In the market for the best automotive multimeter.
Super stuff, you have landed in the right place.
In this ToolsGaloreHQ.com guide you will learn:
- Key purchasing considerations
- My Overall #1 Pick
- Things to avoid before purchasing
- And So Much More!
Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Fluke 87-V Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Innova 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
AstroAI Digital Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Actron CP7677 – Digital Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Fluke 88V Deluxe Automotive Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Neoteck Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Klein Tools Digital Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
The Best Automotive Multimeter (Quick Summary of the Top 9)
In a hurry? No problem. Check the top 9 picks below. Keep reading for more detailed information.
- Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
- Fluke 87-V Multimeter
- Innova 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter
- AstroAI Digital Multimeter
- Actron CP7677 – Digital Multimeter
- Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter
- Fluke 88V Deluxe Automotive Multimeter
- Neoteck Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter
- Klein Tools Digital Multimeter
I am quite aware that the list is packed with Fluke multimeters.
I really tried to add other multimeter manufacturers but I need to be honest and say that when it comes to automotive use, Fluke as a manufacturer is really on top of their game.
Also, I completely understand and get if you do not have time to read long blog posts on the best automotive multimeter. However if you are interested in getting into the nitty gritty, please keep on reading.
Why This Guide When Searching For The Best Automotive Multimeter
Automotive's have a variety of electrical circuits that are responsible for the car’s electronics.
These power the wiper blades, sound system and the radio. Under the hood you have the all important Engine control unit (ECU) as well, which sends electrical signals throughout the motor vehicle.
The ECU also ensures that everything is operating in accordance with specifications. If that is not the case, an alarm is generally raised. This alarm is backed by a LED that is typically displayed on your dashboard alerting you that something might be wrong.
As you know, diagnosing a vehicle has it’s challenges. Especially when the issue is electrical. You cannot visibly see the problem. One of the best measurement tools to diagnose electrical faults in an automobile is a multimeter.
However, and I am sure you are well aware, finding the right automotive multimeter is not as simple as it sounds.
Trust me, I know how you are feeling, it can actually be a real headache. Fortunately for you, I have used my Electrical Engineering knowledge, coupled with my experience using multimeters to search the world wide web looking for the best automotive multimeter so that you do not have to.
On top of that, I actively ensure that the content on this page is kept up to date, therefore making it that much easier for you to find the best automotive multimeter without the general stress and hassle.
What Are The Important Features Of The Best Automotive Multimeter
When testing a vehicle, there are a couple of features that you want to have on your multimeter at a minimum.
I will note some of these below for your reference and provide a short description as to what each of these functions do.
The min/max hold function is great for when you want to capture the lowest (min) or highest (max) value of a specific measurement. This is super helpful when working under the hood of your vehicle because you only have two hands and two eyes.
So to avoid splitting your focus and potentially getting your hands or fingers into dangerous places it is better to use the min/max hold function on your multimeter.
Read More:>>> Find the Best Multimeter under $50
Your multimeter should be able to measure AC voltage.
The question then would be why AC voltage in a car? That is a good question. If you think about it the alternator is basically an induction motor in reverse.
So it takes mechanical energy from your engine and transforms it into electrical energy. The immediate output is AC. This AC output is transferred to DC with the use of rectifier diodes. You can use your AC voltage on your multimeter to ensure that your alternator is functioning correctly.
Typically if you are getting a measurement of anything above 0.5 Vac then you know that your rectifier diodes are probably damaged.
A measurement of less than 0.5 Vac is typical of a functioning alternator.
When measuring automotive voltages, you will most often use the DC voltage.
Typically you would set these up at 20V and test the battery terminals (which are usually 12V) and the alternator.
So when looking to purchase the best automotive multimeter, make sure that it can at the very least provide for a DC voltage measurement of 20V.
All the multimeters in this guide have above average DC voltage measurement capability.
Therefore you can rest assured that you will be getting the best in terms DC voltages and ranges.
For the alternator when the car is operating at a voltage around 12-13Vdc, then you should know that is what you should typically be expecting. The moment it goes well above 14V you can be sure that your alternator could be faulty.
The ability to measure continuity in your vehicle is a very important diagnostic exercise.
Especially when it comes to checking the fuse box, a simple continuity test can ensure as a first pass that the fuses are still in tact and have not been damaged in any way.
