A voltmeter is an important measuring tool for engineers, students, electronic hobbyists or even the people who need it for household work.
To find the best voltmeter within your budget, you first have to focus on the features you are looking for, match them with several models available in the market and then choose the best one that fits your budget. Sounds time consuming right? Let’s help you choose one then.
Voltmeters have undergone a lot of changes over the years. There had been new features, existing features improvement, and noteworthy price reduction. But one thing use of voltmeters never had a fall.
What is a Voltmeter
As the name states, a voltmeter is simply a device that measures voltage. Now a question arises, what is voltage? Voltage is simply the potential difference between any two points of an electrical circuit.
So we can define voltmeter as a measuring device that measures the potential difference between two points of an electrical circuit.
How Does a Voltmeter Work
To learn how a voltmeter work, we first need to learn the concept of a galvanometer. A galvanometer is simply an indicating device. Inside of a galvanometer, there is a U shaped fixed magnet consisting a north pole and a south pole. And inside these two poles, there is a coil with a pointy extension.
When any amount of current flows through the coil, a magnetic field is induced around the coil and it cuts the field of the fixed magnet. So, as per the faradays law, a rotation must take place. As the magnet is fixed, the coil rotates along with the pointy extension. The rotation is directly proportional to the amount of current.
Now if we divide the moving path of the pointy end of the coil on a scale proportional to the amount of current flowing through the coil, we can simply measure the current. Since the resistance of the coil is fixed, we can measure the voltage from the Ohm’s law. That’s how a voltmeter work.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Voltmeter
Before buying the best voltmeter of your need, you have to consider certain points. The points are as follows:
Analog or Digital
This is the first decision that you have to make. And to do that you must know the differences between them. There are pros and cons with both types. You can see the basic comparison in the table below:
|Factor||Analog Voltmeter||Digital Voltmeter|
|Sensitivity||More sensitive||Less sensitive|
|Accuracy||Less accurate||More accurate|
Depending on your work, you can decide which factors you can sacrifice and which ones you can’t. So choosing the right one is always up to you.
Accuracy is an important factor in choosing the best voltmeter. Not all voltmeter with providing you best accuracy. The accuracy will vary with the manufacturers and the models. So choosing the best one might be hard.
The accuracy of a voltmeter may vary with the circuit you work on. For example, for electronic circuits, great accuracy is needed. So, choose the best one wisely.
The design is an important part of a voltmeter. This is the first thing you will notice before taking it to hand. Before digging into the specifications, the design makes the first impression to its user. So you have to choose a voltmeter that looks good along with great specifications.
Resolution of a voltmeter is another factor you should take into consideration before buying one. Resolution of a voltmeter is the smallest increment the device can show. Voltmeter with the smallest resolution is the better one. This increases the accuracy of the device. But, the higher the accuracy, the greater the price. You need better results or you want to be economical, this decision is yours to be made.
Counts are parameters that describe the resolution of a voltmeter. The greater the counts, the better the resolution. For example, voltmeter having 20000 counts is simply better than the one having 2000 counts.
A good voltmeter always comes with built in safety features. A voltmeter is a delicate device. If subjected to a higher voltage beyond its range, the device can be damaged.
Voltmeters have automatic isolators that disconnect the voltmeter from the circuit if it senses higher voltage than its capacity. This is a very useful feature for a voltmeter for its long life.
The comfort of using a device doesn’t just lie the device only. There are accessories that make the use of that device easier to understand and friendly to operate.
To compete with the best voltmeters in the market, a voltmeter must come with the accessories that a user will seek. I don’t know about you, but I will certainly give enough concern in this factor before choosing the best voltmeter.
Best Voltmeters [Recomended]
1. DROK Flat Plug AC 80-300V
In the query of the best voltmeter, DROK Flat Plug AC 80-300V might become just the tool that will meet your desire.
This voltmeter has a monitor which is tiny and neat. It won’t take a lot of place in your toolbox. Since the device is very small in size, it is very light in weight as well. This fit in your pocket so well that you won’t feel a thing.
It comes with a built in blue backlight. Imagine yourself working at night or in low light. A backlight behind the LCD display of your tool will definitely come in handy. Since the backlight is blue, it won’t hurt your eyes.
The voltmeter has a potentiometer to adjust the accuracy in case it deviates from the actual. This is a lifesaver when you want a precise measurement.
This one feature defines the tool. It’s very easy to use the voltmeter.
This model of voltage monitor suits for measuring the ac voltage in many places, such as office, factory, labs, household and so on.
The device consumes a very little power. And it looks very neat and attractive as well. As the device is small, it may easily get lost. Besides, since it’s measuring range is limited to 80-300V, voltage higher than 300V may damage the device easily.
2. DROK AC 100-300V 100A Multimeter
If you can measure both voltage and current with a single device, why would you buy two for each work? That’s why multimeters were invented.
