The best clamp meter on the market today can do more than measure AC current. Many of these impressive devices also include the functionality of a digital multimeter but have the advantage of taking readings without interrupting the current.
Looking for a clamp meter for your garage? We’ve rounded up the ten best amp clamp meters in 2020. Check out the full reviews below to learn what they can do and find the perfect one for you.
|Editor's Picks||Product||Our Rating|
|Best Overall||Etekcity Auto-Ranging||9/10|
|Runner Up||Fluke 323||8/10|
|Best Budget Buy||Tacklife CM05||9/10|
|Best Value||Uni-T UT210E||8/10|
|Also Great||UEi DL369||8/10|
What Is a Clamp Meter?
A clamp meter is designed to measure alternating current. The clamps on the clamp meter connect to a cable or conductor, letting you measure the current without having to disconnect it. This is helpful in automotive repair since you can work unobtrusively in tight spaces.
Though original clamp meters were designed to measure only AC current, most on the market today have expanded functionality. This includes accepting leads and probes from other electronic components so they can function as a digital multimeter, as well.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is a Clamp Meter?
- 2 Best Clamp Meter
- 2.1 1. Etekcity Auto-Ranging Clamp Meter
- 2.2 2. Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter
- 2.3 3. Tacklife Clamp Meter CM05
- 2.4 4. Uni-T UT210E True RMS Clamp Meter
- 2.5 5. UEi DL369 Digital Clamp-On Meter
- 2.6 6. AstroAI Digital Clamp Meter
- 2.7 7. HOLDPEAK HP-570C-APP Digital Clamp Multimeter
- 2.8 8. IDEAL INDUSTRIES INC. 61-744 Clamp Meter
- 2.9 9. Meterk MK06 Digital Clamp Meter
- 2.10 10. Klein Tools CL110 Clamp Meter
- 3 How Does a Clamp Meter Work?
- 4 Best Clamp Meter Buying Guide
- 5 Final Thoughts
Best Clamp Meter
1. Etekcity Auto-Ranging Clamp Meter
The Etekcity Multimeter is an all-purpose tool for all your electrical testing needs, measuring voltage and resistance as well as current. In addition, it can conduct diode tests and continuity tests. Testing can be done either using the clamp or with the included leads.
The face of the Etekcity Auto-Ranging Clamp Meter is easy to read, even if you’re not experienced with auto repairs. The large screen gives clear readings, and the dial and buttons are well-labeled for usability. It even comes with a carrying pouch so you can take it on the road.
- Accurate measurement of voltage, resistance, and AC current
- Tests diodes and continuity
- LCD display is easy to read
- Hold and max value buttons for quick, easy use
- Includes carrying case
- Automatically sleeps after 15 minutes to avoid energy drain
- Can’t measure DC current
- Included test leads are low quality
The Etekcity Auto-Ranging Clamp Meter is the best clamp meter for those seeking flexibility and accuracy at an affordable price.Check Price at Amazon
2. Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter
Fluke makes equipment designed for use by electricians and mechanics. The Fluke 232 True-RMS Clamp Meter has a slim build that allows you to take measurements in tight spaces. It’s rugged, as well, made to stand up to abuse and extreme conditions without failing.
The Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter is the best clamp meter if you need spot-on accuracy. It uses true RMS measurements to give accurate readings of irregular wave patterns, not only the sine waves cheaper clamp meters. This Fluke ampere meter is simple to operate, with a large digital read-out and a straightforward interface. While it’s easy enough for beginners to use, the IEC safety rating makes it just as suitable for professionals.
- Accurate readings, even on non-linear signals
- Detects wider current range than most clamp meters
- Audible continuity sensor for checking hard to see places
- IEC rated for safety
- Easy to use
- Lasts years, even with regular use
- More expensive option
- Test leads are delicate and expensive to replace
While the Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter costs a bit more than other readers on the list, it’s a durable tool with professional features.
3. Tacklife Clamp Meter CM05
This Tacklife Clamp Meter is definitely a great value for the money. Its sensitive current detection takes audio signal detection to a new level. It emits a varying rhythm and sound depending on the intensity of the voltage detected. This is paired with a backlit display and easy hold and record functions for taking readings in dark or hidden places.
You can take more readings with the Tacklife Clamp Meter, too. It reads capacitance and frequency, along with testing continuity. While it can’t read DC current, it covers all the areas a DIY-er needs to check. And it does it safely, too, with built-in protections against overloads and over-voltage.
