Known as the Dr Meter, the Mastech MS8268 is a useful, budget- to mid-level DMM with for non-electricians. Built for DIY and occasional use, it is quite solidly made and has a number of handy features. Best of all, it is easy to use, with an intuitive interface and input indicators so beginners won’t get mixed up.
Along with resistance, current and voltage checks (standard on all multimeters), the MS8268 also has capacitance and frequency inputs, along with a transistor gain checker. This makes it ideal for those into basic electronics. In addition, there’s backlit screen and a data hold function, plus it is powered by AAA batteries.
- Does most ranges, including mA, µA, capacitance and frequency
- Auto / manual ranging
- Continuity buzzer
- Data hold
- Transistor gain checker
- Diode tester
- Zero REL mode
- Auto shut-off
- Backlit display
- Stated CATII (1000V), CATIII (600V) ratings
- Incorrect lead input warning
- Size: 7.7″ (195mm) x 3.6″ (92mm) x 2.2″ (55mm)
- Weight: 14oz (400g) – with battery
In the Box
- AAA batteries (x3)
- Test leads
- Transistor gain plug
- User manual
Complete Review of the Mastech MS8268
Firstly, please note that although it touts decent category ratings (to 600V and 1000V), it is best not to push this multimeter into those sorts of voltages as input protection is actually quite lacking. This is best for the bench, home or car and should not be taken into industry to test three phase systems.
Stated range maximums are DC voltage to 1000V, AC voltage to 750V, current to 10A, frequency to 200KHz, capacitance to 200µF, and resistance to 40MΩ. The capacitance range is a bit slim, but you will unlikely get a wide one on such a cheap meter. There are also milliamps and micro-amps ranges, though, along with a transistor gain tester.
Transistor tests: the MS8268 review notes an included adapter that fits into the low current/COM jack sockets with several test options. Bear in mind, however, that having a transistor option is often a red flag with the cheaper multimeter brands as they typically do so to ‘big-up’ the feature-set. It is essentially a gimmick and will be useless for most users, unless you’re into electronics and/or have a penchant for repairing amplifiers that is.
To make this a true beginner’s meter, it has auto-ranging, which means you won’t need to set anything once on a given range position. However, those that are more competent can also set it to manual range mode and select an individual range, after which it will measure readings more quickly.
Other functions include data hold, so that you can freeze the display, and a relative mode. This lets you zero out the display and compare a stored reading, or for more delicate resistance circuit measurements. The relative mode works on all ranges barring frequency.
There are also a couple of nice touches, including an auto power-off, to save the battery, and a light/audible warning system in case you plug the leads into the wrong inputs.
DC voltage – 4 ranges (400mV-400V): ±(0.7%+2cts), to 1000V: ±(0.8%+2cts)
AC voltage – 400mV: ±(3%+3cts), 3 ranges (4V-400V): ±(0.8%+3cts), to 750: ±(1%+3cts)
DC current – 4 ranges (400µA-400mA): ±(1.2%+3cts), to 10A: ±(2%+5cts)
AC current – 4 ranges (400µA-400mA): ±(1.5%+5cts), to 10A: ±(3%+7cts)
Resistance – 5 ranges (400Ω-4MΩ): ±(1.2%+2cts), to 40MΩ: ±(2%+5cts)
Frequency – 9.999Hz to 199.9kHz: ±(2%+5cts)
Capacitance – 4nF: ±(5%+5cts), 5 ranges (40nF-200µF): ±(3%+3cts)
Duty cycle – 5% to 95%: ±(2%+2cts)
Diode tester: 2.8V
Transistor tester hFE: 0 to 1000
cts = counts
On the outside, the Mastech MS8268 is a decent multimeter. It looks strong and sturdy and has a fairly nice display. It doesn’t look like a $20+ dollar cheapo and can withstand bumps and drops as is it protected by a rubber boot. A tilting bail is built into the rear of the tester (separate from the boot) and it also has a separate battery compartment.
The dial selector switch is nicely incorporated, with definite positions and a good click. The interior of the meter is a bit more revealing as it is clear they focused the lion’s share of development on the case and interface. While it is certainly no clunker and the soldering is okay, there is a lack of electronic protection.
Display and Labels
The display is pretty good considering the price. It’s a 4000-count (3 ¾-digit) unit with a sample, refresh rate in the 2.5-3 times a second area. The screen even has a (blue/white) backlight, though it only stays on for a few seconds at a time, which is annoying.
Along with displaying all functions and symbols on the screen, including polarity, is a low battery warning icon. The data hold is ideal if you’re in a tricky position and can’t see the display while testing. As with other Mastech multimeters, the MS8268 has legible labels around the dial and over the jack socket inputs.
Function and Performance
The dial selector is mounted slightly proud, is easy to operate and has 11 positions, including the centrally-located OFF. One of the best things about the well designed MS8268 interface is the dial only has a couple of shared positions. Although you will have to select between AC and DC current, this is normal on most meters, though there are separate voltage and resistance positions.
The buttons are clear, with RANGE, SELECT, REL, Hz/%, HOLD, and LIGHT. The range button changes from AC to DC and switches between diode and continuity.
There are four jack inputs:
10A (amps – red)
hFE/µA/mA (transistor, micro-amps, milliamps – red)
COM (common – black)
V/Ω/Hz etc (main lead – red)
A standard, extra feature of this multimeter is its input warning system. Each jack input has its own LED light, which lights up the correct one if you plug into the wrong one on a given range setting. The buzzer will also sound if you have it wrong. This is a great little touch, which will save the device from destroying itself should you test amps when plugged into voltage, for instance.
There is also an auto shut-off feature, which can be disabled. It is worth keeping this enabled to save battery life as one of the main reasons for battery discharge is folks forgetting to turn off their meters.
A green rubber holster protects the Mastech MS8268 from bashes and drops. The leads are rugged, but although rated CATII to 1000V with the included caps (along with the multimeter itself), it is not recommended to test to this value.
Fuse protection is on the main current (10A) range only. This is a ceramic 10A/250V fuse which, although it looks like an HRC (high rupture type), it is not. Protecting the milliamps input is a resettable, positive temperature coefficient ‘PTC’ fuse.
Protection is also lacking on the main terminal jack input, negating the supposed CAT rating of this meter. Again, this does not necessarily mean it is unsafe, but sticking to low energy voltages/circuits is recommended.
Who is it Best Suited To?
This is an occasional use tool, good for home electrics, testing computer power supplies and electronic hobbies, etc. It would also be okay for low residential HVAC work, but is not aimed at industry maintenance engineers, who would require a multimeter capable of withstanding higher value voltage and current.
Mastech MS8268 Pros and Cons
- Good variety of input range
- Separate voltage positions
- Quite rugged
- Okay-quality leads
- Lighted lead input warning
- Separate battery compartment
- Backlit screen
- Category ratings spurious
- Manual poorly written
- Backlight on-time is short
- Narrow capacitance range
- Lack of input protection
- No HRC fuse
In this Mastech MS8268 review, we had a fairly in-depth look at this multimeter’s workings. A decent performer with okay accuracy levels on voltage, current and resistance, it does most things well and is good around the home or office. Professionals would want something more substantial for higher voltage/current systems and shouldn’t be tempted by its sturdy exterior. An Extech or perhaps a Klein would be a better bet in this instance.