This website is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission.

10 Best Automotive Multimeters – Comparison & Reviews

Last Updated: 01.07.20

 

The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Automotive Multimeter + Reviews

 

In this article, you will find the best automotive multimeters that you can buy online today. Our team has carefully examined multiple options and after numerous hours of research, we have reached the conclusion that you should consider the INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter the most. It’s a UL-certified product that helps you diagnose and treat several automotive and even household problems. Furthermore, it’s got auto-ranging scales that eliminate the need for you to manually input the correct range. And it’s got protective rubber corners that absorb fall damage in case you drop it. If it is not available, then we suggest checking out the Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter, which has a lot of the features that the INNOVA has at a similar price. Regardless of whichever one you end up buying, you’ll get a quality automotive multimeter that fulfills most, if not all, of the tasks you’ll want to achieve with such a device.

 

 

Comparison table

 

The Good
The Bad
Verdict
Price

 

 

10 Best Automotive Multimeters (Updated Reviews) in 2020

 

 

We have selected several of the best automotive multimeters that you can find on the market today. Below you will find detailed reviews about each one’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall value that it brings to the table. We hope that the following reviews and buying guide will help you choose the best automotive multimeter for your needs and budget.

 

 

1. INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter

 

The INNOVA 3320 is an affordable automotive multimeter with auto-ranging scales that eliminate the need for manually inputting the correct range needed for diagnosing all sorts of vehicular and household electrical problems. It has a large LCD display that facilitates ease of reading even for those with impaired eyesight.

Furthermore, the INNOVA 3320 has color-coded LEDs that indicate its battery level, so you’re never left guessing how much juice you’ve got left. At only 2.75 inches wide and with a height of 5.5 inches, it’s about as big as a regular smartphone these days, so you’ll have no trouble holding on to it in any scenario.

However, unlike smartphones, this relatively cheap automotive multimeter comes with rubberized corners that keep it safe in case you ever drop it. No need to buy a case or protective equipment to prevent damage. Finally, the 10 meg circuitry prevents damage from any short circuits that might occur.

 

Pros

It has a large display that you can read just fine even if you have slight vision impairment.

Its auto-off function is great for keeping the battery charged longer in case you ever forget to turn it off after use.

The auto-ranging feature eliminates the need for inputting the range manually, which takes a lot of the guessing games out of the equation.

The meter has a built-in stand and a wrist strap for a true hands-free operation.

It has a few nifty features such as an audible tone continuity tester and a diode checker.

 

Cons

The unit doesn’t come with a physical instruction manual. It only gives you a link to see the instructions online, which can get tedious if you run into trouble while using it out in the field.

Even so, the online manual isn’t of much help and you will find yourself looking for videos online explaining what to do in certain scenarios.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($32.5)

 

 

 

2. Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter

 

This automotive digital multimeter has a sampling speed of three times per second, which makes it faster than many other automotive multimeters in the same category and price range. One thing that we really like about it is that its large LCD display is backlit, so you’ll have no problem reading the numbers even in dimly lit locations.

From this point of view, it’s probably the best automotive digital multimeter for use in any situation at any hour of the day, which is especially important for emergencies. The protective rubber sleeve around the multimeter adds extra drop protection and the overload protection makes it safer to use even when dealing with high voltage.

One thing that sets this automotive multimeter apart from others is the fact that the company offers lifetime support. This is a huge deal, especially if you’re relatively new to using and diagnosing with automotive multimeters.

 

Pros

It’s consistently accurate on all scales and ranges, even when compared to less affordable automotive multimeters.

The solid protective case feels good in the hands and it offers high protection against large impacts, such as dropping the meter from 10 feet onto concrete.

Its built-in display comes with a backlight that illuminates it properly even in complete darkness, so you can use it even at night in an emergency situation.

It has a high meg ohm range, being able to accurately measure a 100 megohm resistor without any problems.

The meter fits inside your hand quite well.

 

Cons

The leads might feel a little less qualitative than the rest of the build, with some users claiming that they didn’t last as long as they wanted.

Replacing the battery is a tedious process, and you might find yourself needing to replace it sooner rather than later if you only use it sparingly.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.01)

 

 

 

3. Crenova MS8233D Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter

 

The Crenova auto-ranging digital multimeter comes with overload protection on all ranges due to its built-in double fuse. It can accurately measure a multitude of things, including AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, resistance, frequency, continuity, diode, etc.

