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My Voltcraft 4095 multimeter is crumbling, so I was wondering which one to buy as a replacement. It has quite some things that it can measure, but although I used all but one of them in the past decade, I was wondering if I really need it. So I had the idea to ask about it here. But then I would have to explain a bit about what I need it for and so on, and in the end the answer would only be useful for me.

So I was wondering if I could ask a question, to which the answer(s) would be some guidelines on how to chose what features/quality a multimeter needs to have. I think this could likely help lots of people having to make the same choice, and instead of asking a dozen or more questions, having it all at one place would be conveniente. But maybe it is too broad?

My idea for the question is, that it asks for various features that a multimeter can measure (voltage AC/DC, current, capacity, resistance, inductivity, duty cycle, frequency, [reverse voltage?], hFE, maybe more, but thats what the current one does). It would also ask for each of them for a useful range, resolution and accuracy. Then a few words about safety categories. All of them should have answers of the kind "as a hobbyist you will most likely not need it/need it always, need it only if X" and for the accuracy part "when you are a hobbyist you need accuracy X, but when you do professional repair it should be Y, and when you frobnicate often you need Z".

But is this a good format for here? Should the whole thing maybe be community wiki so that we can put everything into one answer? The limit is 30k chars, so I don't know if it will fit, an alternative would be to answer each of the measurement parts on its own, but that doesn't fit very well into the SE format.

If it is too broad, what would be a good alternative to collect the same information (i.e. that someone can go through it and rather easily find what multimeter quality parameters are sufficient for him)?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you are looking for a decent multimeter, remove h(FE) from your requirement list. A meter providing h(FE) can safely be considered a lower end multimeter. This has to do with the fact that h(FE) changes with operating point of the transistor, which in turn is different for every circuit. Another simple criterion is that you should want separate buses for voltage and current (shared GND is OK) from a safety point of view. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Nov 4 '14 at 22:28
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Yes, it would be too broad. Consider just the range of use cases that apply to yourself, and the kind of answer it would require to cover the issues related to those cases. Then multiply that by all possible use cases, and it's obvious that the answer would fill a book. That kind of question is just not a good fit for the StackExchange format.

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