Extech MN35 Digital Mini Multimeter Review
Editor Rating: 4.1/5
Extech MN35 Digital Mini Multimeter
Reviewed by: Timothy Henderson
Published on: February 28, 2017
Last modified: February 28, 2017
Most of your household gadgets use either electricity or batteries to run. However, we all know that sensitive electronics tend to break after a while. It’s not a big deal, but if you want to save some money and diagnose the problem yourself, you’ll need a quality multimeter. The main issue is – which one to choose? There are a lot of units available on the market at the moment, and it’s quite hard to pick the right one.
We are here to help you with the issue. Instead of strolling on the Internet and researching for hours, you can take a look at our reviews, and you’ll get an insight into the features and capabilities of various units. Save yourself some time and effort by checking out our other reviews; you’ll certainly find something of interest. Also, if you’re interested in a compact, sturdy, and precise multimeter, you’re on the right page.
Extech MN35 – The Basics
This particular model is ideal for people who aren’t experts when it comes to electricity-related tests and analysis. It’s easy to use, compact, and most importantly – affordable. While there are better units on the market, most of them have a premium price. It’s not impressive if you buy an expensive unit and get what you paid for. However, when you find an affordable product with same features as the premium ones, it can be considered a success and a good deal.
Well, if you’re looking for an affordable multimeter with a ton of auxiliary features and functions, the Extech MN35 might be your best choice. It has everything you’ll ever need for quick tests around your household. While it’s perfect for DIY’ers, it’s not advised for professionals. It is indeed a quality product, but it lacks a few things to be considered adequate for professionals.
One of the greatest things about this unit is its screen. It’s quite big and easy to read. However, the downside is the lack of a backlight. While some consider the absence of backlight irrelevant, many people work in dark environments and find the display backlight quite useful. Other than that, the screen is great. You won’t have an issue with distinguishing various symbols, numbers, and letters.
The temperature mode
The impressive thing about this mode is that it doesn’t come as standard in the “Under $50” category. Many people consider it necessary, and that’s why most of them opt for a more expensive unit. Well, those days are over. The Extech MN35 comes with a thermocouple included, which allows you to measure the temperature of any object within seconds. In fact, you can even measure the temperature of a liquid, as long as it’s not corrosive.
Data hold function
Although this feature is slowly becoming a standard in this category, it’s still worth mentioning the benefits it brings. The concept is pretty simple – if you press the “hold” button while you’re conducting a test, the unit will store the values. When you press the button again, the values will be erased. This feature is great if you don’t have a piece of paper to write down the readings, or if the numbers are too complicated for you to memorize.
This particular multimeter is well-designed, and it has a protective rubber holster to ensure a firm grip and offer some protection against bumps and drops. The thing people immediately notice about it is its small size hence the “mini” in its name. It fits in the palm of your hand, and it’s impressively light. One thing they could have done better is the position of the jacks for test leads, but that’s not a significant downside by any means.
The CAT II certificate
The most important thing you need to pay attention to when dealing with electricity is your safety. As we all know, even the slightest error can end up with fatal consequences. Luckily, there are many safety mechanisms involved which prevent accidents from happening. For example, the CAT II certificate is one of the important safety ratings, and it’s mandatory in any multimeter. It consists of two parts – the category code and the voltage rating. The voltage rating is the maximum voltage of the circuit that the unit can be connected to. The units labeled with CAT II certificate can use single-phased receptacle connected loads. Max voltage of these gadgets shouldn’t be higher than 600V.
Just like the data hold function, this one has become a standard one in the “Under $50” category. The idea behind it is pretty self-explanatory. Because a lot of people simply forget to turn their instrument off after use, the auto off function is integrated because it saves battery and money at the same time. The unit will shut down automatically after 15 minutes of inactivity.
Who Can Use This Multimeter?
Although it’s a great gadget, professionals might want to look for something with more features and capabilities. Because it can withstand 600V, it’s good for home use and some more serious projects. However, professional electricians often meet with voltages well over 600V, which is too high for this particular model.
On the other hand, the beginners love it. It’s easy to change the fuse, batteries, and the rubber holster. It’s also a simple device which means you’ll get a hold of it within minutes, especially if you have any prior experience. If you aren’t sure about it, go ahead and read the user manual, you’ll find answers to most of your questions in it.
Easy to use
DC function to 10A
No display backlight
What We Didn’t Like
Every multimeter has some downsides, and this one isn’t any different. While it packs a lot of additional features, it could be better in other aspects.
The first thing is certainly the lack of screen backlight. This feature makes or breaks a product, and not having it is a burden, to say the least. Although you can bring a small flashlight if you’re working in a dark environment, it’s not practical. To compensate for the absence of screen backlight, the Extech Company designed a clear and large display. If you depend on the backlight, you might want to look for another unit.
The lack of True RMS is also a thing we didn’t like. While it’s considered as a premium feature, some other multimeters from this category have it, while this one doesn’t. However, the True RMS is a must-have for professionals, but hobbyists can live without it.
This product doesn’t have auto-ranging. It’s a pretty important function, especially for people who aren’t experts. However, you shouldn’t expect an auto-ranging feature in this price range.
Can professionals use this multimeter?
While they can, in theory, it’s not advised due to the lack of some features and a limited range of 600V.
Can I measure temperature with it?
Yes, you can. A thermocouple is included with the unit.
Is this device hard to use?
Not at all. In fact, it’s one of the simplest multimeters on the market at the moment. If you don’t have any previous experience, make sure you read the manual before operating this unit.
Does it have a hold function?
Yes, it does. It comes in handy if you can’t memorize the values or you don’t have a piece of paper to write it down.
Can I put the thermocouple in liquids and get accurate readings?
Yes, you can. However, make sure the liquid is non-corrosive.
What do The Users Say?
People like the way this product performs. It’s accurate, precise, and easy to use. There are a few things about it that could have been designed better, but it’s nothing major. However, the most impressive thing about the Extech MN35 is its price. A lot of multimeters that are currently on the market have similar features but a much higher price. The fact that this one costs less than $50 is hard to believe.
The customers who bought this unit on Amazon share our opinion about it. In fact, it has a 4.1-star rating from more than 250 reviews, which is more than enough proof of decent quality. It also holds the #17 spot in the “Automotive” category which is pretty impressive. Some people complained about the country of origin, but it’s expected when a product is affordable.
If you’re looking for a decent instrument for conducting various electricity-related measurements, this might be the one. It’s a mandatory piece of equipment for every serious DIY’er. The Extech Company is well-known for making good multimeters, and this one isn’t an exception. Although it’s not suitable for professionals, it packs more than enough options for a hobbyist.
On the other hand, if you’re among people who look for a backlight or an auto-ranging function, you might want to check our other reviews.