10 Best HVAC Multimeters of 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks
When you’re working with electronic components, you need an HVAC multimeter. This tool has been around since the 1920s when radios receivers became popular. And they have stuck around ever since for an excellent reason – they work well for various electrical readings.
Not all HVAC multimeters are well-designed, however. It is essential to choose a multimeter that is accurate and well-made. Otherwise, you may find them more frustrating than helpful. We’ll help you do just that in this article with a series of reviews and a complete buyer’s guide.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter||
|Best Value||Amprobe AM-520 HVAC Multimeter||
|Premium Choice||Fluke 902 FC HVAC True-RMS Clamp Meter||
|Fieldpiece SC260 Clamp Multimeter||
|Klein Tools CL110KIT HVAC Multimeter Kit||
The 10 Best HVAC Multimeters – Reviews 2021
1. Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter – Best Overall
The Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter is about as good as they come. It has a built-in thermometer, which is not always included in these multimeters. It is specifically designed to prevent false readings due to ghost voltage, making it more accurate than most other options. The large, LED backlight is easy to read, even in poorly lit areas.
This is a complete multimeter as well. It can measure resistance, continuity, frequency, and capacitance – everything a professional and homeowner need. You’ll like its compact design. It is tiny and can be used with one-hand. Its small size makes it very easy to carry around as necessary. It is convenient to put it in your bag and take it along with you on the job.
This multimeter is also quite durable and well-made. It has a 3-year warranty, which shows just how well it is made. If it does break, the company stands behind its tool.
This tool can read resistances up to 40 milliohms (MΩ) and voltage up to 600V. This is a bit lower than some other options. However, this is the only obvious downside of this tool.
2. Amprobe AM-520 HVAC Multimeter – Best Value
The Amprobe AM-520 HVAC Multimeter is the best HVAC multimeter for the money. This is an extremely inexpensive multimeter. It is far cheaper than most of the other options on the market. However, it is not low-quality in the least. It is much better than even some of the other more expensive options on the market.
It can read voltage up to 600V. This is not as high as some other options, but it is decently average. It may not work for professionals, but it is suitable for homeowners. It can check capacitance, as well as temperature and microamps. Overall, this multimeter can read anything that your usual multimeter reads.
The backlit LCD is easy to read and is not crowded with information, which we find is true with many of the multimeters on the market today. It does show the current reading, min-max, and relative zero modes.
The main problem with this multimeter is that it isn’t nearly as accurate as some other options. However, it is suitable for most homeowners and even some professionals.
3. Fluke 902 FC HVAC True-RMS Clamp Meter – Premium Choice
The Fluke 902 FC HVAC True-RMS Clamp Meter is quite expensive. However, there are a lot of extra features it comes with that may make it worth it. If you’re a professional, this may be the best option for you, mainly if you regularly use it. The hook allows it to hang up out of the way and, in some cases, be used completely hands-free. This is its most apparent, unique feature. For some people, this feature may make it worth the extra money alone.
This meter looks like it will last the longest out of all the meters on this list. As you might imagine, these meters get used a lot. This means that they often break. As opposed to most other meters, this one will probably last years. It is best for those who work in the HVAC profession, as it is built to withstand much use. If you work in HVAC for a living, you will likely be using it a lot. This means that you need it to be quite durable.
4. Fieldpiece SC260 Clamp Multimeter
While the Fieldpiece SC260 Clamp Multimeter isn’t terrible, we couldn’t rate it higher on our list for a few reasons. It can only read up to 400 amps and reads very low across the board as well. This makes it unsuitable for most professionals, who will be working on machines that produce higher outputs. Some homeowners may find this unusable as well since it may not work for all applications. This is the only significant downside of this multimeter, however.
It also seems not to last as long as some other options. However, durability problems are common among these meters.
This multimeter is decently inexpensive, though it is not as cheap as some other option on our list. You can save a bit of money by purchasing a pack of multiple meters. However, few people will need that many.
This meter does read temperature and has accurate root mean square (RMS) measurements as well. It is smaller and compact enough to be taken around with you on the job site quickly.
5. Klein Tools CL110KIT HVAC Multimeter Kit
The Klein Tools CL110KIT HVAC Multimeter Kit is relatively inexpensive and comes with many accessories. Because of this, you may decide to purchase it. It does seem like an excellent deal, after all. The multimeter has a clamp attached and can read pretty much everything you would expect it to. It has a line splitter that allows you to draw up to 5A without splitting the power cable. It has a double insulation rating as well.
