Digital multimeters are an indispensable tool for electricians and enthusiasts alike, especially electrical wiring. All digital multimeters on the market today possess the ability to measure resistance, voltage, and amps.
The term “resistance” refers to a circuit component’s ability to resist the flow of electrical current. Different components of circuits have varying resistances. No one particular resistance is better than another, different resistances are ideal for different components.
Being able to measure the resistance of an electrical component is important when it comes to troubleshooting a circuit. Although most electrical circuits operate for years without problems, sometimes electrical circuits fail without warning. When this happens, you need to be able to measure resistances for safety.
In cases where the resistance of a given component is lower than it should be, a replacement part can be substituted for it. Replacing circuit parts is usually much less expensive than replacing entire circuits. Of course, this is not always the case, but it’s better 90% of the time.
Resistance isn’t the only important quality of electrical circuit components, voltage is just as important as resistance. Voltage is the measure of electrical “pressure” or the force of electricity in a circuit.
Digital multimeters are one of the few tools capable of measuring the voltage of a circuit in operation. The best digital multimeters and the ones you should consider purchasing are able to track voltage changes over time, which can be extremely helpful for troubleshooting.
The term “amps” refers to the amount of electrical power running through a circuit. While commonly confused with voltage, amps are a completely different measure of electrical activity (although the two are interrelated).
Most digital multimeters can measure amps as well as they can measure voltage. Just as the highest quality digital multimeters on the market today can measure changes in voltage over time, they can measure changes in amps over time as well.
With these elements in mind for digital multimeters, you should choose a digital multimeter with the appropriate level of functionality for your purposes.
There are roughly 3 different classes of digital multimeter: basic, intermediate, and advanced. Basic digital multimeters can measure resistance, voltage, and amps. They tend to be reasonably priced but not exceptionally accurate. They also tend to lack an important feature known as “auto-ranging.” Auto ranging refers to the ability to measure different electrical values without needing to manually input ranges for those values.
Intermediate digital multimeters can do everything basic digital multimeters can do and a little more. They are capable of “auto-ranging” and are generally more accurate. They also have the advantage of measuring changes in important electrical values over specified time periods. This can be enormously helpful in situations where you suspect a given electrical component is misbehaving sporadically.
Advanced digital multimeters are obviously the best multimeters available, but their extra features come at a considerable price. Typically advanced digital multimeters are only essential for electricians and serious hobbyists. If you are doing casual electric repairs, you really won’t need an advanced digital multimeter. Advanced digital multimeters typically come with removable data storage. This can be particularly useful if you want to analyze your measurements with the help of a computer. Almost everyone will not need to do this at some point, which is a handy feature for electricians.
In addition to removable data storage, an advanced digital multimeter is also superior in terms of their accuracy. If you need to be able to make exceptionally accurate measurements, then an advanced digital multimeter is for you. Many of these meters enable truly astonishing accuracy in taking measurements.
Final Thoughts on Buying Multimeters
This digital multimeter buying guide contains all the information you need to know to make intelligent purchasing decisions with digital multimeters. However, if you still feel you need additional information to make an intelligent purchasing decision, you should consider consulting your local library. There are a couple different books on digital multimeters available at most libraries. You can find great deals on other tools here!