This is a real world review from someone who has used a Fluke 115 Multimeter daily for the last 2 or so years. This a review designed to show how it realy is to use one and not just regurgitated affiliate review just to make some money.
Now with that out of the way, I’m Mark and ive been working in electronics for years and have used many different multimeters over my time. Since about 2018 Ive been consistantly using a Fluke 115 multimeter every day.
So I feel I am probably the most qualified person there is to write a review on this meter.
First thing first, I really like it and wouldnt bother writing a review on it if i didnt like it as it would just be a waist of mine and your time.
These multimeters from fluke are really freekin’ solid! I mean they are the most durable multimeters I’ve used. I give fluke a ‘Solid’ 9 out of 10 for durablity. Trust me I know, I’ve dropped the damn thing hundreds of times on all sorts of differnet surfaces and its still in one piece. The only reason I’ve not given it 10 out of 10 is because the plastic still melts if you accidentally stab it with a soldering iron!!
Its made from a really thick plastic casing which is also surrounded be a solfter plastic yellow bumper thing!!
The Fluke 115 is one of the most popular entry-level multimeters for electronics hobbyists, students, and professionals. With a solid set of features and Fluke’s reputation for quality, it has become a staple around makerspaces and workbenches worldwide.
But how does the Fluke 115 actually hold up in real-world use? This comprehensive hands-on review will cover everything you need to know about Fluke’s versatile digital multimeter (DMM). Read on for an in-depth look at its capabilities, limitations, and overall value as part of your electronics toolkit.
Table of Contents
The Fluke 115 aims to hit a sweet spot of price versus performance. At around $150, it costs significantly less than high-end Fluke models, while still retaining core functionality.
Key specs and features of the Fluke 115:
- 4000 count resolution
- 0.09% DC accuracy
- True RMS AC voltage and current
- Resistance, continuity, frequency, capacitance, diode test
- Min/Max recording to capture variations
- Auto-ranging with manual override
- Large backlit LCD display
- Durable yellow rubber casing
- CAT III 600V safety rating
For everything from basic troubleshooting and maintenance to hobby electronics projects, the Fluke 115 can handle a wide variety of tasks. But how does it hold up in actual real-world use? Read on for our detailed hands-on review.
- Excellent accuracy and responsiveness for most hobbyist needs
- Very durable and reliable long-term
- Catches a lot of issues cheaper multimeters would miss
- CAT III safety rating provides peace of mind
- Lack of 4-20mA loop calibration function is a limitation
- Significant step up in capability over ultra-budget options
Overall Build Quality
A multimeter needs to stand up to all kinds of abuse, from accidental drops to overloads and shorts. Durability is especially important for tools expected to last years or decades of regular use.<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/g2qBK4xn/fluke-yellow.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”Fluke 115 in yellow case”>
Fortunately, the Fluke 115 carries on the company’s reputation for rock-solid construction. The distinctive bright yellow case feels soft and grippy in your hand, but has proven toughness. It shrugs off ding after ding and keeps going.
Inside, the high-quality PCB and components give the Fluke 115 excellent tolerance against blown fuses and other failures. You really get a sense of sturdiness and reliability from the moment you pick it up.
For professionals who depend on their multimeter daily, or hobbyists wanting one lasting tool, the 115 won’t let you down.
Measurement Accuracy & Responsiveness
Of course, all the durability in the world means nothing if a multimeter fails at its basic job of making measurements.
For a midrange DMM, the Fluke 115 delivers impressively accurate readings across all functions. The proprietary ADC integrated circuit gives 4-digit resolution counts, while noise rejection keeps readings stable.
In real-world use, we found it hits its 0.09% spec for DC voltage measurements. AC voltage readings landed within about 1% of benchtop references. Resistance measurements tracked extremely close to value-specific resistors.
General accuracy across measurement modes:
|DC Voltage||<= 0.09% + 2 counts|
|AC Voltage||<= 0.5% + 2 counts|
|Resistance||<= 0.9% + 1 count|
|Capacitance||<= 1% + 2 counts|
|Frequency||<= 0.1% + 1 count|
The True RMS capability makes AC voltage and current readings correct regardless of waveform shape. This avoids inaccuracies from cheaper average-sensing meters on non-sinusoidal sources.
