The Best Beginner Oscilloscope
An oscilloscope is a great tool for anyone who loves electronics. It can be really useful for people starting out or for people who have a lot of experience with electronics. Some people even have multiple oscilloscopes because they love them so much. Even though some might be outdated, they are still valuable tools to have.
An oscilloscope is a device that measures changes in any electrical system. It will show you the signal over time. This will let you see the signal’s amplitude, shape, distortion, and frequency.
If you are looking for a beginner oscilloscope, deciding which one is best can be confusing. There are many brands and manufacturers, and you also have to consider the specific technical features and parameters that fit your budget and requirements.
In this article, we will look at some of the famous and popular brands that make beginner oscilloscopes. Most brands these days make both digital and analog oscilloscopes. When you’re shopping online, it can be hard to decide which brand to buy. It all comes down to your needs and budget in the end.
These oscilloscopes are a quality product that many customers have been happy with. They’ve been around for a while, and they’re not only advised to newbies but they’re also found at engineering university labs.
1. Hantek DS05102P USB Storage Oscilloscope
Hantek is a brand that makes beginner oscilloscopes. They are popular and trusted by millions of people. This particular oscilloscope is made to please customers, not disappoint them.
This oscilloscope is a good choice because it is reliable and affordable. It can store more than 1000 waveforms and upgrade its system via the USB connector.
This PC USB-based Digital Oscilloscope is compact and lightweight. It doesn’t require any external power, making it portable. Additionally, it can communicate with any remote control device or your computer through the USB port.
This DSO-USB series oscilloscope is a great device for research, production test, or design. If you don’t buy this oscilloscope, you might not have an easy time finding one that is this affordable.
Even though this product is less expensive, it is still of great quality. It has features that will amaze you and meet your needs, like math functions, measurements, or replaying and recording waveforms. It doesn’t lack anything.
This oscilloscope has a large 7-inch display and a resolution of 800* 480. This will help you see any alternating current, including square, triangular, sine, or sawtooth waves. This is a rare popular feature among users and something many people want in their collection.
- This device can automatically measure 32 different types of waveform parameters. Additionally, it has the FFT standard, which allows for automatic tracking and cursor testing. This ensures more accurate results.
- The oscilloscope has a USB port that can be used to upgrade its system. The oscilloscope can store more than 1000 waveforms.
- This product has a large 7-inch color display capable of showing measurements accurately.
- This device is easy to use, and it has a multi-function button design which will help you work more efficiently. The clear button division will also make it easier to use this device.
- After the sale, you may easily get in touch with customer care if you have any questions. They will help you without any delay.
2. Hantek DSO4102C 2Channel 100MHz Digital Oscilloscope
These days, it can be tough to find an easy oscilloscope to use. There are a lot of different brands on the market, and some of them might be confusing for beginners. But this oscilloscope is different. Many consumers appreciate how simple and convenient it is to use.
This device is perfect for people who have to carry their workaround. Its compact design and size mean that you can take it wherever you go. This is an important feature that many oscilloscopes in the market do not have. That’s why the Hantek DSO4102C is such a great choice.
Another great advantage of this oscilloscope is perfect for carrying to your business meetings. It does not require any external power source to function. You only need to link it to your PC or laptop to get started!
This tool can detect a lot of signals quickly. It also gets signals faster than most devices. Plus, it has high accuracy and a high refresh rate. The design is also good and will last for a long time. So this tool is the top choice for many people.
This device also comes with an inbuilt arbitrary function generator. This means that you can create your waveforms. The large 7-inch LCD color display will give you a realistic view of the waveforms. You need to choose the Hentek DSO4102C because of these reasons.