DROK AC 100-300V 100A Multimeter has a pretty wide measuring range. It can measure voltages within the range of 80-300V and current of 0.1-100A. So, if you are not dealing with very high voltages or current, you might be interested in this device.
The device has an LCD display with a blue backlight. This is definitely a great feature considering the price.
The multimeter doesn’t require any additional power supply. So, there is no additional concern. The device simply draws a little power from the circuit you’re working on.
The field of using this multimeter is not versatile. This is mainly used in power systems with a power distribution box, distribution cabinet, voltage regulators etc. However, you can still use this multimeter as teaching aids, in the household in a small distribution box and so on.
The multimeter is light in weight, so carrying them is easy. Besides, the multimeters are widely available and easily affordable. They have an attractive design as well.
Since the range of this device is not very high, they can easily be damaged when subjected to high voltage. Also they only measure voltage and current. They can’t measure frequency, capacitance, continuity. That’s a major drawback of this multimeter.
3. Bayite DC 6.5-100V 0-100A Multimeter
Although alternating currents took over the entire world, most control systems run on DC. That’s where DC Digital Voltmeters fit just right in.
Bayite DC 6.5-100V 0-100A is one of the best voltmeters on the market. This particular model from Bayite has some unique and interesting features.
This voltmeter has a large screen LCD which is capable of showing voltage, current, active power and energy at the same time. This is a feature that most other voltmeters don’t provide.
In case there is any power failure, there is no risk of losing the data. This voltmeter can store when the power goes off.
The voltmeter comes with a built in blue backlight. In case you don’t want it, you can turn it off manually.
Another important feature of this voltmeter is that it has an alarm system. When the active power becomes larger than the threshold, backlight and the power display will flash.
The voltmeter is mostly designed for indoor works. So, bringing this outdoor should be prohibited.
This device has pretty high accuracy and it consumes very little power as well. It can measure two times within a second. But you have to be careful that the voltage should always be kept below the voltage it can withstand.
4. SMAKN 2 Wire Green DC 4.0-30V Voltmeter
With the advancement of electronics, LEDs became the most talked thing lately. LEDs are being found everywhere. Now let’s introduce you with a voltmeter that embraced LEDs very well.
SMAKN® 2 Wire Green DC 4.0-30V, a digital DC voltmeter of SMAKN, has a LED display to show the results. It has three 0.56 inch LED panel to display three digits of voltage.
The LEDs are green, so it’s clearly visible even in bright day light. Even it is very visible from a great distance.
The voltmeter has a capacity of withstanding temperatures lying in the range of -10 to 65 degree Celsius.
This voltmeter does not have any battery simply because it does not require any. It draws a little power from the working circuit.
The voltmeter has a wide range of use, particularly for indoor applications. The device has a bright LED so it is very helpful for use in the darkness. So, electrical and electronic devices use it for monitoring of voltage level.
The voltmeter is tiny in size and so it weighs a little. Since it does not require any battery, you don’t have to think about changing it like other battery powered devices.
5. MICTUNING LED Digital Double Voltmeter
How would you feel if you find the battery of your car dead in an emergency? You would wish you had a voltage monitor for your battery. Here is a solution for you. MICTUNING LED Digital Double Voltmeter has a pretty good reputation in that business.
This voltmeter has two individual display for monitoring two battery voltage at the same time. The readings are real time, so in case you have to change a battery, you will know on that instant.
The two displays are both LED. They come in blue. Each display has 3 individual LED panel, so it can show voltage levels in three digits. The displays are scratch and corrosion resistant.
This voltmeter has built in over voltage and over current protection. The device normally detects voltage in the range of 10-60V. In case there is over voltage or current, the device will trip.
The voltmeter is made of eco-friendly and flame retardant ABS plastic. It is dust proof and highly durable.
The voltmeter has a wide use in the transportation system. See the cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses around you? You will find at least one LED Digital Double Voltmeter installed inside.
The voltmeter has good conductivity pins with black matte surface treatment. So it is worn and tear resistant. The blue LED is bright enough to notice at daylight of all intensity.
6. Waterproof Monitor DC 4.5-150V Voltage Tester
When you are riding a sporting vehicle i.e. motorcycle, there is always a possibility of its direct contact with water. And to keep the vehicles monitoring system still intact, waterproof monitor voltmeters are invented.
Among the hundreds of models of waterproof voltmeters, DC 4.5-150V 12/24/36/48V Volt Battery Meter Voltage Tester is one of the best one. It not only gets the job done, it is certainly one of the best in the business.
The most significant feature of this voltmeter is that it is waterproof. And more to mention, it is moisture proof, dustproof, and shockproof as well.
The display has 3 bit LED digital tube. It can show voltages in the range of DC 4.5-150V with high precision. The LEDs are all blue, so it is very bright.
The voltmeter doesn’t require any additional power supply. It draws only 5-20mA while measuring.
The voltmeter is mainly used in motorcycles, rally cars, sports cars and other vehicles that have frequent contact with water. It is also used in places where it gets direct contact with rainwater.