What To Avoid When Searching For The Best Automotive Multimeter
Choosing an automotive multimeter that has all the functionality and is able to withstand the harsh conditions of operating under the hood of a vehicle can be challenging.
There are however a couple of things that you must get absolutely right from the beginning. I know of many instances were people bought automotive multimeters but without considering the below.
Do not let that be you.
No matter If you are a qualified mechanic or a Saturday car enthusiast. The list below provides you with a couple of things you must avoid when search for the best automotive multimeter.
Going for the cheapest possible option
There is a general temptation when buying a multimeter to go for the cheapest you can find. I totally get it.
Most multimeters practically do the same things, they measure current, resistance and voltage. The problem comes in the quality and accuracy of the measurement. So one, avoid super cheap multimeters.
Secondly, the overall experience of owning the multimeter must be considered.
Extremely cheap brands are usually not tested by certified labs, they do not have much market exposure and the support teams and warranties are usually lacking.
I can tell you now, avoid going for the cheapest option purely because it is the lowest priced. You will soon be buying another meter again.
I have personal experience in this regard. In this guide all the automotive multimeters are very economically priced and all the cheaper options have been thoroughly vetted.
However if you decide to purchase an automotive multimeter elsewhere, please be sure to check:
- Has it been IEC/EN 61010-1 certified;
- Was it manufactured in an ISO certified laboratory; or
- Has it undergone reputable third party testing in the form of UL or CE ratings.
Choosing a multimeter without the adequate safety rating
Currents and voltages in the hood of your car generally range between a couple of milli-amps all the way up to 60 to 100 Amps found on a typical alternator. The voltages in the vehicle should be within the range of 11 – 14V in general.
Therefore when considering a multimeter, be sure that it has sufficient category rating to perform under the hood of a vehicle.
Read More:>>> Learn How To Test Your Alternator Without A Multimeter
Deep Dive Review: 9 Best Automotive Multimeters
Option #1: Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
600mV/6.000 V / 0.001 V
600mV/ 6.000 V / 0.001 V
600.0 Ω / 0.1 Ω
Beeper on < 20 Ω, off > 250 Ω detects opens or shorts of
-40℉ to 752℉ / 0.2℉.
Option #2: Fluke 87-V Multimeter
1000V, (±(0.05% + 1), resolution: 10 µV
1000V/0.1 mV , ±(0.7% + 2)
50 MΩ, ±(0.2% + 1)
–200.0 °C – 1090 °C
The Fluke 87-V is one of the top class of automotive multimeters. This multimeter truly has it all. It is rugged and built to operate in difficult industrial type applications.
The resolution and accuracy of the measurements is what makes this multimeter stand above the rest. When measuring DC voltages you should expect an accuracy of ±(0.05% + 1) with a resolution of 10 µV.
Whilst when measuring AC voltages you can expect a resolution and True RMS accuracy of 0.1 mV and ±(0.7% + 2) respectively.
If you had any doubts about the ruggedness of this multimeter it has operating and storage temperature of –20 °C to + 55 °C and –40 °C to + 60 °C respectively as well. What is super impressive about this multimeter is that it can work just as well in conditions with humidity levels up to 90%.
It is a real gem of a multimeter. I know I have been focusing on the ruggedness of this multimeter but only because it is truly amazing.
Also I want to give you complete comfort that this multimeter is built to withstand all conditions you can typically expect within automotive applications.
It has been tested in accordance with the IEC 61010-1:2001 and the MIL-PRF-28800 for shock and vibration. It can very easily withstand a 1 m drop without a change or drop in the quality and accuracy of measurements.
One thing that I did not like about this multimeter is that it does not come with a manual, although you can download it from Fluke’s websites. It is not ideal.
Another negative about this multimeter is that the leads that accompany the multimeter are very very stiff. You actually might want to get a different pair of leads silicon type leads to make using this multimeter more comfortable.
With that being said this multimeter has an Ingress Protection rating of IP 30. When looking for a premium automotive multimeter you cannot go wrong with the Fluke 87-V.
Option #3: Innova 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter
up to 600V
up to 600V
up to 40MΩ
Yes – it includes a beeping noise
-58°F (-50°C) to 752°F (400°C) with a Type K Thermocouple.