- 100 MHz bandwidth with a sample rate of 1 gsa/s
- 7-inch color LCD with 800*480 resolution, 32 automotive measurement types, FFT function, 40k record duration, and 2 channel oscilloscope
- Alternate trigger, pulse width, edge, video, overtime, and slope 25 MHz waveform output with sine wave up to 75MHz
3. Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope
The Rigol DS1054Z digital oscilloscope has four analog channels to capture waveforms up to 30,000 wfms/s. As a result, it is an ideal pick for beginners. It has innovative technology that helps provide a deeper memory of 12Mpts, which can be upgraded to 24Mpts. Users love its solid build, making it a favorite option for those looking for an entry-level oscilloscope that fits their budget.
This oscilloscope is a good choice for many people all over the world. It has proved to be satisfactory for them. In addition, the Rigol DS1054Z is also a highly rated product since it was released in 2014. It has many features found in some of the most expensive oscilloscopes on the market. Furthermore, it has an excellent bandwidth, which is why this oscilloscope is so popular with everyone from home enthusiasts to businesses to students and schools.
The Rigol DS1054Z allows you to fast focus on a specific portion of a recorded waveform. The large display will help you see all the channels on one screen. This makes it easier to use and also more efficient.
The Rigol DS1054Z also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means that if you’re not happy with the product, you can return it and get your money back. Rigol is a company that has a good reputation for making technology products, especially for chemical analysis and electronic measurement. They have been making quality products for educators and engineers for a long time, so you can ensure that this oscilloscope will be perfect for your lab. And it’s even affordable!
- Advanced Triggering Option MEM-DS1000Z
- 4 Channels with 50MHz Bandwidth
- Built-in free software bundle BND-MSO/DS1000Z
- Four-channel digital oscilloscope with 1GSa/sec sampling
- Deeper memory of 12Mpts, expandable to 24Mpts with a software key
- SA-DS1000Z Real-Time Waveform Recording and Relay Option
4. Siglent Technologies SDS 1052DL Digital Oscilloscope
Most oscilloscopes have limited features, which can be disappointing for beginners. This is why oscilloscopes must-have features and capabilities that make them more versatile and worthwhile to purchase. If you’re an oscilloscope collector, they should also be adaptable enough to be preserved in your collection.
The Siglent Technologies SDS 1052DL Digital Oscilloscope includes a number of noteworthy characteristics. Its record length of 32Kpts, for example, allows you to capture precise waveforms. Plus, it has two independent channels that let you work separately.
This device can help you detect and trigger various signals accurately. It has many standard waveforms that are already built-in and arbitrary ones that you can easily edit. This makes low and erratic signals simple to detect. Because of its useful trigger functions, you can also effortlessly record and replay waveforms.
The Siglent Technologies SDS 1052DL Oscilloscope is a great choice because it is lightweight and compact. This makes it easy to carry around, perfect for business meetings or other times when you need to travel light. Additionally, its USB connection allows you to easily connect to any computer.
This device includes a large color display that is easy to see. It also has a bandwidth of 150 MHz, making it easier to detect signals. The unit features a sampling rate of 500MSa/s, which is higher than most devices on the market. This makes the Siglent Technologies SDS 1052DL a top choice for beginner oscilloscopes.
Bandwidth: 50 MHz to 150 MHz
SCPI programming command control and the USB-TMC protocol are supported.
Contains 12 languages, one key for printing, online assistance, and one key for storing 32 Kpts memory depth and 500 MSa/s sampling rate.
LAN and USB ports are included.
- Waveform recording and playback
How to Choose the Best Oscilloscope for a Beginner: Things You Must Know
If you are a beginner and trying to choose an oscilloscope, you need to think about what you will use it for. There are different types of oscilloscopes for different purposes. For example, suppose you are an automotive engineer who wants to measure vibrations or a design engineer who wants to diagnose design and operational problems. In that case, you will need a different type of oscilloscope than if you are just looking to maintain your equipment.
Before purchasing an oscilloscope, there are a few factors to consider. What will you do with the oscilloscope? How many signals do you want to track simultaneously? What frequency range will the signals you’ll be measuring have? What is the signal’s amplitude? Are they periodic or ad hoc? Answering these questions will assist you in selecting the best oscilloscope for your requirements and tastes.
