The Best Multimeter for Electricians: Reviews and Buying Guide

If you’re an electrician for a long time, then you know the importance of having a good multimeter. Just like finding the best megohmmeter, looking for the right multimeter is essential to check and maintain the quality of your wires. Not only do they help you diagnose problems with electrical systems, but they can also be used for a variety of other tasks. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the best multimeters on the market and provide you with a purchasing guide to help you choose the right one for your needs.

When you see a state trooper on the freeway, your first instinct is probably to look down at your speedometer to check how fast you’re going.

If you didn’t have an instrument panel, you would not be able to measure speed. This is also true for measuring current, voltage, and amps. We require a multimeter to measure these things.

Since a multimeter is essential for electricians, we’ve reviewed the best multimeters for electricians in this guide. We’ll guide you on how to pick the right one for your needs.

Top Pick for Electrician’s Multimeter

Klein Tools CL800 Electrical Tester – Digital Clamp Meter

Klein Tools makes several high-quality electricians’ tools, including cordless drills and more. This CL800 Digital Clamp Meter Probe Tester is one of our favorites because they are so reliable.

The Klein CL800 is a credible clamp meter, which is the standard way to measure current safely. This model also comes with test leads to measure other things like AC frequency and diode functionality. It also has a thermocouple probe to measure temperature.

The Klein CL800 is an excellent multimeter because it has advanced safety features. This means that it can withstand more surges than other multimeters. The CL800 is rated to test CAT III — up to 1000V surges — CAT IV — up to 600V surges — applications.

The Klein CL800 has a double-insulated safety rating. This means that the tool has two layers of insulation protecting you from electrocution. With this, it doesn’t require a ground connection for safe operation.

This multimeter takes more accurate measurements than other types of multimeters. It has a low impedance setting that makes it safer to use and helps it take more accurate readings.

The Anker Astro E1 is very durable and can resist being dropped from high places, like the tops of ladders. You can also use it safely near your home or car.

Some users have complained about the thermocouple on this multimeter. The thermocouple is the part of the multimeter that measures temperature. These users say that it is inaccurate and sometimes gives inaccurate readings by 7-8 degrees Fahrenheit.

The CL800 multimeter is a good choice for electricians because it is very safe and durable. It might be a little pricey, but it is worth the cost.

Specifications

  • Low Z Voltage Setting: Yes.
  • Analysis Method: True Root Mean Squared (TRMS).
  • Current Measurement: Clamp (AC/DC, automatic ranging).
  • Non-contact voltage detection: No.
  • Safety: 600V CAT IV/1000V CAT III.
  • Test Leads AC/DC voltage (automatic ranging), capacitance, resistance, continuity, capacitance, frequency, and diodes.
  • Temperature Thermocouple: Yes.

Pros

  • Durable; built to survive a 2-meter drop.
  • Automatic ranging for quick, easy analysis.
  • Class 2 — double-insulated — safety rating.
  • Low Z — low-impedance — mode for more accurate ghost voltages.
  • Safety-rated for CAT III/CAT IV applications.

Cons

  • Expensive clamp meter model.
  • Thermocouple probe readings are not accurate — variations of 7 degrees or more.

Klein Tools CL380 AC/DC – Digital Clamp Meter

This Klein tools device is less expensive than the CL800 but lacks many safety features.

The CL380 multimeter is not CAT III or IV safe. So only use it inside and around your car.

This clamp meter works. It measures currents up to 400 amps. The measurements are more precise than root mean square.

The probes can measure DC currents as small as microamps in very small electronic circuits.

A clamp meter measures the current in a circuit without touching any wires. The CL380 clamp meter also has a feature that detects voltage in a circuit without touching any wires. This is useful if you need to know if there is any danger.

A reverse contrast LCD may be difficult to read in direct sunlight. If this is an issue, you may need to wear sunglasses when using the device outside.

An electrician can use this Klein CL380 multimeter inside or outside. It’s not as good as the CL800, but it’s cheaper. The CL380 is also good for mechanics.

