When you want to do many sorts of electrical work, it's a must to have a reliable multimeter. It is probably one of the most underrated tools for DIYers but this guide will tell what multimeter is and why you need one.

The best multimeters can perform many basic functions for home and automotive troubleshooting. If you have a drawer full of batteries and you are not sure if they are still kicking or dead, you can use a multimeter to do the work.

You also need a multimeter to test the integrity of extension cords, light bulbs and switches among other things. And if you want a device to measure voltage and current or voltage resistance, you can use a multimeter for that purpose too!

If you love to tinker your vehicle, your DIY toolbox would not be complete without a multimeter. 

We love to fix and modify our off-road vehicles.  Not only is it satisfying to do the work ourselves, but it also saves a lot of cash in the long run.

A multimeter helps in installing and troubleshooting an overlanding vehicle's electrical components

Welcome to our Best Multimeter Reviews.

Many hand-held meters are available with a multitude of features for a reasonable price.

The following reviews highlight some of the best entry-level digital multimeters, and we hope to match one for your needs!

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Best Multimeters

INNOVA 3320

Etekcity MSR-R500

AstroAI Digital Multimeter

Etekcity MSR-C600

Crenova MS8233D

Mastech MS8268 Series

Thsinde 18B+

Neoteck Pocket Digital Multimeter 8233D PRO 2000

Neiko 40508 830B Digital Multimeter

Craftsman 34-82141 Digital Multimeter

Tacklife DM01M Advanced Digital Multimeter

Tacklife DM02A

Best Multimeter Reviews


Review Of The INNOVA 3320

The meter measures 5.50 x 3.50 x 1.25 inches and weighs 6.3 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC 20mA, 200mA  DC 20mA, 200mA, 2A, 10A

Resistance: 200, 2000, 20K, 200K, 2M, 20M Ohms

Voltage:  AC 2mV, 20mV, 200mV, 600V  DC 200mV, 2000mV, 20V, 200V 600V

INNOVA 3320 has a 10MegOhm input impedance is great for automotive use.  It would offer perfect automotive readings if it offered alternator testing.

The housing of the Innova 3320 is a black plastic, with a nice set of rubber guards to protect against drops. Oversized readings make the LCD screen display easy to read.

A notable feature is a three-colored battery quick check LED.  Automatic shut-off, auto ranging, and color-coded markings make this device easy to use which is why it is one of the best choices for first-time users.

PROS:

  • 10 MegOhm input impedance for safe automotive use
  • Protective rubber corner guards
  • Color-coded labels help prevent confusion

CONS:

  • Lacks alternator testing ability
  • Display jumps when not testing

Review Of The Etekcity MSR-R500

The red plastic housing measures 5.1 x 2.9 x 1.4 inches and weighs 7.2 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC none  DC 2000µA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A

Resistance:  200, 2000, 20K, 200K, 20M, 200M Ohms

Voltage:  AC 200V, 500V  DC 200mV, 2000mV, 20V, 200V, 500V

This digital multimeter measures AC and DC voltage, DC current (not for AC current), diode, resistance, continuity, and more. It has an incredible sampling speed of 3 times per second!

The Etekcity MSR-R500 is easy to use as it comes with a button that holds the reading. And if you are working on your vehicle during night time, you'll benefit from its large backlit LCD screen display which is one of the best we've seen.

The digits are in large fonts and are easily visible in dimly lit areas. It also features a built-in support stand for hands-free use.

Moreover, this digital multimeter comes with a protective rubber sleeve for added protection in case you drop it.

While manual ranging is more difficult when working in cramped vehicle spaces, the backlight and data hold function make operations easier.

The square wave output is a nice feature for electronic hobbyists.  The MSR-R500 allows for testing of the battery, vehicle fuses, and wiring.

These features are a bonus for off-road owners who enjoy installing extra electrical components on their overland vehicle.