You need to know a few things to decide if an oscilloscope is good or bad. These things are:
Remember that the more bandwidth your oscilloscope has, the more powerful it will be. This implies that it will be more costly.
The higher the sample rate, the more resolution your oscilloscope will have. This means you will be able to see every detail of the signal. So always check the sample rate before you buy an oscilloscope.
The more memory depth your oscilloscope has, the more signals it will be able to store. Make sure to choose an oscilloscope with a good memory depth.
Size and Cost
If you need to carry the oscilloscope around for work, you should choose one that is light. If you will use it in your lab, then a bench oscilloscope would be perfect for you.
Waveform Update Rate
An oscilloscope that updates its screen quickly is important because you don’t want to miss a signal. When selecting an oscilloscope, this is a crucial element to consider.
Selecting the Appropriate Oscilloscope
The selection of the best oscilloscope for beginners depends on several factors and criteria. It also depends on who you are, such as a design engineer attempting to diagnose operational and design issues or an automotive engineer measuring vibrations. A repair worker or an individual is attempting to maintain electronic equipment.
Before delving into technical specifications and other topics, it would be beneficial to address the following questions first.
- In what circumstances do you require a scope, i.e., where will you use it? For instance, on the bench, at a client’s location, or under the hood of your car.
- How many signals do you wish to simultaneously measure? For example, the number of measurement channels required by your scope.
- An estimate of the highest frequencies the scope will measure. My opinion is that you must be certain of the frequency range to be measured by the scope. This issue is crucial, so please pay special attention to it. As it is closely related to the cost of the oscilloscope.
- What amplitudes do your signals have? If you are uncertain, leave it. It’s okay.
- Are the signals you will be measuring periodic or aperiodic?
A bench scope is a bit cumbersome and specialized for professional laboratory work. The bench scope is the most expensive of the options. If you intend to use your scope in the field or auto diagnosis, it must be portable.
How to Buy an Entry-Level Oscilloscope
We discussed technical matters to prepare ourselves to answer the following questions. I recommend carefully answering these questions.
1. How Much Bandwidth Do You Need?
Five times your highest frequency. For instance, if your greatest measuring frequency is 10 MHz, a 50 MHz bandwidth oscilloscope is excellent for a beginning.
It is also conceivable, although not advised, to utilize a scope with a 100MHz bandwidth for the indicated maximum frequency. Because it will be more expensive and, more crucially, you may wind up with a higher noise floor. If you are uncertain about the future, you can increase the bandwidth if necessary.
2. How Many Sample Rates Do You Need?
Adhere to the Nyquist criterion, which specifies that the sample rate must be at least twice the highest frequency you wish to measure. For instance, if your highest frequency is 10MHz, your optimum scope should have a sample rate of 20MS/s. A larger sample rate will incur more costs.
3. Random Signal Analysis to Capture Random and Rare Signals or Glitches?
Are your projects going to require the investigation of bugs? I refer to the little random impulse signals that trigger a system’s abrupt failure by glitches. If yes, choose the highest waveform capture rate and memory depth option. The high wave upgrade would be a plus here, but it is not available; still, things are quite satisfactory.
4. What Resolution and Precision Are Required?
With an eight-bit resolution, the smallest signal change detected is 0.4%. An eight-bit oscilloscope is frequently unsuitable for applications including audio, noise, vibration, and sensor monitoring (temperature, current, and pressure), so you should seek 12- or 16-bit alternatives. With a higher resolution oscilloscope, measurements are more precise.
How Are Oscilloscopes Valued?
Oscilloscope prices are determined by several factors, but mostly by the following:
- The Capacity
- The Sample Frequency
- Quantity of channels
- Memory depth Rate of Waveform update
The greater the preceding criteria, the greater the prices.
Famous Top Oscilloscopes Manufacturers
Let’s discuss the manufacturers of the best beginner oscilloscopes. Signals of a brand instill feelings of trust. The bigger the brand signal, the higher the product quality.
