What is a clamp meter?
A clamp meter is an electrical tester that combines a voltmeter with a clamp-type current meter. The clamp meter is a very useful instrument specially designed to measure AC / DC currents that allows the measurement of currents in live conductors without the need to interrupt the circuit. It is as simple as opening the clamp so that the cable (only one pole) is within the magnetic field and tells us the current that is circulating in a matter of seconds. Like the multimeter, the clamp meter has passed from the analog age to the current digital age. Although originally created primarily to function as single-purpose measuring instruments for electricians, current models have incorporated more and mostly accurate measuring functions.
Differentiate a clamp meter from a multimeter:
- A digital multimeter is good for measuring voltage, but it has extra capabilities for measuring currents. The clamp meter does the exact opposite, it measures currents but is not as powerful for measuring voltages. Therefore, we will find many models of 600V – 1000A
- Digital multimeters have a high resolution, measuring in units like millivolts and milliamps. Clamp meters can measure with accuracies in the order of 10mA or 100mA.
- Digital multimeters are more accurate and give you direct readings, but against them they are much slower and not as safe. This happens due to having to disconnect cables to put them in series with your probes. Clamp meters are safer and easier to use since you do not need to disconnect cables to take measurements.
In addition to having the ability to measure AC / DC currents, the clamp meters do all the functions of a multimeter. You can connect some probes and make measurements of voltage, capacitance, resistance etc. Unlike the multimeter, you will only have to put the cable to be measured inside the clamps to know the current and you will not have to open the circuit to measure with the probes. Easy, fast and above all safe.