The Best Automotive Multimeters Reviews
If you are looking for the best automotive multimeter, you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we will review some of the best models on the market and give you a few tips on what to look for when choosing one. A multimeter is an essential tool for any mechanic, so it is important to choose one that is reliable and accurate.
The electrical system in cars has come a long way. Cars now have around 100 electronic control units that are controlled by over 1,500 copper wires. The wiring in cars today is also much longer and heavier than it used to be.
This new type of electrical architecture has many benefits, like better performance and functionality. But with these benefits comes a greater risk of electrical system breakdowns. These can be very hard to diagnose without the right equipment, even for a skilled technician.
This is why professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike spend time and money on selecting the best tool for the job – the automotive multimeter. This device is called a multitester or VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter). It is very helpful for accurate and timely electric/ electronic fault-diagnosis.
Innova 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter
The Innova automotive multimeter can be used to diagnose engine issues. This is important because it allows users of varying technical expertise to use it. Car owners can now detect and repair engine problems early on. This also helps car owners avoid car damage.
This product is the best value on the market. The Innova 3340, like other Innova multimeters, has 10 Mega Ohm Circuitry. They are therefore excellent at preventing electronic damage. This device allows for hands-free testing.
With test leads and holders. It also has a strap for easy putting on. UL certifies the product’s quality. The product comes with instructions in three languages: English, Spanish, and French.
The product works on circuits, fuses, wiring, and batteries. Professional features include a temperature probe and an inductive clamp for measuring RPM. It also has a storage pack.
Fluke 88V (88-5) 1000V Automotive Multimeter
This multimeter is more expensive. It has value-added features and some extras. It measures voltage, AC and DC, capacitance, resistance, and frequency. It has a built-in thermometer.
This device has two modes: manual and auto. Manual mode is for tech-savvy users. This device’s maximum resistance is 50 megaohms. With 1000 volts AC or DC measurement. This device also has an exceptional temperature probe. It can measure temperatures from -200°C to 1090°C and withstand dangerous spikes up to 8000 volts.
The product weighs 3 pounds and is easy to hold. There are the minimum and maximum recording features to save pole values. It’s easy to get a stable reading with the auto-hold feature.
Performance Tool W2972 Automotive Multimeter
An automotive multimeter, the Performance Tool W2972 can take standard electrical measurements. Top LCD screen with power and “HOLD” buttons below. The mode switch occupies the device’s center.
The device is easy to use and secure. The measuring probe connectors are at the bottom. The housing is made of tough plastic and protected by a rubberized shell. This protects it from low-hanging falls and mechanical damage.
This model has a tachometer, which is important. This tool measures the engine’s crankshaft speed. It can also be used to calculate ignition timing. Set the number of cylinders in your car. A digital car multimeter is used to measure the engine crankshaft speed (see also the CKP sensor). It is determined by how long the breaker remains open when the camshaft is turned.
This multimeter can test circuits, diodes, and transistors. “HOLD” keeps the measurement results on the screen for a while. Simply press the “HOLD” button again to turn it off.
OTC 3980 750 Series Automotive Multimeter
This device has a frequency duty cycle diode test enabled on it and other continuity tests. These are classified as higher cadre automotive tests, so it is nice to have them featured on an average product. Most other automotive-specific tests can also be carried out with this product, like temperature tests, pulse width tests, RPM dwell tests, and true RMS tests. OTC 3980 multimeter has a CAT III-1000V safety rating. This means that it is suitable for use even with hybrid cars.
The big-screen display is backlight-enabled for visibility at night. The device can also store a record of minimum and maximum readings for future reference. The product comes with a black case.
ESI 585K Deluxe Digital Automotive Multimeter
The ESI digital multimeter is a decent product for automotive use. It is cheap and has a high-quality rating. It has forty-five test ranges, fourteen test functions, and it operates a dual fuse system for better protection. Some of the tests that can be carried out using this multimeter include RPM for ignition systems, RPM pickup, and temperature probe. It has a 10 megaohms input impedance, and it comes with a built-in stand to aid with hands-free usage. This multimeter has two displays; an analog bar graph display and a digital display. Professionals who better appreciate old-school analog display meters may find this hybrid appealing.
AstroAI AM33D Digital Multimeter
This device is still a good value for the price. It has some unique features that other devices in this price range don’t have. It can be used by a lot of people for different things. It can measure electric and electronic data, and it can also troubleshoot electrical and electronic problems. It has a data hold feature so users can take stable measurements easily. They can also see the readings at night because the LCD is backlit.
