Are you looking for the best multimeter for electronics?
Awesome, you are in the right place!
In this ToolsGaloreHQ.com guide you will learn:
- My overall top pick
- What makes a great electronics multimeter; and
- What pitfalls to avoid when buying an electronics multimeter
Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Proster Autoranging Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Fluke 287 True-RMS Electronics Logging Multimeter
|View on Amazon|
Klein Tools Digital Multimeter, Auto-Ranging, 600V MM400
|View on Amazon|
Top 5 Best Multimeter for Electronics
In a hurry? No problem. Check the top 5 picks below. Keep reading for more detailed information.
- Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
- Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
- Proster Autoranging Multimeter
- Fluke 287 True-RMS Electronics Logging Multimeter
- Klein Tools Digital Multimeter, Auto-Ranging, 600V MM400
I know how it looks, I tried by all means to not go for only Fluke multimeters, but trust me I couldn’t find anything better on the market.
Fluke makes really good multimeters for electronic uses. I also want to make clear that I am not sponsored by Fluke in anyway they are simply just the best.
Why This Guide For The Best Multimeter For Electronics
Electronic circuits have a wide array of components, everything from resistors, capacitors, regulators and integrated circuit boards.
These circuits are very delicate and as you know nothing beats a top quality multimeter in your toolkit.
I am sure you know by know, a quick look in the market for the best multimeter for electronics will leave you with so many options.
How would you know which one is best for you? Which one should you ultimately choose?
No need to be worried. I attempt to answer those questions in this guide. I use my personal experience with multimeters combined with thorough research to ensure that you are getting clear and honest reviews.
I also keep this post updated periodically, so you can be sure that you are truly getting a glimpse at some of the best multimeters for electronics.
What Are The Important Features of The Best Multimeter For Electronics
When using a multimeter for electronics there are a couple of key parameters that you need to be aware. I will break these down for you below.
Digital Multimeters (DMM) are better than Analog for electronics
Analog multimeters used to dominate the scene in the 90’s and very early 2000’s. As of late they have drastically lost market share – and rightfully so.
Most people nowadays use the digital multimeter. This multimeter is much better than it’s analog counterpart for a multitude of reasons. Namely:
DMM’s have what is referred to as a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen.
This screen allows for much more accurate readings than the analog meter which used to operate with an analog dial.
This added feature of the LCD screen is superbly helpful in that it also gives room and space to use internal circuitry to create really cool features.
Such as continuity display signals, mode operation displays on screen and warning or error signals that can notify the user and help prevent damage to the equipment.
The LCD display also allows for a variance in the backlight of the screen making it easier to use your multimeter when working or diagnosing electronic circuits.
The analog multimeter on the other hand is very cumbersome and there are a lot more mechanical parts involved in measuring. This can create serious calibration issues in the long term.
This is especially pertinent given the sensitive values of electronic circuits.
I can tell you from experience almost nobody actually uses analog multimeters for electronic measurements anymore simply because of this feature: the constant need to recalibrate the multimeter.
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When it comes to multimeters for electronic circuits this is a crucial technical advantage that a digital multimeter has over it’s analog counterpart.
DMM’s have higher input impedance. When a multimeter is connected across a circuit, it basically acts as a load. What this means is that it draws current whilst a measurement is being performed.
As you can imagine this is not ideal at all, especially given that electronic circuits are more susceptible to electro-magnetic interference.
To counteract this natural phenomenon an input impedance is placed between the two measurement terminals. The purpose of this input impedance is to create a short circuit like effect between the two measurement terminals.
Therefore, the higher the input impedance the better. Typically this value ranges from 1MOhm up to 10 MOhm for electronic multimeters. The very best multimeters in the market provide for values up to 1GOhm.
Auto ranging vs manual ranging for electronics multimeters
When looking for the best multimeter for electronics, this is certainly something to consider. Manual ranging or auto ranging multimeter users for electronics are polarized, and I will explain to you why below.
Firstly lets look at the manual ranging multimeter, whenever you use this type of meter, you need to be aware of the range of the measurement.
So if you are going to measure an electronics circuit, typically around 5-20V, you need to know this before hand so that you can select the best dial.
This is one of the pet peeves of using this meter.
The reason you should choose the right dial for the measurement range is because this greatly improves the overall resolution.
People who are against manual ranging multimeters think that this is very tedious.
Good multimeters will also generally provide you with some kind of warning via a beep or an overload protection ‘OL’ signal on the LCD screen to let you know that you are the wrong dial.