This kit can detect the most common wiring problems, making it great for homeowners and professionals alike.
However, this isn’t the best multimeter out there due to the price as you might imagine. While it does come with a case, it is very low-quality. You will probably need to invest in another case. The hold button is extremely inconveniently placed. It is difficult to hold and very annoying. While this doesn’t make the meter completely unusable, it does make us quite disappointed.
6. Fluke 116/323 Kit HVAC Multimeter
We didn’t particularly like the Fluke 116/323 Kit HVAC Multimeter, but it isn’t terrible enough for us to rate it lower than number six on our list. It has a built-in thermometer and can test micro-amps for test flame sensors. It has a low input impedance, which helps it avoid ghost voltage. This makes it much more accurate and helps it avoid false readings. It reads about the average level of everything. For example, it can measure 400-amp AC current, which is about average among multimeters on the market.
You’ll like that this multimeter comes with a 3-year warranty. It is quite durable and should last at least a few years of regular use. If you are a homeowner, you can expect it to last a very long time.
There were quite a few things we didn’t like about this multimeter, with all those things said. The leads to check voltage are very sharp, so they can cut you if you aren’t careful. This isn’t necessarily awful, but it is very annoying. It seems to be expected for this brand to leave accessories out of their packages as well.
7. UEI DL369 Digital Clamp HVAC Meter
The UEI DL369 Digital Clamp HVAC Meter has some fundamental features. It does not have all the extras that many meters come with these days. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it an excellent simple option. It is missing quite a bit and doesn’t do the things it does do very well. It seems that this meter was designed for homeowners who will probably end up calling a professional anyway. However, if you’re a professional or a homeowner who plans on fixing stuff, this is not the best option for you in the least.
Furthermore, because of this meter’s stripped-down nature, you would think it would be extremely inexpensive. However, it isn’t. It is cheaper than some top-line models, but many other options on the market are cheaper and better. We highly recommend purchasing those instead.
This meter is not very accurate. If you compare it to other meters, it just doesn’t cut it. The meter is also missing some fundamental features, like a backlight. It isn’t terrible. But it is missing a lot.
8. TACKLIFE CM02A Clamp Meter Multimeter
As far as inexpensive meters go, the TACKLIFE CM02A Clamp Meter Multimeter is one of the cheapest. It is one of the least expensive options on the market. It comes with everything you need, including a small case. It is also decently accurate, thanks to its slow impedance test. It can measure low frequency with the tip clamp, which is suitable when looking at shallow readings. The bright backlit display is straightforward to see and read. It goes into sleep mode automatically after 10 minutes of activity, which helps save battery life.
The backlight buttons on the side are straightforward to operate. However, this meter can look a bit complicated when you first use it. Luckily, it is much less complicated than it looks at first.
With that in mind, this meter is not nearly as durable as some other options. They break easily and often – even without any apparent damage or reason for it to break. They aren’t accurate as well. In some cases, this meter is way off.
9. Klein Tools MM600 HVAC Multimeter
The Klein Tools MM600 HVAC Multimeter is moderately-priced. It isn’t the most expensive or the most inexpensive. It can measure just about everything you would expect, but it doesn’t do this very accurately. It is built to endure a 6.6-foot drop. This isn’t very high, but it is nice to know that it won’t break after a single drop. The low battery indicator is not incredibly excellent, but it is a nice additional feature. Replacing the fuse is also easy to access and change.
This meter does not work well when used on high-voltage readings. It can only read 6A of continuous currents. Anything more than that, and it generally doesn’t work. This is a significant downfall and a bit of a disappointment. It is also not outlined well in the product description, so it is somewhat misleading as well.
It can also not read other measurements as high as some of the other options. It is not the best or most accurate option on the market. It just isn’t worth the money. We recommend purchasing something else instead.
10. Fieldpiece HS33 Ranging Stick Multimeter
Out of all of the multimeters we reviewed, the Fieldpiece HS33 Ranging Stick Multimeter is the worst option by far. It does not have a backlight, which is a standard feature. It can be difficult to read in dim light conditions or even in high light conditions without a backlight. As you might imagine, this makes it unusable in some situations. The settings take quite a bit to get used to. They are somewhat complicated and take a bit to figure out.
You should not purchase a simple multimeter that you’re going to have to take time to figure out. That’s just a no-go. Instead, buy one that is simple and intuitive.
