Digital Multimeter - Basic

The digital multimeter (DMM) is an essential tool in every electronic enthusiasts arsenal. The SparkFun Digital Multimeter, however, is not your average multimeter, it features a loud continuity sound, current/voltage sense, and quality probes. You can use the multimeter to measure DC and AC voltage, DC current, resistance, continuity, and test diodes. With this version we've done away with the bright flashy colors that can get us into trouble and gone with a nice, neutral gray. This multimeter should provoke no strong feelings one way or the other, we know this because our guts say "maybe."

This isn't your expensive, flashy type of multimeter, this is for all those starving students that need to buy their first good, low-cost digital multimeter. This meter doesn't have the ability to auto-power off, it isn't capable of auto-ranging, and it won't be able to measure frequency. However, with this multimeter you WILL be able to measure DC Voltage from 200mV to 600V, AC Voltage from 200V and 600v, DC Current between 200uA to 10A, and Resistance from 0 to 20M Ohm. We even left a meter on to test the battery life - it lasted more than 170 hours (7 days) before the included 9V gave out!

  • 1x Digital Multimeter
  • 1x 9V Battery
  • 2x Testing Probes
  • DC Voltage - 200mV/2V/20V/200V/600V
  • AC Voltage - 200V/600V
  • DC Current - 200uA/20mA/200mA/10A
  • Resistance - 0 to 20M Ohm
  • Continuity Buzzer
  • Diode Test
  • Max Display: 1999
  • Not Yellow!

Digital Multimeter - Basic Product Help and Resources

How to Use a Multimeter

January 9, 2015

Learn the basics of using a multimeter to measure continuity, voltage, resistance and current.

2 of 3 found this helpful:

Fuse Information

This meter has 2 fuses. One for the 20uA to 200mA range and the other is for the 10A range. Both are 5x20mm sized. The 10A range fuse is a 10 amp Slow Blow fuse. (We don't stock) The other is a 200mA fast acting fuse. COM-10165

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • The Crazy Maker Guy! / about 6 years ago / 1

    Me like this multimeter! It is really good at making music with the S.H.O.V.E.L... and well testing I guess...

  • Member #788628 / about 8 years ago / 1

    Mine came missing the screw for the battery compartment. Does anyone know what the proper size is for this? Probably have a spare somewhere. Thanks.

  • PointyOintment / about 8 years ago / 1

    Export restrictions? It's just a multimeter! I don't see why it would have any crypto hardware or anything else restricted.

  • PickledDog / about 10 years ago / 5

    No Sparkfun red? I guess somebody has trade dress protection on that too...

    • I actually like the idea of a red version, much more Sparkfun-y.

      • Sickypoo / about 10 years ago / 2

        Yeah! With both probes red as well !!!!

      • I think Uni-T holds the patent (or TM) on red multimeters. I could be wrong.

        • Member #269813 / about 10 years ago / 1

          Really? Patent on a color? How stupid is that!

          • boris_1981 / about 10 years ago / 2

            Yes. You can read what happened to the color here:

          • MicroLAN / about 10 years ago / 1

            Just as stupid as Fluke's patent on the color yellow....

            • Member #94562 / about 10 years ago / 3

              it's not a patent, it's "trade dress". there's a big difference, and there's a reason why fluke has to protect it. it's like having a logo, would you want everyone copying it? no.

              • If I made a yellow product - I wouldn't mind someone else making a yellow product - so no. Sparkfun has not copied anything except the color yellow.

      • laserhawk64 / about 10 years ago / 1

        I agree.

        This thing should be red, not grey.

  • Member #269813 / about 10 years ago / 4

    Just on note of warning about this "cheap" multimeter. Like all cheap multimeters Even though it say AC 600 it's NOT safe to measure the mains voltage or othe high energy circuits, expecially with those plastic probes. It's fine for those battery powered circuits or isolated low voltage Power Supply like the examples in the sparkfun video.

    You can find more about the danger involved with cheap multimeter on youtube or the EEVBLOG.

    GOOD value for this price but, USE with caution!

  • lorenw / about 10 years ago / 3

    You should sell an upgrade kit, that contains black and yellow spray paint !!

    • ha, I think you guys are clever enough to figure out how to do that without a kit.

      • C'mon man, just think about the markup we could get on a roll of low-grade masking tape and a couple of sharpies...

