Fieldpiece SC260 Review

Editor Rating: 4.5/5

Great Product

Fieldpiece SC260 Compact Clamp Meter Review

Reviewed by: Timothy Henderson

Last modified: Apr 15, 2022 @ 2:17 am

  • Design
  • Functionality
  • Price

Fieldpiece SC260 Compact Clamp Meter Review

While focusing on the pro HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) market, the Fieldpiece SC260 Compact Clamp Meter is equally suited to DIY and automotive use.

Measuring temp levels from -30 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit, it offers a sufficient range for the majority of heating and cooling system applications. And, boasting insulated resistance, it can effortlessly switch from hot to cold environments with no effect on result accuracy.

A rear-mounted swivel magnet enables hands-free operation while permitting you to rotate the unit for the most comfortable reading position. Furthermore, its CAT III rating certifies the clamp meter for use in three-phase environments while delivering reassuring precision with its TRMS tech.

Remarkably compact for a temperature-capable multimeter, it may appeal to trade and home users whose projects lead them into tight and confined spaces. Additionally, when working in these awkward areas, I suggest that the LCD backlight will provide welcome illumination in what can often be poorly lit environments.

This clamp meter comes from the Fieldpiece stable — a US brand renowned for producing reliable testing equipment and a history dating back over 30 years. The SC260 model supersedes the now-discontinued SC220.

Specifications:

  • Weight – 9.34 ounces
  • Voltage – 600 volts
  • Current – 400 amps
  • Safety Rating – Cat III

Features:

  • Auto power off.
  • Low battery indicator.
  • Backlight.

Pros:

N
CAT III safety rating.
N
Magnet mounting for hands-free use.
N
Auto-ranging.
N
Complete with a 9-volt battery.
N
Includes a carry pouch.

Cons:

N
Lacks micro-amp testing feature.
N
Low upper-temperature limit.
N
No storage for the testing probes.

Features and Benefits of the Fieldpiece SC260


The Fieldpiece Clamp Meter SC260 targets the HVAC professional — but does this machine offer more to the DIYer and trade contractor than just heating, refrigeration, and aircon troubleshooting?

Time to scrutinize the unit to reveal its capabilities.

Temperature Testing


As an HVAC-focused machine, the SC260 naturally includes a temperature testing function — a feature that didn’t appear on its predecessor, the Fieldpiece Clamp Multimeter SC220.

Measuring heat output from -30 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit, it can address heating elements, condensers, exchange units, and evaporators. And, arriving complete with a Type K Thermocouple adapter — there’s no requirement to make an additional purchase to use this setting.

However, what separates this machine from the plethora of other temperature testing clamps and multimeters, is its insulated heat resistance system. This allows you to switch immediately from cold to hot environments — and vice versa — without skewing the results.

Furthermore, this heat scrutinizing system isn’t just for the HVAC pro. For the home user, temperature testing is crucial for automotive enthusiasts — or for troubleshooting consumer products such as kettles, hairdryers, and heat guns.

Swivel Magnet


If you’re an experienced circuit tester — you know you never have enough hands. It’s impossible to wield a multimeter in your palm, while simultaneously attaching twin testing probes to a circuit board.

Hence, it’s pleasing to see that the rear of the Fieldpiece SC260 boasts a rotating magnetic. Powerful and generously sized, it permits you to securely attach the machine to heating or air-con casings — leaving your hands free to position the testing tips. And, with its swivel feature — you can rotate the clamp meter while in situ for the most comfortable reading position.

CAT III Rating


As a genuine pro-grade tool, the Fieldpiece Clamp SC260 possesses a CAT III safety rating, permitting the machine to be used with three-phase electrical installations — commonly found in industrial and factory environments.

While this will be sufficient for most amateur and light contractor users, it will be unusable for pro electricians dealing with high energy loads — such as mains utility distribution systems that require CAT IV certification. Should you want to know more about CAT ratings and their importance, check out my guide here.

