Best Automotive Multimeter of 2018? Complete Reviews with Comparison

Best Automotive Multimeter of 2018? Complete Reviews with Comparison
PRODUCT GUIDES

If you’re a car owner and you want to save some cash on identifying car issues, then a multimeter is a perfect investment. But it’s hard to decide which type of multimeter is the best choice. There is a range of types which have a different range of functionality, durability, and price. In my years of working on cars and other mechanical devices I’ve tried plenty of different multimeters. Overall, based on the ones on the market currently, these are my top picks for those looking to get a new one today.

Top Automotive Multimeter Comparison Chart

Name Price (1-3) Editor’s Rating (1-5) Amazon Listing
Fluke 87 – V $$ 4.7 Buy it now
Innova 3340 $ 4.4 Buy it now
Amprobe AM-570 $ 4.6 Buy it now
Fluke 88 V/A KIT $$$ 4.3 Buy it now
Power Probe III $$ 4.5 Buy it now

Multimeter Product Reviews

1. Fluke 87 – V Digital Multimeter

The Fluke 87-V is one of the top-of-mind picks for those electricians who tend to get involved in Automotive and HVAC on a daily basis. It’s broad range in voltage measuring means it can measure more of the hard-to read items like current, frequency, voltage and of the most important – temperature. With its thermocouple included, you can measure almost anything including liquids.

This multimeter is by far one of the most versatile in the multimeter family, but it definitely doesn’t come without a steep cost. As always from the Fluke brand you can rely on getting a durable piece of equipment with a great screen resolution/display.

Editor’s Rating: 4.7

Fluke 87-V review

Overview:

  • Auto and manual ranging settings available
  • Ergonomically friendly for ease of use
  • Strong outer covering and sturdy to hold
  • Auto-shut off functionality built in
  • Temperature measuring thermocouple included
  • True RMS technology for precise measurements

 

Product Highlights

This product can be used by anyone on the market, but I don’t necessarily suggest it for beginners as it has quite a few advanced features that can be confusing. This is a reliable piece of equipment that comes with so many great features.

Whether you’re an experienced electrician or one who’s looking to get into the automotive or HVAC line of business, then this product is great for you. I definitely suggest this as one of the best designed and sturdy pieces of equipment on the market.

The Good/What I like

Durability: When I say sturdy, I mean it’s built like a rock! Its yellow hard plastic design is great for a long-lasting multimeter. The Fluke 87-V is easy to use and ready to go out of the box without a steep learning curve. If you’re a new user, it has the auto-ranging ability and if you’re a pro then you can jump to the manual mode.

True RMS: I also love that the Fluke brand is standard to have true RMS technology built in. True RMS means that you can count on it for accuracy which is completely necessary for those of us working in a professional environment.

Helpful Functionalities: There are two major functionalities that I find to be extremely helpful on this device. The first is the auto shut-off functionality. For those of us who forget to turn off their multimeters, having it shut off after 15 minutes of inactivity is extremely helpful to save on battery costs. The second is that this multimeter make audible warnings when things happen as you cant always see the screen directly when making measurements.

HVAT Temperature Reading: Unique to this model, it comes with an awesome thermocouple and a magnetic meter hanger. I have found it useful in testing all temperature settings including liquids (Just make sure it’s not the corrosive type).

After quite a bit of testing I can confirm that this is a precise and reliable device that I have come to trust to measure all of my voltage and temperatures every day.

The Bad/What I don’t like

While there aren’t many things that I didn’t like about this device, there are small areas that could use improvement.

Screen size: The first one being that the screen size can often be too small to see from a distance. The additional indicators around the screen mean the text size is a bit smaller than other multimeter devices.

Design Improvements: The other design aspects we didn’t like was that it utilized a 9V battery instead of the AAs. Overall the Fluke 87-V was also heavier than other multimeter devices which sometimes made it heavy to hold as we often are positioned in strange directions while making measurements.