Autoranging multimeters have the benefit that you do not need to know the range of measurement, you only need to know whether you are going to measure current, voltage, resistance or capacitance.
The trade-off you make however is the calibration time. Autoranging multimeters take longer than the manual ranging type to stabilize.
My honest opinion, for electronic circuits, if you are going to go for a budget multimeter I would recommend a manual ranging type, simply because you will get much higher resolution, and it will save you time.
Especially if you are going to be measuring multiple points all at once.
The autoranging multimeters can also work, you just need to ensure that the input impedance is high enough and the stabilizing time is reasonably short to ensure comfort of use.
All the multimeters in this guide have been checked for this so rest assured that I am recommending only the best to you.
Advanced multimeter features for electronics
When working on electronic circuits, there are a couple of really cool advanced features that are worth considering that can add immense value.
I will discuss a couple of my favourite below and let you in on why I think they are really great additions to have on any multimeter, let alone one you use for your electronic projects.
Often when working with electronic circuits, the signals you are measuring are often not purely sinusoidal (straight AC) or purely DC.
This happens often when you are testing a pulse width modifier or using a signal generator to create triangular or square waves as input currents or voltages.
A multimeter that can measure the duty factor can be of great help in this regard, especially if you are not equipped with more expensive equipment such as an oscilloscope.
Duty factor simply means the percentage of time within a single cycle that a measurement is ON.
One additional feature I always look for when searching for a multimeter for electronics, is one capable of measuring temperature.
The temperature measurements usually come in the form of a Type K thermocouple. What is great about this thermocouple for electronic use is that it is very easy to setup with any multimeter that has temperature functionality.
It also has a superbly wide range of temperature measurements ( - 200 Degrees Celcius to 1260 Degrees Celcius) for the common Nickel-Chromium type.
Min and max
Another great feature to have within your multimeter for electronic use is the ability to capture the minimum and maximum values of any given measurement.
This is super useful when measuring voltages/currents that are at very high frequencies.
It can also help you determine peak to peak amplitude of signals and assist in making sure that measurements are within range, or do not go beyond certain parameters.
One other thing that you can use this feature for which is not much spoken about is that you can use it to test changes in a signal, given changes in other circuit elements.
For example you can measure the voltage of a signal whilst adjusting a potentiometer to different values.
You can then use the min and max feature to capture the results of this small tweak in your electronic circuit.
Also if you need to capture values for a project, this feature is fantastic. Some multimeters use onboard memory to keep a number of previous min and max values stored for future analysis. This is a fantastic feature for diagnostics.
As I said, it is not imperative to have this capability within your multimeter, but it can definitely allow you to do so much more.
Data hold and auto hold
If you use a multimeter often, especially for hard to get to electronic measurements, you will often find that you do not want to vary your attention from what you are trying to measure (be it voltage, current, resistance or capacitance) and the display screen on the multimeter.
That is were the data hold and autohold features come in very handy.
They practically allow you to measure and lock in your measurement without needing to constantly move you eyes back and forth to the LCD panel.
Datahold typically uses a manual push button. So you basically need to tell the multimeter what value you want to hold. Auto hold on the other hand is fantastic as it waits for the multimeter reading to stabilize and then it automatically captures and holds that value for you.
Many of the multimeters that I recommend in this guide have this feature on-board.
This is such a small feature, but you cannot believe how much time savings it gives you especially when you are trouble shooting or testing multiple points at once, which is vey common for electronic circuits.
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The importance of safety when choosing the best electronics multimeter
When working with multimeters at an electronics level, you are usually dealing with very sensitive circuitry that is susceptible to electromagnetic interference and measurement resolution issues.
I would always recommend that you purchase a multimeter that has been independently tested and verified by a global standards body for safety. These global bodies differ region to region, but they are typically UL, IEC and the CSA.
The higher the safety standard the more expensive a multimeter is generally.
This is simply because it can measure larger voltages and currents due to it’s ability to better manage transients and overvoltage's. However in my experience when using your multimeter for electronic circuits up to CAT III is usually more than sufficient.
Most electronic circuits are protected by double insulation, greatly reducing the risk of overload on the multimeters internal circuitry either way.
All the multimeters I recommend in this guide are optimized for safety on electronic circuits. So you can rest assured that you are seeing the best multimeters for your electronics needs.
What to avoid when searching for the best multimeter for electronics
There are certain features that are non negotiable when it comes to finding and using a multimeter for electronics. These features can be the difference between measurement accuracy, ease of use and a useless multimeter.
