Know the significant difference between Clamp Meter and Multimeter

Many a time it happens that there are various testers and meters in the market with similar features and functionality. And, thus, it becomes difficult for the users to choose the right one for their project. Although, there is a significant difference in these meters based on the ease of operation and accuracy. Also, they have their own benefits. So, let's understand the significant difference between the clamp meter and multimeter. It will help you to decide which device is better for your project.

- Clamp Meter - It is a type of testing and measuring instrument that is a combination of a basic digital multimeter with a current sensor. It is both safe and convenient to use. It is because the jaws of the clamp meter do not need to touch the conductor during the measurement. Even you do not need to shut off the circuit carrying current. This electrical power testing device consists of a clamp that measures current and probes measure the voltage. The clamp meter is preferred for measuring the high level of current. Also, it offers a minimum range of 0 to 100 amp. It is mainly used on industrial equipment and control, electrical systems and industrial HVAC. Few of its typical applications include -

  • Service - It is used to repair the existing system as and when required.
  • Installation - It is used while troubleshooting the installation problem and performing final circuit tests.
  • Maintenance - It is used while performing preventive maintenance, switchgear maintenance and system troubleshooting.
  • Other - Commissioning, repairs, condition monitoring and trend analysis.

Different types of clamp meters include -

  • Current transformer - It can measure only alternating current.
  • Hall effect - It can measure both alternating and direct current.
  • Flexible - It can measure ac current and is suitable for measuring in congested areas.

-Multimeter - It is a multi-tester device that combines multiple measurement functions in one unit. It can measure various parameters like voltage, current and resistance. The analog type uses a microammeter with a pointer to display readings. Digital type has a numeric display that represents the measured value. It is mainly used for testing batteries, household wiring, electric motors, and power supplies and electronic work. Some of its types consist of -

  • Digital multimeter - It performs all the functions from AC to DC other than analog. It comes with an overload protector to prevent the damage to the device and protect the user. It can read both negative and positive values and display the output with high accuracy. It is widely used for production testing, diode testing, capacitance, and research.
  • Analog multimeter - It works on the principle of a galvanometer. It comprises a micro-ammeter and the needle to display the measured value on the scale. A coil moves in the magnetic field when current passes through it.

Few of the benefits of Analog type include -

  • It can detect a sudden change in the signal more smoothly than a digital multimeter.
  • Users can take all measurements using a single meter device. Also, the user can observe the increase and decrease in signal levels.

Significant difference between Clamp meter & multimeter:

1.A clamp meter is an ideal option for measuring current, whereas a multimeter is suitable for measuring voltage, resistance, a frequency with better resolution and accuracy.

2. If we consider the safety concern then the clamp meter proves to be a safer tool than a multimeter as the clamp meter is not connected to an electric circuit.

3. The multimeter is preferred for its precise measurement as it comes in direct contact with the circuit.

Suggestions to select the right device for your application:

a. Basic Multimeter - It is suitable for continuity measurement and basic voltage.

b. High-end multimeter - It is used for the tasks that need power quality work, advanced features and high resolution.

c. Basic clamp meter - It is used for basic current measurement.

d. Logging clamp meter - It is used for resolving intermittent breaker trips.

e. Clamp meter or multimeter (with up to 30 feet detachable display) - It is preferred when a user needs to take remote measurement by ensuring safety and without the help of a co-worker.

Output:

The clamp meter is primarily designed for measuring current and multimeters for voltage, resistance and continuity with less focus on current. Multimeters are known for their accuracy and resolution, and thus they are more reliable tools. In the case of general-purpose electrical application, users can select any one of the devices. But, in case of delicate electronics or HVAC, it is suggested to go with the multimeter device.