for one for a bit at auctions/sales.


other good small stuff:
triplett 310
simpson 160

You can see that cheap and accurate are miles apart, and the 7 dollar one is 7 dollars for a reason.
I have a very old analog multimeter that I bought at Sears IIRC that I stopped using, but it sits in a drawer in my workroom. I must have bought it around 40 years ago, possibly in the late 1970's. Maybe I should use it more. It's pretty big, I have it in a box: Micronta 22-204C from Sears.jpg

Here's my Fluke 15B+ auto-ranger. My impression was that it was a fantastic deal, but I don't know for sure. Model is 15B+. I recall something to do with foreign market being the reason I got it so cheap: ~$83 including tax, 4 years ago online via TMart.com.Fluke 15B+ Autoranger.jpg

About 25 years ago my GF was freaking out because she lived next door to a power station and was concerned about EMF's. I did some research and bought a sensor plus multimeter, I trusted the guy who sold it to me, he seemed 100 legit. The meter is a Metex M-3800. You can see where it's developed a splotch anomaly in the LCD display, but AFAIK it works fine. I've only been using it to get EMF radiation readings (on occasion) but I imagine it's a decent functional multimeter:
Metex M-3800.jpg

Then there are the ~ 1/2 dozen Harbor Freight cheapies, which are convenient because I have one everywhere and they're small. But I don't trust them sometimes especially for voltage readings:
Harbor Freight Cen-Tech.jpg
 
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shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
80,985
13,949
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OK so, somebody in this thread posted a link or links that are fucking up the forum.

Anyway, I have some mid range Extechs that are good for home use. Just make sure you get the kind with common batteries. My mini Extech uses N cells and they are a pain to find. Get one that uses AA or AAA's.
 

Charmonium

Diamond Member
May 15, 2015
6,373
591
126
I have a very old analog multimeter that I bought at Sears IIRC that I stopped using, but it sits in a drawer in my workroom. I must have bought it around 40 years ago, possibly in the late 1970's. Maybe I should use it more. It's pretty big, I have it in a box:
Wasn't Micronta a Radio Shack brand?

I have this vague recollection that analog mms, especially cheap ones, were ridiculously easy to fry. I had something similar but very low-end.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
32,212
4,325
126
Wasn't Micronta a Radio Shack brand?

I have this vague recollection that analog mms, especially cheap ones, were ridiculously easy to fry. I had something similar but very low-end.
Yeah, I probably got it at Radio Shack. I don't remember how to use this. I have the manual, it's in the picture. Strikes me as complicated compared to a digital, especially an auto-ranger.

That Fluke 15B+ has pretty good reviews at Amazon, and some very good and quite positive YT videos, for example this:


It was made for the Chinese market, which is why it's selling cheap here. Also there are questions about warranty, if there even is one if sold to US customers. However, users report well on it's stature as a solidly made device. It isn't super high end, but seems to have that Fluke quality people like in anticipation of it lasting. I did get a real good deal on it. I don't know that I have the manual. Reviewers are saying they got a Chinese manual. They say that there is an English manual, but nobody posted where to get it. Edit: Actually, it's easily found at Fluke's website.
 
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IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
63,496
17,178
136
I have a very old analog multimeter that I bought at Sears IIRC that I stopped using, but it sits in a drawer in my workroom. I must have bought it around 40 years ago, possibly in the late 1970's. Maybe I should use it more. It's pretty big, I have it in a box: View attachment 54020

Here's my Fluke 15B+ auto-ranger. My impression was that it was a fantastic deal, but I don't know for sure. Model is 15B+. I recall something to do with foreign market being the reason I got it so cheap: ~$83 including tax, 4 years ago online via TMart.com.View attachment 54021

About 25 years ago my GF was freaking out because she lived next door to a power station and was concerned about EMF's. I did some research and bought a sensor plus multimeter, I trusted the guy who sold it to me, he seemed 100 legit. The meter is a Metex M-3800. You can see where it's developed a splotch anomaly in the LCD display, but AFAIK it works fine. I've only been using it to get EMF radiation readings (on occasion) but I imagine it's a decent functional multimeter:
View attachment 54022

Then there are the ~ 1/2 dozen Harbor Freight cheapies, which are convenient because I have one everywhere and they're small. But I don't trust them sometimes especially for voltage readings:
I had a Metex for a short while before it died. I don't recall the specific model but yours looks very familiar. It wasn't sturdy enough for field use.
 
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Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
61,657
9,385
126
www.uovalor.com
The finger can also act as a very basic volt meter. Slight tingle is probably between 50-100 volts. A jolt is going to be 120v, a very big jolt is going to be 240v. If you randomly wake up and don't quite remember what just happened, it's probably 480 or 600 volts.
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
32,212
4,325
126
I have a decent Triplett 1101-B:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003YHCFTU/



Haven't tested it for accuracy though.
I think I might like that. Not too big, bigger than the Harbor Freight. Comes with alligator clips too. Probably order one, see how I like it.

I set up order of Klein MM400 at zoro.com today but didn't click the place order button. But I see an email thanking me for placing the order, and I'm WTF! I emailed them. I set it up to see what the charges would be.

Edit: Zoro cancelled the mistaken Klein purchase. Big issues that day, the Amazon etc. network meltdown... ¯\_('_')_/¯
 
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sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
86,754
10,207
126
It weighs over 16 ounces, it's my biggest.

Put it in a backpack when you need to take it out to the car. Take batteries to the multimeter. Problem solved.

Or just use those small cheap ones from HF, not like you are doing electronic work.

All decent small multimeters weight in that 16oz range. Klein MM400 is about 8 oz so if you are too weak to carry 16oz go with that.
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
32,212
4,325
126
Put it in a backpack when you need to take it out to the car. Take batteries to the multimeter. Problem solved.

Or just use those small cheap ones from HF, not like you are doing electronic work.

All decent small multimeters weight in that 16oz range. Klein MM400 is about 8 oz so if you are too weak to carry 16oz go with that.
It isn't the weight so much as the size. I'm not weak and your foolish innuendo is not appreciated. I quoted the weight because that's what I remembered, I had the dimensions written down but didn't bother finding them, but here they are:

Fluke 15B+
16.14oz
7.15" x 3.625" x 1.625"
- -
Cen-Tech
4.11oz
5" x 2 11/16"
- -
Triplett 1101-B
6oz
5.7" x 2.7"x1.2"
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
86,754
10,207
126
It isn't the weight so much as the size. I'm not weak and your foolish innuendo is not appreciated. I quoted the weight because that's what I remembered, I had the dimensions written down but didn't bother finding them, but here they are:

Fluke 15B+
16.14oz
7.15" x 3.625" x 1.625"
- -
Cen-Tech
4.11oz
5" x 2 11/16"
- -
Triplett 1101-B
6oz
5.7" x 2.7"x1.2"
like I said, just keep a small one in the car. not like you need more than 2 digit precision for cars anyway.
 
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