Harbor Freight introduced a new line of Ames Instruments multimeters, aimed at professional users.
Harbor Freight says that their new Ames multimeters meet the same professional quality and safety standards as the leading competitors. The Ames meters are said to offer safety and reliability, at an affordable price. They are also said to be ruggedly built.
There are a number of different Ames multimeter styles, designed for different user types and applications. The safety certifications are by ETL/Intertek, which is an OSHA-recognized Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.
For the compact digital multimeter, shown here, they say:
This small user-friendly, safe and reliable 3-1/2 digit handheld multimeter is ideal for professionals and hobbyists alike.
Depending on the model, Harbor Freight says that their Ames meters compare with Amprobe and GE, and even that Ames beats Fluke.
For other models, they say that Ames beats Klein.
I like to think of myself as open-minded, but I don’t know what it would take for me to trust a Harbor Freight Ames meter ahead of personal favorite brands, such as Fluke and Extech. Ames or Amprobe? I’d go with Amprobe. In other words, I recognize that I’m brand-biased when it comes to multimeters and test equiment. I’m open-minded, but could potentially be convinced. You get what you pay for, but I’m open to the idea that these new Harbor Freight Ames meters are at least safe and usable.
User reviews on Harbor Freight’s site seem to be positive. Looking for negativity, I cannot find much. One review mentioned not liking the dial and button placement on the Amex HVAC meter, and another didn’t like an Amex non-contact voltage meter for not being sensitive enough, but from their review, I’d say they were using it wrong.
HF’s Ames multimeters were announced nearly a year ago. If you’ve tried one, how well has it worked for you?
What would it take for you to add one of these Ames multimeters to your test kit?
I would need an enthusiastic ToolGuyd review for me to add one to my tool box. Otherwise I’d prefer to wait for a sale price on a better-known brand.
Just buy a used Fluke 87 V and send it in for calibration. You should be good for a solid 5 years after that. As someone that works in metrology, I can tell you that they rarely go out. Extech fails much more frequently.
35 ye a rs in commercial restaurant gas , Steam, and electrical equipment repair snd Ames meters are better the FLUKE any day
I must have gotten a lemon. And I can understand getting a lemon from Harbor Freight. I tolerate shopping there because they are cool with returns and replacements. I have since replaced my AMES with a fluke and it works flawless. 30 years Electrician, Instrumentation Tech —-Retired as Technical Lead. Other then a old Simpson Analog meter I will own nothing other then a Fluke.
I’d have to see an indepth comparision of them in use to even consider any HF measurement tool.
sure they beat the other devices ranges of measurement.
Know what I don’t see – Accuracy ratings across range, or even in subparts of range.
That’s what I’m paying money for. Now I admit Homeowner DIY user me as much different accuracy needs than aircraft engineer me. sure, but when underhood of a car and I need to figure out why something isn’t working right I want fairly accurate DC measurements. I have a UEI meter only becasue I got it at such a good deal over a fluke – 17 years ago. And before I bought it I put the accuracy charts in excel to compare them.
I’m odd I admit this.
You hit the nail on the head in terms of what’s important in a measurement tool: accuracy.
Precision is just as important as accuracy.
at a price point I’ll take accuracy over precision. usually with measurement devices you have accuracy. It’s production when you concern yourself with precision.
In this case since you are measuring something – say car battery voltage. you hope it comes up 12Vdc. But when you measure it comes up 11.8 – the accuracy of your meter says it could be between 11.785 or 11.8125 Vdc. that’s pretty good. You take 5 measurements and they all move more than the accuracy range. you don’t know if it’s your meter or if the battery is actually wavering.
But odds on bet – it’s the battery wavering, provided you have an accurate meter.
I’d rather it came out 13.8vdc
Really accuracy? I would hope that “safety” would be the top requirement in a voltage tester 😉
I would like to see a complete tear down of these before I even consider sticking it in anything live.
if you read the article It’s mentioned they come with safety cert from intertek which is an OSHA approved tester. I’m OK with that for general DIY use.
