Best Clamp Meters Reviews

CLAMP METERIn today’s electrical clamp market, it may be really difficult to know which clamp meter is perfect for your job. There are tons of clamp-on amp meters out there, with each its own preferred use, specification, and price point. We’re going to help you find the best clamp meter.

We’ve created this guide to help you out! We’ll highlight on some key topics of what makes a great electrical clamp and which clamp will be perfect for you. You might have already read some reviews on different clamps, but you may still not know how an AC clamp actually works, who the best manufactures of clamp meters are, or what features are offered. We’ll break it down and take the headache away from choosing!

What is an Electrical Clamp?

Before you buy an electrical clamp, it’s best that you understand what the clamp is actually doing. A clamp-on ammeter is an instrument that measures the current flowing through a conductor. Without going into too much depth, there are 2 types of electricity: AC and DC, and the current from these types of electricity is what is measured.

Clamp meters act as transformers as they’re placed over a cable. When a current is read, magnetic waves trigger movement within the transformer’s core, which is then transmitted to a digital readout. An AC clamp meter will typically use a bar CT transformer, whereas a DC clamp meter uses something that is quite different called a Hall Effect sensor.

Please guarantee the clamp meter you purchase measures the correct voltage that your job requires!

Current Transformer

A Current Transformer clamp is very common but can only test for AC currents. The clamp is comprised of a split ring of ferrite or soft iron. There is a wire coil that wraps around a single or both halves of the clamp, which creates the transformer. This clamp may also work in reverse!

Iron vane

This clamp is generally very large in nature and is usually restricted to use with power transmission frequencies of around 100 Hz. This type of clamp has a magnetic flux directly in its core, which allows for both AC and DC to be measured. It also gives true RMS values for non-sinusoidal AC waveforms.

Hall Effect

This type of clamp is used mostly in oscilloscopes and high-end digital multimeters. It is more sensitive than the other types mentioned and can measure both DC and AC currents, and can even measure in the kilohertz range.

Rogowski Coil

This clamp features a core-less transformer and offers better linearity, is more flexible, and does not require magnetic contacts. It gives a proportional voltage reading which takes more signal processing before an accurate reading is displayed.

What to look for in a clamp amp meter?

The following are some of the key features that will be available in clamp on amp meters. Not every feature will be needed for every job, so make sure you purchase the amp meter that fits your work.

  • True RMS reading
  • AC/DC readings
  • Accurate measurements near 2%
  • Frequency measurements
  • Multimeter capabilities
  • Warranties
  • Low pass filters
  • Detachable jaws
  • Flexible clamps
  • Ability to capture variation
  • Safety ratings
  • Maximum amp ratings

Our Picks of the Best Clamp Meters of 2017

We have reviewed a number of clamp meters, which feature a multitude of functions and prices. We’ve tried to select clamp amp meters that will appeal for different uses. The following clamp meters are our Top Five choices for our best clamp meters.

#1  FLUKE 323 TRUE-RMS CLAMP METER

FLUKE 323 TRUE-RMS CLAMP METER

A solid clamp meter from a well known brand!Best for: Commercial and residential use

The Fluke323 clamp meter is a solid pick manufactured by a reputable brand. The ergonomically made amp meter is designed for the commercial electrician in mind. It offers exceptional measurement accuracy and is covered by an industry standard safety rating. As the name of the clamp meter suggests, the meter offers true RMS reading. It does not measure DC amps nor frequency. The maximum measurement for this amp meter is 400 amps. The best thing about this meter is the 2 year manufacturer warranty on their products.

Key Features
  • True RMS readings
  • Industry standard safety rating
  • 400 A max measurement
  • Also works as voltmeter

Pros

  • 2 year warranty
  • Trusted brand
  • Accurate measurements

Cons

  • AC Only
  • No frequency measurement
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM NOW!

