Nearly every electrician regularly uses a digital multimeter (DMM), whether working in construction or maintenance. Given the capabilities of this instrument, it’s no wonder.
Yet, you must be careful when selecting a DMM, and then you must be careful when using one. Not everyone’s idea of “careful” is the same, so let’s look at some specifics.
First, try to remember the adage, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If you want a good meter, you’re going to pay a “good meter price” for it.
Consider what happened when an electrical maintenance manager got a great deal on 10 new DMMs for the electrical maintenance crew. The box arrived, and he called the crew to come get their new DMMs. It was like receiving a lump of coal for Christmas, because the meters clearly were not up to industrial safety standards. The first thing they noticed was the input jacks were not recessed. Think about why that would be hazardous.
If you buy a brand name meter, it will have all of the industry standard safety features. The manufacturers list those features on their websites and in other places.
Also, consider this. If a “cheap meter” manufacturer cares so little about how safe its meters are, what does that say about how accurate they are or how durable they are? Although it may not seem that way at first blush, you will save money by investing in a brand name DMM. One with the safety features needed to help you come home after work.