How to choose a Multimeter?

Hi. I'm new to electronics and Arduino, and so I was recently considering getting a multimeter but I know nothing about it. How do I choose one? Will any on ebay do? I know, there are all kinds of differences between then, and price ranges, but is there anything that I need to know before buying one? Will they all work with low voltage... etc?


Welcome on the forum,

Even the $5 ones are pretty good these days and they won't cost you an arm to buy three or so.

Would save my money for a logic analyzer like -

Some of the more expensive units can log readings to your PC. For just starting out, one between 20-30 dollars is usually good enough.


I started electronics recently and bought a $4 multimeter off aliexpress with free shipping. Feature-wise, it’s fine. The only feature I miss having is an audible beep when testing connectivity. Just means I have to keep looking back at the multimeter when testing connections on a circuit.

Only issue is that the build quality isn’t great. I had to resolder where the leads connect to the multimeter (no big deal) and buy new (better quality) leads when one of those failed (another $2).

Overall I’m pretty happy with this multimeter. I didn’t have the budget for a flash one and this got me going and does everything it needs to do.

El cheapo multimeters are OK for beginners using low voltage. I prefer my Fluke for mains voltage as I fear for the safety of a meter costing $5. At least I know the Fluke is safe at mains voltage.


The only feature I miss having is an audible beep when testing connectivity.

That is the main downside to the harbor freight "free with any purchase" multimeters I use. It is rare I need to use my better multimeter, usually for the "beep" capability when trouble shooting.

Look for the features that you're most likely to use.

Audible continuity, diode test, (especially with bad eyesight like mine), DC mV to a low level, frequency to as high as possible and whatever else you think you might need. (Current in a wide range isn't so important, since you can use a series resistor and measure the voltage developed across it.)

'True RMS' and logging are great additional features, but cost a fair bit more. Also, depending on what you plan to do, an inductance range can be very useful, but you can buy a separate LCR meter fairly cheaply for that.

Overall, I reckon, buy the best that you can afford/justify.

Ohh, I see
Thanks for your answers!!

watch this

These are 2 thread from EEVBlog that compare multimeters:

Multimeter spreadsheet (38 brands and 210 meters listed)

Multimeters that do not appear to meet their safety specs. (updated frequently)

One hint: although the xx830 line of DMMs are ok (all DMMs that have "830" on their model number are the same internally, and from the same few OEMs. They are just rebranded, and are very cheap), they are not as precise as other multimeters and not as fully featured. They lack capacitance and inductance metering, for example.

One inexpensive (but not cheap) brand is Mastech, from China. They make good, robust and fairly precise DMMs. I have a few DMMs (including 2 Flukes, among other brands) and the only one that is reading the same of closest to the Flukes is the Mastech MS8260 (around US$ 40). I use the Flukes as a reference because they are fairly new and have been factory calibrated, so the fact that the MS8260 gives the same or very close reading is a good pointer.

Another hint: it pays to have more than one DMM: have a good one that can read milliamps and another, simpler one, that can read millivolts. I say this because you'll often need to read both voltage and current at the same time, and it's a PITA to do so with only one DMM.

And I always advise to have at least three or four "cheapies" - one at work or in the bag, one in the car, one in the garage and however many (at least two as mentioned for simultaneous measurements) in the workshop, which might then include the expensive one.