The Best Oscilloscope Under $500

An oscilloscope is a sort of electronic equipment that enables the measurement and recording of an electrical signal’s evolution. Electrical and electronic engineers require oscilloscopes. They enable engineers to view the waveform of a signal in detail, including its shape, amplitude, and frequency. We’ve got you covered if you’re in the market for a new oscilloscope! We’ll be examining the top oscilloscopes under $500 in this article.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Oscilloscope

Analog vs. Digital

Today, the most affordable oscilloscopes are digital. They are cheaper and have more features than analog scopes. Today’s digital oscilloscopes are extremely accurate and may provide additional features such as portability (analog scopes are generally bigger and heavier). Colored digital display, single-shot capability, and increased average bandwidth, among other features.

Bandwidth

The bandwidth of an oscilloscope system determines the highest frequency the instrument can correctly measure. The more bandwidth an oscilloscope has, the more expensive it is.

Generally:

  • An oscilloscope with bandwidth at least three times that of the highest frequency wave is required to measure a high-frequency wave.
  • Select a bandwidth at least five times the system’s highest clock rate using a digital oscilloscope.

Sample Rate

The sampling rate of an oscilloscope determines how detailed the waveform can be displayed on a digital oscilloscope. This is frequently expressed as MS/sec or GS/sec. MS denotes a mega (1,000) sample, while GS denotes a Giga (1,000,000) sample. You should aim for a sampling rate that is twice as fast as the maximum frequency being measured.

Memory Depth

The amount of memory on an oscilloscope is determined by multiplying the sample rate with time. This will show you how long the oscilloscope can store a signal before it must be deleted or dumped.

Type of Probes

There are two parts to an oscilloscope: the scope and the probe. People focus on the scope but don’t think about the probe most of the time. Because different scopes may be compatible with only particular types of probes, it’s critical to consider the following before purchasing a new oscilloscope:

  • Passive probes are included with most oscilloscopes. They are good for making measurements that are grounded.
  • High-voltage differential probes can take accurate, safe measurements of voltage differences and voltages that are not grounded.
  • Logic probes are devices that send digital signals to oscilloscopes.
  • Current probes measure how much current is flowing in a circuit. They can also help the oscilloscope measure changes in power.

Ease of Use

Several things may influence how simple it is to operate an oscilloscope:

  • The built-in help menu means we don’t need to read a separate manual.
  • The larger display and the ability to zoom in on the waveform means that we can view waveforms and measurement data simultaneously.
  • The oscilloscope is easy to control, including larger knobs and voice control features.

Top 5 Best Oscilloscopes Under $500

In this section, I have reviewed some of the top oscilloscopes. They all have great functionality and features, and they are all available on Amazon.com at a great price.

1. Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes

The Rigol DS1054Z is a great choice for users of all levels. The oscilloscope’s technologies and components have been engineered to meet the current industry standards, making it ideal for novice and experienced users. Additionally, the Rigol DS1054Z has some great features. One of these is the ability to do a variety of tests. Additionally, it features different colors on each channel, so you don’t use the wrong one.

The Rigol DS1054Z oscilloscope is one of the greatest oscilloscopes for folks who want to learn how waves behave. It has a good display that makes it easy for people to see what is happening.

This product also offers several features, including the ability to do different math functions, capture waveforms quickly, and store a lot of information. Additionally, it has a large dynamic range and may be checked to ensure good operation.

The minor downsides of this low-end oscilloscope—such as the high noise and low count of FFTs—are to be expected. However, the clear display and various triggering functions make up these drawbacks. This is a great choice for an oscilloscope under $500.

Key Specs:

  • This product features four channels and is ideal for automobile analysis.
  • The rate of waveform capturing is 30,000 wfms/sec.
  • It has a bandwidth of 50MHz.
  • It has a math function called FFT (Fast-Fourier transform).
  • In actual time, the sample rate is 1 GSa/sec.
  • Memory depth is 12 Mpts; memory can be upgraded to 24 Mpts using a software key. The display resolution is 800 x 480 pixels.

