5 Best Multimeter for HVAC technicians Reviews and Buying Guide

If you're trying to maintain an HVAC system without a good quality multimeter, you should think twice. It's not a piece of cake to get the best HVAC multimeter without proper knowledge. Certified HVAC technicians always try to pick the best tools for a perfect fault diagnosis. Of course, the most important tool is a digital multimeter. But best multimeter for HVAC technicians must possess the relevant features, like high current, temperature and capacitance measurements. You can also visit my blog of capacitance measurement.

No matter if you're an HVAC technician or just trying to improve your home HVAC system, this guide can address all your issues.

Most Common HVAC Technician's Mistakes

Several mistakes fail an HVAC system. First, most of the technicians perform the test without proper knowledge of equipment.

  • First of all, if there is any fuse box, you must check that one. Unfortunately, most of the HVAC technicians forget to check the fuses.
  • When it comes to air conditioning systems, people try to focus on airflow, but there is an equal chance of circuitry failure.
  • Voltages are the crucial points. Always check the voltage because most of the time, over voltage and under voltage damages the system.
  • Temperature sensors are the main feedback of your HVAC system. Usually, nobody focuses on thermostats or RTDs

General multimeters Vs. HVAC multimeters

A multimeter is also called a multitester. This is because it can measure almost every electrical value. The most common measuring values are resistance, capacitance, voltage, and current. But as time passes, the number of measuring values increases.

Capabilities of General Multimeters

General multimeters are the basic ones that we used to measure voltage current and resistance. Usually, these multimeters are budget-friendly and also easy to use. But unlike advanced multimeters, they lack multiple features like auto-ranging, True RMS values, and data holding options.

Capabilities of HVAC Multimeters

Unlike general purpose multimeters, HVAC multimeters can measure current more precisely. Another prominent feature is temperature sensing. The temperature reading is directly measured by just plugging the k-type thermocouple in the multimeter.

Most of the time, capacitor failure makes the HVAC system inefficient. So, advanced multimeters also help in rectifying such issues. However, in my opinion, a clamp meter is always more suitable for HVAC systems troubleshooting rather than general multimeters.

Impact of Test Leads on Multimeter

Test leads are the carriers that transfer signals to the multimeter. They're also called probes. One probe is red for live connection, and one is black for neutral/earth.

One end of the probe has a jack, and the other end is pointy for attachments. Most commonly, there are two kinds of probes used CAT-III & CAT-IV.

CAT-III test leads of the multimeter

With cat-iii probes, you can easily measure voltages up to 600 volts. In the same way, current carrying capacity is also lesser as compared to cat-iv probes. Insulation quality is good, but instantaneous short circuits may damage it.

CAT-IV test leads of the multimeter

Cat-iv test leads are specially designed to test high voltage circuits and calibrate sensitive equipment. It can measure voltages up to 1000V and current up to 20A. Most of the best fluke HVAC multimeter comes with cat-iv test leads.

CAT-III VS CAT IV Multimeter

When it comes to comparison, both cat-iii and cat-iv test leads are good enough. But cat-iv standard probes can carry more current and have less noise. The main distinguishing feature is the insulation, and no doubt cat-iv test leads are best among all.

Why is True RMS a must?

"True RMS value is the real-time value fluctuating value that your digital multimeter reads." Its accuracy depends upon the programming algorithm of your multimeter. In advance auto-ranging multimeters, the algorithms work to take all values and give you an average of instantaneous values.

Besides only a few advanced features, true RMS sensing meters are not different than other HVAC multimeters

Usually, if there is a malfunctioning in the control logic of HVAC electronic cards, then certified HVAC technicians calibrate the cards as per true RMS values. So, it is necessary to read the actual values instead of fluctuating ones. 

Why are fluke clamp multimeters hot selling HVAC multimeter?

The easiest way to check an HVAC system's efficiency is by checking its electricity consumption. Instead of doing math or struggling with the HVAC system, just clamp the input wires and read values. Suppose the system is taking normal amperes, then it's normal. But if you're getting different results, then there must be an issue with the electrical section.

Fluke clamp multimeter for technicians is best because you don't have to touch any live wires. A C.T at the top above LCD makes it easier for you to read values.

How to measure temperature with HVAC multimeters?

If you're an HVAC technician, you don't want to carry multiple things to test here an HVAC multimeter comes in. The best thing about advanced multimeters is that they can measure temperature easily.

A k-type thermocouple comes in the kit. You just have to plug in the probes and rotate the dial on Celsius/Fahrenheit. Then, in a couple of seconds, you can read the temperature on your digital multimeter screen. Unfortunately, analog multimeters lack this feature.

Best HVAC Multimeter Kit for Professionals

A multimeter is the need of every electrician and HVAC technician. Then it's better to get a combo all in one kit. While talking about the best HVAC multimeters, then how can we ignore FLUKE.