- Tests capacitance as well as resistance, continuity, and diodes
- Includes data recording
- Backlit screen for easier work in dark environments
- Auto-off feature saves battery life
- Comes with screwdriver for changing batteries
- Meets CAT safety standards for over-voltage and pollution
- Doesn’t read DC current
- Relatively low maximum current reading
The Tacklife CM05 Clamp Meter has more testing functions than other clamp meters, with some you won’t find elsewhere for the price.Check Price at Amazon
4. Uni-T UT210E True RMS Clamp Meter
The Uni-T UT210E wins the prize for most convenient clamp meter. It’s super portable, only weighing about 6 ounces. Compact dimensions let it fit easily into any tool box or tool belt, perfect for working mechanics and electricians. While this small size does limit the width of the clamps, this is a small concession to make for a clamp meter that fits in your pocket.
True RMS response is necessary if you want consistently accurate readings. The Uni-T UT210E measures the true AC current within 1mA. You also get more options for viewing the readings. Rather than only holding on the most recent reading, the Uni-T UT210E has multiple options to give you a more complete picture.
- Compact and portable design
- True RMS gives accuracy on all waveforms
- Multiple data modes (including min, max, max-min, and zero)
- Tests diodes, continuity, and capacitance
- Measures DC current
- Smaller jaw capacity
- Voltage readings aren’t as accurate in 12-amp range
The Uni-T UT210E has a compact design and true RMS accuracy, which is why we call it one of the best clamp meters for professionals.Check Price at Amazon
5. UEi DL369 Digital Clamp-On Meter
Another great option if you’re looking for professional design touches is the UEi DL369. While the UEi DL369 might be small, it packs a big punch in terms of features. One great feature is the dual display, which gives you twice the information at once you get from other clamp meters. The ability to read DC as well as AC current can be useful for electricians and DIY-ers alike.
The lightweight build of the UEi DL369 makes it very portable. It’s also easier to fit into tight spaces than bulkier clamp meters. The intuitive controls help you get to testing faster—and waste less time learning how to use your meter. We also love the clamp-on design, allowing you hands-free work when you need it.
- Convenient clamp-on design
- Read both AC and DC current
- Dual display
- Compact, portable design
- Tests capacitance and continuity
- Comes with travel pouch and test leads
- Display screen isn’t backlit
- Not a true RMS meter
The UEi DL369 Digital Clamp-On Meter is an auto-ranging scanner that has pro-level features, but in a compact and user-friendly package.Check Price at Amazon
6. AstroAI Digital Clamp Meter
Another great choice if you need the best clamp meter on a budget is the AstroAI Digital Clamp Meter. It tests the basics that a hobbyist or DIY-er needs. This includes testing resistance, voltage, and AC current, as well as frequency, temperature, continuity and capacitance. It even offers true RMS testing, which is rare at the price. You’ll get accurate readings every time with the AstroAI Digital Clamp Meter.
The AstroAI Digital Clamp Meter is perfect for hobbyists, homeowners, and others who lack experience in electronic repair. It has a backlit screen that’s easy to read in all environments. The wider jaw width of the clamp also helps it be useful in more applications.
- Wide jaw opening for larger conductors
- Takes reading quickly
- Great value
- Durable, heavy-duty build
- Backlit LCD display
- Intuitive operation
- Can’t measure DC current
- No capacitance or frequency tests
While the AstroAI Digital Clamp Meter is missing some features you’ll find on more expensive clamp meters, overall it’s reliable and accurate—and a great buy at the price.Check Price at Amazon
7. HOLDPEAK HP-570C-APP Digital Clamp Multimeter
Looking for a smart alternative to the traditional clamp meter? HoldPeak has you covered with the HP-570C-APP Digital Clamp Meter.
You can take readings with just the HoldPeak HP-570C-APP if you want to, using its digital display. It also gives you the option to download the free companion app on your smarhone. Once you do, you can see the clamp meter’s readings in real time. The app also allows you to record and store data for future reference.
The HoldPeak HP-570C-APP has thorough safety protections. It’s double insulated to prevent shocks, with protections against overloads. A larger jaw caliber size lets you measure even larger wires and conductors without the risk you’ll interrupt the circuit.
- Tests both AC and DC current
- Easy to read backlit LCD screen
- Connects via Bluetooth to monitoring app on your smartphone
- Wide jaw size for measuring wider cables
- Range of tests including temperature, frequency, and capacitance
- Double insulation and overload protection
- App compatible with iOS and Bluetooth
- Thermometer only reads in Celsius (not Fahrenheit)
- Screen not backlit
The HOLDPEAK HP-570C-APP is a multi-function meter that combines a full range of features with high-tech touches like built-in Bluetooth.Check Price at Amazon
8. IDEAL INDUSTRIES INC. 61-744 Clamp Meter
Ideal Industries is known for making durable equipment that can stand up to commercial use. The Ideal Industries 61-744 is a straightforward, intuitive clamp meter. That’s the main reason it makes our list.
