How to choose the best automotive multimeters


Cars are filled with a large number of electrical equipment, which may occasionally fail. To restore the performance of any modifications, tuning and repair of the machine requires a special device designed to measure electrical characteristics. Such a device is a multimeter. But experienced motorists and experts do not recommend buying the first available device. There is a huge variety of devices that differ in their characteristics, accuracy of work, additional functions, etc. Therefore, it is important to understand which multimeter is better to choose for your car, what you should pay attention to and what characteristics are considered key.

Which multimeter is better for a car

Which multimeter is better to choose for the car.

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What is it?

Not all car owners understand what a device called a multimeter is. If you look at the essence of the device, it is an ammeter, which is equipped with additional functions. A standard multimeter consists of:

  • ampermetra;
  • voltmeter;
  • ohmmeter

This is a device for testing electrical equipment, capable of making measurements of various quantities and indicators. Because the device is also often called a tester. This is due to the presence of testing devices for measuring different quantities. In Russia, the national name of "tseshka" stuck with it. This is explained quite simply. Previously, instead of modern multimeters used a simpler Soviet solution, which was called C20. It combined the functions of an ammeter and a voltmeter. The range of devices produced after Ts20 also kept the prefix C. As a result, multimeters appeared to be called "cheshkas". All multimeters are divided into:

  • analog;
  • digital.

We will tell about them in more detail later. First, let's look at the functionality.

Universal Multimeter

A set of built-in equipment depends on the manufacturer and cost. Therefore, all devices are equipped with different properties and capabilities. And this applies to analog and digital devices. In total, with the help of modern multimeters you can:

  • measure current;
  • check the performance of LEDs;
  • test transistors;
  • ring up, that is, measure the electrical resistance;
  • determine the frequency of the voltage;
  • check the transfer of static current;
  • test electrical capacities;
  • measure inductance (a very rare function);
  • check the currents of great strength;
  • measure resistance;
  • check the temperature.

Also, each manufacturer adds a different functionality, in addition to measuring. For example, on many models you can find backlit displays, the function of recording and saving test results, protection from incorrect settings, etc. This already depends on what refinements the manufacturer went to diversify the functionality and make the device more attractive in the eyes of consumers. Just keep in mind that for all the additional features and wide functionality you have to pay extra. But sometimes it makes no sense to pay for those opportunities that in reality you will not use. This is one of the key rules when choosing a multimeter.

Types of devices

The question about which multimeters are better to choose for the car remains relevant, you need to understand all the nuances of these devices. As we have said, all devices are divided into analog and digital. Initially it may seem that digital devices unconditionally win. But do not rush to conclusions. There are situations where the analog multimeter exceeds the digital one, and vice versa. Each of the options should be considered separately, which will allow you to come closer to the right and correct choice.


These multimeters are presented in the form of a tester, which is equipped with an arrow scale for measuring parameters. The display shows current, voltage and resistance. The key advantage is the low market value of the device.

Analog multimeter

The cheapest, but fairly reliable devices will cost the buyer 150 - 300 rubles. The measuring scale here is presented in the form of a dial. To determine the measurement result, use the arrow. Cutting off the values ​​with an arrow opens the main drawback of the device. Due to the lack of accuracy of such a device, the results often differ. To reduce the error, a special resistor is used in the instruments. But he does not allow to count on high accuracy and minimum error. Experts note that if you need to make the most accurate measurements, you should not use analog devices.


This is a more modern type of instrument for measuring various indicators. Such testers have a wide functionality and a large number of additional features. The main measured parameters also remain voltage, resistance force and current strength. But here all the information is displayed on the electronic screen. The multimeters produced by different companies have a different assembly. Therefore, it is better to buy those that best meet modern requirements. Outdated models have a backlight display based on LEDs. And more current devices received LCD screens. Although the accuracy of the readings is not affected. In terms of cost, digital devices are significantly superior to analog ones. But they seriously win in terms of accuracy and minimum error. Yes, and understand where the arrow points, there is no need. You simply select the mode you need, check the equipment and get the finished result on the screen. Everything is stored on the display and can be transferred to a computer.

Digital multimeter Discounts for new cars! Profitable loan from 9.9% installments 0%

Additional functionality

When a tester is purchased, it often turns out that something is missing in it. Because of this, the motorist has to buy a new device or suffer a lack of functionality. It is important to distinguish between primary and secondary functions. The primary indicators include measuring indicators, the ability to work with different units and equipment. But to underestimate the value of the secondary functionality is definitely not worth it. Be attentive to this issue when you decide which multimeter to buy for your car. The choice of functionality depends on what tasks you set for the device. If this device is strictly for home use, then a standard set of features is enough. So you can check the current, voltage, etc. Its cost is much lower than those devices that are filled with auxiliary functions. For more experienced craftsmen and people who regularly face car repairs, various electronics, it is better to immediately take a device with a large set of functions. Usually, extended functionality is understood as:

  • additional test signals;
  • semiconductor equipment diagnostics;
  • saving and fixing measurement results;
  • automatic detection of measurement boundaries;
  • screen brightness adjustment;
  • Sleep timer, etc.

