Price is one of the most crucial factors to consider when buying a multimeter for automotive purposes. It’s common for professionals to spend colossal amounts on multimeters for first-class reliability and precision. Still, the best budget multimeter can help you execute your automotive tasks accurately.
A multimeter is a versatile tool that is ideal for troubleshooting and repairing issues with your car. It can help you determine and solve a wide range of problems with different electric systems and components. As a result, it(multimeter) is ideal for electricians and non-electricians. Are you looking for an affordable yet functional multimeter? Here are our top five picks that you can consider.
5 Best Budget Multimeters Review
Innova 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Meter
The Innova 3320 is one of the most affordable and feature-rich multimeters available. It has a massive clear and easy-to-navigate display screen for effortless reading even in poor lighting conditions. The auto-ranging capability on this device eliminates any chances of mistakes to display precise records.
Innova 3320 features attachable holders, test leads, and a stand, allowing you to use it hands-free. It also comes with other accessories such as test leads, AA batteries, and a carry strap. 3320 is reliable, safe, and sturdy even though it lacks the temperature reading, alternator test, and RPM reading capabilities.
Battery changes are easy because Innova 3320 has an access door to ease the process without damaging the calibration seal. The 3320’s digital display has color indicators to show the battery power. Green indicates sufficient power, while yellow indicates a weak battery. Red alerts you to charge your battery.
The device can load up to 10 MegOhms and is powered by AA batteries. The gadget has a red and rugged rubber cover around its corners to prevent wear and tear and damage if it falls. Innova 3320 measures resistance, AC and DC voltage, and diodes.
- Auto-shutoff feature
- Easy to use
- Features a large display screen to show functions clearly
- Battery life gauge
- Accurate for small jobs
- Lacks temperature, alternator, and RPM readings
- You have to replace the battery regularly
- Cat II rated, which limits its functions
The Innova 3320 comes with a wide range of features to facilitate easy testing tasks. However, it is not ideal for heavy-duty jobs. Innova 3320 is suitable for DIY fanatics and technicians in the automotive industry working on motorcycles, cars, trailers, and boats.
Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter
Etekcity MSR-R500 is a mini digital daily use device that is not only affordable but is also designed for safety. You can use it to measure frequency, resistance, DC current, voltage, and continuity. It is easy to set up, and you can adjust or modify it to ease the execution of your automotive tasks.
MSR-R500 comes with a rubber casing and current protection capability. The rubber sleeve prevents wear and tear while keeping the device electricity resistant. Some unique features to MSR-R500 include the continuity buzzer that determines whether electrical components are functioning well.
Besides the low battery indicator, this multimeter comes with extension caps for test leads. MSR-R500 doesn’t feature auto-ranging, meaning users have to choose the correct range. However, an OL (over limit) symbol appears if you get the range wrong when testing ohms or volts and amps in vehicle electrical systems. R500 features a sleep mode option that activates automatically after 30 minutes of inactivity.
- Features overload protection, making it safe and durable
- Easy to use for professional and novice car technicians
- Has a bright digital display
- Hold feature
- Lightweight and small
- Continuity buzzer
- Replacing the battery is difficult
- Lacks auto-ranging feature
- Has no AC amperage range
Etekcity MSR-R500 is an excellent and affordable digital multimeter for your automotive purposes. While it may not be feature-rich, it executes various tasks with precision. You can use MSR-R500 to test broken wiring, damaged fuses, and the condition of your vehicle battery. While it is ideal for automotive trainees and electricians, less experienced individuals may be overwhelmed by the dial.
Crenova MS8233D Digital Multimeter
Crenova MS8233D is a specially designed multimeter that has been in the industry for many years. This tool is the definition of affordability without compromising on quality. It comes with an illuminated LCD to show readings even under poorly lit conditions. Thanks to the auto shut-off feature, the unit switches off after 15 minutes of inactivity.
Crenova MS8233D comes with different functions and has overload protection capability and a high voltage range. Besides automotive tasks, this tool is ideal for DIY functions and traditional household electrical tasks. MS8233D is cost-friendly, CAT III certified, and CAT II 600 volts safety rated.
This gadget can test AC and DC, voltage, and resistance. Its auto-ranging capability allows technicians to choose the correct measurement range when working on multiple components. MS8233D’s battery is long-lasting, and you can use it continuously for 10 hours without requiring a change. The device comes with robust test probes, vinyl-shielded alligator clips, a foldable stand, and a carrying case.
- Small and portable
- Rubber holster for protection
- Has a data hold function
- An illuminated LCD
- The package doesn’t include batteries
- The user manual is not clear for beginners
The Crenova MS8233D digital multimeter is ideal for auto technicians, professionals, and DIY enthusiasts looking for a budget-friendly device. Automotive electricians can use it to execute simple tasks. The MS8233D’s auto-ranging feature helps you generate accurate results.
Fluke-101 Digital Multimeter
Fluke 101 is one of the cheapest digital auto-ranging multimeters from the Fluke brand. The device is available in an advanced compact design, making it portable and user-friendly. It is lightweight and comes with a rugged design allowing it to withstand wear, tear, and damage in case of a fall.
