The Best Multimeters of 2022

Want to test your home’s wiring or repair an electric appliance? Get shopping tips as well as our top tool recommendations for both do-it-yourselfers and pros.

By Glenda Taylor and Tom Scalisi | Updated Aug 29, 2022 9:09 AM

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The Best Multimeters

Photo: Tom Scalisi

From testing batteries to determining the amount of voltage in an electrical circuit, the multimeter is a standard diagnostic tool often found in electricians’ tool kits. But multimeters also come in handy for DIYers who want to test their home’s wiring or repair electrical appliances. They’re also practical for hobbyists—folks who like to tinker with electronic circuits in the building of things like pedometers, motors, and humidity sensors.

Prior to the development of multimeters (also called multitesters), individual meters were necessary to test circuits for voltage (voltmeter), resistance (ohmmeter), and current (ammeter). Today’s multimeters combine those testing capabilities into a single tool, letting you perform a variety of electrical tests with one device.

A wide variety of multimeters are available, designed for both basic and advanced circuit testing and geared toward different projects or specialties. While a DIYer can usually get by with a no-frills tool, electricians and HVAC pros will benefit from some of the advanced options found on professional models.

We performed hands-on testing with some of the best multimeters, so keep reading to learn about what we found.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Greenlee DM-45 Multimeter
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Klein Tools Digital Multimeter
  3. BEST CLAMP: Klein Tools CL390 Digital Clamp Meter
  4. BEST COMBO KIT: Fluke Kit Multimeter and Clamp Meter Combo Kit
  5. BEST FOR BASIC DIY: Fluke 107 AC/DC Current Handheld Digital Multimeter

Also Tested:

The Best Multimeters

Photo: Tom Scalisi

What to Consider Before Choosing the Best Multimeter

Whether you’re a DIYer or a pro, there is a lot to know when it comes to choosing the best multimeter, including the style, the features, the accessories, and the leads. The list can go on and on. To help speed up the process, the following outlines some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when shopping for one of these tools.

Basic and Advanced Functions

For greatest versatility, make sure the multimeter you buy can test both types of electrical current: alternating current (AC)—the electricity that flows through the outlets in your home—and direct current (DC), the electricity found in batteries. Additionally, in order to qualify as a multimeter, the tool must perform at least two of the following three basic electrical tests:

  • Current: The electricity’s rate of flow
  • Voltage: The difference in electric current between two given points
  • Resistance: How much the material carrying the energy, such as wires, resists electrical flow

In addition to testing voltage, resistance, and current, advanced digital multimeters often come with the ability to test the following:

  • Capacitance: The ability to store an electrical charge
  • Temperature: The physical warmth of the circuit (often in both Fahrenheit and Celsius)
  • Frequency: The rate of electrical occurrence (measured in hertz)

Analog Versus Dial Display 

The classic analog multimeter features a dial with a needle (like the old-time speedometer on a car). For some, this type of readout is easier to see, especially in bright sunlight when numbers on a digital display can be difficult to decipher. You won’t find a large selection of analog meters anymore, but they’re typically inexpensive, ranging from $10 to $70, and they can perform the three basic circuit tests; they don’t have the capability to perform more advanced testing.

Most multimeters on the market today are digital, and they’re a bit pricier, ranging from $20 to $500, or even more, based on quality and precision. Some digital multimeters come with a backlit screen that makes the display easier to see in bright light, and some include an auto shut-off feature that turns the meter off after a few minutes of nonuse.

Auto-Range Function

Figuring out the approximate range of the electrical current you’re testing with a manual range multimeter can be a time-consuming process. If you want to test resistance, for example, you must first estimate the approximate ohms (Ω) of the current by turning the dial to a specific ohms range, then keep clicking manually until the multimeter gives you a readout. A multimeter with an auto-range function (available only on digital models) will save time since all you have to do is select the type of test to perform (voltage, resistance, or current). The meter will then automatically detect the correct range by scanning through all the range options until it matches the right range to the circuit, and a readout appears immediately.

Tips for Choosing the Best Multimeter

Probes and Accessories

Most multimeters include a set of standard red and black probes for performing basic tests, and others come with additional alligator clips for attaching the probes to wires or battery terminals. A magnetic case or sling is a handy accessory that allows the user to attach the multimeters to something metal, such as a cabinet or the undercarriage of a car, letting you see the readout and still have both hands free for testing. These clips, probes, and cases are also available at hardware and home improvement stores.

Our Top Picks 

That’s a lot to know about choosing the best multimeter, and it might even feel a bit overwhelming. To help simplify shopping for one of these tools, we performed hands-on testing with some of the best multimeters. Keep the key considerations in mind when comparing the following list of our favorite multimeters.

