How to Read Ohms on a Multimeter (3-Method Guide)

An Ohm meter or digital ohmmeter comes in handy in measuring an electrical component’s circuit resistance. Compared to their analog counterparts, digital ohms are easier to use. While ohms meters may vary between models, they work pretty much the same. For instance, the large digital display shows the measurement scale and the resistance value – a number that is mostly followed by one or two decimal points.

This post shows you how to read ohms on a Digital Multimeter.

Things Worth Noting First

As you learn how to read ohms on a Multimeter, it’s worth noting that the device measures the accuracy of resistance, its level of functionality, and voltage and amperage. This, therefore, means that you may use it when measuring resistance in an indefinite component.

Thanks to its resistance measuring ability, a Multimeter set can also inspect open or electrocuted circuits. We advise users to first and foremost conduct a Multimeter test to ensure that it is working properly. (1)

Let us now proceed to the three techniques of reading ohms on Multimeter.

Reading the Digital Display

  1. The first step entails determining the readout’s scale. Beside the omega, look for ‘K’ or ‘M.’ On your ohmmeter, the omega symbol signals the ohm level. The display adds a ‘K’ or ‘M’- in front of the omega symbol – if the resistance of whatever you are testing is within the kilo-ohm or mega-ohm range. For example, if you only have the omega symbol and you get a reading of 3.4, it simply translates to 3.4ohms. On the other hand, if a 3.4 reading is accompanied by a ‘K” before the omega, it means 3400 ohms (3.4 kilo-ohms).

fluke multimeter

  1. The second step is reading the resistance value. Understanding the digital ohmmeter scale is one part of the process. The main part of reading the digital display is understanding the resistance value. In the digital display, the numbers appear on the center front and, as earlier mentioned, extend to one or two decimal points. The value of resistance you get on your digital display measures the extent to which a material or device minimizes the electric current that flows through it. Higher numbers translate to higher resistance, and this means that your device or material requires more energy for component integration in a circuit. (2)

fluke multimeter reading

  1. The third step is to check if the set range is too low. If you see several dashed lines, ‘1’ or ‘OL,’ which means an over-the loop, you’ve set the range too low. Some meters come with an auto-range, but if yours doesn’t have, you must personally set the range.

How to Use the Meter

Every beginner should know how to read ohms on a Multimeter before using it. You are about to find out that Multimeter reading is not as complicated as it appears.

Here is how:

  1. Locate the ‘power’ or “ON/OFF” button and press it.
  2. Choose the resistance function. Since Multimeter varies from one model to another, read the manufacturer’s directions for selecting the resistance value. Your Multimeter might come with a dial or a rotating switch. Check it out, and then change settings.
  3. Note that you can only test a circuit’s resistance when the device is unpowered. Connecting it to a power supply spells possible damage to your Multimeter and renders your reading invalid.
  4. If you want to measure the resistance of a given component separately, say a capacitor or resistor, take it out of the device. You can always learn how to remove a component from a device. Then, proceed to resistance reading by touching the test leads to the components. Can you spot silver wires that extend out of the component? Those are the leads.

Setting the Range

When using an auto-range Multimeter set, it automatically selects the range upon detecting the voltage. However, you must set the mode to whatever you are measuring, such as current, volts, or resistance. Also, you must connect the leads to the appropriate sockets when taking current measurements. Below is an image showing the symbols you should see on your range scale.

setting multimeter ranges

If you have to set the range personally, it is advisable, to begin with, the highest available range and then proceed to lower ranges until you get a reading from your ohmmeter. What if I know the range of the component I am testing? Still, work your way down until you obtain a resistance reading.

Now that you know how to reads ohms on a digital Multimeter, you must remember to practice safety precautions. Also, assure that you are using the device properly. In many instances, failures are caused by human error.

Below are some other multimeter learning guides that you can check or bookmark for later reading.

(1) electrocuted –
(2) decimal points –

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: 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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