Voltage Meter


Active Member

I want to buy a voltage meter that i can use for measuring voltage and ma stuff. Want to get one that will last and serve almost all the purposes for this kind of stuff...made it to radioshack and got confused as there were meters from 19.99 to 69.99..I tried one for 29.99 and it only wnet up to 200ma and then gave an error message so need your help choosing one.

The one you tried was probably the yellow flip 22-80. It only goes to 250ma. It really depends on what you want and what you may have been used to, but there's no need to spend more than $30 for a decent unit for occasional testing. Some features you may want to look for are autoranging (so you don't have to manually select the range) and beep continuity is very handy. Just check the ranges, they are usually stated but most of them goes past 250ma.

I just use an inexpensive Sperry I picked up in Lowes a few years ago and it works fine for the testing I do. But for general HA testing any decent digital will do. The RS 22-813 will do as will most of them from HD or Lowes.
Go to Harbor Freight, and get the $3 one, it's what I have, and it works just fine.
This is probably the first time in my life that I actually disagree with electron :unsure:

One of the features that I use all the time and wouldn't be without is audible continuity. The cheapest one from HF with that is $20. Also the $3 one also only goes to 200ma and that sounded like it was an issue for you. Whatever you buy will last for many years so I would spend the extra 10 or 20 bucks and get some of the features you will probably use.
What does the range mean...some models have 3 range and some have 42 range....what does that mean?

Digital meters can be autoranging or manual ranged (knob controlled). Old analog meters were all manual ranged. the "range" specifies the maximum value that can be displayed. for example, you may have a 2 volt scale, a 20 volt scale and a 200 volt scale on a unit that can display 199 as its max value. On the 200 volts scale (technically 199) you can only see whole volts. On the 20 volt scale you would see 19.9. On the 2 volt scale you would see 1.99. Therefore the 2 volt scale is needed for reading 1.5 volt batteries with any accuracy. An autoranging meter puts the decimal in the right place for you automatically so you don't have the adjust the knob as you go from one voltage measurement to another. Generally autoranging is considered nicer/better, but some of them are slower to read and settle on a number, so some folks like the speed of a manual ranger.

if you say it only has 3 ranges, then it probably really has 3 functions, AC volts, DC volts and ohms and is autoranging.
I am partial to the new Triplett 9045. It goes to 10 amps and is autoranging. It's also easy on these old eyes. The more ranges, the higher the accuracy of the reading. If you only have one range from 1 to 100 volts you will have less accurate readings trying to read 12 volts than if you had a range of 1 to 15 volts.
I am using the Radio Shack 22-813. It autoranges and can be manually set.
Goes to 400ma and then has a 10 amp jack for over 400ma.
Get a Fluke ... I use a model 902 ...... But ........then ...I guess it all DEPENDS on what you want to do with it. I use one EVERY day, so I want the BEST I can afford. But I also understand there is "Good" and there is "Good enough". If you just want to test for "Voltage", and don't need "true RMS" , maybe a $10.00 meter with a conitiuity check would suffice. :blink: For low voltage wiring like HA & security systems, a Fluke 77 or 87 would perform almost any kind of measurement you could want. :) YMMV :D
I will agree with getting a good tool. Flukes are solid. You won't regret it. I bought the cheap HF digital meter. Told all my buddies how great it was. A year later it was dead as a doornail. Sure this might not happen to everyone but it seems that whenever I buy cheap tools I buy good ones eventually. Enough soapbox...

I use an Omega meter:

my company said if I buy it, they will buy the rest of my tools.

So I bought it. Now I have over $1K in electrical "stuff", current meters (clip on up to 500A), zip ties, portable soldering iron, etc.

So, If you are looking for a REALLY good Meter, that one does everything a high end Fluke does, except it's about $100 less then the Fluke.

I also use one every day and the Wavetek brand is pretty solid. For low end stuff the Meterman series is good, that's what we use around the plant. For more exacting apps I use a Tektronix's because of higher precision and auto ranging. For lite HA use, I don't think you can go wrong with anything you get at Home Depot or Radio Shack though.