What Kind of Multimeter do I Need?

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Sometimes things in your house, garage, or car start to function inappropriately or entirely stop functioning. Likely, with a multimeter, you can diagnose problems affecting your electronics. Usually, multimeters are used as diagnostic tools to help car owners, homeowners, as well as DIY enthusiasts, read and understand the type of energy their electrical devices are producing.

With a multimeter, you will be able to measure current, voltage, and resistance and use it to diagnose any electrical fault in your house, car, or garage. However, there are different types and designs of multimeters available in today’s market, which makes it challenging to choose the one that best suits you. Due to that, we shall discuss what kind of multimeter you need in this article.

Choosing the right multimeter

There are two categories of multimeter; analog multimeter and digital multimeter. When selecting a multimeter that will best suit your need, here are some essential aspect you should consider keeping in mind;

1. Analog multimeter vs. Digital multimeter

Analog multimeter

This multimeter uses classic analog dials for measuring current, voltage as well as resistance. These types of multimeters are more primitive and are not often used nowadays. However, some individuals argue that analog multimeters are more sensitive when compared to the digital multimeter and that they are loved by most.

After a small change in the DC voltage, the analog multimeter needle will deflect; this will affect the measurement accuracy, which is something that does not occur in a digital multimeter. When dealing with a circuit that has high sensitive measurement, using analog multimeter might be the best idea for you.

Digital multimeter

On the other hand, today’s world is dominated by the digital multimeter. These multimeters feature an LCD, a converter that converts analog to digital, a knob for selecting different ranges as well as inter circuitry, which is responsible for signal conditioning.

A digital multimeter is highly recommended; however, there are various models you will need to choose from. Therefore, you will have to filter down several options while keeping in mind essential factors while selecting a digital multimeter that will suit you best.

2. Price

Digital multimeter also abbreviated as DDM is available at various prices from $10 to $1500. This often is determined by the brand you choose and the features that come with the DDM. Usually, multimeters that are highly-priced tend to be more accurate as well as durable when compared to those affordable ones. Furthermore, a workbench digital multimeter is a bit more expensive compared to a digital handheld multimeter.

You should always assess how frequently you will be using the device and its features before making any purchase. If you will be using the tool occasionally, purchasing a digital multimeter that is lower priced will be best for you. However, if you plan to use the device frequently, it will be best to purchase a durable design, which is often the most expensive one.

3. Display counts

Display counts or the meter resolution is part of the scale, which is the smallest and is scale-dependent. This indicates how large a number can be displayed on the digital multimeter or the total digits that can be displayed by the meter. Usually, the higher the meter resolution or display counts, the better. It is best to compare multimeter using display counts of not less than 1,000.

4. Versatility in functionality as well as measurement

Usually, a basic digital multimeter is equipped with some standard features like measuring DC and AC currents, resistance, voltage as well as capacitance. Some digital multimeter offers various measurements such as battery test, diode test, transistor test, as well as continuity test, and other special functions.

These special functions include; auto range, RS-232 PC interface, analog bar graph, and true RMS, making them more useful than a regular digital multimeter. You should always assess the device’s user manual in order to review some of the functions features and choose a digital multimeter that will best suit your needs.

5. Safety

Whenever you are dealing with very high voltage, safety becomes your first priority. Due to that, you should always understand the type of digital multimeter you are using. It is best to choose a digital multimeter that crosses between a multimeter and a clamp meter in accordance with the amount of current that is going through a conductor.

6. Clamp meters

A clamp meter is an essential single-purpose test tool that is ideal for electricians; it combines a voltmeter and a clamp-type current meter. This device features an integrated transformer that is designed to measure current to the nearest tenth of a unit.

Unlike digital multimeters, clamp meters do not require connection to a circuit when measuring current. It operates by placing it on a live wire, and it will measure current without having to interrupt a circuit operation. Furthermore, they are perfect for electrical functions since they are capable of measuring large AC currents.

Why is owning a multimeter essential?

1. Spotting hot wires

In case of any electrical fault, it will be best to use a multimeter in assessing hot cables to help prevent any electrical accidents from occurring. With a multimeter, you will be able to recognize a live wire, whether you have any electrical knowledge or not.

2. Checking for faulty switches

The primary function of a multimeter is diagnosing electrical issues with the most ease. Therefore, the best way of testing for a faulty switch is by the use of a multimeter.

3. Sorting old light bulbs

This trick is ideal for use when working on simple incandescent bulbs. If you have many light bulbs, for instance, Christmas lights and you would like to sort out faulty bulbs, the best device for that work will be a multimeter.

Final verdict

Since there are different types of multimeters available in today’s market, the best way of choosing the most appropriate multimeter is by assessing the features present in the multimeter. This will help you choose a multimeter that will best suit your needs. However, the best multimeter for most individuals is a simple digital multimeter. As we come to a conclusion, we hope that this article will help you choose the right multimeter for your work.

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