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Recommendations for a multimeter? ...

Discussion in 'The Breakroom' started by speedmaster, May 27, 2008.

  1. speedmaster

    speedmaster Loaded Pockets

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    My dad tried to give me one a few years and and I either declined or lost it. Now I wish I had it. ;-)

    I'm about to buy one, any notable difference is practical functionality between analog and digital? Any must-have or who-cares features?

    I think I'll use it for testing batteries, working on appliances, and some automotive work. I see several for sale at radio Shack and Sears for say $12 to $30.

    All advice appreciated, thanks!

    A few I was looking at ...

    Craftsman Analog Multimeter - Model 82362 at Sears.com
    "Craftsman Analog Multimeter"
    http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_03482362000P

    Craftsman Multimeter, Digital, with 8 Functions and 20 Ranges - Model 82141 at Sears.com
    "Craftsman Multimeter, Digital, with 8 Functions and 20 Ranges"
    http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_03482141000P

    RadioShack.com - Cables, Parts & Connectors: Test & measuring equipment: Multimeters: 17-Range Analog Multimeter
    "17-Range Analog Multimeter $16.99"
    http://tinyurl.com/5pckce

    RadioShack.com - Cables, Parts & Connectors: Test & measuring equipment: Multimeters: 15-Range Digital Multimeter
    "15-Range Digital Multimeter $19.99"
    http://tinyurl.com/6npekx
     
  2. snidera

    snidera Loaded Pockets

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    Digital is a lot easier to read accurately. You usually need 7 hands to use a multimeter as it is.
    A cheapie 15-20 dollar one is fine for most work. I usually need trueRMS for some things, so i spent like 50 on a decent one. I've got a couple cheapies for quick work though. The better one stays in the tool bag in my truck.
    If you use it daily or for business, spend the cash and get a fluke.
     
  3. greenLED

    greenLED Empty Pockets

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    I favor digital multimeters - easier to read. I have the second Craftsman you listed, and it's worked well for my purposes. Speaking of purposes, look at what it measures and see that multimeter matches them. I found myself needing to measure capacitance at one point and couldn't do it. (But the DMM's that measure cap as well as conductance are in the $100 range). Like snidera said, if you're really going to use it, spend some cash on a DMM that will last you for ages.
     
  4. edc3

    edc3 Loaded Pockets

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    Definitely digital. A couple of other features you might want to look for are auto-ranging and auto-hold. I have a Fluke 179. It's overkill for me (in both price and features), but I'm very happy with it. If you're going to get some use out of it and you can afford it, buy the best.

    p.s. A backlight is another nice feature to have.
     
  5. Stuey

    Stuey Loaded Pockets

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    I think highly of Extech meters. They're not Fluke, but they're a fraction of the cost and decent enough for serious DIYers.

    Many of Craftsman's meters are just rebadged Extechs. If you decide on an Extech, you can wait around for one of the Cman versions to go for 50% off. As they are, the Cmans are priced competetively.

    I like auto ranging meters, but on lower priced meters, it seems to fluctuate and add to the delay it takes to get a reliable reading.
     
  6. Brickout

    Brickout Loaded Pockets

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    Digital is the way to go.

    One brand and one brand only come to mind when it comes to meters. Fluke meters are the best you can buy IMO. I've been using the same meter for 15+ years now. Do yourself a favor and spend the extra cash now. It will be the last meter you'll ever buy.

    The Fluke 113, 114 or 115 should do the trick.
     
  7. snidera

    snidera Loaded Pockets

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    Still trying to talk the bossman into an Extech multiscope. I need an osiciliscope about once a year and it's never near my desk. He about cried when i got a quote for a fluke, 600 for the extech should be no problem :)
     
  8. inthedark

    inthedark Empty Pockets

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    This topics sounds really familiar, I thinik it's because I responded to your post on CPF.

    Anyway, I think for your purposes a cheap digital multimeter fits the bill. Fluke's are great if you're doing a lot of electrical work, but it's really overkill just for checking batteries or voltage around the house. Out of the four you chose, the $19.99 craftsman is the one I like best. Get the one with the audible tone, it's a great feature.
     
  9. Onedzguy

    Onedzguy Empty Pockets

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    I love Fluke meters. I have a Fluke 29 that is 15 years old. Invest in quality. If you're going to buy from Sears, here is the LINK. Its quality but not too expensive.
     
  10. Stuey

    Stuey Loaded Pockets

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    I really don't recommend going for a Fluke for one's first meter.

    In my experience, many "firsts" are done in attempt to test the waters. If you test the waters and like it, you might not be happy with your purchase. It's much easier to upgrade from a $40 meter to a $200 meter than it is from a $140 meter to a $200 one. Who knows what your needs might be after you gain a little experience and more usage out of your scope.

    The same goes for other things too. Most people don't start off with Surefires and exotic knives. They start small, with maglites and Gerbers and once their interest is piqued they move on.

    Start off with a $20-$50 meter and if you want to upgrade after using it for a bit, then that's great - you'll end up with a great scope and a good backup as well.