Think how much you really need this functionality. Is it worth it to overpay, or you can do with a simple, but high-quality and reliable multimeter.

Main functions

Now let's talk directly about how to choose a multimeter for cars. There are several key points that a customer should pay attention to. On this will depend on the functionality, performance of the device, ease of use and not only. Motorists themselves consider the most significant selection criteria:

  • design;
  • measurement boundaries;
  • error level;
  • bit data display;
  • number of displays;
  • nutrition.

Let's go through each item separately and introduce some clarity.


In the first place this criterion is not recommended. Appearance only determines how pleasant and convenient it will be to use the device. See if the device meets your expectations. It is better to focus not on color, but on the shape, size and designations on the screen. Some multimeters are made in English, or have some abbreviations instead of full indications of measurement parameters. Make sure that you can easily deal with the values, switching. If you do not have good eyesight, multimeters with small print will not work for you. Also see that the paint does not peel off, the device does not have scuffs and signs of rapid display wear.


The boundaries of measurements allow you to make measurements ranging from minimum to maximum values. At the same time, on devices, these boundaries can be completely different. The main parameters are usually marked by limit boundaries. If you choose a multimeter for home use, a small range of measurements will suffice. So it will be possible without problems to determine the key parameters of the household network, to check the operation of electrical equipment in the house. But when using the device in working with the car, it is better to give preference to those multimeters that have a wide range of measurement.


In the question of how to choose a digital multimeter for a car, a large role is assigned to the level of error. Do not think that digital devices do not possess it. The big error is rather relevant for analog devices. But they are now used less frequently. Plus, in work where the most accurate understanding of the current values ​​is required, one cannot do without digital testers. Even if you use digital devices, a certain degree of error will still be present here. But depending on the manufacturer and model, the value is different. How accurately you can determine the value of a particular characteristic depends on the allowable error of the instrument. It varies widely from 0.0025 to 3%. Therefore, when you choose a tester, always look at the error parameter.

Again, if it is a device for domestic use, even an error of 2–3% will not be critical. You won't lose much. But experts advise for such purposes to use devices with an error of up to 1%. With cars all the more difficult. Here, there are increased requirements for accuracy of measurements of indicators, and therefore the error on the multimeter should be minimal. The maximum allowed value is up to several hundredths of a percent. Otherwise, problems may arise during the repair of automotive electrical equipment.


If we talk about the digit readings of the display, then this criterion allows you to determine how accurate the displayed readings are. Depending on the type and model of the measuring device, this characteristic has different values. The simplest devices are characterized by 2.5 units. That is, the readings are accurate to the hundredth decimal point. In the domestic use of such a tester is enough. If the digit capacity is 3.5, then the accuracy of the data on the display is displayed to the thousandth. But such a bitness will be completely useless if you initially selected a tester with a large error. That is, these two characteristics are closely related to each other.

Car Multimeter Option


When choosing a multimeter you should also pay attention to the type of power that is used to ensure the operability of the device. The bulk of testers that are on the market are functioning by installing ordinary finger batteries in them. If you need a tester for your home or car, a battery-powered device will satisfy your needs. But on an industrial scale, simple batteries used as a power source for a multimeter will be small. Here use the devices, complete with batteries.

Number of screens

Household devices that can be used at home or for periodic work with your own car, most often equipped with only one display. And this in practice is more than enough. One screen is enough to perform the necessary measurements, test the operation of the equipment and record the information received. Dual display multimeters are used for industrial purposes when you need to work simultaneously with different equipment and values. If you do not have to repair complex electronics and check several values ​​in parallel, then there is no need for two displays. This will be a waste of your money, because testers of this type are expensive.

Important subtleties of choice

Basically, people are faced with the fact that they do not know which multimeter to buy for a car or home use. If you work with a car, the device you purchased for your home may not be enough due to greater error, narrow measurement boundaries and other features. But we have dealt with these questions, therefore you shouldn’t have any problems with choosing a tester according to key parameters. But in all matters there are always some subtleties.