Pros

Cons

  • Sturdy and well designed
  • Ability to measure temperatures, great for HVAC and automotive users
  • Auto shut-off functionality built-in
  • Precise and accurate
  • Measures true RMS
  • Lacks non-voltage detection ability
  • Higher end price bracket

Check the price here on Amazon.com

 

 

2. Innova 3340

The Innova 3340 is a must have for all automotive workers toolkit. Best in the market currently for testing all forms of car ailments including engine issues, alternator diodes, volts, amps, temperatures in both C and F, verifying electrical continuity, and much more.

When you start looking for a new multimeter, don’t get frustrated with what brand to get. First decide what you will typically use it for. If that’s for automotive use, then this is my top pick! While it should not replace your professional grade multimeter in a place of business, for it’s affordable price it’s a must have for any at home garage and car owner.

Editor’s Rating: 4.4

INNOVA 3340 review

Overview:

· Data save feature keeps your information from being lost

·  Built-in auto ranging feature makes it easy to use

· Ability to measure both F and C temperatures with a probe

· Reverse polarity protection means you will be safe from any electrical shocks

· AC/DC true RMS measurements for effective diagnosis

 

Product Highlights

What makes this product one of the best on the market for automotive use is it’s continued success year after year in the field. This is an true RMS technology so it takes most of the guess work out of knowing which specific measurements you need to input. For more experienced users, auto-ranging may not be desirable but for most common automotive and household uses it’s a perfect functionality for ease of use.

The Innova 3340 also comes with a clamp which is perfect when working on your car so you can clip it on to the hood and continue with the important work on the engine and other electrical pieces. Some of the most important features is to check the alternator output, battery voltage check, and ignition systems.

The Good/What I like

Design: The Innova 3340 has a strong case with a rubber boot which should be able to withstand the rough work environments that automobile owners go through. It comes equipped with two side probe holders to keep everything in place as well as a carrying case.

The dial has 16 settings which can feel confusing, but the user manual explains each position in depth.

Hold Data: This multimeter comes with a Min/Max feature which means you can save your last entry and retrieve the data later. This is great for times when you don’t have a pen and paper handy or when you’re in difficult positions beneath a vehicle. The hold data feature also makes sure you don’t have to go through the painful task of re-testing something again due to forgetting the readings.

Auto Abilities: Built in auto-off function ensures that when you forget to turn off the device, it will shut off after 30 minutes of inactivity. This saves you on battery costs over time. As well I prefer the autoranging ability it has which takes the guess work out of inputting the settings while doing measurements.

Shock Protection: The 3340 has reverse polarity protection so that you don’t have to worry about the potential hazard of getting shocked when working with electrical equipment.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Screen Brightness: When using this multimeter, you really need some good lighting as the screen can often look dim. While typically I have good light sources available, sometimes I got frustrated when I had to strain or even get up and walk over to the device and tilt it to see the numbers.

Pros Cons
  • Affordable price yet has many great features
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with clip which makes automotive work so much easier
  • Solid case and lightweight
  • Screen dimmed
  • Could not achieve a perfect zero
  • Slight inconsistent measurements happened

 

Check the price here on Amazon.com

 

 

3. Amprobe AM-570

Industrial grade multimeters are typically quite pricey, but the Amprobe brand launched the AM-570 model and it’s been seen as a great alternative to it’s more expensive Fluke competitor brand. This is a perfect multimeter for professional industrial maintenance technicians working on machines and large vehicles.

The 500 series from Amprobe is great for most electrical technicians and the 570 model is perfect if you need to measure low impedance or pass filter and for dual temperature measurement. With its built-in flashlight and ability to measure the standard continuity, voltage, resistance and current, it’s a must have for those working on machines on a daily basis.

Editor’s Rating: 4.6

Amprobe AM-570 review

Overview:

· Built in flashlight

· Low pass filter and low impedance modes

· Auto power off

· True RMS

· Data hold functionality

· Relative zero

· Display backlight

 

 Product Highlights

The AM 570 is perfect for engineers and electrical technicians working on machines specifically for its low impedance mode and low pass filter modes. These modes will help you to find stray voltage and can help when doing measurements at various speed drives.