PROS:

  • A buzzer sounds when checking for continuity
  • The LCD display has a backlight for low light readings
  • The data hold function keeps the reading

CONS:

  • Ranging is done manually
  • It’s capable of measuring AC voltage but not current

Review Of The AstroAI Digital Multimeter

A rubber sleeve protects the housing that measures 5.1 x 2.8 x 1.4 inches with a weight of 8.8 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC none  DC 2000µA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A

Resistance:  200, 2000, 20k, 200k, 20M, 200M Ohms

Voltage:  AC 200V, 500V  DC 200mV, 2000mV, 200V, 500V

If you are looking for a versatile digital multimeter for your automotive and home electronics, the AstroAl Digital Multimeter is one of the best choices available. It measures AC and DC voltage, DC current (not for AC current), continuity, resistance, diodes and more with great accuracy.

This digital multimeter does have overload protection on all ranges. This ensures that the meter is safe in case of voltage overload.

Undeniably, troubleshooting on your automobile can be hard when there's limited lighting. Fortunately, this multimeter has a clear backlit LCD display as well as data hold functionality.  These features make operations a lot easier even during night time.

For your convenience and for easier hands-free viewing, this digital multimeter features a built-in kickstand that you can easily prop up. Additionally, it has a protective rubber corner that works as drop protection. 

The transistor and diode testing offer some testing when working on automotive electronic circuitry.

This digital multimeter comes with an industry standard one-year warranty.  It offers limited AC voltage readings, which is fine for most automotive applications.

The low battery indicator is nice for those of us who are forgetful.

PROS:

  • Rotary dial markings are clearly marked
  • The rubber sleeve provides complete side protection
  • Well written instructions give a better understanding of readings
  • With 1 year warranty

CONS:

  • Sampling speed is only twice each second
  • Rounded corners allow the meter to fall over easily

Review Of The Etekcity MSR-C600

The added clamp makes the profile 8.2 x 3 x 1.2 inches and increases weight to 12.8 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC 2A, 20A, 200A, 400A  DC none

Resistance:  200, 2K, 20K, 200K, 2M, 20M Ohms

Voltage:  AC 2V, 20V, 200V, 600V  DC 200mV, 2V, 20V, 200V, 600V

The Etekcity MSR-C600 is one of the best in the market when it comes to providing accurate measurements of  AC and DC voltage, AC current (not for DC current) and resistance. It also allows you to test diode and continuity. Moreover, its clamp can measure the AC current up to 26 mm without disrupting the circuit.  

This digital multimeter features a unique sleep mode that is not available even in some of the best multimeters. It automatically sets to sleep mode after 15 minutes of inactivity. This in turn helps save energy.

The large LCD display of this digital multimeter makes it easier to read the measurements. It also features a data hold button so that it will freeze whatever reading you want to get.

It is also a good thing that this multimeter has ABS plastic casing that offers a stronger outer shell for protection. While the meter is more suited for industrial measurements, limited DC readings are possible.

This digital multimeter would be a good choice for a DIY owner who works on their home as much as their off-road vehicle. Two AA batteries supply 150 hours of battery life.

Insulated test leads are an upgrade at this price.

PROS:

  • The max value button makes for faster operation
  • Simple control interface
  • The automatic sleep mode saves energy

CONS:

  • Clamp feature is of little use for vehicle readings
  • Does not measure DC current

Review Of The Crenova MS8233D

The orange colored shell measures 5.5 x 3.5 x 1.6 inches and weighs 11.4 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC 200µA, 2000µA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A  DC 200µA, 2000µA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A

Resistance:  200, 2K, 20K, 200K, 2M, 20M Ohms

Voltage:  AC 2V, 20V, 200V, 600V  DC 200mV, 2V, 20V, 200V, 600V

With built-in double fuse as well as overload protection on all ranges, this is one of the best multimeters made with your safety in mind. It also accurately measures AC/DC current, AC and DC voltage, frequency, resistance, continuity, diode and more.

Sometimes, you might be in a position where it will be hard to read the display. That is when you can take advantage of the display hold and maximum value hold functions of this multimeter. 

Moreover, it does function switching and auto-power when not in use. These features help you save energy.

When it comes to performance, it has a sampling speed of 3 times per second.

