4 Top Fluke Multimeters for HVAC Professionals [2023 PICKS]

DANIEL FOSTER

As an electrical engineer from Stanford University with over 7 years of experience using multimeters.

If you’re in the HVAC business, then you know just how crucial it is to have a reliable and accurate multimeter. The Fluke brand has been a go-to for professionals in the industry for years, and for a good reason. But with so many models available, how do you know which one is the best fit for your specific needs? As an expert electrician with years of experience under my belt, I’m here to share my recommendation for the best Fluke multimeter for HVAC professionals. Trust me; you won’t want to miss out on this one!

After testing multiple models, I can confidently recommend the Fluke 116/323 HVAC Combo Kit is best for HVAC. This kit includes the Fluke 116 HVAC Multimeter and the Fluke 323 True RMS Clamp Meter, giving you all the tools you need for HVAC diagnostics and troubleshooting.

So in this article, I’ll dive into the compare and review of the top Fluke HVAC models on the market. Let’s get started.

Top 4 Best Fluke Multimeters for HVAC

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and talk about the top best Fluke multimeters for HVAC that I highly recommend:

Detailed Reviews of Each Fluke Multimeter for HVAC

Let’s dive into the detailed reviews of each Fluke multimeter for HVAC, starting with the best overall choice:

1. Fluke 116/323 HVAC Combo Kit – Best of Overall

Fluke 116/323 HVAC

  • built-in thermometer for HVAC
  • Microamps to test flame sensors
  • Large white LED backlight
  • Resistance measurement up to 40 kΩ

Let’s start with the Fluke 116 digital multimeter. This little guy is compact and user-friendly, which makes it a breeze to use on job sites. It has a ton of features that I find really helpful in my line of work. 

I’ve been using this kit for my HVAC work for the past year, and it has never let me down. It truly is the best of the best when it comes to Fluke multimeters for HVAC applications.

For starters, it can measure voltage, resistance, continuity, frequency, capacitance, and temperature. That last one is a biggie since I often work with HVAC systems that require temperature readings. And with the built-in thermometer, I don’t need to carry around a separate probe.

But it’s not just the accuracy that sets this kit apart – it’s also the low input impedance, which helps prevent false readings caused by ghost voltage. This is a game-changer when troubleshooting a system and needs accurate readings. And speaking of accurate readings, the microamp function is another feature that comes in handy for me. It can measure flame sensor currents in the range of 0.1 to 20 microamps, which is crucial for diagnosing problems with gas furnaces and other similar systems.

The Fluke 323 clamp meter is a dinky and ergonomic tool that can measure AC up to 400 A, AC and DC voltage up to 600 V, resistance up to 40 kΩ, and continuity. It is also equipped with a large jaw opening that can fit around thick cables or wires and a data hold function that halts the reading on display for easy recording. The Fluke 323 is also rated for safety as CAT III 600 V and CAT IV 300 V.

The Fluke 116/323 HVAC Combo Kit has a soft carrying case that protects the devices and allows easy storage and transportation. It also has test leads, alligator clips, a thermocouple probe, batteries, and user manuals.

If you’re looking for a reliable, accurate, and user-friendly multimeter kit for HVAC work, you can’t go wrong with the Fluke 116/323. It’s the total package, making it my top pick for the best Fluke multimeter for HVAC work. However, if you don’t need a clamp meter, you can also purchase the Fluke 116 separately.

Feature

  • Built-in thermometer for temperature measurement (-40°C to 400°C / -40°F to 752°F)
  • Microamps to test flame sensors
  • Low input impedance to prevent false readings
  • Large white LED backlight for poorly lit areas
  • Measures resistance, continuity, frequency, and capacitance
  • Min/Max/Average to record signal fluctuations
  • ToolPak™ magnetic hanger for hands-free operation (optional)
  • CAT III 600 V safety rated
  • Suitable for HVAC technicians and building maintenance

Pros

  • Ideal for HVAC professional applications.
  • Comes with many additional features and testing modes.
  • Has a large backlit display.

Cons

  • Not the best option for basic applications.

2. Fluke 117/323 HVAC Combo Kit – Premium Choice

Fluke 117/323 HVAC

  • AutoVolt automatic ac/dc
  • LoZ: Helps prevent false readings
  • Large white LED backlight
  • True-rms for accurate measurements
  • Measures 10 A (20 A overload for 30 seconds)

Indubitably, I have been utilizing the Fluke 117/323 Combo Kit for my HVAC work for a couple of months, and I unequivocally contend that it is worth every penny. The kit is equipped with a Fluke 117 multimeter and a Fluke 323 clamp meter, both of which are unparalleled instruments that yield precise and dependable readings.

The Fluke 117 multimeter is furnished with a large backlit display that is facile to read in any lighting condition. Moreover, it has a non-contact voltage detection feature that I find remarkably advantageous for examining live wires without touching them. Furthermore, it has a low input impedance mode that thwarts false readings due to ghost voltage.

And the Fluke 323 clamp meter is equally intuitive, with a large, easy-to-read display and simple controls that make taking current measurements a snap. I really appreciate about the Fluke 323 is its true RMS function. This ensures accurate measurements of non-linear loads, which is important when working with modern HVAC systems that often have variable frequency drives and other electronic components.

