Best Multimeters: Volt of Lightning

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Top 8 Best Multimeters

Whether you’re working on a collector car or a daily beater, having a multimeter on hand when one’s required can be a lifesaver. Not only can it help diagnose electrical issues but it can also help narrow down issues and prevent the replacement of perfectly good parts.

We’ve assembled an array of handheld multimeters, plus a pair of units that can be mounted in a vehicle’s dash in a bid to keep an eye on critical electric components. After all, simply waiting for the thing to start smoking isn’t a great barometer.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: Etekcity Digital Multimeter

Here's a multimeter that checks a lot of boxes in terms of capability and price, offering a lot of functionality for a few cents over 10bucks. This meter can test AC/DC voltage, DC current (not for AC current), and resistance. For the vast majority of shadetree mechanics, that fits the bill.

Newbies will need to familiarize themselves with its operation and what position to turn the dial based on what they're trying to measure. This is a straightforward bit of schooling, however. A data hold button holds a reading while its large backlit LCD has large digits that are easily visible for those of us with big-print Reader's Digest books on our shelf.

Pros

  • Price, capable of all common multimeter tasks

Cons

  • Requires basic familiarity with its readings

Bottom Line

  • Study up and grab this bargain

2. Neoteck TRMS Digital Multimeter

The screen of this positively-reviewed multimeter reminds your author of the gone-too-soon Honda S2000, with an arched bar reading stretching across its top. This is actually a three-line screen, with two rows of digits in addition to the S2K-style bar.

It's also negative contrast, meaning the number values are white against a black background instead of the other way around. Anyone who's toiled in dimly lit garages knows the benefit of this feature. In fact, the whole screen is lit, making it very easy to read even at a distance. It does have a manual switching operation for those who passed Electromechanical courses in college but is also fitted with an automatic setting for beginners.

Pros

  • Excellent screen, useful for those just beginning their DIY journey

Cons

  • Be sure to replace those AA batteries frequently

Bottom Line

  • An excellent tool for the shed

3. AstroAI Digital Multimeter

This pro-grade reader can perform a wide range of tests and does include auto-ranging capacity for ease of use. It has convenient features like a data hold button, a good-sized screen, and even a hanging magnet for convenient placement when you're, say, under the hood of a car.

Its auto shut-off feature saves on batteries and a kickstand makes for a convenient prop when bench testing electrical equipment. The included fuses can protect the multimeter effectively; with overload protection on all ranges. Amusingly, they are described as 'explosion-proof', a feature I would be saying aloud at every opportunity.

Pros

  • Highly rated, ergonomic design

Cons

  • More expensive than others

Bottom Line

  • Snazzier than most

4. Thsinde Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter

Featuring a large single-line readout with digits nearly as tall as those found on the side of the Goodyear blimp (not really), this multimeter from a never-heard-of-'em brand is long on technical description that makes your author's eyes glaze over. Suffice it to say this meter is capable of all common electro reading tasks.

Nearly five hundred real-world customers have cumulatively given this thing a 4.4 out of 5-star rating, with well over 85 percent of respondents giving 4 or 5 stars. Some complaints include difficult to read markings, a carping that surely does not extend to the jumbo readout.

Pros

  • Huge readout

Cons

  • Powered by a weirdo 9V battery

Bottom Line

  • More features than its price might suggest

5. Mictuning LED Digital Panel Double Voltmeter

As promised, we're throwing in a couple of dashboard voltmeters in this list, ones that are perfect for monitoring equipment or accessories on your rig. This one is conveniently shaped, fitting in a space generally occupied by rocker switches. Given the basic nature of most of our vehicles, we'll have no shortage of switch blanks from which to choose.

This voltmeter can actually read two different accessories, labeled as 'main' and 'aux' on the readout's face. For reasons unknown, the unit is a few bucks cheaper when red digits are selected. Real-world pictures in the product review category show how well this display integrates itself into a bank of switches.

Pros

  • Simple installation, slick integration into a dashboard

Cons

  • Cheaper options exist

Bottom Line

  • Handy and slick monitoring tool

6. Baomain Analog Voltmeter

If you're seeking to keep tabs on a rig's electrical system but want to maintain the look of something from the '50s (or Fallout 4), this cheap-as-chips voltmeter might be just up your alley. Measuring barely a couple of inches tall, it won't take much time to install this thing into your panel of gauges.

Perfecting the thought of putting square pegs in round holes, this meter might have a square face but plays well with your hole saw when cutting a space for it in a display area. Its analog readout brings that retro style with a DC reading of up to 30V.

Pros

  • Dirt cheap, retro looks

Cons

  • Limited readout range

Bottom Line

  • Basically basic

7. Fluke 115 Digital Multimeter

Occupying the upper end of the price and feature spectrum, this multimeter alleges a simple operation and compact design. The ad copy describes this thing as residing on more tool belts and finding more problems than any other comparable test tools.

Each multimeter design is said to be tested to the extreme including a check for drop, shock, and humidity. A large white LED backlight helps you to work in poorly lit areas. An easy-open door means you shouldn't have to break out one of those infuriating tiny screwdrivers to swap out the 9V battery.

Pros

  • Tons of features, robust construction

Cons

  • Very expensive

Bottom Line

  • Expect to see this one when an electrician appears

8. Acegmet Digital Multimeter

Finally, we have what might be one of the few handheld multimeters that are painted blue instead of red or orange. This voltage tester provides two measurement modes - automatic and manual. If you're fancy and have specific handling requirements, choose manual mode. If you want to easily obtain simple measurement results, go for the automatic mode.

There are built-in safeties for incorrect polarity, overload protection, and other electron-related mishaps. Recent reviews praise this meter as providing accurate readings and being relatively simple to use.

Pros

  • Feedback says it doesn't feel 'delicate' or 'cheap'

Cons

  • Twice the price of other meters

Bottom Line

  • You're likely getting what you pay for

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Eaum M / Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

More by Matthew Guy

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jul 13, 2020

    I've used that Fluke on everything from the cars in my driveway to an Apache Helicopter.

  • NeilM NeilM on Jul 13, 2020

    I don't see the point of a digital multimeter that doesn't have auto-ranging. Apart from protecting the meter itself, look how simple the main function selector dial becomes once you don't have to choose manually between µA, mA and A, etc. Compare the Fluke to the microscopic lettering on the Neoteck's bazillion position selector. I've owned my Fluke 77/III for almost 25 years, and expect it to last forever. That Fluke 115 (#7 above) for $150 is something of a bargain for a pro tool, although it's still pricey for the occasional user.

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