BEST VOLTAGE TESTERS | NOVEMBER 2017
Voltage testers are a handy tool to have around the house. But it can be difficult to decide which one to buy when there are hundreds from which to choose. The ReviewLab team did the legwork for you, performing extensive research on the different models available. Here you’ll find detailed information on multi-function testers, non-contact and pocket voltage testers, as well as the best overall and the best value. Each voltage tester in our list includes its top features, specifications and other considerations. And be sure to check out our buying guide below, which includes key considerations and a price breakdown that will help with your purchasing decision. Read more about our methodology.
The Neoteck 8233D Digital Multimeter is a great choice for not only testing voltage, but also other electrical parameters such as current, resistance and more. With overload protection, convenient pocket size and other features, this is a clear winner for our top pick.Read full review.
The Etekcity MSR-C600 Multimeter is another all-around great choice for your voltage and other electrical testing. Besides a long list of excellent electrical features, this model includes extras such as a large easy-to-read LCD and a convenient carrying pouch.Read full review.
Less can be more, and the Liumy Digital Multimeter proves you can spend less while getting more out of your voltage tester. This model measures other electrical parameters besides voltage and includes such safety features as overload protection and a rubber case for drop protection.Read full review.
The Amprobe PY-1A is a great choice if you’re looking for a low-cost voltage tester. This model automatically tests receptacles, lights and appliances. The convenient pocket size lets you easily do testing in all your rooms. The Amprobe PY-1A runs on two AAA batteries, which are included with your purchase.Read full review.
Voltage Testers BUYING GUIDE
First you should consider what tests you want to perform. If you only want to check voltage to determine if there’s power to a circuit or device, the most common tool for this is a non-contact voltage tester. Some voltage testers, called multimeters, are multi-function. Basic multimeters test voltage and polarity. Others may also test resistance, current, continuity, capacitance and other electrical parameters.
Safety. The most important thing to remember before troubleshooting electrical problems in your home is to turn off the power. Voltage testers allow you to determine if the device or circuit you’re working on is live (powered on) or if it’s off. Non-contact voltage testers are the safest tools for this since no direct contact with your circuit, receptacle or electrical socket is required. You simply touch the tip of the tester to the conductor you’re checking, and the tester will light up and/or make a sound if the power is on. Multimeters typically have two wires, one red and one black, attached to the tester, and these are insulated for safety. Some multimeters have a rubber sleeve to protect it when dropped, and some have overload and short-circuit protection.
Size and ease of use. Voltage testers come in different sizes. Most non-contact testers are pen style, so they conveniently fit in your pocket. There are other pocket models as well. Handheld multimeters are easily stored in your tool belt or box. These multi-function testers are also available in slim versions, and many have a wire support stand to hold up the tester, which is convenient when you’re otherwise working with both hands. Some voltage testers have backlit LCDs or built-in flashlights, making the tester easier to use, especially in dark rooms. Data hold buttons to record readings are also common on multimeters.
Non-contact voltage testers typically come in a pen style, and you can find reliable ones for under $15 and even under $10. Multimeters, or multi-function testers, range from $15 to $25, depending on what functions are tested. Most of these testers also include a digital readout rather than a gauge. For $25 to $40, you’ll find multimeters with additional features such as backlit displays, lights for working in dark areas and more safety features.
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The Neoteck 8233D Digital Multimeter is a great choice for an all-in-one tester to have around your house. With this multi-function electrical tester, you can troubleshoot many electrical problems with your electronic devices, appliances and wiring systems. The Neoteck 8233D tests voltage, resistance, current and other parameters. Loaded with features such as the large, backlit LCD, overload protection and auto-ranging, we’re confident you’ll agree that the Neoteck 8233D Digital Multimeter is a top pick in electrical testers.
Why We Recommend It
- Multiple tester functions. The Neoteck 8233D tests Ac and DC voltage, AC and DC current, resistance, frequency, capacitance, continuity and diode. The auto-ranging function automatically selects the proper value range for your test. Though the Neoteck 8233D has 2000 counts (fewer than some other models), a few reviewers comment on how accurate the readings are.
- Safety. Features on the Neoteck 8233D will keep you safe while troubleshooting your electrical problems. This model includes overload protection, double current fuses, an auto-shutoff and a loud, easy-to-hear buzzer for the continuity check.
- Easy to use. The backlit LCD is easy to read even in dim or dark rooms. The non-slip soft plastic casing protects the multimeter if you drop it, and the support stand makes it easy to see and use the tester hands-free. Other features include a data hold button and low battery indicator. The 9V battery, which is included with your purchase, is easily replaced by removing one screw.
