Updated: November 2017
Multimeter Reviews:If you are an electrician then you absolutely need a multimeter to get your job done. Even homeowners find that having a digital multimeter makes DIY projects much easier. A multimeter is an electrical measuring instrument which lets the owner measure things like resistance, current, and AC or DC voltage. They come in handy when working with batteries, switches, power sources, motors, components, you name it. The word "multi" in the multimeter is the clue that this measuring tool will help you out with more than 1 measurement. You'll find that the combination of an ammeter, voltmeter, and ohmmeter is quite useful especially when trying to diagnose things like electrical problems. Handheld multimeters are the most common style and the 2 varieties are analog and digital. The analog multimeters have a needle indicator while the digital multimeters have an LCD display which shows you a decimal readout. The digital types are more expensive of course and experts say they are easier for novices to use than the analog variety.
Buying Guide - Digital multimeters are more accurate than their analog counterparts as well - the digital ones are accurate to within .5% versus the 3 to 5 % range on analog. Turn the switch on your multimeter to the test you will be performing. The + and - probes (red and black) are just wires with a metal tip to help conduct the measuring. The key feature that experts say a multimeter should have is the ability to do auto ranging. This way you get a very flexible measuring device that lets you select a wide range of voltages. I bought the Fluke 87-5 Digital Multimeter and have had zero problems with it. Works great on diagnosing computer malfunctions, wiring systems and much more. I'm not the biggest handyman in the world, but I have saved $100's in not having to get an electrician or technician out to my house for simpler problems. Other top brands include Extech, RSR, Equus, and Mastech. Expect to spend around $50 for a decent multimeter and more like $200+ for the high end models with lots of extra features. When it comes to reviews, no site offers more in depth, unbiased feedback than Amazon. We also found detailed multimeter reviews on sites like Eham.com, Epinions, and Radio Shack. The cheaper multimeters often received as much praise from users as did the high end models. Accuracy is the biggest issue for most but the average owners just wanted a multimeter that is easy to use and has readouts that are simple to decipher. You can browse the top selling multimeters online here.
Best Multimeter:RECOMMENDED - The #1 seller on Amazon is the Fluke 87-5 Digital Multimeter which sells for less than $300. Fluke is probably the most recognized name in this industry and their products are notorious for precise readouts and versatility. From all the reviews we could find online and in magazines, the Fluke 87-5 won't disappoint. Experts say it works great on motor drives and electrically noisy equipment and the built-in thermometer is a nice bonus. The 87-5 withstands hazardous 8000 volt spikes and faults on circuits. The large display with two-level backlight lets you read the findings on the screen quite easily. Reviews are very positive if you want a solid measuring device for voltage and frequency. Comes with a lifetime warranty and many owners say "don't waste your money on cheaper multimeters". You get auto and manual ranging for maximum flexibility.
Top Rated Digital Multimeter:RECOMMENDED - We found more reviews for the Multi Function RSR Multimeter which stated that it's a "best value" in this category and at around $50 we can't argue with that. You get 14 functions with 39 ranges in this digital multimeter from RSR. Features include data hold, auto power off, overload protection, and low battery indicator. The RSR also gives you overrange protection for all ranges with auto and manual ranging. Many owners can't believe this 5 in measuring instrument - functions include humidity meter, temperature meter, digital multimeter, light meter, and sound level meter. Accuracy may not be as precise as the more expensive Fluke (above), but for the price most consumers are willing to sacrifice a bit. Comments from owners include "better than expected", "amazing value", and "unusually rich features". You can view the entire list of digital multimeters here.
Get detailed information on specific brands - Fluke Multimeters