Many of our modern conveniences rely on batteries, so having a multimeter in your home can be handy when determining whether or not your rechargeable batteries are storing enough current to do the job.
Additionally, checking new batteries before installing them can save you hassle and irritation as you try to track down power issues on television remotes and battery powered light switches or doorbells. If you’re more technically inclined you may want to test other systems in your home such as your HVAC heating and cooling system.
In this guide we will discover the best multimeter features and types through explanations and multimeter reviews to help you understand your smart homes electronics better.
What Is A Multimeter?
A multimeter is a diagnostic tool to measure electrical values coming from an outlet or an electrical connection.
If you notice lights flickering, or are constantly tripping breakers in your home, reviewing the power status of voltage, current (amps) and resistance (ohms) of the flow of electricity in your home can help you diagnose problems. However,
You should always consult with a professional when dealing with electrical issues in your home.
You can also test the remaining power of batteries with a multimeter.
How Well Do They Work?
A standard digital multimeter built for home use should give you years of valid information about the conditions of the various sources of power found in your home.
It is critical to stress safety. Electricity can be fatal!
Because multimeters are built to read voltage, current and resistance, exposure to excess power can cause the unit to burn up from within if plugged into the wrong power source.
An HVAC multimeter can tolerate a great deal more electrical exposure than a standard unit can. If you're not sure you have the right tool or the proper training, do not plug a multimeter into anything.
Features & Types Of Multimeters
Heating and air systems run on dedicated 220 volt lines for power, so it's important to have a multimeter that can handle that much power. These units must also have a temperature probe.
Testing 220 volts with a meter that can't handle that much power can, and will, damage both the meter and the operator.
What's An Auto Ranging Multimeter And Do I Need One?
The nice thing about an auto ranging multimeter is you don't have to dial around when looking for the resistance of a strange resistor that falls into your hands.
Ordinarily, you'd need to connect to the resistor and begin searching until you found the right range, and then you could get a reading. An auto ranging resistor searches for the correct range all on its own. It's handy, but not critical.
What Is Fluke?
Fluke multimeters are digital units built to withstand rough treatment in difficult situations. These units are built for high humidity and can tolerate high humidity, dangerous drops and shock.
How To Use A Fluke Multimeter
You can use a Flue multimeter like any home multimeter and keep it handy for checking batteries. However, these units offer many more services. You can use this unit to transmit information to your cell phone.
This means that, should you find yourself in a hazardous situation, you can place the tool within measuring distance and pick up the readings from your phone. With this data stored on your phone, you can also send it on to your co-workers or other contacts.
Analog Or Digital?
Both analog and digital multimeters need to be set or dialed to the correct range to get a good reading on whatever you're testing.
For ease of reading, digital units offer more accuracy.
For one thing, long-term abuse or just using an analog unit in difficult conditions can damage the accuracy of the dial reading. Additionally, moisture can build up inside the dial space, making it impossible to read the dial.
Power Source For Your Multimeter
Several multimeters, including the Fluke, can work off direct current (battery) or alternating current from an outlet. It's important to install new battery (ies) when taking your multimeter into difficult spots.
If you need a critical reading in a dangerous situation, you don't want to miss the information, and you can never be assured of an outlet.
Leads / Probes
The standard cord on a lead or probe is 48 inches / 122 cm and come in a variety of contacts.
Most probes and leads require the user to hold the tip of the lead against the item to be measured.
Some units also offer alligator clips to confirm that whatever you're testing has been captured.
However, it's important to note that should you wind up inadvertently or purposely testing any hot electrical line, alligator clips can expose your digital multimeter to excess power for a dangerous amount of time.
If you multimeter is ever exposed to high voltage, an alarm will sound. It will continue to ring after a set amount of time until someone turns it off. This feature protects people working around electricity alone as it will keep beeping until someone checks on the user and turns it off.
Tests & Accuracy
Because each multimeter must be set to confirm that you're searching within the correct range, it's important to take your multimeter out for a test drive of sorts and make sure that your readings are accurate. You need to confirm that your measurements are consistent and that you're reading the unit within the correct range.
A backlit display is a combination of LCD (liquid crystal display) and LED (light emitting diode) used in the same display to make script appear white against a black screen. Depending on the conditions you're working in, this feature could be invaluable to guarantee that you can a safe and successful reading.
If you're trying to use a multimeter to check my neighbor's home after a terrible storm, that backlit display could give you the safest, most accurate reading available.
A Word About Safety
Many digital multimeters offer a variety of probes and clips that enable you to test power and resistance of many electronic components. It is critically important that you not experiment with live current, particularly alternating current as found in your wall outlets.
Electricity is a wonderful tool, but it's very unforgiving and will travel through anyone who accidentally gets in its path.
Final Thoughts - A Helpful Tool When Carefully Handled!
Investing in a digital multimeter and taking the time to get to know the product is a great use of your time and money. However, if you'll need to use it around live electricity, enlist the help of a professional. Safety first.
Did you enjoy guide to the best multimeter? Let us know in the comments with your tips, suggestions and experiences with your favorite multimeters.