Best Alternatives to Fluke Multimeters
Fluke Corporation is one of the biggest multimeter producers in the world. Fluke multimeters are not only built from good materials, but they are also accurate and esthetically pleasing. But high quality has its price. Literally.
Fluke multimeters can be very expensive for users that are not professional and use their multimeters from time to time for simple work like checking lightbulbs, car RPM in the winter, and measuring voltage in used remote batteries.
Luckily, Fluke is not the only company in the world that produces multimeters, so you have a lot of other manufacturers to choose from.
I’ve tested these 6 multimeter models for a longer time, also for various tasks. The TOP alternative to Fluke multimeter is Extech EX505. Extech EX505 multimeter has great durability (waterproof, dustproof), 3 years warranty, great display (4,000 count backlit LCD), double molded test leads included. I found it to be a real value in this price range and a strong competitor of Fluke multimeters!
Luckily, you found this article so you won’t have to spend a lot of time searching for the right models because we did that for you. All you have to do is keep on reading and see if you like any of these bad boys. If you are short on cash, you don’t have to worry because all models here don’t cost more than one hundred and twenty dollars.
Best Alternatives to Fluke Multimeters
Innova 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter
When it comes to automotive multimeters it’s really hard to find a better product than Fluke’s, but one manufacturer has come really close to the standard set by Fluke. The name of that manufacturer is Innova. With the 3340 model, they managed to pack in quite a lot of nice functions, good build quality and all that for a price that issignificantly cheaper than Fluke’s products designed for automotive use.
Innova 3340 uses very little battery power and yet, it still delivers as much as it is needed from it in its every aspect. If you are one of those people that like to save power, Innova 3340 is the multimeter for you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this multimeter is better than Fluke’s automotive products, I’m saying that Innova 3340 has come very close to Fluke in all aspects, and yet they managed to do it with a cheaper price.
Innova 3340 is shipped with a pair of standard and thermal probes. This multimeter has all standard multimeter functions like continuity, voltage, resistance, and amps measuring, but it can also measure temperature and RPM. This can come in handy if you live in cold climates and your car won’t start in the morning. You can just take the multimeter and check the temperature of important car subsystems. Since that will make it a lot easier for you to diagnose the problem, you can start working on it sooner.
Innova 3340 also has a sturdy rubber shell that can take a lot of damage for it.
Signstek UNI-T UT139C
This multimeter is excellent for people that want an alternative to Fluke’s more pricier models that are used for voltage measuring. The vast amount of features Signstek UNI-T UT139C contains can overwhelm new and inexperienced users. Despite this, this multimeter can be used by non-professionals, but its qualities will shine the most if it is used by professional users.
Signstek UNI-T UT139C has an inbuilt non-contact voltage detector that will make it extremely easy for the user to check for voltage if any contact between the multimeter and the wire is not possible or necessary.
This multimeter wouldn’t be a true voltage multimeter without the rubber protective shell that will not only serve as protection from falls, but also as protection from high currents, in this instance.
When it comes to safety, that’s not all. This meter is also CAT III 600 V certified. If I was the owner, the only thing that I would do in order to improve the safety of this multimeter is replacing the fuse with a high quality ceramic one.
Signstek UNI-T UT139C has a lot of functions. Its most important functions are continuity, voltage, resistance, frequency and temperature. This also makes it ideal for users that need an affordable multimeter with as many functions as possible.
Although many multimeters that cost below one hundred dollars have accuracy issues, this one does not. Quite the opposite, it has an RMS feature that works well.
HVAC is the most expensive multimeter type on the market. They are even more expensive when it comes to Fluke’s models. As with all models on this list, when we were deciding if we should put them on the list, we had a ratio of price to quality in mind, meaning that we were searching for quality multimeters that can do their job well, that their quality is comparable to Fluke’s models and that they are more affordable.
Fieldpiece SC 260 overall quality level is above its price range.
This multimeter also has an RMS feature, meaning that its readings are extremely accurate. It can measure temperature in degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius. As a matter of fact, it is even shipped with temperature probes alongside standard ones.
SC 260 has a backlight that works well and it will make crawling in tight, low light areas very easy for you.
