Fluke - How robust is your handheld multimeter?

Our thanks to Fluke for allowing us to reprint the following article.

In the world of handheld digital multimeters, maintenance professionals are being deluged with new models, new manufacturers, new functionality, claims about lowest cost, claims about features such as ruggedness, and water- and dustresistance- the list goes on and on. To help put it all in perspective, consider some of the things that are most important to multimeter users.

Is it "CAT rated"?

Safety is, of course, the most important consideration. Make sure that any meter you consider has an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) category and voltage rating (often called a "CAT rating") that is appropriate for the electrical environment in which you will use it. For instance, if you need to make measurements in an electrical panel with 480 V, you'll need a meter that is rated "Category III 600 V" or "Category III 1000 V." This means that the meter's input circuitry has been designed to withstand voltage transients commonly found in this environment without harming the user. (The test leads you use with the meter should have an equal or greater CAT rating.)

A multimeter's CAT rating is usually displayed near its input jacks. Multimeters that are not CAT rated should never be used in high energy, three-phase electrical work environments...

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