Accuracy


When addressing air-con, refrigeration, and heating machines — accurate circuit testing is crucial. Additionally, if you’re a home electronics enthusiast scrutinizing PCBs (printed circuit boards) — any lack of precision can lead to blown capacitors or burnt-out CPUs.

Therefore, it’s pleasing to see that the SC260 Fieldpiece incorporates TRMS (True Root Mean Square) technology — delivering more precise results than standard RMS units.

By eliminating electrical noise from computer power transformers, fluorescent lights, and rotary motors — the risk of false readings is dramatically reduced.

Should you want to learn more about TRMS, how it works, and why it’s crucial for DIYers and pros, check out my TRMS 101 article.

Compact Build


Measuring just 8.0 x 2.65 x 1.77 inches — the Fieldpiece Clamp Meter SC 260 is one of the smallest temp testing machines on the market. This may appeal to both amateurs and trade pros who find themselves operating in closed spaces.

And, as these challenging confined locations are typically poorly illuminated — it’s rewarding to witness that the unit features an LCD backlight.

Auto Select Mode


With auto-ranging, you don’t need to have a professor-like grasp on the intricacies of resistance banding or capacity ratings — the SC 260 automatically chooses the correct range (tens, hundreds, thousands, etc.) for the measurement of voltage, current, frequency, and resistance.

Furthermore, even if you’re a highly experienced pro user who has a thorough understanding of electrical nuances — auto-ranging can save you valuable downtime, as there’s no requirement to reset and recalibrate dials.

Additional Accessories


When you purchase the SC 260 Fieldpiece, you don’t just receive the clamp meter unit. In addition, this electrical tester also arrives with:

  • Velcro securing strap.
  • Silicon testing leads with gold probe tips.
  • Wrap-tab Type K Thermocouple adapter.
  • 9-volt battery.
  • Padded carry case.

Fieldpiece SC-260 Clamp Meter Specifications


 Fieldpiece SC260
Weight9.3 ounces
Display Count4000
Voltage600 Volts AC/DC
Auto Power OffYes - 30 minutes
Low Battery IndicatorYes
AC Current400 Amps
Highest Safety RatingCAT III
Size 8.0 x 2.65 x 1.77 inches
Batteries1 x 9 volt PP9
Altitude Restriction6562 feet
Measurement RateThree times per second
Temperature Range-30 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit

Fieldpiece SC260 Vs Fieldpiece SC220


Twelve months ago, the bigwigs at Fieldpiece removed the SC220 from its clamp meter line-up and replaced it with the SC260.

Visually and functionally, the two units are almost identical, except for two differences:

  • The SC 260 has a temperature tester, whereas the SC220 did not.
  • The SC 220 boasted a micro-amp facility, not a feature of the newer SC260.

What Do Users Say About the Fieldpiece Multi-Clamp Meter SC260?


As I’ve already explained in this Fieldpiece SC260 review, I consider this machine to be a solid HVAC targeted clamp meter that can also function as an all-purpose home circuitry tester.

Yet, with only limited experience of the unit, the scope of my examination can only go so far. Hence, to ensure a completely thorough appraisal, I sought the opinions of SC260 owners — to gauge how DIYers and trade professionals felt about its features and capabilities.

Reassuringly, their feedback was positive.

Frequent users of the SC 260 Fieldpiece applauded the inclusion of temperature testing — something that wasn’t available on its predecessor, the Fieldpiece Clamp Meter SC220 Compact. Furthermore, they welcomed the inclusion of a reverse-mounted swivel magnet, and commended the industry-grade CAT III rating.

However, there were a couple of guys who expressed some disapproval.

One HVAC engineer criticized the machine for being unable to measure micro-amps — a facility that was offered by its earlier incarnation, the SC220 Fieldpiece Compact Clamp Meter. Additionally, a laptop technician bemoaned the fact that there are no storage recesses for the probes.