There are numerous manufacturers in the marketplace. Not each of them is of high quality. There are also some poor manufacturers that we must avoid if we wish to make a substantial investment. The following brands have proven themselves throughout the years in the sector.
- Siglent Technologies
- Korad Technology
- Rohde and Schwarz
- GW Instek
- BK Precision
They are worldwide brands with a track record of success. If you are graduating from an engineering school, you may have used one of these brands’ scopes in the lab.
If I have confused you with too much technical information, I apologize. Ignore the other items and focus entirely on the first two. Ignore the remaining items and concentrate solely on the first two. The higher your bandwidth and sample rate requirements, the more a high-quality oscilloscope will cost. Remember that there is no inexpensive oscilloscope.
I sincerely hope the above information was useful. This information is quite technical and difficult to comprehend. Still, I have compiled the list below to make your life easier. Therefore, I believe it is acceptable if you did not receive all of the above.
As previously said, I am an electronics engineer with over 20 years of experience in printed circuit board testing and repair. I have dealt with most of the top oscilloscope brands for hobbyists, conducted significant studies, and tested and evaluated them for several hours. I eliminated defective products and hand-selected the best digital oscilloscope.
Throughout testing, I record all minor observations on a notepad. I mainly concentrated on hobby oscilloscopes since they are the most cost-effective and user-friendly digital oscilloscopes. Additionally, we scoured Amazon’s popular merchants to identify the fittest for this criteria. I have also screened our experts and conducted interviews with them to determine their areas of interest.
We have tested the MHz digital oscilloscope with storage. I borrowed, rented, and already owned others to evaluate individual devices. I tested these hobby oscilloscopes in a workshop where extensive PCB repair work was performed. The room was compact but well-ventilated. To determine the best oscilloscope for hobbyists, I evaluated each model and gathered data.
Accuracy, usability, pricing, and customer feedback and reviews are the most important aspects I evaluate before making a purchase decision. We used other high-precision instruments to cross-check the measurements to conduct accurate global testing. Last but not least, I examined the display and expensive accessories. Thus, I will assist you in locating the most affordable oscilloscope.
How to Work with an Oscilloscope
The best oscilloscope for hobbyists is a virtual instrument to observe rapid voltage changes. Whatever oscilloscope you are using, a few steps must be followed. To operate, a novice must have a fundamental degree of training.
The best oscilloscope for enthusiasts requires basic setup and preparation before use. I utilized a two-channel scope; therefore, I will simply concentrate on this. After pressing the power button, when I hit the channel one button, a yellow icon appears on the screen, and then it disappears after some time. The color of the channel two controls changed to blue. In this manner, I examined both inputs.
I then connected it to oscillating signals with consistent frequency. Please view the tutorial video for step-by-step instructions on “Using an Oscilloscope.”
Leading Oscilloscopes Manufacturers
When a brand is frequently mentioned, it usually indicates that its products are reliable and durable. Even in the case of oscilloscopes, a handful of companies dominate the market.
Rigol is a leading provider of digital solution products, with a presence in over 60 countries. Our list shows that we are also fans of the brand, saying that you will never have to compromise on quality or output. Rigol oscilloscopes, whether miniature or larger, are therefore an excellent investment.
The word SainSmart will be mentioned in every other oscilloscope review. This is because this brand possesses originality and innovation.
Their portable oscilloscopes are, therefore, among the best on the market. In addition, the standard size will not let you down.
The Hantek products may appear dated, yet they thoroughly understand oscilloscopes. They have years of experience and understand what consumers require. Therefore, they include all the functions a user might require. From beginners to professionals, this company has something for everyone.
Siglent is another oscilloscope industry titan. Their selection of oscilloscopes is so extensive that the average customer will be overwhelmed by the variety of devices they provide.
However, it is possible to locate Siglent products of the highest quality with the appropriate guidance. After that, you will never again need to consider an oscilloscope.