The multimeter has a kickstand that enables users to use it hands-free. The rubber corner guards also help protect the multimeter if it falls. It is worth mentioning that this multimeter cannot test alternating current, even though it has other features. However, it does come with a year’s warranty. DIYers and beginner technicians can use the AstroAI multimeter for household outlets, vehicle battery and charging systems, vehicle circuits, fuses, and general use batteries.
When To Use An Automotive Multimeter
This equipment is called a multimeter. It is three meters rolled into one. The ammeter measures how much current is drawn, the voltmeter measures voltage, and the ohmmeter measures resistance.
The multimeter is versatile and can be used for a lot of different things, including:
- Validating continuity – This is usually done by measuring resistance. For example, verifying a good earth connection should typically return a reading of fewer than five ohms.
- Determining the potential energy available in an electrical storage device- For a car battery, this is done by measuring the voltage when the engine is off and all electrical systems are turned off. While there may be parasitic losses due to “always-on” systems, such as telematics and security, drawing current, the voltage should read approximately 12.6 volts at 25oCelsius.
- When a battery discharges while the car is parked, you need to measure how much power was lost from the parasitic losses. This could be because the battery has reached the end of its service life and can no longer hold a charge. Or it could be because something like a dome light was left on, a glove compartment switch is sticky, or the radio is drawing power. To find out which appliance is using the most electricity, you can use a multimeter to pinpoint any abnormal drain. Normally, appliances will use around 25mA-100mA of electricity, but if it’s more than that then you might have a problem that needs investigating.
To test the complex electrical systems in a modern car, you need a good automotive multimeter. This device can be identified by its features.
What To Consider To Buy The Best Automotive Multimeter
The first decision a potential buyer must make is between an analog and a digital multimeter:
1. Analog multimeters use a d’Arsonval meter to measure voltage, current, and resistance. They show the results on a printed background. The meter moves to show the readings. They are electro-mechanical devices that are small and show incremental variations in the readings in real time. You usually have to select the correct scale of display by rotating a dial.
2. Digital multimeters use a converter to turn the analog readings into digital numbers that show up on an LCD screen. There are two types of digital multimeters: auto-ranging and scalable. The difference between these is that:
- The auto-ranging digital meter is easy to operate because the user does not have to select the operating range.
- Unlike a manual multimeter, a digital multimeter will require you to choose the scale that is appropriate for the range you are measuring. If you do not choose the right scale, you could get inaccurate readings or even damage the meter.
Once you have decided on the basic architecture of the automotive multitester, you need to weigh up which device meets your needs best.
Not all multimeters can measure voltage, resistance and current. It is important for the consumer to figure out what each multimeter can do so they can get the most use from it.
Look for these features on devices that are designed specifically for automotive fault finding:
1. Appropriate voltage range – The meter should be able to measure voltages from 12- to 24-volts, and it would be great if it could also measure voltages as low as 1,5V. This is important for testing some automotive accessories.
2. High input impedance – You will want your meter’s resistance to be as high as possible so that the meter’s construction does not affect the readings. This is illustrated well by the INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter which is one of the best all-round automotive multimeters and also includes features like auto-ranging, auto shut-off, and over-load protection.
3. True-RMS measurement capability – This increases the meter’s ability to accurately measure an AC signal. A true-RMS meter is able to measure both sinusoidal and non-sinusoidal waveforms. The increase in components that generate non-sinusoidal waveforms has made this an increasingly important feature for diagnosing systems such as:
- Variable-speed motor drives
- Electronic ballasts
- Electronic Control Units
- Solid-state modules
4. An integrated temperature probe – This is a very helpful feature on an automotive multimeter, because readings are often needed at specific temperatures. This is especially true when measuring battery voltage.
5. Audible continuity alerts – A continuity test can be done by measuring resistance. However, this can be difficult to do in hard-to-access areas. A multimeter that emits a ‘beep’ can help with this. The meter should also default to zero for an open circuit.
6. Quality of the digital multimeter display screen –It is important to have a good LCD display that is large, clear, and easy to read. This is especially important when ambient light is not ideal, as it often is in automotive settings. Some multimeters can also capture/ freeze the screen while taking readings, like the Performance Tool Multimeter (W2972) for a reasonable price.
7. Meter accuracy –The accuracy of a reading is important for both the DIY enthusiast and professional technician. It is expressed as a percentage, with the offset of the “last significant number” in the reading. This number tells you how accurate your reading is.