For me personally I have listed the three things I believe are most important for you to avoid when searching for a multimeter for your electronic projects.
Low measurement resolution
Typically for most electronic applications, you would want to use a multimeter that has at least 1999 to 4000 counts.
The higher the better and the reason for this is quite simple you do not want to lose out on the extra value as you go above the count of your multimeter.
The video below gives you a great overview on what to consider when you think about counts, resolution and ultimately measurement accuracy.
High settling time
This one is a bit of a pet peeve, however I must include it in here.
When measuring anything for electronic projects, you do not want a multimeter that takes long to settle.
Typically if it takes longer than 2 seconds for a value to stabilize this is often very irritating and uncomfortable to use.
Poor after sales support
A multimeter is a specialized piece of equipment, and to get the right one for your electronics projects cannot be overstated.
However – one thing that I often see people get wrong is that they do not look at the after sale support of the manufacturer. Here are some questions worth considering:
- Does this multimeter manufacturer have at least a 1 year product warranty?
- How long has the manufacturer been in business? (The longer the better)
- Is it possible to get a refund and is there a sales department I can reach out to?
- Does this product have an easy to understand part and user manual.
Trust me when I say that you cannot believe how often even experienced electronic operators purchase multimeters without the adequate after sale support.
Overall you do not need to worry, because as I have said above.
I have curated all the multimeters in this list and I have taken into consideration all of the factors above.
So you can rest assured that the multimeters for electronics in this guide are the best.
Detailed Analysis of the Best Multimeters for Electronics
Option #1: Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
600.0 mV / 0.1 mV
600.0 mV / 0.1 mV
600.0 Ω / 0.1 Ω
1000 nF / 1 nF
IEC 61010-1: Pollution Degree 2
Option #2: Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
1000 V +/-(0.05% + 1)
1000 V +/-(0.7% +2) True RMS
Maximum = 50 MΩ (0.1 Ω) resolution
Max = 9,999 µF (0.01 nF) resolution
EN 61010–1 to 1000 V CAT III, 600V CAT IV
The Fluke 87V multimeter is great and fantastic for rugged applications were you are measuring and collecting data from electronic circuits in an industrial setting.
This multimeter is really tough and extremely accurate for voltage, current, and frequency on variable speed drive applications.
The very interesting thing about this multimeter for me, is that it has both digital and analog displays.
The digital multimeter (DMM) has 6000 counts that update every 4 seconds. Whilst the analog component has 32 segments that update 40 times per second.
It has an incredibly large frequency count of 19999 counts. This provides a really wide resolution for all frequencies across the board.
It has a battery life of approx. 400 hours without the backlight and it has been shock tested in accordance to the IEC 61010-1:2001 standard making it an extremely rugged multimeter.
As I had said above, this multimeter is purpose built for industrial electronic applications. It is not only CAT III and CAT IV certified by the IEC 61010-1 standard, it has also received wide agency approval from globally recognized testing bodies such as the CE, CSA and RCM.
What I must say that really impresses me about this multimeter is it’s overall weight 624g with a holster, and only 355 g without one. This is incredible for such a rugged multimeter.
For use in electronic circuits resolution and accuracy are important parameters, and I must say that the Fluke 87-V multimeter is very accurate.
This multimeter can measure temperature as well and it includes a bead probe.
It has a major advantage over other similar multimeters in that it can withstands drops of up to 4 meters with it’s tough casing and it is waterproof and dustproof (IP 67 rated).
This multimeter is worth a look and it definitely makes the list for the best multimeter for electronics.
Option #3: Proster Autoranging Multimeter
600mV/6V/60V/600V Accuracy:±(0.5%+3) /1000V Accuracy: ±(0.8%+3)
6V/60V/600V/ Accuracy: ±(0.8%+5) /750V Accuracy: ±(1.0%+5)
600Ω Accuracy:±(8%+5) /6kΩ/60kΩ/600kΩ/6MΩ Accuracy:±(0.8%+3) /60MΩ Basic accuracy: ±(1.2%+5)
40nF Accuracy:±(3.5%+10)/400nF/4uF/40uF Accuracy:±(2.5+5)/400uF/2000uF Accuracy: ±(5.0%+8)
The Proster autoranging multimeter is one of the best multimeters for electronics due to its simplicity, robustness and ease of use.
It is capable of providing hold functions for both DC and AC voltage and current, which is a great advanced feature especially when working with very intricate circuits.