I would need to see a lot of good reviews from trusted sources. Reviews on a companies site especially can’t be trusted. There is just to much temptation for a company to put up fake positive reviews and remove bad ones from real people. At those price points they’re sitting in a difficult spot. It’s not cheap enough to compete with the almost throwaway class of meter a homeowner might use. Or something that gets left on a secondary work bench and is used for basic continuity and voltage checks on low voltage stuff. On the other hand if I’m going to spend real money on a meter than I want something that I know I can count on. And Harbor Freight doesn’t exactly have a very good track record with producing high quality, high precision equipment. I know they’re working on improving that, but at this point I don’t think I could completely trust something they had made by the lowest bidder when my life or an expensive piece of equipment might be on the line. In instances like those an extra $50-$100 is well worth the piece of mind.
“I would need to see a lot of good reviews from trusted sources. Reviews on a companies site especially can’t be trusted. There is just to much temptation for a company to put up fake positive reviews and remove bad ones from real people”
A SOLID point to be made, especially with HF.
I tried their Earthquake Impact wrench when it came out in hopes of it helping with exhaust manifold studs. It couldn’t even take off my lug nuts, (100ft/lbs). I tested it on my front bucket seats (35ft/lbs), and while it seemed as though it would eventually take it off, I got tired waiting and grabbed a ratchet and did it by hand. It was pitiful.
HF emailed me about leaving a review for my purchase and I did just that, and was brutally honest. My review was posted, but I checked a couple days later and it had disappeared into the abyss. I can only assume they took it down. While I was critical of their product, I made sure to write it in a professional, cordial tone with no offensive language or insults so it didn’t violate any of their policies.
I’ve tried countless products at HF, taking the risk solely because everythings easy to return. Cheap or not, if a business is going to advertise and make statements about their products the way HF does I expect it to last through at least one job. Let’s just say I have returned somewhere in the ballpark of 95% of my purchases. There is no way the reviews on the site are trustworthy and not vetted prior to posting…. there’s just no fathomable way so many people have had such perfect experiences with only a small percentage having a negative experience..
I do like their black Hardy gloves though, $2 and they hold up to car juices fairly well.
If you bought the cordless earthquake 1/2″ and couldn’t get lugnuts off take it back, you got a dud.
We used one to break Honda crank pulley bolts just to satiate my need to do so and it did it without fault.
Chad g Wilkins
If you had bad luck with an hf earthquake impact you were either not feeding it enough air, didnt know what you were doing, or got a rare lemon. Those things have tons of stellar reviews from actual users all over the net. From mechanics to homeowners. Hf makes a ton of crap but those.. well those are good
Been using my earthquake 1/2″ impact with no issues for over 3 years… professionally.
We have 120psi dry air and I lube it occassionally.
I wouldn’t trust my life to these meters but they’re fine for low voltage or in a learning environment.
Which HF meter are you using, I am looking for a review on the Ames DM1010 digital meter.
I still use my anolog VTVM and prefer it over many DVOM that I have tried at my bench.
Yep, difficult sometimes to see transients, switch bounce, and the like on digitals.
Or use an oscilloscope
“What would it take…” – I’d need to see an aVe, big clive or EEVblog teardown. Without knowing how well the build quality, fusing and isolation truly is I just can’t trust it.
AVE teardown would be great. I can rip a meter apart and get it back together but it’s more entertaining to watch him do it. 🙂
Someone has uploaded images of the internals of this meter on the EEVBlog Forums.
They’ve also pointed out that this meter is a re-badged Mastech MS8251B.
The above comment was referring to the Ames DM1000.
Nice find, thanks Bill.
Found a rather in depth review of the Ames DM1000. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1M6fUm4-ro
Ave is an idiot. He’s “entertainment” (and i use that term extremely loosely, as most actually intelligent people don’t even think he’s that) and certainly NOT education. He knows just barely enough to use somewhat correct terms, then makes up the rest as he goes along. Throw in made up garbage words, and you’ve got a legion of idiotic followers.
Accuracy on these should be decent, but longevity, robustness of components, speed of the readings(and continuity beeper) and most of all safety are the determining factor. I’d bet they’re comparable to a lot of lower level meters.
Mike (the other one)
It might be fine for hobby/low voltage use, but I wouldn’t trust my life to them.
david b brock
After watching a review of the TS-6000 I would be inclined to go with the HF as it couldn’t be any worse than that piece of junk that Fluke put out.
Thanks to aVe
Nothing wrong with Amprobe,same parent company as Fluke. When I was studying Electronics Technology in college the instructers seemed to like Amprobe alot. I have a few Amprobe meters myself and somehow doubt any Harbor Freight junk will come close to comparison.
