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A Step By Step Guide on How to Read Digital and Analog Multimeters

Last Updated: 22 December 2020

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To any professional technician, a multimeter is an indispensable tool and a fantastic piece to keep in his or her ‘arsenal’. This remarkable device performs a bunch of functions. Testing batteries, diagnosing and checking electrical circuits as well as measuring electronic parameters are just a few of those we need to mention.

But, how do you read a multimeter? Our step by step guide will tell you what to do when it comes to reading multimeter symbols in your analog and digital devices. We’ve also discovered that using the best multimeter tech gadgets, you can now measure resistance, current, and voltage with ease!

How to Read Ohms on a Multimeter

How to Read Ohms on a Multimeter

Interpreting readings on even the best multimeter devices will help you get the right value every time. Below we have put together a 3 step process to get you started. These tips are tried and tested by many technicians and related professionals. They include:

  • First step: When learning how to read ohms on a digital multimeter, start by getting a resistor. Then, set the resistance function, preferably at the lowest value. Connect the two test probes to the sampling resistor to read the ohm values on display.
  • Second step: checking the range of your resistor. The multimeter will only measure the resistance of up to 200ohms any value higher than that will require some range adjustment.
  • Third step: With that in mind, adjust its value range to 2000ohms. Since it’s, the highest possible value even in some of the best fluke multimeter devices and it will give you a greater value than 200ohms.

How to Read Amps on a Multimeter

How to Read Amps on a Multimeter

Amperes are used in the measurement of current and come in the abbreviation “A”. Select interchanging or direct current, depending on the type of circuit you’re working with. In many cases though, an analog multimeter lacks the power needed to test current.

Now, interpreting multimeter symbols starts by understanding the decimal adjustment concept. After all, it’s a wasted investment if you’ve just got yourself the best multimeter and can’t read the degrees of units. So, do you know how to read milliamps on a digital multimeter?

Can you remember the basic skills of reading SI units? Can you quickly interpret decimal values? If you can answer these two questions, then you’re not too far away. For most people, there’s a huge ‘technical problem’, especially when switching from a digital to an analog multimeter.

Years of work and experience have shown us that Analog amp meters huge amounts of manual calculation. This is why the best multimeter digital gadgets have become popular today. Many feel that what took hours in the calculation is now quickly turning into minutes!

How to Read Resistance on a Multimeter

How to Read Resistance on a Multimeter

Using the best multimeter devices to measure resistance is one of the simplest things you can do with this device. Once you’ve understood what each of their color codes stands for, you’re good to go! That said, there plenty of online calculators that you could also use.

However, because of limited access to the internet, using the best multimeter has emerged as a suitable option. To start, on the meter’s selection knob, set it to 20kΩ then choose any resistor and make sure the probe is its voltage measuring position. Next, hold the two pins against the resistor’s ‘legs’.

Normally, the multimeter will show symbols ranging from 0.00 to 1. For readings of 0.98, it means that the resistance value is around 1kΩ or 980Ω. Change the mode from 20kΩ to a lower value preferable 200Ω or even 2kΩ if it shows a zero reading. It’s also important to highlight that overloaded meter will show readings ‘OL’ or ‘1’, but there’s no need to panic, using the selector knob, adjust the mode to 200kΩ or 2MΩ.

Lastly, note that some resistors carry a tolerance of almost 5%. Hence, here, a color code of 10kΩ could read up to 10.5kΩ or as low as 9.5kΩ. It’s simply a problem of inconsistent manufacturing found even in the best multimeter devices but the device will still function correctly.

How to Read Analog Multimeters

Even though you may boast of having a couple of high functioning resistors and maybe the best stud finder in your work shed, an analog multimeter can still come in handy. They are inexpensive, simple, and surprisingly inexpensive devices.

Learning how to read analog multimeter scale values is a rather quick process. First, familiarise yourself with the scales needed to learn how to read a multimeter volts values. They include;

How to Read Analog Multimeters
  • Alternate Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) for voltage
  • Ω for resistance
  • dB for scale.

So, start by choosing the most ideal scale on your meter. The good thing is the best multimeter devices; both analog and digital have an easily readable scale. For the analog multimeter, it’s a small pin-like object which moves side to side, indicating a rise and fall in the results.

With that in mind, using dc or ac, pick a suitable voltage scale. These meters have voltage scales that work just like a normal ruler. The only difference is that they use logarithmic scales where the distance represents a value change depending on your position on the scale.

When measuring resistance, on the best multimeter, for instance, use the adjusted range on your meter’s dial and multiply it with your readings. How about the DB scale? It’s the lowest in any analog device and needs a sufficient amount of time to fully understand it. What’s quite interesting about it is, it’s a scale that uses logarithms to convert the voltage into ratio!


Remember that every electrician, technician or engineer needs a multimeter. However, like experts from HandyHomeMaster tell us; having the best tech devices is useless if you can’t use them. Luckily, learning how to read the voltage on a multimeter, current or even resistance will only take a short time.

Besides, we understand that as a professional, you need a reliable gadget and by getting the best multimeter you can rest easy. All in all, let us know what you use your digital or analog multimeter for? Is it to measure current or resistance?

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