In this regard, fluke comes with an ultimate solution, and it is FLUKE 116/323

If you're tired of toolboxes and need an all-in-one kit for everyday use, then Fluke 116/323 HVAC multimeter kit is for you. With Fluke 116 HVAC multimeter, you can trace faults easily. It has low impedance, which avoids false readings. Fluke 323 Clamp meter is the best for current measurement. With this clamp meter, you can measure current up to 400A.

Fluke Multimeter 116

Fluke 116 is a perfect HVAC multimeter. 

You can easily measure temperature and voltages up to 1000 volts easily. The best thing is its LoZ function to avoid misc. readings.

A general multimeter is not enough to measure current accurately.

Therefore it has a fluke 323 clamp meter to measure current up to 400A.

Accessories

  • Magnetic hanging             strap
  • Fluke 80BK-A                     Thermocouple
  • CAT-IV Test leads
  • 1x 9V Battery


5 Best multimeters for HVAC technicians - Reviews 2021

Finding the right multimeter for the right job needs research. To make your choices a bit easier, I have developed the best clamp multimeter for HVAC systems.

1. UEi DL369 Digital HVAC Clamp multimeter

If you want to work with perfection, then you need the best tools in the market. Every electrician and HVAC technician needs a good HVAC multimeter to give his best. UEi DL369 is the best clamp multimeter for HVAC technicians. UEi test instruments always come with optimum safety options. That's why it is famous among technicians.

Featres

CAT-III standard Clamp type C.T is installed.

You can measure

  • voltages up to 700VAC and 1000VDC
  • current up to 400A
  • Capacitance up to 4000μF
  • Resistance up to 40MΩ

A standard pouch also comes with it.

Additional Alligator clips make it easier to measure variables.

You can also perform a diode test just by selecting a function. 

Non-contact voltage measurements make this multimeter safe and precise.

Pros

  • You can select ranges
  • Pocket-friendly size
  • Overload protection
  • Dual-line display

Cons

  • You can not measure milliampere (mA) with C.T.

Bottomline

If you're a technician who spends most of his time at commercial or industrial sites, then it can be the best HVAC combat tool for you.


2. Fieldpiece SC480 True RMS Clamp multimeter

If you want to work with perfection, then you need the best tools in the market. Every electrician and HVAC technician needs a good HVAC multimeter to give his best. UEi DL369 is the best clamp multimeter for HVAC technicians. UEi test instruments always come with optimum safety options. That's why it is famous among technicians.

Featres

A dual display of 5000 counts is perfect for fieldwork.

It is a wireless communication system, you can directly interlink with a Job link app.

You can measure

  • voltages up to 1000VAC and 1000VDC
  • current up to 600A

It comes with a battery life of 200 plus hours.

It can also measure power in Watts and Kilowatts.

The auto power-off feature makes the multimeter energy efficient.

You can also measure temperature in °F and °C.

A separate slide switch for temperature unit selection.

Automatic zero-level calibration.

Pros

  • Blue backlight display
  • Wireless Connectivity available
  • Frequency measurement is also available
  • Magnetic grip
  • Availability of Probe holder

Cons

  • Unable to measure capacitance.

Bottomline

Almost every technician needs an all-in-one multimeter with maximum ranges. The thing which separates this multimeter from other multimeters is its wireless integration with an android application.


3. Klein Tools CL800 Clamp-meter for HVAC system

No matter if you're a beginner or professional, if you're unable to use an HVAC multimeter, then every issue is a big hurdle for you. So now the question arises How to use an HVAC multimeter? To know this thing, you must have a clearer view of electrical HVAC systems.

An HVAC system diagnosis involves continuity test, voltage and current measurements, Diode test, Capacitor, Frequency test, and Coil Resistance measurement. Keeping in mind this, Klein Tools CL800 offers all these features at a limited price. Let's have an inside view;

Featres

Basically, it's an auto-ranging multimeter, so you don't have to set values repeatedly.

Ture RMS value multimeters are always one step ahead because of their accuracy.

LoZ Low impedance makes sure to eliminate stray voltages from the circuitry of the multimeter.

You can measure

  • voltages up to 1000VAC and 1000VDC
  • current up to 600A
  • Resistance up to 40MΩ

A display of 6000 counts makes it perfect for HVAC usage.

Two A.A. cells come with it.

Pros

  • Dual insulation safety
  • Low battery indication
  • Robust frame
  • Accurate Temperature measurement.

Cons

  • You Can not measure current below 10mA

Bottomline

If you're a bit conscious about high ranges then it can be the best HVAC multimeter for you. You don't have to carry a separate multimeter with you measure high current and voltages.  

4. Fluke 116 Multimeter-A perfect Choice of Professionals

Most of the electrician thinks that you always need the best clamp multimeter for HVAC systems. But what if you tell you there is a best fluke HVAC multimeter with all standard features? Yes, I am talking about Fluke 116 HVAC multimeter. It can perform all the heavy-duty tasks without any delay.

Featres

Built-in thermometer, so you don't have to carry a k-type thermocouple with you every time.

The display hold button makes it easier for you to see values at confined places.

It is a True RMS value HVAC multimeter with min/max ranges.

