Best Digital Multimeters 2023

We reveal our current favourite digital multimeters for tackling car electrics

A multimeter is an essential piece of equipment when you’re doing work on your car’s electrics. It’ll measure electrical values, which allows you to check a battery’s state, or keep an eye on component failure or continuity to ensure a circuit is sound. Some products even have automotive-specific functions, temperature probes or non-contact voltage ability to detect live cables.

So which will reveal all on your car? We’ve switched on eight to find our current bright spark.

How we tested them

Using a regulated power supply, every multimeter passed our voltage and resistance accuracy tests within the margins in the instructions. We assessed cables, backlighting, protective sleeve and additional features, looking for the best device for the automotive electrics beginner rather than seasoned engineer. We also preferred auto-ranging units, which don’t require manual selection of electrical value spreads. Finally, we took price into account.

Reviews

Draper Auto & Manual Ranging Digital Multimeter

The Draper impresses at every turn, with a large backlit display and torch helping in dark or confined places. The metre-long leads are good quality and stow snugly in the back of the protective rubber sleeve. Its non-contact voltage detector is a nice touch, but the amount it sticks out seems unnecessary.

The instructions are excellent, and it is the only unit here to bundle a case, stand and hanging strap. A competitive price and the highest overload protection seal the deal.

Buy now from Powertools Direct

Kewtech AC/DC Multimeter & Temperature Probe 600V

  • Rating: 4.5 stars  
  • Price: Around £60 
  • Website: screwfix.com

The Kewtech partly misses out on top spot due to its high price. Its robust construction impresses, and the metal temperature probe is the best here. It’s very easy to use, with colour-coding to link dial functions, options accessed via the push buttons, and in-depth instructions. Being able to turn the unit off either side of the dial is handy, and we like the options to hold the reading as well as display minimum and maximum values, plus the differences. It has a stand, but there’s no case or strap.

Buy now from Electricpoint

Draper Automotive Digital Multimeter

This Draper is the only unit here with automotive-specific functions, such as an inductive clamp to read engine revs. It defaults to automotive-appropriate DC, and has a temperature probe, too. The unit is compact and is easy to grip, making it useful in tight or awkward spots.

Like its bigger brother, this Draper also comes with a flip-out stand and a carry case, while its instructions are just as clear and comprehensive. For workshop duties, especially on older vehicles, it’s in a class of one.

Buy now on Amazon

TIS 258 Digital Multimeter With Temperature Probe

There’s much to recommend the bargain-priced TIS 258, but its manual-ranging might put some buyers off. For the more experienced user, it’s a compact and well equipped package. We like the clear display and bright backlight, good-quality leads and a general feel that belies its price. 

It’s bulky, so not quite as easy to hold as others here, but it does have a stand and hanging slot. The clear labelling around the dial and buttons means it’s easy to find the mode you want quickly.

Buy now from Toolstation

TIS Autoranging Digital Multimeter

The TIS Autoranging Digital Multimeter posted a solid set of scores, but it looks pricey in this company. That’s a shame, because what we like about the TIS 258 also applies here, while auto-ranging means it’s simpler to use. 

The unit defaults to DC, which is handy for automotive applications, and the backlit screen is clear. The brightly coloured buttons are easy to identify, and the dial’s labels are large and clearly printed, while having two off positions prevents unnecessary twiddling of the dial. A two-pin temperature probe is useful, too.

Buy now from Powersaver

LAP AC/DC Digital Multimeter

  • Rating: 3.5 stars  
  • Price: Around £10
  • Website: screwfix.com

Screwfix’s fully functioned multimeter represents remarkable value. It’s not surprising that there’s no case, auto-ranging, buzzer or back-lighting, but you do get a tough, rubberised cover, while the build quality – flimsy stand apart – is pretty good. 

During our electrical tests, it performed just as well as the rest here, meaning it’s perfectly fine for occasional use – in fact, one diagnosis or repair may well mean it pays for itself. But you’ll need to know what you’re doing, because it’s manual ranging, and the instructions are brief.

Buy now from Screwfix

Sealey Professional Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter

  • Rating: 3.5 stars  
  • Price: Around £70
  • Website: sealey.co.uk

The pocket-sized Sealey is a strong performer for the novice. The hardwired leads mean there’s no confusion over which socket to use and there are just four options on the dial, plus three buttons. That’s just as well because the instructions are the poorest here. 

It impresses as a package, though, because as well as its user-friendliness, it has non-contact voltage detection and a torch (though no backlighting), and good probe storage. But there’s no getting away from that high price tag.

Buy now from Sealey

Clarke CDM45C 11 Function Digital Multimeter with Temperature Probe

The Clarke is the biggest here, but with a bewildering range of dial positions, this manual ranger is more suited to an electronics expert’s workbench. On the plus side, all options are clearly displayed, rather than requiring a press of a button. 

But while the display is large, there’s no back lighting and the buzzer isn’t nearly as loud as the best. The Clarke claws back points with a temperature probe and a two-pin plug for a range of transistor testing.

Buy now from Powertools Direct

Verdict

Draper’s unit trumped its rivals with its package of features and a keen price. Only the lack of a case and the £17 extra it cost consigned the impressive Kewtech to second place. The final podium place went to Draper’s Automotive multimeter.

  1. Draper Digital Multimeter
  2. Kewtech Multimeter 
  3. Draper Automotive Multimeter

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