- Manual difficult to understand. Some users feel the manual isn’t geared toward a lay person.
Clamp meters are typically used to test current, but the Etekcity MSR-C600 Digital Clamp Multimeter also tests AC and DC voltage, resistance and other electrical parameters. With auto-ranging, you won’t have to fuss with selecting the proper value range for each test. Other helpful features include a large, easy-to-read LCD, auto-shutoff and convenient carrying pouch. The Etekcity MSR-C600 is a great, all-in-one choice to test your electronic devices, appliances and wiring systems.
Why We Recommend It
- Multiple tester functions. The Etekcity MSR-C600 Digital Clamp Multimeter measures AC and DC voltage, current, resistance, continuity and diode. With some multimeters, you have to choose the proper value range for each test, but this model has auto-ranging that automatically selects the range for you. For AC current testing, the jaw opening measures the current in a conductor up to 26mm (approximately one inch) without interrupting the circuit. Many users comment on the good quality of this multimeter.
- Safety. Safety is a big concern when working around electricity, and the Etekcity MSR-C600 safeguards include overload protection and double-insulated components. This model also complies with international safety standards for lab equipment.
- Easy-to-use features. Etekcity includes features that will make your testing job easier, such as a large, easy-to-read LCD and a convenient carrying pouch. The MSR-C600 automatically goes into sleep mode after 15 minutes of non-use, which helps extend the life of the two AAA batteries (included with your purchase).
- Complicated to use. A few reviewers say this tester is somewhat complicated to use for novices.
The Liumy Digital Multimeter’s low cost is certainly not reflected in its long list of features, including not only voltage testing, but current, resistance, diode and continuity testing as well. This is a tool you’ll use over and over again in your home. And its convenient compact size lets you easily drop it into your pocket to use throughout your house. All this and more make this a great choice for the budget-minded shopper looking for an all-in-one electrical tester.
Why We Recommend It
- Multiple tester functions. The Liumy Digital Multimeter has an array of test functions, including AC and DC voltage, current, resistance, continuity, transistor, and diode testing. You can test your household outlets, fuses, wiring, appliances and electronic devices. It even comes in handy for testing your vehicle battery and charging system and circuits.
- Safety. The Liumy multimeter safety features include overload protection on all ranges. A low battery indicator lets you know before the 9V battery (included with your purchase) runs out of power. A durable rubber sleeve protects the multimeter if you drop it. And this model complies with international safety standards for lab equipment.
- Easy-to-use, compact. This compact multimeter, measuring 5.1” long x 2.8” wide x 1.4” thick, fits in your pocket so you can easily bring it from room to room to do your testing. You can use the tester hands free with the built-in support stand, and the data hold button lets you record readings. Your data is easy to read on the large, backlit LCD, even in dim or dark rooms. A few users comment on the convenience of the lighted LCD that makes their job much easier.
- Manual ranging. The Liumy Digital Multimeter has manual ranging rather than auto-ranging found on other models.
The Amprobe PY-1A Voltage Tester allows you to check both AC and DC voltage on wiring, receptacles and other electrical circuits. This compact tester has a built-in leads holder, allowing you to use it with one hand or drop it in your pocket as you work throughout your house. With several other features that make this unit easy to use and its compliance with multiple safety standards, this is an excellent choice for a low-cost voltage tester.
Why We Recommend It
- Detects multiple values of AC and DC voltage. The Amprobe PY-1A automatically tests AC voltage at 120, 240, 277, and 480V and DC voltage at 160, 330, 380 and 600V. You can easily see when the voltage is detected by the bright neon lights. This voltage tester with two integrated test leads allows you to check receptacles, appliances, electronic devices, wire cables, circuit breakers, junction boxes and more. The unit can be used on energized and non-energized circuits and includes a test current of up to 3.5mA. The Amprobe PY-1A is powered by two AAA batteries, which are included with your purchase.
- Safety. The Amprobe PY-1A complies with international safety standards, including CE (meets European Union consumer safety, health or environmental requirements) and CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certification. The tester is spaced to fit a standard US/Canada outlet.
- Compact, easy to use. Bright LEDs light up when AC and DC voltages are detected, a real plus when working in dim or dark rooms. The built-in test leads holder on this model makes the tester easy to store and to use through your house. Many users comment on its convenient size, which measures 5.9” long x 1.3” wide x 1.0” thick.
- Prongs short for 220V outlets. One complaint is that the prongs on this model aren’t long enough to use in 220V outlets compared to 110V outlets.