Specifications

  • Low Z Voltage Setting: No.
  • Analysis Method: True Root Mean Squared (TRMS).
  • Current Measurement: Clamp (AC/DC, automatic ranging).
  • Non-contact voltage detection: Yes.
  • Test Leads AC/DC voltage, DC microamp current, capacitance, resistance, continuity, frequency, duty cycle, and diodes.
  • Safety: No CAT IV/CAT III specifications.
  • Temperature Thermocouple: Yes.

Pros

  • TRMS measurements.
  • Non-contact voltage tester for additional safety.
  • Automatic ranging for quick, easy analysis.
  • Can measure DC microamps.
  • Type K thermocouple for temperature measurements.

Cons

  • Unrated for CAT III/CAT IV measurements.
  • LCD is challenging to read in direct sunlight.

Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter

Fluke is a great brand name for electricians’ multimeters.

Our first Fluke device is a low-cost, easy-to-use model. It is portable and lightweight. For homeowners or amateurs who need to quickly measure something.

Like our other featured products. It measures resistance and AC voltage. But because it doesn’t measure DC voltage, it can’t test battery-powered devices or electronics in your car.

The Fluke 323 is a great first multimeter. Since it’s a clamp meter with auto-ranging, using it is a breeze! It also uses TRMS for full accuracy.

In CAT III and IV measurements, this device is safe. As such, it can be used safely in risky situations. The IEC has approved this device.

These devices are more versatile. The best multimeters for electricians test current, voltage, and resistance. The Fluke 323 does so safely and easily.

Specifications

  • Low Z Voltage Setting: No.
  • Analysis Method: True Root Mean Squared (TRMS).
  • Current Measurement: Clamp (up to about 400 amps, AC only, automatic ranging).
  • Safety: 300V CAT IV/600V CAT III.
  • Non-contact voltage detection: No.
  • Test Leads AC/DC voltage (up to roughly 600 volts), resistance (up to 4 kiloohms), and continuity.
  • Temperature Thermocouple: No.

Pros

  • Meets IEC safety standards.
  • TRMS measurements for non-linear loads.
  • Automatic ranging for quick, easy analysis.
  • Audible continuity detection.
  • Extremely compact and convenient handheld size.
  • Rated for 300 volts CAT IV measurements 600 volts CAT III measurements.

Cons

  • Doesn’t measure direct current.
  • No thermocouple.

Ideal 61-746 Digital Clamp Meter

The Ideal 61-746 clamp meter is less expensive than the Fluke 323. It does not have all of the safety and versatility that the Fluke meter has, but it is much cheaper and still a good multimeter for electricians.

This device is still an automatic clamp meter. You can use it quickly if you are a beginner who wants to make electrical home improvements. The digital LCD screen will give you easy-to-read results for your measurements and analysis.

This clamp meter also has a non-contact voltage detection feature which is safer than the Fluke 323. With this feature, you don’t have to expose any wires to see if they are hot. Another excellent feature of this meter is the audible continuity beep which lets you know quickly if a circuit is working or not.

This meter is commonly used indoors around AC outlets. It doesn’t measure direct current so that it won’t be beneficial around your car, truck, or RV.

This multimeter is suitable for testing electrical problems in your home. It is rated for CAT III measurements, which can be used with your electrical mains. The primary feeders and branch circuits are also possible locations that this multimeter can be used.

The Ideal 61-746 does not come with a thermocouple, but you can still measure current, voltage, and resistance. If you need more detailed measurements or troubleshooting, you will probably have to contact a licensed electrician.

Specifications

  • Low Z Voltage Setting: No.
  • Safety: 600V CAT III.
  • Analysis Method: True Root Mean Squared (TRMS).
  • Temperature Thermocouple: No.
  • Current Measurement: Clamp (up to about 600 amps, AC only).
  • Non-contact voltage detection: Yes.
  • Test Leads AC/DC voltage (up to about 600 volts, automatic ranging), resistance (up to about 40 ohms), and continuity.