  • Member #445004 / about 9 years ago / 2

    Like all cheap meters this one doesn't have auto-off. That means that if you forget to turn it off 1% of the time and you use it every day. You will have to replace a $3 battery three times a year. I THINK THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR LEAVING OUT A VERY SIMPLE CMOS CIRCUIT THAT TURNS OFF A BATTERY POWERED DEVICE WHEN NOT IN USE. COME ON SPARK FUN; GET IN THE 21st CENTURY.

  • I'm one of the lucky guys that has the Sparkfun grey/yellow here:

    Anyways, I think it is totally ridiculous regarding "trade dress" on colors. If Chevy were to only manufacture blue cars from this day forward - does that mean that Ford or GMC cannot make a blue car??? People would think that is ridiculous. Likewise with multimeters. Color is the only resemblance between the Sparkfun and the Fluke. There are all kinds of colors for multimeters. There are lots of multimeters with yellow backing and grey faces such as : Lodestar, Vichy, Victor, Xiole, CEM that all look like the fluke - just google "yellow multimeter." It's just total nonsense. I feel like i'm on some alien world surrounded by morons.

  • Member #115633 / about 10 years ago / 2

    So where are the accuracy specs? Someone still working on that?

  • Member #157773 / about 10 years ago / 2

    Like the yellow/gray one that caused all the trouble this wears a big "CAT III" safety rating.

    Has SparkFun verified this?

    If not why do you sell it? Who do you think will be liable in the (likely) event of injury or death if this meter is used for the purposes it claims to be capable of?

  • IslandFox / about 9 years ago / 1

    The youtube video included at the bottom is not accessible and it says that it's private. Also, when I click the "Multimeter tutorial" link it does not work. Could someone correct the links and the videos? Thanks.

  • GodFear17 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Should of been red. :)

    I'm so gonna paint my yellow, straight up, perfect match fluke yellow... just because I can.

  • I'd love to see Sparkfun carry a more advanced meter. Perhaps something with capacitance and other less frequently used functions?

  • jthendean / about 9 years ago / 1

    Is the minimum current range 200uA or 20uA? The dial has 20uA.

  • Sam-I-Am! / about 9 years ago / 1

    Does anyone know the overall dimensions of this product?

  • Sam-I-Am! / about 9 years ago / 1

    Does anyone know the overall dimensions of this product? (Height, Width, Depth)

  • raster / about 10 years ago / 1

    I received this meter, and it seems to be working fine, but the first time I took it off the bench I hear something rattling around inside. I assumed it was a screw, but it's a small metal ball. Does anyone know where it belongs? Perhaps it's used for the dial. The dial seems to turn fine though, so should I not be concerned?

  • Rasheverak / about 10 years ago / 1

    Even after I got a $60 auto-ranging meter out of my school for free, this is still my favorite multi. Does exactly what it needs to. Even bought an identical replacement after I dropped a bolt cutter on my first one (an obviously completely unrelated bit of advice: don't carry bolt cutters in poorly secured bicycle panniers.)

    And mine is proudly yellow :). 'Cause I'm a rebel.

  • dead-eye / about 10 years ago / 1

    I was in my local Micro-Center shortly after that whole "yellow is a trademark" incident and found one of the contraband units that the border patrol didn't catch. I didn't even need a multimeter at the time, but I bought it anyway, so I could have a collector's item. I had forgotten about that until this showed up in the New Products Post this week.

  • mctom987 / about 10 years ago / 1

    200V-600V AC? Did you by chance mean 200mV? This is what the product images indicate.

    • cypher543 / about 10 years ago / 1

      The description is correct. The top right yellow section of the dial is DC, the bottom right white section is AC.

  • MilesFromAnywhere / about 10 years ago / 1

    Harbor Freight: Still only $6.99 w/ backlight! Available in Sparkfun-like red color!

    • The Crazy Maker Guy! / about 6 years ago / 1

      This one is from SparkFun and is supporting one of the best small tech company's ever with the best tech support/customer support that answers silly questions. So that is why this one is $15!!!!

      Late :P

  • R_Phoenix / about 10 years ago / 1

    Can I get it in Yellow???

  • Solice / about 10 years ago / 1

    I can totally vouch for this model. I have a not-Sparkfun-branded version of the VC830L that I got from Amazon for $19.99 and it's served me well for years. in fact, I think I'll pick up a second today.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5

Based on 25 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

2 of 2 found this helpful:

Not a Fluke, but not a fluke either!

