Maybe, you are searching for an electrical measuring device that can measure the current. You know they are either multimeter or clamp meter. But, you are not sure which one to choose from. Because getting a little confused about how one differs from another, you start to dig more information about how they contrast to another.
Simply, a clamp meter is primarily a current measuring instrument with some voltage capabilities, whereas a multimeter can measure both voltage and current equally. But, what makes a clamp meter a special device compared to a multimeter, and vice versa? In what situation do you have to use the clamp meter over the multimeter, and vice versa? How do they differ in terms of look? We will answer those questions here.
Clamp Vs. Probe
One of the things that differ a clamp meter from a multimeter is how they touch the object being measured. As the name says, a clamp meter utilizes a clamp, while a multimeter utilizes a probe. The clamp makes no touching to the object, while the probe forces you to touch the object directly. How these hands work is also different. The clamp makes use of a Hall Effect sensor, while the probe is just a conductor.
A clamp meter is an electrical measuring instrument applied to measure current in the safest, most convenient, and most efficient way possible without the need for any test leads.
As we know, magnetic fields can occur when current runs through a conductor. Therefore magnetic fields can be monitored using this device to provide a readout of the related current.
These instruments do not interrupt the flow of current, allowing the technician to measure swiftly and safely.
A clamp meter’s basic operation is based on the magnetic induction principle to measure alternating current (AC) without touch. The current traveling through a wire, like any other conductor, generates a magnetic field. To reduce the voltage across the sensor, Hall Effect sensors measure the magnetic field induced by current flow.
The usage and operation, as previously explained, are quite straightforward. Choose the type of current (AC or DC) for the wire/circuit you want to measure first. Then define the measurement range based on the magnitude of current you want to measure. When you’re ready, open the clamp meter’s jaws and clamp them around the wire you want to measure. For optimal measurement precision, place the wire in the center of the clamp.
Multimeters, as opposed to clamp meters, are used to measure resistance, voltage, and, on occasion, current. These meters typically use probes to measure current, voltage, and resistance.
Unlike clamp meters, these must be linked to a circuit via parallel and series connections in order to measure voltage and current. The function and operation of a multimeter are similar for both analog and digital types. This instrument includes two leads. The black (COM) color lead is used to plug into the common port, whereas the red color leads into other ports based on the requirement.
Once the leads are hooked in, the knob in the center of the instrument can be turned “ON” to perform the proper function for the specific component test. To get a reading from the meter, touch the end of each probe to the end of the component terminals. When doing the measurement, you must be very careful not to contact the bar ends of the metal in the tester when it is triggered, or it can create a short circuit and damage the meter itself.
Which Measuring Challenge They Are Excellent
Choosing between a clamp meter and a multimeter comes down to your preference and what you intend to achieve. A clamp meter is great for measuring current, but for other measurements such as voltage, resistance, and frequency, a multimeter is preferred for superior resolution and accuracy.
If you are concerned about your safety, a clamp meter, which is safer than a multimeter, is the perfect instrument for you. This is because it features a clamp to which you can clamp a single wire without breaking the circuit.
Having both tools is beneficial since it encourages accurate measurements and troubleshooting. When deciding between the two, it is critical to first understand what these electrical testers are used for.
A clamp meter is a superior solution for quickly taking current measurements on active circuits. A multimeter, on the other hand, is a superior alternative if you require a general-purpose tool for every electrical equipment.
Advantages of Clamp Meter Over Multimeter
- Unlike multimeters, clamp meters can measure high currents and allow you to monitor current without damaging the circuit.
- Good for dual-purpose measurements, such as machine speed and current drawn.
- Can measure both AC and DC currents
- The most significant advantage of the clamp meter is its compactness.
- Unlike multimeters, the fuse has a higher current rating.
- When compared to multimeters used by technicians and engineers, it is safer.
Advantages of Multimeter Over Clamp Meter
- More measurement criteria, such as voltage, capacitance, and frequency, are now possible.
- High-resolution measurements of electrical systems.
- Higher accuracy
- Relatively less expensive as compared to clamp meters
- It is better for electronic work
The Overlapping Function Between the Two: Which One is Better?
Up to this point, we can conclude that the only major overlapping function between the two devices is that they can measure current at different ranges, even though a multimeter is capable of measuring all the parameters.
However, when working with high levels of current, it is always recommended to proceed with the utmost caution, and that’s where a clamp meter is perfect for the job.
Besides, in terms of accuracy, since most the engineers and designers are aiming for accuracy, a multimeter as we discussed earlier is more accurate than a clamp meter when it comes to measuring electrical parameters, in this case, it’s current.
On the other hand, in terms of safety, since these devices are more popular in industrial settings where high voltage levels exist, safety is more important than accuracy. As a result, a clamp meter would be more preferred than probing a multimeter in a high power system.
Despite the fact that multimeters and clamp meters are used in the same way, they are not the same instrument.
In case you want to measure current in a safer way, then get a clamp meter. But if you want to measure anything else, get a multimeter.
The recent models of these two instruments that combine both meter kinds allow you to enjoy the advantages of both in a single convenient tool.
Whatever the alternative you select, make certain that it provides the necessary measurements, accuracy, and durability for your work. If you evaluate the factors above, you will undoubtedly find a meter that is ideal for you.