With a more accessible price-point than traditional analog multimeters, digital multimeters are the perfect tool for a range of electronic diagnostic or fault-finding work.

Also known as multitesters or volt-ohm meters, these versatile tools can typically measure voltage, current and resistance. Indispensable tools for finding basic faults, running tests or even conducting field service or other jobs, multimeters are available in a wide range of features and prices.

Here I’ll beak down the top 12 multimeters from more basic and economic models to the top line digital models perfect for more complex diagnostics. From looking at basic functions like voltage, current and resistance measurement to frequency range and burden voltage to more specific readings such as displaying farads, decibels and looking at specialized circuits for testing continuity or battery checking, I’ll be looking at the all the important functions of some of the top meters currently available.

After hours of comparing, we chose the Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter as our #1 Top Pick.

Quick Summary: Best 12 Digital Multimeters

Our editors go through and research, test and qualify our recommended products. We receive commissions on purchases from certain links.

 

Best Overall

Rating: CAT III 600V
Voltage AC/DC:
1 CR123A battery (included) 
600V
Current AC/DC: 10A
Additional Functions: Frequency, Continuity/diode test, Low imput impedence, Volt Alert, Analog Bargraph.
Warranty: 3 years

Easy to use design, accurate readings and a wide range of functions make this multimeter ready for most demanding commercial work settings.

With over 70 years experience in manufacturing electrical metering equipment, Fluke provides some of the safest and most trusted metering tools available on the market.

The Fluke 117 is an excellent  multimeter that strikes a balance between having an accessible price-point and providing the functions and design quality required by professionals in most commercial settings. The 117 is compact and ergonomic, and I found it particularly apt for one-handed operation. It also easily manages standard work applications such as measuring AC and DC voltage (true RMS) up to 600V as well as other standard functions such as resistance, continuity, diode check, capacitance, frequency and current measurements (up to 10A).

Additionally, several design features have also been implemented to get the user faster and more accurate readings. VoltAlert technology detects non-contact voltage, and the AutoVolt feature automatically selects AC/DC voltage. Particularly useful is the AutoV/LoZ function that prevents false readings caused by ghost voltage. The Fluke 117 also has more advanced reading functionality, such as the ability to measure in microamps.

With it’s durable design (tested for drop, shock and humidity) and long battery life (typically 400 hours, without backlight and in operating temperatures of -10°C to +50°C) this meter is the perfect companion to most electricians working in standard commercial settings that want a reliable meter at an accessible price point. 

PROS

  • Durable build and ergonomic design
  • Time saving functions that allow more accurate readings
  • LED back light for working in poorly lit areas
  • Accessible price-point for a commercial meter
  • “Volt Alert” non-contact voltage detector is useful for testing walls for live electrical lines prior to nailing or drilling.

CONS

  • Display back light does not evenly illuminate in certain conditions and the LCD display is not as crisp as other Fluke multimeters.

Best Auto-Ranging

Rating: CAT III 600V 
Voltage AC/DC: 600V
Current AC/DC: 10A
Additional Functions: Temperature, capacitance, frequency, duty-cycle, test diodes and continuity.
Warranty: 2 year limited warranty.

Excellent auto-ranging multimeter functionality with a CAT III 600V safety rating at an affordable price.

A versatile multimeter with a variety of functions suited for most residential, business and light-industrial applications, the MM400 delivers standard AC/DC voltage and current as well as resistance measurement. Temperature, capacitance, frequency, duty-cycle, test diodes and continuity measurement are also available with the MM400.

The readout is clear and crisp, and the back light works well to illuminate readings in poor light. The rubber case that surrounds most of the unit is provides good grip in work circumstances and is very durable. The meter also has a well designed stand that is expands from the back and has rubber feet that effectively hold the meter in a good viewing position on most semi-level work surfaces.

PROS

  • Auto-ranging
  • Exceptional back light and LCD quality
  • Included K-type thermocouple with adapter
  • Designed to resist drops up to 1 meter
  • Excellent economic price for standard home use functions

CONS

  • Does not have some of the more advanced functions necessary for industrial or some professional work.