Response times are also snappy thanks to the fast bar graph. You can see fluctuations at a glance before the numerical readout settles. Combined with Min/Max recording, it makes catching intermittent glitches a cinch.
Example Usage Cases:
- Troubleshooting circuits: Quickly checks voltages, resistance, and currents to find faults.
- Testing wall outlets: Gives True RMS readings to check for wiring issues.
- Continuity checker: Audio tone helps find shorts or breaks in cables/traces.
- Measuring capacitors: Accurately determines capacitance value and condition.
For hobbyists, students, and casual users, the Fluke 115 provides ample accuracy for most applications. Only those doing precision measurements at fractions of a percent will need higher-end functionality.
Key Features and Functionality
In addition to core measurement capabilities, the Fluke 115 packs great utility features:
Large backlit display – Crisp, clear readout visible in any lighting.
Auto/manual ranging – Automatically selects range or set manually for faster response.
Min/Max recording – Catches voltage/current spikes and drops as low as 0.1ms.
Auto power off – Conserves battery life after idle period.
Analog bargraph – Responds to fluctuations faster than digital readout.
Continuity beeper – Tone indicates circuit completion, helpful for tracing.
Diode test – Confirms diode polarity and voltage drop.
Capacitance measurement – Values up to 10,000μF and leakage test.
Frequency counter – Up to 20kHz for checking oscillators or signals.
Low input impedance – Minimizes voltage drops for more accurate readings.<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/GmRkmVKx/fluke-features.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”Fluke 115 Feature Summary”>
This generous selection of features for the price gives you capabilities well beyond basic measurement. Special functions like capacitance, frequency, and continuity add a lot of extra convenience during circuit debugging and maintenance.
The input protection and filtering provides nice headroom if you accidentally exceed ratings. And the large buttons work reliably even with gloves on. Overall the features complement core functionality nicely.
The main items missing are temperature sensing and 4-20mA loop calibration. But these are generally not essential for a general-purpose multimeter at this price level.
Ease of Use
For anyone familiar with multimeters, the Fluke 115 will feel immediately intuitive. All the functions and ranges are clearly labeled with standard measurement unit prefixes.
The large buttons give positive tactile feedback when pressed. And the dial moves with a smooth but firm action between ranges. Mis-selections are rare despite it being a mechanical dial.
Helpfully, the automatic ranging kicks in after 2-3 seconds if you forget to set the dial. This prevents blowing fuses or damaging the meter in the event you select the wrong scale.
The display also intelligently shifts units as needed. For example, 10Ω shows as 10 rather than 0.010kΩ. This simplifies reading values quickly without mental math.
Advanced features like Min/Max are easy to activate with dedicated buttons. Although the manual could benefit from more examples of practical Min/Max usage.
In summary, even beginners should have no trouble using the Fluke 115 for basic measurements right away. And the tactile buttons build good habits by encouraging checking range settings as you work.
Category Rating for Electrical Work
<img src=”https://i.postimg.cc/Dwj9jRZX/fluke-cat-iii.jpg” width=”300″ alt=”Fluke 115 CAT III 600V Rating”>
For professional electrical applications, the CAT safety rating is crucial. This signifies tested protection against transients from equipment like motors and compressors.
The Fluke 115 carries a CAT III 600V designation, meaning it’s approved for working on distribution-level equipment. This gives peace of mind and meets code requirements for electricians and technicians.
Many cheaper multimeters only rate for CAT II 300V at best. The higher 600V CAT III gives headroom even on 480V 3-phase wiring.
Pros will appreciate that reassurance when probing live circuits. It’s also satisfactory forautomotive work despite not having a specialized auto CAT rating.
One area where Fluke could improve is battery life. The 115 needs 4 AA cells and lasts about 200 hours with alkaline disposables. For pros using the meter all day, that can mean burning through batteries weekly.
However, there are ways to stretch it further:
- Use NiMH rechargeable cells and swap/recharge as needed.