8. Meter resolution – This is a feature for professionals who have to diagnose sensitive electronic equipment. Resolution is expressed as a value that tells you how small of a change in a signal the meter can detect and show you.
9. Shock-resistant casing –When testing automotive electrical systems in a car, it is easy for test equipment to be dropped and destroyed. However, some manufacturers make devices that are drop-resistant so the sensitive circuitry of the meter is protected.
This is a list of some features that are offered by the best automotive multimeters. This list can help you decide which multimeter is best for you.
Although most current automotive power nets are low voltage, there are some vehicles that operate on up to 800V. These vehicles require professional help when it comes to electrical troubleshooting, but it is important for the user to be aware of safety precautions when operating an automotive multitester. This includes personal safety and safeguarding the equipment.
Safety Tips When Operating An Automotive Multitester
Verify that the multitester you use is certified for the application.
Multimeters have varying levels of safety. Ensure the product is verified by a third party. This ensures the product is safe to use. The IEC, TUV, CE (for the European community), ETL Testing Laboratories, Inc. (for the US and Canada), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL).
There are four types of safety certification, with category I covering spike-controlling equipment. This is mostly for auto applications. The Fluke 88V 1000V Automotive Multimeter, rated at up to 1000 volts under category III and 600 volts under category IV, earned the highest certification.
Misuse of a multimeter can damage equipment or cause personal injury. As a result, using a multimeter requires basic safety precautions.
- Before connecting or disconnecting any equipment, be sure to de-energize and discharge the circuits.
- Make sure that the multimeter is switched to AC before taking alternating current readings.
- Make sure the polarity is correct when measuring DC.
- Do not power up a circuit while measuring resistance.
- When measuring, always start with the highest voltage or current range.
- Select a scale that will give you a reading near the middle of the range.
- To measure current, connect the multimeter in series with the circuit. To measure voltage, connect the multimeter in parallel with the circuit.
- When you are done using the equipment, make sure it is turned off. If there is no ‘OFF’ switch, set the AC voltage to the highest level.
Many people who are interested in buying an automotive multimeter have questions that the manufacturer’s website cannot answer.
Best Automotive Multimeter Reviews
Modern cars have a 2-mile long electrical wiring network. This is more than the 150 feet of wiring in 1940s cars. Electrical system failures are more likely as vehicles become more complex. The right tools, like automotive multimeters, can help even experienced mechanics fix electrical issues.
An automotive multimeter measures voltage, current, resistance, and temperature. So it’s useful for diagnosing electrical problems in cars.
You can buy a variety of multimeters online. But they’re not all the same. We’ve compiled a list of the best multimeters on the market to help you choose.
No matter your budget, level of experience, or length of time in the industry, we have a multimeter for you!
Fluke 77-IV Digital Multimeter
The Fluke brand is good because it has a reputation that people know about. People trust the brand, and that’s why two of our top automotive multimeters are from this company.
The Fluke 77 has the same voltage range as the 88V model, up to 1000V. It is a bit faster than other Fluke models, and it also has a backlight, making it easy to see in dark areas. This is beneficial when you are working on house wiring projects, and you need to check the wiring in the attic.
An updated version of the Fluke meters is available with the Fluke 77-IV model number. Troubleshooting.
Tacklife DM07 Digital Multimeter
The Tacklife DM07 is a powerful and affordable automotive meter. It has more expensive features but is much cheaper.
Indicators for voltage, capacitance (100mF), and temperature are displayed on the LCD backlight display (with different probes). A flashlight is included for low-light measurements.
The Tacklife meter’s LED pulse lights show how much voltage is present. This meter also has an NCV feature that none of the other meters have. The meter’s beeping speed increases as the quantity being measured increases. Using the Tacklife meter is like having more fun at work.
Klein Tools MM400 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
A versatile and accurate digital multimeter. It can measure AC/DC voltage, resistance, temperature, capacitance, frequency, and duty-cycle continuity, among other parameters.
The MM400 multimeter’s main LCD screen clearly displayed the readings. A powerful backlight is included for use in dark offices. This is an essential repair tool. So you’ll always be prepared, the multimeter uses 2 AAA batteries and has a low battery indicator
A 3.3-foot drop will not harm the multimeter, but the carrying case is worth the extra money. When dropped, the multimeter will be protected by the carrying case. It is also CAT III 600 V safe.
In terms of value for money, the Klein Tools MM400 is a great option. Intended for newcomers to the field.