Pros

  • TRMS measurements for linear or non-linear loads.
  • Automatic ranging for quick, easy analysis.
  • Audible continuity detection.
  • Non-contact voltage indicator.
  • Rated for 600 volt CAT III measurements.

Cons

  • Doesn’t measure direct current.
  • Not rated for CAT IV measurements.

Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter

In fact, the Fluke 117 is probably the best multimeter for electricians. This tool measures voltage, current, and resistance. It can also measure capacitance and continuity. It also has non-contact voltage detection.

The Fluke 117 is very precise. It can detect alternating or direct current voltages with True RMS accuracy.

This multimeter measures voltage well. It measures voltages to the millivolt.

This device’s LCD screen is bright and easy to read in any location. Any electrical measurements you take are also averaged. This is far more useful than taking quick measurements.

This product protects against electrical surges up to 6 kilovolts. It complies with IEC standards.

This multimeter does not have a thermocouple or CAT IV measurements. But it’s great for other precise measurements around the house or car.

Specifications

  • Low Z Voltage Setting: Yes.
  • Analysis Method: True Root Mean Squared (TRMS).
  • Current Measurement: Probes (10 amps, automatic ranging).
  • Non-contact voltage detection: Yes.
  • Test Leads AC/DC voltage, resistance (up to about 40 megaohms), capacitance (up to 10,000 microfarads), diode functionality, frequency, and continuity.
  • Safety: 600V CAT III.
  • Temperature Thermocouple: No.

Pros

  • TRMS measurements.
  • Automatic ranging.
  • Minimum, maximum, and average readings.
  • Compact, ergonomic one-handed design.
  • Super accurate measurement resolution.
  • Rated for 600 volt CAT III measurements.

Cons

  • Not a clamp meter.
  • No thermocouple.

Buying Guide: What to Look For?

No matter where you look online for a multimeter, their specifications might look confusing and difficult to understand.

In this section, we’ll explain the different types of multimeters so you can choose the right one for you. Don’t hurry through this section like you would your breakfast; take it slow and understand the information!

Safety

Always be safe when you’re working with electricity. This is essential not just for your safety but also for the safety of the multimeter. Multimeters can be expensive, so you don’t want to have to replace them often because you were injured by electricity.

Electrical Measurement Categories

If you need a multimeter for different tasks, make sure that it can handle higher voltages and currents. The types of tasks you might do with a multimeter are classified into categories or CATs.

  • CAT I measurements: Smaller circuits and components can be tested by using a separate power supply from the electrical mains.
  • CAT II circuits: Low-voltage mains are devices that are connected to electrical equipment, like lighting and appliances in your home.
  • CAT III measurements: Performed on distribution circuits, such as primary feeders and branch circuits. They are protected from CAT IV high-voltage sources by at least a single transformer.
  • CAT IV measurements: These are known as the most dangerous types of electrical equipment. They can be either 120 volts or 240 volts. Some examples are exterior transformers or isolated power mains.

Remember that higher measurement categories usually have a lot more electricity. This is why you need to think about your multimeter’s safety rating in the higher CAT levels. A multimeter with a safety rating of about 1,000 volts in CAT II may not be as safe and secure as one with a rating of about 600 volts in CAT III or CAT IV.

CAT I and CAT II surge protectors are much safer because of the various transformers, circuit interrupters, ground connections, and insulators involved in your home wiring. You will rarely need these extremely high levels of surge protection.

Class 1 and Class 2 Appliances

Class 1 appliances are the simplest and most basic type of appliances. They have one layer of insulation, which also requires a grounding connection.

Class 2 appliances have two layers of solid insulation. This is why they are also called double insulated appliances. This extra insulation means that they don’t need a grounding connection. You can identify them quickly because the best multimeters for electricians will have a double box symbol on the casing.

Accurate Measurement

When choosing a multimeter, make sure you pick one that provides accurate and easy-to-read measurements. The best multimeters for electricians will include exclusive features, such as digital displays and TRMS sizes.