The backlit display shows digits of three and a half inches in size, making them clearly visible even to those with slightly impaired vision. It also has a sampling speed of three times per second and a reliable auto-off function that saves a lot of battery in case you forget to turn the meter off manually.

What we like a lot about this product is that it comes with an explicit instruction manual that guides even beginners to using automotive multimeters accordingly. The carrying case is lightweight yet durable and it can hold the meter and all of the necessary accessories easily. 

And to prevent electric shocks or to absorb impact damage, you get a detachable and durable rubber holster.

 

Pros

The company has shown that it takes its customers seriously by answering any questions and offering refunds if necessary.

It doesn’t feel heavy but it also doesn’t look cheap – it feels exactly as a comfortable and reliable multimeter should.

It’s probably the best multimeter for automotive use if you need it in a repair shop where there are both professionals and beginners.

The Data Hold function works as advertised and is indispensable in many situations.

 

Cons

In some instances, it may take a few seconds to get an accurate voltage or ohm reading, which can become annoying. 

Although the manual is fairly explicit, it does come with quite a few grammar errors that might amuse you or make you cringe to high heaven. Also, we wish the continuity function had beep on by default instead of having to press the Function key to get beeping on continuity detection.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($25.99)

 

 

 

4. AstroAI Digital Multimeter TRMS 6000

 

The AstroAI Digital Multimeter might not fall into the category of cheap automotive multimeters, but the higher price range is worth it. Simply looking at the list of tests it can handle will show you why: voltage, current, resistance, continuity, capacitance, frequency. And yes, it even tests diodes transistors and their temperature.

Apart from the function switch, it has six buttons that easily toggle through all the important features of an automotive multimeter, such as auto-ranging capability, and True RMS for measuring both AC current and voltage. The auto-off function, large readable backlit LCD screen, and data hold function make this an easy-to-use multimeter.

It’s ideal for repair shops, as it can withstand daily heavy use and comes with explosion-proof ceramic fuse tubes. The fuses can protect the multimeter effectively and the three-year warranty is more than enough to make the investment worth it, especially for professionals and DIY repairmen.

 

Pros

The DC and AC RMS readings are well within the claimed specifications, so much so that it shows accurate readings in all possible scenarios where the multimeter can realistically be used.

Its build quality is top-notch, matching even that of far more expensive automotive multimeters.

The meter can read voltages as high as 1,000VDC (CAT II) and 750VAC according to AstroAI’s claims.

It has a powerful magnet that can stick even to the surface of HAM radios with ease and stay put for how long you want it to.

It’s incredibly easy to use given the explicit instruction manual.

 

Cons

The transfer test function is only at only 1 volt, and at a very low current of around 1mA, so it reads about half of the gain of a device under typical conditions.

Speaking of the included magnet, it’s so powerful that you’ll accidentally pick up nuts, staples, and other stuff without intending to do so.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($33.24)

 

 

 

5. Neoteck Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter

 

With a 200 kHz frequency measurement and a multitude of available functions, the Neoteck Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter promises to bring high functionality for many tasks that require the best multimeter for automotive use. It has an easy to read backlit LCD screen, a nice protective orange rubber shell, and a kickstand for when you need to get your hands free.

The multimeter is designed to troubleshoot a multitude of household and vehicular electrical problems with ease, and it comes with CE certification for extra safety. It has a 9-volt battery included in the package, which will power it for a long time before needing a replacement. Also, it’s got two test leads and two banana plug to alligator clips included in the pack.

Out of the several functions that this automotive multimeter has, a few stand out, such as data hold, low battery indication, auto power-off, diode testing, and a sound that indicates continuous power testing.

 

Pros

This product is comparable to a Fluke automotive multimeter when it comes to overall quality as long as you get a unit that functions properly.

The CE certification guarantees that you get extra safety for no more than the cost of an average automotive multimeter, which means you’ll most likely get a lot of bang for the buck.

Its screen is easy to read and has a reliable backlight that illuminates it accordingly in even the dimmest conditions.

The unit does a lot more than a plethora of other automotive multimeters at around the same price point, which makes it a fair bargain.

