Clamp meters: How to choose the best model for 2021?
Your visit is always very welcome. Today we are going to talk about an important device for anyone who needs to deal with wiring and electricity, the clamp meter!
We are dependent on this energy, and its usefulness is as great as the danger in handling it improperly. Using proper equipment can save your life, and this tool is considered indispensable for professionals in the field!
Curious? We hope so, because now we are going to show you what you need to know (characteristics, models, criteria for choosing) about the clamp meter, so that you can make another great acquisition to your tools.
First, the most important
- A clamp meter, despite its name, has little in common with a normal plier, and has totally different functions. What it does is “stick” the wire inside its tweezers, and provide you with data on a digital screen.
- It is considered an ideal tool for measuring voltages – in direct or alternating current – up to “moderate” (in the range of 480 volts), even though such specification is described in the product, which will facilitate your choice.
- Unlike other equipment, such as the multimeter, the clamp meter does not need to be connected to the circuit to measure the current. When measuring the magnetic field of a wire, it becomes a more practical and safe way.
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Best Clamp Pliers: Our Recommendations
If you are looking for the best clamp meter, you are in the right place. We have selected some of the best on the market so you have options to choose from. After all, only you can evaluate which one can meet your needs. Check the list below:
- Minipa Digital Clamp Meter
- Hikari Portable Digital Clamp Meter
- Digital Clamp Meter MINIPA – Professional
- Hikari Ha-3700 Professional Digital Clamp Meter
To buy a clamp meter, first, it is important to understand a little more about this equipment. As it is a product that can put the lives of those who use it at risk – if the proper care is not taken – we have made a complete guide for you to write down all the details before finalizing your purchase.
What is a clamp meter and how to use it?
Clamp meters are equipment used primarily to measure the electrical current of lower voltage circuits (the limits of the pliers for all measurements are indicated in your manual), being considered one of the safest and most practical instruments for this demand.
Unlike other forms of measurement, in which the needles need to touch a current passage location, its main characteristic is the fact that it does not need to be in direct contact with electricity, performing the measurement by magnetic information from the wire.
With the proper care of handling and use (detailed in the instruction manuals of each product), it offers great safety for the user, in addition to quick results for any measurement you make.
Here’s how to use a clamp meter:
When launched, clamp meters were only intended to measure electrical currents and still faced opposition (many professionals claimed to have failed measurements). But, over time, they have been refined and improved.
Today, many equipments are checked by INMETRO, guaranteeing the quality of their data, in addition to having the possibility of measuring other electrical quantities, in addition to the current.
The clamp meter is undoubtedly a very versatile tool for electrical measurements, delivering the information safely and quickly to its user.
Clamp meter is the best choice for measuring current?
Until the release of the clamp meter, all methods for measuring currents within a circuit involved direct contact of the device, or an extension of it, with electricity.
These conditions pose a potential risk to the user’s health, as well as increase the time required for measurements. The clamp meter is a latest bet from the industry, with the aim of making the measurement more agile and safe for you.
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“A safe work environment guarantees a healthy worker”
Over the years, clamp meters have accumulated functions that previously existed only in more traditional equipment (voltmeters and multimeters, for example), and today are very complete measuring instruments.
One of its main direct competitors is the multimeter, a measuring instrument with several possibilities – just like pliers – which has been on the market for much longer.
There are enthusiasts for both devices, and really, we can find excellent options in both categories. Therefore, we believe that a comparative table can help:
As you have noticed, a clamp meter is capable of accomplishing everything that a multimeter proposes, and the opposite is also true.
The main difference is in the possibility that the first provides to perform the measurement without direct contact with the circuit, reducing the risk of the user’s life.
And, if you still need to take the measurement in a place that has no wiring, but two poles of energy, most clamp meters have entry in your body for probes, which will allow this measurement in the same way performed by a multimeter.
See in this video a test of measurements involving clamps and multimeters:
To avoid discontent, always try to identify your need and then, what characteristics the product must have to satisfy them.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a clamp meter?
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve certainly understood the benefits of this device. Speaking of its advantages, we can highlight its security. In addition, it is one of the most complete and versatile measuring devices.
There are still different models for every pocket. However, the most complete ones are still quite expensive, costing even more than R $ 500.
Another disadvantage is that because it has a battery, it can let you down when you need it most. Although the battery usually lasts a long time, always be aware before starting a service.
When we talk about measuring instruments, which is the case with this clamp meter, you must take into account the purpose of the acquisition and how you intend to use it.
For more “domestic” use, or for electricity enthusiasts, prices can range from R $ 50 to R $ 120. If properly calibrated and taken care of, they provide the same information as other more expensive ones.
There are, therefore, options that go beyond this first price range, and easily the R $ 500, which provide a greater quantity of quantities for measurement, and greater range of results.
Therefore, you need to take into account what tasks you intend to perform with the tool, choosing or indicating to the company the best purchase option.
Where to buy?
As it is a product aimed at a specific activity and to a well-defined audience (electrical workers and enthusiasts), these products have their sale more concentrated in stores in the industry (such as civil construction, installers, electrical materials), and even in big department stores.
Often, for this type of product, there is the option to purchase also on the manufacturer’s website.
If you opt for the online purchase solution, use this information for a good search and filter devices suitable to your need, and then find the best price options in online stores like Amazon.
Purchasing Criteria: Compare and rate the clamp meter models
As it is a measuring instrument for electrical energy, it is necessary that you exercise great care in its handling and storage care.
In order to choose the best product for your needs, we suggest that you pay attention to:
- Usage voltage
- Measurement types
Next, we will detail each of the topics, giving you different information, able to help you make the best choice when buying a Clamp Meter.
Clamp meters have certain measurement limits that need to be carefully observed, regarding the risks of serious accidents (which, when involving electricity, can be lethal).
When choosing your pliers, look at his job category, which will tell you what voltage he is capable of working safely (a value in general up to 1000V, although several devices work only up to 600V).
So, be careful when choosing your own, to buy one that has the proper voltage range.
Although the clamp meter is an instrument for measuring current, many of them are capable of carrying out other surveys, such as making diode and continuity tests, or even measuring frequency and temperature.
It is worthwhile, when you are choosing, to observe what types of measurement the device proposes to make and if the quantity of them is adequate to your need, or even to the price of the product compared to others with greater possibility.
It is important to think about this condition, when you deal with elements capable of causing immediate risk to your health or that of others.
There are models that allow the use of probes to access situations that the Pliers cannot.
Likewise, for work in low-light locations, some models offer an illuminated display, which allows measurement even in unfavorable conditions, such as inside large machinery or in dark environments.
Before buying, check that the clamp meter comes with a battery included, and that other items accompany the product. They may even have a carrying case.
Also check if the battery is rechargeable and what is its voltage. Buying the battery separately can make your purchase more expensive.