Fluke 101 helps automotive technicians diagnose wiring problems with ease. The unit’s power-saving capability automatically switches it off when it’s not in use, prolonging the battery. Recording readings is convenient with the data hold feature. Technicians can focus on testing tasks instead of checking readings on the meter display.
Fluke 101 comes with auto-ranging capability helping users to establish the range of their diagnosis outcome without determining the source of their value findings. With this device, you can measure resistance, voltage, capacitance, and frequency.
Fluke 101 comes with a CAT III 600 V safety rating, meaning it’s secure for commercial and domestic use. It also features an elective versatile magnetic strap that supports the gadget when performing tests and recording measurements.
- It comes with a light and compact design making it portable
- User-friendly for professionals and beginners
- Pocket-friendly with excellent features
- Audible sounds for continuity tests and diode checks
- It doesn’t measure current and amperage
- Poor quality test leads
Are you an auto technician? The Fluke 101 is an excellent device for your automotive electrical diagnosis. It is reliable and designed to deliver accurate measurements fast. Its automatic power-saving feature prolongs the battery life, and you will use it for many years without a replacement. Fluke 101 is ideal for use in the automotive industry and various household tasks like maintaining HVAC systems.
Amprobe AM-510 Multimeter
The Amprobe AM-510 multimeter is light and accurate enough for automotive electricians and DIY enthusiasts looking to execute small tasks. Apart from its user-friendliness, the AM-510 is affordable. It comes with an automatic sensor to facilitate voltage detection. Further, the Amprobe AM-510 is compact, digital, and universal.
Technicians can use it to measure resistance, AC/DC voltage & current, and continuity. It also comes with a 600 Volts rating. This multimeter features both auto and manual ranging capabilities, allowing technicians to use it in various situations such as electrical testing, home repair, automotive maintenance, repair, and commercial settings.
The AM-510 has no temperature measuring capability, but it has other essential features to help you execute various tests. These include an inbuilt flashlight to ensure you can use the tool in poor lighting conditions, automatic power off, a contactless voltage system, and a massive backlit LCD.
Electricians can use the AM-510 to test alternating and electrical currents. This unit comes with a CAT III 600V safety rating making it one of the most robust, versatile, and reliable units available at cost-friendly prices.
- Safety and reliability during use
- Excellent design quality
- Illuminated LCD
- Has overload protection
- Leads at the load terminals are loose
- Lacks a carrying case
Amprobe AM-510 is one of the most affordable multiple function digital multimeters available today. It is ideal for electricians and best suited for commercial and home use. While it can measure DC and AC up to 10 A, it best tests outlets, car batteries, vehicle wiring, circuit boards, and home appliances.
Best Budget Multimeters: Comparison Chart
|WEIGHT (pounds)||DIMENSIONS||MAX AC/DC VOLTAGE||CURRENT||AUTO-RANGING||BATTERY REQUIRED|
|Innova 3320||0.5||2 x 10 x 5 inches||600V||10A||Yes||Yes|
|Elekcity MSR-R500||0.5||4 x 2.9 x 1.4 inches||500V||10A (DC only)||No||Yes|
|Crenova MS8233D||0.7||5.5 x 2.8 x 1.6 inches||600V||10A||Yes||Yes|
|Fluke 101||0.32||5.12 x 1.06 x 2.56 inches||600V||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Amprobe AM-510||0.8||4 x 10 x 2 inches||600V||10A||Yes||Yes|
What Do I Need To Know Before Buying a Multimeter?
As the demand for digital multimeters rises, there has been an influx of these gadgets in the market. As a result, the ideal multimeter that meets your needs can be tricky. Here is what to look out for when purchasing a multimeter.
- DMM (digital multimeter) Specifications
Understand the device’s AC, DC, resistance, AC voltage, and DC voltage.
- DMM resolution
The total digits to which you can measure the signal strength
- DMM accuracy
The highest allowed error limit in the realized readings
- Input impedance
Pick a high input impedance multimeter to increase your chances of generating accurate measurements.
- Temperature measurement
If you perform regular temperature checks, ensure your multimeter has dual temperature capability. With this function, you can measure temperatures concurrently.
- Energy scope
Understand the energy scope of your circuit before you can start working on it. Know the maximum transient voltage that the multimeter can withstand without damage.
- Frequency measurement
If your multimeter runs on stable AC voltage, ensure it has the right frequency.
We narrowed down our list to include five of the very best budget multimeters ideal for beginners and professional electricians. Regardless of the device you choose from our list, it will give you excellent results in your task. Some of these units have no auto-ranging capability, but that should not cause worry. Each is specially designed to ensure users select the best range for their tasks.
However, we recommend the Amprobe AM-510 because you can use it for residential and commercial needs. It’s a well-quality device that features overload protection. Etekcity MSR-R500 is also an excellent option that both seasoned and novice technicians can use with minimal struggle.
How Much Should I Pay For A Multimeter?
You should pay between $40 and $50 without exceeding $80.