Any minor changes to any electrical equipment require multimeter firsthand. Before the emergence of multimeter in the 1920s, there were these analog meters, each specified to a single form of measurement. A British post office engineer came up with this radical idea of a multimeter, thank you – Donald Macadie.
From a 7-year-old electronics enthusiast to a CalTech engineer, it’s needless to talk about electricians, technicians, and mechanics. For obvious reasons, there’s a difference in accuracy, durability and in many others. Bagging the best multimeter for your cause was never a quick job.
In this post we'll cover:
- Multimeter Under $50 buying guide
- Best Multimeter Under $50 reviewed
- 1. AstroAI Digital Multimeter with Ohm Volt Amp and Diode Voltage Tester Meter
- 2. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
- 3. Etekcity Auto-Ranging Clamp Meter, Digital Multimeter with Amp, Volt, Ohm, Diode
- 4. Crenova MS8233D Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter Home Measuring Tools
- 5. Neoteck Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter AC/DC Voltage Current Ohm Capacitance
- What is the easiest multimeter to use?
- How much should I spend on a multimeter?
- How do you use a cheap multimeter?
- Are cheap multimeters any good?
- Final Words
Multimeter Under $50 buying guide
Not every multimeter will fulfill your purpose. So, to make your every penny worth several parameters of multimeters is better to be known. Go through the features mentioned below and you will be able to choose a multimeter under 50 which will suit you most by yourself.
Seeing is believing. So, the display should be of good quality and easy to read. With a decent size, the display should have at least four digits. In which two of them will be full number and two will be for the decimal fractions
Working in different lighting conditions becomes a hurdle unless the display features back-light. Especially if you often do measurements in darker or dimmer environments, there’s no way you can miss a backlit display.
Weight and Dimension
A multimeter is a device that has to measure various parameters of various devices. For comfort use, a multimeter should be easy to move around with.
Good multimeters’ weight varies roughly from 4 to 14 ounces. Surely too big and too heavy ones will just slow you down. But some features like AC current measuring clamps add to the weight and you may badly need that. In such cases focus more on features and less on weight.
The term resolution represents how much precise value can be obtained. For a multimeter under 50, the lowest resolution for voltage should be 200mV and for current lower than 100μA.
A multimeter’s basic requirement is that it should measure at least three parameters which include measurements of current, voltage and resistance. But that’s not all to be a contender for the best choice. Continuity check is a must-have feature and it should be backed by a good range of voltages and current ranges.
Additional features like frequency and capacitance measurements are common too. But if it adds to the budget and you do not require them truly, then missing them out isn’t a matter.
It is great to have a value saved for working later. The data holding feature does the trick in this and if you do a lot of quick measurements. Some multimeters come with maximum data holding feature which is another cool value to be added especially if the comparison of data is your job.
Polarity refers to the correct setup direction. Multimeters mostly have two probes having different polarities and while measurement a mismatch in the polarities would result in a minus before measured value. This is a simple yet fundamental feature and nowadays almost no good meters come devoid of it.
The more the measuring range, the more varieties of instruments can be measured. A number of Voltages and current ranges are found for multimeters having no auto-ranging. To increase the chance of measurability higher range is to be preferred. But again, give a check to your affordability and need.
Measuring is done in various ranges. Thus to cope with ranges multimeter uses range sectors that need to adjust by the indicator. Note that, measuring in a lower range would surely affect the health of your device.
A feature of auto-ranging helps automatically adjusting the range and saves time. Of course, non-auto-ranging meters are cheaper but the difference is insignificant compared to the ease and smoothness you get.
For circuits that use alternating current, buying only DC measuring multimeter will just count as giving charity to the seller and vice versa. The measurement of AC current often invokes the use of clamp meters and increases both weight and budget. But, that’s totally okay if AC measurements are what you need. DIYers and small project builders may not need AC current measurement.
Electric components are used everywhere including darker areas like underground and basements. A screen without self-created light will not be effective as you will find it hard to read the values. A backlit feature is required to tackle the problem.