The INNOVA 3340 Professional is a top automotive multimeter. It is specifically designed and fit for purpose. This multimeter is seriously a precision instrument made specifically for operation in rugged conditions.
The multimeter is auto-ranging and can measure DC current up to 15 amps. It can also record MIN/MAX recordings making it very easy yo use hands free.
This multimeter uses a 3-3/4 digit LCD display that can provide a maximum reading of 4000 counts. The multimeter also provides automatic zero adjustment and an over range indicator.
When factoring in the ruggedness of the INNOVA 3340 multimeter, you do not need to be concerned if it will operate correctly under the hood of a vehicle.
It is capable of operating within a temperature range of - 32° to 104° F. (0° C to 40° C) and a humidity factor up to 80%.
It also comes connected with two 1.5 V AA batteries.
Also apart from being CAT II (600V), the fuse is rated at 0.500A/250V. These setting combined with an input impedance of 10 MΩ make this multimeter one of the safest to use when testing automotive parameters.
Let’s analyze the various features, controls and indicators of the INNOVA 3340 automotive multimeter.
- DC Voltage: The great thing about the DC measurement of this multimeter is that you can measure from 0 – 600V, with an accuracy of ±(0.8% of reading + 5 digits).
- AC Voltage measurement: The AC voltage measurement is also within the range of 0 – 600V with an accuracy of ±(1.2% of reading + 8 digits).
- SEL BUTTON: This button allows you to measure a number of different various measurements, namely (1) Resistance function. (2) Continuity function (3) Diode function.
- Frequency Function: This function gives you the freedom to measure Hz between 9.999Hz and 2MHz
- Pulse Width Function: With this function you will be able to measure how long a solenoid is energized during a one cycle time period. That has a range of 1 to 999ms.
These are but a few of the indicators and features that you will be able to measure using the INNOVA 3340 multimeter.
One thing I did not like about this multimeter is that many buyers reported that the tips on the leads are a little bit short.
Option #4: AstroAI Digital Multimeter
400mV/4V/40V/400V/600V ± (0.8% of rdg + 3 dgts)
400mV/4V/40V/400V/600V ± (1.0% of rdg + 8 dgts)
-40 to 1370°C
The AstroAI digital multimeter is another one of the top automotive multimeters. It is equipped with true RMS measurement and a 4000 count LCD display.
When thinking about whether to include this multimeter in this guide or not, I was convinced by it’s overall completeness and rugged design.
This digital multimeter is capable of providing a wide range of measurement for both AC and DC.
The layout is very intuitive and easy to use. On top it has a great kick stand that will allow you to operate the multimeter ay 45 degrees hands free.
One thing that could definitely be improved about this multimeter is that the lead tips are a little shallow. You might need to get slightly longer leads in order to perform measurements on your automobile practically.
With that being said however, AstroAI have gone to great lengths to make the after sale support superb. Upon review a lot of buyers have quoted that the customer service department was quick to respond to any grievances.
So if you are in the market for a good mid range market multimeter great for automotive use, the AstroAI Digital Multimeter can definitely be a good addition to any tool box.
Option #5: Actron CP7677 – Digital Multimeter
200mV to 1000mV
2V to 750V
200 Ω to 20 MΩ
Not clear from product docs
When searching for a professional level multimeter that is capable of providing for true and complete automotive use.
The Actron CP7677 AutoTroubleShooter Digital Multimeter is definitely one of the more robust measurement tools around.
You can use this multimeter to trouble shoot a variety of different measurements functions including the tachometer, various voltage measurements, resistance values, continuity measures with a beeping sound and diode testing.
What I really like about this measurement tool is that it gives you the flexibility to perform on-car troubleshooting.
This makes the overall process of finding and diagnosing the issue with regards to typical faulty charging, ignition or fuel delivery systems much easier to pick up.
This multimeter also has a very large and simple to read LCD display making it a serious front runner especially when working under the hood of a vehicle. Which very often is poorly lit.
It comes with a couple of very cool on screen reminders as well that ensure you always have things such as your test leads thoroughly connected.
As with all multimeters in reality non are perfect. This multimeter has trouble reading and responding to small voltages, and this is a bit of an issue if you intend on using it on electronic applications.
With that being said. I am quite impressed that the Actron CP7677 has the dwell and RPM functions.