So in the case of buying a multimeter, you should additionally pay attention to important details. Namely:

  1. Manufacturer. Do not dwell on any particular countries or brands. In fact, almost all multimeters presented on the Russian market are equipped with high-quality microchips. Performance also depends on them. Yet frankly cheap devices should not be taken, since the declared characteristics are unlikely to be true.
  2. Build quality. Choose testers that are well assembled and have no obvious defects. Take a multimeter in hand, twist, look from different sides. If traces of glue are visible, large gaps, strong play, then it is better to refuse such a purchase. An ordinary plastic case without burrs, cracks and chips is enough for domestic use. But with frequent use, plastic can easily be damaged. If you want to immediately take a quality device, choose the one that is enclosed in a shockproof and waterproof case.
  3. Mode switch. One more important detail to which it is worth paying attention. Make sure that this switch is well fixed, made of good material. Otherwise, over time, it will begin to switch with difficulty, it will break, and the multimeter will actually fail.
  4. Inputs. On the tester panel there are entrances that must be equipped with a plastic edging around the entire perimeter, closing the point of contact entry from the probe. This way you cannot touch the contact with your hand, which will ensure an adequate level of security.
  5. Ergonomics. Take the device in hand and think whether it is convenient for you to hold it, how well the buttons are distributed across the device, whether the display is large enough, etc. Good ergonomics ensures fast, accurate and simple work with the measuring device.
  6. Probes. Take each probe that comes with the tester. Insert them into the appropriate slots. The gauge should fit tightly and not loosen during operation. If he stays uncertain, the situation will get worse over time. From such a device is better to refuse immediately.
  7. Wires. The better the wires from the multimeter are made, the longer and better the device will work. Choose testers that have wiring with a large cross-section, which will provide the best throughput. Also check the quality of the braid, otherwise the wires will quickly erase, and the insulation will strip all internal components. Using such a tester is very dangerous.
  8. Electrodes. The probes have special electrodes. Choose such testers, where these elements are as sharp as possible, due to which they can penetrate remote and hard-to-reach points for measuring readings.

Finally, do not forget to ask the seller for documents that confirm the authenticity of the measuring device he implements. If there are no documents, there is a chance that they are trying to sell you a fake. There are a lot of counterfeits on the market, because it is better to check certificates and paper for the device even in large stores.

Rating of popular models

We offer you a small rating of multimeters for cars, which are currently in high demand among ordinary motorists. Here we have included popular models that are able to perform their direct tasks and show decent results for all the main characteristics. The rating is divided into 3 groups:

  • cheapest devices;
  • medium multimeters;
  • testers with advanced functionality.

Each of the sections has its own leaders, which were determined according to consumer feedback, as well as the conclusions of specialists in the field of measuring equipment. In the most affordable price category, 2 main leaders were chosen:

  1. DT 830B. Development company Resanta, which is focused on measuring voltage (DC and AC), current, resistance, is used to test the diodes and transistors. The device is equipped with a switch for 20 positions. There is a reliable overload protection, the device shows itself well in extreme, domestic and garage conditions. DT 830B
  2. MM10. Tester from the company Elitech, which in its functionality and characteristics is similar to the previous device. Made in a bright red case that will allow you to easily find the device in the garage or at home among the other equipment. It has a buzzer, unlike a competitor, which allows to ring electric circuits. Elitech MM10

Good gadgets with good features and minimal accuracy. If you need a tester for occasional home or garage use, they are perfect. A couple of good testers can be attributed to the average price category. They are more expensive than previous devices, but have improved properties, features and capabilities:

  1. DT 912. Compact tester from CEM, which is characterized by excellent ergonomics and fits easily into the hand. The case has a rubberized cut, due to which it is confidently held even by an oily hand. Behind the case there is a special stand, because if necessary, the comfort device is placed in a horizontal plane. At the same time the display is quite large, it is easy to read information. The backlight turns on and off with a dedicated button. There is a Hold button that allows you to record the latest measurement results. DT 912
  2. MAS838. Multimeter from Mastech, capable of performing 3 measurements in one second. There is also a button to save the last result. Additionally, the device is equipped with a function of measuring temperature indicators. In the configuration there is a rubber case with a stand for convenient placement on different surfaces. The only obvious disadvantage is that there is no backlight. MAS838

If you need devices with advanced functionality, then you should pay attention to the following models. They cost more, but they are fully justified by performing a wider list of tasks. The leaders of the rating chose the following devices:

  1. MS8260E. Multitasking device, where you can measure bipolar types of transistors, test LEDs, check the integrity of the electrical circuit, etc. Also, you can measure inductance on chokes and coils. The device is equipped with a switch with 30 steps. There is a backlight, a Hold key and many more useful things. MS8260E
  2. DT61. Development of the company CEM, with its wide functionality. Here, the basic tasks are perfectly combined with other functions. In addition, you can easily measure the temperature, humidity, light levels and even noise. The contactless search function of static voltages in the range from 50 to 1000 V.

In addition to the considered devices, among the best and priority for the choice of multimeters are the following models:

  • M830B от Mastech;
  • DT 182 manufactured by Pro Connect;
  • UT 33A from UNI-T;
  • Fluke 28II;
  • CEM DT9979;
  • 3558A from Keysight, etc.

The choice is really impressive. You only need to decide on the tasks that you set up in front of the measuring instrument, as well as navigate through the functions you need from the measuring device. Try to choose only high-quality testers with the necessary equipment, the minimum error, with a high-quality case and all its elements.