Best 10 Clamp Meters
As Of July 2022
We did the
Best for Overload Protection
- Combines all your needs in one with AC/DC current & voltage, resistance & continuity
- Return to previous readings with just one tap from the data hold button
- Read the values with ease thanks to the clear & large screen
- Operate it with one hand by opening the jaws from the knob
Top Pick for Vehicles
- Work even when it’s pitch black around as it has a LED light
- 100% safe to use on high-frequency currents with its non-contact voltage detector
- Enjoy accessories such as alligator clips, batteries, test probes & a bag
- Picks the right decimal point in seconds with its auto-ranging
Top Choice for Continuity Test
- Enjoy it as a multimeter thanks to its resistance measurement & capacitance
- Locate voltage without touching live wiring with its non-contact tester
- Know if you’re over the range as it has a low voltage indicator
- Work in dark areas conveniently with the flashlight feature
DIY All Your Current Measurements with the Best Clamp Meters
Are you looking to take on some home improvement projects? Do you want to renovate some home areas but are concerned about the electricity flow? Any HVAC professional will agree that a clamp meter is a valuable tool that’s part of their daily work routine. Stay safe and handle all your voltage measurement needs with the best clamp meters! Add some brilliant tools to your disposal, including laser levels, digital calipers and stud finders, and you’re off to a wonderful handyman journey!
Are you on the fence about which clamp meter is the right choice for you? Stay with us as we walk you through the best options available in the market today to match your DIY and home improvement needs. With our buying guide, you’ll be ready in no time to start working around the house with a superb quality clamp meter!
What are Clamp Meters?
Clamp meters are an essential part of electricians’ tool kits. They offer accurate measurements of electrical currents without having to connect to a circuit board; there are two types available, AC current and DC current clamp meters.
These tools are digital measuring devices with a jaw-like connector at the end that come in different sizes to fit all your needs. The clamps fit securely on electrical conductors so that you can test accurate readings without removing the entire circuit wiring. Their versatility is unlike any other tool, as you can read AC and DC currents with them. Generally, the lower-priced ones have a smaller measurement range, but they are still handy for home use.
Some clamp meters also have analogue and digital integrations that allow you to test out more complex electrical currents besides the standard ones. The most high-tech clamp meters can also remove damaging waveforms that give less precise readings with their built-in True RMS (TRMS) technology.
How do clamp meters work?
Clamp meters are a versatile current measurement device that professionals usually have in their tool bags to test currents in commercial buildings and projects. Their testing capacity can reach higher than 400 amps. Some HVAC technicians also use them because they are suitable for temperature readings when the clamp meters include the K-type thermocouples. That way, they can test out different temperature measurements in heating, cooling and ventilation systems.
Depending on what type of digital clamp meter you buy, the working mechanism will be different. If you only want to measure AC currents, you would have to go for a transformer type. The first thing you have to do when measuring currents is clamp the meter around the conductor. The conductor will be in the space between the clamps and the digital device. When there are current changes, the magnetic field surrounding the conductor will also shift. The wire’s current will create a shift in the clamps too. That current change will equal the conductor’s current measurement. Keep in mind that this working mechanism will be zero if you use it on DC as it’s only fit for AC.
For better function, AC/DC clamp meters can work with both current types by using Hall Effect sensors. These sensors are suitable to measure AC/DC voltage. In layman’s terms, what’s the difference between current and voltage? Well, currents are the measurement of electrical flow through any voltage. You can use clamp meters to diagnose how much power an electrical device is using at any moment.
Why do you need a clamp meter?
There are many advantages to owning a clamp meter as part of your toolbox. Many models come with functionalities that can help you check the electricity flow through any minimum or maximum current. They eliminate the need of putting your hands too close to electricity, thanks to their wide jaw opening.
1. They’re safer than cutting live wiring to insert a test lead.
The biggest benefit to owning a clamp meter is that you can use it to test out electricity flow without getting your hands too close to the currents. The traditional way to test out a current would be to cut through a live wire and insert a test lead, but that could be more dangerous. There is a bigger risk in this way to cause accidents for yourself or others. But, clamp meters are here to save the day and make your tasks a breeze.
2. They give you a higher accuracy level.
No matter how experienced you are, nothing can beat the accuracy of a digital clamp meter’s readings. A clamp meter can show measurements down to the smallest digit increments. Also, many of these devices have data holding features that allow you to store your readings and keep tabs on what you’ve measured. It’s way more convenient than memorising things in your head or jotting it down in notebooks. It’s less forgetful and better legible!
3. They are more flexible to go into tight wire settings.
Another excellent benefit to clamp meters is their flexibility. When you are working in tight nooks and crannies that are hard to reach with your hands, you can use these powerful tools. They come with probes that are very elastic and can go even in the tightest wire sets.
10 things to look for when buying a clamp meter
Are you interested in learning a bit more about the top features to consider before purchasing a clamp meter? We’ve added up a list with the must-haves to look for so that you pick just like the pros! After you’ve read this section, we are positive that you’ll have a better understanding of what matters the most.
1. Clamp Size
The clamp size is the distance between the jaws of the meter. There are two opening jaws at the end of the meter that help you get the right current reading. The size varies from one model to another, but you can expect a 17mm to 45mm range. You should pick one that fits snugly in your hand for a comfortable grip without any strain.