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Best Multi-Function Voltage Tester
A multi-function voltage tester, also called a multimeter, is primarily a tool for measuring voltage, but it also measures current and resistance and possibly other parameters, which makes it a great choice to test a variety of devices and appliances in your home.
If you’re looking for an electrical tester that does more than check the voltage, the Thsinde Digital Multimeter is an excellent choice. This multi-function tester also checks current, resistance, continuity and more. With this multimeter, you can troubleshoot electrical problems in your electronic equipment, appliances, power supplies and wiring systems. Additional features such as a large, backlit LCD and overload and short-circuit protection make the Thsinde Digital Multimeter an easy-to-use and safe multi-function tester.
Why We Recommend It
- Multiple tester functions. The Thsinde Digital Multimeter tests not only AC and DC voltage, but also AC and DC current, resistance, capacitance, continuity and frequency. This tester has 6,000 counts and is a true RMS (root means square) device, so you know you’re getting the most accurate readings.
- Safety. Troubleshooting electrical problems can be dangerous, and this multimeter ensures your safety with overload and short-circuit protection. Also included is an NCV (Non-Contact Voltage) test, so you can safely test voltage without touching any wires.
- Ease of use. The Thsinde Digital Multimeter has an auto-ranging feature that automatically selects the proper value range for each test. This model has a backlit LCD, which is especially helpful when working in dim or dark rooms. It includes a data hold button, convenient if you want to write down one of your readings. The auto-shutoff saves battery life (a 9V battery is included with your purchase). And the support stand is helpful when both of your hands are otherwise occupied.
- Manual not helpful. Several reviewers say the user manual is brief with little information.
The Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter is another great choice to troubleshoot electrical problems around your house and in your automobile. Besides checking voltage, the MSR-R500 also measures other electrical parameters, including current and resistance. This multimeter includes safety protections and easy-to-use features such as data hold and a large, backlit LCD. The Etekcity MSR-R500 is an excellent multi-function electrical tester for testing your electronic devices, appliances, wiring, fuses and more.
Why We Recommend It
- Multiple tester functions. The Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter measures AC and DC voltage, current and resistance. It also includes a diode test and a continuity buzzer so you know your electrical components are in good working condition. Many users comment on the quality and accuracy of this model.
- Built-in safety protection. Safety is an important consideration when troubleshooting electrical problems, and Etekcity has addressed this issue with safety features, including overload protection, double insulation, a tough rubber sleeve to protect the tester if dropped and compliance with international safety standards.
- Convenient, easy-to-use features. The convenient compact size of the Etekcity MSR-R500, measuring 5.1" long x 2.9" wide x 1.4" thick, makes it easy to troubleshoot electrical problems throughout your house and in your car. The large, backlit LCD is easy to read and is especially helpful when you’re working in the dark. A data hold button lets you record your readings, and the support stand keeps your hands free for other tasks. You won’t be surprised by a dead tester with the low battery indicator, and the 9V battery is included with your purchase.
- Manual ranging. The Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeter has manual ranging rather than auto-ranging found on other models.
- User manual not helpful. Many reviewers say the documentation for this model is minimal and not helpful.
Best Non-Contact Voltage Tester
A non-contact voltage tester is a safe, reliable and typically inexpensive tool to test voltage without touching any wires. With this type of tester, you can test for hot wires and cables and check for power in your light fixtures, receptacles and switches.
The safest type of voltage tester is non-contact, and the Janisa PM18C goes beyond the typical tester in this category. Besides non-contact voltage testing, this unit also tests other electrical functions such as resistance, capacitance and frequency, allowing you to check your electronic devices, wiring, receptacles and more. This model includes features that make your testing easier, and has several safety features such as overload and short-circuit protection. For a safe, multi-function non-contact electrical tester, the Janisa PM18C is an excellent choice.
Why We Recommend It
- Accurate, multiple tester functions. The Janisa PM18C Digital Multimeter tests AC and DC voltage, AC and DC current, resistance, capacitance, frequency and continuity. It also has diode and triode tests. The PM18C provides accurate readings with a 6,000 count display and true RMS. Several reviewers comment on the accuracy of this model.
- Safety protection. Safety precautions should always be taken when working with electricity, and the Janisa PM18C uses non-contact probes to safely test voltage. With the provided K-type thermocouple, you can check the temperature of items without touching them. This device also includes overload and short-circuit protection and complies with international safety standards.
- Convenient, easy-to-use features. Janisa has added several features to the PM18C that make this model easy to use, including a data hold button, a low battery indicator and auto-power-off to save battery life. (Four AA batteries are included.) This model also has a large, backlit LCD, a flashlight on the back and a support stand.