The 570 also has a non-contact voltage detection functionality for those risky times when voltage present is unsure. This device was made perfectly for mechanics and electricians who need to analyze complex systems and electronic circuits.

The Good/What I like

Non-Contact Voltage Detect: This is a great functionality when you are unsure if electricity is present. By holding the multimeter just close enough to the object (typically a wire, circuit or socket) it will detect if there is electricity present.

True RMS: This is a must have for professional grade multimeters and the 570 has true RMS technology built in. This means the accuracy of your readings will always be spot on. As an electrical technician you cant afford to have incorrect readings so true RMS is a necessary function.

Low Impedance Mode: This is a needed measurement functionality as there can often be stray voltage present from nearby circuits that can throw off your measurements. The Low Impedance Mode helps to eliminate those stray measurements.

Awesome Functions: The min/max/avg function is great to show you the full range of measurements and to hold the measurement in place so you can document it in time. The relative mode is also good to have if you need to compare the prior reading to the current.

Build/Design: The screen looks clean and sharp to see and has a dual display functionality to allow you to compare the previous and current measurements at once. The hard plastic packaging of the 570 is strong enough to withstand daily use, but not as rugged as the Fluke brand.

The Bad/What I don’t like

While there weren’t very many things I didn’t like, the most common complaint I hear from my fellow electricians is how slow it is to complete functions like auto ranging and non-contact detections. Here is where our patience gets tested.

You may notice that the display stays on for quite a while which can drain the battery, so be sure to watch this and turn it off when not needed. Other than that, the device is great

Pros

Cons

  • Safe and durable build
  • Low pass filter and low impedance functionality
  • Non-contact voltage detection
  • True RMS technology
  • LED Flashlight
  • Display backlight
  • Display stays on too long
  • Slow to process some functions

 

Check the price here on Amazon.com

 

 

4. Fluke 88 V

The Fluke 88V is by far one of the best on the market today for both standard automotive and hybrid alike. While the price is a bit steep, there is no doubt that this multimeter has the competition beat in terms of functionality and durability.

What makes this device so great is that it not only can it do the standard conventional measurements, but it can do many more advanced ones including RPM, peak min/max, low pass filter, and pulse width measurements. All this without sacrificing quality and accuracy.

Editor’s Rating: 4.3

Fluke 88 V review

Overview:

·         Auto and manual ranging capability

·         Can Measure 1000V AC/DC

·         Data hold functionality

·         Pulse width measurements

·         Backlit display

·         Measures frequency and capacitance

·         Relative mode

·         RPM measurements

 

Product Highlights

The Fluke 88 V is a great tool for all automotive uses with it’s broad range of voltage, current, continuity, frequency and conductance measuring functionalities One great part about this specific model is the speed of measurements which will save you time waiting for measurements to complete.

This device was designed for mechanics work environment in mind with it’s built in magnetic hanger to allow you to simply place the multimeter in an easy to see place on the vehicle. As well it’s large digit display with multi-level backlighting makes it easy to see even under low light areas. It has a built-in thermometer which helps you to not have to carry an extra tool along making this multimeter a great addition to your toolkit.

The Good/What I like

Auto-measuring: This device has some really amazing auto-measuring functionalities which we found really helpful when testing different parts. The most useful ones being the pulse width measurement which were used to test the health of the injectors. We also often used auto-measuring for the RPM measurements.

Durability: The 88-V was designed specifically to withstand a beating. We know in every mechanics shop that things often get a banged up quite a bit and can often fall and the Fluke team kept that in mind when creating this product. The hard-plastic case was designed with this aspect to ensure it absorbs the shock from any hard hits to it ensuring this piece of equipment will last you for many years.

Display: The display on this unit definitely outweighs its competitors on the market. It has very large print with up to a 20000 count as well as a dual backlight that makes it extremely useful when you’re in dark areas underneath and within vehicles.