LoZ Low impedance avoids ghost voltages and provides more accuracy.

You can measure

  • voltages up to 600VAC and 1000VDC
  • AC\DC micro amperes
  • Resistance, capacitance, frequency, and millivolts

This Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter is designed as per cat-III safety standards.

A magnetic hanger on the rear side makes it easier for you to work effortlessly.

Pros

  • Can measure mv and mA.
  • Low impedance
  • Built-in temperature sensor
  • Test leads are of good quality.

Cons

  • C.T Core can not be replaced.

Bottomline

It's a best HVAC multimeter for HVAC system of automotive. The reason is simple its easy to use, cheaper and light-weight. 

5. KAIWEETS Digital Clamp Meter T-RMS 6000 Counts

Look around, and you see almost everything automatic. Auto-control system involves complex electronics, and troubleshooting of such system needs advanced multimeters. An HVAC system is a combination of electronics and mechanics. To solve HVAC system faults, KAIWEETS offers the best solutions. This KAIWEETS HT206D is the best clamp multimeter for an HVAC system is a suitable budget.

Featres

It evaluates TRUE RMS values because the HVAC system is a Non-linear load, causing errors.

A low pass filter eliminates noise and gives you smooth results.

Non-contact voltage detection makes it easier for you to trace circuits without opening lives points.

Dual backlight display gives you a feel of customization.

The product is of CAT-III standard so that you can measure 600VAC/VDC easily.

It has Low battery level indication at the display.

You can measure liquid or ambient temperature with a k-type thermocouple.

6000 counts display with a greater refresh rate provides excellent results.

Pros

  • AC/DC selection button.
  • Most affordable m 
  • Automatic shutdown after 15 minutes of inactivity
  • LPF-low pass filter is available.
  • Two batteries come with the package

Cons

  • A bit difficult to use without user manual.

Bottomline

After a couple of months Clamp type HVAC multimeters shows some calibration issues due to its magnetic core. But it is proven to be the best multimeter for HVAC work due to its high end performance.

Buyer's guide for best HVAC multimeters-Review 2021

A technician is known for his skills and tools. If you're an HVAC technician without proper testing tools, then you can do nothing in time. The foremost important tool for any electrical concerned person is a digital multimeter.

Now you will think about why I am endorsing digital multimeters over analog multimeters. To know this equation to be with me. Sometimes it becomes difficult to grab the best multimeter. Here I will tell you how to grab the best multimeter for HVAC technicians.

Select your budget

Before buying anything, you must have a budget in your mind. Otherwise, you will end up buying something overrated or underrated. If you're a beginner in the field of electronics, then you can find the best multimeters under 100 dollars. But if you are an experienced HVAC technician, then do not compromise below. In my opinion, FIELDPIECE SC480 is the best multimeter for HVAC technicians.

Select your min/max ranges

The main advantage of selecting a digital multimeter instead of an analog is range. You can set your rages as per requirement. In addition, most of the advanced multimeter comes with auto-ranging functions. In an auto-ranging digital multimeter for technicians, you don't have to set ranges manually; it detects automatically.If you're looking for an auto-ranging multimeter then fluke 116 is the best multimeter for HVAC systems.

True RMS value

True RMS Values make you measure values with accuracy. A little bit of error is acceptable, but it should not exceed 0.5%. Voltage measurements need accuracy. Otherwise, you will end up with a short circuit. Normally General multimeters under a limited budget don't come with True RMS function. To make you hustle easier, I have also shortlisted 10 best budget multimeters for you.

Accuracy

Low impedance and low pass filters make sure to removes all noises from HVAC system circuitry. The more accurately you measure, the more it becomes easy to remove the fault from an HVAC system. In case of accuracy, I strongly recommend the KAIWEETS HT208D Digital clamp meter for an HVAC system.

Clamp multimeter

A technician does not afford to open the circuits, again and again. They need something universal. In such conditions, Digital clamp meters offer the best solution. You just have to clamp the single-core live wire, and the running current will be on your display.

A clamp multimeter can do almost everything, but if you try to measure values below 10mA, it starts malfunctioning. Still, I prefer clamp multimeter over general multimeters for HVAC purposes. Because our main application is to measure current of HVAC system and loop checking.

Safety features

"Safety comes first." No matter if you're a beginner or professional, safety has nothing to do with it. Always try to grab the multimeter with maximum safety features. In digital multimeters, test leads play a vital role. Good test leads save not only you but also your equipment. CAT-III or CAT-IV standard test leads are good to go.

Always must check built infuses on the input side of a multimeter. An Additional 10-ampere fuse can save you from a major explosion. Do not underestimate it.

Final verdict

If you're still with me, then now you might have a clear idea that what should be in a best multimeter for HVAC system. An HVAC multimeter should be compact and cheaper. Otherwise it will be difficult to carry it along the day. A little compromise on quality can be an irreversible choice. If i have to recommend you one multimeter among all then it would be Fluke 116 HVAC multimeter. So, grab the best multimeter for yourself and let us know about your experience.

Good luck! 

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