Fluke 117 vs 179 – Multimeter Comparison Guide

In the world of digital multimeters, Fluke is a household name. They’ve been manufacturing multimeters since 1948 and built a solid name for themselves over the last decades. Their products are robust, fast, accurate, and up to professional standards in all sorts of technical professions.

But when you’re going to buy a Fluke digital multimeter, there are still plenty of options left. Two of those options are the Fluke 117 and the Fluke 179. In this article, we will discuss both digital multimeters. The 117 and 179 will be paired up, compared, and battle each other to see which one suits your needs best.

Comparison of Fluke 117 and Fluke 179

The Fluke 117 in detail

Check Price on Amazon.com

The Fluke 117 is the last of four multimeters in Fluke’s 110-series. Because it is decked out with the most features in the series, it is a household staple for electricians. The Fluke 117 is a True-RMS multimeter, so it can read distorted (non-sine) waves as well as sine waves. On top of that, it will read ghost voltage, too, eliminating a lot of false positives.

Another feature of the Fluke 117 that makes it especially attractive to electricians is the non-contact voltage detection option. This meter doesn’t need to touch a live wire to get a reading; literally a lifesaver for electricians. Like most Fluke models, there are many accessories that will work with the Fluke 117. Most notably, with the right attachments, you can use the meter hands-free or read temperatures with it, too.

While it will do most common jobs, the Fluke 117 is a meter focused on a broader market. If you need to do frequency measurements beyond 50 kHz, or you’re frequently performing diode checks, this multimeter is not for you.

The Fluke 117 is commonly praised for its durability, versatility, and competitive price. It is the most affordable all-in-one digital multimeter with a good set of features for electricians and other professionals. It is easy to handle, fast, and accurate. It’s been built by people who’ve been around for decades, and your Fluke probably will, too.


The Fluke 179 in detail

Check Price on Amazon.com

Just like the 117, the Fluke 179 is the last in a series. It is designed for field service and light industrial work and comes with more features than its little brothers. The most notable feature is the 80BK temperature probe, which allows fast and accurate temperature readings on the spot.

Aside from the standard features like manual and automatic ranging, display hold and auto hold, the 179 also measures frequency, capacitance, resistance, continuity, and diode. It weighs just under a pound and comes in the ergonomic design most Fluke meters come in but doesn’t have a case.

The Fluke 179 is also a True-RMS digital multimeter, which means that it can read distorted waves just like the 117. It provides resistance, continuity, and diode measurements in a beat, and offers minimal-maximal-average recordings. The general-purpose feel and features make the 179 a great option for any hobbyists working with audio and guitar amplifiers. To underline its professional aptitude, the 179 is CAT-IV 600V and CAT III 1000V certified.

It does not come with the options to zero the leads, which could be a minor inconvenience in some settings. Most people have no trouble doing this manually, though.

In short, the Fluke 179 is a great option for people who want a solid digital multimeter that works in a wide variety of situations. It offers a lot of different measurement options, will last for a lifetime, and can be used professionally and at home.

Comparison

The 179 and 117 are both touted as great digital multimeters. They’re well-built, reliable, and fast. Although they both can serve as general-purpose digital multimeters, the 117 is specifically made to serve a professional electrician’s need. The 179 offers the diode measurement option, a feature the 117 lacks.

Someone looking for a digital multimeter that is fast, reliable, and will last forever, both models are a good option. The competitive price of the 117 makes that model more attractive for a general-purpose multimeter, or someone working with electricity. Where they overlap, the 117 is a more competitive choice, but the 179 simply has a few more options for a broader use.


Summary

If you’re a hobbyist looking for an all-purpose digital multimeter that is fast, reliable, and will last you for decades, either the Fluke 117 or the Fluke 179 will serve your needs. For more specific needs, the best multimeter depends more on you. For electricians and DIY-ers working with electricity, the 117 has a great set of options that will serve specific needs.

