The Fluke 101 is a basic pocket DMM for everyday use and basic electrical tests. Good for standard measurements – voltage, resistance and continuity – it can also measure capacitance and frequency, though there are no amps or milliamps ranges. It is fine for residential and basic commercial duties, though HVAC technicians would need more features.
Although marketed as a pocket multimeter, the Fluke 101 is more a ‘traveler’s’ multimeter; sort of in between a pocket one and a full size. It is put together in China to keep costs down, but, make no mistake, this is still a Fluke and it performs well. While small and lightweight, it is good grade and rugged enough to stand years of use.
- Small and lightweight, single-handed use
- Rugged, durable design
- Safety rated to CATIII, 600 V
- Diode / continuity test with buzzer
- DC volts accuracy: 0.5%
- Data hold button
- Auto power-off
- Size: 5.1″ (130mm) x 2.6″ (65mm) x 1.1″ (27mm)
- Weight: 5.6oz (160g)
- Multimeter 101
- TL75 test leads
- Two AAA batteries
More Details of the Fluke 101 DMM
The 101 is small and compact, about half the size of the legendary 87V. It is the lightest weight Fluke DMM on the market, and certainly the most affordable. At about the size and weight of a large smartphone, it is perfect for stashing away in tool belts, laptop bags and kitchen draws.
Despite the limited ranges, this is an auto ranging multimeter on AC and DC volts, as well as resistance, frequency and duty cycle. There is unfortunately no backlight on this tester, and it cannot measure current, but it does have a diode checker and a hold feature.
This is a category III-rated multimeter, which makes it okay for testing load-side single phase and three phase installations.
MAX RANGE, BEST ACCURACY
|1% to 99%
Why Should I Buy?
The 101 works well in many trades and situations. While not heavy duty, it is ideal for around the home and in property maintenance, along with limited HVAC use, for example. You could use it in industry as a backup beater meter, but bear in mind it doesn’t have current testing ranges and is CAT-III only. Those into electronics could put it to good use as there are capacitance and frequency ranges, albeit fairly narrow ones.
Design / Build Quality
This DMM is made for the Chinese, US and world markets, with instructions in English and Chinese. Fluke tendered it out to Chinese factories to keep costs down, though plastics, electronic circuitry and safety levels comply with the US market. While locally made ones are generally a cut above, having them made in China is no big deal, since innumerable electronics items and most smartphones are put together there nowadays anyway.
The dial selector has a nice, solid action and can be operated with one hand. Most pocket digital multimeters have hardwired probe leads, while the Fluke 101 retains standard banana jack plug leads. There is no kickstand built into this meter, but you can buy a magnetic soft stand as an optional extra. The battery compartment is separate, which is easy to get at to replace the AAA batteries.
Interface: As with others of this brand, the 101 screen is clear and crisp. It is a 6000-count resolution display with a refresh rate that is reasonably quick. There is no backlight, however, although the screen displays all relevant icons, including a low battery indicator. The dial selector is uncluttered and easy to follow, with AC volts, DC volts, AC millivolts, resistance, capacitance and frequency all clearly labeled.
Function and Performance
The dial has seven positions, with only resistance and frequency sharing ranges – continuity / diode check are typically on the resistance (Ω) range and duty cycle on the frequency (Hz) range. The 101 also has a couple of buttons – a yellow SELECT button, to alter ranges, and a HOLD button, to manually lock in a reading.
The jack sockets are on the bottom of the case – COM (common/black) and the main (red) terminal. Since the Fluke 101 doesn’t have a kickstand, it cannot sit on a bench on its bottom, so this is not a problem. The optional extra magnetic stand lifts it off the bench and there’s also the option of hanging it up.
NOTE: There are just the two jack sockets as it does not have current-measuring capabilities.
An auto power-off function knocks the meter off after 20 minutes of non-use. This can be disabled by holding down the YELLOW button while turning the unit on.
Overall, it performs well enough for its stature and is quite accurate. Readings take longer to stabilise than most full size testers, which is to be expected, and the continuity beeper is a little bit off the pace. Battery life is around 200 hours.
Protection and Safety
The Fluke 101 review also includes a look at its construction. It is solid and as rugged as others in the 100 series, with an easy to grip body that is partially enclosed in a trademark integrated rubber holster. It is non-fused (not handling high amperage), but it does handle transient kilovolt spikes unlike most other multimeters in this class. Ground rating is to 600V CAT-III.
Fluke 101 Pros and Cons
- Small and light
- Good build quality, sturdy
- Reliable and quite accurate
- Tests most ranges
- Separate voltage input ranges
- Capacitance range
- Frequency range
- Hold function
- Decent test leads
- Cheap for a Fluke
- Display is not backlit
- Auto ranging and continuity a bit slow
- Probes connect at bottom
- No integral stand (optional)
In the Fluke 101 review we discovered that this tester is part of the 100 series of this highly regarded multimeter manufacturer. It is the smallest and lightest meter from Fluke, but in contrast the most hard-wearing pocket DMM on the market. Although touted as being fit for the pocket, it is quite bulky compared with others in that category, however.
Good for tradesmen and for amateurs, the 101 measures most ranges quite accurately and can handle transient spikes where others often fail. There is no backlight on the display and response time isn’t the quickest, but you can’t have it all for 50 bucks!