Best Professional

Rating:  CAT III 1000V / CAT IV 600V rating.
Voltage AC/DC:
1000V
Current AC/DC: 
10A
Additional Functions: Frequency, Continuity/diode test, motor drive (ASD) measurmement, duty cycle, microamps, analog bargraph, temperature, and relative reference measurement.
Warranty: Lifetime

Outstanding quality and functionality and designed specifically to handle complex signals, the Fluke 87-V is the final word in professional multimeters.

The Fluke 87-V Digital Multimeter is a versatile True-RMS meter that’s perfect for professional work or for applications requiring reading precision. Offering auto and manual ranging for maximum flexibility, this meter also offers an annual bar graph for quick-changing or unstable signals. Like all Fluke meters, the classic design offers  a nice balance of ergonomic and functional design. The Fluke 87-V has a removable holster with built-in probe and test-lead storage, and for added convenience, it arrives ready to go with TL75 test leads and a nine-volt battery.

Unlike some more basic multimeter models, the Fluke 87-V is accurate to 0.05% DC. Also, True-RMS AC voltage and current provide accurate measurements on non-linear signals while a selectable filter ensures accurate voltage.  Also, it features an analog bar graph that allows for measurement of quick-changing or unstable signals.

In terms of durability, the Fluke 87-V The Fluke 87-V is independently tested to comply with the second edition of ANSI/ISA S82.01 and EN61010-1. Also, being a CAT IV 600V/CAT III 1000V rated meter, the 87-V can withstand impulses in excess of 8,000 volts and can reduce risks related to surges and spikes. Combined with  its tightly sealed design that protects against drop damage, the Fluke 87-V is workplace ready.

PROS

  • Easy to read display
  • A wide variety of functions and features for both professionals and serious hobbyists
  • Industry standard reading accuracy
  • Very responsive and reliable bar graph
  • High quality construction

CONS

  • Leads are stiff and have a tendency to get tangled.

Best Complete Test Kit

Rating: CAT III 600V safety rating.
Voltage AC/DC:
600V
Additional Functions: Continuity testing with visual and audible continuity indicators, includes NCTV-1 tester pen and receptacle tester to detect wiring configurations and faults.
Warranty:  2 year limited warranty.

An excellent complete testing kit which includes various accessories for versatile and accurate reading applications.

If you’re looking for an affordable multimeter test kit the Klein Tools 69149 is your one stop solution for most common electrical test. With an affordable price point and packaged with easy to use and read accessories, the 69149 is a must have for most every-day electrical meter tests.

Klein Tool’s updated Electrical Test Kit contains the MM300 (manual-ranging digital multimeter), the NCTV-1 (non-contact voltage tester) and the RT105 (receptacle tester). What really stands out about this test kit are the acessories: the NCTV-1 is perfect for automatically detecting standard voltage in cables, cords, circuit breakers, lighting fixtures, switches, outlets, wires, and many other areas.  The RT105 adds further functionality to the multimeter kit by allowing the user to detect the most common wiring problems in standard receptacles, such as open ground, open hot, and open neutral, hot/ground reversals.

Given the economic price point and useful selection of accessories for checking basic faults around the house, the Klein Tools 69149 is a great choice for an all-in-one multimeter kit to conduct standard electrical tests around the house.

PROS

  • Very easy to see display with crisp, dark contrasts.
  • Affordable price-point for non demanding commercial applications.
  • Included NCTV-1 is very useful for detecting standard voltage, bright LRD indicator and warning tones makes it easy to use and read.
  • RT105 receptacle tester is excellent for checking common wiring problems in standard receptacles
  • High quality construction

CONS

  • While the RT105 adds lots functionality in detecting receptacle faults, it does not indicate the quality of ground, multiple hot wires or complex defect combinations.