 

Cons

Some units might ship without a working capacitance measurement function. While this might not be a deal-breaker for some users, it’s a huge letdown for others. And it wastes your time by having to ship it back to the manufacturer for a replacement.

A few users complained that their units tend to jump from milliohms to ohms in a matter of seconds without any prior warning.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($22.99)

 

 

 

6. AstroAI Digital Clamp Meter Multimeter

 

The AstroAI Digital Clamp Meter lets you measure a variety of things, including AC/DC voltage, AC current, resistance, continuity, and even diodes. 

Looking even at just one automotive multimeter review for this model, you will probably notice that people who have used it like its safety features, mainly the transformer jaws that pick up AC current flowing through the conductor.

It also has a Max Hold button that displays the last maximum reading of a previous charge test, which can be very useful when comparing the same outlet or battery under different circumstances. Moreover, the clamp is so easy to use that anyone can do it. You just need to pull the trigger, and the multimeter starts measuring whatever you’ve set it to measure.

And to further make the experience more seamless, it also has a switch for manual or auto-ranging so you can more accurately measure whatever you need to.

 

Pros

The meter seems to be solidly built and the selector dial doesn’t feel flimsy, so chances are that the unit will last you for at least a couple of years before finally breaking down.

Its testing leads are sturdy, come at a decent length, and they fit snug into the jacks of the meter. You won’t have any problems with them at all.

In most cases, the shipping speed is fast, with some people reporting that they got their package the next day after placing the order.

 

Cons

The unit has no protective case against dropping on concrete, in water, etc. While not a big deal, the warranty doesn’t cover this sort of stuff either, so one simple mistake might prove costly.

Some people complained about receiving their units with dead batteries. This might not seem like a big deal for some, but we think that it shows a lack of care coming from the company.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($22.19)

 

 

 

7. Tekpower Mastech MS8268 Digital Multimeter

 

The Tekpower Mastech multimeter is heftier and sturdier than it might first appear in the pictures. It comes with a one-year warranty and it’s all-range-fused with a resettable feature. Despite some of its quirks, regular users won’t notice too many issues when using this automotive multimeter. 

The instruction manual is detailed, and if you take the time to read it, you will quickly learn how to operate it properly and disregard the annoyances. One thing to keep in mind is that this multimeter is only rated for a max of 10 amps. This is why we insist that it’s mostly a beginner’s tool. Professionals and repair shop owners won’t be too pleased with it.

However, if you use it solely for lesser tasks, this multimeter will satisfy you nonetheless. We recommend it as one of the best automotive multimeters for beginners by a long shot.

 

Pros

The automotive multimeter is larger and sturdier than it seems at first from the promotional pictures.

The molded-in test-lead holders on the back allow you to store the test leads into the unit itself, so you’ll no longer have to deal with dangling cables when trying to put it in the bag or in another storage container.

It has an auto-range feature which greatly reduces the effort that you would otherwise need to input to measure several things one after the other.

The multimeter comes with a detailed and well-written manual that will help out beginners a lot.

 

Cons

It’s limited to 10 amps, which is extremely low compared to other options on the market.

Auto-shutdown is 15 minutes, which can be detrimental if you want to spend a few hours debugging things because you’ll constantly need to restart it. You also have to wait for about two seconds before getting an accurate readout.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($38)

 

 

 

8. Fluke 117 Electricians True RMS Multimeter

 

This automotive Fluke multimeter comes in three different versions: standard, with soft case and hard point test lead set, and a version with NIST certification. One stand-out feature is the VoltAlert technology that allows users to measure the voltage without making contact with fuses, diodes, and other items that would otherwise require you to stick prongs in them.

It also has a low input impedance that prevents it from falsely reading ghost voltage – something that not many other automotive multimeters have. Despite its somewhat hefty price point, nearly every automotive multimeter review for this product gave it top-notch ratings because it brings a lot of value for the money.

Another nice added touch is the zippered carrying case that does a phenomenal job of keeping the automotive multimeter safe and secure during transportation and storage. Finally, it has 48-inch PVC insulated test leads with right-angle shrouded banana plugs for extra accuracy.

 

Pros

This is by far the best Fluke multimeter for automotive use out of all the other models that the company currently has on sale.