We also found this meter to have a weak magnet. It doesn’t work. It might as well not have a magnet at all.
A multimeter is somewhat complicated to purchase. You need to consider many essential features that you can’t automatically see just by looking at the meters. Instead, you must rely on company descriptions and customer reviews to figure out each meter’s significant features.
Luckily, we’re here to help with this complete guide. You’ll find a guide below to the significant features you should be looking for when looking for the best multimeter, as well as some frequently asked questions that may play into your decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use a multimeter on your TV?
Yes. Generally speaking, you can use most multimeters on your TV. However, this requires a little bit of know-how. You will have to take your TV apart to get to the correct location to test your TV.
Are multimeters worth it?
If you plan on testing electronics, you need a multimeter. Otherwise, you aren’t going to be able to do much! Most professionals who work on electronics will need one of these meters. If you are a homeowner and want to do your electronic work, you will need a multimeter. This is one of the few ways you can diagnose common electrical problems and then fix them correctly. Otherwise, you’re just throwing a dart at a board.
Important Features to Consider
You need to take particular care of a few features when choosing the best multimeter for your situation. We’ll discuss these features below so you can make the best decision for your purposes.
These meters are notorious for breaking quickly. Professionals commonly use them a lot. This overuse leads to many meters breaking very quickly. They just aren’t made to stand up to regular use, which makes them break down relatively fast.
At the same time, homeowners often leave these meters to sit for a while before using them a lot in a short period. This makes it much more likely that the multimeter will break. They may be placed in a moist basement for years at a time, where they will be left untouched. This makes the meter more likely to malfunction over time.
Because of this, you need a meter that is designed to last. A well-made meter can last for decades, while a poorly made one may only last a few years. Invest in a sound meter upfront to avoid buying one every time you need one.
A multimeter that isn’t accurate is not going to be worth much. You should not be second-guessing the reading on your meter. If you are, you should buy a new one.
With that said, the only way to really tell how accurate a multimeter is to use it (and preferably compare it to a meter that you know is accurate). This is difficult to do, especially when you’re shopping online. You can’t precisely test a multimeter before purchasing it.
To tell how accurate a multimeter is, you need to rely on reviews like ours. We carefully considered the accuracy of each meter during the review process. If you want to know how accurate a multimeter is, check out our reviews.
There are a few basic things that every HVAC multimeter should measure. Most measure voltage, resistance, capacitance, and continuity. However, not all meters measure these points. We didn’t include any of these multimeters on our list. There is no reason to purchase a meter that cannot measure all of these electronic signals.
There are many different options out there that measure all of these things. You should find the perfect model without sacrificing the versatility of reading all of these signals. Be sure to double-check any multimeter you purchase to ensure that it can read all of these points.
Ease of Operation
Most multimeters are very easy to use. You press a button, and you’re done. However, some are a bit more complicated than this. There were quite a few we reviewed that had complicated settings or were difficult to figure out overall.
Multimeters are supposed to be easy. There is no reason to purchase a meter that you’re going to have to concentrate on while you figure out how to use it. We recommend purchasing an easy-to-use meter so you can concentrate more on your project and less on figuring out how to use the meter.
See also: our favorite budget multimeters of the year.
When purchasing a multimeter, there is a lot you need to keep in mind. Hopefully, this article helped you sort through all the options out there and figure out which model is best for you.
For most people, we recommend the Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter. It has a backlight that works very well and is entirely accurate, thanks to the system that ignores ghost voltage. It is suitable for most homeowners and even some professionals.
As a budget option, we also like the Amprobe AM-520 HVAC Multimeter. It can read just about everything you need and is very easy to use. Plus, it is relatively inexpensive when compared to other options on the market.
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 2 The 10 Best HVAC Multimeters – Reviews 2021
- 2.1 1. Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Amprobe AM-520 HVAC Multimeter – Best Value
- 2.3 3. Fluke 902 FC HVAC True-RMS Clamp Meter – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. Fieldpiece SC260 Clamp Multimeter
- 2.5 5. Klein Tools CL110KIT HVAC Multimeter Kit
- 2.6 6. Fluke 116/323 Kit HVAC Multimeter
- 2.7 7. UEI DL369 Digital Clamp HVAC Meter
- 2.8 8. TACKLIFE CM02A Clamp Meter Multimeter
- 2.9 9. Klein Tools MM600 HVAC Multimeter
- 2.10 10. Fieldpiece HS33 Ranging Stick Multimeter
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Conclusion