10 Best Multimeters under $100 of 2021 – Top Picks & Reviews
Everyone with basic repair skills should own a multimeter. These versatile tools are great for troubleshooting and fixing problems with your vehicle, small electronics, your home’s electrical system, computers, and much more. They’re great for finding and solving problems in all sorts of electric systems and components, making them valuable tools for more than just electricians.
Professionals commonly spend over $100 on their multimeters, but those are intended for daily use and require top-notch accuracy and reliability. For home and hobby use, you don’t need the same functionality and workhorse reliability that a professional needs. Rather, you need something that will work when you need it and offer features that make your life easier at a price that fits into your budget without major sacrifice.
Fear not. There are plenty of such tools available. In fact, we’ve gathered ten of our favorites, which we’ve thoroughly compared against each other in the following reviews. By the end, you’ll be ready to pick the perfect multimeter for your needs and it won’t cost a fortune.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Amprobe 4018636 AM-510 Multimeter||
|Best Value||Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter||
|Premium Choice||Klein Tools MM600 HVAC Multimeter||
|AstroAI WH5000A Digital Multimeter||
|Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter||
The 10 Best Multimeters Under $100 – Reviews 2020
1. Amprobe 4018636 AM-510 Multimeter – Best Overall
There are many excellent multimeters available for less than $100, but our favorite is the Amprobe AM-510. It’s got all the features you’re likely to need for home and hobby use, at a price that fits into almost any budget. In total, it offers nine different tests, covering a wide range of needs and uses.
You can measure up to 600V in AC and DC with this multimeter. You can also read current and resistance in both AC and DC. There’s a non-contact voltage detector built-in, making it quick and easy to see if your line’s hot. When testing diodes or continuity, there’s an audible beep that’s loud enough to hear over background noise. And to keep you safe, this device is CAT III 600V safety rated.
You’ll get several advanced features on this device, including data hold and relative zero mode. There’s even a built-in flashlight for when your workspace could use a little extra illumination. Of course, the screen is also backlit, so you can still read your measurements when there’s not much light. However, the numbers tend to disappear when viewed from an angle, so you’ll have to be aware of where you place the meter.
2. Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter – Best Value
All of the multimeters on this list are pretty affordable since they’re meant to be budget-priced options, but the Etekcity MSR-R500 digital multimeter is so affordable that it makes some of the other choices on this list seem downright expensive. Despite its cheap price, this is a great tool that will help you complete a variety of projects and repairs.
With this device, you can measure AC and DC voltage, resistance, continuity, diodes, and DC current, though you can’t measure AC current with it. It’s got a large, backlit display that’s easy to read, though it has a max display count of 2000. Still, it can measure resistance up to 200 megohms; a capability that was absent from many multimeters that cost multiple times what this one goes for.
To keep you safe, this meter features overload protection on all ranges. For protecting the device, a rubber sleeve has been wrapped around it that provides protection from drops and rough handling. All in all, this device is capable and affordable, which is why we think it’s the best multimeter under $100.
3. Klein Tools MM600 HVAC Multimeter – Premium Choice
Klein is one of the most respected names in electrical tools, so it’s not surprising that their MM600 HVAC multimeter is our premium choice. At this price, it offers an impressive list of specs and features that simply can’t be matched, though it is one of the pricier options on this list.
This multimeter is safety rated up to CAT IV 600V and CAT II 1000V, which is better than any other multimeter we’ve tested in this price range. In all, it can provide 11 different measurements, including AC and DC current and voltage, plus temperature, capacitance, frequency, and more.
One thing Klein is known for is robust tools, and this multimeter is no exception. It’s so durable that it can withstand a 6.6-foot fall, so you won’t have to worry about rough handling putting it out of commission.
There are other handy features built-in like the low battery indicator that just make your life easier. When it’s time to change the battery, the battery compartment allows for easy access — no screwdriver needed. Altogether, it’s a great device that we’re confident will meet all of your household needs and would probably serve a professional without many compromises.
4. AstroAI WH5000A Digital Multimeter
If it weren’t for the fact that there are so many strong contenders available in this price range, the AstroAI WH5000A digital multimeter would have likely made it into the top three. It’s loaded with features that help it compete with units priced much higher, though it sits far below our $100 budget.
Simplifying your life, this multimeter is auto-ranging, which removes all of the guesswork when testing. Thanks to the 6,000-count screen, you’ll have plenty of room for reading the 8 different measurements that this meter takes. It’s safety compliant up to CAT III 600V and CAT II 1000V, and is equipped with explosion-proof ceramic fuse tubes. Even if you do something wrong, this device has you protected.