This meter has its shortcomings, but it's quite good for the price.

The soldering is excellent, there's decent (but not excellent) input protection, a loud continuity buzzer, and all the basic features a student or basic hobbyist would need.

A couple of things I found a bit irritating:

  • Most probes have fully shrouded plugs; these have half-shrouded plugs. If I wanted to replace these with higher quality probes, such as Fluke probes, they wouldn't fit. (Also, the probes are shrouded for a reason!)

  • The range switch is quite nice, but it's impossible to turn one-handed due to the meter's light weight and lack of rubber feet. Even on the stand (which is a bit narrow, but okay), it's hard to turn.

  • I'm no expert, but I'm not quite sure if this really meets CAT III input protection specs. The only input protection seems to be a couple of PTCs and glass fuses-better than some other meters, but still not the best. (At least it isn't as bad as the UNI-T meter with a screwhole right through the supposedly 10A GND trace-check out the EEVBlog on that one!)
  • The continuity buzzer is loud, but takes a second to beep after touching the probes together. It's relatively easy to make it miss a quick tap of the probes. An intermittent connection could be missed.
  • The 1 megohm input impedance is okay for small resistances, but can make measurements inaccurate for larger measurements. You might have to do a little math to extrapolate the actual value of the part being measured knowing that it's effectively being placed in parallel with a 1 megohm resistor. Trying to measure a 1 megohm resistor with this meter will result in a highly inaccurate 0.5 megohms reading.
  • 2000 counts only: while this is good for a basic meter, it shows its shortcomings when you try to measure certain voltages, etc. For example, the ARVBlog (not EEVBlog) on YouTube reviewed this meter and showed this when attempting to measure a precision 2.048V reference voltage.


  • When you turn it on, it just works. No splash screens, no bootup time. It. Just. Works.
  • It's small, compact, and still easily readable and usable.
  • I can't confirm this for myself, but the ARVBlog showed that it's pretty accurate in real-world tests.
  • This thing might get a little scratched up, but it doesn't seem easily damageable.
  • Again, the soldering and construction is excellent, apart from the plastic screen cover (which can be easily pushed in at the center).
  • The input jacks are proper metal cylinders and soldered all the way around into the PCB. Some other meters get away with flimsy split-tubes that fall apart easily.

It's not flashy, but it does the job. For the price, it's quite an excellent little meter and definitely a good pick for a student's first meter. Sure, a $50 Extech or a Fluke 17B would be nice to start with, but this'll do the job for most work. Besides, when you upgrade, this'll serve as a handy backup.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Good value, simple multimeter

Good entry multimeter with basic functions. Great value, slick design. Everything you need for basic usage.

good for the price

Pretty straight forward Does what I need it to...

first multimeter but i think it should be better

this is not the first multimeter that i have ever used, but it is the first that i have had the chance to call my own

i bought it along with some beginners parts and an arduino to start playing with electronics

i read the ridiculous story about the yellow meters and feel like i was lured in with sympathy or something... but at $15 i wasn't expecting much, except for it to work

im not sure if the included leads are supposed to have the metal rods with the points come out of the plastic housing but i suspect that is why i hardly get a reading. i can set the meter to continuity and touch the two probes together and get no sound or sound that will start and stop. it seems to help if i push the metal rods deeper into the housing but needless to say i cant always do this when trying to measure resistors or other components.

perhaps i need to buy better leads but for now i have to say its really not even worth the $15 i spent on it. i cant even measure a 330 ohm resistor and find out what value it is because the connection seems to be so poor

edit (6/4/2015)

after seeing my review I was contacted by sparkfun and they sent me a set of the needle tipped probes from their website. they do seem to work better, however as the member above me pointed out they do not seem to fit correctly in the actual multimeter. because it does work a little better now I will upgrade it to 3 stars, but my honest opinion is to just spend the $$ to get a nice multimeter up front. im going to end up doing that anyways. to each his own. A+ on the customer service from spark fun though.

Solid multimeter.

It's cheap, but it works. It takes a second or two before it'll give you a reading. But it works and for the price it's great

Pretty good multimeter for pretty cheap

I've been using mostly the $5 special from Harbor Freight for a while, and this is is definitely better. The feel of the knob used for settings feels like it's high quality and will last a long time. The plugs make a solid connection and don't feel like they are letting off of their firm hold even after trying to abuse it a bit.