What I love about this multimeter is that it comes equipped with test leads, a carry on bag, two pairs of AAA batteries and a Type K thermocouple. Making it great value for money overall.
One thing I must say is that I was disappointed by the lack of information online from the supplier, they are not very good when it comes to after sale support and it is quite difficult to find customer service numbers online.
With that being said this multimeter offers anyone working on electronic projects with a wide array of measurement points and high resolutions and accuracy.
It is a really good multimeter overall, and it definitely makes the list of the best multimeter for electronics without a doubt.
Option #4: Fluke 287 True-RMS Electronics Logging Multimeter
50.000 mV, 500.00 mV, 5.0000 V, 50.000 V, 500.00 V, 1000.0 V
50.000 mV, 500.00 mV, 5.0000 V, 50.000 V, 500.00 V, 1000.0 V
500.00 Ω, 5.0000 kΩ, 50.000 kΩ, 500.00 kΩ, 5.0000 MΩ, 50.00 MΩ, 500.0 MΩ
1.000 n, 10.00 nF, 100.0 nF, 1.000 μF, 10.00 μF, 100.0 μF, 1000 μF, 10.00 mF, 100 mF
CAT I (1000V) and CAT II (300V)
The Fluke 287 is an absolute gem of a multimeter. It has a large 50 000 count with a VGA display that is accompanied by white backlight.
It has a very interesting feature through which you can add a smoothing mode that provides for steadier readings. This is exceptionally helpful when working on noisy or quickly changing signals.
The multimeter also has a feature that helps remove the test lead resistance when you are measuring low capacitance or ohm measurements.
It uses AA batteries with 100 hours of operating time. This for me is one thing I did not like about this multimeter as this is quite low, most multimeters in this range can provide up to 400 hours of usage.
With that being said, it is a multimeter that is typical of Fluke’s quality. It has been shock and vibration test in accordance with a 1 meter drop test (IEC 61010-1) and MIL-PRF-28800F Class 2 standards.
Another thing about this motor, is that it is a bit bulky coming in at 870.9g (28 oz) with an overall product diameter of 22.2 x 10.2 x 6 cm (8.75 x 4.03 x 2.38 in).
The size and weight are worth thinking about if you are going to be using this meter in hand.
The biggest thing about this multimeter is the recording mode. It has a sampling rate of 50 ms. The meter also stores the minimum, maximum and average values in the same period.
It is worth noting that the logging software (FlukeView Forms) only works on Windows and not any other operating system such as Linux.
This multimeter is superb. It is extremely accurate and you can measure down to 0.001 volts with stability. However it is slightly on the more expensive side.
The backlight is also very powerful. The Fluke 287 Multimeter is definitely worth it and it is one of the best multimeters that you will find for electronics.
Option #5: Klein Tools Digital Multimeter, Auto-Ranging, 600V MM400
Up to 40 MΩ
CAT III (600V) IEC 61010-1
This Klein multimeter is affordable and is one of the best value for money multimeters for electronics on the market.
It is simple, robust and of very good quality. It also has a very interactive display with a 1999 count.
It has an incredible backlit light which makes reading the display very easy as well.
What I really enjoy about this multimeter is that it is extremely sturdy and it has been approved and tested to withstand a 1m (3.3 foot) drop, whilst also withstanding the normal wear and tear of daily operation.
What I really liked about this multimeter, is that although it a value buy, it still has a tough outer casing and it comes equipped with a thermocouple which is a great addition.
Given that there are premium multimeters for electronics that do not have such additional accessories. This is a real plus.
This Klein multimeter makes the list due to it’s incredible after sale support in the form of a user manual, product guide and an easy to navigate website. Not to mention the limited product warranty.If you are looking for a value buy, this multimeter is one of the best multimeters for low voltage electronics without a doubt.
My Overall #1 Top Pick: Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
All the multimeters in this guide are fantastic choices. However the Fluke 115 takes the top spot.
It is really a true RMS multimeter with an incredible LCD display and with good LED backlighting.
When it comes to size and overall weigh, it is a good multimeter all round, being able to comfortably fit into one hand.
It has also gone through a number of stringent performance and safety test in accordance with the IEC standard.
This is a world class multimeter for electronics without a doubt. Check out the prices on Amazon here.
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Final Thought On The Best Multimeter For Electronics
I hope this guide has been helpful in providing you all the necessary insights you need to make a great choice for your electronic circuit multimeter.
Testing on electronic circuits is definitely a skill and one that cannot be done without a multimeter that is absolutely fit for purpose.