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Fluke 15b+ Review

Fluke 15b+ product image

Editor Rating: 4.5/5

Great

Fluke 117/323 Kit

Reviewed by: Glen Fisher
Published on: May 22, 2018
Last modified: May 28, 2018

  • Design
  • Functionality
  • Price

Review Summary:

In this review, we’ll be taking a look at one of the more affordable all-around measuring devices from Fluke – the 15B+ digital multimeter. This model is actually a revamped version of the older 15b model, manufactured mainly for the Asian users.

Nevertheless, the unit looks and feels just like all other Fluke DMMs – it has the trademark colors, an easy-to-operate display, as well as the compact build. Although it comes with limited features, we still think that this gadget deserves a more in-depth look – we’ll analyze its design, build quality, performance, and protection. Read on!

The Basics


As we already said, the purpose of this model is to serve as a replacement for the older 15b model. It comes with all the functions of its older cousin, but also adds more of them – such as the brighter screen, a faster response time on auto-ranging and continuity, as well as the better range on capacitance.

Besides that, the model also has a very good build quality for the price that it comes at. It’s a sturdy piece of measuring equipment that can be used with just one hand thanks to its compact size and the large dial.

The Features


The Performance


The Fluke 15b+ is an auto-ranging multimeter, and it comes with all the necessary test ranges one might need for general-purpose measuring. Even though it doesn’t have the elaborate functions of the flagship DMMs, this device will still let you measure things like continuity, resistance, AC and DC voltage, diode check, and other things.

Due to its price category, we certainly didn’t expect superb performance. But 15b+ has still managed to impress us – is does quite well when it comes to speed of continuity checks. It also has a useful auto-shutdown feature that turns the device down after 20 minutes of inactivity. Of course, this feature can be disabled.

When it comes to the battery performance, the two AA batteries in this model provide a running time of around 500 hours. Although this number depends on how much you use the display backlighting, we still find it very impressive.

The Protection


Just like we expected, the current inputs of the Fluke 15b+ are protected by fast-blow fuses – 440mA for the micro-amp/milliamp input and 11A for the high-current input. When it comes to category rating, the model is CAT-III rated, allowing the user to test voltage of motors, computer power supplies, light switches, socket outlets, etc.

The Design


Seven inches tall and four inches wide, the Fluke 15b+ is a very compact model. It also has a low weight, so it’s very easy to use it with one hand, especially when we consider the large dial on its facade. The device has a flip out stand on its rear, while the batteries sit in an easy-to-access box on the same side of the gadget.

With its large dial, a couple of extra buttons, and four inputs, this DMM is very easy to use. This makes it a perfect choice for the trainees and electronics hobbyists – one doesn’t need extensive technical knowledge to figure out how this device works.

The Display


Even though it isn’t a game changer, the screen of 15b+ is surely an improvement over the previous iteration. It has a 4000-count resolution, shows large digits, and has backlighting that lasts two minutes (this feature can be disabled).

The Accessories


Along the multimeter, the package also holds a holster, 2 AA batteries, shrouded leads, and the user manual. It’s a pretty standard deal – we were sorry to see that it didn’t include a carrying bag, although that’s not a significant downside.

Who Can Use This Kit?


The fact that this model doesn’t come with flagship features makes it unsuitable for professionals and lab testers. However, the model is well-equipped with standard functions that can be of great assistance to electronics hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts. They will get the most out of this model.

The Fluke 15b+ is a very good all-around tool for the majority scenarios to Category-III level, which is precisely what we expected at its price.

Fluke 15b+ side image

Pros:

N

Reasonable price

N

Rugged construction

N

An improved display

N

User-friendly controls

N

Usess AA bateries

Cons:

N

CAT-III ceiling

N

Chinese-built DMM

What We Didn’t Like


When it comes to downsides, the biggest one is the fact that 15b+ comes with a CAT-III rating. Even though this makes it perfectly suitable for domestic and commercial work, it makes it inadequate for high-quality professional level testing. However, one can’t really expect flagship features in this price category. Our only other complaint is that the device was built in China – Fluke did it to cut down the costs. Even though that didn’t have a negative effect on the gadget’s built quality and functions, it will surely discourage a number of potential buyers from purchasing it.

What do The Users Say?


Due to its lower price, the users claim that buying Fluke 15b+ is an excellent investment. They’re calling it the best budget-friendly digital multimeter on the market and a model that deserves more attention.

The users are quite satisfied with the unit’s basic features, as well as it with its rugged build that easily withstands any kind of abuse. They are fully aware of the fact that 15b+ isn’t anywhere near the pro-level models, saying that it’s still an excellent choice for general-purpose tasks.

Conclusion


Overall, we can safely say that this model is one of the best alternatives to the multimeters of the Fluke’s 110 Series. It’s an excellent choice for those looking for a gadget that will allow them to test voltage up to 1000V. Furthermore, the device is also quite useful for low voltage work and has a solid capacitance range.

Even though you could easily buy a lesser-branded DMM with more functions than 15b+, none of them will be as accurate and well-built as this model. Maybe it isn’t ideal for the professionals, but it’s certainly suitable for everyday domestic and light commercial tasks and projects.

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