- Complexity. A few users feel this tester is better suited for more experienced electricians.
The Wintric Voltage Tester Pen Kit is a great choice for safe, non-contact voltage testing. The compact pen style and LED light at the tester’s tip make checking voltage convenient and easy. Included in the kit is a GFCI outlet detector. The voltage tester has a handy clip to attach to your pocket or tool belt, and the GFCI detector is also compact, making it easy to test all the outlets, wiring and devices in your house.
Why We Recommend It
- 2-in-1 Kit. This Wintric model includes both a non-contact voltage tester and a GFCI outlet detector. The voltage tester detects voltage from 12V to 1,000V. The GFCI outlet detector will check if your GFI is working properly and if the outlet is grounded and wired correctly.
- Safety. Safety should be the number one consideration when troubleshooting electrical problems, and the Wintric voltage tester with its non-contact design ensures you’ll be safe from electrical shock when used as directed. The insulated GFCI outlet detector is also a safe tool for testing GFI.
- Convenience. Many reviewers comment on how easy these products are to use. The voltage tester has a light on its testing end, which makes checking your voltage in the dark safe and easy. The auto-power-off saves the life of the two AAA batteries, which are included. The lights and descriptions on the outlet detector quickly let you know the status of your GFCI outlet.
- A few users wish the voltage tester was less sensitive, that it senses voltage one to two feet away from a wire.
Best Pocket Voltage Tester
A pocket voltage tester is a convenient measuring tool to have on hand, but it’s especially useful when you have a variety of testing to do at once, perhaps when remodeling. Many of these voltage testers come with a clip to attach the tool to your pocket, belt or tool bag.
The Epsilont Non-Contact Voltage Tester Pen is a safe and compact tool for quickly checking voltage in wiring, lighting fixtures, switches, low-voltage circuits and more. This voltage tester pen comes with a variety of convenient features, such as a pocket clip and built-in LED flashlight, so you can easily do all your electrical troubleshooting throughout your house, even in the dark basement or attic. If you’re looking for a pocket-size voltage tester, the Epsilont Voltage Tester Pen is an excellent choice.
Why We Recommend It
- Voltage range and levels. The Epsilont Voltage Tester Pen detects AC voltage in the low range of 12V to 48V AC and standard range of 48V to 1000V, giving you a variety of applications in which to use the tester. This tester also has an LED indicator that shows three different levels of voltage: low, moderate and strong.
- Safety. The Epsilont Voltage Tester is a non-contact tester, which is the safest way to check your voltage since you don’t have to directly touch any wires. This tester pen is encased in polycarbonate plastic resin for safety and for durability.
- Convenience. The Epsilont Voltage Tester’s pen style with pocket clip make it convenient to bring with you wherever you need to check voltage. A green LED lets you know the tester is working. This, along with the built-in LED flashlight, is helpful when you’re working in a dark basement or attic. And the auto-power-off feature saves the life of the two AAA batteries, which are included with your purchase.
- Too sensitive. One complaint is that this tester is too sensitive, that it beeps when it’s near, but not touching, wires or outlets.
DROK USB 2.0 Digital Multimeter is a multi-function tester to troubleshoot electrical problems with your mobile phone, iPad and other USB devices. With the DROK Multimeter, you can make sure your charger—standard or solar—is working properly. Using a single button, you can switch to seven different display modes. And the convenient, compact size allows you to test devices at home, in your car, at work or school, making this a great choice for a pocket-size USB electrical tester.
Why We Recommend It
- Multi-function USB tester. The DROK USB 2.0 Digital Multimeter measures voltage, current, capacity and power going to your USB devices. With a single button, you can choose one of seven modes: VA (Voltage and Ampere), C(Capacity), P(Power), VA+C, C+P or VA+C+P. Several users comment on the advantage and usefulness of this feature.
- Dual USB output. The DROK USB Multimeter gives you two USB outputs. The first one is a dual-function output for device charging and data transfer. The second output is for device charging only.
- Safety. This DROK model has a charging control IC that automatically matches the best and safest current for your devices. It also includes alarms for overvoltage, no voltage, overcurrent and short-circuit.
- Convenient pocket size. With the DROK USB 2.0 Digital Multimeter’s compact size of 2.7” long x 1” wide x 0.6” thick, you can bring it with you to test all your USB devices at home, in your car, at work or school.
- Mixed reviews for instructions. Several reviewers complain that the instructions aren’t helpful, while others say they’re clear and easy to understand.