Even the leads and probes of the Ideal Industries 61-744 Clamp Meter stand up better to wear and tear than those on other clamp meters. Along with high construction quality, it has the safety protections working electricians need.
The usability of the Ideal Industries 61-744 goes beyond its well-designed interface. You can carry this compact clamp meter to any job. Its long, flexible leads are easier to work with, and the true RMS readings are fast and accurate.
- True RMS accuracy
- Simple to use
- Durable probes reach tight test areas easily
- Large clamp tests any wire size
- Comes with testing leads and carrying case
- Not a great value for the included features
- Doesn’t test DC current
While the Ideal Industries Inc. 61-744 Clamp Meter is reliable and user-friendly, it’s not the best value. You can get a clamp meter for less with the same functionality.Check Price at Amazon
9. Meterk MK06 Digital Clamp Meter
The Meterk MK06 has both a backlit display and a built-in flashlight. You can also measure conductors in multiple ways. The probe leads are a good length, and very maneuverable. In addition, the Meterk MK06 has a multi-function socket for measuring transistors.
The Meterk MK06 can test more types of connections and wires than basic clamp meters. It can serve as a DC amp meter as well as measuring resistance and voltage. While it’s not a true RMS meter, the accuracy is high across testing functions. It also includes a live line test function, an important safety feature that prevents shocks during testing.
- Tests hertz, current, voltage, and resistance
- Multi-function socket tests transistors and capacitors
- Backlit screen and built-in flashlight for better visibility
- Very portable design
- Includes convenient carrying case
- Live line test prevents shocks
- Not a true RMS clamp meter
- Leads can get stiff in cold weather
The Meterk MK06 Digital Clamp Meter is designed with professionals in mind, and the best clamp meter for electricians who want a mix of versatility and value.Check Price at Amazon
10. Klein Tools CL110 Clamp Meter
The Klein Tools CL110 includes more ways to test than other clamp meters. It offers the option to measure voltage, resistance, and AC current, along with testing continuity. Like most clamp meters, it includes both the clamp and leads. Where the Klein Tools CL110 stands out is that it also comes with outlet probes for easily testing both standard and GFCI receptacles.
The Klein Tools CL110 includes is a line splitter. This is another thing you won’t find on most clamp meters, and expands its versatility for testing around the home. It’s also very easy to use, with a backlit display and a good-sized clamp jaw opening.
- Includes line splitter
- Double insulated for safety
- Clear backlit display
- Detects common problems like reverse polarity and open grounds
- Comes with receptacle adapters
- Doesn’t measure DC current
- Included case won’t hold all accessories easily
The Klein Tools CL110 Clamp Meter is a thorough and accurate tool suitable for both professionals and hobbyists.Check Price at Amazon
How Does a Clamp Meter Work?
A clamp meter functions on the basis of magnetic induction. When a current flows through a wire, a magnetic field is produced. An altermatic current causes fluctuations in this field. These fluctuations are detected by a current transformer within the clamp meter, then converted into AC readings.
Wondering how to use a clamp meter? The steps are very simple:
- Turn on the clamp meter and make sure the dial is set to the type of current you want to measure. Remove any unneeded probes attached to the clamp meter. Once you’ve done this, check the meter display. You should see confirmation that the meter is on the correct setting and is detecting current.
- Open the jaws of the meter and put them around the wire or component whose current you want to measure. For most clamp meters, there is a level on the side for opening the jaws.
- Close the clamp meter’s jaws and make sure the wire or component is aligned properly to the meter. If there are no alignment marks, do your best to center the object to be measured inside the clamp.
- Read the display of the clamp meter. You should have your reading of the wire or component’s current.
Best Clamp Meter Buying Guide
Now that you’ve read the reviews, how do you choose the best clamp meter? There are a few key factors you can use to make your decision, including:
Measurement and Testing Functions
All the clamp meters above will measure voltage, resistance (ohms), and AC current. More advanced meters will also read DC current, frequency (Hertz), capacitance, and temperature. Having more measurement functions in one device is helpful, especially for professional electricians.
The more compact a clamp meter, the better. This doesn’t just make it easier to carry around between jobs, either. Slimmer units can fit more easily into tight spaces, allowing you to run diagnoses more easily. The placement of the hold button and display can also make it easier to use in cramped spaces.
RMS stands for “root mean square”. Standard clamp meters display an average of the readings taken, which limits their accuracy for measuring spikes and fluctuations. True RMS readings are more precise, especially in diagnosing irregular waveforms.
A clamp meter is a very handy tool for both hobbyists and professionals. The key to finding the best clamp meter is to figure out what you need from it before you start shopping. All ten of the meters above are excellent options for consistently reliable and accurate measurements.