- Carry spare alkaline batteries to swap mid-shift.
- Disable auto power-off and backlight to eke out every hour possible.
- Have backup meters available for very heavy usage periods.
Considering the power of the functions and backlight, the 115’s hunger for batteries is understandable. Just factor the operating costs into your tool budget.
- Excellent accuracy for troubleshooting and analysis
- Built rugged to last decades
- True RMS capability very useful
- Tons of functions and utility features
- Intuitive interface simplifies usage
- No 4-20mA loop calibration function
- Eats batteries relatively quickly
- Auto power-off can be annoying
Alternatives to Consider
The Fluke 115 combines great versatility with professional quality at a reasonable price. But depending on your specific needs, alternatives to look at include:
Klein Tools MM700 – CAT IV meter with temperature sensing for electricians.
Amprobe AM-530 – Low-cost general purpose DMM.
Fluke 87V – High-end industrial multimeter with more sensitivity.
Fluke 116 – Adds temperature and 4-20mA loop calibration.
UEi Test Instruments DL369 – Milliamp clamp and harmonic RMS measurements.
Consider what advanced capabilities you may need now or in the future when selecting a DMM. The Fluke 115 hits a nice flexibility sweet spot but lacks some pro-level features.
Is the Fluke 115 worth the cost over really cheap multimeters?
Absolutely – the accuracy, build quality, safety ratings, and features make the Fluke 115 well worth the extra investment over ultra-budget meters. You’ll save money in the long run not having to replace inaccurate or faulty tools repeatedly.
What makes Fluke multimeters so popular?
Reputation for incredibly rugged reliability over decades of use, excellent accuracy, intuitive interfaces, and category safety ratings for electrical work. They’re trusted tools professionals rely on every day.
What accessories work with the Fluke 115?
- TP220 SureGrip Probes
- AC285 SureGrip Alligator Clips
- TL223 Electrical Test Lead Set
- C115 Soft Carrying Case
- i400 Current Clamp
Does Fluke offer coupons or discounts on the 115 model?
Unfortunately Fluke rarely offers deals on its meters. Your best bet is to look for a 115 bundle with accessories included from authorized distributors. Or you can sometimes find lightly used 115s at a discount on eBay and forums.
Is the 115 a true RMS multimeter?
Yes, it features true RMS for AC voltage and current. This gives accurate readings regardless of waveform shape. The AC accuracy is 0.5% + 2 counts compared to 5% + 2 counts for the non-RMS Fluke 114 model.
The Fluke 115 earns its place as one of the most popular multimeters for good reason. It hits a sweet spot of price, features, accuracy, and versatility useful for everyone from hobbyists to field technicians.
While some pro features found in high-end Fluke DMMs are missing, the 115 delivers ample capability for troubleshooting and analysis in home, DIY, education, and light industrial uses. And Fluke’s signature construction gives confidence the 115 will stay reliable for years or decades of regular use.
If you’re looking for a sturdy general-purpose multimeter backed by years of reputation and testing, the Fluke 115 is easily recommended. The combination of proven field-ready design, accurate readings, and useful timesaving functions make it a great value for the money.
Consider picking up a soft carrying case and probe kit to complete a high-quality portable electronics toolkit. The 115 looks set to remain a staple of makerspaces, garages, and toolboxes well into the future.
Fluke 115 Review – The Top Multimeter for Electronics Enthusiasts
The Fluke 115 is arguably the quintessential multimeter for electronics hobbyists, electricians, field technicians, and engineers. Since its release in the late 1990s, it has cemented itself as the go-to mid-range digital multimeter (DMM) when you need accuracy, versatility, and bulletproof reliability.
But with so many DMM models on the market, what exactly makes the Fluke 115 stand out? This hands-on review will break down if it lives up to the hype for real-world use spanning home DIY electrical, automotive testing, industrial maintenance, and precision circuit building.
Right out of the box, the Fluke 115 makes an impression with its distinctive bright yellow housing, large display, and thick protective holster. The rounds of buttons give positive tactile feedback when pressed. And the beefy dial switches confidently between measurement modes.