Southwire 14090T Technician Pro Multimeter
The Southwire 14090T Pro multimeter is superior. It measures the same things, but better. The user interface is easier to use and has backlit controls for low light.
Connect your phone to the multimeter with Mapp. So you can see all readings on your phone. The app also stores photos, GPS locations, and notes for later use. It is ideal for checking measurements. For example, an experienced technician can approve or reject a trainee’s measurements with a simple glance.
Professional mechanics can use the app to fill out digital inspection forms. Showing the client the data and explaining the issue makes the job easier.
The instruction manual for this automotive multimeter is detailed and specific. The abundance of features makes it easy for novices. This multimeter is a good choice for new multimeter buyers.
Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter
This clamp meter measures up to 400 amps of alternating current (AC). This device can measure up to 600V AC/DC. Because the clamp meter’s jaws are flexible, you don’t need to cut or splice wires to measure their current.
The Fluke 323 can measure true RMS, which is useful. It differs from other models and can aid decision-making. It can’t do everything a regular multimeter can, but it has its uses.
This clamp meter can do things that multimeters can’t. So we don’t recommend buying it alone. It’s better to buy it with a multimeter that has all the features.
Clamp meters can be used to test many aspects of a car. Battery, alternator, starter consumption, etc. With the rapid changes in the automotive industry, clamp meters may become more common in shops.
Reed Instruments R5008 Compact Digital Multimeter
This common instrument measures current, voltage, resistance, capacitance, and frequency. An optional thermocouple contact probe provides more precise temperature readings.
This multimeter is robust. A 4,000-count LCD quickly displays accurate measurements. It also comes with a travel case.
This meter includes data hold relative data functions, backlit controls for low light situations, and auto-ranging.
The Reed Instruments R5008 is a great multimeter compared to previous models. Numerous features make it ideal for both automotive and domestic applications.
Milwaukee 2217-20 Digital Multimeter
Most of us prefer Milwaukee’s digital multimeter, 2217-20. It can also measure resistance, voltage, current, and temperature. It also has a proper RMS mode for better readings.
Milwaukee’s multimeter has many uses. Like auto-range or manual-range. A new display makes 2217-20 easier to read in dim light.
Surrounding components are protected by an over-molded body. This also provides a good grip for the operator Your test probes are also protected by special slots in the back. I think this is a great idea.
The Milwaukee 2217-20 offers great value. Due to its reputation, it is suitable for experienced mechanics. Quality construction and ergonomic design ensure a 5-year warranty-free use.
Commercial Electric M1015B Analogue Multimeter
These days, everything seems to have a touchscreen. Even buttons are being replaced by touchscreens. That’s why it is harder to find a retro multimeter like the Commercial Electric M1015B model. It is one of the few good options that are still available.
Analog multimeters are less accurate than electronic multimeters. The M1015B can only measure voltage, resistance, and the remaining strength of a 1.5V or 9V battery.
Most people think they should buy a digital model if they want performance and capability. But Commercial Electric’s multimeter is better for people who want something old-school cool. That thin needle might not be as precise as you think. Still, it takes you back to a much simpler world where people were unaware of complex technological witchcraft.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Multimeter for Your Car
When lookThe best automotive multimeter can measure a variety of parameters. Including current, voltage, resistivity, duty cycle, capacitance, temperature, and true RMS. 88 V/A model also measures RPM. Make sure to select a model with all the required measurement parameters for your intended use. All of the multimeters on our list have various capabilities and are perfect for automotive use.
Multimeters come in different types. Almost any multimeter would do if you only need to measure battery voltage and fuse testing capability. But if you work on electronic systems and electric vehicles, you might need a more high-end model.
The resolution of a multimeter is expressed in counts. There are multimeters with resolutions ranging from 2,000 to 6,000 counts. Higher the count, the better the presentation.
The screen on an automotive multimeter is crucial because it shows the reading to the operator. A good display should also work in low-light environments. But if a model has BlueTooth capability, then the display might not be as important.
Ergonomics and Design Features
An excellent automotive multimeter should have a strong and durable body. It should also be easy to control. Other features that can be helpful are a carrying case, holster, tool hanging kit, and backlit controls. These features will depend on what type of work you do with your multimeter.
Auto-Ranging or Manual Ranging
The ranging function in a multimeter is the process of selecting the most appropriate measurement range for each operation. As the name suggests, auto-ranging automotive multimeters can automatically select the range for you. At the same time, in manual ranging models, you have to choose an appropriate range before each measurement. Most automotive multimeters sold today are auto-ranging models as they make it easier for the operator.