Note: All the meters in our test feature auto-ranging AC and DC capability.

Best Overall

The Best Multimeter Option: Greenlee DM-45 Multimeter
Photo: amazon.com

This digital multimeter from Greenlee features auto-ranging capability to do away with guessing at the current being tested. It comes with standard black and red probes, as well as a built-in stand. The Greenlee operates on a 9-volt battery (included) and tests AC/DC voltage, resistance, and current, in addition to capacitance, duty cycle, and temperature. It also has a backlit display with a bright green color, making reading it a breeze.

During the test, the first thing we noticed was the Greenlee’s grippy rubber cover, which can slip on and off for cleaning. We liked the cutout in the back for the built-in stand and screw hook, making setting it atop an engine or hanging it from a screw or nail easy. The green backlight was also the brightest in the test, with the green color offering a nice contrast. The only thing it’s missing is a thermocouple and a carrying case.

Product Specs

  • Style: Digital
  • Functions: Voltage, amperage, resistance, frequency, capacitance, duty cycle, temperature
  • Included probes: Test leads

Pros

  • Grippy rubber cover
  • Bright backlight
  • Built-in stand and hanger hook

Cons

  • No case or thermocouple

Get the Greenlee multimeter on Amazon or at ACME Tools.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Multimeter Option: Klein Tools Digital Multimeter
Photo: amazon.com

Klein Tools is a staple in the electrical tool world, and this digital multimeter is a good indication of why. This meter tests for volts, resistance, and amperage as well as frequency, duty cycle, capacitance, and temperature, allowing it to serve more purposes than the average DIYer will ever need. It comes with a set of test leads as well as a thermocouple probe for checking temperatures. The screen is easy to read and features a backlight for working in darker spaces.

We found the Klein Tools Digital Multimeter to be one of the easiest models on the list to use. First, switching between DC and AC on most readings was easy, as it was just the push of a button. Next, we liked that despite having all the functions we could need, the multimeter was compact, making it easy to hold and store. Also, the backlit display was incredibly easy to read. Our biggest complaint was that it doesn’t come with a carrying case or a magnetic strap, but for the affordable price, it’s worth it either way.

Product Specs

  • Style: Digital
  • Functions: Voltage, amperage, resistance, frequency, capacitance, duty cycle, temperature
  • Included probes: Test leads and thermocouple

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Excellent backlit digital display
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a case

Get the Klein Tools multimeter on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best Clamp

The Best Multimeter Option: Klein Tools CL390 Digital Clamp Meter
Photo: amazon.com

Anyone looking for a clamp meter for testing should check out this model from Klein Tools. The CL390 Digital Clamp Meter features a side-mounted trigger that opens the jaws for testing one conductor at a time, as well as a jaw-mounted noncontact tester on the end. The kit also includes standard testing leaders for amperage, voltage, resistance, duty cycle, capacitance, and diode testing. For temperature tests, it comes with a K-type thermocouple that installs easily for fast readings.

There’s something to say about having this clamp meter on hand. For one, we liked that it’s easy to test with one hand (once we split the wire on our office fan), but it’s also a handy way to hang the meter while working with the leads. The noncontact tester was also a big plus, as we could quickly check for voltage on wires and devices. We also liked the negative display, as it was easy to read. If there’s one thing we’d point out, it’s that a clamp meter might not be necessary for a DIYer, though it serves as an excellent hanging clip.

Product Specs

  • Style: Digital clamp
  • Functions: Voltage, amperage, resistance, frequency, capacitance, duty cycle, temperature, clamp, noncontact
  • Included probes: Test leads, thermocouple, noncontact

Pros

  • Easy one-hand operation
  • Hangs for hands-free working with leads
  • Noncontact tester is a big plus

Cons

  • Might not be necessary for a DIYer

Get the Klein Tools multimeter on Amazon, The Home Depot, or ACME Tools.

Best Combo Kit

The Best Multimeter Option: Fluke Kit Multimeter and Clamp Meter Combo Kit
Photo: amazon.com

Can’t decide between a multimeter and a clamp meter? This 117/323 kit from Fluke has both. The 117 multimeter features voltage, amperage, resistance, and continuity functions, as well as a totally automatic voltage test setting for AC or DC voltage. It also features a noncontact setting that alerts to the presence of voltage. The 323 clamp meter features jaws for testing single conductors as well as terminals for attaching standard leads.

