HVAC multimeters are handy tools for diagnosing heating and cooling systems. Fluke and Fieldpiece are two brands that must be on your radar if you’re searching for the best option. Which is better?
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Fluke digital multimeters are expensive, but they are known for providing in-depth testing. Their electric meters are also famous for their durability. On the other hand, Fieldpiece meters are more affordable. They are suitable for regular testing and newbies.
In this article, I’ll discuss two of the most popular brands for diagnosing heating and cooling systems and three of their best-selling models. I’ll compare their features and performance to help you decide which option is better.
Fluke HVAC Multimeters
Fluke is one of the most recognizable brands in the global market for digital multimeters. The manufacturer boasts that all their multimeters can provide accurate measurements and consistent performance. Not to mention, they emphasize safety. Fluke also offers an incredible warranty for your peace of mind.
If I had to choose only one, I would say that Fluke is a better option. They’re expensive, which can put some people off. Because of their price, they are better for HVAC professionals and may not be as practical for DIYers. They have been through extreme tests, so durability is second to none. These multimeters also work well for in-depth testing.
The quality of measurements in Fluke multimeters is notable. They are accurate, meaning they stay close to the actual value, which shows reliability. It also has a good resolution, which is the smallest value the multimeter can display.
And if you need more compelling reasons to choose Fluke, it’s also worth saying that they can handle high-voltage surroundings. You can use it even in industrial environments. Despite such, you must pay attention to using multimeters safely. You must wear protective gear and mind the CAT ratings of your multimeter. All recommendations are available on Amazon.com.
Fluke 117 Digital Multimeter
Whether the A/C won’t turn on or you’re experiencing issues with the furnace flame sensor, this multimeter can help trace the root cause of the problem. It’s built for use in demanding settings, such as commercial buildings and hospitals.
This CAT-III multimeter may be expensive, but it’s justifiable given its features, including the following:
- Non-contact detection for hands-free operation
- Reads resistance, continuity, frequency, capacitance, and min/max/average
- Automatic AC/DC voltage selection
- Low impedance mode
- Backlit digital display
|Durable construction with a rubber holster
|The display can be challenging to see from some angles
|Measures without contact
|It comes with a low-impedance mode
Equipped with a built-in thermometer, this is another product you should consider. The probe can measure temperatures ranging from -40°F to 752°F (-40°C to 400°C). It shares many features with the Fluke 117 multimeter.
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The compact body is a plus, allowing you to hold it comfortably, even for a long time. Tests show that it is suitable for CAT III 600 V surroundings. Meanwhile, here’s a summary of some notable features:
- Measures continuity, capacitance, resistance, and frequency
- Has microamps for testing flame sensors
- LED backlight for visibility in dark environments
- It comes with a three-year warranty (Standard in Fluke multimeters)
|Ergonomic design for one-handed operation
|No fuse protection
|Visible even in poorly-lit areas
|It does not include an amp meter
This model is a part of the Fluke Connect family, so you can enjoy unparalleled connectivity. It stands out because it sends data to a smartphone or tablet. It also means that you can measure without being next to the equipment, reducing the possibility of an arc flash, a type of electrical discharge or explosion that can be harmful.
Here are some of the notable features you’ll find in this multimeter:
- Measures temperature from 14°F to 752°F (-10°C to 400°C)
- Ability to create reports and analyze trends on your phone
- True RMS measurements of non-linear signals
- It uses two alkaline AA batteries
|The clamp has a weak solder joint
|Measures remotely so you can work safely
|It does not come with a magnet backing
|Backlit LCD for visibility
Fieldpiece HVAC Multimeters
According to Fieldpiece, they’re the first company to design and build electric meters for HVACR professionals. The company is dedicated exclusively to serving the industry so that you can be confident of the quality of its products. They manufacture stick, clamp, and bench meters to suit the different needs of their users.
Are you on a budget? Fieldpiece multimeters are known for being more affordable than Fluke. Hence, it can be an excellent option for newbies or DIY enthusiasts. Despite being cheaper, they pack plenty of impressive features.
Even if Fieldpiece multimeters are simple and affordable, it does not mean they are only for casual users. They also have choices for the pros, including those with state-of-the-art functions.
Fieldpiece offers a wide selection of models, including one for simple and straightforward operation. This is something newbies are sure to appreciate. Alternatively, there are also models with more advanced functionalities, including those you can connect to multiple accessories.
The Fieldpiece SC260 is made of high-impact plastic for longevity. It withstands the rigors of HVAC environments. Despite its rugged construction, it has a compact design, making it comfortable to hold.
Another good feature is the Auto Select Mode. It automatically chooses the correct measurement depending on what it detects. This way, it can be a time-saver and user-friendly, even for non-HVAC professionals.
Other features you can expect from the multimeter include the following:
- Non-contact measurement
- 400 amps AC
- 40 mega ohm with .01 resolution
- Molex-tipped silicone lead set
- Low battery indicator
- LCD backlight
|Durable plastic construction
|Reading can be relatively slow
|Includes a swivel magnet for hands-free operation
|It does not measure microamps
|Easy to use
Like other multimeters from Fieldpiece, it has an ergonomic design, making it effortless to hold while waiting for measurements. The rubberized bumpers are also notable, allowing them to withstand harsh surroundings. Plus, it will enable hands-free testing with its magnetic hanger and detachable probe tips.
Here are some of its most impressive features and functions:
- Non-contact voltage
- 400 amps AC
- Diode test
- Manual ranging
- Indicators for continuity and high voltage
- K-type thermocouple plug
While most of the Fieldpiece multimeters are affordable, this model is one of the most expensive from the company. It’s comparable to the price range of Fluke multimeters. However, do not let price be a hindrance. It’s an all-in-one HVACR meter in a compact body.
Even the dial of this multimeter is backlit. It’s unlike most models where the light is only on the display. As such, it’s easy to choose the correct settings even when working in dark spaces.
Below is a quick rundown of its features:
- 400 amps AC
- Volts AC/DC
- Dual display
- 50 mega ohm with .1 resolution
- High-voltage warning
- Low-battery indicator
|Strong magnetic strap
|Blue backlit display for visibility
|Automatic power off after 30 minutes of being inactive
|It comes with a jaw flashlight
So, which one is better—Fluke or Fieldpiece? Honestly, they’re both incredible. However, if I had to choose only one, it would be Fluke. It’s expensive, but the price is justifiable given its features and functions. It’s also durable, making it perfect for HVAC professionals.
Meanwhile, Fieldpiece digital multimeters are more affordable. It’s the first to serve HVACR professionals exclusively. Nonetheless, because of their prices and ease of use, I suggest this brand for DIY enthusiasts or newbies.