The Fluke 15B+ is the revamped version of the much liked 15B DMM and is one of the cheaper devices from Fluke. Built mainly for China users, it is also available elsewhere and at a snip of the price of others from the US firm. It looks and feels like most other Flukes – trademark yellow holster, nice dial, sharp display – albeit with limited features. You do get the reliability factor, however, and it is very highly rated on ecommerce sites like Amazon.
Best for: Those looking to test general works without the big budget – or the ruggedness and accuracy needed of heavy industry – but wanting the brand name.
- Max voltage: 1000V
- Max amperage: 10A
- Millivolts/milliamps/micro-amps – okay for electronics
- Large, backlit display
- Diode test & data hold
- Cat-III rating
- Size: 7.2″ (183mm) x 3.6″ (91mm) x 1.9″ (49.5mm)
- Weight: 1lb (455g)
- Meter & holster
- Batteries (x2 AA)
- Shrouded leads
These are typically in Chinese, but you can download the English manual from Fluke’s servers here.
Complete Review of the Fluke 15B PLUS
As mentioned, the Fluke 15B+ digital multimeter is the replacement for the 15B. The plus version has all of the functions of the older one, along with a quicker response time on continuity and auto ranging, a larger, brighter screen and a better range on capacitance.
This is a Fluke in every sense, albeit one that has been marked down, mainly because it is aimed at the Chinese market. Warranties may thus be an issue, and you don’t get a good instruction manual, though you can download one from the Fluke site (see above).
In the main, the Fluke 15B+ looks like any other in everything but price. A knock-off it is not, it is a real Fluke meter; having the look and feel of more expensive equipment. While perhaps not superb for high quality professional level testing, it is okay for domestic and commercial work nonetheless.
This is a good, cheaper, bigger alternative to those of the compact 110 Series, having a larger display and decent functionality. Other, cheaper Flukes, like the 101, might not cut it.
Of functionality, this is an auto-ranging meter – like they all should be nowadays – and it has most necessary features and test ranges, though is without the bells and whistles of the likes of the flagship 87V. You don’t get Max/Min, for example, which is a very useful function to have.
What you do get, though, is all the amperage ranges – amps, milliamps, micro-amps – AC and DC voltage on separate positions, millivolts, and of course resistance, continuity and diode check. Another plus is the display and backlight.
Price: You’re looking at the $100 mark; slightly cheaper than the 110 Series of multimeters, which is a good deal considering the brand.
NB: You may see this meter rated down on certain sites – such as eBay. This could be down to people expecting top-end quality when they see the badge, only to baulk at the Chinese manual, etc.
|AC volts||400mV / 1000V||±(1.0%+3)||1mV-1V|
|DC volts||400mV / 1000V||±(0.5%+3)||1mV-1V|
|AC amps||400μA / 10A||±(1.5%+3)||0.1μA-0.01A|
|DC amps||400μA / 10A||±(1.5%+3)||0.1μA-0.01A|
|Resistance||400Ω / 40MΩ||±(0.5%+2)||0.1Ω-0.01MΩ|
|Capacitance||40nF / 1000μF||±(2.0%+5)||0.01nF-1μF|
Accuracy levels show best possible result in given range
As with the other digital multimeters of this make, this is a bit of a tank – the IP rating is 40. At near full size (over 7” tall), it is nonetheless easy to use with one hand, including with gloves on. You get the yellow holster and a tough case in dark grey finish. On the rear is a flip-out stand. The leads are fairly long and are shrouded. Batteries sit in an easily accessed box from the rear.
Display: The screen on the Fluke 15B+ is big and bright, with an improvement over the previous incantation. The digits are large and the resolution is to 4000 count, while the backlight stays on for two minutes. This is longer than your average meter, and it can be disabled.
Function and Performance
You’re never going to get a Fluke with super performance at $100, but the 15B+ nevertheless does quite well on speed of continuity checks. It is calibrated to standard and remains within spec. The auto power off feature kicks in after around 20 minutes of non-use and can be disabled.
Battery performance: The AA batteries in the 15B+ can last for as long as 500hrs. This, of course, will depend largely on how much you use the backlight.
The current inputs are protected by fast-blow fuses; 11A for the high current input and 440mA for the milliamp/micro-amp input. Of the category rating, this is a CAT-III meter, which signifies usability in a setting behind the switch-gear of low ‘source’ voltage. With that, you can test supply voltage to motors/machinery at three phase and socket outlets, light switches, computer power supplies, batteries, etc.
Pros and Cons
- Reasonable price
- Fluke brand
- AA batteries
- Large, backlit screen
- No Max/Min
- Instructions in Chinese
- CAT-III ceiling
In short, the Fluke 15B+ is a good alternative to the 110 Series of meters and is for those looking to test to 1000V. It is also useful for lower voltage work and has a half-decent capacitance range. Although you can pick up lesser branded meters with far more features and functions, this is a Fluke after all. It was built for the Chinese, though this and the lack of included English instruction does not detract from the overall package too much.
While not ideal for professionals, it is nonetheless a good all-round tool for most scenarios to CAT-III level.
Alternatives: For around $20 more, the 17B+ also has temperature, Min/Max and relative functions. There are also some good Klein meters for around this price, such as the Klein Tools MM700.