Updated: June 8, 2015
What is a Multimeter? Introducing Fluke MultimetersWe take a look at the best-selling Fluke Multimeters - the leading name in the digital multimeter industry
When you work in a trade involving electricity, heat, or gases, safety is always a primary concern. You need to know which tools will work best when it comes to detecting levels of gas, heat, or electricity in a given area or from a given source. Multimeters (also known as VOMs or multitesters, the "multi" part means it combines the functions of an ammeter, voltmeter, and ohmmeter) are portable tools used to measure electrical readings, like voltage, resistance, and current. How do you know which multimeter works best in any given situation? How much do these multimeters cost? We'll take a look at those questions as we focus on multimeters made by Fluke. They offer a wide range of popular digital multimeters which can be applied in various industries (entire Fluke product line here). From product control to house calls, knowing which Fluke multimeters are best for your purposes can help you get the job done right. Fluke multimeters are regarded as among the very best, according to 100% of the reviews at eham.net and other sites.
Most Popular Fluke Multimeter Models
Because of the wide range of activities for which Fluke multimeters are used, there are a huge number of them out on the market. The Fluke 73, Fluke 77, and Fluke 79 series are all designed for hand held use by non-professionals doing handyman electronic work, although the Fluke 79 and the others in the series are also widely used by professional electricians as well. They have been noted for their durability within their tough rubber cases as well as both their inner and outer safeguards. At mysears.com one reviewer notes that the Fluke 179 True RMS Mulitmeter is head and shoulders above the competition thanks to the digital technology which provides and instant and accurate reading. You don't have to worry about the hand operated dial which must be turned in other models (including the Fluke 289 True RMS Logging multimeter). While these models are appropriate for the casual handyman, the added technology of the digital sensor can save a lot of time, and cut down on any careless mistakes made by the professional contractor. All Fluke multimeters also include memory logging, which means a variety of different data can be stored and called up for later use. This is one of the trademarks of the Fluke company, which has patented its Touchhold technology (it beeps when the data is inputted, and then automatically stores it in an easy to find backup file).
Which Fluke Digital Multimeter works best?Selecting the right Fluke multimeter will depend on your situation. On the higher end are the infrared meters, which can be used to detect currents without any attachments. These are beautiful instruments, handheld and intuitive to use. They include the Fluke 574 Precision infrared thermometer, approved for heavy industry use and within dangerous situations. It has been designed to withstand industrial heat to unmeasurable degrees (if we get the technology to spy to the sun one day, Fluke multimeters will probably be used to get accurate surface temperature readings). Of course, that kind of technology comes at a high price, and at around $1300 is popular with heavier industries and corporations. More suitable to the smaller business or the individual is the Fluke Meterman XP Compact multimeter. With this, you get Fluke durability in a machine which can be held with ease, without sacrificing personal protection.
Heat sensing Fluke multimeters include the Fluke T32 thermal imagers. With the Fluke T32, different heat patterns within any setting can be read with ease, without the holder even having to go into the room. The easy to read key tells the operator the temperature and the electrical readings at various points within a room, within a few decimal points accuracy. The sensitivity of these machines is very high, so temperature fluctuations are easily recorded. And, if you wish to get a reading on a processing unit without breaking the circuit, you can opt for some of the popular Fluke multimeter clamps. The Fluke multimeter clamps include the Fluke 337 multimeter clamp, the 336 multimeter clamp, and the Fluke 322 multimeter clamp. All come at a fairly good price when operations are considered, running around $200 for each one. A popular Fluke multimeter and clamp kit includes the Fluke 322 clamp and the 116 Fluke Multimeter at a combined discount price of around $250. The kit also includes some of the important Fluke accessories often needed by those getting their readings with digital multimeters such as a hanging strap, carrying case, and thermocouple.
Fluke Multimeter Features
We have already mentioned the Touchhold technology included on some of the most popular Fluke multimeter models, like the Fluke 73, but what other features are specific to Fluke multimeters? Trendcapture is one that many users, in a variety of different applications, find useful. Fluke Trendcapture records intervals between fluctuations on the energy output being read, whether heat, light, voltage, wave, and so on. This information can greatly assist in diagnosis of where any problems lie or where underground utilities can be found. Some Fluke multimeters include infrared sensing, but the price of these instruments can be prohibitive. There are also contact Fluke multimeters, with wires that can be attached to outlets and other power sources to get an accurate reading. These are some of the most affordable Fluke models, running around $100 for models such as the Fluke 77 multimeter and the Fluke 179 multimeter. As these are the most popular models (due largely to their every day utility) it's great to know they come at such a low cost. Better still when one considers that if durability is any indication of which multimeter is best, the Fluke 73 multimeter line and others in its series commonly last for a lifetime, even with the punishment common within an industrial setting. (Amazon maintains a list of the top selling digital multimeters here, including TekPower multimeters and Mastech multimeters).