While clamp meters and multimeters are both measuring tools, they have distinct differences.
As the name suggests, multimeters measure multiple factors, including resistance, continuity, and voltage. On the other hand, clamp meters measure amperage or current specifically.
In this article, we’ll discuss some other differences between multimeters and clamp meters so you can make the best choice for your business. Luckily, you can purchase one at any reputable supplier, for example, RS Components.
Measuring current is easier with a clamp meter While it’s possible to measure low current using a multimeter, it’s not the easiest or safest option.
You’ll need to break the circuit when using a multimeter to measure a current, which brings additional risks. When using a clamp meter, you don’t need to do so- the purpose of the clamp is to hold onto the conductor, eliminating the need to break the circuit.
Multimeter offers multiple purposes
A multimeter offers multiple features, so it’s the better choice if your business needs to take all kinds of measurements.
Among other factors, multimeters can measure:
You can also take different kinds of measurements by adding extra attachments to your multimeter.
Multimeters offer greater accuracy and resolution
Compared with clamp meters, multimeters are generally more accurate and offer a higher resolution- especially advanced multimeters.
The reason why multimeters are more accurate than clamp meters is that clamp meters don’t make contact with the current itself. For general use, clamp meters are still a suitable option.
Clamp meter vs multimeter | design differences
Clamp meters and multimeters are both handheld devices.
At the end of clamp meters are sensors that clamp around wires- this is the one distinct physical difference that separates them from multimeters.
There are two main types of multimeter- digital and analogue. Digital multimeters are more precise but more expensive than their analogue counterparts.
Advanced vs basic clamp and multimeter
For both multimeters and clamp meters, there are advanced and basic variations. A basic clamp meter can only measure AC amperage.
Advanced clamp meters offer extra features such as wireless connectivity and detachable displays. Basic multimeters can measure resistance, voltage, and continuity- although the degree of accuracy is not always consistent.
Advanced multimeters, on the other hand, offer bonus features and functions such as:
● Minimum or maximum recording
● Improved reliability
● Improved accuracy
● Higher resolution
● Safety improvements
● Faster continuity checking
Again, if these extra features appeal to you or could benefit your business, an advanced multimeter is likely the ideal choice.
However, if safe, accurate amperage or current measurements are all you need, a basic or advanced clamp meter will suit.
If you’re still unsure about whether to choose a clamp meter or multimeter for your business, it comes down to three points- price, accuracy, and ease of use.
For budget- conscious business owners, a basic clamp meter is a great choice. You’ll be able to safely measure current or amperage with relative ease.
If you need to take more precise or varied measurements and can afford to pay a little more, choose an advanced digital multimeter. You’ll be able to measure resistance, voltage, temperature, and other factors with pinpoint accuracy at a high resolution.