Don’t Be The Looser – 5 Tips To Avoid Low-Quality Multimeter

For electronic technicians, electronics hobbyists or people who want to take their electronic troubleshooting matters into their own, a multimeter is an indispensable item. It serves as a sort of an all-purpose meter as it can detect the presence and magnitude of current and voltage, measure resistance, and identify the electrical range of an electronic component. In this article, we will discuss 5 tips to avoid low-quality multimeters so that you don’t waste your money on an incompetent machine.

WHY EVERY HOUSEHOLD SHOULD HAVE A MULTIMETER?

Electronics is not everyone’s cup of tea, and neither can everyone resolve electrical problems around their houses without professional help. So, unless you are an electronics enthusiast or an electric technician, why bother buying a multimeter? You should have a multimeter because it’s as essential as a tool as a screwdriver and a ranch. You would need one to perform the most basic home improvement tasks and other maintenance routines. Need to test your car batteries? You’d need a multimeter. Is your air-conditioner not working on a hot sunny day? It could be just a bad fuse that you could detect with a multimeter. Having a multimeter and knowing how to use it will come in handy for anyone who has electric appliances at home. It will save you a lot of hassle, time, and money.

Don’t Be The Looser – 5 Tips To Avoid Low-Quality Multimeter

1. PICK A METER WITH AUTO-RANGING

Choose a multimeter that has auto-ranging feature. Autoranging means the meter will calibrate the necessary values on its own and you don’t have to input these figures manually. With the electrical ranges automatically determined by the MM, you can take your measurements without any hesitation knowing the risks of voltage and current overload are non-existent. In case of manual ranging, you would have to preset the meter every time you attempt to measure a component. Let’s say; you need to measure a resistor with your multimeter. You don’t know at what values you should be gearing up your MM since you are not familiar with resistor color codes. Autoranging MMs will do the calibration for you. If you insist on manual ranging, you can always turn off the auto-ranging option, but it’s always good to have options, right?

2. LOOK FOR THESE PARAMETERS WHEN YOU BUY A MULTIMETER

At its simplest form, a multimeter should be able to carry out three operations-1)measure current 2) measure voltage and 3)measure resistance. Be sure that your multimeter can execute these three tasks effortlessly. On top of these, also look out for diode mode, continuity, and backlight features. For measurement, you need to make sure that the multimeter can measure a minimum voltage of 50mV (1000V max.) and current of 20mA (20A max.). In terms of resistance, resistors commonly range between 1 ohm and 1 megaohm. So, your multimeter should be able to measure these levels of resistance as well.

3. CHECK THE ACCURACY LEVELS

The generational leap to digital from analog has resulted in an overall increase in multimeter accuracy. That said, not every multimeter is going to give you a precisely accurate readout. Manufacturing faults, low-cost parts, user incompetency- you can’t single out a specific reason to blame for this. But unfortunately, accuracy doesn’t come cheap. If you are a professional, you should not have second thoughts over buying an expensive yet error-free device. For part-time purposes, however, you can manage with MMs that won’t give pin-point outputs. Of course, you wouldn’t want something that would throw you way off the mark so, look for a low tolerance MM that won’t break the bank.

4. MAKE SURE IT’S SAFE

Safety has to be a key factor when you are shopping for a multimeter, especially if you are to be dealing with 40V+ on a regular basis. Cheap design and build could result in an instant explosion in the event of an overload. Internal blast shields, shrouded probes, finger guards, and fuses will lower the risk of a horrendous accident. It will cost you some extra dough, but considering the safety, it won’t hurt loosening the purse strings.

5. DON’T IGNORE INPUT IMPEDANCE

The input impedance can be defined as the ratio of voltage and current across the input terminals of a circuitry. Higher input impedance allows us to minimize voltage drop while transferring voltage from source to another point. That means high input impedance results in high current sensitivity. A minimum input impedance of 10 megaohms is recommended while you buy a multimeter as it would give you more accurate results.

So, these were our 5 tips to avoid low-quality multimeters. If you like the article, please share it with your friends on social media. We’d also love to hear your feedback on the comment section.

Spencer Hutt
 

Product reviewer & passionate blogger. Beside writing for this blog, I spend my time crafting research based contents for HuffingtonPost, Lifehacker & Forbes!

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