How To Choose the Right Clamp Meter for Your Electrical Needs
For professionals who work with electricals, clamp meters are an important part of their daily operations. It is a necessary safety tool to measure current flow without directly coming into contact with the conductor.
It’s an essential tool, so you must find the right clamp meter; safety and quality aren’t something to compromise. Finding the right clamp meter can be complicated because there are so many different options on the market. They come with a variety of functions, and you must understand what you need to ensure the clamp meter you purchase ticks all of your boxes.
There are a few essentials that you should look for, whatever you need your clamp meter to do.
- Always check the safety installation category rating for your intended application.
- Always ensure the maximum and minimum current levels are in line with your intended application.
- Does the clamp meter test AC and DC or AC current only? How accurately does it measure minimum current levels?
- Check the jaw size to confirm it will provide you with access.
- Check additional functions, including recording and resistance.
- Consider ease of use.
- Consider key features you may need, including backlight, auto-ranging, and thumbwheels for easy function selection.
A basic clamp meter doesn’t necessarily have the capability you need, they are calibrated to measure sine waves, which means you will experience major errors if you are dealing with distorted currents. With the growth of low-energy lighting, distorted currents are more common, which means you need a clamp meter with true RMS.
Open jaw clamp meters are the most basic option. The forks will not provide accurate measurements when dealing with low currents and they only measure AC currents. This diagnostic tool can measure resistance, voltage, and current. The open jaw allows you to measure conductors and cables without cutting the wire or shutting the current off, you can test it at any point in the electrical system. It’s a particularly useful tool, whether you are working with an existing system or testing a new installation.
The Martindale CM69 is an excellent option if you want a highly accurate, pocket-sized performer that offers AC/DC and AC. It’s ideal for maintenance teams, as well as electrical contractors, and installers, whether they carry out commercial, industrial, or residential applications. The CM100 is lightweight, and it’s key to reaching challenging conductors if you struggle to get to conventional clamps.
If you are dealing with repairs, maintenance, or installation, then anything ranging from 30 to 600 amps may be suitable for your needs. The key is to look at the functions each product provides and whether it’s suitable for all of the applications you require it for. You may need large, flexible jaws, or a smaller flex might be more than sufficient.
Be sure the forks or jaws offer the safety rating you need for the work you do. Large jaws are generally used for industrial applications, with both AC and DC applications, and are capable of handling currents up to 2000 amps. A lightweight, flexible clamp meter can handle high amp-age levels, but the key is it can reach difficult-to-access spots and large conductors. Having a detailed idea of your needs will be crucial to finding the right clamp meter.