The three and a half digit display is easy to view.  Multiple buttons make things easy while troubleshooting an automotive issue.

Added safety features that stand out include double fuses and IEC 61010-1, CAT II 600V ratings. The auto-off feature can be interrupted by activating buttons or the dial.

PROS:

  • The built-in double fuse offers increased protection
  • The additional function button provides a more simple interface
  • The test leads are of a higher rating
  • Good safety rating

CONS:

  • The meter is top heavy when using the stand
  • The lead tip protectors are easily lost

Review Of The Mastech MS8268 Series

A green sleeve partially protects the 7.7 x 1.7 x 3.6-inch body and increases the weight to 14.1 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC 400µA, 4000µA, 40mA, 400mA, 10A  DC 400µA, 4000µA, 40mA, 400mA, 10A

Resistance:  400, 4K, 40K, 400K, 4M, 40M Ohms

Voltage:  AC 400mV, 4V, 40V, 400V, 750V  DC 400mV 4V, 40V, 400V, 1000V

This best multimeter allows for auto and manual ranging with relative measurement for all ranges except frequency. With auto-ranging, it automatically changes the internal range to find the correct current, voltage, or resistance of the electronics you are poking at. 

It does have a blue LED back-lit LCD display so that even when it's dim, you can still see the display. This is an important feature because you'll never know when you have to use the multimeter.

A storage temperature range from 14 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit is acceptable for many vehicles.  It has four jacks that offer audible and visual warnings if the test leads are located in the wrong jack.

The automatic power-off can be disabled, a feature for those less absent-minded.

PROS:

  • Six buttons select multiple features
  • An audible warning sounds when leads are plugged into improper jack
  • The automatic power off can be disabled
  • All range fused are resettable and with 1 year warranty

CONS:

  • The meter is top heavy due to a rounded bottom
  • The manual is confusing to read

Review Of The Thsinde 18B+

The housing measures 2.76 x 8.27 x 5.51 inches and weighs approximately 13 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC 600µA, 6000µA, 60mA, 600mA, 10A  DC 600µA, 6000µA, 60mA, 600mA, 10A

Resistance:  600, 6K, 60K, 600K, 6M, 60M Ohms

Voltage:  AC 6V, 60V, 600V, 750V  DC 600mV, 6V, 60V, 600V, 1000V

With ‘continuity test’ and ‘voltage alert’ for your safety, you'll have peace of mind when using this digital multimeter.  It is one of the best when it comes to safety rating. You can use the PTC ceramics protection circuit when measuring resistance and frequency.

This digital multimeter has 10 auto-range functions. This allows you to measure AC/DC voltage and current, resistance, frequency, diode, and continuity NCV, among others. 

With its large backlit LCD display, you can easily and clearly see the reading even when it is dim. It does readings three times per second. 

Alligator lead attachments offer a more secure hold when taking readings.

The non-contact voltage alert feature of this multimer works when it detects that the voltage is higher than 700V(RMS). It will alert you by lighting and buzzing.  The audible beep will trigger when the meter comes close to a detectable source.  This is one of the best safety features that you should consider as it highlights live components.

The meter is capable of displaying 6000 counts and is auto-ranging. The relative button allows a comparison between the current and a previous reading on the display.

The whole package includes a 9V battery, two (2) test leads, two (2) alligator clips and an English user's manual.

PROS:

  • Crocodile clip attachments included
  • The non-contact volt alert
  • A tall and easily readable display

CONS:

  • The manual is very spartan with information
  • An unknown brand that is difficult to track down

Review Of The Neoteck Pocket Digital Multimeter 8233D PRO 2000

With the orange protective layer, this meter measures 5.67 x 2.8 x 1.46 inches and weighs in at 6.6 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC 200µA, 2000µA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A  DC 200µoA, 2000µA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A

Resistance:  200, 2K, 20K, 200K, 2M, 20M Ohms

Voltage:  AC 2V, 20V, 200V, 600V  DC 200mV, 2V, 20V, 200V, 600V

This digital multimeter comes in a nice orange protective shell with a built-in stand for hands-free usage. The shell is durable enough to protect your device from accidentally being dropped. Moreover, the stand allows you to position the multimeter at a 45-degree angle, making it easier for you to see the display.