Pros:

  • Numerous features, adaptable functionality
  • Affordably priced
  • Extremely transportable and tiny
  • Extremely dependable

Cons:

  • Elevated noise floor
  • FFT has a low count (Fast-Fourier transform)

2. Tektronix TBS1052B

The Tektronix TBS1052B is one of the best oscilloscopes for less than $500. It has a 7″ color screen, 50MHz bandwidth, and a clear display resolution of 800 by 480. It also doesn’t have a cooling fan, but you get a 5-year warranty to offset any potential overheating issues.

The Tektronix TBS1052B has great features, like small magnifying areas on the display, delay triggering, etc. However, it only has 2.5K memory per channel (it has 2 channels), which is quite small compared to other models today.

Key Specs:

  • The bandwidth of 50 MHz (other variants are available featuring 30 to 200 MHz bandwidth)
  • Real-time sampling rate up to 2GSa/2ec 2 channels
  • Courseware characteristics
  • 24 parameters can be measured automatically
  • 7-inch WVGA color display with a resolution of 800 x 480

Pros:

  • Extremely dependable and precise; capable of triggering tricky signals
  • Features such as delayed triggering and the ability to magnify a portion of the display are included in the advanced scope.
  • The interface is quite intuitive, with genuine analog knobs.
  • Durable construction, as one would expect from Tektronix.

Cons :

  • Does not indicate the minimum/maximum voltage range.
  • Each channel has only 2.5K of memory.

3. Keysight 1000 X-Series Oscilloscope

The Keysight 1000 X-Series digital oscilloscope is ideal for professional or high-end use while remaining cheap. This makes it one of the best oscilloscopes for people who don’t want to spend money.

One of the best features of this 1000 X-Series oscilloscope is its waveform update rate of 50,000 wfms/sec. This allows you to see more details of the waveforms to better analyze them. Another great feature is that it supports more than 10 different languages. If English isn’t your native language, this is an important consideration while looking for an oscilloscope.

Keysight 1000 X-Series has advanced features, including FFT, math functions, analog bus, and protocol decoding/triggering. It also has a built-in frequency response analysis.

The Keysight 1000 X-Series is one of the best oscilloscopes under $500. It has advanced features like a built-in wave-generator and frequency response analysis. Even though it has professional features, it is still easy to use because of its great interface. Choosing an oscilloscope based on language compatibility is especially important if English isn’t your first language.

The Keysight 1000 X-Series is a great machine. It has a good reputation and few downsides. One downside is that the display is small. Another downside is that the machine doesn’t have a zoom/amplify feature, so it can be difficult to see the signals.

Key Specs:

  • The bandwidth of 50 to 100 MHz
  • The update rate of 50,000 wfms/sec enables the generation of extremely precise waveform signals
  • Custom technology developed by Keysight based on over 60 years of oscilloscope expertise, extremely precise
  • Easy-to-use user interface with built-in instructional and training signals.
  • Analysis software that is industry-leading and integrates six instruments in one, high-end professional-level analysis

Pros:

  • Numerous complex features, such as FTT and math functions
  • Support for nearly a dozen languages
  • Integrated 20MHz waveform generator and frequency response analysis
  • The outstanding waveform update rate (50,000 wfms/sec) provides detailed data
  • Oscillator capable of professional use, one of the best oscilloscopes under $500 for professional use

Cons:

  • The display is rather small.
  • There is no zoom function.

4. Hantek DS05102P

If you’re looking for a cheap oscilloscope, the Hantek DS05102P is a decent alternative. This oscilloscope is one of our top picks for the finest oscilloscopes under $500.

The Hantek oscilloscope features a 7-inch display for convenient viewing and analysis. Additionally, the DS05102P operates in the 100 MHz band, making it extremely versatile. Additionally, it features a USB port, which expands your possibilities.

The Hantek DS05102P features a large and clear display. This makes it simple to see what is happening. Additionally, the display may accommodate up to 40,000 records. This enables you to keep track of a large amount of data. Additionally, the device features two distinct channels, which lends versatility.

Key Specs:

  • Contains two channels
  • Range of 100MHz bandwidth
  • Features Four distinct mathematical functions
  • Display resolutions of 800 x 480 pixels
  • It has a variety of automatic measurements.
  • Up to 1GSa/s sampling rate in real-time
  • Numerous trigger modes
  • Excellent display, with a record range of up to 40K

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced; among the best oscilloscopes, around $500.
  • Durable, well-built, and reasonably compact
  • A respectable set of features, quite adaptable
  • 7-inch large color display
  • Range of up to 40K records

Cons:

  • Ships with 220V cord
  • Firmware is a bit confusing

5. Saint Smart Mini DSO213

The Saint Smart Mini DSO213 is a great device for fieldwork. It is very compact, making it easy to take wherever you need to go. It is very affordable, making it a great option for people on a budget.

