Budget Multimeters

In recent years, I've built up a small collection of pretty decent multimeters from Fluke and others. They can be rather expensive to buy - even second-hand - but previous experiences with cheap multimeters have been mixed, to say the least.

So how do the latest generation of budget multimeters compare to the expensive ones, and how will they compare to older cheap meters that let me down in the past?

These reviews are in order of purchase rather than merit or otherwise. They are all in the sub-£50 category - and many cost less than £20. I hope that these reviews will be of interest to anyone considering buying a cheap meter for hobby use - either as their main multimeter or as an extra one - after all, you can never have enough multimeters, and at these prices it's not going to break the bank!

IMPORTANT: Before considering using a multimeter, there are a host of issues to consider. Before reading any of the individual reviews, please read this important safety information!


    Bside ADM01

    This basic meter costs about £10 delivered. It's a 2000-count meter in a compact case with micro-amps and frequency, and is reviewed in detail here.

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    Bside ADM02

    This meter can also be found for around £10. This swaps the frequency function for temperature, and is all the better for it. Of the two, this is the one to choose.

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  • RS Pro RS14

    RS Pro RS14

    Available from RS under the RS Pro brand, this multimeter uses the same main IC as the Bside ADM01/02. It costs £20, so what do you get for the extra cash?

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  • Aneng AN8002

    Aneng AN8002

    A tiny meter than packs in an amazing amount of functionality into its tiny case. This is a 6000-count meter, that astonishingly is true RMS, and includes frequency, duty cycle, capacitance and temperature - all for around £12 delivered!

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  • Aneng AN860B+

    Aneng AN860B+

    Functionally very similar to the AN8002, this is in a larger case that accomodates 4 input terminals, meaning that the current jacks are separate from the main jack used for volts, Ohms, etc. This one also has extra buttons for manual ranging, min/max, relative mode, etc.

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  • Aneng AN8008

    Aneng AN8008

    Having been really impresed with the AN8002, the new AN8008 sets the bar even higher. Still the same size - and in a nicer colour scheme - this is a 9999-count meter that adds manual ranging and micro-amps, and trades the temperature function for a square wave output.

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    Bside ADM08

    Another BSIDE, but this one appears to use the same 6000-count chipset used in the Aneng meters, so has true RMS. It also has NCV (non-contact voltage) detection. I picked this one simply because some folk prefer manual-ranging meters - let's see how it performs.

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  • Fluke 101

    Fluke 101

    A Fluke in the "Budget Multimeter" section? This meter is very basic, but promises to be safe and reliable. It isn't officially sold in the UK, but can be found on eBay for as little as £33 if you shop around.

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  • UNI-T UT210E

    Uni-T UT210E

    A little bit different from the rest - this is an AC/DC clamp meter that unusually has 1mA resolution on the DC current clamp. I bought this because I needed a DC current clamp, but as it only costs £30, it can easily be classed as a budget multimeter.

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  • UNI-T UT61E

    Uni-T UT61E

    Moving up the price range, this meter is available for around £45, although it is possible to find it nearer to £30 if you shop around. This is a 22,000-count meter with a PC interface, and appears to offer great functionality for the money.

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  • Kaiweets KM602

    Kaiweets KM602

    The multimeter that thinks it's a smartphone! It has a massive, high contrast colour display and a rechargable battery. It also includes a "smart" mode that automatically decides between voltage, resistance or continuity. Let's see how well it works...

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