Like most other electronic tools, multimeters have one brand name that always comes to mind first. But that doesn’t mean you have other choices. For some, these alternatives might just be what they are looking for. So if you’re in the market for a digital multimeter and you want to find a brand that’s not in the spotlight but delivers great engineering quality in the palm of your hand, you’ll love Klein.
What Is Klein Tools?
This American company, founded by a German immigrant who started making amazing wrenches, has been churning out high-quality multimeters for quite some time now, and you might be surprised at what they have to offer. Klein will sound more familiar to electricians because their handheld tools have been made to accustom electricians since the very dawn of electricity.
In this article, we’ll discuss three different multimeters, in three different price ranges. Think of it as the basic model, standard model, and advanced model. By looking at the key features of each model, we’re sure you’ll find the best fit for your needs.
OUR TOP PICK
The Klein MM 400 is a rugged little thing. Even though it is the basic model, it comes with a good range of features, a few neat options and is made to withstand the occasional drop up to 1 meter or 3.3 feet. It is available as a manual ranging model or as an auto-ranging model and for this overview, we’ll stick to the auto-ranging one.
Size-wise, the MM 400 is compact, measuring just over 3”x 6” (and less than 2” thick). Another design feature that stands out is the back, where you can store your leads and pull out a flip-out stand, so you can set the multimeter somewhere and keep your hands free. It’s not the most elaborate handsfree option you’ll come across, but a neat design feature for a basic model. The LCD screen has a backlight, so you can read your measurements in dark corners.
When it comes to performance, the Klein MM 400 gets everything right. Measurements are precise and accurate, although the LCD screen has a 4,000 count. While this is pretty common for its price range as a basic model, there are some basic models around with a 6,000 count. Someone who requires that higher level of precision will likely shop in a higher bracket, though. For anyone who just needs a basic model multimeter, the standard measurements on the MM 400 are more than enough. Something that adds a bit extra to the MM 400 is the thermometer, which is a rare feature on basic multimeters.
That all means the Klein MM 400 is perhaps the best basic model digital multimeter around. The professional or serious DIY-er will find the measurement range too restraining. For everyone else, you’ll have a hard time finding a multimeter at this price range that is as well-built as the Klein MM 400. With full functionality but limited range, it is a great first multimeter.
Unlike some other brands, Klein doesn’t offer different series of multimeters; it’s why they’re all simply called Klein MultiMeters with a number. Or, worded differently, all of Klein’s multimeters are in one series. For this overview, we’re skipping the MM 600 that comes after the MM 400 and move right away to the MM 700.
This is Klein’s standard model. In every aspect, it beats its little brother. It’s bigger, heavier, can measure 1,000V instead of 600, is CAT-IV rated for 600V instead of the CAT-III that the MM 400 offers, and can survive drops from 6.6 ft high. It is also somewhat waterproof, which is a unique feature among multimeter. The few things that have stayed the same are the quality of engineering and the 4,000 count LCD display.
That last feature might raise some eyebrows. Most multimeters in the price range for the Klein MM 700 offer a 6,000 count LCD display. If you need more precision, the Klein MM 700 is not for you. Other than that, the MM 700 has absolutely everything you need, and a bit more.
This is the best-built multimeter you can get for this price that’s is somewhat waterproof. That doesn’t mean you can use it for underwater welding jobs, but in a water-rich environment where you’d rather not use your fancier multimeters, the Klein MM 700 will come to the rescue.
As another added feature, the MM 700 offers a low impedance mode, to identify and eliminate ghost voltage. Paired with the True-RMS ability, measurements up to 1,000V, 10A AC/DC current, and 40MΩ range, the features on the MM 700 will serve most hobbyists looking for a few more bells and whistles than the basic models you can find.
To get the most out of the Klein MM 700, you should consider the accessories. The magnetic hanger is not included with the multimeter but will add a lot to the usability of the meter. Included accessories include alligator clips, a neat carrying case, and the thermocouple that allows you to measure temperatures up to 1,500 ⁰F.
With a clearly defined range of features and extras, the MM 700 makes the perfect higher-end multimeter for the casual hobbyist, DIY-er, or extra multimeter for the professional who sometimes needs a thermometer or uses a multimeter around water. As a top model for the professional electrician, the limited count and less-than-spectacular ranges might not cut it, but the price will definitely hit a sweet spot for many budgets.
The Klein MM 6000 is a special multimeter for a few reasons. First, it’s specifically made for HVAC technicians and electricians. Second, it’s made in the USA. Third, Klein doesn’t make them anymore, which makes this multimeter more and more special when time goes by. They’re still around, but due to their popularity, this might not last that long. Luckily, they’re made to last, so no one who owns a Klein MM 6000 will be needing one anytime soon.
The specialization of this multimeter gives you a lot of unique features that we haven’t found on the two previous multimeters yet. There is the micro-Amp setting to check flame sensors, a temperature range of -58⁰F to 1,832 ⁰F, and an analog reading bar for fast moving readings.
When it comes to plain improvements compared to the MM 700, there’s also plenty to consider. The LCD display is upgraded to a 6,000 count display, the thermometer has a broader range, it has a built-in lead warning, and is made to endure a 9.8 ft drop. Like the MM 700, it has a range of 1,000V AC/DC, is CAT-IV rated for 600V, works as a True-RMS meter, and has the ability to measure and eliminate ghost voltage with its low impedance functionality.
All these features combined make it a great multimeter for a sweet price. For someone who isn’t all too familiar with multimeters, it works very intuitively and is easy to figure out. The large numbers are very popular, as is the rugged feel. Weighing in at almost two pounds, the MM 6000 is by far the heaviest multimeter Klein has to offer.
Just like the MM 700, the MM 6000 comes with a carrying case and alligator clips. Again, the metal hanger accessory needs to be purchased separately.
While the Klein MM 6000 is clearly the best performing multimeter in this overview along every single benchmark, that doesn’t mean it’s the best multimeter to buy for everyone. If you don’t plan to use the extra functions and will regularly use a multimeter for everyday measurements, sticking to the MM 700 is well worth your while. For someone who needs a great multimeter that is designed for HVAC work, is made in the USA, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, the MM 6000 is a great option.
Klein Multimeter Comparison Buying Guide
With only one series of multimeters, Klein still manages to offer a very diverse selection of multimeters. This brand really hits the sweet spot of offering well-designed and ruggedly built multimeters that don’t cost what a Fluke does. While the limited range on the two cheaper models will not suit everyone, it is plenty for most things most people will do with a multimeter.
The Klein MM 400 is an excellent basic model. It offers a good variety of basic functions that everyone needs and is limited only by the precision – a feature not everyone needs to worry about. It will last for years, works like a charm, and is easy to understand.
The MM 700 gives you a bit more. A bit more range, a few more functions, and a bit more durability. This is the perfect multimeter for anyone who uses most of the functions on a multimeter at some point, but can’t justify buying a multimeter that is almost a month’s rent.
While the MM 6000 is the very best multimeter in this overview by any measurement, it offers more than most people need. If you’re looking for a great multimeter for a sweet price that offers everything you might need, is made in the US, and will one day become a collector’s item, the Klein MM 6000 is absolutely perfect for you.