The Best Multimeter for Automotive: Complete Reviews with Comparison

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The Best Multimeter for Automotive

Electrical problems are difficult to diagnose when you don’t have the appropriate tools. With an automotive multimeter identifying such issues is easier and quicker. In this guide, we describe the top 5 multimeters for the automotive and how to make a good buy:

'Best Multimeter for Automotive' Comparison Chart

★ Top Pick ★

Fluke 88V 1000V Automotive Multimeter

★ Editor’s Choice ★Fluke 88V 1000V Automotive Multimeter

measures AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, resistance, capacitance, frequency, and temperature, maximum resistance of 50 MΩ, measures to 1000V AC and DC


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Power Probe IV w/Case & Acc - Red (PP401AS) [Car Diagnostic Test Tool Digital Volt Meter ACDC Current Resistance Circuit Tester Fuel Injector Tester]

Power Probe IV w/Case & Acc – Red (PP401AS) [Car Diagnostic Test Tool

Supplies Power and Ground for Functional Component Testing, digital Volt and Ohmeter for circuit testing, Large Color LCD Screen


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INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter (10 MegOhm/UL)

INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter (10 MegOhm/UL)

Tests alternator diodes, duty cycle, solenoids, breaker points, wiring, switches, and more, Features auto-ranging, auto shut-off and over-load protection


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★ Budget ★

AstroAI Digital Multimeter, TRMS 6000 Counts Volt Meter Manual Auto Ranging; Measures Voltage Tester, Current, Resistance; Tests Diodes, Transistors, Temperature

★ Money Saver ★AstroAI Digital Multimeter, TRMS 6000

Counts Volt Meter Manual Auto Ranging; Measures Voltage Tester, Current, Resistance; Tests Diodes, Transistors, Temperature


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Amprobe AM-530 TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage Detector and Temperature

Amprobe AM-530 TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter

With non-contact voltage detector and temperature, Voltage up too 600V AC/DC, AC/DC current, resistance and frequency


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Detailed Product Info & Reviews

​1. Fluke 88V 1000V Automotive Multimeter

Fluke 88V 1000V Automotive Multimeter

This fifth-gen multimeter is Fluke’s flagship product for the 80-Series and for a good reason. First, apart from the regular measurements, it provides a range of functions to help you solve problems on hybrid and conventional vehicles. Secondly, it has a durable casing that will hold up to any abuse in your auto shop.


Its interior is built with the same sturdiness with a tongue and groove arrangement that protects it from explosions and water ingress. Additionally, its display shows 4.5 digits before rounding off to the next number. As such, if the reading is 19, it will display 19.999Ω before changing to 20.00Ω.


Its continuity checker is also very responsive, assuring you of accurate readings. Fluke 88V also boasts an excellent safety rating of 4; thus can measure the load and supply of up to three-phase systems safely. What’s more, it is equipped with a surge protection feature in the 8kV range.


Product Highlights


  • Auto and manual ranging
  • Performs pulse width measurements in milliseconds
  • Measures capacitance and frequency
  • Measures up to 20 A current within 30 seconds
  • Measures up to 1000 V AC and DC
  • Frequency of up to 200 kHz
  • RPM measurements
  • Has an input jack alert


What I Like

Being an auto-engineer, I found its vast amperage scope pretty useful. Fluke 88V can handle 10A continuous in AC and DC up to 20A within 30 seconds. It provides these measurements pretty fast and with a high level of accuracy.


What I Don’t Like

A notable feature that lacks on the Fluke 88V is the True RMS-capability. It made it impossible to measure current signals and AC voltage accurately.


