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I have a cheap multimeter that is failing. I used it primarily for making headphones and audio things. But now I own a house and have been doing almost everything myself. I'd like to get as nice of a multimeter for a decent price as possible, but I'm having trouble choosing. I want the most features possible

I'd really like an amp clamp but I also want fine electronics sensitivity and whatnot. I can't seem to find one that does everything. Temperature would be awesome, but more seem to top out at 10A. I'd like to be able to test any A/C power things with my house and any home electronics devices as well.

Can anyone recommend anything in the $150 or less range?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Lowe's - Southwire multimeter with outlet tester and non voltage tester $25
Will that do all AC stuff without blowing a fuse? I was about to buy that specific one, because the guy there recommended it but it was out of stock. Lol

The listing on their site shows it as 10A. Does that mean if I'm testing the load on a circuit at my house that is 15A it can't measure that?
 

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Consider the Southwire Model # 21550T clamp meter at Lowe's also. It's more money but does lots more... even DC current. Has no contact feature also. It makes me want to throw my old trusty Amprobe away so I can justify getting one.

SD2
 

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Consider the Southwire Model # 21550T clamp meter at Lowe's also. It's more money but does lots more... even DC current. Has no contact feature also. It makes me want to throw my old trusty Amprobe away so I can justify getting one.

SD2
That appears to be discontinued...
 

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I can't seem to find one that does everything.

And I don't believe that you will. Look at any of the name brands of meters and you will find a lot of options, with not a single one that is the best choice for any given application. For "bench work", like the "headphones and audio things" you mentioned, it's probably hard to beat replacing the one you have with another "cheap multimeter". And they do fail by the way, anything from the internal workings of the meter itself to the copper inside the leads breaking down and becoming less conductive or fraying where they are soldered at the ends. So they don't last forever and fortunately are quite inexpensive today so just replace one when it is suspect. And, for these types of projects, I will personally take an analog meter over a digital any day, so, again, not a bad way to go. For say automotive work, or chasing an electrical problem on a lawn mower, there are times that this same meter is the way to go, like checking the resistance on a suspect coil, but otherwise I usually start out with a simple 12 volt tester that has a probe on one end and an alligator clip on the other, as well as a similar one for checking continuity. For house wiring though, you're not usually working at a bench, the leads on an inexpensive multimeter generally are not as durable, and analogs are a bit harder to work with in cramped spaces, plus a tone is often handy, so now you're probably looking at a heavier GB, Southwire, Fluke, or whatever. You mentioned amps, and I think you would find that the ones you have seen are likely DC amps. For AC, you'd be looking at a clamp-on. And if you're thinking that you would check the current draw on your microwave, refrigerator, or whatever, you would also need a line separator because a clamp-on on a 110 volt line is going to read zero. But frankly, unless you just want to play, there is little if any need for reading amps in a home. If you are concerned that too many appliances and/or devices are on a given circuit, first off, then there probably are, and secondly you know that it's not above the 15 or 20 amp rating on the breaker. And if you did have a problem with a breaker tripping, it's a simple matter of adding up the current ratings for the affected devices.
 

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Personally, I would stay away from Southwire...in my experience they are junk. My feeling is this....Southwire’s bread and butter is wire, then they started putting their names on tools and such. When dealing with electricity I would not jeopardize my safety using something made by who knows who with a known companies name plastered on it. Same applies to Klein tools meters or Milwaukee tools meters, Craftsman, etc. One of them very well may be suitable for you needs and last forever. However, my advise would be to spend a little more on a quality Fluke made by a company that specializes in electrical meters. A Fluke 323 clamp can be had for about $100 bucks and will likely take care of most of your needs. For $80 more you can get a 323/117 combo that surely will. Just my 1.5 cents.
 

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Did you ever make a decision on what to get?
A meter isn’t something to skimp on. You’ll want something that can do most tasks around your home. Amp draw, capacitance, AC/DC voltage, resistance, and temperature are baseline abilities.
The poster above suggested the Fluke kit, I actually use the 116/323 combo kit professionally. That kit is around 7 years old and if it died I’d buy another one without hesitation.
 

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I am tempted but the new Harbor Freight Ames meter.
DM1000 Electrician's HVAC Contractor TRMS Multimeter $70

Has all the functions needed for electrical work and I like the low z (impedence) function that elimenates ghost voltage that bug high impedence digital meters.




Sent from my RCT6A03W13E using Tapatalk
 

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Personally, I would stay away from Southwire...in my experience they are junk.
Agreed.

A meter isn’t something to skimp on. You’ll want something that can do most tasks around your home. Amp draw, capacitance, AC/DC voltage, resistance, and temperature are baseline abilities.
Agreed.