For a more common-purpose meter or light industrial work, the 179 is a better fit. It lacks the more elaborate electricity-related features of the Fluke 117 but has a wider range of options and includes a thermometer. Whichever of the two you choose, both meters are well worth every dime.

FAQ

Where is fluke 179 made?
The Fluke 179 is made in the USA. Most Flukes are made in the US but with the introduction of some series that focus on lower costs, part of the production has been transferred to China. While all Flukes are designed and engineered in the US, some models are manufactured in China. The Fluke 179 is all American-made, though. Not only is it designed and engineered in America, it is also manufactured domestically. This means that the Fluke 179 is one of the best buys for anyone looking for a great multimeter that is made in America.

Fluke 179 how to measure amps?

The Fluke 179 has two settings that allow you to measure amps. You can measure in milliAmps (mA) or just Amps. If you decide to measure in Amps with the Fluke 179, the multimeter will automatically select alternate current or direct current. This way, you only have to pick between milliAmps or full Amps.

When you’re ready to measure Amps with the Fluke 179, put your leads in the opposite sides of the multimeter (with the negative lead going into the ‘COM’ slot and the positive lead on the other side). Once your leads are in place, simply select the range you need and press the leads to the object you want to measure.

With the auto-ranging feature of the Fluke 179, you’ll quickly find the reading on your screen. Pay special attention to the bar graph on the bottom of the screen. This works the same way an analog multimeter would work and allows you to watch for quick fluctuations and double-check the range.

How to reset Fluke 179?

Just like any other tool that uses electronics, the Fluke 179 might get the technical hiccups every now and then. First, make sure everything about the multimeter is in order; check the batteries, fuses, and settings. When this doesn’t help, there are a few things you can do. First of all, try to turn off the Fluke 179 and then turning it on again. Chances are simply turning the device on again will solve the problem at hand.

If just turning it off and on doesn’t do the trick, you can try to take out the batteries. This is more of a reset than just using the power button but it may not eliminate all problems. In that case, you might want to do a factory reset. To do this, look at the back of the multimeter. One of the recessed screws is, in fact, the reset button.

How to use Fluke 179 multimeter?

The Fluke 179 multimeter is an auto-ranging True-RMS meter that since its introduction has become the industry standard for light industrial work, elaborate DIY projects and all professional electrical endeavors.

Most of the functions of the Fluke 179 are surprisingly straight-forward. Because the meter is auto-ranging, you simply pick one of the features, rotate the dial on the front of the meter towards the function you want to use and make sure the leads are in the right place. The product manual shows the configuration for the leads for each of the different functions. Now place the testing parts of the leads at the object you want to measure and read the measurement from the LCD screen on top of the multimeter.

The Fluke 179 can measure everything you could possibly need, with a maximum of 1.000 Volts. The auto hold function lets you hold the most stable reading until it measures a new stable reading. To activate the auto hold function, simply press the HOLD button twice. To use the included thermometer, take the special thermocouple leads and plug it into the bottom right slots. Because the Fluke 179 works with 9V batteries, they’re easy to change.

How to calibrate Fluke 179 multimeter?

To make sure you get the most out of your multimeter, you must be able to trust that it’s properly calibrated. Without this calibration, you cannot trust any of the measurements anymore. Most professional equipment is calibrated on an annual basis, but if you’re not a professional, chances are that calibrating your multimeter isn’t as consistent as other yearly events.

However, if you want to calibrate your multimeter, there are two different ways. First, you can hire a specialist. This will cost you around $80, but comes with the assurance that your multimeter is properly calibrated.

Alternatively, you can calibrate your Fluke 179 yourself. To do this, you need an electrical calibrator. Fluke also sells these, but they’re worth quite a few Fluke 179s combined. If you have such a calibrator at hand, the process is pretty simple.

Enter the calibration mode by holding the Min/Max button and turning the dial to ‘VAC’. A small ‘CAL’ will appear on the screen to indicate that you’ve entered calibration mode. Now press the Auto/Hold button twice and enter your password, pressing Auto/Hold a third time to confirm. When the display says, ‘C-01’, connect the multimeter to the calibrator and follow the steps.

