Digital Vs. Analog Multimeter

An analog multimeter measures current, resistance, and AC or DC voltage. It is common not only in home electrical installations but for servicing and repair of various electronic devices. The multimeter is a useful tool when you handle batteries, power sources, motors, switches and integrated circuits. A multimeter is actually a three-in-one device: It acts as a voltmeter, ammeter and ohmmeter to properly diagnose any electrical problem.

The analog multimeter has lost popularity as modern technology has come up with a digital multimeter which make it easy to properly read the various measurements on a display screen. Early models of digital multimeters are expensive and are only used in large corporations or heavy industries, but the digital multimeter is now the preferred measuring tool of choice when it comes to things concerning the flow of electricity. The digital kind often still costs more than an analog type, but novices find the digital multimeter easier to read and use than the analog meter.

Display and Accuracy

A digital multimeter utilizes numeric digits to display measurements on the screen. An analog multimeter uses a needle on a pivot to indicate measurement against a printed background with numeric printed scales. It is easy to miscalculate a scale or two in an analog meter. With a digital multimeter, all you have to do is look at the screen to indicate the measurement or number. More expensive digital models are more accurate and can measure up to five decimal places.

Quantity Changes

The flow of electricity can sometimes fluctuate, and a digital multimeter would be inaccurate when it comes to reading changing displays. The digits will appear erratic, and it will be hard to determine the proper number. An analog multimeter will instantly show you the general reading, and the needle will move in slight increments to indicate any changes or fluctuations.


An analog multimeter requires you to set the scale. A slight error will indicate a false reading instantly. The digital multimeter will automatically determine the scale and even indicate the scale on the display.

Special Features

Most digital meters in the market not only function as a multimeter but are capable of reading changes in temperature, humidity, light and sound as well. Analog multimeters act a multimeter alone.


Analog multimeters are prone to parallax errors, while digital multimeters are virtually immune to parallax errors because they simply display a number. Parallax error happens when you look at the display at an angle from the left or right; this angle makes it seem hard to get an accurate reading.