But, overall, all users concurred that the Field Piece SC260 was a reliable and accurate TRMS clamp meter that is more than sufficient for air, heating, and DIY users.

Alternatives to the Fieldpiece Tester SC260


While the Fieldpiece SC 260 is a credible machine, it’s not going to suit all users. So, if you’re looking for something a little different, check out my alternative picks below.

Should your electrical testing projects involve heavy energy loads — such as mains electricity sub-stations and junctions — the CAT III certification of the Fieldpiece will be insufficient. Instead, check out this unit.

The CL600 Klein has a CAT IV safety rating, making it suitable for hardcore pro use. Pleasingly, it’s easier on the wallet than the SC260, but lacks a temperature testing facility.

  • Like the Fieldpiece, the Klein has TRMS tech.
  • Certified to 1000 volts, in contrast to the 600 volts of the SC260.
  • Drop-proof from 6.6 feet — not claimed by the Fieldpiece model.
If temperature testing is crucial for your home or trade jobs, but you feel that the range offered by the Fieldpiece is too restrictive — check out this machine from Extech.

The MA445 can measure up to 1832 degrees Fahrenheit, in contrast with the 752 degrees of the SC260. That said, like the Fieldpiece, it shares the same TRMS accuracy and time-saving auto-ranging feature.

  • Lighter on your pocket than the SC260.
  • In-built flashlight, not offered by the Fieldpiece.
  • Rated to 600 volts, the same as the SC 260.
If the three-phase compatibility and heat testing feature of the Fieldpiece appeal, but you’re a little wary of its on-site durability — consider this clamp meter from Klein Tools.

The CL380 is built to withstand drops from up to 6.6 feet — a feature that may appeal to trade pros who frequent hardcore working conditions where knocks and bumps are part of the job.

  • Rated to 600-volts, identical to the SC 260.
  • More budget price point than the Fieldpiece.
  • No LCD backlight, a feature of the SC260.

Conclusion


Built with the HVAC and refrigeration specialist in mind, the Fieldpiece SC 260 offers accurate temperature testing and circuit troubleshooting.

A rear-mounted swivel magnet permits effortless hands-free operation, while auto-ranging makes the unit suitable for clamp meter and electrical novices. Its CAT III rating permits use in industrial environments, and an insulated heat resistance system allows the machine to switch instantly from cold to hot environments without affecting results.

Agreed, the machine isn’t going to excite everyone. The lack of a microamp feature means it’s unusable for flame rectification — crucial for many heating engineers. Furthermore, for many, the upper 752-degree temperature testing limit may be insufficient.

However, for an everyday use clamp meter that functions as a trade and home-use unit — the Fieldpiece SC 260 is worthy of consideration.

Fieldpiece Clamp Multimeter SC260 FAQs

Q: Where Can I Buy the Fieldpiece Clamp Meter SC 260?

The SC260 replaces the now discontinued Fieldpiece SC220 Compact Clamp Meter. It features TRMS tech, temperature testing, and a surprisingly compact build. You can check out the current price of this machine by clicking here.

Q: What Is the Difference Between Fieldpiece SC260 and SC220?

Read any Fieldpiece SC220 review, and you’ll discover that it had a micro-amp testing facility — something not included in its replacement, the SC260. That said, the newer model boasts a temperature thermoprobe — not a feature of the discontinued SC220.

Q: What Is the Fieldpiece SC220 Price?

The SC 220 Fieldpiece has been discontinued. You can check out the current price of its replacement, the SC 260 Fieldpiece, by clicking here.

Q: Where Can I Find the SC260 Clamp Meter Fieldpiece Manual?

The official Fieldpiece website stores a library of user guides and instructions for its range of testing equipment. To directly access the Fieldpiece 260 manual, click here.

Q: What Batteries Does the Fieldpiece Multimeter SC260 Use?

The Fieldpiece Multi-Clamp Meter SC 260 utilizes one PP9 9-volt power cell — and pleasingly, one of these batteries is included in your SC 260 purchase.

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