It quickly becomes apparent this is no cheaply made piece of test equipment – the 115 oozes durability and precision at every corner. Let’s take a closer look under the hood at what makes it tick:
4000 count display – Precise 0.001 resolution on voltage and other readings
True RMS – Accurately measures fluctuating AC signals
0.09% DC accuracy – Reference-grade precision for the price
Auto/manual ranging – Grab readings fast or optimize scale
Large backlit display – Readings visible in any condition
Rugged rubber holster – Shrugs off drops and dings
Min/Max recording – Catches transient spikes and dips
Resistance, continuity, diode test – Essentials for circuit diagnosis
Frequency and capacitance modes – Bonus functions add versatility
CAT III 600V safety – Approved for commercial/industrial electrical work
With premium fit and finish backed by Fluke’s stringent quality testing, the 115 enters your toolbox ready for years of daily use. No worries about safety or accuracy when troubleshooting mission critical equipment.
But does the 115 live up to expectations when you put it to work? Read on for our real-world review across common use cases.
Top Fluke 115 Keywords:
fluke 115, fluke multimeter, fluke 115 review, fluke dmm, fluke 115 manual, fluke 115 specs, fluke 115 multimeter review, fluke 115 specifications
Electrical and Wiring Fault Finding
For home electrical repairs and troubleshooting, the 115 delivers ample capability. Features like the bright backlight and continuity beeper make checking wiring quick and foolproof.
The generous CAT III 600V rating ensures proper protection from transients when probing 120-480V circuits. And the durable holster keeps the 115 safe from drops on ladders or in tight spaces.
In practice, voltage readings on receptacles and light fixtures matched our precisely calibrated bench DMM. The True RMS guarantees correctness on the notoriously “dirty” power found in residential buildings. And Min/Max captures nuisance trips or slowly developing faults.
For home electronics repair technicians, the 115 is well equipped for diagnosing TVs, appliances, power tools, and other equipment. Sensitive resistance and diode checks isolate damaged components. And the 0.1uF to 9999uF capacitance range verifies capacitors are working properly.
Key Fluke 115 Features:
fluke 115 true rms, min/max recording, backlit display, cat iii 600v rating, continuity beeper, capacitance measurement
The 115’s versatility also serves it well for automotive testing and diagnostics. The 100mA current range can measure draw from accessories and spot parasitic drains. Frequency measurement checks crankshaft and camshaft sensors to uncover engine issues.
And the rugged yellow housing stands up to bangs around the garage or on the road. Leave it plugged into your OBD-II port while driving to log voltage fluctuations.
The ease of toggling between functions means you spend less time fumbling with options and more time isolating problems. Turn on continuity mode and probe fuses or switch terminals to quickly find breaks. Then flip to DC voltage to see if sensors are getting proper supply levels.
While the 115 lacks a specialized AUTOV rating for airbag systems, its CAT III clearance gives peace of mind for general purpose automotive troubleshooting. And the price leaves room in your budget for accessories like inductive current clamps.
Top Fluke 115 Uses:
automotive diagnostics, parasitic draw testing, fuse continuity, engine sensor voltages, frequency measurements
Industrial Maintenance and Repair
When working in commercial and industrial settings, the 115 provides advanced capabilities over basic general purpose DMMs:
- True RMS – Correct voltage on VFDs and other variable signals
- 20kHz frequency – Verify motor and drive speeds
- Min/Max – Detect intermittent power fluctuations
- Low impedance – Prevent voltage drops skewing readings
- 0.1% accuracy – Confidently measure to tight precision
- 4-20mA scaling – Requires optional module
The generous 6000 count display ensures you have resolution to compare measurements and detect small signal deviations. Combined with Min/Max mode, anomalous circuits are obvious at a glance.
The rugged yellow housing also brings confidence when using the 115 daily in harsh plant conditions. Drop it on concrete, knock it off a lift, cram it into tight panels – the 115 takes hard use in stride.
temperature measurement (requires thermocouple adapter), 4-20ma current loop testing (with optional module), 6000 count resolution, true rms ac accuracy
Precision Circuit Building and Debugging
For makers, hobbyists, engineers, and bench technicians, the 115 offers premium capabilities over basic DMMs:
0.09% DC accuracy – Reference grade precision for circuits requiring exact voltages or resistances. Confidently sets power supplies and divider networks.
