Even if you are not employed in the service sector of this trade, it is critical that you understand how to properly operate a meter to ensure that you are performing any tasks that could put you in danger safely.
This tool features a large backlit LCD display, an auto-shutoff function to conserve battery life, a non-contact voltage detector, resistance up to 40 megohms, capacitance up to 100 microfarads, frequency up to 10 megahertz (MHz), and microcurrent up to 4,000 microamps.
Personally, I’ve encountered some issues with Amprobe meters in the past. They do not appear to be as durable as some of the other options available, particularly when exposed to moisture during inclement weather.
Several other disadvantages of this meter include the unreliability and inaccuracy of the non-contact voltage feature and the fact that this meter is not a true RMS meter. If you can live with those shortcomings and keep it out of the elements, this reasonably priced option should suffice.
Although the temperature feature of this meter is lacking, it is difficult to beat at this price point.
If you’re willing to spend a little more money, consider the Amprobe 530. This meter has a few features that I prefer over the 510.
This is a TRU RMS meter (learn more about True RMS here from Fluke), and it includes a thermocouple for temperature readings.
See it in action in the video above. I’ve had some issues with it reading a couple of degrees off, so keep that in mind if utmost accuracy is critical to you.
Best HVAC Meters Under $100
Are you just getting started and want to keep your costs low? Consider the 323. The Fluke 323 clamp meter is built to withstand the harshest environments and deliver noise-free, dependable results that you can rely on to confidently diagnose any problems.
This model is ideal for measuring currents up to 400 A in confined cable compartments. This is a True RMS device that packs a punch in a small, convenient package and is frequently regarded as one of the best general troubleshooting tools for commercial and residential HVAC technicians.
The CAT IV 300V/CAT III 600 V safety rating allows for use in a wide variety of environments. Other features include resistance measurement up to 4k with continuity detection and the ability to read voltages in both AC and DC signals.
Best HVAC Multimeter for Less Than $200
If you’re looking for a truly reliable multimeter that was designed with the HVAC professional in mind, the FLUKE 116 is hard to ignore.
The 116 is a CAT III 600v meter with temperature and microamp reading capabilities. The 116 is a true RMS meter, which is critical for today’s sophisticated equipment.
A true RMS multimeter can more precisely measure sinusoidal and nonsinusoidal waves. A standard meter can measure nonsinusoidal waves, but with significantly less precision (up to 40% lower or 10% higher).
The 116 allows for a variety of measurements, including resistance, continuity, frequency, capacitance, voltage both AC and DC, temperature, and microamps.
This unit comes equipped with a large white LED backlight, which enables you to work in virtually any environment. Fluke is a reputable manufacturer of high-quality instruments, and the 116 is one of the meters I personally carry.
Often, you can find a combo deal for both the 116 and the 323 that provides the best value in my opinion.
While the 116’s features are impressive, everyone should own a clamp meter. Check Amazon’s current price for the 116/323 combo HERE.
Best HVAC Multimeter for Less Than $300
The 902fc is one of the most feature-rich multimeters available. Once again, this tool is geared toward HVAC field technicians. 600V CAT III / 300V CAT IV ratings.
Capable of measuring microamps for flame sensors, AC and DC True RMS voltages, capacitance, and temperature, as well as resistance readings up to 60 Kilohms.
Once the tool is installed, ensure that it is synced with a smart device via the app, then close the panel, reenergize the equipment, and take readings from a safe distance away.
Our technicians utilize this feature on a daily basis, which reduces the frequency with which they must wear NFP 70e PPE.
This multimeter has earned a permanent spot in my service bag, where it is used on a daily basis. If you’re only going to run one meter, this is the one I’d recommend. At the moment, I’m running a combination of the 902fc and 116.
Best HVAC Multimeter for Less Than $400
If you require a meter capable of reading currents greater than 600 amps. Consider the 376 FC. For maximum protection, this meter is CAT III 1000V / CAT IV 600V rated.
This is a true RMS clamp meter equipped with a flexible current probe for use in tight spaces and the capability to record current readings up to 2500 amps.
The SC440 is a True RMS clamp meter designed to obtain more precise VAC and AAC readings on variable frequency drives (VFDs).
Additionally, it includes safety features such as a high-voltage LED and beeper, a continuity warning, a non-contact voltage push button, a lead holder with detachable leads, and alligator probe tips for one-handed testing.
Temperature, capacitance, microamps DC for flame diode tests, and standard electrical ranges for the HVAC Tech are all included in the testing parameters.
The SC440 clamp meter is intended for use in HVACR applications. To my mind, the cost savings do not justify purchasing this over a Fluke meter, but that is entirely subjective.
Important Features to Consider
When selecting the best multimeter for your situation, you should pay special attention to a few features. We’ll discuss these features in greater detail below so you can make the best choice for your needs.
These meters are notorious for failing to function properly. They are frequently used by professionals. As a result of this excessive use, many meters fail very quickly.
They are simply not designed to withstand repeated use, which results in their rapid decomposition.
Simultaneously, homeowners frequently leave these meters idle for an extended period before utilizing them heavily in a short period.
This significantly increases the likelihood of the multimeter breaking. They can be stored in a moist basement for years at a time, untouched.
This increases the likelihood of the meter malfunctioning over time.
As a result, you require a meter that is built to last. A well-built meter can last decades, whereas a poorly built meter may last only a few years.
Purchase a sound meter in advance to avoid purchasing one each time you require one.
A non-accurate multimeter is of little value. You should not be second-guessing your meter’s reading. If you are, you should consider purchasing a new one.
With that said, the only way to truly determine a multimeter’s accuracy is to use it (and preferably compare it to a meter that you know is accurate). This is difficult to accomplish, even more so when shopping online.
A multimeter cannot be precisely tested prior to purchase.
To determine the accuracy of a multimeter, you must rely on reviews such as ours. Throughout the review process, we paid close attention to the accuracy of each meter.
Every HVAC multimeter should measure a few basic parameters. The majority of them are capable of measuring voltage, resistance, capacitance, and continuity.
Not all meters, however, measure these points. None of these multimeters made our list. There is no reason to invest in a meter that is incapable of detecting all of these electronic signals.
There are numerous options available for measuring all of these factors. You should choose the optimal model while maintaining the ability to read all of these signals.
Ensure that any multimeter you purchase is capable of reading all of these points.
The majority of multimeters are extremely simple to operate. You simply press a button and you’re finished.
However, some are slightly more complicated. Several of the games we reviewed had complicated settings or were generally difficult to figure out.
Multimeters are designed to be simple to use. There is no reason to purchase a meter on which you will have to focus your attention while attempting to figure out how to use it.
We recommend investing in an easy-to-use meter so you can focus on your project rather than figuring out how to use it.
Author: Howard S. Baldwin
My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.
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