Harbor Freight Multimeter Review

Harbor Freight’s awesome multimeters are packed with numerous unique features.

Electricians and Electrical Engineers employ the use of several tools and devices while executing their tasks. However, the multimeter for decades now has proven to be an invaluable device, especially in these fields. Multimeters are the ideal instruments for reading the values of voltage, resistance, and current. However, care must be taken when selecting a multimeter to purchase.

All of Harbor Freight’s multimeters have unique attributes that make them outstanding. These striking attributes that cut across all of them are their:   

  • High level of accuracy
  • High safety rating
  • Portability 
  • Very Affordable

Are Harbor Freight Multimeters Good?

Harbor Freight multimeters are not only portable but boast of a proven high level of accuracy in measuring voltage and electric power in residential settings. They are certified to have passed several safety tests they were subjected to. These multimeters have an easy to read LCD and are capable of measuring AC and DC and flow. And guess what? They are inexpensive too.

One of the most recognizable models of multimeters from the Harbor Freight brand is the 7 Function Multimeter. Also, we have got the Cen-Tech 11 Multimeter with an audible sequence. Another popular model from the Harbor Freight brand is the AMES Compact Multimeter. These multimeters are part of the Harbor Freight Tools.

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These functions involve multimeter tests for DC voltage, DC, AC voltage, transistor, and battery inspection. They also work with a 9v alkaline battery type. Some other unique aspects it possesses are:

  • It has an easy to read 3-1/2″ digital LCD
  • It has an automatic zero adjust.
  • For a comfortable grip, it has a soft over-mold meant for that.
  • The build has got a high impact on housing
  • A low battery and an over-range indicator
  • Updates 2.5 times per second. 

 The portable size ensures it fits easily into small and straightforward toolboxes. Its ease of use is one other attractive feature that has made it endearing to many. (1)

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One other exciting thing about Cen-Tech multimeters is that they retain information after tests. Other outstanding traits it has are:

  • Its LCD is easy to read with a 3-1/2″ LCD
  • Testing Capacity: 2V-700V AC and 2V-700V DC
  • They have an automatic zero adjust feature.

Additionally, this multimeter can also be used to test capacitance, frequency, and transistor. The Cen-Tech multimeter has a rotary switch or knob used for switching the range of values that can be read by this multimeter while taking readings for voltage and power.

Check the Cen-Tech 7 Function Digital Multimeter Review here.

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The Ames compact multimeter, just like the Cen-Tech multimeter. Nevertheless, not just that, it provides superior characteristics and accuracy in a compact size. Great characteristics it possesses embraces the following:

  • Low battery signal, Data Hold, and Auto-ranging
  • Display: 2000 Counts
  • Measures AC/DC voltages and current, diode test, and audible continuity
  • Measures AC/DC voltages of up to 600v and has a resistance range of 20MOhms
  • The auto-Hold feature ensures the first stable display value is captured
  • Auto power off -suitable for when the multimeter is not in use.
  • Bright display/ backlight

This multimeter also comes with a safety rating of CAT III 600v and also certified to have passed ETL tests. This provides the customer with a sufficient guarantee of the safety of the AMES compact multimeter. (2)

Check the full Ames Multimeter Review here.

How Do You Use A Harbor Freight 7 Function Multimeter For Beginners?

The Harbor Freight multimeter is one of the easiest multimeters to setup. The Harbor Freight multimeter usually comes with a battery that would be used to power the multimeter. So to begin:

  • First, have your probes plugged into their sockets
  • Then turn power it on by moving the power button located just below the knob to the on position.
  • Rotate your knob to the test you intend carrying out
  • Finally, using the tip of your probes, make contacts with test material to take measurements that’ll be displayed on the screen.

However, to use the equipment safely, the manufacturer gives some guidelines that must be strictly adhered to. These guidelines are outlined below:

  • Please note that the Harbor Freight multimeter should be powered by a 9V battery only.
  • When working near voltages that present the risk of electric shock, please exercise extra caution. Voltages with this potential are voltages above 30VAC true RMS, 42VAC peak or 60VDC
  • Please, do not use the Harbor Freight multimeter to test current on circuits that exceeds 20 mA.

The Harbor Freight multimeter should not be used to test voltage on circuits higher than 750 volts AC or 1000 volts DC. Voltages this high should not be tested by beginners. Please, the test must only be carried out by a qualified professional tester.

Our Verdict

Are you still searching for a multimeter that is guaranteed to satisfy all the required functions at a cost-effective price? Look no further. Harbor Freight multimeters have got you covered. It provides the necessary functions at a price that any competitors would struggle to beat. Harbor Freight is known to produce if not the best, then, one of the top multimeters in the market, nowadays. With Harbor Freight multimeter, all you need to carry out the vital voltage, current, and even temperature tests of your electrical circuit is literally in the palm of your hands.


(1) alkaline battery – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/alkaline-battery
(2) ETL – https://dzone.com/articles/what-is-etl-and-etl-testing

About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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