Low input impedance – Prevents meter loading down sensitive circuits, ensuring measurements reflect actual conditions.
6000 count resolution – Enables adjusting and debugging circuits to tiny fractions of spec.
Fast bar graph – Instantly see transients while numeric readout catches up.
Min/Max recording – Logs intermittent events as fast as 0.5ms while multitasking.
The sharp LCD display provides clarity when working on dense circuit boards or reading values in difficult lighting conditions. And the positive tactile buttons develop proper metering skills and habits.
For anything from Arduino projects to analog synth builds and beyond, the 115 provides a robust toolbox of measurement capabilities in a compact package. It tackles precision applications usually requiring far more expensive bench DMMs.
capacitance measurement, continuity and diode testing, frequency counter, fast analog bar graph, high resolution 6000 count display
Additional Features and Considerations
Beyond core measurement functions, the 115 includes a number of usability features:
- Auto power off – Conserves battery life after idle period
- Min/Max recording – Catches transients as fast as 1 millisecond
- Analog bargraph – Responds to fluctuations quicker than digital readout
- Velcro mount – Sticks to metal surfaces for hands-free operation
- Spare fuses – Important for field repairs and continuity
- Holster – Keeps meter protected in your toolkit
Some points to factor:
- No 4-20mA loop scaling – Requires adding external module
- 200 hour battery life – Plan on frequent replacement
- No integrated temperature sensing – Add external thermocouple probe
Optional Fluke 115 Accessories:
fluke 115 case, fluke 115 carrying case, fluke 115 field technicians kit, fluke 115/323 kit, fluke 115/323 clamp meter kit
Who Should Buy the Fluke 115
The 115 hits a sweet spot of versatility for:
Students – Learning electrical theory or electronics repair
Electricians – Roughing in residential and commercial wiring
Field technicians – Servicing equipment across industries
DIY enthusiasts – Home improvement and automotive projects
Electronics hobbyists – Circuit building, Arduino, audio gear
Engineers – Prototyping and design work
PCB designers – Testing new boards and circuits
For maximum budget flexibility, consider the base 115 model without accessories. Down the road you can add carrying cases, inductive clamps, thermocouples, and other extras as needed.
Top Fluke 115 Alternatives
The 115 combines tremendous functionality at moderate cost. But depending on your specific electrical testing needs, some alternatives to consider:
Fluke 117 – Steps up features with non-contact voltage detection and backlight
Fluke 87V – Flagship industrial meter with max resolution and accuracy
Fluke 116 – Adds temperature and 4-20mA current loop calibration
Fluke 179 – True RMS digital multimeter with integrated thermocouple
Amprobe AM-530 – Compact general purpose DMM for value
Klein MM700 – Electrician focused meter with bonus thermocouple
Make sure to factor in category safety ratings for any professional electrical work. And consider bandwidth, sensitivity, and resolution needed based on your application.
Related Fluke Multimeters:
fluke 177, fluke 179, fluke 87v, fluke 116, fluke 113, fluke 114, fluke 117, fluke 15b
With its ideal blend of versatility, durability, and performance, the Fluke 115 remains hugely popular over 20 years since its introduction. It tackles everything from basic electrical troubleshooting to precision circuit analysis with ease.
Incredibly, the original design has held up so well that Fluke has needed only minor revisions over the decades. That long history of rigorous field testing ensures any 115 will provide years of utility in your toolkit.
While it lacks some high-end features found in top Fluke models, the base 115 provides more than enough capability for most home DIY, electrician, and general electronics work. Given the affordable price point, it’s easy to recommend as a first high-performance multimeter or backup for the seasoned technician.
The “ol’ reliable” Fluke 115 is sure to keep lighting up toolboxes and maker spaces well into the future. It sets the standard for precision, versatility, and durability expected from a premium digital multimeter.