You do your own electrical maintenance on your house or your car. And you need a best digital multimeter?
Click here to see our #1 pick on Amazon.com
Digital Multimeters show you important information like current, voltage, and resistance. It’s also a handy tool for hobbyists who are into electronics, robotics, or HAM radio.
You might be tempted to just buy the cheapest one you can find, but it’s worth shopping around to find the best value. Some multimeters have features you never thought you needed, but won’t be able to live without.
Let’s take a look at some of the best sellers on the market and determine which one is right for you.
- Brief Review 5 Best Digital Multimeters for Mechanics 2016
- #1. Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter
- #2. Etekcity MSR-P600 Digital Multimeter
- #3. Etekcity MSR-U1000 Autoranging Digital Multimeter
- #4. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
- #5. Crenova MS8233D Digital Multimeter
- Digital Multimeter Buying Guide
Brief Review 5 Best Digital Multimeters for Mechanics 2016
#1. Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter
Etekcity makes a wide range of electronics.
We’ll look at a few of their multimeters, this one is their most basic model.
It’s small, portable, and mostly just tells you what you the basics.
Etekcity MSR-R500 also measures current, voltage, resistance, as well as continuity, transistor, and diode testing.
It has a nice, backlit screen making it easy to read in low light. The rubber bezel around the whole thing makes it more durable. You feel a lot better if and when you happen to drop it while you’re working on something.
The simple form, easy operation, and low price tag of Currently Not Available* would make the MSR-R500 a good first multimeter if you just need one for general use.
#2. Etekcity MSR-P600 Digital Multimeter
The MSR-P600 is like a more feature rich version of the lower level MSR-R500.
It offers a greater measurement range and measures a few things that the MSR-R500 can’t like AC current, capacitance, and frequency.
It has a similar portable design and includes a carrying case.
For this size and price range, it has features found on much more expensive multimeters.
My favorite feature is the relative measurement button.
If you take two readings and need to know the difference, just push this button and it will do the math for you. This saves a lot of messing around with pencils and paper.
Another paper saving feature is the data hold button so you don’t have to memorize or write down your measurement if you’re just taking one.
One feature I found a bit strange is the directly connected leads. It’s the only multimeter on our list where you can’t remove or replace the leads. If your leads get damaged or if you want longer or shorter ones, you need to get a whole new multimeter.
At only $19.99*, it’s still a lot of features for the money.
#3. Etekcity MSR-U1000 Autoranging Digital Multimeter
This is the Digital Multimeter you want if you need one for commercial use.
If you’re an electrician and you need something you can use at home and at work, this is a good unit to consider.
It’s an auto/manual ranging meter with features like non-contact voltage detection, auto-power off, max/min reading, and data hold.
This is the only meter on the list that has an hFE feature.
With hFE, you can test transistors and measure their gain under test. It doesn’t give you much more than an indication, but it’s still a nice feature to have. It also has a backlit screen which is nice if your job takes you into dark places to take measurements.
It’s a little pricey at $39.98*, but it’s still a great value.
#4. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
This is an auto-ranging multimeter which means less messing around with the big knob. Just set it to what you’re measuring for and the meter will figure out the range on its own.
This is a very nice feature if you’re just not sure what range you need to dial in. It makes it good for people who don’t have much electrical knowledge, but need a multimeter for around the house or the garage.
The screen is nice and big and includes color coded LED’s for checking batteries. Green means good, yellow means weak, and red means bad, it couldn’t be simpler.
Like the MSR-R500, it has protective rubber to keep it from breaking in the event that it’s dropped. It measures AC current, but maxes out at only 0.2 amps.
At $18.80*, this is a nice, user friendly, middle range meter.
#5. Crenova MS8233D Digital Multimeter
This meter is accurate and easy to use.
Its large display and backlit screen make it easy to read. It feels like a tough piece of equipment in your hand with its sturdy design.
It’s competitive with the two lower-end Etekcity meters as a low cost value proposition.
One feature that this one has that the MSR-R500 doesn’t is AC current measurement.
A minor downside to the Crenova is the battery housing is a little too big. The 9V battery bounces around in there a bit. It doesn’t affect performance; it’s just a little annoying.
At only $17.98*, the Crenova MS8233D is as accurate as much more expensive models.
Digital Multimeter Buying Guide
Since three out of these five best digital multimeters are within four dollars in price, it might take a bit of nit-picking to select the right one for you.
The Etekcity MSR-R500, MSR-P600, and the Crenova MS8233D are all good choices for an entry-level household/automotive multimeter in their own ways.
Being the lowest costing meter on the list, I recommend the MSR-R500 if you just need a simple micrometer for simple readings.
If you’re a home mechanic and just need something like this in your toolbox, this is a great option over a three-dollar micrometer from a hardware store.
I think it’s odd and inconvenient that the MSR-P600 does not have removable or replaceable leads, but if that doesn’t bother you it’s a good meter.
If you’re going to use a multimeter regularly and you’re a light electrical hobbyist, the Innova 3320 is an excellent middle range meter
It does everything a normal person would need a multimeter to do and it does it easily.
I really like the form factor of this one, it feels good in your hand and it’s just easy to use. I like the size of the knob and the location of the leads. I especially like the auto-ranging simplicity and the helpful color coded LED’s.
For the true electrician or hardcore hobbyist, there’s no question the powerful Etekcity MSR-U1000 is the multimeter for you.
It’s also a good choice if you’re thinking about getting more into electrical hobbies and you want to be confident that this is the last multimeter you’ll need to buy for a while. Auto/manual ranging, the hFE feature, and the huge measurement range make this deluxe meter well worth the price.
|Price||Currently Not Available*||$19.99*||$39.98*||$18.80*||$17.98*|
Now that you know a little bit about the features and price points of a few different multimeters, decide which one is best for you.
If you’re not sure after reading this, I would recommend the Innova 3320.
It’s easy to use, versatile, good build quality, and a great overall value. If you’ve been settling for a cheap multimeter that you got for a few dollars or even got for free, treat yourself to an upgrade!