Despite its compact size, the Saint Smart Mini still has great functionality. It has 4 channels and a clear color display that can show sine, square, triangle, and saw-tooth waveforms.

The Saint Smart Mini DSO213’s primary selling point is its extremely tiny size. If you’re looking for a handheld oscilloscope for around $500, this is one of the better options. Despite its diminutive size, it offers a respectable 400240 display with 8MB flash storage. This oscilloscope’s compact size makes it very simple and convenient to use.

Minor disadvantages include having only one probe and the interface, which might be difficult to use due to the small buttons.

Key Specs:

  • Displays with a resolution of 400 × 240 pixels
  • Real-time sample rate of up to 100 MSa/s 15 MHz analog bandwidth
  • There are numerous trigger modes and math functions offered.
  • It features a color TFT-LCD display.

Pros:

  • Compact Dimensions: 100 x 56.5 x 10.7 mm, totally handheld and highly portable
  • A respectable set of features, quite adaptable
  • Numerous connectivity options include USB and SD card charging and USB charging for the rechargeable battery
  • Reliable and robust in comparison to its size

Cons:

  • Only one probe is included.
  • Occasionally, it results in faulty measurements between 500 and 600 Hz.
  • Buttons of varying sizes

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Frequently Asked Questions About Best Oscilloscope Under $500

Are Cheap Oscilloscopes Worth It?

This oscilloscope is a good choice for beginners. It has a user interface and menus that are easy to understand. Plus, it’s a great value because it offers many features for a low price.

How Much Does a Good Oscilloscope Cost?

A few hundred dollars will get you an oscilloscope with a narrow bandwidth of 200 MHz. However, an oscilloscope with a measurement bandwidth of 1 GHz can go for almost $30,000!

Is a 50 Mhz Oscilloscope Good?

This bandwidth range is good for many different research and development applications and trouble-shooting. Many models of 50 MHz scopes are available for less than USD 250.

What Frequency Oscilloscope Do I Need?

To figure out what you need, use the “five times rule.” This rule says that for every increase of five times the frequency of a signal, you will lose only 30% of the signal’s power. So if you need to measure a signal at 100 MHz, make sure that your oscilloscope has an input of at least 20 MHz or less. This will ensure an accurate reading of the signal’s amplitude.

Why Use an Oscilloscope Instead of a Multimeter?

One advantage of oscilloscopes over multimeters is that they can display images of complex signals. This can help you see if a transient signal might be a problem for your system.

Are Old Oscilloscopes Worth Anything?

A Tektronix or Hewlett-Packard oscilloscope in good condition and still works can be sold for between $250 and $500 on the used market today.

What Is the Most Expensive Oscilloscope?

Keysight is a company that makes test equipment. Recently, they made a $1.3 million oscilloscope. It is extremely powerful and can be used to test electronic equipment’s performance. It is so expensive that most people will never get the chance to use it, let alone take it apart!

Does the Oscilloscope Need 200 Mhz?

To measure a 50 MHz signal, you will want an oscilloscope with a minimum bandwidth of 200 MHz. This will ensure that you can see your signal clearly without distortion by attenuation or filters. However, it’s important to note that too-high bandwidth can introduce noise into your measurement.

What Mhz Oscilloscope Do I Need for Automotive?

Lab scope design engineers recommend that the bandwidth of a lab scope should be five times the fastest signal speed. This means that a lab scope with a bandwidth of 5 MHz can test modern automotive engine management systems.

How Do I Choose an Oscilloscope Probe?

You want your probes to be three to five times faster than the fastest signal you want to see. This will assist you in ensuring that no signals are missed. Probes have different (sometimes switchable) attenuation ratios that change how the signals are fed into your oscilloscope.

How Do I Choose a Digital Oscilloscope?

Select an oscilloscope with a wide bandwidth to accurately capture the highest frequency of your signals. Remember the ‘five times rule’—choose an oscilloscope and probe that provide at least five times the maximum signal bandwidth for more accurate measurements with fewer errors.