Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter Review
Editor Rating: 4.2/5
Fluke 101 Basic Digital Multimeter
Reviewed by: Timothy Henderson
Published on: February 26, 2017
Many people don’t know what a multimeter is, and that’s fine because not all of us are experts in the electricity field. However, the usefulness of this tool is extremely valuable, and people should at least know the basics. By learning how to use a multimeter, you can save a lot of time, money, and effort. Also, the great thing about it is that it’s a pretty straightforward piece of equipment, and anyone can get a hold of it within a day. On the other hand, if you’re a professional, you probably can’t imagine your day without a quality multimeter.
The only question is – which one to buy when the market is stuffed with dozens of them? Choosing the right one isn’t an easy task. However, that’s why we’re here. We offer a thorough insight into the capabilities and features of the Fluke 101. If you’re interested in purchasing a quality multimeter, go ahead and read this review and see if this one suits your needs.
Fluke 101 – The Basics
This unit is considered as a “pocket” multimeter because of its size. It’s about as big as a smartphone. However, due to its reduced size, it lacks some of the functions that other multimeters have. On the other hand, don’t let the small size fool you. It still packs a fair share of useful basic features, meaning you can use it for quick interventions and smaller projects.
Many people say it’s the first-choice multimeter for many DIY electricians. It measures AC and DC voltages up to 600V. It also reads resistance, continuity, capacitance, and frequency with a basic DC accuracy of 0.5%. The best thing about this particular unit is its price. It’s affordable and suitable for anyone’s budget while being of decent quality.
The Fluke 101 doesn’t come with a ton of auxiliary features, but it still offers the basic ones that every electrician needs.
Small and lightweight
As we said, this is a “traveler’s” multimeter, meaning it’s pretty small compared to some other ones. It weighs around nine ounces. It’s quite compact and convenient, to say the least. If you’re a professional, you can put it in your toolbox, and it won’t take much space at all. On the other hand, if you keep it at home, a small spot on your garage shelf will be more than enough room for this product.
Although it has a limited range, it is an auto-ranging unit on DC and AC volts, as well as frequency, duty cycle, and resistance. Unfortunately, there is no backlight on this device, and it can’t measure current, but it does have a hold feature and a diode checker. The max range of DC and AC voltage is 600V with a ± (0.5%+3) margin. The resistance is 40 ohms, also with a ± (0.5%+3) margin.
How many times did you get ready to conduct an analysis just to find out you’ve run out of battery? Well, this option alleviates the problem. Even though it’s advised that you turn off the device after every use, people sometimes simply forget about it and end up with empty batteries. However, the Fluke 101 will turn itself off after a few minutes of inactivity. Needless to say, this method will prolong the battery life by a significant amount. Regardless, keep a pair of extra batteries nearby, just in case.
Replacing the batteries is the same as in a TV remote controller. Instead of opening the whole casing, there’s a section for batteries protected with a plastic cover, which is easily removable. Keep in mind; the batteries are not included.
The data hold feature is what makes this multimeter different from the others in its category. Many units in this price range don’t have a data hold function because it’s considered “a luxury.” The concept is pretty simple, if you don’t have enough time or the opportunity to write down your measurements and readings, you can store them in the multimeter’s memory. Although it doesn’t have a massive database, it’s great option, and it saves a lot of time and effort. Professionals love this option because it facilitates the use of this product.
The dial positions
The dial of this unit has seven positions. However, only the frequency and resistance share range. The continuity and diode check are usually on the resistance range, and the duty cycle is in the frequency range.
Two buttons are included as well – a hold button to lock the reading manually and a select button to change ranges. The sockets for the leads are located in the bottom part of this product and marked with the traditional red and black colors. Since this unit doesn’t have a kickstand, the position of the leads isn’t an issue. Keep in mind; there are just two sockets on this product as it does not have current-measuring abilities.
Who can use this multimeter?
Because it’s pretty straightforward and compact, anyone can use it. However, if you’re a professional, you might look for a device with more features. This unit isn’t heavy-duty by any means. If you, on the other hand, need it for occasional readings, measurements, and projects, it packs more than enough features to get the job done.
The most important factor of the Fluke 101 is its affordability and accessibility. It allows people with a tight budget to own a decent piece of tool and troubleshoot or repair their electrical devices.
Easy to use and lightweight
Reliable and accurate
Capacitance and frequency range
Decent test leads
The “hold” function
Separate voltage input ranges
Display is not backlit
Auto-ranging can be slow sometimes
Probes connect on the bottom of the unit
Things we didn’t like about this product
There aren’t many crucial flaws with this product, but there are some elements that need to be mentioned because some people might consider them as a downside.
First of all, this product isn’t made in the US. It’s made in China and Vietnam, and the warranty is not valid outside of China. Many people use Fluke’s products for decades and get disappointed when they get this one shipped to them because it’s pretty clear it’s not made in the United States. However, don’t despair; even though it’s made overseas, it’s still under the Fluke trademark, which means the quality isn’t much different.
The other disadvantage is the lack of backlight. Because it doesn’t have any illumination integrated, you cannot use it in darker environments without using a flashlight as well. Also, an alarming number of people got their unit without any leads included.
Is this unit suitable for professionals?
It does have basic features, but if you’re a professional who uses these tools on a daily basis, you should look for a unit with more features.
Is it a complicated device?
Not at all. It’s quite straightforward, and anyone can get a hold of it within an hour.
Is it hard to replace the batteries?
It is not. There is a plastic cover on the back of the casing with a plastic switch which makes changing the batteries incredibly easy.
What are the dimensions and weight?
The dimensions are 7.2 x 5.3 x 2.8 inches, and the weight is 8.8 ounces. As you can see, it’s a very lightweight product, and you can carry it in your pocket.
Does it have the auto power-off system?
Yes, it does. It turns itself off after 20 minutes of inactivity and saves battery.
What do The Users Say?
People who tried this unit are satisfied, but most of them expected more. Also, many people get disappointed with the fact that it’s made in China or Vietnam, even if that doesn’t mean it’s worse than other Fluke products made in the US. However, if a basic multimeter meets your needs, this one could be the right for you.
As far as the Amazon rating goes, it holds a firm 4.2-star rating out of 5 stars, which is pretty impressive. We all know Amazon tends to be unforgiving toward low-quality products, and this is obviously not one of them. Most of the low-star reviews are about shipping and lack of included parts, which has nothing to do with the overall quality and precision of this product.
Because it comes with a great price while being of solid quality, it’s certainly worth purchasing this unit, especially if you only plan to use it occasionally. The general impression of the users is positive, although it does come with a few disadvantages, the lack of backlight being one of the major ones.
If you didn’t find what you were looking for, feel free to check out our other full reviews. We covered a vast majority of quality multimeters, and you’ll surely find a suiting one for yourself, regardless of your budget.