Top 15: What is The Best Digital Multimeter for your Diagnostic Needs?
Updated: Nov. 2016
Heads Up: In this article we will go over the best digital multimeter for your car, what it is and how it is used to test your vehicles health. If you just want to see the list, simply scroll towards the middle of the page and you’ll see the digital multimeter that is best for automotive (Hint: Its made by Fluke- Still, we have a list of other top multimeters). If you are new to using this automotive diagnostic tool take the time to read through the info and reviews. We are confident that you will find the best multimeter. Enjoy!
What is a digital multimeter ?
Instead of having separate meters, a multimeter combines an ammeter, an ohmmeter and a voltmeter.
Mechanics and car owners use it on batteries and motors to detect malfunctions and narrow down their cause. In this case we are looking for good multimeter for cars.
A good multimeter could either be digital or analog. The digital one has an LCD display screen that reads out a straight forward decimal, while the analog display moves a bar through a scale of numbers and the user has the responsibility of interpreting the read.
Buying a good multimeter:
When buying a multimeter, you ought to be careful in order to get the right one as they are usually specified depending on their sensitivity range.
Why use a multimeter?
You will mostly use the multimeter to check for a variety of electrical faults and identify 12V power sources of your car. This way you could find out why your car battery is not charging right and then take steps to rectify the situation.
A Multimeter is also important as it allows you measure resistance when working with switches, fuses, relays, sensors and other components of your car like lighting, stereo and ignition coil. For instance, if you headlight goes off abruptly, measuring resistance will help you determine whether it is dead or not before you could buy a new one.
Other multimeters also have the ability to read continuity. This is essential for testing fuses, troubleshooting broken wires and any other parts of your car that pass current. A multimeter also measures current which could help test for a potential; drain in your car battery.
How to use a multimeter
There are two types of multimeters, auto-ranging multimeters and manual meters. The auto ranging meters come with a few selections on the dial; the meter guesses what you are using it for based on the information it receives on the probes.
On the other hand, the manual ranging meters demand that you select the input range it is going to use. The only difference between the two is that one puts in the ranges for you while the other does not. On the multimeters, you will find a circular mode dial that allows you choose many of the different measurements.
The common ones are AC/DC voltage, current and resistance. You will then notice the input jacks with the black one being most common as it never moves from its slot. Other than the black there are two red jacks and you choose the jack to use based on what action you want to perform. A red and black probe connects to the jacks on the multimeter.
The probes are used to collect different measurements. High end multimeters will have more measuring options and jacks. To read your measurement, check on the display screen and consider all information displayed. Some meters will show digits and decimal points while some will also include the unit of measurements.
The best digital multimeter in the market
Hands down, Fluke is the best brand that produces quality digital multimeters for cars and other electrical testing purposes. On this list is about 3 of their products alone. Still. there are other good brands which made the list and should be considered when buying a digital multimeter for your car and the money you will spend.
The Fluke 88V is a great tool for measuring signal pulse width and determining the health of an injector (something that will require regular attention if you own a vehicle). This Fluke multimeter will also let you measure the duty cycle and frequency cycle effectively, and you can expect accurate results. Here’s a Few Stats: Maximum Resistance of 50 M, Measures to 1000V AC and DC, and Withstands hazardous 8,000 volt spikes.
Being the best multimeter for automotive use, the Fluke 88v 1000v has the ability to carry out diode tests on your vehicle . It measures variables with an accuracy of +/- 1.0 per cent and the maximum conductance that can be measured is 60.00 nS. This was just a snippet of the this automotive mutlimeter review… see more here
This is a UL certified product designed safely and accurately to allow you detect a variety of auto and household electrical problems. It has auto-ranging scales that do away with the need to dial in the correct range when taking measurements. It also has a large display and colored LED screen for quick battery checks. The multimeter uses a single setting resistance function for both AC and DC voltage. It has rubber corners which protect it from damage in case it drops.
The Mastech MS8268 Digital AC/DC Auto/Manual Range Multimeter will impress you with its ability to compete with Fluke models in terms of quality but at just a fraction of the cost. The device boasts of features like backlit display panel, auto powering off and audio and visual warnings for the jacks just in case they are not well used. Its is a good cheap multimeter.
4. Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter
The Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter measures DC voltages as low as mV. It has an accuracy of ± 0.5% for all ranges which is suitable for any mainte4nace work. It has non-contact voltage detection and an automatic AC/DC Voltage selection.
It is ergonomically designed to a compact size that allows for easy one-handed operations. The display is backlit and of significant size to allow you make reading easily and it also has true RMS value for AC.
5. Extech EX330 Autoranging Mini Multimeter with Built In Thermometer with Type K Remote Probe
Compared to other multimeters, the EX330 is neither small nor big but instead it contains many interesting features.