Best Entry Level

Rating: CAT III 600V
Voltage AC/DC: 600V
Current AC/DC: 10A
Additional Functions: Resistance, capacitance, continuity and diode testing.
Warranty: 
3 years

A rugged, reliable, compact and high-quality meter perfect for field service technicians or other professional field applications.

There is so much to like about this meter: with classic, compact, functional styling and covering all general purpose electrical requirements with the quality that is expected from Fluke, this meter is the top choice for general purpose field requirements – uncomplicated and built to last.

The Fluke 115 is a go-to choice for technicians or hobbyists that require precision and ease of use in maintenance troubleshooting such as eliminating false or ghost voltages, or performing continuity, connection or basic wiring checks. With the capability to troubleshoot a wide variety of parameters from capacitance to frequency, and displaying results on it’s crisp, backlit LCD, the 115 is ready for a wide variety of field applications.

The 6,000 count digital display ensures large digits for quick and easy readings, and the Fluke 115’s design with straightforward labelling on all buttons, dial and jacks, combined with the True RMS meter and auto ranging function that guards against most common errors that could lead to inaccurate readings make this one of the most user friendly professional multimeters on the market today.

For an all round, durable, quality field ready multimeter, look no further than the Fluke 115.

PROS

  • Silicone test leads are easy to use and flexible to quickly get readings.
  • Affordable price-point for non demanding commercial applications.
  • Included NCTV-1 is very useful for detecting standard voltage, bright LRD indicator and warning tones makes it easy to use and read.
  • RT105 receptacle tester is excellent for checking common wiring problems in standard receptacles.

CONS

  • A lack of mili or microamp measuring ability may deter some professionals that require advanced functionality for specialized readings.

Best Advanced Functionality

Rating: CAT III 600V, Class 2 double insulation safety rating
Voltage AC/DC 600V
Current AC/DC: 10A
Additional Functions: AC current (via clamp). RT210 GFCI receptable tester and 69409 line splitter allows for easy testing of live circuits and measuring of current and voltage.
Warranty: 2 years limited warranty

If you’re looking for a complete accessory package and maintenance kit with a clamp meter for testing in tricky locations, the CL110 Kit is the most comprehensive kit you can find.

One of the most comprehensive test kits with a variety of accessories to make electrical measuring work easy and accessible, the Klein Toolds CL110 electrical tester / maintenance kit inlcudes the CL 110 400A auto-ranging digital clamp meter, the  RT210 GFCI Receptacle Tester and 69409 Line Splitter 10x. The kit allows for easy testing of live circuits and measuring of current and voltage, and is ready for field work from the get go: the kit includes a carrying pouch, test leads and batteries.

Like the 69149 Klein Tools multimeter test kit, the Cl110 test kit detects the most common wiring problems in standard and GFCI receptacles including open ground, reverse polarity, open hot, open neutral and hot/ground reversed. Added functionality comes in the form of the clamp meter, as the line splitter allows the measuring of current draw up to 15A without splitting the load’s power cord. By amplifying the splitter signal x10  it is easy to get clear and accurate readings from low amperage lines.

By providing one of the most comprehensive selection of accessories in one convenient package, the Klein Tools CL110 provides ample ways to conduct electrical monitoring work around the house or at work.

PROS

  • The line splitter x10 provides easy readings on low amperage lines.
  • Handy clamp meter with added functionality over traditional handheld meters.
  • Included accessories are great for checking various basic electrical faults such as receptacle faults.
  • Handy and stylish carrying kit.

CONS

  • It may be difficult to fit all the accessories in the carrying case at the same time.

Best Basic Fluke

Rating: CAT III 600V
Voltage AC/DC: 600V
Current AC/DC: None
Additional Functions: Resistance, capacitance and continuity testing.
Warranty: 1 year

A basic and compact multimeter with the design quality and accuracy synonymous with Fluke products.

The smallest and most economic meter from the Fluke line-up, the 101 is a great pocket meter good for small jobs around the house or business. Although having more basic functionality compared to the other more advanced Fluke meters, teh 1010 is good for standard measurements although it does not have the capability to measure in amps or miliamps.

