AC/DC testing Clamp Meters are becoming more and more common in many workplaces these days and are a staple in the automotive world.
Let take a look at 3 best clamp meters on our list here:
There are several factors to consider before purchasing a meter.
First, how often will the product be used?
If not very frequently, do not plan on spending more than $50 for a meter.
A cheaper clamp meter will suit because they all do similar things and use similar parts, meaning that breaks and malfunctions can occur even inexpensive meters. Even if your product does break, it can be easily replaced and will not put you out much financially.
For those that will use the meter often, plan to spend more.
Next, how low (ma) do you need to test?
Some meters do not go below 50 ma or above 500 ma, so keep that in mind and be sure to read the product descriptions before making a purchase.
Here you will find the top 5 best AC/DC clamp meters reviews, each having advantages and disadvantages over the others.
Short Reviews of The Best Clamp Meters for Car
#1. Etekcity MSR-C600 Digital Clamp Meter & Multimeter with AC / DC Voltage Test, Red
Etekcity is really on to something with the MSR-C600 Digital Clamp Meter.
The price point on this product, when measured against many other digital clamp meters and including the dependability factor, is unbelievably low. The meter weighs in at only one pound and less than a foot long (11 inches).
The LCD display reads your results while the product runs AC/ DC voltage up to 600 volts and resistance to 4 kms.
It features a jaw opening clamp that allows your hands to never be in danger.
The product meets IEC safety standard 61010-1 and is rated for CAT IV installations to 300V and CAT III installations to 600V. Always separate the hot and neutral wires and clamp on the hot wire, otherwise, the two opposing power sides will cancel each other out.
Be sure you are testing for AC voltage.
The non-contact clamp can only measure current amperage, also, so keep that in mind. By using the probes on a physical connection, voltage can easily and accurately be measured.
It can be tricky to figure out how to activate the continuity beep- at first, it appears that this product does not have one, but the beep will activate after the correct activation button is pushed. The beep does not automatically activate.
For the price point [nsstprice asin=”B00NWGZ4XC”], an autoworker or electrician will not find a more dependable unit that does not cause any strain on the wallet.
The Etekcity performs all standard clamp and multimeter functions.
If using for work, this product is ideal because even if it breaks you can buy another one without breaking the bank.
#2. Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter
Perhaps the best thing about Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter is that it provides portable testing and measures down to .01 amps- meaning that you can detect electrical shorts in even the most cumbersome situations.
The unit is also small- 2.2 pounds and 9.5 inches long. The unit provides accurate readings when measuring linear or non-linear loads, on all wave forms.
The audible continuity feature is accurate and dependable.
Around the shop, having a couple of these testers can prove very helpful in accurately determining the locations of electric shorts quickly and safely.
In the 320 series and comparable options, this product is perhaps overpriced but provides the comfort of knowing it will deliver every time it is needed.
For large automotive shops or operations, the new 325 series may be a better way to go if buying product in bulk or using heavily.
For home use, this unit is perfect.
Things to keep in mind:
- The meter will not measure the amperage on a 120 volt AC lamp chord without splitting the cord and running only one wire around the clamp at a time.
- It also will not measure DC amps.
If you plan to buy alligator leads, be sure to do some research to ensure they will fit- the device has a standard meter plug that plugs directly into the bottom of the meter.
- The Min/Max feature is slightly limited, compared with similar products, but overall this product does what it says it will do and is durable.
Users will not have to worry about the product breaking or malfunctioning.
With a price point of [nsstprice asin=”B00AQKIEXY”], this product is a bit of an investment, but if you will use it regularly it is hard to go wrong with the Fluke 323. Just be sure to shop around on units this expensive.
#3. Docooler Uni-T UT210E True RMS AC/DC Current Mini Clamp Meters w/ Capacitance Tester
Small, portable, lightweight, and mid-priced- the Docooler Uni-TUT210E is the ideal AC/DC tester.
The unit serves as a Capacitance tester, saving the user the hassle of rigging capacitance tests on their own. Additionally, this unit measures AC and DC up to 600 volts for voltage measurement, resistance, diode, continuity, as well as capacitance.
It really is the all-around superstar of its price point and is perfect for automotive workers.
At first, users will notice the sound not working. Rotate the selector knob to the diode position and press the blue button- then the sound icon will show, fixing the problem.
One other very convenient factor of the Uni-T UT210E is that it can be used as a DVOM, saving an additional purchase of a separate DVOM unit. The device is extremely accurate- .001 +/-.
This makes is suitable for automotive workers testing below 50 milliamps.
Because of all of the built-in functions of this unit, users will save a vast amount of money (and space) by not having to buy several other products to complete their testing kit supplies.
Users may want to buy a splitter to go with this unit to assist in separating the parallel conductors.
