The Amprobe AM-500 Series is an affordable complement of digital multimeters ranging from basic DIY models to industrially-rated devices. Although made in China, they are generally ruggedly built and safe, including the budget AM500. They cover the gamut, from home repairs to general electrical repairs, HVAC work and complex troubleshooting on the shop floor. Extras include non-contact voltage detection and dual temperature displays, and accuracy is good.
Although we’ve included the AM-500 in this line-up, and it is part of this series, it is more a DIY meter as opposed to a fully-fledged DMM.
Some key features:
- VolTect voltage detection
- Backlit display with bar graph
- Temperature inputs
- Audible continuity
- Diode test
- Auto ranging
- Low impedance (stray voltages)
- Low-pass filter (variable frequency drives)
- Data hold
- Max/Min memory
- Peak hold
- Relative mode
- LED flashlight
- Auto power-off
- Hanger strap
Note: not all models have all these features
This is the cheapest of the 500 Series at around $30. Smaller than the others and with the fewest features, it does however auto-range and can measure all amperage ranges. Also features battery test and data hold and is ideal for home DIY, as well as for basic electrical and HVAC work. Negatives include the lack of a backlit display and standard ranges like capacitance and frequency, and it is the only one of the series without a voltage detection sensor. Read full review…
Better equipped for the electrician, the 510 has more functionality and measurement ranges, to include capacitance, frequency, duty cycle and relative mode. In addition, you get a range button to switch between auto and manual ranging, plus a non-contact voltage detector. The display on the 510 is 4,000-count and is backlit, though there is no bar graph. A good meter for basic electrics, electronics and automotive work. Read full review…
Classed as a general HVAC multimeter, the 520 can do everything the 510 can do, as well as record Max/Min values and measure temperature. There is also a voltage sensor – good for picking up AC voltage between 90V and 600V – and micro-amps for diagnosing flame sensors. A temperature input makes the difference for this being an HVAC-ready meter. The 520 is not much more than the 510 and also has a bar graph on the bottom of its 4,000-count display. Read full review…
This meter is a bigger step up in price and is mainly aimed at electricians. A True RMS-responding multimeter, it will suit those who might need to accurately measure AC variable drive systems. Temperature, voltage detection, micro-amps and frequency also come as standard, but it is not quite industrially-rated. Read full review…
The AM-560 is a better multimeter for HVAC technicians looking for greater functionality, as it also comes with duty cycle, a low-pass filter and peak hold. In addition, it is also rated to 1000V (600V at CAT-IV), has dual temperature inputs and a dual display, plus it is more accurate than most others in the series. It also boasts wider capacitance, frequency and resistance ranges. Read full review…
This is the most expensive and altogether multimeter in the AM-500 Series comparison. It is aimed at electricians in industry, with its CAT-IV rating. It has all functions the 560 has, together with True RMS capability and a low impedance mode for eliminating ghost voltages in neighboring circuits. It is as accurate as the 560 and also has dual temp inputs and a dual display screen, which is 6,000-count. Read full review…
Differences Between the Amprobe AM-500, 510, 520, 530, 560 and 570
|Digits||3 1/2||3 3/4||3 3/4||3 3/4||3 5/6||3 5/6|
|Auto/Manual Ranging||auto only||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Voltage AC / DC||600V||600V||600V||600V||1000V||1000V|
|Current AC / DC||10A||10A||10A||10A||10A||10A|
|Capacitance||-||40nF / 4000μF||40nF / 4000μF||40nF / 4000μF||60 nF / 60mF||60 nF / 60mF|
All of the 500 Series are well built and rugged, though the AM-500 is smaller and has a solid case. They have most ranges, including micro-amps, which is a must for HVAC work. Most also come with a temperature input and Max/Min mode, as well as a non-contact volts detector and a flashlight mounted atop.
They can all measure to 600V AC and DC, 10A AC and DC, while higher ranges for voltage, resistance, capacitance and frequency are typically achieved the further you go up the range. The AM-560 and 570 have the best accuracy, range measurements, temperature functionality and surge protection rating.
Expense wise, they are quite closely priced, running between about $30 for the 500 and $120 for the 570.
Alternatives: Klein Tools, Extech and Fluke all do decent HVAC multimeters also. Fluke’s 116 is especially good, though is half as much again as the AM-560.