Overall, for general use, this would probably fit most users needs as well as newcomers budgets.

Great multimeter

This multimeter is sturdy enough for most applications, very simple to use, and has decent accuracy for an entry-level multimeter.

works fine, build quality is just ok

so the meter works just fine. my only problem is that the gray face plate can start to pop off during normal use and my unit had a small piece of plastic rattling around inside it when it was new. however for just using at your desk it is just fine, maybe not so good for a mobile tool box where a more rugged one would be preferable.

One of our technicians will be in contact with you. Sorry for the issues, however, these are both quick and easy fixes that can be done with a small phillips-head screw driver.

Good Simple Meter

Not the greatest meter ever made, but also not the most expensive meter ever made. Good enough for most tasks. This is one of the meters I recommend to my students getting started in electronics.

Exceeds expectations

Great product, not much to say about it besides it works exactly as advertised and has a great durability, plus easy to use.

Very good multimeter for the price!

Plug everything in and works right out of the box. Unfortunately, I blew out the 200mA fuse right away by measuring current I wrongly calculated. But the 10A worked perfectly fine for the 400mA I was measuring. Purchased a few 200mA fuses and replacement was easy. Volt meter works like a charm, and ohm meter measures to a T. Continuity worked fine, but I haven't used it long. Diode test is detailed to the thousandths of a volt.

Simply doesn't work well

Intermittent errors on resistance scale, short leads together and sometimes you get 0 other times infinite or something else. Will contact support and try again, maybe the second one will work.

It's a basic DMM.

This is a good basic multimeter for a fair price. The continuity setting works well enough, and it has a bunch of current and voltage ranges that seem to be pretty accurate. However, the other day when I turned it on, the two spring-loaded ball bearings that provide the indents in the dial rotation fell out and were lost. It still works, but now the dial turns smoothly, and you have to point the arrow exactly to the setting you want to use. I have used it quite a bit when my good one isn't handy, and although a bit cheaply made, I have blown several fuses, and it hasn't let me down.

edit: SFE sent me store credit to replace it, their phenomenal customer service is just another reason to buy stuff from them!

Solid build, not too large, sturdy leads, big display. has everything but auto ranging. but it's only $15.

excelente producto

Solid meter at a great price

Sturdy multi-meter that does what it was designed to do. If you're looking for a good value in a multi-meter you can't go wrong.

Good for the price.

If you don't want to spend a lot of money, go with this. If you have money to spare, I'd recommend the other, self-adjusting DMM

Really nice meter, for the price

The sleek design, loud continuity beeper, easy operation, easy read, what's not to like. Just a great meter.

Not great, not terrible

It's a fairly good meter considering the price, but it's got some issues. Biggest problem I have is that there are two ball bearings on springs behind the range switch that are constantly falling out of place. If one falls out it'll (probably) be fine, you'll just hear it rattling around in there, but when the second drops out you'll start getting wildly inaccurate results (presumably because the switch no longer makes good contact). It's not terribly difficult to pull it apart and put them back in place (seven small but easily accessible phillips screws) but I find I have to do that once every couple months, and I'm not getting the meter out more often than about once a week!

Other than that, expect to get what you paid for -- it's a cheap meter, good for the price but fairly basic overall.

Not a great basic multimeter

This multimeter gives inconsistently wrong readings. Additionally, I ordered a multimeter that could read temperature, a feature that I needed for the class I'm taking, and Sparkfun decided to replace it with this one which cannot read temperature. After shipping my order late, the least I would expect was a product that actually works.

Good product for the price

I just use it for small electronics projects, and it's been good for that

Not a great basic multimeter

This multimeter gives inconsistently wrong readings. Additionally, I ordered a multimeter that could read temperature, a feature that I needed for the class I'm taking, and Sparkfun decided to replace it with this one which cannot read temperature. After shipping my order late, the least I would expect was a product that actually works.

It's junk

This DMM kit is awful. DMM does not accept standard test leads, such as the tweezer test probes sold by SparkFun (the plug sockets on this DMM are too short to accept the insulation around regular leads). Also the center conductor on the negative test lead pulled right out because it wasn't bonded to the lead. Garbage.

I'm sorry to hear that you had problems. Please contact us and we'll be happy to help you with this issue.