[redacted – please avoid making personal attacks against other commenters] These meters have tested quite well in actual use, although they are certainly overpriced.
I had an opportunity to buy a Craftsman NCVT and digital multimeter for a great deal at a Sears nearby that is closing. However, when it comes to products that involve electricity I’m only going with a brand I trust. It’s Fluke or Klein for me in that department, and it would take a LOT of positive reviews from professionals (not the weekender who uses it once and writes a positive review) to convince me to even try anything else. It’s just not worth the potential compromise in safety to save a few bucks.
I’d like to know if certifications are available for any of the HF meters. In many fields those are a necessity.
So my current set of multimeters includes an old Fluke 73, I’ve had it so long the dial is about worn out. It doesn’t stop in either direction anymore. Case is cracked and I only use it as a beat around in the truck meter.
I’ve got a big Fluke 89 that I found in a pawn shop. Greatest buy ever. Just a wonderful meter to work with. Recommended, even though they make it anymore. I see pretty nice multi-meters in the pawn shops all the time. Worth checking it out.
A field-piece with RMS, clamp meter (AC only), Thermocouple socket, etc. This is a great work meter. Total confidence in it’s readings, durable enough to sit in the tool box all the time.
A micro-sized meter-man, uses some little coin cell but it’s just right for the motorcycle tool kit. Very capable but not much fun to use because it’s too small.
The fanciest Klien, RMS meter. It’s noticably slower than my Flukes, accurate enough for just about any use.
An old HF meter that works fine, I use it for 12v use and less and lend it to neighbors I don’t trust. The leads are crap but it’ll tell you if there is voltage there.
A guy can get tied to a brand, but the truth is, most meters these days are plenty accurate enough for everything but delicate IC probing. Those of use that play with high voltage should pay attention to safety ratings. Everything else is just features you need for whatever testing you do. NCV? To heck with that, I wouldn’t trust a NCV for anything. Too many false positives and almost as many false negatives.
I bought my fluke 77 in a pawnshop for $20. My first fluke, model 10, i bought in 1990 and still use it today.
My experience with HF electronics is low grade chinese junk. Can’t see one of the HF meters lasting 5 years much less 30.
Depends _ the HF meters are worth what you pay for.
The cheapest, free with coupons ones are basically disposable
But my $30 HF (same as Masstech MS8268) is well over 5 years old and is doing fine
Is it the quality as Fluke? No, but I don’t drop it, and some of its features (like 4000 count range) are a very good fit for me
Decade old experience with a companies products means exactly nothing in the realm of electronics. These meters work quite well, although the oem makers charge a lot less for the same item. These are very decent meters, prices should realistically be about half of what they are.
I’ll wait and see if it becomes a regular line before I commit to one. They have introduced new cordless tool brands (Hercules, Bauer, maybe more) and can’t seem to decide what will be their flagship brand. Ditto other new brands of things like these new multitesters and I’m not convinced they will stick with them long term. Now a multitester won’t need the ongoing support of cordless tools but it still makes me wonder if they’ll follow through long term with them. The Pittsbourgh and Pittsbourgh Pro lines have been around for ages and are well supported but some of the newer brands seem to come and go. For now I probably would spend the extra for a known brand or for occasional use to cheap off of eBay or something.
HF is a company that takes advantage of ignorant tool buyers who put a lot of faith in their claims and advertising, and who also seem to compare tools based on how much they look like a more expensive brand, without regard for how well they actually function. The HF tool buyers also seem to fall for the BS “brand” names that HF comes up with to label their tools, as if they aren’t solely made for and sold at HF.
As mentioned above, the thing you want with electronic measurement tools is accuracy. While it’s certainly possible to get decent tools made inexpensively that are reasonably accurate, that doesn’t seem to be what they focus on, nor do they do any comparisons or claims about how much better or comparable the accuracy is than the Fluke/Klein brands.
I find comparing HF stuff to established brands and constantly entertaining the idea that maybe this or that product at HF might be worth it to be quite tiresome. We all know it’s low quality stuff and we all know it has a terrible warranty and you are SOL unless you pay more for the tool and longer warranty than you could buy the brand name version with a longer warranty for.
Perhaps less-knowledgable consumers are better served by just treating the HF products like the lower end stuff they are. Even bringing them up with regards to other quality tools just gives them free advertising and reinforces the exact type of marketing they do.