The device can measure up to 10 Amps and 1000V and has an auto ranging feature that can be tuned to manual mode if need be. The multimeter also has a temperature probe but it is a K probe so it will only be of use if you need to test your air conditioning system. When measuring the engine temperature it is of little use unless you have just started on it and it not very hot yet. The Extech Ex 330 comes with its own rubber holster that makes it quite safe and comfortable.
6. Amprobe AM-510 Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage Detection
It measures voltage up to 600V AC/DC, AC/DC current and resistance, frequency, capacitance, duty cycle, frequency, capacitance and battery test. The device is fully featured with non-contact voltage detection, audible continuity and diode test. It is durable and has a runner over molded enclosure. Its safety is rated, CAT III 600V. It also uses LCD display with data hold and relative zero mode.
This product marks an attempt by Fluke to enter into the mid level market. When it comes to accuracy, reliability and incorporated quality, the Fluke 115 Compact Multimeter is obviously superior to most multimeters under $100. The device has an auto ranging system that can be changed to manual and a true RMS system for improved accuracy on non-linear loads.
It only goes high up as 10 Amps which makes it okay for amateurs and other inexperienced users. When buying this meter you get a holster and a 9V battery. Also it has a very bright backlight which comes handy when working on a car- one of the best multimeters for car battery . It is safe and recommended for beginners because it will notify you if you have not set the correct amperage or voltage meter other than giving you a false reading.
8. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
The INNOVA 3320 is UL certified and ideal for your home and auto electrical tests. It is designed to safely and accurately troubleshoot different automotive and household electrical faults. The instrument features 10 MegOhm circuitry to prevent damage to delicate automotive electronics. It also includes very simple and easy to follow instructions in English, Spanish and French.
9. Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter
Fluke is a well recognized brand for producing some of the best digital multimeters in the market. The Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter is slightly expensive but the upper side to that is that it actually gives you value for your money if used to its maximum potential. It includes an auto ranging system that can be switched to manual if need be. It creates an analog bar graph which you use to follow rapidly changing signals which makes it even better than an analog multimeter meant for the task.
The Fluke 87V stands above other multimeters owing to two features. It can take measures as high as 10A and 20A for 30 seconds at a time. The other function which is more of a downside is that the multimeter always beeps if you get the input jacks wrong.
10. Klein Tools MM200 Auto Ranging Multimeter
The Klein Tools MM200 Auto Ranging Multimeter has an auto range voltage and can measure 600V AC/DC voltage and 10 Amps AC/DC current. It is easy to read and has backlit digital display.
11. Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter with Temperature and Microamps
It has an in-built thermometer for HVAC applications and a micro amps feature that certainly makes it stand out from other multimeters. The Fluke 116 has LoZ system that prevents false readings and the LED display screen is as good as that of Fluke 117.
12. Extech MN35 Digital Mini MultiMeter
It comes in a palm size design that makes it portable and handy for use. The multimeter can test AC/DC voltage and current, resistance and capacitance.
It can also check for frequency, duty cycle; Test diode and continuity buzzer. The display screen is large and easy to read too. The device automatically goes into sleep mode after 30 minutes of inactivity to help save power.
13. Amprobe AM-530 TRMS with Non-Contact Voltage Detector and Temp
It has the ability to take true RMS measurements which are not affected by any fluctuations. It can also conduct the audible continuity test. It has a built in flash light and strong enough battery to power and test capacitors.
This instrument is packed with almost all necessary features. It measures AC and DC voltages and currents; and also resistance and capacitance measuring abilities. The device has a basic accuracy is ±0.3% and a nice appearance. It is handy in size which makes it quite comfortable to handle with a single hand.
The display area is also big enough and has a backlit that makes it easy to read the measured values. In addition, the Extech Ex430 possesses the functions of measuring frequency, temperature and duty cycle. The digital multimeter can also test diodes and continuity.
It can measure AC voltage over the range of 0.1mV to 750v and a DC voltage range of 0.1mVto 1000V. It features a built in K-type thermocouple, tilt stand, protective holster and a Velcro hanger.
15. Mastech MS8229 Auto-Range 5-in-1 Multi-functional Digital Multimeter
This can simply be described as the jack of all trades. The Mastech MS8229 has numerous features but as a multimeter, it can only go to a high of 400m and 1000V. It is a perfect choice for those that are just learning how to wire an LED mainly because it also has an integrated humidity and sound level meter. Occasional users find the Mastech MS8229 to be useful in a number of ways. It also has a luxmeter and a thermometer to make it useful for auto users that want to make sure their engine probes are working fine and that the disk brakes are not overheated.