The all-sun EM3081 is one of the best rated pocket multimeters. Coming in a nice, flip-open boxy design that incorporates lead storage in the lid, this diminutive meter has an easy to use panel incorporating dial, display and selector switch.
Easy to carry and store, it has multiple features, including being able to measure DC and AC voltage, DC current and resistance. It will also perform continuity and diode checks. In short, this is a handy meter, especially useful for those into motorcycle maintenance.
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- Measures AC/DC voltage to 250V
- Measures DC current to 200mA
- Resistance range up to 2MΩ
- Performs continuity tester
- 2.5V diode tester
- Size: 144mm × 56mm × 23mm
- Weight: 100g (with batteries)
- Leads (hard-wired
- 1.5V button cells (LR44)
- Basic instructions
In-depth Review of the EM3081
Although a fairly basic multimeter, the EM3081 measures most main criteria, including AC and DC voltage, DC current, resistance, and continuity and diode checks. This is a manual ranging meter, although each individual range is spread across a given position, such as 200V/200mA/200kΩ. It is thus easier to use than a standard, manual-ranging multimeter. Continuity and diode check functions are on the same range position.
The EM3081 is small and cheap enough to have several for various tasks – one for around the home, another for the vehicle, etc. It is only CAT-II-rated, so although it can measure to 250V AC, a category 2 rating means it shouldn’t measure mains voltage directly, such as from a socket outlet.
The accuracy is also okay – comparing with full size meters of the same price range and higher. The probe leads are adequate for the meter, though some of the negatives include lack of easy battery compartment access, a lack of display backlight and also no auto power-off function. It is also tough to find an online manual for the all-sun EM3081.
At about the dimensions of the iPhone 6s, the Chinese made EM3081 is pretty small; however, although you may have heard ‘credit card sized’, it certainly isn’t. It is nevertheless a small device that sits in the palm of the hand, with its flip-back case providing handy lead storage and a stand. The overall size makes it ideal for putting away inside bags, toolboxes, under bike seats and in glove compartments.
Batteries: This all-sun is powered by a couple of LR44 button cells. While included with the meter, you first need to remove the isolating plastic from the battery contacts for the thing to work.
The smooth interface consists of a display sat beside a flat dial, with the leads emerging from the top. The display is a bit on the small side and may be tough to read for those with eyesight issues. It has a resolution of 3 1/2 digits (2000 count) and samples at a rate of between two and three times a second. While fairly sharp, it is not backlit, but then not many multimeters are at this price point.
Function and Performance
The rotary selector switch is much like a standard multimeter. Although a manual-ranging meter, it turns through a small arc, since different range values are represented on each position – you change each measuring criteria by sliding the selector switch. The dial may be tough to operate with one hand.
A polarity check displays a ‘–‘ on negative polarity, and there is also a low battery indicator. As there is no auto power-off function and the batteries are not very power efficient, turning the all-sun EM3081 off after use is a must. It is fairly accurate, but continuity checks are not fast.
The EM3081 is CATII-rated and fused to 200mA. With a CAT-II rating, you can test systems connected to mains current, but should not test socket outlets or circuit breakers directly. This all-sun is thus best for lower powered work; testing appliances, circuit boards and batteries, etc.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to use
- Fits in pockets
- Flip-back case
- No auto-off
- Manual ranging
- Doesn’t measure AC amperage
There are few other pocket multimeters on the market like the all-sun EM3081. Most have the design of a typical DMM; open-faced with leads emerging from the bottom. The handy flip-case protects the interface and neatly stashes away the test leads, also making it easy to store. Even though a manual ranger, it is easy to use, with various ranges on each position corresponding to a sliding switch. It is also cheap.
Alternatives: There are many alternatives, such as Amprobe’s PM55A, but this is more than double the price. The auto ranging Etekcity MSR-P600, however, has more features and is similarly priced.