I figure that most people use the test leads that come with their digital multimeter or other test & measurement instrument.
Most of the time you get just-okay PVC-jacketed test leads, sometimes you get better ones, such as when you buy a premium meter or special kit.
I’ve been testing out a Fluke 279 FC thermal imaging multimeter (currently $1200 via Amazon). This is their higher priced 279FC/iFlex kit, which comes with an iFlex current clamp and upgraded test leads, TL175.
So what is so special about these Fluke TL175 TwistGuard test leads – so special to justify a whole post about an accessory that most users take for granted?
Well, they’ve got these built-in test shrouds that you can retract just by twisting the probe housing a certain way. They work brilliantly well.
Normally, test leads with probe shrouds have removable pieces that are easy to lose. With these shrouds being built-in, you can’t lose ’em. The lock and unlock mechanism might loosen up with time, but I don’t get the feeling that it’ll ever brake.
Plus, the wiring is made with silicone jacketing, making the test leads more flexible and extreme temperature-resistant than PVC-jacketed test leads.
What surprises me is that you can buy these test leads for just under $25. It’s a good upgrade, if you’ve been dissatisfied with your current test leads, for not that much money, at least considering the prices of basic PVC test leads.
Safety Ratings: CAT II 1000V, CAT III 1000V, CAT IV 600V, 10A maximum
You get the higher safety ratings when the tips are shrouded. Also note that the very ends of the tips are uncovered.
The purpose of the shroud is to limit the exposed length of probe, resulting in exposed length of 0.16″ or 0.75″ (4mm or 19mm).
Buy Now(via Amazon)
I’ve written about Silicone vs. PVC test lead wire insulation before. In case you don’t have time to check out that full post, here’s what I said are the benefits of silicone-jacketed test leads:
Silicone-insulated test leads are more flexible, more heat and burn resistant, more chemical and solvent resistant, and less sensitive to environmental temperatures.
With PVC test leads, the only benefit seems to be the slightly lower cost.
Thank you to Fluke for unconditionally providing the test sample.