Unfortunately, Fieldpiece SC 260 doesn’t have a rubber shell but that is not a huge problem because its body is built from tough plastic. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t treat it as if it was extremely durable. The rubber they are built from engulfs the wires nicely and metal tips are also of good quality.
This multimeter has no special features, all features are appropriate for heating, ventilation and air conditioning type of work.
Probes that come shipped with Fieldpiece SC 260 are of good quality.
Some would refer to the Amprobe AM-510 as an entry level multimeter for its low price, but it comes with some significant feature that you would find on advanced level multimeters. It is both a manual and an auto range tester and allows you to efficiently carry out diagnoses on both vehicles and basic home electronics works. It is qualified to be an alternative to Fluke Multimeters and a backup meter for professional electricians.
This multimeter comes with standard specifications that can stand as a competition with some Fluke meters like the AC and DC measurement of up to 10 amps, resistance to 40 ohms, the voltage to 600 volts, frequency to 10MHz, capacitance to 4000μF, and even micro-current of 400μA.
Some other impressive features of the AM-50 are CAT III safety rating of 600 volts, a built-in LED flashlight, a backlit display, the rugged build up, non-contact detection and a battery test feature that can carry out diagnosis on 1.5V and 9V batteries.
Many multimeters lack the option of the true RMS, but the Amprobe AM-510 is precise enough to take accurate reading regardless of the electrical noises that may interfere with the original signals.
With a push button, you would get a bright LED light beam, and as least important as it may seem, the flashlight also comes in handy to help accuracy in dark places when you have to run checks or troubleshoot a fuse panel when the light is out.
Another quality is the auto-sensing feature (also assists accuracy by enabling the device to recognize the input and switch to the appropriate mode). This feature is excellent for non-expert users; the reason is that choosing the wrong input mode can break the sensitive electronic parts of the device.
Amprobe AM-510 prevents those emergency situations, where you have to make use of your multimeter, and you have low batteries by giving indications when you need to change your batteries. When you put the device in NCV mode, the non-contact voltage detection conveniently allows you to detect low voltages by hovering the leads over your test subject. You would know the voltage is detected when you hear an audible beep.
Also, the quick-acting fuse can be mentioned as a safety quality to prevent situations of electric shock or irreparable damage on the device.
Klein Tools MM700
At a great price, Klein Multimeters are one of the best and can be an alternative to Fluke. It is handy for both DIYers, Hobbyists, and even professional electricians who are used to high-end meters like Fluke 179 multimeters. Although Klein is not a direct competitor with the Fluke products, it is cheaper and reliable.
It is an American make and can be used to test almost anything ranging from solar units to three phase circuits. Two fuses protect the multimeter, one is a 10A fuse for high amp circuit, and the other is a 500mA fuse. Any multimeter that can provide surge protection value for up to 8,000V with a CAT IV up to 600V would definitely be a good one.
This device is also a versatile tool that is capable of measuring voltage, current, resistance, temperature, diodes, frequency, low impedance, continuity and duty cycle.
The low impedance is an important feature that recognizes and gets rid of ghost voltages; the Klein Tools MM700 has inbuilt a low impedance mode that makes it better than some Fluke meters that lack this feature.
Most Fluke multimeters come with a backlit feature that stays on for close to three minutes to assist in poorly lit places, so does the Klein Tools MM700. Also featuring an auto hold feature that saves your information when you cannot write it down immediately, and the auto-off feature saves your battery life, by turning your device off after some time of inactivity.
On the high-resolution screen is a responsive bar graph under the main display which shows an analog style response that refreshes almost a dozen times per second. Without opening the whole case, you can easily access the burnout fuses and low batteries when they need replacements from a single panel.
The build-up of most Klein brands are chunky and funky, but that does not change their quality as being neat and durable. Their cases are built to be rugged and suitable for tough environments.
The only significant downside of the Klein 700MM would be the speed of performance when it comes to measuring continuity or large capacitors. Although this disadvantage can easily be overlooked since it still produces accurate readings, Fluke meters with auto ranging features are known to produce faster results.
Fluke has built such a high standard that would make any other brand need so much quality to come close to it, finding an alternative would be hard, but the Extech EX505 is a good substitute.