You can use this digital multimeter to measure current, voltage resistance, and more with great accuracy. 

You can take advantage of its featured PTC overload protection circuit for resistance and frequency measurements. This digital multimeter has a good safety rating. In fact, it meets Euro standards for safety. 

Some of the notable functions of this best multimeter include display hold, low battery indicator and auto power off. It also has a large backlit LCD display.

The input terminals are fused at a safe rating for use on an automobile.  The audible for the continuity test is loud enough to be heard in most environments.

Capacity, diode, and frequency readings make this meter versatile.

Banana plugs are included to attach alligator clip cables for hand-free measuring.

Aside from the unit, the entire package also comes with a 9V battery, two test leads and two banana plugs to alligator clip cable. 

PROS:

  • Separate banana plugs for alligator clips are included
  • An auto polarity display
  • The jacks are fused independently

CONS:

  • The display is crowded with symbols
  • The compartment screw may strip the case if overused

Review Of The Neiko 40508 830B Digital Multimeter

This compact meter measures only 4.1 x 1.2 x 5.2 inches and weighs 6.1 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC none  DC 200µA, 2000µA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A

Resistance:  200, 2000, 20K, 200K, 2000K Ohms

Voltage:  AC 200V, 750V  DC 200mV, 2000mV, 20V, 200V, 1000V

This is a good choice if you want a digital voltmeter or multimeter for testing a wide range of electrical components in automotive and home settings. With a maximum reading of up to 1999, you can use it for measuring resistance, voltage, current and many others with high accuracy.

It is worth mentioning that this digital multimeter has a large LCD screen display, allowing you to easily read the measurement.

To protect this digital multimeter from possible damage due to overload, it is designed to have a built-in overload protector. Other features include an automatic low battery indicator as well as red and black leads for testing electrical components.

One of the noticeable features of this digital multimeter is its bright yellow body that will be hard to lose track of.  To help prevent confusion, we note that the jacks are color-coded for proper alignment.

The diode tester emits an audible buzz when it detects a reading of fewer than 50 Ohms.  The basic design makes this a basic field tester and troubleshooter. This is probably one of the best multimeters for beginners.

PROS:

  • Bright yellow color aids in locating this small meter
  • The Jacks are color coded to prevent confusion
  • Audible buzzer for diode testing minimums

CONS:

  • The basic design limits the ranges on some readings
  • The low price point comes at the expense of durability

Review Of The Craftsman 34-82141 Digital Multimeter

This meter measures approximately 5 x 3 1 inches and weighs 10.4 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC 200mA, 10A  DC 200mA, 10A

Resistance:  200, 2000, 20K, 200K

Voltage:  AC 200V, 600V  DC 200mV, 2000mV, 20V, 200V, 600V

The protective covering completely covers the sides and the back of the meter for greater protection from accidental falls.

This best meter offers a simple interface that reads a minimum of ranges for each setting.

Automotive troubleshooting is enhanced by an audible tone that sounds when readings drop below 30 Ohms.  Manual ranging is done through a recessed dial that does not protrude from the meter.

Resistance is up to 2 megaohm which is ideal for auto and home electrical wiring testing and repairs. It is safe to say that this digital multimeter is versatile and multi-purpose.

PROS:

  • The protective sleeve covers all but the front of the meter
  • Simple control interface
  • An audible tone sounds when reading automotive shorts

CONS:

  • There is no backlight for the screen
  • Function ranges are extremely limited compared to similar meters

Review Of The Tacklife DM01M Advanced Digital Multimeter

This all black unit measures 7.5 x 3.5 x 2.1 inches and weighs 15.4 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC 60mA, 600mA, 10A  DC 60µoA, 60mA, 600mA, 10A

Resistance:  600, 6K, 60K, 600K, 6M, 60M Ohms

Voltage:  AC 6V, 60V, 600V, 750V  DC 600mV, 6V, 60V, 600V, 1000V

For large-range testing and measurement of electronics, get this digital multimeter to handle the job for you. It does 6000 counts, AC/DC current to 10A, AC voltage up to 750V, DC voltage up to 1000V, resistance to 60MΩ, and capacitance up to 100mF. It also uses type-K thermocouple for conducting temperature and continuity tests.