Also, do not measure in-rush current.
It also does not measure frequency, but this should not be an issue for use on cars or trucks.
Docooler has designed this product to use the clamp to measure current but not leads, so if that is your mission you will want to obtain a unit calibrated to that effect.
But overall, this product is the best clamp meter on the market within its price range.
#4. Fluke 376 True-RMS AC/DC Clamp Meter with iFlex
This unit is for those unwilling to sacrifice any features (other than extremely low and high ma reads) – those who want all in one dependability and who will need durability through heavy use.
The Fluke 376 True RMS Clamp Meter has the iFlex feature, which expands the measurement range up to 2500 A in the AC category. Like most meters, it tests up to 600 volts T-IV, CAT III 1000 volts.
It will read in both AC and DC modes.
The display on this reader is top notch- very easy to read, non-annoying beeps, and with the iFlex feature, this unit is the most easily understandable clamp meter on the market. The maximum size conductor that can be measured is 1.13 inches. The stated battery life is three hours, although you can remove the batteries when not using the product to prolong that life quite a bit.
If you have trouble with strong electricity currents in your automotive shop, purchase a flexible remote probe to direct the current through.
This product has been updated- if you are willing to shell out another $50 or so for the absolute top of the line, the Fluke 376 FC 1000A AC/DC w/ iFlex is also available.
Both products contain some small parts, which can be easily lost around the shop if the product is not always stored in the same place. The unit does not read down lower than 50 ma or up above 500 ma, which for what you are paying is frustrating.
You have to wonder, how much of the cost is just for the Fluke name?
For automotive users who are not also serious electricians, a unit this expensive is not necessary. Go with a cheaper, more basic meter.
#5. Fluke-117/323 KIT Multimeter and Clamp Meter Combo Kit
If the Fluke 323 meter appeals to you, and you want to take your equipment and skill multiple steps further, Fluke’s combo kit can be a good way to. Even if only for the storage pack, the combo kit will make life easier if frequent AC/DC testing is part of the routine.
The kit includes a 117 True-RMS digital multimeter with VoltAlert technology for non-contact voltage detection, a 323 True-RMS clamp meter, and the C115 soft carrying case.
It also includes clamp meters and chords.
The combination of the 117 True-RMS meter and the 322 True-RMS meter provides full-circle troubleshooting for just about any testing situation.
The kit weighs 3.5 pounds and is easily storable in a shop.
This combo kit can be great to have around because it allows a wide range of testing without having to shop again for another meter.
The multimeter can be used on vehicles as long as it is in amp mode, and can measure in mv if necessary, which is great for auto workers. The 117 can have a test probe attached to its case, allowing users to hold the other probe in their other hand.
The versatility is what makes this product worth its large price point.
For light home workers, it may be a bit much but for shop workers or those who test very frequently, this is a solid option.
On the downside, buying two cheaper meters separately can be much more cost effective if you are willing to sacrifice the name brand.
The holsters in the carrying case are quite tight, meaning that no extra supplies can be stored in there. The contrast on the LED display is much lower than on older Fluke models, perhaps a result of the products no longer being made in the USA. If the backlight is used consistently to brighten the setting, the batteries will drain very quickly.
Head to Head Comparison
The Docooler Uni-T meter is the best clamp meter all-around meter that costs around $50.
With both AC and DC testing capabilities and a wide testing range, this unit appears to be the one that will cause the least frustration and deliver the most consistent results.
The Docooloer unit also serves as a strong capacitance tester and promotes itself as such, something that the other products do not.
The Fluke products, while very dependable, are overpriced and don’t seem to have any serious advantages over the other products.
Many people even say that Fluke has gone downhill ever since they stopped making their products stateside. While they do work well and offer product warranties if desired, the price point is a major turnoff for anyone other than an electrician.
The Etekcity MSR is a dependable and extremely cheap unit but does not offer as many features as the other units.
It also seems the most likely to break, but if you do not use it very often this might be the way to go because even if it does break, you can replace it without a major hit on the wallet.
The product that will be the most satisfying in every way without causing financial or performance strife is the Docooler Uni-T UT210E.
With a price tag [nsstprice asin=”B00O1Q2HOQ”], you simply cannot go wrong with this product. With Input protection, a full range of testing capabilities, 2.5V low battery indicator, and the fact that some sellers will offer a warranty on the product, the Docooler should be at the top of your list.
The only other option worth considering here is the Fluke 117/323 combo pack, and that is because the two combined meters together offer such a wide range of testing ability.
However, save yourself some money and buy two similar meters for a cheaper price and use your own carrying case. For auto workers or anyone for whom auto care is a major player in their lifestyle, the Docooler clamp meter will suit you just fine.
Save yourself the time of shopping around and buying less versatile units when this one gives you everything need.