This Extech model is great for professional HVAC electricians or anyone who aims at working on a related task. Some of the easy to spot qualities are the sturdy and durable design; it also gives accurate and precise measurements. Apart from taking measurements of current, voltage and resistance, the Extech EX505 is built to be versatile with up to eleven functions including measuring frequency, temperature, capacitance and a lot more.
It is not as complicated as the other professional HVAC multimeters, but it has a lot of features you may not need if you are a beginner or just an occasional user. HVAC electricians would understand the value of the True RMS feature to help accuracy when they work under unfavorable conditions and have to deal with ghost voltages.
It is a standard requirement for a multimeter to hold data, but regardless it is worth mentioning. Most times, it is difficult to record or memorize the values from measurements while you work, but with the Extech EX505, your last reading would be stored when you press the “hold” button during a test, and it remains until you replace it with another measurement.
Having a LED backlit on a multimeter is one quality that should not be ignored, not all multimeter comes with a backlight, but the Extech EX505 display features is a large 4000 count with LED backlit. There is a slight disadvantage of the backlight displaying for only 10 seconds and some problems with viewing the screen from some certain angles.
It is also built to be compact and lightweight with rubber protection for better grip. The sturdy and durable double molded build up can withstand falls or bumps and even water in work areas. After 15 minutes if inactivity this multimeter shuts itself down to save battery and money.
The ability of this device to measure temperature via thermocouple is an advantage, but there are some temperature fluctuations and some unusual amount of time spent before the display that might make you doubt the accuracy.
Users have reported that the audible buzzer is not loud enough, it might not have so much effect on the accuracy, but some prefer a louder sound.
Now that we have covered top three alternative multimeter models to Fluke’s multimeters, it’s time for me to explain what are the best alternative multimeter brands to Fluke.
As with the first part, the basic presupposition is that price is the main reason for searching for alternative multimeter brands.
Best alternative brands to Fluke
Short general guide to picking the best alternative multimeters to Fluke
When it comes to brands, you can go by the simplest rule there is when you are thinking about getting a multimeter. That rule says that if the multimeter costs more, it is of better quality. Pretty simple and common sense. But that rule is not the only thing that matters when looking for alternatives to Fluke.
Some brands use more quality materials in all of their products, while some use lower quality materials in their products. The purpose of the multimeter is also important. Are you going to use it for HVAC, voltage measuring or automotive use? According to its purpose, the different mix of materials will be used.
If multimeter’s price differs significantly from other multimeters with the same features, something is not right. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are somewhat rare.
Check the features of the multimeter before buying. I would avoid multimeters with features that seem to be too good to be true.
Best alternative multimeter brands
This is a Taiwaneese firm that focuses on production of multimeters. Its multimeters are rated as best ones in the world, right after Fluke. Since these multimeters are produced in Taiwan, they are significantly cheaper than Fluke, but there is no reason for alarm because of this. The quality of their products is almost the same. Prices of Brymen products are in the mid-range.
Extech is a producer of multimeters and the biggest competitor to Fluke when it comes to the United States since Extech produces its products in the USA. This means that the quality of the materials of Extech’s products is better then Brymen’s, but it also means that Exetch’s products cost more money. Nevertheless, they are still cheaper than Fluke’s products.
Innova is another multimeter producer based in the continental United States. Innova’s automotive multimeters are excellent and when it comes to automotive multimeters, Innova’s products are the biggest competitor to Fluke’s automotive multimeters.
Amprobe has aimed their products at amateurs and non-professional users, but nevertheless, Amprobe’s multimeters are of excellent quality. Since Amprobe’s products aren’t aimed at professionals, they also cost a lot less, meaning that most of Amprobe’s products cost around one hundred dollars. When it comes to the United States based producers, Extech and Innova are Fluke’s biggest competitors. Although they are still not at the same level, it will be interesting to see what will happen on the market in the following years.
So, that’s it!
Now you know what multimeters are the best alternatives to Fluke’s multimeters, how to pick a good alternative multimeter and what specific brands of multimeters are best alternatives to Fluke.
If you decide to get one of the multimeters from this list, you won’t be disappointed!