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Old 02-07-2012, 11:14 AM   #1
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Comparable meter to the Fluke 336


I am looking for a meter to keep around the house. I keep a Fluke 336 at work which I love but they are pricey and lack features. Inrush, AC/DC amps and volts are most important. Curious if there are any other comparable brands I should look at that are pro grade?

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Old 02-07-2012, 01:57 PM   #2
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Comparable meter to the Fluke 336


I don't believe any other manufacturer matches Fluke for portable test equipment. Others may have similar functionality, and a few may have similar durability, but none are even close overall. I've owned two Fluke DMM's and have a Fluke 199C portable digital oscilloscope. That's close to $5000 worth of Flukage. One Fluke DMM got lost in Lake Champlain; the other (a 287) is my main piece of test equipment. I also have a whole bunch of random cheap DMM's that keep collecting for no reason - Extech, Velleman, Ideal, BK Precision, etc. They all work adequately, and together cost less than a tenth of what my two remaining Fluke tools are worth. If the extra money weren't a big deal, I'd definitely say to go with Fluke. If you were working on complex equipment in electrically challenging environments, like radio transmitters, then Fluke would be worth it. But if cost is a concern and you're working on building wiring, then Fluke just might not be worth the cost. IMO, Extech is the next best bet these days. Something like this http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/ex...ers/ma620k.htm will do most things, is CAT rated, and will be reasonably durable and reliable.

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Old 02-07-2012, 02:39 PM   #3
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Comparable meter to the Fluke 336


I think the feature I most want and spoiled on is inrush on the 336. It works really well and I use it near daily for motor load testing. I run some heavier stuff at home and like to test the same at home.

I too have looked at extech and have one of their power meters with 1p/3p kw, ac/dc 1000V, etc but I have found it a bit slow and not quite as accurate as it should be.

What really shocks me is my old Craftsman DMM is my go to meter for accurate voltage testing. More accurate than the 336. I use the 336 for higher voltage and motor work and leave low voltage circuits to the craftsman.
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:03 PM   #4
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Comparable meter to the Fluke 336


I am really happy with my Blue Point clamp meter that I got about ten years ago. Works great.
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:46 PM   #5
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Comparable meter to the Fluke 336


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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
They all work adequately, and together cost less than a tenth of what my two remaining Fluke tools are worth.
This kind of sounds like the differences between Fluke and the others will not show up on a price/performance graph.
How can Fluke demand, and get, these kinds of prices? Is it customer loyalty?
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:35 AM   #6
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Comparable meter to the Fluke 336


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
This kind of sounds like the differences between Fluke and the others will not show up on a price/performance graph.
How can Fluke demand, and get, these kinds of prices? Is it customer loyalty?
No, their performance is substantially better in my opinion. But once a tool meets the reasonable requirements for an application, making it better does not necessarily warrant paying a higher price. Fluke products seem to be much more physically durable than any of the competitors. They can be dropped from significant heights, immersed in water (even if not rated for it), and subjected to high temperatures without failure. The cases are thicker and the rubber padding does a better job.

For me, one of the biggest advantages of Fluke DMM's over Extech or B&K is that they are extremely resistant to RFI. I'm a ham radio operator and also build Tesla coils and work on large switching power supplies. All of those things require test equipment that can operate in very electrically noisy environments. Many DMM's will shut down or absolutely go crazy if used near a transmitting antenna, or if they get conducted RF noise through the probes like from a big switching power supply. My Fluke DMM has never done this, even in an RF field strong enough to physically destroy some electronic devices - almost equivalent to being in a microwave oven. My Scopemeter 199C is almost 10 years old and is still the top of the line portable DSO on the market, and still costs as much as when I bought it. I've never noticed it picking up interference except through the probe itself (which is unavoidable).

None of those things matter for building wiring. To me, the advantages of Fluke instruments are relevant only to professional users who need the durability, or electronics techs who need the performance. For everyone else, the extra money is probably not justified.

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