A mini manual-ranging multimeter, the Extech MN35 is ideal for hobbies and general purpose electrics. It measures all the important criteria, such as voltage, DC current, resistance and continuity, as well as temperature and battery checks. DC voltage accuracy of this CATII device is ±0.5% and accuracy in general is good. This is a very affordable meter, with the lack of auto range keeping the price down. As a result, it is typically faster than most as it doesn’t have to figure the correct range.
Although manual ranging might take some getting used for those starting out, the dial and interface are intuitive and easy to decipher. In addition, its large, clear display competes with the best of them, and Extech is a good brand name in the world of test meters today.
- CAT-II rated (to 600V)
- Large screen
- Manual Ranging
- Measures DC current (milliamps / amps)
- Measures temperature
- Size: 5.43″ (138mm) x 2.83″ (72mm) x 1.5″ (38mm)
- Weight: 5.4 oz (153g)
- MN35 Multimeter
- 9V battery
- Manual (with specs, also downloadable)
- Test leads
- Type K thermocouple (for temperature)
- Protective holster with stand
In-depth Review of the Extech MN35
Although this is a low priced multimeter, it has all the basic functions and useful extras. It is a good all-round meter and, despite being a manual ranger, it is easy enough to work, with its intuitive, easy on the eye interface. The built-in tilting bail allows it to stand on a bench or grip over a panel, while the rubber holster offers protection from drops as well as extra grip.
This is a category II meter, which enables it to measure 600 V AC and DC safely. CAT-II is good for testing single phase services – socket outlets, appliances, etc. There are two AC voltage ranges, up to 200V and 600V. AC volts accuracy is ±1.2%, which is good enough for most general situations.
There are five DC voltage ranges: 200mV, 2V, 20V, 200V and 600V. Regards current, you can only measure DC milliamps (to 200mA) and DC amps (to 10A); there is not AC amperage range. DC 10A can only be measured in short bursts, after which the meter must left to cool down for at least 15 minutes.
Resistance has five manual ranges: 200Ω, 2kΩ, 20kΩ, 200kΩ and 20MΩ, while continuity and diode test share the same input position. There is no capacitance facility on the Extech MN35, but it can measure temperature through its included thermocouple probe. A handy, dedicated battery test to 1.5V and 9V is a useful addition.
|AC voltage||200V, 600V||±(1.2%+10)|
|DC voltage||200mV / 600V||±(0.5%+2) @200V|
|DC current||200mA, 10A||±(1.5%+2) @200mA|
|Resistance||200Ω / 20MΩ||±(0.8%+2) @200kΩ|
|Temperature||-20°C / 750°C||±(1.0%+5) @17-400°C|
Many prefer to have auto ranging on their multimeters. It is easier for one thing, plus it saves having to manually select the anticipated (correct) range. However, auto ranging often suffers where speed is concerned, since it has to determine the correct range before displaying the right decimalization. Manual ranging of voltage, current and resistance is thus, generally, faster.
Although not automatic, the data hold facility on the Extech MN35 Multimeter allows you to lock down a measurement for later viewing. This is good, say, if lighting conditions are dim or you can’t see the screen while testing.
A type K thermocouple probe comes included, allowing you to measure temperature from -4°F (-20°C) to a potential 1400°F (750°C). Probe anything from boiling water, steam and flue gas to air conditioning outlets and heat sinks.
Display and Functions
Despite being a ‘mini’ multimeter, it has a large LCD screen for its size, with a 2000-count resolution (3 ½ digit display, or 19.99). Response times for readings are good and it displays all the icons: AC, DC, mV, A, Ω, etc. The dial on the MN35 is firm and mounted proud. Everything is well labeled and it is nice to look at and straightforward to see where each input is. As it is manual ranging, you’ll spend more time adjusting the dial, but each range is very clear.
This is one of the faster DMMs as it has manual ranging. The dial has eight functions (20 positions), switching between AC volts, DC volts, DC milliamps, DC amps, resistance, continuity/diode test, temperature and battery check. There is one solitary button, data HOLD.
The three jacks are standard on most meters and are clearly labeled on the MN35:
10A (DC 10 amps)
V/Ω/mA/temp (main terminal)
Build Quality, Protection
Much like its sister meters, such as the EX330, the MN35 is ergonomically designed and features soft edges, a grip-friendly body and a large screen. Despite the price point, it is made with tough plastics and solid electronic components. There is also a grippy, rubber holster that protects it from falls, together with a fold-out kick stand (tilting bail).
Mechanical protection on the Extech MN35 multimeter is provided by a tough case and rubber boot. It is small and solid and can withstand drops and knocks. Electrical protection is provided by a 250mA fuse on the main terminal / 200mA input. There is no fuse on the DC 10A circuit. You thus need to be careful when testing high energy circuits to limit test time to 15 seconds, maximum. This may put some off, but, then again, this is not a high capacity meter.
Best suited to: most people who buy this meter probably won’t need half of the functions. It is ideal for those testing general electrical faults, such as for home appliances, faulty circuit boards, batteries, fuses and the like. It is not comparable to high-end testers and is not meant to be used by engineers in industry, where three phase systems and powerful motors are the norm.
Extech MN35 Pros and Cons
- Compact and solid
- Big, clear display
- Measures current
- Measures temperature
- Good holster and tilt stand
- Fast manual ranging
- Popular brand name
- Very affordable
NOT SO GOOD
- No auto range
- No AC current check
- No fuse on 10A circuit
- No capacitance
- No backlight
This is a great little budget multimeter around the $20 mark from a brand with a solid reputation. While not for high energy electrics, it covers most tasks quite well and has some nice extra features, like temperature measurement and data hold. Great for hobbyists and DIYers, and also for general electricians who need a standby meter.