Well said dude and very true
HF also does one thing better than anyone else, they slowly but surely cut quality. AvE had a lot of good things to say about their new Warrior drill. He said, marketing aside, it was a decent drill for the price but it didn’t compete with the dewalt they were targeting. But we all know that over time HF will make subtle changes to increase profits. Changing little things like bearings, brushes, switches, battery cells, ect will have a big impact on how good the tool is. But by then, they have dozens of 5 star reviews so it keeps selling.
You’ll see this with some older items that have the exact same model number but different UPCs. If you look online, the models all have a different number of reviews and different ratings.
Chad g Wilkins
Harbor freights hand tool warranties are every bit a match of the snap on, matco etc. The drills and such? Dunno dont use em. Ive found without exception, those generally bashing hf have a vested interest in upper tier tools. Either justifying a mountain of debt theu accrued for “snap on quality” or the like. Hf has some fantastic tools made for them, and an equal amount of duds. Its your job to know which os which.
I was an instrument tech in a power plant for many years and we used Ames tools in the plant. The Ames thermocouple reader I bought for home is everything it needs to be
HF’s tool warranties are a match of any other brand, including premium ones? … okay …
You mention ignorant consumers, then fail to realize the maker of these is well respected, and when they produce them under their own name they are spoken of in a positive manner. Lumping every product hf makes into one group is an absolutely asinine thing to do, and the peak of “ignorant consumer”.
I’ll own any brand bias I have, and I flat out will not buy a friggin harbor freight anything meter to replace any of my 3 flukes. I liked Klein’s ncvt and amp clamps for the price, but they’re second to fluke for me based on longevity. This is assanine marketing like they always do; equal or better than snap-on, DeWalt, now fluke and Klein! My @$$, you’re harbor freight and everyone knows it. Rant over.
The Chinese military has an aircraft carrier now. Does that mean they’re able to do the same things as the US/British/French Navies? Of course not, the US Navy has had decades of serious effort to make the machines and people work together as they do.
I think there’s got to be a similar parallel to test equipment that’s been made by companies for decades and they’ve only gotten better. No way can just anyone pop out new/superior meters or aircraft carriers.
But good on ’em for the effort, keep it up.
With a little tweaking, the three rules of sports cars apply to anything:
2. Fast (Accurate)
3. Reliable (Durable)
Pick two. I know HF is picking “cheap,” but I don’t know which of the others they went with.
HF worked hard to entice buyers with cheap goods for a fraction of the price of the competition. It’s puzzling that they are flipping a switch and suddenly expect people to believe these new tools are the equivalent of Dewalt, Fluke, Klein, whatever, at 50-75% of the cost (which is still nothing to sneeze at). Who is falling for their marketing and shelling out this kind of money for these (not quite so) cheap tools?
I had an acquaintance who I respected as an electrical engineer – but not as a tool buyer. Probably 20 years ago – he was a fan of HF (then mostly a mail order catalog sales firm) – usually saying that he thought their tools might have been made in the same factories as the top brands – and asking me why we did not buy them for our businesses. From his perspective – using tools only on rare occasions – the HF stuff may have squeaked by. HF may have improved since then – but I still think that their advertising and choice of brand-names always tends towards obfuscation. They want to make you think that they offer many different and independent brands – with USA-sounding names. But while these may be sourced from different OEMs (mostly) in China – IMO they are just made-up house brand names.
Buying from HF is like buying low cost made in China stuff from Amazon, except you’re buying locally. In the case of DMM’s, you can find many of the exact models relabeled on Amazon as say Masstech.
I also find all HF’s made up brand names annoying. But I also find selling re-relabeled stuff under established brand names annoying – to just give one example, one commentator has noted that the Ames DM1000 and Masstech MS8251B are identical. To stay in T&M, I’ve heard that a lot of low end US oscilloscopes are re-labeled Chinese models (maybe Rigol?).
Finally, Chinese companies vary in quality. RIgol actually has a good reputation, but pretty much everything cheaper is junk.
Rigol was an OEM for some Agilent(formerly HP) oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, etc. Probably still is for Keysight.
Dewalt is junk, so im very sure hf is the equal of it. The others you mention? Not so much.
I buy two types of multimeters: really high end Flukes when I need data I can trust, and the super small thin amprobes when I want something quick and easy that I trust +/-5%. Like: is there continuity. Is the dc voltage above 13v?