It also has automatic reverse polarity indication making it very simple to measure different parameters without needing to think “should I use the black lead or the red lead”.
It is also equipped with a low battery indicator and an overload protection measurement to ensure that your do not get exposed to harmful and dangerous voltages and currents.
The continuity function is what you would typically expect with a large a quite audible tone.
This multimeter is ergonomically designed with quite a strong and sturdy casing and a contrasting orange look which really stands out amongst the different bland colours typically found within the hood of a vehicle.
As you are probably aware by now I am a huge fan of after-sale support features. Taking a look at the multimeter itself it is quite clear that Actron take great pride in ensuring that their clients get the most optimal experience when using their products.
They have on their website a product brochure, digital multimeter chart and operating instructions in 3 different language (English, French and Spanish).
When it comes to the best automotive multimeters, the Actron CP7677 is truly definitely an option worth considering. I highly recommend it.
Option #6: Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter
600mV/6V/60V/600V (3.0%±3 digit)
400.0 Ω/4.000 kΩ/40.00 kΩ/400.0 kΩ/4.000 MΩ/40.00 MΩ
The Fluke 101 is sometimes referred to as the poor man’s Fluke. This is not a insult by any means. It is the most value for money fluke meter for automotive use on the market.
Typical of Fluke design, this multimeter is engineered for optimal performance. It has a rugged and durable design with diode and continuity testing functionality.
On top of all of this it is CAT III (600V) rated and it uses 2 x AA batteries that are housed in a compartment that is simple and easy to open, thus making the batteries easy to replace.
You can measure capacitance up to 100 μF, and frequency up to 100 kHz on this multimeter.
There are however a couple of things that I think are worth mentioning that I do not particularly like about this multimeter as a whole.
Firstly, there is no DATA HOLD functionality. This means that when measuring values it is difficult to capture a minimum or maximum value and you need to visually record certain parameters whilst typically working under the hood of your vehicle. This is not ideal at all.
Also, this multimeter is not made in the USA and Fluke has the tendency to provide limited warranties to certain regions whilst excluding others. If you intend on buying this multimeter please ensure that you check these thoroughly.
With that being said, I really cannot fault this multimeter at all.
It is one of the best automotive multimeters for basic measurements. Ergonomics of the multimeter ensure that it can withstand a 1m drop comfortably without losing any functionality.If you are in the market for a cheaper yet superiorly engineered multimeter then the Fluke 101 multimeter could be just the right option for you when thinking of buying the best automotive multimeter.
Option #7: Fluke 88V Deluxe Automotive Multimeter
maximum voltage up to 1000V/±(0.1% + 1)
maximum voltage up to 1000V/±(0.5% + 2)
maximum resistance up to 50 MΩ/±(0.4% + 1)
Fluke is an internationally renowned multimeter supplier. In their stable of multimeters Fluke themselves state that the Fluke 88V Deluxe is the best automotive multimeter within their stable.
This is a true mammoth when it comes to automotive multimeters. It can easily measure AC and DC voltage up to 1000V at 0.1%+1 count levels of accuracy which is almost perfect.
The large LCD display makes it very easy to use this meter in poorly lit environments such as the garage or under the hood of your motor vehicle.
What I find truly impressive about this multimeter is it’s ability to measure and capture peak MIN/MAX transients as fast as 250 μs. This coupled with the ability to measure 99% duty cycle and frequencies up to 200 kHz makes this the premium choice for automotive multimeters.
It also has a very wide temperature range of -200.0°C – 1090°C (-328.0°F – 1994.0°F).
It is ergonomically designed with the classic robust outer casing. You can also add the typical TPAK Magnetic Meter Hanger as an additional accessory, which will ensure that the multimeter can operate hands free.
There is one thing that I found about this meter that I did not really like. It does not by default go to autoranging. You need to set this manually. This can be a bit of a hiccup especially if you are not familiar with the technicalities of using such a multimeter.
However, with that being said - Typical of Fluke their after sale material is world class. You will have access to resources such as user manuals, user manual supplements, safety sheets and to top that off calibration equipment to keep the meter performing at world class legendary values.
If you want the best of the best. The Fluke 88V deluxe multimeter is in my opinion the world’s leader in automotive multimeters.