On the back of this meter is a magnet that lets you hang it so you can work with both hands. It’s not strong enough to trust over a running engine, though it’s still a handy feature. Well, except for when it picks up screws, nuts, and other metal objects you didn’t expect. We also did notice that the temperature readings from this device were inaccurate, but you’re probably not buying this multimeter just for taking temperatures.
5. Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter
When it comes to electrical meters, few names are more trusted than Fluke. However, they’re a top-tier brand, and their lower-tier offerings have a hard time competing with inexpensive meters from other companies that are loaded with features. The Fluke 101 basic digital multimeter is a great device that’s built with the same rugged dependability that Fluke is known for. But it’s lacking in features compared to other offerings in the same price range.
With the Fluke 101, you can take a total of 6 different measurements with accuracy within 0.5%. That includes a diode and continuity test with an audible buzzer that you can hear over background noise. You also get a decent CAT III 600V safety rating, though we’ve seen higher ratings on cheaper multimeters that offered far more measuring capabilities than this fluke.
To top it all off, the Fluke 101 doesn’t offer true root square mean (RMS) voltage. It’s a reliable device, but it feels pretty barebones at this price.
6. Crenova MS8233D Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
With the Crenova MS9233D digital multimeter, you get an auto-ranging multimeter with some great safety features at a dirt-cheap price, even compared to these other affordable multimeters. However, several flaws held it back from reaching higher on our list, like the very stiff, short leads that were more difficult to work with than almost any leads we’ve dealt with so far.
This multimeter can take 8 different measurements. The screen is backlit for easy viewing, but the light shuts off very quickly, never quite giving you enough time to finish working. When you need to change the battery, you’ll have to find a screwdriver first. Not a big deal, but an annoying inconvenience.
Still, for the price, you’re getting a lot with this device. It’s got overload protection on all ranges and a double fuse built-in for further protection. It’s very simple to use since it’s auto-ranging. You’ll need a 9V battery to power it, but luckily, one is included, so you’re ready to go right out of the box.
7. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
The INNOVA 3320 is priced cheap, but the build quality matches the price. It’s a usable tool, but far from our favorite. Still, it offers auto-raging, so at least there’s not as much guesswork involved. Furthermore, you’ll get reverse polarity protection in case you make a mistake and get your leads mixed up. We also like that it runs on a single AAA battery, even though it means a shorter battery life.
When you administer a continuity test, you can’t hear the test beep if there’s any kind of background noise as it’s hardly audible. And this is a very slow meter. It can take several seconds to fully register a reading. Often, just when you’re sure that a circuit is dead, the reading suddenly begins to register. It’s not the worst cheap multimeter we’ve seen, but it’s not one that we’re terribly fond of.
8. Tacklife CM02A Digital Multimeter
More than just a regular multimeter, the Tacklife CM02A digital multimeter is a clamp meter with a low-frequency impedance test using the tip clamp. It’s got a 6,000-count screen so you have ample room for measurements. Plus, you get non-contact voltage detection, which can save you loads of time and possibly prevent you from getting shocked.
Though this is an affordably-priced multimeter, there were several things about it that were cause for complaint. While it does offer 7 different tests, it only measures resistance to 6,000 ohms. There are also no minimum or maximum measurements on any settings, which rules this multimeter out for some uses.
If you’re purchasing this multimeter hoping for accurate temperature readings, look elsewhere. Temperature readings with this meter are inaccurate at best. It’s got some other standard features like a backlit display and data retention button, but there’s nothing here that impressed us enough to climb past the other great candidates on this list.
9. Tekpower TP8260L Analog Multimeter
If you’re looking specifically for an analog multimeter, then you might consider the Tekpower TP8260L as it’s an affordable option with a few nice features. But for everyone else, this is a device that we’d skip. It’s much harder to use simply for the act that it’s an analog multimeter. Rather than nice numbers displayed on your screen, you’ll have to try to make out the tiny numbers that the moving needle is pointing to.
Naturally, this multimeter has no auto-ranging functionality; you’ll need to know what range of measurement you’re dealing with to get the meter set right. If you happen to make a mistake and blow the meter up, it’s only warrantied for a year, so you better do it quickly. At least there’s a built-in kickstand on the backside so you can prop it up and work with both hands.