The kit comes along with a robust carrying case that safeguards the instruments and makes them facile to transport. It additionally includes a 9 V battery for the multimeter and two AAA batteries for the clamp meter. The batteries have an extensive lifespan and are facile to replace.

The only detraction from this kit is the price. It’s certainly on the exorbitant side of the spectrum, but in my view, the quality and reliability of the instruments justify the cost. On the whole, I highly recommend the Fluke 117/323 Electricians Combo Kit to anyone who necessitates a professional-grade set of tools for electrical work.

Features

  • Non-contact voltage detection
  • AutoV/LoZ function
  • Automatic AC/DC selection
  • Min/Max/Average readings
  • Frequency measurements
  • Capacitance measurements
  • Certified for use in CAT III 600 V environments.

Pros

  • Bright backlight for darker worksites
  • Offers high accuracy and reliability for HVAC applications.
  • Has a durable and rugged construction
  • Comes with a soft carrying case, test leads, thermocouple probe, and batteries.

Cons

  • More expensive than some other HVAC combo kits.

3. Fluke 87 V Digital Multimeter – Runner Up

Fluke 87 V

  • Maximum voltage: 1000 V
  • Accuracy: ±(0.05% + 1)
  • Maximum resolution: 10μV

After extensive research, I have found that the Fluke 87 V Digital Multimeter is a powerful tool that is ideal for troubleshooting all kinds of electrical systems. It’s a USA-made product that is approved by numerous agencies, making it a reliable device to use in industrial settings. However, I have put this on the runner-up list for HVAC work due to its high price tag and advanced technical features that may not be necessary for all HVAC technicians.

One of the standout features of the Fluke 87-V is its display. It may not be the largest display out there, but it’s fast, responsive, and shows sharper digits, registering every millivolt change in an accurate way. The analog-like bar graph is also impressive, capable of updating information 40 times per second. It has a range button that also allows switching to manual ranging, and response times are impressively quick, especially when it comes to continuity measurements.

Other things that make use of this method are the low-impedance AC voltage mode and the 3-volt diode tester.

The Fluke 87-V may be too advanced for beginners or amateur electricians, as it’s best suited for electronic technicians and HVAC engineers who require a multimeter with a high degree of accuracy and reliability. While the device’s build quality is excellent and can withstand a lot of physical abuse, it comes with a premium price tag. Additionally, its technical features may not be necessary for all users.

Features

  • Industrial electrical multimeter
  • True-RMS AC voltage and current for non-linear signals
  • Captures short intermittents as short as 250 µS
  • CAT III 1000 V, CAT IV 600 V safety rated
  • Built-in thermometer and temperature probe included.

Pros

  • Durable and rugged with lifetime warranty
  • High accuracy and resolution with 0.05% DC accuracy and 6,000 count display
  • Fast auto/manual ranging
  • Wide range of features: min/max/average recording, relative mode, diode test, continuity test, and analog bar graph

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other multimeters at around $400
  • Limited battery life
  • No backlight for display, and it is difficult to read in low-light conditions

4. Fluke 179 True-RMS Digital Multimeter

Fluke 179

  • Industrial thermometer combo kit
  • Full featured DMM
  • 80BK Temperature Probe
  • Test leads
  • Robust, fast and accurate with manual and automatic ranging

Kudos to my friend Ronald M. for their feedback on the Fluke 179. It sounds like a reliable and versatile instrument for HVAC professionals. I agree that its true-RMS accuracy is a valuable feature for handling complex or noisy signals, and the ability to measure temperature with the built-in thermometer is a convenient addition. The durability of the design and lifetime warranty are also impressive.

However, compared to some of the other multimeters I have researched, the Fluke 179 seems to be an average performer in terms of its technical specifications. For example, it has a lower maximum DC voltage range than the Fluke 87-V, and its frequency range is also limited compared to some other models. While it may be suitable for HVAC professionals, it may not be the best choice for those who require more advanced technical features or higher ranges.

Overall, it seems like the Fluke 179 True-RMS Digital Multimeter is a good performer for HVAC applications, but it may not stand out in terms of technical specifications compared to other options on the market.

Features

  • CAT III 1000V, CAT IV 600V safety rating
  • Lifetime warranty included
  • Front panel allows closed-case calibration
  • Ergonomic design with integrated protective holster

Pros

  • Large, clear display with backlight
  • Built-in thermometer for temperature measurement
  • True-RMS feature for accurate measurement of AC voltage and current
  • Durable and ergonomic design
  • Lifetime warranty and included accessories

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • No low impedance mode to prevent false readings
  • No frequency counter or capacitance meter
  • Limited battery life with no low battery indicator.

Final Verdict – Why I Choose Fluke 116 for HVAC

After reviewing and comparing the features and specifications of various digital multimeters for HVAC applications, I would highly recommend the Fluke 116 as the best choice for HVAC technicians.

The Fluke 116 is specifically designed for HVAC professionals, with a built-in thermometer that can measure temperatures ranging from -40°C to 400°C (-40°F to 752°F), making it ideal for diagnosing heating and cooling systems. Moreover, it offers microamps to test flame sensors, and its low input impedance helps prevent false readings due to ghost voltage, making it reliable and accurate.

Although the Fluke 116 may be a relatively average price compared to other multimeters in the market, its high accuracy, durability, and functionality make it a worthwhile investment for any HVAC technician. Overall, the Fluke 116 is the best choice for HVAC professionals who demand reliable and accurate measurements in their work.

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