​​1. ​Fluke 88V 1000V Automotive Multimeter​

What We Like

  • ​High-resolution screen
  • ​Provides micro-amps range
  • ​Battery lasts long
  • ​Separate compartment for the battery
  • ​Has CATIV rating

What We Don't Like

  • ​Pricey
  • ​Extremely bulky


​2. Power Probe IV Digital Multimeter

Power Probe IV w/Case & Acc - Red (PP401AS) [Car Diagnostic Test Tool Digital Volt Meter ACDC Current Resistance Circuit Tester Fuel Injector Tester]

If you don’t like the Fluke 80 series, opt for this fourth-gen digital multimeter from Power Probe. The device is powered by 12 and 24 DVC electrical systems and has up to eight testing modes. It has a bright LCD interface that displays lots of information. For example, if using the frequency mode, you will observe the current frequency and the positive and negative pulse widths helpful when determining the performance of the system.


Its default mode is the VDC mode, which supplies battery power of 12-24 volt power. The mode has a high sampling rate, which is suitable for conducting tests where professionals are looking for deviations or glitches from the primary signal. This mode measures up to 200VDC safely.


The multimeter comes in a hard casing that makes it easy to store and carry around. Additionally, when used with ECT 2000, it helps diagnose problems in open circuits in wiring. Being an upgrade from the previous Power Probe III, its voltmeter reads to hundredths of a volt.


Product Highlights


  • Measures AC/DC voltage
  • Digital volt testing
  • Circuit testing
  • Fuel injector testing
  • AC peak to Peak testing
  • AC-RMS testing
  • Frequency and pulse width for signal testing


What I Like

I loved its LED work light function that made it easy to illuminate the working area. Its auto-resetting feature located under the black cover also came in handy. It ensured all the data collected was still accessible even after a few minutes of not using the device.


What I Don’t Like

I found the device a little pricey. The auto-ranging feature also took time to power up.


​2. ​Power Probe IV Digital Multimeter

What We Like

  • ​A range of functions
  • ​Compact build
  • ​Great lead quality
  • ​​On/off switch with power indicator light
  • ​​Budget-friendly
  • ​​Up to one-year manufacturer warranty

What We Don't Like

  • ​Slow auto-ranging feature
  • ​Inaccessible battery compartment


​3. Innova 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter

INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter (10 MegOhm/UL)

Unlike other multimeters designed for electrical and automotive applications, Innova 3340 is specially designed for automobiles. It diagnoses a range of engine problems, making it a perfect everyday device for auto engineers. The tool is pretty versatile, testing a variety of components, including the duty cycle, breaker points, wiring, alternator diodes, and switches.


What’s more, it allows users to save data for future reference. The MIN/MAX and Hold buttons will enable you to store information from the tests performed so you don’t have to re-test the components. Innova 3340 multimeter also has an auto-ranging feature that provides the range of value for a particular electrical problem. As such, I don’t have to deal with preset intervals typical of other multimeters.


Product Highlights


  • Measures temperature
  • Tests solenoids and alternator diodes
  • Measures the current up to 15 amps
  • Has MIN/MAX recording
  • Measures inductive RPM pickup and vehicle RPM


What I Like

I loved that I could operate the device in different ways. Apart from its handheld design, it comes with a wrist wrap as well as a stand for hands-free use. I also loved the fact that it has a 10 MegOhm circuitry that ensured the engine control unit did not get damaged when testing the engine for problems.


What I Don’t Like

I didn’t like the fact that it lacked a backlight on the screen display. Its readings also fluctuated when the device sat idle.


​3. ​Innova 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter

What We Like

  • ​An excellent set of auto/car test settings
  • ​Hands-free testing
  • ​Accurate functions
  • ​Saves data
  • ​Clear display

What We Don't Like

  • ​The screen does not have a backlight


4. AstroAI Digital Multimeter

AstroAI Digital Multimeter, TRMS 6000 Counts Volt Meter Manual Auto Ranging; Measures Voltage Tester, Current, Resistance; Tests Diodes, Transistors, Temperature

This versatile device is ideal for measuring the temperature, current, resistance, continuity, voltage, and temperature. It has an auto-ranging feature and True RMS for measuring AC and DC voltage. Also, its DMM is easy to use as it is equipped with a large LCD screen for displaying data. It also has a data hold function and an auto shut-off feature.