Small and lightweight, the 101 is still a Fluke meter and designed to be a professional grade tool that can stand up to the rigors of daily work. It is the lightest and and most compact Fluke meter on the market, and for a quick, accurate and compact Fluke meter it is by far the best choice.

PROS

  • Good test range for being a compact and basic meter.
  • Compact size allows the meter to be stored on most tool belts or pouches without taking too much space.
  • Simple design that maintains excellent Fluke quality.
  • Basic but good test leads.

CONS

  • A lack of backlit display can make readings difficult in low light conditions.

Best Mini Multimeter

Rating: CAT III 600V UL
Voltage AC/DC:  600V
Current AC/DC:  10A
Additional Functions: Resistance, capacitance, continuity and diode testing.
Warranty: 3 years

A rugged, reliable, compact, and high-quality meter perfect for field service technicians or other professional field applications.

For a mid level multimeter with the most popular measuring funcitons, the Extech EX330 is an excellent option for most users. Featuring a combined digital multimeter and a non-contact voltage (NCV) detector in a compact design, and measuring DC/AC voltage up to 600 volts with a 0.5 percent basic accuracy ensures accurate readings for most measuring needs.

This feature-rich digital multimeter measures resistance, performs diode testing and continuity testing, has an easy-read LED display, an audible beeper and red LED indicator, and low battery indicator. Further functions include auto-ranging, frequency, duty cycle, capacitance, and temperature. A built-in thermometer with Type K probe can switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius readings, and the big digit 4000-count display ensures easy readability in almost all work environments.

PROS

  • Compact and ergonomic design.
  • Excellent balance of accessible price and functionality.
  • Practical choice for home work or hobby work.
  • Included rubber holster adds aditional protection to the meter from bumps and falls.

CONS

  • The meter holster must be removed to change the battery, which can be inconvenient in some situations.

Best Basic Budget

Rating: CAT I 600V and CAT II 300V, double insulation
Voltage AC/DC: 500V
Current AC/DC: DC only 10A
Additional Functions: Resistance, transistor, continuity and diode testing.
Warranty: 1 year buyer assurance with a free option to extend 1 more year.

At the low end of the price scale, the Etekcity MSR-R500 is pretty barebones and not the strongest build quality-wise, but for a cheap and quick meter good for household spot-checks, the MSR-R500 is the best choice.

For the most basic, lightweight multimeter option at a very affordable price, the Etekcity MSR-R500 is the best choice: with all the necessary functionality for basic metering work as well as extra options such as resistor, transistor, continuity and diode testing in a small package, the MSR-R500 can easily handle light household or hobby work.

The meter shows accuracy on all scales and ranges compared to higher price point meters, and the ergonomic case with rubber coating helps to avoid serious damage with drops and knocks. The display is nice and crisp with good contrast, and the backlight can be toggled on and off, saving battery and providing vision in low light conditions. The test tone is also a nice addition for testing simple audio circuits.

For a low price, basic meter than can compare functionality to some of the more advanced meters on the list, the Etekcity MSR-R500 is the bargain choice.

PROS

  • Budget price point with basic functionality means no overspending on unnecessary extra functions.
  • Compact, lightweight and ergonomic, easy to handle and use around the house or workshop.
  • Crisp and easy to see display for a budget multimeter.
  • Excellent beeper test tone.

CONS

  • Low CAT safety rating means this meter is only recommended for light house or hobby duty.

Best Automotive Digital

Rating: CAT II
Voltage AC/DC: 600V
Current AC/DC: 400mA
Additional Functions: In addition to standard multimeter funcitons: alternator output, RPM checks and tacho checks. Battery check ability and temperature probe.
Warranty: Limited 1 year warranty

A well built, sturdy UL certified multimeter designed for automotive work and to help pinpoint engine problems.

