When you’re looking to buy a digital multimeter, the choice can be overwhelming. At the same time, a few minutes of research will point you to one brand: Fluke. Fluke is a household name in the digital multimeter world, and for good reason. Its engineering quality, measurement precision, and durability are the industry standard.
Of course, with that reputation comes a matching price tag. And if you’re a professional working with electricity on a day-to-day basis, it makes sense to invest in a tool that can save your life and a ton of time in your job.
But what about the rest of us? What about the people who use a multimeter enough to invest in quality, but not enough to consider becoming a certified electrician? Is there such a thing as a Fluke 101?
About the Fluke 101
As you may suspect from the name, the Fluke 101 is a very basic digital multimeter. Its design is very straight-forward, and all six settings can be seen at first glance. But just because it looks simple doesn’t mean we should underestimate it. Fluke has a reputation to uphold, and we expect nothing less than simply done very well.
The first difference with other, more expensive, Fluke multimeters is that the 101 is made in China. This immediately reminds us of the 110-series, which presents four lower-budget alternatives that serve a specific market but don’t compromise on building quality, ruggedness, or durability. Unlike each of the models in the 110-series, however, the Fluke 101 is made for a general purpose.
Something else that immediately catches our attention is the CAT-III rating. This rating isn’t uncommon for Fluke multimeters, but not as common for the price category of the Fluke 101. A good sign, as it means that the lower price doesn’t come at the cost of safety.
Finally, the Fluke 101 doesn’t just have a pretty small price but seems just as small in your hand. It’s the lightest Fluke on the market and will probably remind you more of a smartphone than a clunky tool.
Who needs the Fluke 101?
With the price tag, the limited functionality, and even the name, the Fluke 101 aims at the general market. In other words, the Fluke 101 is made for anyone who needs a good multimeter that covers all the basics but doesn’t cost more than it needs to. The Fluke 101 is perfect for DIY electricians, hobbyists, general DIY-ers, or even as a quick tool for the professional who doesn’t want to clip a full-size version on his belt for the quick basic measurement.
That being said, its limited functionality automatically means that the Fluke 101 is out for most professionals. As we mentioned before, most professionals can afford to invest in a Fluke that’s designed for their line of work, or a heavy-hitting model like the 87-V.
Fluke 101 Review
OUR TOP PICK
Now that we’ve covered who the Fluke 101 is for and its most basic features, let’s dive into the specific features that cover the functionality of the 101. First, we’ll have a look at all the things we like about the Fluke 101, and then cover some of the drawbacks.
Things we like about the Fluke 101
On most review sites, the Fluke 101 gets a lot of praise. From our own experience, we know that the meter works as expected, but there are some things we particularly like about the Fluke 101.
- The engineering quality
As we’ve discussed before, the biggest concern is whether Fluke just sliced the price on this little meter, or also cut into quality. The good news is that the Fluke 101 is no threat to the great reputation of this brand. Its engineering is superior; it feels robust, durable, and outperforms any other multimeter in this price range when it comes to measuring.
- Gives you just what you need
A lot of multimeters will give you more functions than the Fluke 101. That doesn’t mean you’ll use them. If you’re looking around for digital multimeters, consider what you will really need them for. If the Fluke 101 covers all those needs, don’t get a multimeter that offers you more. It’s better to have a tool that works great every time you use i, than one that works fine for all the things you don’t need. The Fluke 101 is the embodiment of this principle, and it’s okay to appreciate that.
- Perfect ‘second’ multimeter
When you work with multimeters on a regular basis, you’ll probably find yourself wishing you had a small pocket meter to perform some quick measurements. The Fluke 101 is perfect for this. The simple layout makes it even easier to perform a quick measurement, and the light-weight and small device simply fit in your pocket.
Things we didn’t like about the Fluke 101
With a unique price/quality balance, it’s going to be tough to find real problems with the Fluke 101. In the overview below, we didn’t consider the low number of functions, as it is the reason the 101 exists. Even aside from that, there were a few drawbacks we think you should know about.
- Some measurements run a bit slow
Although all the measurements for the Fluke 101 are on point, some of them are a bit slow. Especially the continuity feature feels a bit lethargic at times.
- No backlight for the LCD
The LCD screen will be hard to read at times, as it lacks the backlight that’s commonly available on multimeters and generally included on the higher-end Fluke models.
Fluke 101 Buying Guide
If you ready to spend more on the multimeter, one of the best picks is from the same brand (Fluke) -- Fluke 107 (TOP choice from 100 series Fluke multimeters) -- Check our side by side review on these two Fluke multimeter models here! Also, suggest checking user reviews from Amazon.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does fluke 101 come with a carrying case?
Working with your multimeter might involve you having to use them in some tight and small places, so multimeter case is also a requirement would want to consider while making a purchase. The case would keep the multimeter from damages when it is being roughed or dropped (Check Multimeter Case Prices on Amazon.com).