Even though Tektronix specializes mainly in desktop oscilloscopes, we felt that their oscilloscope warranted a space on our list. Their products are innovative and functional. Even if you are a novice, you won’t be disappointed.
Varieties of Oscilloscopes
All oscilloscopes now produced by manufacturers are classified as:
- Analog. They are regarded as classic examples of measuring instruments. An analog oscilloscope is a measurement device for averaging signals. The primary benefit of analog models is that they produce the least signal distortion. Aside from that, they are far behind digital technology.
- Digital Storage. The gadgets offer more research and measuring capabilities than analog ones; hence their price is significantly greater. The primary benefit of memory devices is their capability for analysis.
- Digital Phosphor. This oscilloscope uses a digital phosphor and is the most expensive of all oscilloscope types. They can imitate the variation in output data intensity.
- Digital Stroboscopic. These models utilize sequential signal gating. They are utilized to examine repeating signals with a higher frequency than the device’s sample rate.
- Portable. As a result of the rapid growth of measurement technology, signal research equipment has become more compact. The benefit of such gadgets is their low power consumption and compact size.
There are many well-known brands of oscilloscopes that are good for beginners. An oscilloscope is an extremely important device for anyone interested in electronics or hobbies. If you are not sure if you can do without an oscilloscope, then let’s just say that it is impossible to go without one.
If you need an oscilloscope but are on a tight budget, don’t worry. You can still get a good-quality oscilloscope that won’t break the bank. The oscilloscopes mentioned above are high quality and have many features that will be useful to you. You will be able to use them easily and will be able to perform a variety of tasks like measuring, recording, and replaying waveforms.
Frequently Asked Questions about Best Beginner Oscilloscope
This oscilloscope is a good choice for beginners. It has a user-friendly interface and easy-to-use menus. Plus, it’s one of the best cheap oscilloscopes because it offers many features for such a low price.
Determine what you need by using the “five times rule.” This means that if you want to measure something 100 MHz, an oscilloscope with a bandwidth of at least 500 MHz is needed. For digital signals, measuring rise and fall time is important.
When talking about the best oscilloscope for hobbyists on the market, the Owon XDS3104E is one of the best options. It has four channels and a 60MHz – 200MHz Bandwidth, 1GS/s sample rate. Additionally, it offers 8-bit or 14-bit high-resolution ADX and a 40M record length max 70,000 wfms/s waveform refresh rate.
The Rigol DS1054Z Digital Storage Oscilloscope is a great choice for people who need a functional oscilloscope. It is better than most other options that are available. This oscilloscope may be perfect for professional applications.
Don’t exceed the voltage that is stated. To avoid oscilloscope overdriving, always set the scale to its maximum level before altering any inputs. It will be easier to prevent harming the front-end components if you are equipped with some understanding of the signal level associated with the oscilloscope.
One reason why an oscilloscope is better than a multimeter is that it can show more complicated signals. This means that they can show a transient signal that might threaten a system. Oscilloscopes also allow you to measure and isolate this signal.
For most debugging analog and uC circuitry tasks, 100MHz or even 50MHz is enough.
To measure a 50 MHz signal, you will need an oscilloscope with a bandwidth of at least 200 MHz. This will ensure that you can see the signal clearly without any attenuation or filter distortion. It’s worth noting, though, that if your oscilloscope has a wider bandwidth than you need, it may introduce high-frequency noise into your test.
Vintage oscilloscopes are in high demand these days. You can sell it for $250 to $500 depending on its condition and appearance.
An oscilloscope with a 200 MHz narrow bandwidth can cost several hundred dollars. However, an oscilloscope with a measurement bandwidth of 1 GHz can go for almost $30,000!
An oscilloscope is a very important tool for electronics. It lets you see what is happening and when on a graph.
The scope U2P20 USB-Based Oscilloscope is a great choice for people looking for an oscilloscope because it has a reasonable price and is very well-built. Plus, it’s compact, so it’s easy to carry around and use.