Lack of proper insulation on the probes or the alligator clips might get you dead if you are working with an electric supply line. Dual fuse with dual insulator and overload safety on all ranges should be checked for safer use. Also, for device safety drop protection and corner protection is important since you want it last.
The error indicates the accuracy of the meter. Higher the error, lower the accuracy. You’ll rarely find any manufacturer specifying the error percentage in these under 50$ multimeters. Buy the lower the better is the rule of thumb in this case.
Battery & Battery Indicator
It’s very irritating to have the meter go dead while you’re in the middle of something. That’s why you’ll see a lot of meters with an in-display indicator or an external LED indicating the charge of the battery.
And about the battery, all multimeters under 50 that I’ve encountered use a replaceable 9V battery. Some brands provide a free one with a multimeter.
While being a lite power user battery is important as it determines the lifetime of the multimeter. Some multimeter under 50$ provides a battery indicator to work without the tension of instant power out.
Best Multimeter Under $50 reviewed
Being a popular product worldwide, a huge amount of manufacturers produces different models of multimeter all around the globe. As one of the basic needs, you will want to buy the best one for you. Here are some products under 50$ that are best rated by users. Go through the descriptions and find out the one that suits you the most.
1. AstroAI Digital Multimeter with Ohm Volt Amp and Diode Voltage Tester Meter
Having a small pocket-sized dimension and weighing only 4 ounces this multimeter can give you the ease of ease. Safety properties like rubber corner guards and a built-in fuse for all range secure day to day monitoring of electricity usage. The provided services include measuring AC DC voltage, continuity, diodes, and others which should cover all of your daily necessities.
Covering all that this device comes with features like holding data which comes a lot of handy when you are in a rush of measurements. Also, it has a low battery indicator which lets you know when you need to change the batteries. The backlit light feature is added to the display for comfort in use in dark conditions.
For low voltages, the device gives a great resolution. The multimeter also comes with a pre-installed back stand which allows the users for working hands-free. Powered by a 9V 6F22 battery, the multimeter has a decent life to work. Being a multimeter under 50, all of those features does make this product a contender of the topmost.
In high voltages, this product has some issues in resolution. The standout lacking is it can’t measure AC current. Complaints are present that the build quality of this product is cheap. So long term usages might not be available as far as this device is concerned.
2. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter
With small dimensions that can fit in hand and 8 ounces in weight, the multimeter is good to move around with. Drop protection is provided by rubber corner guards along with high impedance of 10 Mohm which is safe for both electrical and automotive purposes. The multimeter can measure current, voltage, resistance and so on regarding both AC and DC current.
Being a multimeter under 50$, this product does come with special features such as auto-ranging. If you are a novice or having a hard time adjusting the range manually, this product should be handy for you. Another service this multimeter provides is the auto-off system which automatically turns off after being left unused for sometimes.
The device is run by AAA batteries and with a feature of red LED indicator easily indicating the battery status. Like the previous product, it comes with a wrist and stands strap which allows hands-free working. Again the product is verified safe by UL. So, safe usage is guaranteed.
The battery indicator sometimes fails to provide with correct battery condition. The minimum range of 200mA has been a problem for a lot of users as the sometimes lower current is needed to be measured. Also, no polarity indication which gives miscalculated value for the incorrect connection.
3. Etekcity Auto-Ranging Clamp Meter, Digital Multimeter with Amp, Volt, Ohm, Diode
Decent dimension with double insulation and over-voltage safety, the multimeter is issued safe for the uses of household purposes. In fact, it’s one of the top-class automotive multimeters. Measurements of AC/DC voltage, AC current, resistance along with diode and continuity is possible by this device.
Like the previous one, this multimeter has auto-ranging which saves the time of changing range for various measurements. A special feature it comes with is the jaw opening clamp which can fit up to 28-millimeter conductors. This feature helps a safe measuring without altering the base circuit. Also, this multimeter has data holding and max value service for comfort in measurement.