Anything in between is a waste. It’s either highly accurate, or it’s not.
With the track record that I’ve had with Flukes – both personally owned and the property of my employer(s) – it makes it hard for me to switch. I ended up with a HF meter a few years ago, thinking I would keep it in the motorcycle toolkit for DC usage. It lasted only weeks. It was accurate enough at the start but durability was crap.
Some time ago I read a quote that said, “Harbor Freight. If it has an engine, a power cord or can kill you if it fails, don’t do it. Otherwise, HF is fine.” I tend to live by that adage now when shopping at HF.
Harbor Freight is a crapshoot. I’ve got a lot of cheap Harbor Freight tools that just keep plugging away. I’ve also bought a lot of flat out junk.
I don’t think it’s engines, motors or electronics that the Chinese have problems with, rather I think it’s metallurgy and materials. They can’t be trusted to harden things properly or to replace worn out tooling. I’d trust a Harbor Freight drill press long before I’d trust their drill bits.
I’ve worked at HFT for over 8 years now, and I’ve seen the changes they are making. They understand that they need to put a better tool out there if they want a bigger share of the market. Now as far as the Ames brand is concerned I can’t speak from a professional stand point but as a seller I can tell you what I see come back and why. Our old CenTech meters had about a 10% failure rate. Meaning if I sold a box of 10 one is coming back and is absolute garbage. Not good. They were hard to sell and even harder to keep sold to the point where there were only two of them that I trusted. On the Ames however I have sold 100’s of them and I have not seen even 1 returned for a defect. Granted they have only been out for about a year but the track record is good so far.
As far as tools I do use the Hercules drills are every bit as good as Dewalt if not better. I have used both in many similar situations and and would pick up the Hercules over the Dewalt every time. We beat the crap out of our store use one on purpose just to see what it will take to make it stop. We can’t break it, and we have tried about everything besides hitting it with a hammer. Its taken 20 and 30 foot drops onto concrete and suffered only minor scratches. And the battery life is far superior. My Dewalt 3.0 AmpHr battery dies 30 minutes sooner than the 2.5 that comes with the Hercules every time. I’m not saying every tool in HFT tools is better than the competition but there are now very high quality options. Many of which are made in The same factories as the competition.
I think what would be helpful would be if some of you would actually put the Ames to the test. Go get one since you are professionals, put it to the test you have nothing to lose. If it won’t perform to the specs we claim bring it back for a full refund. We stand by these tools cause they are improving quality by leaps and bounds and because we are factory direct you save. No reason to pay for a name anymore.
Well I quess that makes Hercules the number 1 brand on the market. Considering, dewalt 20v max drills ,792/996 along with impacts 887/899 have been ranked 1st or second in every tool challenge for the last 3 years.,only falling to gen 3 Milwaukee tools recently out ….
…..I didn’t know HF had such premium tools. Time to sell all the crews tools ( Milwaukee, dewalt, Makita) and buy Hercules tools , including that premium mitre saw….
I’m sure this would be every harbor freight employee’s experience.
AvE has done teardowns on some of the Hercules tools, his findings were they were about the same quality as previous HF tools (ie very poor). Reports on sites like garagejournal seem similar. Considering you can get dewalt tools on sale for only slightly more than the hercules ones, there’s really no way they make any sense.
HF has had big push to position themselves as serious professional tools but their two ones I’ve heard about (Hercules and the Vulcan welders) have been 100% baloney (no significant improvement in quality). It doesn’t bode well for their other attempts, like their upcoming line of professional hand tools.
Thank you for your reply. I have not seen one person talk about owning an Ames. The Earthquake line surprised me.
I have worked in the HVAC field for well over 20 years. I also have been a huge car enthusiast all my life. As far as these meters and any tool from HF, it depends on what job you are doing. Accuracy is relative to what you are doing. If you’re doing a simple home/auto repair then yes these tools would be fine. Rarely in residential electrical/HVAC trade are you going to need anything outside of the accuracy of these. You may need something occasionally to read a flame sensor but that would really be it. Point being if you are building high tech circuits or working on something that has an extremely high tolerance factor then no, these are not the tools for you. I have Fluke, UEI, Fieldpiece and yes a HF DMM, all have their pros and cons. I own several tools from HF, again it depends on the job I’m doing that determines which one I reach for.