10. Neiko 40508 Digital Multimeter
The Neiko 40508 digital multimeter is one of the cheapest devices we’ve seen; both in terms of price and quality. It’s dirt-cheap price-wise, but you can feel the lack of quality when you hold it. Plus, it’s missing many features that we’ve grown used to after testing so many of these multimeters.
This device is manual-ranging only. You’ll need to know what you’re measuring; no guessing. But with a max reading of 1,999, it can’t read high enough for many measurements. If you’re relying on your multimeter for continuity testing, this one has no audible alert, so you can count it out.
But the worst thing about this device is the poor build quality. After a few uses, we went to turn the wheel and it just kind of fell apart. The same thing happened with the positive lead. When your products fall apart under normal use, it’s a sign that those products are not the ones customers should be purchasing.
If you already know a lot about multimeters and you’ve worked with them in the past, then you might be ready to run with our recommendations and go purchase the perfect multimeter for your needs. But for everyone else, we’ve written this buyer’s guide to help sift through the important features to make an informed decision.
Buying the Right Budget Multimeter
If you’re going to compare multimeters, you need some comparison points. For us, the following features and functions are the most important, and they’re what we use to compare these multimeters. If you figure out what you need in each category and look for a multimeter to match, you’ll be sure to end up with the right tool.
How many different tests can your multimeter administer? Some only perform five tests while others perform more than twice as many! But ask yourself, are all of those tests necessary? For some people, the answer might be yes. But if you don’t need all those different tests, don’t feel pressured to purchase a multimeter with that functionality just because.
Safety ratings tell you what type of voltage the multimeter can safely deal with. The safety features backing up these ratings ensure that you’ll be safe working within those ranges. These include things like double-fuses, explosion-proof fuses, and overload protection. You can also find CAT ratings that tell what voltage is safe to work with for CAT II, II, and IV, depending on your device’s capabilities.
Screen count refers to the measurements that the multimeter’s screen can display. A 2,000-count screen can display numbers up to 1,999. A screen with a screen count of 6,000 can generally display up to 5,999.
Quality and Durability
These go hand in hand. A high-quality multimeter will be durable. They’re generally built into protective rubber cases for improved protection. But the internals must also be well-built for a multimeter to be truly durable. Some brands are known for their ruggedness. We’ve even tested multimeters that could withstand drops of over six feet.
Auto-Ranging or Manual
After using both kinds, we’d always stick to auto-ranging multimeters. They make it so much easier to just plug in the leads and take a measurement. There’s no guesswork, trying to figure out the range of what you’re measuring.
Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s good. The inverse is also true. We’ve seen cheap multimeters outperform products at much higher price tiers. In truth, there are great tools to be had at every price. So, don’t make the mistake of thinking one multimeter is better than another because it’s more expensive.
If something should happen to your multimeter, a warranty will have you covered. Of course, it can’t take care of the fingers you’re missing now, but it can definitely get your multimeter replaced so you can blow yourself up again. A good warranty greatly increases the value of any tool in our opinion, so we always look for a multimeter with the best warranty possible.
If you’ve balked at the expensive prices some multimeters command, then you’re likely looking for one of the devices that we’ve covered in our reviews. These multimeters are all under $100, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality since we found many options that exceeded our expectations at affordable prices.
For most people, we’d recommend the Amprobe AM-510. It offers 9 different tests, including audible tests for continuity and diodes, plus data hold and relative zero mode. It’s safety rated up to CAT III 600V and even has a built-in flashlight for convenience.
If you’re searching for the lowest priced device that won’t do you wrong, we suggest the Etekcity digital multimeter. It offers the 5 tests you need most, and can even measure resistance up to 200 megohms. With overload protection on all ranges, it will keep you safe, and it manages all this at a dirt-cheap price we couldn’t believe.
But when you want a professional-quality multimeter at a more affordable price, you’re looking for the MM600 from Klein Tools with CAT IV 600V and CAT III 1000V safety ratings, 11 different tests, and a rugged build that can withstand a 6.6-foot fall.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 2 The 10 Best Multimeters Under $100 – Reviews 2020
- 2.1 1. Amprobe 4018636 AM-510 Multimeter – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter – Best Value
- 2.3 3. Klein Tools MM600 HVAC Multimeter – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. AstroAI WH5000A Digital Multimeter
- 2.5 5. Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter
- 2.6 6. Crenova MS8233D Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
- 2.7 7. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
- 2.8 8. Tacklife CM02A Digital Multimeter
- 2.9 9. Tekpower TP8260L Analog Multimeter
- 2.10 10. Neiko 40508 Digital Multimeter
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 Conclusion