This kit just about covered it all for us during testing. We liked how easy the clamp meter was to use, and it served as an excellent clip for hand-free work. We really liked the multimeter’s functions; specifically, the noncontact tester that alerted anytime it was near an energized outlet or wire. The leads on this particular kit were outstanding, as they spin in hand to expose more of the lead, allowing us to switch between small points for electronics to longer points for outlets and other heavier duty work. The only real issue, which seems like quite an oversight, is that neither of these meters has temperature functions.

Product Specs

  • Style: Digital and clamp
  • Functions: Voltage, amperage, resistance, frequency, capacitance, duty cycle, clamp
  • Included probes: Test leads

Pros

  • Excellent leads
  • All the functions one could need
  • Noncontact tester is convenient

Cons

  • No temperature function

Get the Fluke multimeter on Amazon.

Best for Basic DIY

The Best Multimeter Option: Fluke 107 AC DC Current Handheld Digital Multimeter
Photo: amazon.com

Anyone looking for a multimeter that will serve most of their purposes without being overly complicated should check out the Fluke Current Handheld Digital Multimeter. The Fluke 107 has a simple design, with functions for testing voltage, amperage, resistance, capacitance, and even frequency. It comes with a basic set of test leads as well as a magnetic strap that can hang from an electrical box or pipe hands-free.

The Fluke 107 is not the fanciest model on this list, but we truly enjoyed its simplicity. It easily tests voltage, amperage, and resistance and has a separate switch for continuity—those functions alone are more than what the average DIYer will need. We like that it has a backlight and large screen, and the magnetic strap can double over and act as a stand. Our main complaint is that it doesn’t come with a carrying case and there are no storage clips in the back for the leads, so storage could be an issue.

Product Specs

  • Style: Digital
  • Functions: Voltage, amperage, resistance, capacitance
  • Included probes: Test leads

Pros

  • Simple design with plenty of basic functionality
  • Large display with backlight
  • Magnetic strap acts as a stand

Cons

  • Storage is an issue

Get the Fluke multimeter on Amazon or at Lowe’s.

Also Tested

The Best Multimeter Option: Gardner Bender GMT-319 Multimeter Tester
Photo: amazon.com

We also tested the Gardner Bender GMT-319 Multimeter Tester, but it didn’t meet our standards. First, it was confusing to use compared to the digital models, but it was hard to even get a reading with this tool. We checked the fuses (luckily, we had a multimeter on hand to do so), and they were initially fine. Then, we blew it up (definitely user error).

The real issue is that using an analog meter just doesn’t make much sense anymore. There are good, reliable digital multimeters that are easy to use, accurate, and cost about $20 more. To us, unless you have a specific use for an analog meter (in which case you probably already know what you’re looking for in a meter), our suggestion is to go digital.

Our Verdict

In our opinion, the average DIYer should give the Greenlee DM-45 Multimeter a look for its functions, backlight, grippy rubber, and excellent hanger. But for those who can’t choose between a clamp or a standard multimeter, the Fluke Kit Multimeter and Clamp Meter Combo Kit offers the best of both worlds.

How We Tested the Best Multimeters

First, we’re not electricians or HVAC technicians. Our goal was to test these meters to the degree that the average DIYer would use their meter. Learning how to use these meters to their full capacity and having the serious electrical infrastructure available to test some of those functions is outside the scope of this article. With that said, we put each of these meters through their paces.

First, we set up a little testing station with some outlets, wires, appliances, and a battery or two. We checked each of the basic functions like AC and DC voltage, resistance, continuity, and the jaws on the clamp meters. We worked in the dark as well as the bright sunlight so we could see how well the displays worked.

We also tested these meters in the driveway to see how they’d do troubleshooting the wiring in an older vehicle. We did simple tests like battery loads as well as testing across some less-than-factory wiring jobs. In the process, we compared their stands, leads, and functions as they apply to automotive work.

Between all these tests, we had a good idea of what the average DIYer can expect from each of these models. Some models, like the Gardner Bender GMT-319 Multimeter Tester, didn’t make the grade, while others excelled.

FAQs

That was a lot to digest about the best multimeters, and there might still be some questions lingering. To help, we collected some of the most frequently asked questions about these tools and answered them below. Be sure to check for an answer to your question.

Q. Which multimeter is best for beginners?

In our opinion, the Fluke 107 AC/DC Current Handheld Digital Multimeter is the best multimeter for beginners, as it’s easy to use and has most of the functions a DIYer will need.

Q. What type of multimeter is best for home use?

A standard multimeter is likely the best type for home use. This Greenlee DM-45 Multimeter checks almost all the boxes.

Q. Is an analog or digital multimeter more accurate?

Digital multimeters are much more accurate but only because they’re much easier to read. And with the price difference being so minute, a digital meter is almost always the way to go.