The palm-size UNI-T UT120C is a classic pocket multimeter that has been about for a number of years in one guise or another. This diminutive device has been OEM’d by other manufacturers and resellers and can measure most main things quite well, including voltage, current, resistance and capacitance. It is best for low energy jobs or as a spare meter.
- Compact and slim
- Auto ranging
- Capacitance, frequency & duty cycle
- Data hold and relative mode
- Auto shut-off
- CAT-II rated
- Size: 4.3″ x 2.3″ x 0.4″
- Weight: 2.7oz
In-depth Review of the UNI-T UT120C
This meter is both lightweight and compact and is easily stashed away in toolboxes and pockets. It is auto-ranging, which is quite important for those just starting out, and the continuity test has a decent buzzer. Other pluses include an auto power-off function – to save the battery – a display resolution of 4000 counts, and an acceptable burden voltage.
The accuracy levels are also okay for this kind of multimeter, although it does suffer a bit on the time it takes to settle down on a reading. Continuity checks also take time and are not latched.
You can only measure current to 400mA, not that you would want to attempt to measure more with such a device – category rating is level II. It boasts a capacitance range (from 4nF to 100µF), along with frequency (to 100kHz) and duty cycle. The diode checker puts out 1.5V, so you won’t be able to test all LED colors.
|DC voltage||400mV / 600V||±(0.8%+3) @ 4V-400V||0.1mV-1V|
|AC voltage||400mV / 600V||±(1.2%+3) @ 4V-400V||1mV-1V|
|DC current||400µA / 400mA||±(1.0%+3) @ 400µA-4000µA||0.1µA-100µA|
|AC current||400µA / 400mA||±(1.5%+5) @ 40mA-400mA||0.1µA-100µA|
|Resistance||400Ω / 40MΩ||±(1.0%+2) @ 4kΩ-400kΩ||0.1Ω-10kΩ|
|Capacitance||4nF / 100µF||±(4.0%+3) @ 40nF-40µF||0.001nF-0.1µF|
|Frequency||10Hz / 100kHz||±(0.5%+3)||0.1Hz-0.1kHz|
|Duty cycle||0.1% to 99.9%||±(0.1%)|
Together with the UNI-T UT120C are the UT120A and UT120B. The 120C has the best functionality, with the others missing out on current measurements, while the UT120A is also without a capacitance range.
Unit-Trend (company full name) is a Chinese firm, albeit one of the better ones where multimeters are concerned. The UT120C is fairly well built and has quite a slick user interface and dial selector. As with most other pocket meters, not much mechanical protection is included and it is more easily prone to damage if dropped.
The leads are hardwired, which, while neat, may possibly cause problems if they get nicked or crushed. The circuit board is quite stark and there are no voltage regulators. The plastic case that the UT120C comes in can house the meter while in operation to protect it from the elements.
Interface: The display on this Uni-Trend UT120C is quite impressive. It is big and clear and has all the icons. Resolution is to 4000 counts (3 3/4 digit). There is no backlight. An easy-turn dial and four buttons – Select, Frequency, Relative, Hold – make up the rest of the frontage.
The dial selector switch can be thumb-operated or turned with finger pressure alone. As it is auto-ranging, there are just a few positions, as opposed to a manual ranging meter which has ranges all around. The auto power-down function is activated after about 30 minutes, saving the CR2032 button battery.
This unit is backed by a 400mA fuse over-current protector and a modicum of input protection in the form of a PTC. It is rated to CAT-II, which is okay for measuring appliances connected to the mains but not for measuring mains directly. The leads are hard wired, of the rubbery type as opposed to supple silicone.
Pros and Cons
- Small and light
- Auto ranging
- Nice display
- Good value
- Screen not backlit
- Low current measuring capacity
- Low category rating
The UNI-T UT120C is one of the most convenient pocket multimeters. It has a lot going for it and mostly receives good reviews. Although it is only Category II and does not accommodate amps, it measures most other things and is auto-ranging to boot.
If you’re short on budget and just need something for general purpose electrics, this is a good option, though you’d need something more substantial for mains.
Alternatives: Aside from the other models in this series, Amprobe’s PM51A is also a good pocket multimeter from a great brand. For less money (and functionality) take a look at the UNI-T UT10A.