Can Fluke 117 multimeter be used for an Automotive Tech?/Is this an 'auto-ranging' multimeter?

The Fluke 117 is one of the best all-around multimeters currently on the market. Although it is specifically aimed at electricians, it can be used in a wide variety of situations. One of the unexpected ways to use the Fluke 117 is as an automotive tool.

While the Fluke 117 isn’t optimized for car technicians, its reliability and accuracy will be a great asset for car technicians in most tests. Most multimeters specifically designed for the automotive industry do the same things that a Fluke 117 will do. Sometimes, there is a specific function on the multimeters aimed at car-technicians but an ‘automotive’ multimeter and the Fluke 117 will be very close in its features.

Because the 117 is so versatile, it can be used for any job you can imagine in automotive tech. As a bonus, its renowned accuracy and reliability can give you the assurance that your measurements are correct. The rugged design is optimized for real life environments and can survive a drop or two. The LCD with backlight makes sure you can still read the measurements when you’re under the hood of a car, or under the entire car. While the Fluke 117 might not be the first automotive multimeter that might come to mind, it will be a great asset for any car technician.

The Fluke 117 is not just an auto-ranging multimeter. It also automatically selects AC or DC voltage. That means that you can simply select the Voltage meter and let the multimeter do the rest of the work. On top of the automatic selections, the Fluke 117 has a non-contact voltage meter which allows you to get a notification of a live wire without even touching it. For all other measurements, the Fluke 117 automatically selects the best range for your measurements, making sure that you get your readings fast and reliable.

Fluke 117 how to use?

Because of the Fluke 117’s different automatic measurements, it is extremely easy to use. The only thing that may change is the configuration of the leads, but with the clear schematic drawings in the product manual, each configuration is a breeze to figure out. When the leads are in the right place, simply rotate the dial towards the function you want to use. Because of all the auto-ranging features, most measurements allow you to simply rotate the dial and carry out your test.

The non-contact voltage detection is just as easy. Just rotate the dial all the way to the Volt Alert setting. Now hold your device close to a wire and a quick reading will let you know if you are dealing with a live wire that could shock you or a wire that is good to be tempered with. As you may understand, this is literally a lifesaver.

Just as with other Fluke models, the batteries and fuses are easy enough to replace. Even if you’re not familiar with digital multimeters in general, the extra options on the Fluke 117 make this the most advanced model for absolute beginners money can buy.

Does Fluke 117 measure frequency?
Yes, you can measure frequency with the Fluke 117. There is a total of ten different settings. To measure frequency, select the V HZ function. Because the Fluke 117 will automatically detect and select AC or DC voltage and the range in which you’re measuring, no other steps are needed. Now put the black and red leads in the correct slots on the multimeter and put your test leads on the object you’re trying to measure the frequency of. Within moments, the HZ reading will appear in the LCD screen on top of the digital multimeter.
Does Fluke 117 come calibrated already? How do we calibrate it after we bought it?

Every Fluke 117 you buy comes fully calibrated. Rigorous testing of multiple Flukes in comparison and quality control tests has shown that readings with a new Fluke 117 are reliable and accurate. However, as with any other digital measuring tool, the accuracy might drift after a while. For professional users, it is recommended to have your digital multimeter recalibrated every year. For the rest of us, two options remain.

First, there are different services that will calibrate your Fluke. You send it in and after the calibration, your digital multimeter will be sent back fully calibrated. These services can range in price from around $50-$100.

Another option is to do the calibration yourself. The only way to do this is when you have the correct tools, which can also be bought from Fluke. When you have an electrical calibrator available, the process isn’t difficult.

You need to press the calibration button on the back of your Fluke and use the ‘Auto/Hold’ button to confirm the sequence and your password. After this, simply follow the instructions on the screen until the calibration is complete.

While the calibration services might seem expensive, your Fluke relies on those services to give you accurate readings.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply