A digital multimeter is a must-have in every toolkit, whether to check for a broken circuit or test batteries. However, with so many choices available, it’s challenging to determine which budget digital multimeter is worth your money. But, we’ve done the research, so you do not have to!
Easy to use and light on the pocket, our list of the best affordable digital multimeters will help you select the right tool for the job without making unnecessary costly purchases. Read on to discover our top picks for the best budget multimeters.
5 Best Budget Digital Multimeters
Electricians and DIYers alike rely on an accurate multimeter to test continuity and identify various problems with broken appliances.
Over time, digital devices have surpassed analog multimeters in popularity due to their ease of use. But, some people believe that cheap digital multimeters cannot rival their expensive counterparts in terms of features, accurate readings, and longevity. While this claim may have some truth, the proper research can get you a good quality cheap multimeters without breaking the bank, and that’s precisely what we have done here.
Here are the five best budget digital multimeters that do not compromise quality.
The first digital budget multimeter on our list is the Fluke 115. With its rugged design and advanced features, this digital multimeter can serve professionals and beginners.
Fluke multimeters are synonymous with durability. Thus, even though this model is a little more expensive than some other options below, its 9V battery, 4mm good quality silicone test leads, and True-RMS 6000 count resolution accurate readings make it worth the money. Moreover, it comes with a calibration certificate. So, even though you may pay a higher price than other options on this list, you get a lot more than basic functions with excellent measurement accuracy.
You can use the HVAC multimeter to measure a maximum of 600V AC/DC voltage and AC/DC current up to 10 mA. You can also test continuity, resistance, frequency, and capacitance. The Fluke 115 digital multimeter has a CAT III 600V safety rating, with essential safety features such as 20A overload protection and internal blast shields.
Another advantage of owning this device is that it is an auto-ranging multimeter. Furthermore, its large display is backlit, making it functional in low-light conditions. But unfortunately, the backlight does not stay on for as long as we’d like.
- Easy functionality with proper markings
- CAT III 600V rated
- Calibration certificate included
- Auto-ranging digital multimeter
- Compact and accurate
- True RMS AC voltage and current reading
- The backlit display turns off quickly
If you are really tight on budget, nothing beats the Innova 3320 as the best multimeter under $50. In addition, its safety and accuracy have been certified by Underwriter Laboratories, making it an easy-to-use device to resolve various electrical issues.
This is one of the best budget multimeters with auto-ranging scales, a single-setting resistance function for AC/DC voltage, a high input impedance (10 MegOhm), and an auto-power off option. And you can do much more than just measure voltage with this device. It also allows you to conduct a diode and continuity test.
Despite being what many may call a cheap multimeter, the Innova 3320 has certain endearing features, such as a built-in stand and wrist bands for hands-free usage, protective rubber guards for the corners, and color-coded LED display. Moreover, the display is big enough to read measurements easily despite its small size.
But, we’ll be honest – is it the best multimeter out there? No, there are many with better features and quality. But, for its price, not many budget multimeters will match its ease of use and accuracy for household use.
- Easy to use and carry
- Accurate measurements
- Color-coded LED display for easy reading
- Auto power-off function
- UL certified
- Flimsy test leads
- Not the best choice for industrial use
Our next pick for affordable multimeters is the Neoteck Pocket 8233D. If you are a newbie to using such devices, this is the best cheap pocket multimeter option on the market. Not only is this a low-cost multimeter that provides accurate measurements of AC/DC voltage, but there is also so much more you can do with it than just test voltage.
From measuring AC/DC current to resistance to diode test, the Neoteck auto range multimeter can do it all. You can also perform a continuity test with this device, with a powerful buzzer sound. This affordable multimeter also has a low battery indicator, so you are never at the risk of running out of power mid-reading.
Its auto-voltage range setting comes in handy for homebodies who do not use such devices frequently. Moreover, it also allows for hands-free function with its built-in stand.
- Data hold function
- Backlit digital display
- Good quality testing probes and alligator clip leads
- Overcurrent protection
- Loud continuity test buzzer
- Have to rely on online tutorials to understand functions
- Does not measure temperature
In our quest for the best budget multimeter, we can not forget to mention the AstroAI TRMS 6000 Counts Digital Multimeter. Sure, there may be a better digital multimeter on the more expensive side, but you cannot beat the quality and functionality of this device for the price.
This versatile budget multimeter has everything you expect from a good quality multimeter and more. There isn’t much this device misses, from measuring voltage to current (both AC and DC), duty cycle, resistance, continuity, capacity, reliable frequency measurements, and more.
Moreover, you can use this as an auto-ranging multimeter or select the manual ranging option as per your choice. The large LCD screen with backlight display and True RMS reading for both AC current and voltage makes it a prominent candidate for the best budget multimeter available today.
Some other features that we love are the kickstand and hanging magnet for easy testing and the auto shut-off function for battery conservation. It also has explosion-proof fuses for high voltage protection for all ranges. So, if you are on the hunt for the best digital multimeter under $50, keep the AstroAI multimeter in your mind.
- Ease of use with a comprehensive testing range
- Explosion-proof tubes and CAT III 600V safety-rated
- Low battery indication
- Auto power-off
- Data hold function
- The screen display can be blurry
- A hanging magnet, while helpful, can attract all sorts of objects such as staples and pins
Another affordable yet multi-ranging choice on our list is the Klein Tools MM400. When researching the best electrical multimeter on a budget, you will see this name pop up a lot – there’s a good reason for that!
For under $100, you can not only test for AC/DC voltage but AC/DC current, resistance, frequency, duty cycle, temperature, diodes, capacitance, and continuity. Moreover, its sturdy build makes it safe to endure falls from 3.3 feet.
Despite being lightweight with excellent functions, this Klein Tools device has a CAT III 600V safety rating, earning itself a big thumbs up from us. In addition, this auto-ranging digital multimeter has a built-in stand, a data hold function, low battery indication, and a thermocouple with adapter and test leads.
The only downside we found was that even though a manual accompanies the product, it can be a little hard to follow for beginners. Another point to note is that the device defaults to AC, and there is no way to change this setting. Thus, if you work with DC electronics, you may find this an inconvenience.
- Auto-ranging function
- Large LCD display
- CAT III 600V safety rating
- Temperature measurement
- Sturdy build can withstand falls
- Excellent functionality
- Manual instructions are hard to follow
- Defaults to AC
Best Budget Multimeter: The Buying Guide
Now that you have gone through our best budget multimeter reviews, it is essential to learn what to look for in a reliable multimeter that can fit your needs. Several factors dictate which is the best cheap multimeter in a sea of such electrical devices, from functions to ease of use to price point.
While you can pick one of the many options for the best multimeters from our list above, it is prudent to analyze your needs before taking the plunge to buy an inexpensive multimeter suitable for you.
If you want reliable measurements, even the cheapest multimeter will cost around $30 to $50. The best option in this range will be better for small electrical components, usually found around the house rather than for industrial use. And, if that is your intended use (DIY projects and checking house appliances), then there’s no point splashing a lot of cash, so go for a basic multimeter.
Saying that there are multimeters that can cost you around $1000 too, so “affordable price” can also differ (say from $50 to $250) based on your need and experience. For example, a handy multimeter used by an electrical engineer would have different requirements than one used by an electronics hobbyist.
Moreover, a digital multimeter will have superior functionality to an analog multimeter. However, such electrical devices have multiple ranges with varied capabilities, which usually increase as your budget increases. So, the key is to find the right balance between your needs and how much you are willing to spend.
Accuracy and Safety Features
Accuracy is another feature to look for in the best multimeter. The good news is that most multimeters from reputable companies, even with an affordable price tag, will offer accurate results, primarily if you use the device around the house and not in a professional setting. For example, 0.5% DC voltage precision with 6000 checks is good enough and available with various low-cost multimeters.
While accuracy matters, safety is necessary too. When shopping for multimeters, you will find various CAT ratings. Simply put, the higher the rating, the more protection you will have. For example, a CAT III safety rating should be good when working with electrical supplies plugged directly into the power source or refrigeration systems unless you need an industrial-grade multimeter.
Moreover, some electrical multimeters also have no-contact features that provide an added layer of safety. Also, look for overload protection and cut-off functions for safe use.
Manual Vs. Auto Ranging
Multimeters can be auto-ranging and manual ranging. While a manual ranging model may present more accurate results, it’s only suitable for a seasoned user since you have entered the range yourself.
On the other hand, if you are a beginner, selecting a multimeter with an auto-ranging function can save you a lot of hassle since it will automatically detect what you are measuring.
There are other considerations to keep in mind apart from the most crucial ones mentioned above. For example, consider ease of use when buying a digital multimeter, especially if you are not a professional.
Besides that, durability is another important factor, so look for devices with rubber guards that can break the fall should the need arise. Some other cool features like temperature sensors and transistor testing can also play a pivotal role in choosing the multimeter best for you, depending on your type of use.
Various digital multimeter options on the market are not only reliable but also affordable. However, depending on how you wish to use the device, the decision to buy an accurate yet cheap multimeter can be daunting.
While all the multimeters on our list are excellent in their own rights, if we had to pick one for professional as well as home use, the Fluke 115’s quality and functionality are hard to beat. A close second (and a much cheaper alternative) is the Klein Tools MM400 multimeter for its excellent build and extensive functions at a fantastic price. Both of these (along with our three other picks) are excellent electrical multimeters that are safe to use and provide precise measurements, trusted by hobbyists and electricians alike.