Fluke is traditionally one of the more expensive producers of multimeters. Their meters are pricey because of the high quality, accuracy and level of safety. Aside from going second hand, there are only a few options for picking up a cheap fluke multimeter.
The 100 Series is the cheapest range you’ll find, specifically the basic Fluke 101. This is a compact meter erring toward the budget end of the spectrum, at around the $50 mark. A compact and lightweight device, it has most of the essentials, including being able to perform voltage, resistance and continuity measurements.
Its main negative is that it doesn’t have any amperage input. There’s also no backlight on its display, but it is a basic auto ranging meter so is super easy to use. In addition, you can perform some electronics work with it as there are capacitance, frequency and millivolts (AC only) ranges, as well as a diode checker and duty cycle. A manual data hold freezes the display readings.
The build of the 101 is good despite being a cheap Fluke multimeter. It is worth bearing in mind though that this series is made in China. It is still a legit Fluke product, but they had to farm it out to a Chinese factory as the lower labor cost keeps the price down.
Overall accuracy and attention to detail are much what you would expect from a general, American made Fluke, though there are reports of the screen appearing washed out when viewed at an angle and the case not having quite the same solid feel. You are never going to get the perfect meter for $50, but, importantly, the 101 has good input protection able to withstand surges up to 6000V. It is thus rated category level III, 600V (to ground).
Fluke 101 – Their Thriftiest Meter
There are two other meters in the 100 Series, the 106 and 107. The 106 can also measure amperage but is without frequency, duty cycle and a diode checker. The 107 has everything the 101 and 106 have, plus a backlight on its display. It also includes a kickstand / hanging strap. The 107 is around double the cost of the 101, but can still be regarded as a cheap Fluke.
The next cheapest is the 110 Series, running 113 through 117. The 113 is similar in price to the 107 – around $100 – but the 110 Series is a more professional looking range. They go from a basic utility multimeter (113) to a device fit for field service engineers (115), the 116 HVAC meter, and the 117 electrician’s meter.
All are True RMS responders, so will measure most AC waves accurately. Some also have amperage inputs (115 through 117) and the 117 also has a temperature input. They also all have backlit displays with bar graphs, can manual range as well as auto range, and record Min/Max data.
The 110 Series is a compact variety, albeit larger than the 100 Series. They are also made in China to keep costs down, but are still around half the cost of their full range multimeters.
Short of going online to look for a second hand device and hopefully pick up a steal, it is quite tough to find a cheap Fluke multimeter. They are very well made and hold their value, even those 20 years old or more. I know, as I own a version III 73 and it still works well.
The 101 is the cheapest buy out there, but is without a few features, such as amps and a lit display. You can get both these features if you step up to the 107.