The voltmeter has built in epoxy plotting and oil pollution prevention. So the device is protected in all ways. The device can operate in low temperatures i.e. 10 degree Celsius and high temperatures i.e. 65 degree Celsius. So it can be used in versatile places.
7. IZTOSS Car Motorcycle Waterproof Voltmeter
People, who want their tool to have a classy and gorgeous look along with great performance, this device is certainly the one they need.
This device from IZTOSS, has a 3 bit LED digital display which comes in blue. The LEDs are bright enough to work in almost all lighting condition.
The rigid body of this made from eco-friendly plastic. And of course, it is waterproof. It is shock, dust and moisture proof as well.
The installation of this device is very easy. It has a twist and lock system. Besides, it can also be installed with two wire system.
The protection of this device is outstanding. There is a red indicator in the middle of the display that blinks when the voltage exceeds it withstand range i.e. 5-15V.
The model of the voltmeter is suitable for all 12V vehicle such as Cars, Motorcycles, Bus, Boats, RV car, Yacht, SUV and off-road vehicles.
The device has a polarity protection that made the installment easier. The unique display shows the three states of battery level with 3 colors. This is useful in quick checking.
How to Hook Up a Voltmeter in a Circuit
Voltmeters are very precise instruments. A little more current than its capacity can burn the winding and damage the device.
A voltmeter measures the potential difference. So you need to hook its ends to the two points which voltage you want to measure. This means you always have to put a voltmeter parallel to the working circuit.
Who Needs a Voltmeter
The use of a voltmeter is simple, so are the types of its user. A voltmeter is a regular tool for engineers. It is a common practice to measure the voltage before establishing an electrical connection. This is done due to safety purpose. So engineers use it extensively.
A voltmeter is widely used in fault detection in transmission lines. So it’s important to power engineers is prominent.
Nowadays, electronics is being popular as a hobby. Students from different levels are getting along with basic electronics and making their own little projects as a source of amusement. And on that path of amusement, voltmeter plays a small but important role.
Electronic circuits are delicate and sensitive. Almost every electronic equipment runs on low voltages. A high voltage will certainly damage the equipment and the circuit as well. For this safety purpose, precise measurement of voltage is required. And that’s where a voltmeter would come in.
Besides engineers and electronic hobbyists, people with regular life may also need a voltmeter in their day to day household chores. They may need it in case of any handy electrical repairing.
Types of Voltmeter
With the advancement of technologies, there have been many significant changes in voltmeters. But the fundamentals were always the same. Voltmeters are vastly divided into two categories:
Analog voltmeter shows the level of voltage with the help of a needle like a pointer. The pointer deflection is dependent on the magnitude of the voltage. The more the voltage, the more the deflection.
The main drawback of an analog voltmeter is that it is quite tough for the beginners to precisely understand the reading.
Digital voltmeter shows the level of voltage in an LCD / LED display as digits. The basic components of a digital voltmeter are almost the same as that of an analog voltmeter. There is an additional equipment called analog to digital converter (ADC) which converts analog data to digital format.
The main advantage of a digital voltmeter is the ease of understanding the reading. Besides, a digital voltmeter can show the reading up to 3 decimal points which increase the accuracy.
Comparing the two above voltmeter types, we can see that, the main difference between them is the display. The analog voltmeter shows the reading through pointer deflection whereas the digital one shows the reading through decimal digits.
Now you are the one who will choose which one of them fits your need, which one of them will save your time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the factors that decide the type of voltmeters?
Ans: There are several factors, but the mains are display, working place, water resistivity, specific feature etcetera.
Q. Why are the voltmeters always connected in parallel?
Ans: The resistance of a voltmeter is typically very high. If we connect a voltmeter in series of a circuit, there will not flow significant current due to high resistance. So, the circuit will not work as it should be.
Q. How to increase the range of a voltmeter?
Ans: To increase the range of a voltmeter, you have to increase the internal resistance. And to do so, any required resistance is connected in series of existing resistance. This series resistance is known as the shunt.
Q. Why does a voltmeter have high resistance?
Ans: A voltmeter has high resistance so that it draws the minimum amount of current from the working circuit.
Q. What are the differences between a voltmeter and a multimeter?
Ans: A voltmeter measures only voltage whereas a multimeter can measure voltage, current, frequency, energy, capacitance and so on.
Q. What is the Resistance of an Ideal Voltmeter?
Ans: The resistance of an ideal voltmeter is infinite.
The most important thing you need to know before buying the best voltmeter is that there will be no product that will fill all your need. You have to choose one that has the most features at an affordable price. The best part is that the voltmeters discussed here are all affordable.
A voltmeter is not a tool that you have to change daily. A voltmeter generally lasts very long if you use it very carefully. And you will care for your tool only when it will be your favorite. So, take your time before choosing the best voltmeter so that you don’t regret later.
Always remember one thing. You will be dealing with electricity while dealing with the voltmeter. Ensure your safety first. Then you can play with electricity.
Good luck with your adventure.