How to Choose and Where to Find the Best Digital Multimeter
When searching for a quality digital multimeter, you will find that there are many aspects you need to keep track of. It can be a bit confusing in fact, especially when you see how many different brands there are and when you look at all the features they offer.
It all comes down to one thing, though: what do you really need to do with your multimeter? Are you just looking for a compact device that can help you with some of the most common problems found in simple electronic circuits? Do you want more functions or a cheaper gadget that will go easy on your wallet? Once you answer some of these questions, you may be able to narrow down your search, and actually find some of the best offers on the market.
What Do You Need a Digital Multimeter For?
There are four basic types of digital multimeters you may choose from, depending on what you want them to do:
- Compact devices – with these types of multimeters, you can get all your most essential features, and keep on the move easily. If you want to offer your clients quality field service and fix their electronic gadgets fast, a compact multimeter is the perfect choice for you.
- General purpose multimeters – these are usually for everyday use, being able to offer accurate readings. General purpose multimeters are perfect for electric troubleshooting and maintenance.
- Digital multimeters for special purposes – a special digital multimeter really takes everything to the next level. It can come with a wide range of choices, making sure that you can achieve almost everything with it. Usually, special multimeters are used in harsh industrial environments, as many of them are waterproof and can be great in explosive environments. Apart from common measurements, they can also be used to test alternator diodes, switches or solenoids.
- Advanced varieties – if you are interested in a multimeter that can handle just about everything you throw at it, you will need to search for some of the most advanced (and often most expensive) digital multimeters on the market. These can show even graphs and detailed data analysis on screen to track down intermittent problems, and they are generally used for solving serious issues in the case of industrial loads or highly advanced electronic equipment.
All of these devices have their own specific features and have certain capabilities that you may or may not need. You’ll have to check these out, if you want a digital multimeter that can help you get all your precision work done no time.
Features and Capabilities
When it comes to the features that come with digital multimeters, the first thing you need to know is that they are about 5% more accurate than the analog ones. This is a great asset, especially when you want to do some real precision work.
For the most common tasks (unless you have to work in a dangerous industrial environment), you will, usually need either a compact or general purpose multimeter.
The most basic features of these devices are their LCD screens. You will always have to be careful to get a meter that has good screen quality, as sometimes you might need to take precise measurements in a place where it’s hard to see anything, and ironically, that’s usually when you will want all the values to be perfectly visible.
When it comes to measuring different values, even some of the most common multimeters will help you get a good reading on AC or DC voltages, as well as the integrity of cables, motors, batteries, different components such as resistors or capacitors or even to get a clear measurement for db ratings.
If you want more, you can also get a digital multimeter with more advanced features to be able to measure temperature, pulse or duty cycles. It may not be as cheap as a common multimeter, but at least you’ll get what you need.
Lastly, if you have to work with larger values, like in the case of measuring high energy spikes, make sure your multimeter won’t burn out at the first use. In some cases, you may need a specialty or advanced multimeter, since safety is more than important when it comes to that.
Where to Look for the Best Devices
Nowadays, every large manufacturing company has a website, so before you go searching for a digital multimeter in your local shops, you may want to check out some of the online prices first. Chances are you will find a much better offer.
Once you write a list of all the features you want your new multimeter to have, it will be very easy to search for them on the internet and compare some of the prices that different online shops will show you.
Comparing prices is very important, as sometimes you may find exactly the same model at a lower cost in one place, when you were almost ready to buy it for 30 or 40 % more from another online shop.
Try not to choose the cheapest device, though, and have a little patience to read a few descriptions and reviews, since not everything available for sale on the internet can live up to the most demanding expectations.
It may take a few days for your digital multimeter to arrive if you order one online, but unless your TV broke and you really need to fix it to catch your favorite show, shopping online can often be much better than getting an expensive (and possibly low quality) product from your local electronics store.
If you make informed choices about getting a new digital multimeter, you will be able to enjoy the gadget for a long time to come and you will never have any issues with quality or accuracy; so consider all the options carefully, and choose your new multimeter wisely.