The poster above suggested the Fluke kit, I actually use the 116/323 combo kit professionally. That kit is around 7 years old and if it died I’d buy another one without hesitation.
I've had my Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter for 8-1/2 years. It hasn't seen a lot of use, but, when I do use it I know I can trust it.

I've been doing electrical/electronics/radio/computer stuff, both professionally and as a hobbyist/DIY'er, for over 50 years.
 

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I am tempted but the new Harbor Freight Ames meter.
DM1000 Electrician's HVAC Contractor TRMS Multimeter $70

Has all the functions needed for electrical work and I like the low z (impedence) function that elimenates ghost voltage that bug high impedence digital meters.




Sent from my RCT6A03W13E using Tapatalk
Not sure I’d trust a cheap Harbor Freight meter testing something that can kill me.
At a minimum you should have 2 testing devices to verify the circuit is dead. This is a requirement for some of our industrial sites, from everything from low voltage 24V circuits to 480V line circuits.
It may seem silly and overkill for residential duty, but as someone that’s been hit and seen others get really hurt, you can never be too safe.
I was on a site one time and an electrician took 115V across the chest, in one hand and out the other. Really messed him up, the life flight helicopter had to come get him.
 

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I've had my Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter for 8-1/2 years. It hasn't seen a lot of use, but, when I do use it I know I can trust it.

I've been doing electrical/electronics/radio/computer stuff, both professionally and as a hobbyist/DIY'er, for over 50 years.
Agreed, Fluke is top deck stuff and worth the money if you need accuracy and reliability.

I'm evidently older than you so my trail goes back to VTVM's and single trace scopes. When Tektronix got popular and I needed a wide bandwidth dual trace unit, I gulped but went ahead and paid their hell for high price. It was worth it! It enabled me to fix the "dogs" that others gave up on and brought to me. They never parked in front of my shop so their customers wouldn't see who actually fixed their equipment. :smile:

Having retired now, I use a $10 multimeter for most DIY jobs. I still have my old trusty Amprobe but rarely use it. I gave the bulk of my equipment to a young friend wanting to get started in the business.

My point is, buy whatever quality and accuracy fits your needs and learn how to use it properly.
 

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Agreed, Fluke is top deck stuff and worth the money if you need accuracy and reliability.

I'm evidently older than you so my trail goes back to VTVM's and single trace scopes.
Possibly :). I used VTVMs and other test gear with nixie tubes for displays, single-trace o'scopes, etc.

This was my third good personal multimeter. My first good DMM was a Beckman. That died after about thirty (?) years of use. My first multimeter, an analog which I still have and still works, was an RCA.
 

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The listing on their site shows it as 10A. Does that mean if I'm testing the load on a circuit at my house that is 15A it can't measure that?
You need to read the specs more carefully. That meter is DC amps only.
Most houses are AC, with little to no DC.

If you want AC at 120-240v, it's best to use a clamp meter. It's safer that way.

If the load you are try to measure is cord connected, you will also need a line splitter.
 

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I have a couple of the cheap HF meters, bought with coupons. The box seems solid but the probes are the weak spot. After not-much use the wires come out of the probes, and the wires were crimped onto the metal and then the plastic was injection molded around it, so I don't see how it can be fixed.

Probes are often the weak spot on meters.
 

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i have been very happy w/ this amp meter from Greenlee (after trying several others). Greenlee has several models to pick from. i use it mostly for measuring current and it has a record feature for when the compressor kicks in which may be otherwise hard to catch. you can put it on, hit record come back later and all the info you need is there. it has 2 amp reading features, tiny little indent in top of the inside of the clamp for a single wire or the full meter for something bigger.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...oJp0U8lBy.aATSM8zLmDg&slotNum=0&ie=UTF8&psc=1

also as mentioned if you are trying to do anything with a multi cord, like a frig you will need this: https://www.amazon.com/Extech-48017...ords=line+splitter&qid=1579799513&s=hi&sr=1-5
 

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I just bought a used Fluke 87 V to replace my Fluke 77 II that had been dropped one too many times. It still works but the case is cracked in several places and I was fortunate enough to see this one come up for sale. It'll do most of the things you mentioned but it doesn't have amp clamp. I use mine for everything from guitar, amp and electronics repair to home and auto repair. The 77 II is 33 years old, if the 87 lasts that long I'll probably be too old to be using it!
 

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If you want AC at 120-240v, it's best to use a clamp meter.
A clamp meter measures amperage, not voltage.
That being said, most of those meters come with leads to allow you to measure voltage and resistance.
But the clamp is only for amperage.
 
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