The resistance is the limit up to which your meter can stop the electrical flow current. It’s a helpful indicator to understand with how much difficulty a current flows from a conductor. The maximum resistance metrics can range from as little as 4-kilo ohms for mini clamp meters up to 10-kilo ohms. The higher the resistance, the more heavy-duty devices it can handle. For home use, you should opt for a smaller resistance.
3. LCD Screen
A backlight or LCD display will give you convenience when you’re working in dark or low-shaded areas. Also, you can work non-stop, even when the sun sets or overnight. It’s not so much of a performance feature, but it does offer less of a hassle while working. Also, check for a display with large numbers so that the readings have clear visibility.
4. Safety Features
Considering you’ll be dealing with wiring and electrical currents, you must purchase a high-quality device with the most advanced safety features possible. A clamp meter with a non-contact voltage detector is an excellent option as it checks the electrical status without actually touching any wiring. AC voltage runs the risk of accidents and can be quite dangerous if mishandled. Having this safety feature will ensure that there are no live wires before you start working around it. Also, check the product description for the tool’s safety rating as it’s a good indicator of its quality. The most popular safety ratings are CAT II, CAT III and CAT IV. When possible, opt for the higher-end CAT III & CAT IV to have peace of mind.
5. Crest Factor
The crest factor is the current waveform’s measurement. You can calculate the factor by checking the current’s peak value compared to its Root Mean Square Value (RMS). This factor will benefit you for circuit overload protection, so your digital clamp meter must display the value on its screen.
6. Bluetooth Connectivity
Some advanced digital clamp meters can connect to your smartphone device via Bluetooth. By connecting your clamp meter to your smartphone, you can set it up to do measurements on its own while you monitor it via the manufacturer’s app.
7. Ampere Rating
Every clamp meter comes with an Ampere rating (amp) that determines whether or not it can handle heavy-duty projects. Most devices for home use range between 300-400 Ampere ratings (amp), but there are other more robust models reaching up to 1000 Ampere ratings (amp). Take some time to review the different ratings and pick the one that makes the most sense for the types of projects you have in hand.
If you can find a clamp meter that comes with some form of warranty protection, you should opt for that model. The most well-known manufacturers included a limited 1 to 3-year guarantee that covers parts replacements in damage cases. That way, you can have peace of mind without the need to get into troubleshooting it on your own. Also, you can use the device as much as you want, even on the maximum recommended currents, and if there’s ever any problem, the manufacturer can cover its repair costs.
9. Long Battery
Do you want to be able to work non-stop and on multiple projects on a single battery? Most clamp meters require either two AA or AAA batteries which equals more than 150 hours. If you want never to pause mid-use, some models have a low battery indicator, helping you stay in control while operating it.
For ease of use while working and when you want to store the digital clamp meter away, look for options that come with accessories. Some manufacturers include a storage bag so that you can keep the tool dust-free when you’re not using it. Others also add some alligator clips for convenience to create temporary electrical connections. These can be real lifesavers when you’re in the work zone and space is too confined to move to and from your toolbox.
What is the difference between a clamp meter and a multimeter?
There are a couple of differences between clamp meters and multimeters. Nowadays, these two tools have blended together as many manufacturers include the functionalities of both in one product. A digital multimeter is a voltage measurement tool, whereas the clamp meter is a current measurement tool. Read more about them below to understand their functionalities.
A clamp meter offers versatility when working with currents (amperage). They can read with precision from the smallest to the highest currents. Some even offer false readings elimination for even better accuracy in your measurements. That way, you have close to no chances of error. For non-contact measurements, we recommend picking a current clamp as they are very safe.
You can use a multimeter as a device to calculate the voltage readings (voltage). They are efficient in finding the resistance, low currents and voltage with excellent accuracy. Electricians prefer using these as they are suitable for low and medium power circuits.
Newer clamp meter models include the features of a multimeter for an all-in-one product, including low impedance mode to detect stray and ghost voltages, giving you even higher accuracy. Before using a clamp meter for multimeter chores, make sure that your device can work within that range not to damage the tool.
How much should you spend on a clamp meter?
Clamp meters are a professional and amateur DIYer’s tool, so many options range from affordable to high-end ones. Depending on the heavy-duty task you have to tackle and your budget, you can find options to match your needs.
The most inexpensive clamp meters start from as little as £12.99 up to £35.99. These may come with an auto-ranging multimeter, voltage tester, diode tests and lower resistance, fit for home use. Most will also have capacitance, continuity and temperature measurement tests and a backlit display. One neat feature these may lack that their more expensive counterparts can have is auto-calibration. The auto-calibration lets you start faster when you’re on the field.
The premium models will have advanced technologies and state-of-the-art features. Their cost can reach up to £180, but those are mostly for professional use. Still, they will have fantastic features such as automatic non-contact testing, an ergonomic design, AC/DC measurements for more than 600 volts. You can also expect to find some reliable automatic-ranging true RMS clamp meters within this price range.
Find the best clamp meter that measures AC and DC currents with accuracy! Take on all the home improvement tasks you’ve been putting off because of the added costs that come with hiring a contractor electrician. A clamp meter is an excellent tool that will give you safety while working close to live wiring. Make accurate measurements with no errors and the utmost precision time and time again!
We are optimistic that our buying guide has helped you better understand these tools, especially if you’re a newbie in home improvement projects. Take some time to read through our top recommended picks and select the one that fits your needs. Are you ready to start working like a pro electrician?