The carrying case would help your mobility when you to move from one place to another with your device.
For the fluke 101 multimeter, of course, there is a carrying case for it, but the casing might not come in the same packaging, you can decide to purchase a hard case that can also be used for Fluke 115 and 117 with your multimeter, or a soft case for an affordable price.
Does Fluke 101 measure current?
Most DIYers would get devices according to a purpose; it could be for another reason apart from measuring current, the current is the flow of electricity through a conductor.
Getting a multimeter that can measure current is a priority to most professionally, that may have to take several measurements on a daily bases.
The primary functions of the multimeter are to measure volts, ohms, and resistance, and the Fluke 101 multimeter can carry out these functions, but they do not measure current.
Even when we describe the Fluke 101 multimeter is a basic measuring device, it can be used to measure some extra features like AC voltage, DC voltage, resistance, capacitance, and frequency.
Is this meter good for automotive use?
An automotive multimeter is those that can be used to take tests on vehicles, especially car batteries. For a multimeter to rate highly and as an automotive measuring device, they would have to function as an ohmmeter, a voltmeter, and an ammeter.
The ohmmeter is an instrument used for measuring electrical resistance, the voltmeter is used to measure electrical potential in volts, while the ammeter is used to measure current.
I would not recommend the Fluke 101 as an automotive device! Although it can perform the essential functions of measuring volts and ohms, it cannot be used to measure current in amps.
If you want a digital Fluke multimeter that can function as a full automotive device, the Fluke 87-v would be a great choice (Check Price on Amazon.com).
Is Fluke 101 multimeter true RMS meter?
While taking measurements of AC voltage, two types of waves should be measured, the sinusoidal wave and the non-sinusoidal wave to be assured of the accuracy of your test. The sinusoidal waves are linear and non-distorted, while the sinusoidal waves have irregular patterns.
A true RMS meter can measure, they measure both sinusoidal and non-sinusoidal waves, while regular multimeters without the True RMS are limited to measuring only the sinusoidal wave.
HVAC electricians would understand the importance of true RMS meter, as they need to take measurements of alternating current or alternative voltage.
Fluke 101 has only the basic multimeter functions, it is not a True RMS meter, asides from its limited to taking measurements of sinusoidal waves, and it cannot be used to test current.
Does this Fluke model measure: voltage, resistance, continuity, and amps?
Voltage most times defined is the potential difference between two points of an electric charge, measured in volts; resistance is the way your conductors react to electricity moving through it, measured in ohms; continuity describes the uninterrupted flow of current, also measured in ohms. Amp, on the other hand, is the unit for current.
If your question is on the Fluke 101 measuring voltage, resistance, and continuity, then the answers would be yes! But this device cannot measure current, so definitely it wouldn’t give you results in amps.
Your tasks may not always require you to take ampere measurements; it is even more convenient to use a sense resistor or current probe than inserting a Digital multimeter into the circuit.
Where Fluke 101 is made?
Amidst all Fluke product, Fluke 101 is the most basic and cheapest multimeter. It is a Chinese product, we wouldn’t say it is available everywhere, but if you are buying one in the United States, have it at the back of your mind that you are getting an imported product.
Well, if it suits your need, then you can go ahead with your purchase, but you should also know that the warranty covers the product only if you are in China.
Many of them have their brands printed in Chinese and also come with Chinese written manuals, which is not a problem because you can get the English version from Fluke official website.
Is it only auto ranging or can I turn off the auto-ranging?
The auto-range feature of a multimeter makes it easy to be operated by occasional users that do not have in-depth knowledge on setting the specific range for their measurement.
Other Fluke multimeters generally have a range button to switch between manual and auto-range, but the Fluke 101 remains the smallest, cheapest and basic fluke multimeter designed with a hold button. It is automatically manufactured to set the range of your measurements for you.
You may be content with the auto-range quality of this device because it is fast, but the disadvantage is that it is limited and the set timing is poor. It might give you a couple of incorrect reading before you get it right, but after a while, you get used to it.
How to replace batteries on Fluke 101?
The Fluke 101 is designed to turn off when inactive for 20 minutes automatically, but it is better to turn off yourself, and also remove the batteries when they are not going to be in use for a longer period so that you can have prolonged battery life.
The device uses two AAA batteries, which is readily available to you, you should also bear in mind that the package doesn’t come with batteries.
But replacing the batteries is as easy as the way you replace your TV control batteries, there is no need to pull the device apart, you have a section of the casing with a plastic cover that protects the battery, open it with a screwdriver and fix in two original alkaline batteries.
If you’re in the market for a multimeter that does the important things better than any other multimeter, the Fluke 101 is made for you. If you’re looking to get a great quality multimeter that does a lot of things well, Fluke’s other models might be a better fit.
The Fluke 101 is exactly what it promises to be: a digital multimeter with the engineering quality of a Fluke, the functions of a basic model, and a price tag that gets you the real deal while still being a great deal, too.