 

#2  FLUKE 324 TRUE-RMS CLAMP METER

FLUKE 324 TRUE-RMS CLAMP METER

The big brother of Fluke clamp meters that offers some of the best measurements! This is our pick for best clamp meter! Best for: Commercial and Residential Electricians

The Fluke 324 is very similar to the Fluke 323, but a few key functions have been improved. Once again you get the trusted name brand of Fluke and a manufacture warranty. The Fluke 324 meter has improved measurement accuracy and weighs less than the other model. It still can only test for AC current and does not measure frequency. This amp meter also acts as a volt meter.

Key Features

  • True RMS readings
  • Industry standard safety rating
  • 400 A max measurement
  • Also works as voltmeter

Pros

  • 2 year warranty
  • Trusted brand
  • Accurate measurements

Cons

  • AC Only
  • No frequency measurement
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM NOW!

 

#3  Eteckcity MSR-C600

Eteckcity MSR-C600

An affordable meter with entry level capabilities great for any hobbyist!
Best for: Entry level electricians, hobbyists, and general household use

The Eteckcity MSR-C600 is decent amp meter for non-professional use. With a lower price point, the MSR-C600 lacks some key features that other amp meters come standard with. It does not offer True RMS readings, and warranty or safety ratings could not be found.

Key Features

  • 400 A max measurement
  • Also works as multimeter

Pros

  • Low price point

Cons

  • AC Only
  • No frequency measurement
  • No warranty
  • No safety information
  • No listed measurement ranges
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM NOW!

 

#4  Uni-T UT210E

Uni-T UT210E

A great price and awesome features for the academic electrical technician! Best for: Scholars, scientist, equipment techs, precision repairs

The Uni-T UT210E is an amp meter that is better suited indoors for non-commercial use. It’s designed to capture lower currents and frequency readings. The Uni-T meter can also test for both AC and DC currents! It has a great affordable price but does not offer a safety rating or warranty.

Key Features

  • Frequency readings
  • AC/DC measurements

Pros

  • Low price point
  • Frequency
  • AC/DC
  • Accurate measurements

Cons

  • 100 amp max
  • No warranty
  • No safety information
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM NOW!

 

#5  Klein Tools CL800

Klein Tools CL800

The goliath of clamp amps, measuring some of the highest amps on the market! Best for: Commercial and industrial electricians

The Klein Tools CL800 amp meter is a larger sturdier amp made for industrial use. It has a largest maximum limit for amp readings at 600 amps. The CL800 is very comparable to the Fluke models with a similar price and approved safety ratings, yet it does not offer multimeter functions or a warranty..

Key Features

  • Frequency readings
  • AC/DC measurements
  • 600 max amps

Pros

  • Frequency
  • AC/DC
  • 600 amps max
  • Approve safety ratings

Cons

  • No warranty
  • Unknown accuracy
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM NOW!

Buyer’s Guide

Best Electrical Clamp Brands

Buying from the best brand is important for most things, and electrical clamps are no different. Electrical work can be very dangerous, so products from trusted manufacturers is of the utmost importance. According to Amazon, the top five selling brands for amp clamps are Etekcity, Fluke, Uni-T, Signstek, and Klein. Each of these brands are known for carrying reliable products. It depends on your preference, but we suggest sticking with one of those top brands.

Differences in Use

Are you a DIYer, with dreams of replacing some cables in your electrical panel? Are you an electrical contractor with a large industrial job approaching? Or maybe you need specialized electrical clamps that aren’t as common? Whatever the case, we’ll help you understand what you should be aware of when making your purchase.
Electrical clamps comes in all shapes and sizes and some are even more durable than others. Verify the durability ratings for the clamp that you are interested in. If you’ll be working outdoors where the electrical clamp may be exposed to the elements, then you’ll want to be sure that the clamp was made for outdoor use. Drops, scratches, dirt and dust are commonplace in an industrial atmosphere, so ensure you find a tough and reliable clamp. Of course these hardy clamps are not needed for every job and there are certainly more affordable clamps with similar capabilities.