Specifically designed to conduct automotive electrical tests in combination with standard multimeter functions, the INNOVA 3340 is loaded with the extra functionality any garage mechanic needs. Good for standard voltage, amps and resistance testing as well as automotive specific RPM, dwell angle and alternator checks, the 3340 is a good investment for those looking to do both standard multimeter work as well as automotive electrical diagnosis.

The unit provides hands-free testing and includes test lea holders. Auto-ranging, auto shut-off, overload protection, reverse polarity protection and automatic zero adjustment are all included additional features that will make metering work easier both in the garage and out. Design wise, the color LEDs allow for quick condition checks on car batteries, while the color-coded case is reinforced with thick rubber guards that protect the meter from accidental bumps or drops.

PROS

  • Extra functionality for automotive testing.
  • Color coded case ensures ease of operation in selecting test options.
  • Included inductive RPM clamp and temperature probe ensure additional functionality.
  • Test lead holders allow for hands-free protection.
  • Thick rubber case protection protects the meter from accidental drop damage.

CONS

  • Lack of screen backlight may make it hard to read in low light conditions.

Best Basic Light Duty

Rating: CAT III 600V, CATII 1000V
Voltage AC/DC: 600V
Current AC/DC:  DC only, 10A
Additional Functions:Resistance, capacitance, frequency and continuity.
Warranty: 1 year

A simple multimeter at an economic price point with added functionality that is an excellent choice for hobbyists or light commercial needs.

The AstroAI  Digital Multimeter is designed to be safely and accurately used by professionals in a commercial setting or weekend DIYer’s that need a little more power utility from their standard digital multimeter yet are still looking for a more budget friendly model.

It’s easy and safe to operate with advanced features built for measuring seemingly everything: run tests on diodes and transistors while being able to measure voltage, current, resistance, continuity, capacitance, and frequency. The TRMS 6000’s auto-ranging capability and True RMS measuring for both AC current and voltage also ensure this meter can stand up to any needed testing work around the house or at work.

PROS

  • Plastic coated magnet on the back of the meter is handy to stick to the surface of metallic work areas.
  • Large, crisp, easy to read display viewable clearly from any angle.
  • Good reading accuracy for being a budget meter.
  • Fast test beeper gives quick results.

CONS

  • Magnet on the back of the meter also has a tendency to pick up metallic items in the work area, which may be inconvenient in workshops with small objects such as screws or nails.

Best Compact High Quality Pocket

Rating: N/A
Voltage AC/DC: 500V
Current AC/DC: None
Additional Functions: Resistance and continuity
Warranty: 3 years

When space is limited, this compact, high-quality meter can be tucked away in a pocket or small work pouch and still manage most basic metering functions.

While not as well known as Fluke or Klein Tools, Hioki  instruments provides some of the highest quality measurement tools from Japan.  The 3244-60 is no exception: well designed and with a quality build, and measuring only 9.5mm (0.37 in) thickness and 60g (2.1 oz) in weight, the Hioki 3244-60 is a great pocket meter option.  In terms of functionality, the meter is able to do basic voltage, resistance and continuity checks with a full auto-ranging function and the automatic power saving function helps to extend battery life.

PROS

  • High quality gold-plated 15mm pin length test leads.
  • Full auto ranging function and automatic power saving function.
  • Very compact and easy to handle: less than 1cm thick.
  • Crisp compact digital LCD display shows results quickly and in an easy to read manner.
  • Hard plastic carrying case neatly holds leads and cables and protects the meter from scratches or bumps.

CONS

  • Continuity beeper is not very loud and may not be easily heard in a noisy environment.

What To Look For When Buying A Digital Multimeter

You don’t need to be a professional electrician to choose a digital multimeter best suited for your needs.   You only need to know some of the most important factors to consider to make sure that the money you will spend on your multimeter is worth it.