Digital vs. Analog Meters

All of the multimeters we’ve reviewed include digital displays. Digital displays are the standard because they’re easier to read and more accurate. They also show the correct units for your measurement, whether you measure amps, volts, or ohms.

Analog meters have fixed displays that show multiple units and ranges. It can be challenging to know which range to read when taking measurements. To do this, you’ll need to look at the markings on the meter that are next to the needle.

Analog meters can be helpful when measuring values that change a lot. Digital meters show different numbers, making it hard to know the average value. Analog needles move along a scale, so you can see the average value by overseeing it.

Digital multimeters that take average measurements are the best solution for getting accurate readings from both digital and analog meters. The Fluke 117 is the only device we’ve reviewed that has this feature.

Root Mean Squared and True Root Mean Squared

Measuring alternating current is much more complicated than measuring direct current. AC switches polarity many times each second between positive and negative charges. This usually happens in a smooth, continuous wave.

Multimeters usually measure the average value by taking the peak value and multiplying it by a reduction factor. This gets a reasonable estimate for currents that match a sine wave. This method is known as the root mean squared, or RMS measurement.

However, modern multimeters could be much more accurate with the help of using the true root mean squared (TRMS) method. These multimeters usually take instantaneous measurements during the AC cycle and average them in a complicated geometric mean process. This makes them more accurate than traditional multimeters.

TRMS measurements are the most accurate type of measurement.

Low Impedance vs. High Impedance

Making an accurate voltage measurement can be difficult because “ghost voltages” can distort the size. Ghost voltages are made by induction from nearby power sources, such as fluorescent light ballasts or magnetic fields.

Ghost voltages can cause inaccurate measurements and create false positive readings when measuring for live wires. A circuit or wire that doesn’t have any current might show a voltage reading. This would be unsafe to work with.

A low impedance multimeter doesn’t pick up these ghost voltages, making the reading more accurate and trustworthy. The Fluke 117 is the best option for making Low-Z measurements.

Clamp Meters

The most common measurement you’ll have to make is for current. This is the quickest way to diagnose most problems or determine if a wire or circuit is safe and secure to work with.

Clamp meters are the standard for multimeters. They provide an easy and convenient way to measure current. You can use them to measure the net current through magnetic induction without any exposed wires.

Non-clamping multimeters are much more accurate and can measure smaller amounts of current than clamp-on. However, clamp-ones are still more popular because they’re faster at measuring current.

The clamping feature on your meter is a quick way to see if a wire is carrying electricity. It is also very safe to use. You don’t need to expose any wires. However, the clamp cannot be used for every kind of measurement. You will still need the probe leads for measurements like voltage and resistance.

The probes on your multimeter may give you a more accurate measurement. However, for most applications, the current clamp size is sufficient.

The hinged induction clamp improves safety over the standard probe clamps.

Automatic Ranging Meters

If your multimeter doesn’t auto-range, start at the highest range. Work your way down to a precise measurement. Not doing this can damage the internal circuits in your multimeter.

Some newer multimeters have auto-ranging. The incremental range settings are not required for current, voltage or resistance testing. Without damaging the circuitry, your multimeter can find the right range for testing.

Whatever multimeter you choose, make sure it has a wide range of capabilities. For testing purposes, a multimeter should be capable of testing up to 600V DC, 400A AC, and microamp DC.

Invest in an automatic ranging multimeter. This type of multimeter is more expensive, but it is worth it to avoid damaging your equipment. A mistake with an older multimeter may necessitate equipment replacement, so get an automatic ranging multimeter. The Klein Tools CL800 Digital Clamp Meter is a good choice.

Additional Measurements

Multimeters measure different things. Good ones measure current, voltage, and resistance. The best ones also measure the alternating current frequency, measured in hertz. The Fluke 117 is the most versatile multimeter we’ve reviewed.

Continuity/Diode Functionality

Some multimeters use a tiny current to test continuity in a circuit. This is helpful if you think a fuse has blown. These multimeters also commonly can test diode functionality.

