Originally Posted by kevmatic
The thing you have to think about is, how much is safety worth to you?
If your use a multimeter to measure mains voltage, you're sending a huge amount of potential power through something you are holding in your hand. Something that has to measure that power directly. Do you want to trust something that was made to be as cheap as humanly possible to that?
Exceedingly cheap meters such as that can be used safely, IF you know what you're doing. If you mess up and connect it in amp mode and plug it into a wall socket, it probably
won't explode badly enough to damage your fingers. But I wouldn't bet my digits on that! On top of that, cheaper meters are harder to work, because they don't do anything automatically. That thing has like a zillion
Also, the last thing you want to be doing when troubleshooting a problem is to end up troubleshooting your troubleshooting tools. Things get miserable fast. Sure its accurate when its new, but what about a year from now? Is the voltage on this thing really that off or did my $18 voltmeter just kick the bucket?
My dad recently threw out a bunch of perfectly good power supplies before he realized his multimeter was shot (like I had been telling him), so it does happen.
A proper multimeter has undergone extensive testing to keep you as safe as possible, will be accurate for a long time, and will be fairly easy to use and see.
You don't need to shell out for a Fluke, which are about the best handheld meter you can buy. You can get yourself a decent Extech or something and you'll be happy, AND safe. Even if you make a mistake.