Digital multimeters are electronic devices that are used for testing and analyzing circuits. These devices display information using numeric digits and decimal points. Generally, they are considered easier to read than their analog counterparts. In order to choose the best digital multimeter from the wide selection available, buyers should consider the features, purpose, and price of each unit.
The ease of use is an important factor for users to consider. Some units are simple to operate, while others are more advanced and technical. An autorange feature, for instance, allows a multimeter to automatically adjust to the proper measurement range of an input. This function saves time when many different circuits are being tested, but may not be desired by professional users who want more precise manual control over a unit.
Buyers should make sure that the unit includes features that will be frequently used, yet is not overloaded with unnecessary extras. Nearly all digital multimeter models have the same core functions. These include the ability to measure direct and alternating current, voltage, and resistance in a circuit.
Many multimeters go beyond these basic features. If a user will be dealing with capacitors, a digital version with the ability to accurately measure capacitance may be useful. Some devices include transistor testing circuits, able to quickly determine if a transistor is functioning properly. This feature can be particularly helpful for experimenters who deal with digital logic circuits.
Some digital multimeters have specialized functions. One with a built-in temperature sensor, for instance, is useful for buyers who deal with temperature-sensitive hardware, such as computer processors. Many advanced designs include the capability of displaying frequency information similar to an oscilloscope. This is another example of a feature that may be greatly useful for microcontroller experimenters, but not important for other users. Buyers should carefully consider the actual intended use of a multimeter before buying a model with extraneous advanced features.
The price of a multimeter is also important to consider. More expensive does not always mean better quality, but more advanced multimeters typically cost more than basic models. By having a budget in mind when choosing a multimeter, buyers can avoid overspending on a unit with unneeded features, and choose a unit that fulfills their everyday requirements.