The Fluke 101 is a basic pocket DMM for everyday use and basic electrical tests. Good for standard measurements, like volts, resistance and continuity, it can also measure capacitance and frequency, though there are no amps or milliamps ranges. It is fine for residential and commercial electricians, and can even be put to good use by HVAC technicians, since this is a reliable meter.
Although marketed as a pocket multimeter, it is more a ‘traveler’s’ multimeter; sort of in between a pocket and a full size one. It is made in China to keep costs down, but make no mistake, this is still a Fluke and it performs just like one. While small and lightweight, it is professional grade and rugged enough to stand years of abuse.
- 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
- 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, it 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 device, 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 good for testing single phase mains voltage installations.
RANGES AND ACCURACY
DC voltage – to 600V: ±(0.5% +3 cts)
AC voltage – to 600V: ±(1% +3 cts)
AC millivolts – 600mV range: ±(3% +3 cts)
Resistance – to 4MΩ: ±(0.5% +3 cts). Max: 40MΩ
Capacitance – to 500nF : ±(2% +5 cts). Max: 1000μF
Frequency – to 100kHz: ±(0.1% +3 cts)
Duty cycle – 1% to 99%: ±~1%
Diode test – 2V
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 are good enough for the US market. While locally made ones are generally a cut above, having them made in China is no big deal, since 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 DMMs have hardwired probe leads, while the 101 retains the 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.
As with others of this brand, the Fluke 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 on this meter as it does not have current-measuring capabilities.
There is an auto power-off function, which knocks the multimeter off after 20 minutes of non-use. This can be disabled by holding down the yellow button and turning the unit on.
Overall, it performs well enough for its stature. The auto range is fast enough and it is also quite accurate. Readings take longer to stabilize than their average tester, which is to be expected, and the continuity beeper is a little bit off the pace. Battery life is around 200 hours.
The Fluke 101 review of this pocket meter 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 yellow rubber holster. Electrically, it is un-fused and does not have a current range, but it easily handles transient pulses of kilovolts spikes, unlike most other multimeters in this category. Ground rating is to CATIII (600V).
Why Should I Buy It?
The 101 works well in most trades and situations. While it is not heavy duty, it is ideal for around the home, in property maintenance and for HVAC systems, for example. You could use it in industry as a backup, but bear in mind it doesn’t have current testing ranges and is CATIII only. Those in electronics could also put it to good use as there are capacitance and frequency ranges, albeit fairly narrow ones.
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 multimeter
- Display is not backlit
- Auto ranging and continuity slightly slow
- Probes connect at bottom
- No integral stand (optional extra)
With the Fluke 101 review, we discovered that this tester is part of the 100 series from this esteemed multimeter manufacturer. It is the smallest and lightest meter from them, and 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.
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 timeliest, however, but you can’t have it all for around the $50 mark.
Alternatively, consider spending a bit more and going with the 107, which has a backlight, or perhaps the Amprobe PM55A, which is real pocket-size and has more features than the 101.