As a commercial union electrician, I’m telling you guys please don’t use these.
Unless you’re just checking AA batteries from your tv remote
Get tagged a few times on some live CTs and the amount of money you’ll pay for fluke would know no limits
Save your dollars elsewhere
I don’t use meters a lot. However, I did put money into a BK Precision 2709B multimeter and I lucked out on a fairly new but great price on a BK 369B clamp meter from ebay. If those ever go out, I will certainly look at the HF Ames models. Most of my meter use is for a speaker building hobby. I would love to find a very nice LCR meter but my cheap ebay version appears to be doing what I need.
I haven’t used any of the Ames multimeters yet, but I have been using one of HF’s “professional model” multimeters for the past year in my side gig as a landlord/house flipper. In my regular job I’ve used a Fluke multimeter for years.
So far, I can’t tell the difference. My company provided Fluke has lasted over a decade and keeps working. The HF also works and seems to be equally functional and accurate, but it has only been used for a short time. Time will tell. I’ve had mixed results with HF tools in the past. Some really have been bargains and others have been junk.
I’ve also had a couple of those $3.99 Harbor Freight multimeters. I wouldn’t quite describe them as junk, because they did work for a year or two, but in that case it’s definitely a matter of, you get what you pay for, and I could not recommend those for anyone who uses their tools to earn a living. They WILL fail, and you don’t want to be depending on a $4 multimeter when you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on materials and you’ve got an inspector showing up on Monday.
Wait until ‘joe smith’ (YT channel) gets one. He’ll wring it out in extraordinary detail.
First off nothing wrong with Intertek. UL is extremely painful to deal with. Like they only test to standards they wrote (ignoring for instance NEMA) and they don’t recognize other testing labs certificates for assemblies. Highest prices out there. They have a big brand name though, kind of like Fluke. Intertek, TuV, CSA, and many others are out there and are all reputable and much easier to deal with. The only exception is CE which really isn’t a certification at all. Companies can self-certify if they make a product “similar” to the real third party tested product.
UL 60101 so called “Category” rating. They put nice flowery words around the categories like CAT I is for electronics, all the way up to CAT IV is for utility use. But that’s all crap. The CAT rating determines how far away the circuit traces are on the board. They hit it with a voltage spike and see if it survives. CAT III 600 V is 6000 V. CAT III 1000 V is 8,000 V, same as CAT IV 600 V rating. As to why it matters, switching transients can be up to 183% of rated voltage and in ungrounded delta systems up to 800% of rated voltage. So “480 V” in some old industrial systems can be as high as 3840 V. This caused meters to explode in the past when the input circuitry was too close together.
As for me personnally Amprobe is owned by the same company as Fluke, is tested in the Fluke labs, has more features than Fluke, seems to hold up as good as Fluke, and is about half the price or more than Fluke. I’m a field service tech so meters are frequently dropped from excessive heights or lost in raw sewage or something like that so they are somewhat dispoable but I still need a top quality meter. I used to carry Extech but I use my meters every day and they simply don’t hold up. I switched over to Amprobe and so far been very pleased. And yes I know that Amprobe rebrands Brymen for a lot of them. I still use an Extech megger because Amprobe, AEMC, and Fluke are all grossly overpriced.
Also EEVBlog is a truly “independent” testing lab. They have I guess you should say 4th party tested many different meter brands against the UL 60101 impulse test and found in particular that a lot of Fluke meters fail the test when subjected to the same voltage required by the standard even though the testing lab is UL. My conclusion from this is either that the EEVBlog guys are simply fakes throwing dirt from the competition, or their testing methods and control over their voltages is not good (doubtful given all they’ve posted on the subject), or that the UL testing isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Either way if we take it at face value there are clear differences between brands and models and it’s not just whether or not it comes in patented yellow plastic with a black outline.
Fluke trademarked, get this, “digital multimeters and products with multimeter functionality that have a contrasting color combination of a dark-colored body or face and a contrasting yellow border, frame, molding, overlay, holster or perimeter.”.
This is what you pay 200-500% more for. That and the army of lawyers banning all yellow meters on the market except Fluke.
I posted about that at the time. Read also about the offer Fluke made to Sparkfun.
I bought my first Sears tool cabinet and associated hand and power tools from them in 1975 to work on a Super Sport Chevy. I was a first responder at WTC on 9/11 and was forced to retire afterward due to breathing problems. Accordingly, I got back into tools.
