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tempoct 20th January 2006 09:20 PM

Digital Multimeter recommendation
Hi all,
My old cr@ppy DMM just died so I need to get a good new one. Searched through the forums and most people suggest Fluke but some people has problem in high humidity area (which is where I live too).
Fluke is expensive so maybe another better 2nd choice that works with high humidity area? I guess the Fluke will work in high humidity area but some of those who has problems might have leak seal....
I look at Fluke 179 seems to be good but a little expensive. There are other cheaper meters that do more thing (hFE, LC). The Fluke doesn't do inductance.
Should I go with the Fluke or something around $70 range that does everything like this one?

What about other good brands? Extech, TPI, BK, Tenma?

SY 20th January 2006 09:26 PM

Fluke is not the best bang for the buck, but it will last you a long, long time and not go out of calibration. I've had three or four others come and go on me, but my Fluke keeps on working quietly, efficiently, and accurately.

anatech 20th January 2006 11:42 PM

Hi tempoct,
I second what SY has said. I must say I doubt that other meters would fair as well as a Fluke. They have seals built in. The meter elastomers are cleanable. Not the end of the world.

Regarding inductance. To get an accurate reading you need a bridge or purpose built meter. Just because the function is there does not mean it's accurate. The capacitance function on a Fluke is surprisingly close to the actual value.

The last thing is this. If the meter goes out of calibration, you can't trust it. Therefore it would be worse than broken as it would mislead you. Also, if you apply the tolerance specs to your reading, you will see that you can not depend on all the digits having any meaning. Sometimes the least two significant digits are meaningless. It's worse with other brands.


jackinnj 21st January 2006 02:07 AM

are you absolutely sure you need a handheld device ?

-- yeah, I have a Fluke 177 which I use all the time -- but I also use a pair of HP 3478's and an HP3468, Fluke benchtop devices, B&K, Keithley are all excellent.

if you have the space you can use the Tektronix DM501, DM502 etc. -- these are really excellent if you have the space. Once you get into these TEK 500 series test units you'll never go back (I think Eddie Murphy used that line in "Trading Places").


anatech 21st January 2006 02:12 AM

Hi Jack,
For bench top use, an HP 34401A is really hard to beat for most uses. There are more accurate ones out there, but they are not as fast to use.


testlab 21st January 2006 02:54 AM

Tenma has just come out with some nice hanheld meters for under $100, if you want new. If you can live with a bench meter, eBay is lousy with Fluke 8010's and 8012's, usually for under $75. I have also purchased about 2 dozen Protek B940 meters for $115 each at These power off of AC or DC. About +/-3% accuracy.

tempoct 21st January 2006 08:57 AM

I really don't have space for the bench :o
I wonder that the other brands are that much different than Fluke? I meant, if Fluke a clear cut winner, I probably get it. Who's actually a worthy competitor to Fluke?

I don't mine if the meter doesn't last 10 years. By that time, I probably want the new one with newer features and technology.

Which Tenma under $100 you mentioned?

AudioFreak 21st January 2006 09:40 AM

I'm honestly not aware of any other hand held meter that can even come close to a fluke.

testlab 21st January 2006 02:15 PM

See it here:

AR2 21st January 2006 03:03 PM

I just got Fluke 189 and I compared it to chiper ones I have. The main problem i had was bandwith. When used with higher Fq. the reading on cheap ones is completely usless. I purposely went with this Fluke because it has 100 KHZ bandwith. The difference is dramatical.

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