Speed and reliability: The 88-V has an amazing battery life with a runtime of over 400 hours before battery replacement is needed. It has incorporated power off mode and sleep functionalities which are built in that help to ensure you preserve the battery as long as possible. The speed of this device even with a great battery life is one of our favorite parts of it. It lets you keep going and doing the job you need to get done without waiting for long durations for measurements.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Although most multimeters have a few limitations and improvement points, I would have to say the only things that I didn’t like about this multimeter is it’s size and weight. It is quite bulky to carry around. It does have different clips and magnetic holders to lessen this but it is a point that it’s weighty.

The only other thing that is concerning and ranks this one a bit lower than the rest is the cost. This device is quite pricey. If you’re a professional mechanic, this is definitely a worthwhile investment due to it’s performance, accuracy, and functionality. If you’re in it just for around the house, then there are definitely some cheaper models on the market to choose from.

Pros

Cons
  • Long lasting battery
  • Built-in auto shut off
  • Pulse measurement
  • Large easy to read backlit screen
  • RPM measurement
  • Best automotive multimeter
  • Quite pricey
  • Weighs more than others

 

Check the price here on Amazon.com

 

 

5. Power Probe III

The Power Probe is one of the more interesting devices that I’ve played around with over the years. While it’s functionality as a multimeter isn’t the same as the traditional one, it has some really amazing functionality that allows you to test many aspects on vehicles that traditional multimeters cannot.

Editor’s Rating: 4.5

Power Probe III review

Overview:

· Ultimate circuit tester!

· Allows for continuity checking

· Probe tip/ground allows for you to power up components instantaneously

· Identify positive, negative, and open circuits without the need to re-polarize

· Locate short fuses

· Long 20ft lead for car-to-car testing

 

 Product Highlights

This simple hand-held device has a large range of functionality. It provides the ability to ground or supply power with simple audible tones. It comes with LED lights to ensure you can see easily under the hood of a car. It can quickly be powered by your car’s battery to reduce the need of a battery in the device. It’s a great device for testing bad grounds, continuity, and has a digital voltmeter with min/max capturing functionality.

The Good/What I like

Battery Connection: What makes this device so great is the multitude of functions available once you connect the Probe III to the vehicles battery. These include some of the following:

  • With the flip of a switch you can use the devices hot lead to power up some electrical components like relays and fans. Or the same switch makes the lead become a ground for objects.
  • Checking continuity of switches, diodes, and relays.
  • Without the need to repolarize you can test positive, negative, and open circuits with the polarity tester

Handheld: This device easily fits in one hand and is not very heavy. It’s easy to move around and test machinery quickly.

LED Lights: The built in LED lights on the device are extremely helpful as we often find ourselves working in night conditions outside or in dimly lit garages. This helps to see what we’re doing so we avoid mistakes and injury.

Audible Tones: The Probe III is great because with only audible tones you can tell if a device has a positive or negative tone depending if it makes a high or low pitch sound.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Product Durability: While this did not happen to mine yet, I have heard from others who said over time the hard-plastic casing started to come apart. A little electrical tape and it was good as new, but this is one thing to consider when making the purchase. For me, the functionality it has definitely outweighs this downfall.

Lead Connector: The front lead is connected to the device itself. If you were to drop the device, it is easy to break and damage internal parts. Though Power Probe has been known to send replacements parts with the warranty even for incidents like this, it’s best to be careful when handling this product.

Pros

Cons

  • Small and handheld size
  • Ability to be either a power source or a ground with the flip of a button
  • Built in LED lights
  • Audible tone for positive and negative polarity
  • Checking continuity of switches, diodes, and relays
  • Durability of case
  • Lead can often get damages when falling

 

Check the price here on Amazon.com

 

Wrap up

Take a look at each of these devices carefully and determine the factors that are most important for your everyday use. Keep in mind the price range for each item and it’s professional or personal use. If you are a professional mechanic working on vehicles then you should go toward the higher end range. If you’re a home user, then you can go for the lower end units. Although all 5 of these models are bound to last you many years, in many cases lasting longer than your car will. Go get your multimeter today!

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