The 117 has a 6000 count display with 4 updates per second, plus a 33 segment bar graph with 32 updates per second. That’s way more even than other automotive multimeters on this list.

It also has a latched system which means you get a positive tone every time a circuit is completed.

It’s handy if you need to trace the path of a run of wire behind a wall.

 

Cons

Some users complained that they can’t read the display properly when tilted at an angle and that the backlight doesn’t help much.

A few of the delivered units began to flicker during use after only a short period of time. Although this isn’t the case with all units, we feel the need to mention it because it seems to be an oversight from the company.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($173)

 

 

 

9. Klein Tools 69149 Multimeter Test Kit

 

The Klein automotive multimeter has a safety rating of CAT III 600V, Class 2, with double insulation. Its bright green LED flashes when it is working properly and it changes to red while also emitting beeping sounds whenever it detects the voltage. One great thing we like about this automotive multimeter is that it detects wiring configurations.

The meter also comes with a kickstand that allows you to position it comfortably when you need to work with both hands. And it also has two places on the back where you can tuck the test leads whenever you’re done with it and want to store it or transport it. Worthy to note, it requires six AAA batteries which come included in the package.

And in case you’re worried about energy efficiency, know that it has a digitally-controlled ON/OFF power button and auto power-off feature to conserve and extend battery life.

 

Pros

The automotive multimeter kit comes at a highly attractive price that’s accessible to virtually anyone.

The kit also includes an outlet tester and voltage tester that come in handy in their own special ways.

Its included kickstand is sturdy and comes in handy in many situations where you might need to use both hands to test something.

The receptacle tester detects wiring configurations and indicates correct wiring, and identifies common wiring faults.

It offers energy-saving options, such as an auto-off function that shuts down the meter in case you forget to turn it off yourself.

 

Cons

This multimeter seems slow to respond to voltage change, and it takes a few seconds to get a beep on a continuity test.

If you’re looking for an automotive multimeter that is easy to use for beginners, you might have better luck elsewhere, as this model is oriented toward a more professional crowd.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($35.95)

 

 

 

10. Etekcity MSR-A600 Digital Multimeter Auto-Ranging Voltage Tester

 

This automotive multimeter from Etekcity comes with a variety of functions, including measurements for capacitance, resistance, continuity, diode, with AC/DC options for voltage and current tests. The multimeter is designed to troubleshoot a variety of problems, including household and automotive electrical problems.

And we like the fact that the company thought about a lot of safety features, such as reverse polarity protection, low battery indication, and overload protection for all ranges. Furthermore, the multimeter comes in a plastic protective case that both prevents electrical overflow and keeps it safe from wear and tear, as well as fall damage.

And in case you’re worried about the quality of the multimeter, know that it comes with CE & RoHS certification. To top it all off, many users have praised the company’s outstanding customer support that found a solution to their questions and problems. Overall, it’s a fantastic deal for an outstanding price.

 

Pros

The multimeter comes with a detailed and thorough manual that manages to explain everything quite well for advanced users, and even some sections that do a fine job of explaining things for casuals.

It’s chunky while not feeling hard to hold in the hand. And you’ll definitely notice from the start that it can take some fall damage without problems.

The leads are decent quality with molded-in holders to store them when you want to transport the meter or place it in a storage bag.

 

Cons

Replacement fuses are difficult to find and they cost quite a lot. So in case your multimeter’s fuses get busted after the warranty has expired, you’ll be shelling out hard cash.

Some users reported that their units got busted only after a few weeks of use. And while there are not many such cases, they are still plentiful enough to warrant some questions about durability.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($17.43)

 

 

 

Our Comprehensive Buying Guide

 

You’ve seen quite a few of the best multimeters out there, and now we are going to give you a rundown of all the things you need to look for when purchasing an automotive multimeter. A good place to start is by looking at as many automotive multimeter reviews as you can before making a final decision because other users’ experience matters a lot.

Look for versatility

When searching for an automotive multimeter, make sure that it can handle a wide variety of tasks. If you’re a beginner, you might think that you will only use a multimeter for one or two things, but in time, you might find yourself needing to use it for other things as well. Professionals often look for multimeters that can handle both home and industrial uses.