Option #8: Neoteck Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter
200mV/ 2V/ 20V/ 200V ±(0.5%+2); 600V ±(0.8%+2)
2V/ 20V/ 200V ±(0.9%+3); 600V ±(1.2%+3)
200ohm/ 2Kohm/ 20Kohm/ 200Kohm ±(0.8%+2); 2Mohm/ 20Mohm ±(1.0%+2)
The Neoteck auto ranging multimeter is a really good option when considering an automotive multimeter.
It is capable of measuring AC and DC voltage, capacitance, frequency, continuity and diode transistor. Another thing that is really good about this multimeter is that it is equipped with quite a good backlight.
This is superb for working in the garage or poorly lit environments.
It is sturdy and ergonomically built with a nice protective orange shell. This adds overall robustness to the Neoteck multimeter especially when working on automotive applications. It also has a built in stand that allows the meter to be positioned hands free at a 45 degree angle.
Apart from being compact coming in at 14.4 x 7 x 3.7 inches it also has a large 2000 count, 3-1/2 digit LCD display.
What I really like about this multimeter is that the LCD display gives you an indication via using multiple different symbols.
Technically it is superbly sound as well. It has an accuracy of ±(0.5%+2) for DC voltages up to 200V and an accuracy of ±(0.8%+2) for the 600V measurement.
When measuring AC voltages it has an accuracy of ±(0.9%+3) up to 200V with an accuracy of ±(1.2%+3) in the 600V range.
There are a couple of things that I did not like about this multimeter. It has a bit of a weird malfunction in the fact that the DC voltage often shows random number when there is no measurement. Whilst the backlit although being quite effective only stays on for a couple of seconds, which can be quite annoying.
However with that being said, this multimeter is a great addition to your tools kit for automotive applications. Neoteck also provides one with a lot of different accessories namely:
1 x Banana plug to alligator clip cables
1 x test probes
1 x 9V battery; and
A user friendly manual.
If you are after one of the best automotive multimeters in the value for money range, the Neoteck Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter is most definitely one of the top contenders.
Option #9: Klein Tools Digital Multimeter
up to 600Vdc
up to 600Vac
up to 40MΩ
Yes (0°F-1,000°F (-18°C-538°C))
The Klein Tools digital multimeter is another one of the multimeters that are great for automotive applications.
The multimeter is capable of measuring DC voltage and AC voltages up to 600V. It can also capture current up to 10A and it has a resistance cap of 40 MΩ.
It has all the typical measurements you would expect from a best automotive multimeter. It can measure temperature, duty cycle, frequency and continuity.
What I really like about this option is that it is a little on the cheaper side, but you do not sacrifice any value. It is truly a powerhouse of a tool.
It has been certified by the CE and IEC to be able to withstand a fall of 1m (3.3 feet). This makes it rugged enough to operate in hostile conditions typical of automotive applications.
This multimeter is not perfect however, you will often find that the temperature measurement is not as accurate as you would think.
So if you decide to go with this option, it might be worth considering getting an infrared measurement sensor to gauge temperature effectively.
With that being said, the LCD display is very clear and clean. The backlight works really well and the leads are your typical silicon type so they are quite flexible and easy to use throughout.
If you are after one of the best automotive multimeters on the value end but without sacrificing quality. You cannot go wrong with the Klein Tools Digital Multimeter
My Overall #1 Top Pick: Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
All the multimeters in this guide are incredible automotive tools.
However factoring in price, quality and overall functionality the Fluke 115 for me hits the sweet spot.
Technically you can expect an accuracy of 0.5% on the millivolt DC readings whilst a 1.0% on the AC measurement. It also has a large frequency measurement rang of 45 Hz to 500 Hz.
It isn’t too expensive but it still has the core functionality, accuracy and overall robustness to make this a real gem and truly one of the best automotive multimeters.
To top it off it has impressive safety ratings in that the IEC 61010-1 (Pollution Degree 2) and the IEC the IEC 61010-2-033: CAT III 600V.
Check out the price on Amazon here
Final Thoughts on the Best Automotive Multimeter
Choosing a multimeter for automotive use is not very difficult, however you can get it wrong.
I hope this guide has shed some light on some of the critical things you need to consider when looking at purchasing an automotive multimeter. I can tell you I had a lot of fun writing this article. I hope it makes the purchasing decision a lot easier.