Run by 2 AAA battery, this multimeter gives a lifetime of 150h, which is pretty long. The auto-off system is enabled in 15mins to save battery. The display of the device is pretty big for easy data reading. The sampling speed of this device is pretty high which is 3 samples per second.
Not good for low light working environment as no backlit feature is added. It doesn’t measure DC current which is a big drawback. Some users found issues with the build quality of this multimeter. High weighing of 13.6 ounces this multimeter is a little bit heavier than others.
4. Crenova MS8233D Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter Home Measuring Tools
A small size that can fit in hand easily, this multimeter is really mobile. Double fuse safety with overload protection indicates that the manufacturer did pay a lot of attention to the safety of the tool especially when you are working with high voltages and power. Which means safe measuring for households and automotive purposes. Measurements of AC/DC current and voltage, resistance, frequency, continuity, and diode can be done by this device.
Auto-ranging is available on this device like previous ones. Also, data holding and max value saving features are added for easy use. This multimeter under 50$ also provides function switching which will leave you less messed up connections. It comes with alligator clips for a safe and strong grip.
A battery of 9V is needed to run this multimeter. The auto-off system included for saving battery wastages. Again, the backlit feature is added for the availability to work in dark places. The accuracy of the device is rated pretty high. The continuity test has a beep function option for surety concerns.
Auto-ranging takes some time to be stable. There are some issues of backlit light which makes it harder to read the display from various angles. The hands-free option is not available for this multimeter. Also, nothing is provided for drop protection. The product is also so heavy around 11 ounces.
5. Neoteck Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter AC/DC Voltage Current Ohm Capacitance
Decent dimension and weighing only 6.6 ounces this multimeter is ok for carrying. Drop protection is provided with a non-slip soft plastic cover that protects the whole body. Adding to that, double insulation security is provided for safety from shock. Most types of measurements can be done in this multimeter like AC/DC current, voltage, resistance, capacitance and frequency.
Just like others mentioned above, auto-ranging is available on this device. In this multimeter under 50$, a buzzer is added for continuity tests for easier testing. Also, the data holding and max value saving option is available too. Hands-free usage is provided by a built-in stand. Along with those, auto polarity detection helps you to work without thinking about rotating connections.
Without a 9V battery included, the multimeter remains dead. The display has a backlit feature added for working in low light areas. The resolution and range of this multimeter are most than the others mentioned above. Low battery indication is added which will erase the tension of battery outage while working.
A variety of measurements brings variety in errors. So, some features might be defective. Sometimes, the readings are inconsistent. Has issues with the build quality.
Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.
What is the easiest multimeter to use?
Our top pick, the Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter, has the features of a pro model, but it’s easy to use, even for beginners. A multimeter is the primary tool for checking when something electrical isn’t working properly. It measures voltage, resistance, or current in wiring circuits.
How much should I spend on a multimeter?
Step 2: How Much Should You Spend on a Multimeter? My recommendation is to spend anywhere around $40~$50 or if you can maximum $80 not more than that. … Now some Multimeter cost as low as $2 which you can find on Amazon.
How do you use a cheap multimeter?
Are cheap multimeters any good?
The cheap meters are certainly good enough, even though you do get what you pay for, as you might expect. As long as you have a meter open, you might as well hack it to have WiFi. Or, if you prefer, a serial port.
Multimeters are used for various purposes and are considered as one of the daily necessities. So buying a multimeter should be done carefully and understanding the types of your need. Adding to that, safety is important also with performance are parameters of finding the best multimeter under 50$.
If you want to go for the casual one for normal usage, you should go for Crenova MS8233D Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter Home Measuring Tools which will cover all the basic measurements and features including low light working with good lifetime.
For special usages like measurement of any part of a connection Etekcity Auto-Ranging Clamp Meter, Digital Multimeter with Amp, Volt, Ohm, Diode is the product you should look for. Again, if measuring capacitance is important for you than look no more than the Neoteck Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter AC/DC Voltage Current Ohm Capacitance.