 

Check its durability

Don’t jump at the opportunity of buying an automotive multimeter without checking at least a few reviews from people who have owned it for at least a year. Oftentimes, you might find out that a rather good-looking multimeter is disappointing when it comes to durability, even if it’s advertised otherwise.

It is better to see the honest opinion of people who have used it rather than just take a marketing campaign’s word for granted.

 

What’s your budget?

We know that some people might prefer cheaper things whilst others look for the most expensive option without even thinking about it. However, we usually don’t recommend any multimeter that’s below the 30 dollar mark. While exceptions to this rule apply, anything below that is usually disappointing and not worth your time or your hard-earned money.

 

Safety features

Different multimeters are rated at different CAT levels. CAT I is the most basic, measuring only voltage from secondary circuits. CAT II-rated multimeters can measure up to 110 AC Voltage in NTSC zones and 240 AC Voltage in PAL regions.

CAT III automotive multimeters can measure more complex equipment, including refrigerators and three-phase motors. And, finally, CAT IV works with any voltage no matter how high and it’s your safest option. Always look for the Category rating to know what the meter is good at measuring without risk of short-circuit or electrocution.

 

Auto range

Experts are used to setting their own testing ranges when measuring anything. But for beginners and even for people who want a little extra comfort, we recommend getting an automotive multimeter with an auto range feature. 

This will allow you to measure whatever you want without having to manually input the testing range. It will adjust itself accordingly depending on how much current is flowing through the machine or parts that you want to measure.

 

A solid rubber case

Getting a multimeter with a solid rubber case will net you a few benefits. For a start, the case protects the meter from fall damage in case you ever drop it. And rubber is also a poor current conductor, so it will reduce your chances of getting electrocuted when measuring powerful voltage.

Backlit LCD

You won’t always have proper illumination when working with an automotive multimeter, so it is best to get a model with a backlit LCD. It will help you see the screen better in dim conditions, and the backlight usually helps when viewing the screen at an angle. You never know when you need an emergency test for your car or other household appliances.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is an automotive multimeter?

An automotive multimeter is an advanced yet somewhat simple-looking tool that lets you measure voltage, amperes, resistance, and current. Many multimeters can also measure a lot of other electrical-related stuff, such as diodes, DC current, AC/DC current, AC current, and much more.

Most times, people use a multimeter to detect faults in electric systems. An automotive multimeter is usually specialized in handling the electronics of a car, but they can also be used for other purposes as well. While automotive multimeters come in both digital and analog formats, we recommend getting a digital one simply because it’s usually better.

A digital automotive multimeter can detect even the smallest fluctuations of current, frequency, resistance, and other things you might want to measure with it. Multimeters also come with a multitude of accessories that also allow you to measure other things like alkalinity, acidity, wind speed, light level, relative humidity, etc.

Q: How do you use an automotive multimeter?

You can use an automotive multimeter to diagnose many problems related to your car. For example, you can test the battery on your vehicle by setting the multimeter to 20V DC for an accurate reading. Next, hook up the multimeter’s red wire to the positive (+) port of the battery, and the black one to the negative (-) port. 

If a standard 12V car battery measures below 10 volts, it’s possible that you might need to change it.

For testing the car alternator, you should reconnect the car battery and turn off the engine. Set the multimeter again to 20V DC and connect the colored wires to the plus and minus ports, just like with the battery. A good reading should be somewhere between 12.5 and 12.8V. Now start the engine, and the reading should go between 13.8 volts and 14.8 volts.

If it’s anything lower, then the alternator might need a change.

 

Q: Why use a multimeter?

Multimeters are necessary for any electrical work that you might need to do around the house, on your car, or on other machines that an electrician might need to work on. They are mainly used to measure three main components of electricity: ohms, volts, and amps. You can also get multimeter accessories that allow you to measure even other things.

What multimeters are used for most often is to detect flaws within the electrical system. With a multimeter, you’ll be able to tell where a fault is, if a certain cable isn’t getting enough power, if a battery is running low, and even if an electrical box is properly set up. You can probably already tell that it’s an indispensable tool for diagnosing and fixing any electrical system and appliance.

The number of things that a multimeter can diagnose and fix is huge. Anything from your refrigerator, fuse box, diodes, car battery, and so on, can be fixed adequately with the help of a multimeter.