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^^^^Now, THIS man KNOWS his stuff!^^^^Tactical Data Systems technician 7 yrs, avionics 7 yrs, electronic manufacturing various roles all technical including field engineer 20 yrs, certified industrial electrician 3 yrs, my entire adult life from 17 has been involved with troubleshooting electronics, electro-mechanical, and electrical distribution, LOTS of formal training. So a good meter choice would be something that is Cat I or II 600V rated, these are designed primarily for single phase AC voltages that you would encounter in a house, AC charging on a vehicle, and DC in a vehicle, VERY unlikely to encounter in a home setting but both Cat I and II still protect the meter against transients into the low 1000's of volt range.
I would suggest an auto ranging meter. It will select the correct setting based on what it senses. With manual range you need to turn the dial to the range you expect, if it is not in that range then you need to turn the dial again till you find a reading that works. Auto ranging has a lot less knob positions and appears much less complicated with less knob positions.
Regarding brand, higher priced units with an industry name come with ruggedness and durability, but they all read and work the same. It is not going to be hanging off your hip 8-12 hrs a day 6 days a week or getting kicked around in the bottom of a manlift. Like Steve Jobs said, a $30 watch or a $300 watch both read the same time. A higher priced unit might have a faster sampling and display rate, so you have to wait .5 sec instead of .25 sec for it to update the display.
Some units have positions for checking things like diodes, even temperature, beeps to indicate a short, that is up to you. What you "need" is a readout for AC/DC volts, ohms (resistance), amps (current). Other stuff is "nice". Without the nice stuff but with just a little knowledge you will know what a short reads, how to check a diode, and to the person above how to check a capacitor. On that, an electrolytic capacitor has polarity, a meter on ohms outputs a small voltage and current. With leads matching the capacitor polarity the capacitor will charge from the meter, initially it will be near a short and as it charges the resistance will increase until near open and has reached the full charge from the meter. When leads are reversed it will instantly discharge and the resistance will drop to near zero. Won't tell you farads but you can tell it is being a capacitor. If you read a static resistance in both directions it is probably bad.
Don't worry about a meter blowing up in your hand, that happens when an electrician carelessly takes his Cat III meter and accidentally measures the 10000V main side of a transformer instead of the 480 output side. An arc flash initiates inside the meter and it is either death or maiming. As a homeowner nothing you do with the meter will cause it to blow up. If checking current and seriously overload the meter capacity you will open the internal fuse, just replace the fuse. Volts, you are not going to exceed 600V continuously. They all have internal protections if you have it on the wrong setting.
Attached is a pic of the shirt pocket meter I carry in my tool kit on long trips. It is an Extech, think it was like $15, works fine because I only use it on occasion every few years, works and reads the same as my clamp-on fluke. A downside to it is the leads are not replaceable. Over the life of a hard used meter you will replace the leads a few times. They snag and break, continuity gets intermittent so readings are unreliable, meter connection point gets loose, insulation gets rubbed/cutoff (this is VERY dangerous to you). Best that a meter has replaceable leads.
Lots of acceptable choices, this would be a good unit, all the basics and lots of bells and whistles too. The NCV (Non Contact Voltage) tester will light and maybe give a tone if there is hot AC very close, usually >90VAC. Indicates you need to be careful where and how you are touching. But NEVER rely on a ncv for safety if it doesn't light you still need to verify with a reading, if it lights ok you know there is voltage present. So many personal cases where a fluke ncv did not light and there was still voltage, maybe even 480, you learn to always confirm non-presence. Southwire while not fluke or klein it is a known name in the industry.
Klein is very well known in the industry.
Klein Tools MM400 is an auto-ranging multimeter that measures AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, and resistance. It can also measure temperature, capacitance, frequency, duty-cycle, and test diodes and continuity.www.homedepot.com
On the lower and simpler end of things, similar to my pocket meter but with replaceable leads. Only measures in the milliamp range, above meters 10amps.
Just a few examples, enough typing.
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