Good deal on a multimeter

Originally published at:

If it is not a Fluke, then it’s a fluke


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anyone else?

If its a fluke it works.

If it works, then its a fluke.

Seriously, they are advertising a 20 buck meter. Well ok but its not going to be what I buy when I want a proper instrument.


Probably not. But most of us don’t need “a proper instrument” to do the occasional troubleshooting. KWYATA.


True. I have two Fluke and one Agilent DMMs, plus also a nice collection of cheap Chinese ones. Are they bad? Not necessarily, and sometimes they’re surprisingly accurate for the price. What they sadly fall short of very often, is rather proper insulation and protections, which makes them not ideal for live mains measurements. Where safety is needed, a proper branded multimeter is the only option.


I have an HP 410B and two RCA Senior Voltohmysts. Tye HP is great for RF voltages, but I use my 1997 Radio Shack DMM the most, followed by some cheap DMM.

I love my old Simpson 360. My dad gave it to me the day I left for college to become an engineer.


I’ve watched a fair share of teardowns on YouTube comparing the cheap and name-brand models and this is pretty much right on the money. It’s not hard to accurately measure voltage, resistance, and amperage. Doing it safely, on the other hand, is a different story. You don’t even need an expensive Fluke, you can get decent multimeters for around $50.

On the cheap brands it’s a pretty consistent story: accurate enough measurements, but dubious isolation, grounding, and build quality. I certainly wouldn’t trust my life with one of these. On the other hand this would be adequate for troubleshooting low voltage microcontroller projects and the like. I just wouldn’t stick the leads into the wall socket or anything.

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I have one of these - its sold under dozens of brands, same $10 meter. Its fine for checking batteries, low voltage, and misc meter needs. Don’t use it on anything that could kill you because it has tiny fuses that offer nearly no protection.

Those harbor freight freebie dmms are the bane of my existence. Always running down the 9v battery by failing to turn them off, and squinting to select a range.

I might get one of these as a backup to the fluke just to put them out of their misery.

Actually I have a Fluke, and I have one that looks a lot like the one advertised here, and I almost always reach for the cheapie. They work really well and give me the exact same results for continuity, voltage and amperage, which are the main things I use a multimeter for. And they’re cheap enough that I can leave them everywhere I might need one. If I was doing a ton of high voltage work I’d consider using the Fluke more often, but for garden variety low voltage use I haven’t found Fluke level quality to be required.

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I just discovered that fluke started making a cheap basic meter again, the palm sized $42 fluke 101. Auto off and auto ranging, even measures frequency, but no backlight and no amperage. I have never done a field amperage measurement, only test bench, so that is fine. The non backlit display on my ancient obsolete fluke basic meter was readable in any normal light. Reviews say it can be slow though.

That might be my toolbox meter.

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