Price, Durability and Safety

With digital multimeters, you really do get what you pay for. Fluke multimeters, priced above many other competing digital multimeter models, tend to incorporate more robust construction and quality components that allow them to withstand field wear and tear, while also providing superior safety mechanisms and providing the most accurate readings. When working with higher voltages or industrial settings, it is imperative to choose the correct multimeter with corresponding CAT ratings and voltage ranges.  Top line multimeter options, such as the Fluke 87-V, are built in the U.S.A to the highest electrical specifications and are independently tested fo comply with the latest editions of ANSI/ISA ratings. (1, 2)

In terms of durability, most multimeter options are durable enough for small bumps and drops that may occur around the house or most indoor work spaces. In higher price ranges, the concept of you pay for what you get rings true: top line multimeter models tend to have sturdier cases and construction and quality components that can stand up to the rigors of outdoor use.

Category Ratings

All meters are categorized with a safety rating, from I to IV, with the higher the number equaling a higher rating. While only one meter on this list is rated at CAT IV – the Fluke 87-V – most measurement jobs will be fine with a CAT III. Also, it’s important to remember you get what you pay for – cheaper meters that advertise higher CAT ratings may not always be up to perfect standard, and poor quality components may compromise the safety rating when operating at it’s designated maximums.

Design and Size

How big do you need your meter? Is ease of use and compactness a priority, or read quality and durability? This lists contains options on both types, and it’s important to know before hand the environment in which the meter will be used as well as the types of jobs it will be used for. If you’re working on construction sites or areas that are exposed to the elements and which drops on hard surfaces may be a possibility, it’s a good idea to go with a quality constructed meter with a rugged case and components that can stand up to falls and knocks. Home users, on the other hand, or hobbyists, will likely be using their meters indoors or in controlled environments where design robustness is not such a priority. Knowing the difference can help you pick a better meter for your needs, saving money and trouble!

Additional Functions

In some cases considered a key function, the ability of a meter to auto range can save a lot of time and frustration in doing electrical testing. It takes most of the guesswork out of testing and means that the meter will choose the correct range value for what you are testing and display the values as such. Cheaper meters, or those without this function, may require the user to pre-select a certain range which can be time consuming and require additional preparation and guesswork before testing. Another important function that in more basic meters can be considered additional is the ability to measure current, so if that is a requirement for your work be sure to check that the function is available for your meter.

Extra functions such as min/max measurements, resistance, capacitance, continuity and diode testing (to mention a few) while standard is most mid-level meters may not be available in more budget or compact models. The ability to conduct extra diagnostics and tests or even to display information in certain ways can vary between price ranges and manufacturers, so it is worth investigating and comparing different models.

Price and Type

While this list contains only digital multimeters, there is a great deal of variety in type and price. Budget meters which generally range from $20 – $50 are good for home use or light hobby work, but generally don’t have the quality or safety requirements necessary for more heavy industrial or commercial work. There meters will do the job, but are not recommended for professionals.

At the $100 range you will find most decent meters that have a good combination of construction quality, reading precision and durability. These meters are good for most electricians and most are robust enough for most commercial work but might still lack the advanced functionality and highest safety ratings for heavy industrial work

At $200 and up are the higher end top of the line models from some of the best brands available. Multimeters in this price range will generally have the highest safety ratings and are designed for industry work, able to conduct a wide variety of tests and made with impact resistant materials.

Final Words

Measuring electricity requires safety and precision. While not every user will require the most expensive CAT IV industrial multimeter, it pays to do some research and comparison among meters to find which levels of quality, precision and functionality are important to you. Since your meter will be giving you feedback and insight into whatever electric issue you are testing, it is important to ensure you have the correct tool, and the correct safety rating for the job. Thankfully, multimeter technology does not change as fast as many other electronic gadgets do, and investing in a good meter today will give you a good measuring tool that will still be relevant and useful for many years to come. This is why it is good to make sure you are getting the right meter for the job, and this list will help you sort out the more specific differences between the best multimeters available today.

Resources

(1) – CAT ratings – https://www.digikey.com/en/blog/what-are-multimeter-cat-safety-ratings
(2) – ANSI/ISA ratings – https://www.ansi.org/