Voltmeter vs. Multimeter: What Do You Need?

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The difference between voltmeter vs. multimeter is an area that a lot of people get confused about.

The most common questions that are asked when it comes to a voltmeter and a multimeter is what the difference between the two is.

Although both work in a similar manner, there are some key differences between multimeter voltmeter measurements that you need to be aware of.

What is a Voltmeter?

A voltmeter is used to measure the two nodes of electrical current, which is given in volts. A voltage meter can work with an alternating current, or they can be used with a direct current.

For those who are looking into getting a voltmeter to measure electrical volts, finding a device that can do both is best as it offers more versatility and precision.

The heart of a voltmeter is a fine-wire coil that is suspended in an external magnetic field.

The electrical current that you are trying to measure will flow through and react with this magnetic field, causing it to spin.


The easiest thing to do when it comes to measuring voltage is to use clamps or leads that connect to the power source of the device you are trying to measure.

Through this connection, DC voltage works through the magnetic field and causes the fine-wire coil to spin.

This spinning results in the rotation of the analog stick on the voltmeter, which will show you the reading of the electrical current in volts.

There are also digital voltmeters available to use, and these are a better option.

A digital voltmeter has more resistance to outside magnetic interference when measuring a circuit.

This resistance makes digital voltage meters more durable and accurate as they do not use a coil that is at risk of damage.

If you are considering using a digital voltmeter, it is important to note that updates can take a long time with these devices.

This kind of voltmeter tends to update slower than an analog voltmeter, which means that fast changes in current and voltage are harder to identify.

What is a Multimeter?

A multimeter voltmeter is also used in measuring the voltage of a current, but multimeters also work to test and measure other units.

Multimeters can also measure both ohms and amperes, which are the units of resistance and current, as well as being used to measure the voltage or current.

The kind of multimeter you use can determine what other measurements can also be made, so you will want to consider what you need when looking into multimeters and voltmeters.

High-end multimeters can be used to measure other things, such as:


  • temperature.
  • frequency.
  • relative humidity.
  • inductance.
  • acidity.
  • capacitance.

This means that a multimeter, when compared to a voltmeter, is more flexible and versatile as it can test a range of units.

Multimeters typically come in a range of 200mV and 2000 volts, which means that they are suitable to use with a variety of common circuit types.

They are made to offer good accuracy, meaning anything you try to measure will be given in precise units.

How to use the Multimeter?

There are two main versions of the multimeter, much like the voltmeter.

Analog versions of the multimeter are commonly known as VOMs, which stands for Voltage-Ohms-Amperes, as this is what they are made to measure.

Newer versions of the multimeter are known as DMM, which stands for Digital Multimeter.

As a multimeter can measure a range of units, including voltage, resistance, and even the temperature of an electrical circuit, they sometimes have different external ports that can be used during testing to get the most accurate reading.

The different measurements that a multimeter can read require different internal resistors to get accurate measurements.

Which is why most multimeters have different external ports that are made for test wires.

It is important to note that multimeters can be very expensive to buy due to the fact they can measure multiple things within a circuit.

The price will reflect what a multimeter can measure as well as the range of current, resistance, and voltages that it can work within a circuit.

Digital versions of the multimeter tend to be more expensive out of the two types due to the new technology they rely on.

The best digital multimeters can cost thousands of dollars, which means they may not be what you need to measure a household circuit.

Which is best?

For those who are only looking to measure the voltage of an electrical circuit, then a voltmeter is the best option as they are more affordable than a digital multimeter.

However, if you want to get an accurate reading of multiple units such as the resistance, temperature, and voltage of a circuit, then a multimeter is best.


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