This is a perfect measuring tool for DIYers and overlanders. It allows for 2-3 times/sec sampling and it displays the results in a large 2.7-inch backlit LCD display for easy visibility when lighting is limited. 

With its built-in support stand, you can conveniently convert this digital multimeter into a hands-free device when you are troubleshooting your vehicle. 

One of the interesting features of this digital multimeter is the NCV sensitive test. If AC voltage is detected, the LED lights will illuminate based on the signal density (low, medium or high). The beeper will also emit a sound at different frequencies, indicating strong signal, a red bright light and high sensitivity.

Added safety features include the security requirements for 600V CAT IV 1000V CAT III, a ceramic fuse, and a Thermistor protection circuit.

Tacklife offers a two-year customer satisfaction guarantee which does show that they are confident about this multi-meter.

The non-contact voltage detection adds a layer of security by eliminating the need for connecting with a circuit.

A 2.7 inch LCD display offers an over-sized readout.

When you buy this item, it also comes with test leads, a K-Type thermocouple, four (4) AA-size batteries, a user manual and a 24-month service card.

PROS:

  • An over-sized LCD display
  • The NCV sensitive feature
  • A K-Type thermocouple is included

CONS:

  • Sampling speed is under 3 times per second
  • Dial symbols are bunched together

Review Of The Tacklife DM02A

This simpler offering from Tacklife measures 5.6 x 1.3 x 2.7 inches and weighs 11.4 ounces.  Range specifications include:

Amperes:  AC 200µA, 2000µA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A  DC 200µA, 2000µA, 20mA, 200mA, 10A

Resistance:  200, 2K, 20K, 200K, 2M, 20M

Voltage:  AC 2V, 20V, 200V, 600V  DC 200mV, 2V, 20V, 200V, 600V

The black plastic body is ergonomically designed with a mid-section taper, providing a comfortable grip.

A two-year replacement is offered by Tacklife.  This model includes the same non-contact voltage detection found on the DM01M reviewed previously.

The test leads metal tips are 5/8 inch in length and are connected to wires measuring 30 inches long.

The entire package comes with a Tacklife DM02A Multimeter Digital fitted with a black rubber sleeve, one 9V battery, test leads, a free screwdriver, a user's manual and a 24-month service card.

PROS:

  • The non-contact voltage detection feature
  • The PTC protection circuit will signal if less than 100 Ohms resistance
  • The manufacturer two-year replacement

CONS:

  • Does not include the accessories that accompany the DM01M
  • The flip-out stand isn’t supportive

How to Choose the Best Multimeter

Before you make the plunge and buy a multimeter, here are the top features that you need to consider to get the best value for your money:

Analog vs Digital

There are two major types of multimeters, analog and digital. The most important decision you have to make is to decide between these two.

One of the main advantages of a digital multimeter is its precise LCD readout. Some of the best multimeters have excellent visual readouts which include bar graphs. More often, digital multimeters also provide more accurate measurements than their analog counterparts. Because the LCD displays the exact numbers, it decreases the possibility of misreadings or misinterpretation of the measurements. Moreover, they also come with an auto-polarity function that helps you get a more accurate reading. 

While a digital multimeter has many great features, there are times when an analog multimeter is a better choice. For instance, if you are measuring a fluctuating electrical current. The moving needle of an analog multimeter can give you a clearer picture of the fluctuations in the current which is not possible with a digital multimeter.

Ultimately, your choice between the two types of multimeters will depend on which readings or features are more essential to the tasks that you frequently do or want to do. 

Resolution

Whether you're a DIYer or a professional, you need a multimeter with a good resolution. The higher the resolution of the multimeter is, the better it can detect even the slightest change in the input signal, which in turn affects the output signal.