Measure Correctly Every Time

When troubleshooting on a job site, there’s nothing worse than faulty equipment. A contractor’s livelihood rests on their ability to get the job completed quickly and correctly. When using an electrical clamp, make sure that it measure true-RMS. If it doesn’t, you may pick up all types of signal bleed from other components in the system.
You’ll also want to guarantee that your future clamp is within industry standards and measures within 2% +- 5 counts. Stay away from anything that advertises +- 10 counts as they may misread low current settings.
Remember that clamps can measure AC, DC, or both. Electrical clamps are set to measure large current readings or micro level current readings. Knowing your needed measurement types are also important when making your clamp purchase.

Safety is Paramount

Working with electricity can be a very dangerous task; even if safety precautions are in place. An electrical clamp is an extension of your body into a hazardous system. If a clamp doesn’t have an acceptable safety rating for the environment that it’ll be used in, then don’t even consider purchasing it. Always use an amp meter that has overload protection and ensure that your leads have shrouded connectors and finger guards. Lastly, when using a clamp meter make sure that it is in good working condition. If there is any chance that it may be faulty, please take a second and assess if it’s worth the risk.

Fitting into those Small Spaces

At some point, you may have to squeeze into some very tight spaces with your clamp meter. There may even be times that you need to be standing where your meter is not. The accessibility of your clamp can improve your comfort and safety with electrical work. Luckily, there are electrical clamps that are very flexible. These allow for agile movement through tight spaces corners. There are also clamps that separate from the digital screen, allowing for the user to move to a safe spot or a more convenient working location to note the readings.
If you do find yourself stuck in a small space, it’s handy to have a clamp meter that offers an Auto Ranging display. On some basic clamp meters, you must set the correct measurement range. With Auto Ranging, the meter will automatically switches to the right measurement so you don’t have to!

Useful Features and Functions

Everyone loves fancy new features with their tools, and there is plethora of neat little things newer clamp meters offer. At Fluke, they insist that new consumers choose the features that are actually worthwhile to them. They claim that the more gadgets that are in an amp clamp, the harder it becomes to use and operate. Get an amp with the measurement tools that you need, without any of the extra modifications. These extra modifications will get in your way and you’ll be spending extra money for features that you won’t be using.
What are the right features? You’ll have to ask yourself exactly what do you need out of your electrical clamp?
Will you be working around motors? If so, you should consider an electrical amp meter that offers an Inrush function. The Inrush function allows you to measure the high current surges that flow from the motor.
Do you need to compare new clamp readings to old results? Consider purchasing a clamp meter that offers MIN MAX storage. An amp clamp of this type will return the greatest and lowest current readings over a period of time.
Perhaps you work with electrical distribution systems? A clamp meter that offers frequency readings may be a function you need. It’ll help you find those harmonic frequency issues in your electrical system.

Visual Display

The visual display may be the most important part, besides the clamps of course! The display is where you’ll find all the information for your readings. It’ll show your options screen and highlight any extra features that your amp clamp may come stocked with. You’ll want an amp meter with a large display and backlight. The working environment is not the same as the storefront, and you may find yourself in a difficult position if you can’t see your screen clearly. Ensure that the clamp meter you choose has large characters. You probably don’t want a bunch of information on the screen either. This may make the text confusing to read with too much data that you don’t need. Display icons that show the type of electricity you are measuring are also a useful visual feature. Look for clamp meters that offer screen freezing that hold the current read data in place until you no longer need it. Lastly, a meter that signifies you when the meter has a low battery, can also save time when in a difficult location

Conclusion

So, what’s the best clamp on amp meter for you? It all depends on what you need! There are many different varieties that suit different functions. If money is no issue, then you should consider the Fluke meters for their known reputation and lasting quality. Whatever your choice, we hope now that you have the information you need to make an educated pick when choosing your new amp meter. We hope you find the best clamp meter!

Author: Lawrence

Lawrence is our mysterious chief in house writer. Is he a famous novelist? Is he a famous journalist? We don’t know. All we know is that he is Lawrence.

Comments(2)
  1. Freddie May 1, 2017
  2. Peter Smith May 11, 2017

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