Some multimeters have a tone that sounds when the meter detects circuit continuity. This can be helpful because you don’t have to touch the wires to see if they’re live. Similarly, other multimeters have a non-contact voltage tester to help you find live wires without exposing them.

Capacitance

Capacitance is another quality you may need to measure with your multimeter. Some electrical devices store an electrical charge in a component called a capacitor. The amount of charge the capacitor can hold is called capacitance and is measured in a farads unit. Since many electronics have capacitors, it’s essential to check for this setting before buying a new multimeter.

Temperature

It’s also a good idea to have a way to measure temperature electronically. Many electronics need to be kept at a specific temperature, or they will not work correctly.

Many modern multimeters come with a thermocouple attachment. This lets you measure temperature without having to carry around a liquid thermometer. Thermocouples can measure temperature more accurately than standard thermometers, but they might not be as versatile.

Conclusion

Our top recommendation for a multimeter for electricians is the Klein Tools CL800 Digital Clamp Meter. It is a good value, it is easy to use, and it is safe for beginners. It can also measure various things, so it is versatile. You can use it around your house or in your garage.

If you want to ensure that your measurements are as accurate as possible, you can choose the Fluke 117 Electrician’s True RMS Multimeter.

If you’re looking for an easy and cheap meter, go with the Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter.

All of these multimeters are good for electricians. They have good reasons to be called the best. You will be happy with any of these choices.

For more information about tools for electricians, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Best Multimeter For Electricians

Is Fluke better than Klein?

Fluke multimeters are of higher quality than Klein multimeters. They are both sturdy and easy to operate, but Fluke multimeters are better for professional and industrial use. Klein is the best option if you need a multimeter for home use on a budget.

Which brand multimeter is best?

There are many different multimeter brands, but Fluke is the most popular, and we have always used them. Brymen and Amprobe are two other good brands that make quality multimeters.

Do I need a true RMS multimeter?

If you need to measure the voltage or current of AC signals that are not pure sine waves, you need a meter that can measure the “true RMS” of those signals.

What is the difference between Fluke 87 and 88?

The main difference between the two is that the 88V does not have True-RMS AC capability. It is less accurate when measuring voltage, current, and resistance. However, it does have an RPM mode and defaults to DC on the current ranges.

Is Fluke 117 good for automotive?

The Fluke 117 Electrician’s True RMS Multimeter is well-built and can easily auto-detect AC or DC voltage. It also has the ability to measure frequency, capacitance, and frequency accurately, making it a powerful tool to have.

What is the difference between Fluke 116 and 117?

The Fluke 116 and the Fluke 117 are both high-quality tools. However, they are designed for different purposes. The Fluke 116 is made for HVAC work, while the Fluke 117 is more geared towards electricians.

What is true RMS meter?

A true-RMS meter can accurately measure waves that are not perfect, like when the waveform is not sinusoidal. “RMS” stands for root-mean-square, which is a calculation used to find the equivalent DC value of an AC waveform.

Which Klein multimeter is the best?

The Klein Tools 69149 multimeter test kit is an affordable option for those looking for an easy-to-use electrical meter test kit. This kit comes with all of the accessories you need to complete the most common meter tests, and the price is perfect for those on a budget.

Is Klein a good multimeter?

Overall, this is a great meter that has many functions. It is affordable, and I believe Klein cares about their products and reputation, so I don’t think they would put their name on an inferior meter.

Is a Fluke meter worth it?

It is a classic case of “you get what you pay for.” If you need occasional reasonably accurate readings, you might consider a less expensive meter. If you need frequent and highly accurate readings, there is nothing better than a Fluke.

What is the types of a digital multimeter?

There are four categories of multimeters: CAT I, CAT II, CAT III, and CAT IV. Each one is designed to measure a different type of circuit. Make sure you use the right multimeter for the job to avoid damaging anything. Multimeters typically measure voltage, current, and resistance.