You can see the resolution of a multimeter by checking the number or counting the digits it can display. Many units in the market have 3.5 or 4.5 digits ranging from 1999 to 19999. To put it in simple terms, a 3.5 digits multimeter will display 3 digits of values from 0 to 9 and one figure that will show either 0 or 1. The higher the digits it can display, the better the resolution it has.

Accuracy

Just like with any device or tool, it's also a must to aim for high accuracy in your multimeter. Each multimeter has a maximum error limit within one reading due to the offset of noise and other factors. This error limit is usually expressed as  “±”, representing the percentage of the reading plus the number of the LSD (least significant digit).

For instance, if you have a 4.5 digit multimeter with an accuracy of ± (0.1%+1). Say you are measuring a 12V output. Your multimeter is expected to show a range between 11880V and 12120V, wherein the last digit may fluctuate by ±1.

A more accurate digital multimeter will give you a precise reading. However, the more accurate units are also typically on the expensive side.

Input Impedance

Input impedance is an important feature if you work with highly sensitive control circuits and other electronics. Generally, the more sensitive the electronics are, the higher input impedance it requires. 

If your multimeter has a good input impedance, it will have little to no effect on the circuit performance. On the other hand, if the input impedance is low, it will measure the circuit in decreasing and parallel resistance. This in turn will give a faulty reading. 

Fortunately, many digital multimeters have a high input impedance greater than one megaohm. But this is not the case for analog multimeters as they generally have a very low input impedance of about 10 kiloohms. That's why analog multimeters are not recommended for sensitive electronics as they may damage the circuits. 

True RMS

A True RMS multimeter has the ability to evaluate how effective an alternating current (AC) wave is. Or in simple words, it measures the "heating" potential of an applied voltage. In recent years, there's an increasing importance of True RMS as more electrical devices use short signal pulses rather than at a steady level. When you use a regular multimeter in these devices, the accuracy of the reading is compromised. That is when you need a True RMS multimeter. 

Probes

A probe connects the multimeter to the device being tested. Many digital multimeters come with at least two probes. The most common types are alligator, grabber hook and SMD tweezer socket. 

Depending on which model you get and how many different types of current it can measure, your multimeter will have one or more sets of probes that are appropriate for different applications. Some of them are designed to measure by contact, while others will grip the item you’re trying to measure. Some of the different types of probes include alligator, grabber/hook, SMD tweezer, socket, and temperature.

Inputs

Cheaper digital multimeters have only two ports for connecting your probes to. On such units, generally, the input measures the different types of current. This can be dangerous since electricity current greatly varies across the different electronic devices. 

With newer (and typically more expensive) digital multimeters, there are different inputs that are available depending on what you want to measure. Generally, there are different inputs for measuring current, resistance and voltage. With different inputs available, it makes the device much safer to use.

Safety features

Working on the electronic parts of your overlanding vehicle is not a joke as the parts can be really expensive. That's why you should also consider the safety features of a multimeter before buying one. Some of the important safety features to check for include:

  • Input protection

  • Overload protection

  • Isolation slot to prevent arc-over

  • Internal blast shields

  • Banana plugs shrouded on the probes

Our Conclusions And Advice Following Our Best Multimeter Reviews

All the best multimeters we reviewed above are useful for installing, repairing, and troubleshooting electrical components on an overland rig.

However, there are some we would recommend for a variety of reason.

The AstroAI Digital Multimeter is a good choice for first-time users. It provides an acceptable range of resolutions when measuring amps, resistance, and voltage.

The overload protection can help prevent damage or injury should the meter be used in the wrong setting. The instructions that are included are more user-friendly when compared to the booklets provided with the other products.

For users that are more familiar with these testing devices, the Neiko 40508 830B offers additional features like the audible buzzer for diode testing.  

The range of readings provides plenty of testing versatility.  The bright yellow shell will be harder to miss as well.


Finally, the Mastech MS8268 combines a larger selection of readings, one-touch buttons, and extra safety.