Be careful about the range limits when you are choosing a model. Make sure the model you choose has the right range for what you need it to do. For example, if you need to test sensors or low current components, make sure the model you choose can measure milliamps.
Besides having regular abilities, like measuring things, it is also suitable for an automotive multimeter to have unique features that make it easier to use. For example, Southwire’s innovative Mapp mobile application allows you to access vital data directly from your mobile phone.
Milwaukee has a unique white-on-black display screen that can improve visibility in low-lit environments and help operators see clearly. If you work at night or outside, this might be to consider.
How to Use an Automotive Multimeter?
Two Examples of Common Automotive Troubleshooting
Testing a Car Battery
Testing a 9V radio battery is simple. Connect the probes to the terminals of your car battery, and then select the range of 20 volts dc. This is an excellent range to use because most car batteries are in the 12V-15V range.
The meter will read a figure near the battery’s original rating if the battery is in excellent condition. If so, proceed to the next step. Testing a car battery with a digital multimeterTurn ON the ignition while keeping the meter probes connected to the battery.
If the voltage in your battery decreases and then increases again. You can confirm that your battery can generate cold-cranking amps (CCA), essential for running your car.
Checking Coolant Temperature
Connect your multimeter’s probes to its terminals to locate the coolant temperature sensor. Make sure that the ignition is turned OFF when you do this. Next, check the resistance of the sensor. It should be less than 3 kilo-ohms. Once you start the car, the resistance should drop to less than 1 kilo-ohm.
If the readings from these sensors don’t match, you may need to change the sensors or take your car to a mechanic. Few automotive testers have written instructions for everyday tasks. As a result, reading them before operating might be a smart idea.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Automotive Multimeter
The 101 Basic Digital Multimeter is a great product for most people’s automotive and household needs. It has products on both ends of the price spectrum, but its reasonable price fits in a reasonable budget.
There are many different multimeter brands. The best and most popular brand is Fluke. However, some other good brands include Brymen and Amprobe.
The Fluke 88V is a good tool to have, but it is not as accurate as the Fluke 87V when measuring non-linear AC voltage and current signals.
Many dealers, particularly for General Motors, want their technicians to use True RMS multi-meters such as the FLUKE 87V. However, there are other meters made by FLUKE that do not have True RMS, like the 88V.
It is usually a good idea to spend more money if you need better results. If you only need readings every once in a while, then it might be worth buying a less expensive meter. But if you need very accurate readings often, then there is no better choice than a Fluke meter.
Both of these meters measure up to 1000V and 20A AC/DC. The 87-5 is accurate to 0.05% while the 88-5 is accurate to 0.1%. The only other difference between the two is that the 88-5 has extra features.
A true RMS responding multimeter can measure the potential that is used to heat something. Unlike an “average responding” measurement, a true RMS measurement is used to determine the power dissipated in a resistor. The power is proportional to the square of the measured true RMS voltage, which doesn’t change no matter what shape the waves are.
The INNOVA 3320 is a low price, digital multimeter that is mainly aimed at DIY hobbyists and auto industry technicians. This multimeter can do most of the things more expensive multimeters can do, but it may not be as accurate. It also has a useful battery test feature.
An excellent automotive multimeter should measure different things, like the current, voltage, resistance, duty cycle, capacitance, temperature, and frequency. The Fluke 88 V/A can also measure RPM.
This tool is well-built, and the circuit soldering is of high quality and has input overload protection. It can automatically detect AC or DC voltage without needing a separate device. Additionally, the tool can accurately measure frequency, capacitance, and frequency, making it very powerful.
A true-RMS meter can accurately measure both perfect and imperfect waves. The root-mean-square calculation is used to find the equivalent DC value of an AC waveform.
True RMS responding multimeters measure the potential used to create heat. This is different from “average responding” measurements, which only measure part of the potential. Accurate RMS measurements help determine how much power is being dissipated in a resistor. The power is proportional to the square of the actual RMS voltage, regardless of the waveshape.
This multimeter, along with the Fluke 117 Electrician’s Multimeter, is two of Fluke’s greatest multimeters. They are both excellent tools to have in your workshop when working on electronics. The meters are compact and easy to use, perfect for field service.
Automotive multimeters allow you to measure different things like voltage, resistance, and capacitance. These multimeters can help you diagnose problems with your car.