Mastech MS8264 Multimeter Review
Editor Rating: 4.2/5
Mastech MS8264 Multimeter
Reviewed by: Timothy Henderson
Published on: March 2, 2017
Last modified: March 2, 2017
While multimeters are important, the more important thing is to find the one that’s going to last long, offer accurate results, and most importantly – be affordable. However, that’s not an easy task nowadays. First of all, the market is flooded with various units, and most of them are simply not worth buying. They are either poor quality or too expensive. Before you give up on searching for the right one, take a look at our reviews. We’ve covered most of the products that are worth checking out, and you might find something of interest.
Every DIY-er should have at least one multimeter in their toolbox. We all have a ton of electrical gadgets around the house, and most of them break at some point. However, if you have a multimeter by your side at that point, you can save some money and diagnose the problem yourself instead of calling the repairman and going through all the hassle. The crucial things in every multimeter are precision and accuracy. Luckily, the Mastech MS8264 has both of these elements.
Mastech MS8264 – The Basics
This multimeter is a great tool for hobbyists who want to add a sensitive and accurate instrument to their inventory. It has a bunch of great features, however, if you’re a professional electrician – you might want to search for something else. Although it’s perfectly suitable for professionals as well, some of its shortcomings could be a burden if you’re dealing with electricity on a daily basis.
As far as the features go, this unit has everything you’ll ever need for conducting basic tests, troubleshoots, and diagnosis. One of the features many people don’t expect in this category is the temperature mode. While it’s almost a standard in high-end multimeters, it’s quite a surprise when you see it in an affordable unit like the Mastech MS8264.
The Mastech MS8264 is well-designed. Part of the casing is made of rubber which serves as a protection against bumps and hits. However, it isn’t certified as shockproof, so don’t expect it to withstand falls from heights. The unit fits nicely in your hand and pocket. It’s compact, relatively small, and lightweight. It won’t take up much space in your toolbox. One interesting thing about the design is that you can rotate the switch single-handedly. Many other multimeters require both hands because they either slide on smooth surfaces or the rotary switch is tight and sturdy. However, this one has a smooth switch, and you won’t have an issue if you decide to use only one hand while doing something else with your other one.
Auto shut off function
While it’s a relatively standard feature of most multimeters on the market at the moment, it’s still worth pointing out the benefits of it. First of all, the concept is pretty simple. If you forget to turn off your instrument after use, the auto shut off function will make sure you don’t end up with empty batteries by shutting the unit down after 15 minutes of inactivity. As far as the benefits go, you won’t have to spend money on new batteries every time you want to use the instrument.
The hold functionn
How many times did you find yourself without a piece of paper to write down the values? Probably quite a few times. However, the hold function is going to help you with the issue. If you don’t have a piece of paper to write down the values or they’re just too complicated to memorize, press the “hold” button and the unit will store your reading until you overwrite it with a new one or press the button again.
This unit has a 1999-count display which is not impressive, but it’s more than enough for hobbyists and people who aren’t looking to use it as a professional accessory. The one thing you’ll probably notice right away is the fact that the backlight isn’t automatic. Instead, there is a “Light” button located on the casing which turns on the screen backlight when pressed. This feature is great because it saves battery.
Although people love auto-ranging, this unit doesn’t have that feature. It’s not a big deal, especially if you take the affordability of this product into consideration. However, if you don’t have much experience with these units, make sure that you read the user manual and follow the instructions. Once you comprehend the concept of manual ranging, you shouldn’t have a problem using it.
Most multimeters from the “Under $50” category don’t have this option; however, this one is an exception. Measuring temperature with this particular unit is pretty easy. All you have to do is connect the thermocouple properly and put the end of it on the surface you want to test. You can also dip it in liquids as long as they’re not corrosive. Pay special attention to the corrosiveness of the liquid that you’re dealing with because you won’t be able to use the thermocouple anymore if it corrodes.
Who Can Use This Unit?
While it’s suitable both for beginners and professionals, in theory – it’s not advised for experts because it lacks a few crucial features such as True RMS. The fact that it can withstand up to 1000V makes it perfect for serious DIY-ers. If you’re looking for a decent unit that can measure capacitance, temperature, voltage, and more, this one might be the thing you’re searching for.
The user manual is included with the product, and that’s all you need to get started if you’re an absolute beginner. In fact, even if you have some experience, make sure to check out the user manual and take all necessary precautionary measures. We all know that dealing with electricity can end up with fatal consequences, so the first thing you should think about before using a multimeter is your safety.
Easy to use
Data hold feature
No True RMS
Things We Didn’t Like
Although it’s a great unit for most people, it has some minor shortcomings. A lot of these disadvantages are easily solvable or not so crucial. However, we will mention a couple of downsides so that you know what to expect if you opt for this particular model.
First of all, the screen backlight is automatic. While it may not seem like a big deal, it can become a nuisance, especially if both of your hands are occupied. There are some good sides of this, but we prefer an automatic backlight. As we said, it’s not a significant downside, but it’s still worth mentioning.
The second thing is the lack of the True RMS technology. It may be unreal to expect True RMS in the “Under $50” category, but some other models from the same category have it, and it works great. However, this feature is mostly beneficial for professional electricians, and this device isn’t adequate for experts who are dealing with electricity on a daily basis.
The absence of auto-ranging mode is quite noticeable. Although it’s not a big deal for experienced users, it can be a nuisance for beginners. However, it’s easily solvable; all you have to do is read the user manual and figure out the way it works.
Is this multimeter hard to use?
Not at all. In fact, it’s one of the simplest ones in this category.
Can professional electricians use it?
While it’s possible in theory, it’s not advised. Although, if you’re a professional and you think there are enough features in it to meet your demands, go for it.
Does it have a display backlight?
It does have a backlight, but it’s not automatic. There’s a button located below the screen which turns on the screen illumination when pressed.
Can I measure temperature with this multimeter?
Yes, you can. The thermocouple is included with the unit. Before using the temperature mode, make sure you’ve connected the probe in a proper manner.
Is this an auto-ranging device?
No, this unit doesn’t have auto-ranging. The range is set manually.
What do The Users Say?
Most people who had the opportunity to use this unit have positive impressions about it. As we said, it has a few downsides, but it’s expected in the “Under $50” category. Beginners love its ease of use and the big screen. The temperature feature is a great addition to an already versatile product, which makes it even more likable. We cannot analyze the reviews on Amazon because there are only a few of them, and they are all positive. Although it has a 5-star rating on Amazon, it’s expected to drop when more people get a chance to test the Mastech MS8264.
We’ve offered more than enough information about this product, if you find it interesting – go for it. It offers a decent accuracy, ease of use, and it’s affordable. Instead of buying a high-end instrument and overpaying something you might not even need, take a moment and think about this product. If you’re not a hardcore professional, it has everything you’ll ever need for quick tests and analysis.