best multimeters for beginners

5 Best Multimeters for Beginners and Hobbyists

A multimeter is not something that you will need all of the time (unless you work in electrics), but when you need one, it is important to have one that you trust when it comes to working with electricity.

When safety is critical, you need the very best. A good digital multimeter is about more than just functionality. You need to know that it will work accurately every time. A good multimeter will alert you when there is power, and it will also help you to discern why a component or appliance is not working.

These multimeters have enough functions to satisfy every beginner and hobbyist, while still being simple enough to use.

Our Top Picks

1. Kaiweets KM601 Digital Multimeter

Read our hands-on review: Kaiweets KM601 Smart Digital Multimeter

One of the best functions of the Kaiweets KM601 multimeter is the smart mode. You can attach the probes to many different components and contact points, and the multimeter will discern whether you are testing voltage, resistance, or continuity. The large, easily-readable screen displays the results so that they can be read in any light conditions.

Outside of the smart mode, you have a wide range of settings to choose from, including contactless live wire testing. And, when you are testing live wires or contact points, there is an inbuilt safety function that will alert you if you have the probes back to front.

As far as digital multimeters go, this is one of the most feature-packed on the market, but is also easy enough to use for beginners.

2. FLuke-101 Digital Multimeter

If you are just starting out with electronics, you want a device that will not overwhelm you, but still gets the job done. The Fluke-101 digital multimeter is one of the smallest on the market, and not only will it fit into the palm of your hand, but you can hold it between two fingers too. But, don’t let the size fool you. There is a lot of functionality packed into this small device.

The device is rugged and durable, CAT III safety rated, and that means that it will last. It is so small that if dropped, it will not break, and it is small enough to pack up in any toolbox or even in your pocket. The small dial on the front makes it easy to switch between basic functionality, and there is not too much to confuse you.

If you are looking for your first multimeter, this could be the one for you.

3. Innova 3300 Hands-Free Digital Multimeter

One thing that many beginners struggle with is holding the multimeter while testing a circuit or component. Sometimes, you can lay the device on a surface, but not always. Innova solves this by offering a hands-free digital multimeter. There is a wrist-mounted band on the back of the multimeter, allowing you to attach the multimeter to your arm, freeing up your hands to hold the probes. As a beginner, this makes it easy to achieve perfect contact, obtaining an accurate and safe reading.

The Innova 3300 digital multimeter is UL certified and there is 10 megohm circuitry protection to prevent damage to sensitive electronics. You can measure everything from outlets, fuses, wiring, batteries, devices, components, and much more.

A great first multimeter if you are unsure about using one.

4. AstroAI Multimeter

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The AstroAI multimeter is one of the most versatile multimeters on the market, and you can easily switch between settings with the large tactile dial on the front of the device. It is an excellent device for testing at home and in your car. You can measure AC & DC voltage, DC current, resistance, and much more.

The backlit LCD display means that you can stay safe in low-light conditions, and the screen is simple enough that you are not going to become lost in too much information or too many options. The double ceramic fuse within also protects from overloading and the silicone cover not only protects from impact damage but electric shocks too.

This is an accurate digital multimeter that is intuitive and safe.

5. Kaiweets Smart Digital Multimeter ST600Y

Read our hands-on review: Kaiweets Smart Digital Multimeter ST600Y

Not every person who needs to use a multimeter is a qualified electrician or auto electrician, and therefore, not everyone looking to buy a multimeter is looking for a large, fancy, and complicated device. The Kaiweets Smart Digital Multimeter ST600Y is the perfect tool for the aspiring handyman, with plenty of functions and uses in a simple design. Use the auto setting to allow the multimeter to automatically recognize what you are trying to measure, including AC or DC volts, resistance, and continuity.

Not only can this multimeter measure max 600V AC/DC, 10A AC/DC current, and 60M Ohms resistance, but it can also test temperature, capacitance, frequency, duty-cycle, wire on-off, diodes, and continuity. Enjoy a clear display on a colored LCD screen, allowing you to easily tell the difference between a variety of readings and functions. For even more ease of use, function switching buttons have been included for manual mode, allowing you to easily use the device in one hand like a mobile phone.

Included in the box is a silicone protective cover to ensure your device doesn’t take any damage in transit or while you work. To ensure your safety and that of your multimeter, dual ceramic fuses have been used that will prevent burning, overloading, and electric shock. The device also comes with a thermocouple, which allows you to test liquid temperatures between -40 and 1832°F.

What To Know Before Buying a Multimeter for a Beginner?

Before you go out and buy a multimeter, there are some things that you need to know to ensure that you get the right multimeter.

Measurement Range

Most people look at everything that the digital multimeter can measure, choosing to buy one that can measure voltage, current, resistance, and a hundred other things. That is great if you need to measure all of those things, but not if you do not have the range to measure what you need.

Pay attention to the range of the digital multimeter before you buy it so you know you will be able to measure accurately.

The Quality Of The Probe

You want a high-quality multimeter, but that extends to the probes. They are the contact point, and the start of your measurement. If they are low-quality, you can end up harming yourself.

Look for probes that are sturdy and have a good contact point. Points on the end can help when you are inserting them into outlets. They should be able to conduct electricity easily, and there should be no energy loss within them. If you can find probes with protector caps for use in storage and transit, they are going to be kept in excellent condition, and your digital multimeter is going to last.

Adequate Display

There is no point in being able to measure the voltage or current if you cannot see the measurement. Most multimeter screens are LCD, but look for backlights if you are going to be working in low-light conditions.

The size of the screen will depend on what you are looking for. Some people prefer small screens with basic information, and that can make reading the measurement easy if you are a beginner. If you want more than just the basics, look for a larger screen, but also one that still displays information simply and without clutter.

Quality Of The Build

If the quality is not there, you are not going to get accurate measurements, nor are you going to be safe. The build quality is also about protection for you and the device. When checking electrics, you are often working in confined and cramped spaces. That means dropped devices, and a quality build is going to keep your device working.

Protection

As a beginner, you can’t be expected to know everything about electrics, and that is why many digital multimeters have built-in safety protocols. These help to protect the multimeter, the component you are checking, and, most importantly, you. Electricity can be dangerous, so it is important to have a device that can protect you.

Extra Features

You want a digital multimeter to measure something specific, but there are extra features that can be beneficial to any beginner. As you can see from above with the Kaiweets multimeter, auto functionality can leave the decision-making up to the device. This also adds an extra layer of protection.

Some models come with arm straps (like the Innova model), some have stands, and others have magnets to attach them to your belt.

You can also find multimeters that offer contactless live wire testing, temperature probes, and much more. Before you buy your multimeter, check what else is out there, and you may find functionality that you did not know you needed.

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