I only buy hand tools and tool cabinets from HF after getting burned on a drill. I do not buy anything with an electric or gas motor or electronics from them
My neighbor who owns a tractor trailer diesel repair shop across from a HF store buys extended warranty on every item with a motor or electronics so he can bring it back continually over a two year period . He really loved their ratchets.
With Sears being shaky the last 5 years , I buy Makita corded and cordless tools on sale from Home Depot. Their included warranties bring their sale price closer to H.F.’s price with their extended warranties.
Honestly they’re not bad.
I have one I’m testing next to my cheaper Klein meter and obscenely expensive fluke and its better than the Klein by a bit in accuracy and general niceness (I never liked the way klein setup their meters.)
But it’s been a slow winter and won’t have complete thoughts on it until later.
But the dial does suck to move. It klicks around all clunky like the flukes my company bought us in the early 2000s.
Here’s my thoughts as a computer engineer / electrical engineer using measurement equipment daily.
For in the field measurements Fluke dmm and clamp meters are my go to. The availability, safety, ruggedness, precision, and ability to be repaired / recalibrated are why. The new clamp meters with the smart phone integration are a game changer. You no longer have to be present in an area of very high voltage to take accurate measurements.
For ultimate precision my various bench meters are the first choice especially if it’s low voltage, low amperage, or dc tests.
At home working on 120v household, dc measurements for automotive / vehicles, and taking rudimentary measurements I think the Ames meters are going to be fine.
They are a much better value proposition versus Extech, Klein, and others minus Amprobe.
I’ve bought three so far; two of the “pocket” meters and one of the “compact” meters. I put one of the pocket ones into my car toolbox mainly intended for quick rudimentary measurements to make sure things are working. For example I don’t care how accurate the measurement is going to be to see if my alternator is working correctly. I just need to know it’s in the ballpark (14-15v output vs much lower); I don’t care if it tells me that it’s 14.04050 volts.
The other benefit with these Ames meters is for the price I’m much less worried about damaging them, them getting stolen, or misplacing them vs a Fluke. For me that’s the huge benefit. They also can be that token tool that you give out to your friends / family when they ask you for a meter and repeatedly say they get it back to you (when history tells you they won’t or not in the condition it left).
Commercial/industrial electrician over 30 years my ames multi meter been thru hell and back . Basically never had any problems with the function of the meter. Truthfully i bought this meter because its cheap and thought would be perfect for the old truck bucket of tools , which unfortunately gets left outside in the rain , snow , you get the picture . Been times i had to throw up on the defrost vent dry it out , but always worked . Im telling you this thing had the sh*t kicked out of it . ALL FUNCTIONS STILL WORKING
who makes the Ames dual input thermometer. I have a technical question that Harbor freight can’t answer.
I just got one and love it! I’ve never had such a nice electrical meter before. I was able to get a Cat III Clamp meter. It’s great to use for a homeowner DIY such as me. It has a great price point (meaning I can afford a higher level than some name brand). It also really comes down to how you care for things. Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.
Just bought a new in box Flir DM93 off of Facebook Marketplace. So far I love it after switching to silicon leads. . Would love to see HF partner with a Chinese vendor on a handheld scope or LCR. meter. I guess there’s always Amazon.
Forgot to mention the Flir was only $50. Guy got it from Con Ef never opened it and was subsequently laid off. So he sold it.
I bought the meter with temp probe. I have nothing good to say about this. You get what you pay for. My outside temp is 20 F right now. Meter says its 61. This is the 2nd meter in 6 months I tried. The voltage reading fluctuates 1-3 volts as tested against another meter whose name rhymes with Beckman 😉
I have no faith in the AMES devices when I test 460v 3 phase to see if the power is off when I am placing my life in their hands.
Sincerely, an old electromechanical guy.
Coming from the electronics side of the family, and a DIY, I got the Ames CM600A. Haven’t used the inductive clamp but twas part of the reason I picked it, and can say the ac voltage and resistance functions work and are not unstable like a toy VOM. Any of the brands Toolguyd talks about would work for me, this included. Also seems made to compete with a pro tool and a rather cutthroat price point.
The batteries in my CM610A gets hot even with meter in the off position. I been using it to make a measurement then remove one battery. You get what you pay for.
I have an ames meter wildly inaccurate.
It’s actually so bad it’s dangerous