The device also comes with a hanging magnet and a kickstand that keeps your device stable during use. Astrol digital multimeter has a double-protection feature that keeps the device protected from overload.


Product Highlights


  • Tests for current, voltage, capacitance and frequency
  • Has auto-ranging capabilities
  • True RMS for AC Current and Voltage test
  • Auto shut-off feature
  • Large LCD backlit screen
  • Built-in F10A/600V and F400mA/600V explosion-proof ceramic fuse tubes


What I Like

I found the device pretty easy to use. It is easy to understand its functions, making it the go-to gadget by inexperienced auto engineers. Also, the machine didn’t run out of charge in the middle of tests thanks to the low-bat indicator.


What I Don’t Like

I found it a little delicate compared to other devices I had used. Even one drop affects most of its functions.


​4. ​AstroAI Digital Multimeter

What We Like

  • ​Has a dual fuse protection feature
  • ​Performs a range of test
  • ​Has an LED backlight

What We Don't Like

  • ​Has an annoying beeping sound for each action taken


5. Amprobe AM-530 Multimeter

Amprobe AM-530 TRMS Electrical Contractor Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage Detector and Temperature

If shopping on a budget, then the Amprobe AM-530 makes a good buy. The device has all the essential checks and additional features, a bonus for this price range. First, the multimeter has auto and manual settings. The auto option makes it easy for beginners to learn about the automotive electrical system, while the manual feature is excellent for professionals looking for fast responses.


The most prominent feature about the device is the VoltSense non-contact detector. The setting allows you to check if there is power in cable runs in switches, socket outlets, and interior walls without exposing the wires. It eliminates the need to buy a separate tester stick to execute this function.


Additionally, the device has a wide temperature range, with the capacitance range getting down to 40nF and resistance of up to 40MΩ. The multimeter is also equipped with a True RMS feature that guarantees accurate measurements when measuring the amps on irregular inputs.


Its type K thermocouple probe also comes in handy. When plugged into the main jack sockets of the device, it measures temperatures from -40F to 1832F, a pretty vast range for multimeter of this price range.


Product Highlights


  • Diode test
  • True RMS
  • Loud continuity checker
  • MIN/MAX setting for fluctuations
  • Non-contact volts sensor
  • Bar graph display
  • Backlight
  • Safety ratings of CAT II(up to 1000V) and CAT IV (up to 600V)
  • Auto-ranging and manual ranging settings


What I Like

The Amprobe AM-530 is the clearest multimeter I have used for this price range. Its 4000-count display is clear and well-spaced, and its bar graph pretty responsive. I also found the tolerances on the enclosure rather tight, leaving pretty small gaps. Additionally, the square-edged kickstand came in handy when using one hand on a bench.


What I Don’t Like

I was somewhat concerned about its slow auto-ranging time, which made it difficult to achieve accurate readings.


​5. ​Amprobe AM-530 Multimeter

What We Like

  • ​Lots of features for its price range
  • ​Measures AC/DC amps and micro-amps
  • ​Voltage detection
  • ​Automatic power shut-off

What We Don't Like

  • ​The auto-ranging feature is rather slow
  • ​Slow capacitance response time
  • ​The backlight remains lit for 25 seconds only


​'Automotive Multimeter' Buyer’s Guide


Automotive multimeters have three uses:


  • To test continuity: it informs the user whether parts of the vehicle are continuous and whether electrical current flows from one end to another. If the parts have continuity, then there is a break on the circuit, and the part should be replaced
  • Measure resistance: The multimeter measures the resistance of sensors, fuses, and ignition coils, among other car parts. The feature helps determine if a part like the headlight should be replaced
  • Measure voltage: Adequate voltage powers car parts like the speaker system

As such, you need to find a multimeter that has these essential functions and additional features that help diagnose electrical problems within seconds. Here are crucial features to look for when buying the device:


Voltage Limitations

The best multimeter should have a high voltage to allow you to work with violent circuits. High-end capacity multimeters have capacities of up to 6000 volts, but for automotive purposes, devices with 12-24 volts should suffice.


Display

The LCD is a major selling point for an automotive multimeter. The screen should be large, bright, have a backlight feature, and be easy to read. You also need to look for additional features like the freeze feature when recording data. Experts explain that the display size of the device determines how accurate the product is, i.e., the number of decimal points represented.


Cables

When working in an auto shop, you want a device; you can drag around when collecting data from different vehicles. As such, cables are a handy feature for any automotive multimeter. It should be long enough to meet your requirements without getting in the way.


Also, find out if the cables are replaceable in case of a malfunction, break, or kink. You don’t want to start shopping for a new multimeter because the cable is not working.


Ranging

Do you want a device with an auto-ranging feature or a manual mode? Auto-ranging meters provide the exact value and quantity of the metric being measured automatically.


Safety Rating

The location and type of use determine the rating of the device. Auto engineers using the tool in highly sensitive areas, e.g., production lines, should buy an equipment with a sturdy casing and with a high CAT rating. CAT-IV is the highest rating, which is around 600V AC hence the safest.


Quantities

Identify the metrics the device can measure. If looking for a device that measures temperature, buy a tool with a thermocouple feature. Also, look at the maximum ranges. If looking for devices that measure voltages above 1000V, pro versions like the Fluke 88V and Power Probe IV are ideal.


Ability to Measure AC and DC voltages, and Ohms

Most products run on DC voltage; however, it is essential to look for a product that supports AC voltage as well. Lack of this feature results in poor readings for your tests. The device should also measure ohms. Most multimeters only perform simple continuity tests instead of measuring ohms.


Additional Considerations

Mounting device: Most automotive multimeters have a square design that makes it easy to store. However, when on the job site and want to do readings, it is crucial to have an extra hand to hold up the screen. As such, a device that comes with a mounting device comes in handy.


Frequency of use: If you are a professional auto engineer, you are likely to use the device frequently compared to a hobbyist. Thus, you should consider investing in an expensive device equipped with a range of functional features

Portability: Consider how you want to store the device. If you are working in an auto shop that does not have a designated space for a multimeter, purchase a device that comes with a carrying case. It should be lightweight and portable.


FAQs


(Q) What Does an Automotive Multimeter Measure?


(A) The device is equipped to measure and test AC/DC, car battery, electrical systems, duty cycles, and temperature readings. Each model has different functions depending on the price, model, brand, and capabilities.


(Q) Can I Use an Automotive Multimeter on an Electric Car?


(A) Electric vehicles use powerful batteries; hence, it is not ideal to use an automotive multimeter on an electric car. Only certified mechanics can work on them.


(Q) Why is UL Certification Useful?


(A) UL is an acronym for Underwriter Laboratories. Products with this certification have gone through rigorous tests hence safe for use.


(Q) How do I Measure the Current if the Meter uses Different Ranges?


(A) Multimeters have two ranges for current measurement: the mA range usually used for low current measurements and the A range for measuring high current. Be sure to check the rating to determine if the meter can withstand continuous analysis of changes in high flow.


(Q) Can I Replace a Blown Fuse?


(A) Manufacturers have strict rules regarding the enclosure of a meter. However, if the device has a blown fuse, you can replace it with a new one of a similar brand. You must switch off the meter before opening the back cover.


Conclusion

​This guide should help you make an informed buying decision. Fluke 88V is our best pick as it has a vast range of features any professional auto engineers will find useful. The average hobbyist will find the Astrol Digital multimeter a good buy while a serious DIYer looking for a budget-friendly device should find the Amprobe AM-530 multimeter a good buy.



About the Author Dan

Just a random guy who likes to build things. Providing tool knowledge, appliance/device testing tips, and DIY project info in an easy-to read & non-intimidating style.

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