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How To Test Amps With a Multimeter?

The multimeter has become a convenient tool for individuals to keep their electronic essentials safe from short-circuiting. This scientific tool has really come a long way from being only a professional tool to a regular essential user tool.  A Multimeter is used to calculate the value of current from a circuit and the value is calculated in amps.

Amps is nothing but a standard unit to calculate the current from a circuit. Generally, the housing circuit can bear upto 15 amps of current. Not just that, a multimeter is also used professionally for many purposes like checking the current flow in a vehicle’s battery. In today’s article, we will be learning about multimeters and how to use them.

How To Measure DC Amps With a Multimeter?

1. Hall Sensor (Amp Clamp)

A hall sensor clamp is one of the most unique and simple methods to calculate the current through a conductor. The hall sensor method received the title from its hall effect application. Basically, the meter has rounded curved shaped clamps that create a magnetic field for a conductor. The conductor is placed in the same area and with the help of this magnetic field it identifies the current flow. At the very start, the user needs to open the clamp grip by squeezing the lever in the back or the manufacturer might have used some other mechanism (Note – read the instruction before using the meter). Once the clamp is open, then simply insert the conductor or wire that will carry the current. Now then, once the clamp is closed and the current starts flowing through the conductor the clamp will create a magnetic field. And with the help of this magnetic field, the hall sensor will calculate the current flow in amps.

2. Multimeter

Testing the amp value using a multimeter is really an easy process. The multimeter comes with two wired leads (Red & black). This multimeter can be used to measure both AC & DC amps values. Below is the step-by-step guide to measuring the current flow in a circuit or any device.

  • Step 1: At the very first the user needs to select the proper amp range to get the accurate value (AC or DC).
  • Step 2: Once done, then simply insert the leads in the desired socket holes. Generally, the red lead is inserted in the positive terminal and the black lead goes into the negative terminal also known as the common socket (COM).

Note – Identify the correct socket positioning and read the instructions carefully before inserting the lead.

  • Step 3: Now set the range to the approximate value to achieve high accuracy and if you are not sure you can start with the highest value and can reduce gradually according to the requirement
  • Step 4: Now then the setup of the multimeter is complete and the user needs to connect it to the circuit to measure the current.

Note – Make sure to disconnect the power source from the socket and insert the leads as per the instructions only.

  • Step 5: Connect the red lead in the current measurement side hole, usually denoted as “A” and the black lead at the common (COM) side of the device.
  • Step 6: Then complete the amps measurement setup by connecting the other end of red & black leads to the point in the circuit where you want to calculate the value of the current.
  • Step 7: Reconnect the power source with the circuit for current flow.

Note – Wear all the necessary safety tools while disconnecting and reconnecting the circuit from the power source.

  • Step 8: Now the display will then show the measured value in amps.

Note – If the measured value is showing higher than the defined range, then the user needs to readjust the range to a higher limit.

Test Amps With a Multimeter – FAQs

1. Can I measure both AC and DC amps with the same multimeter?

Ans: There are multimeters available that can measure both the AC & DC depending on their specifications and features. Not all multimeters are capable of calculating both and make sure you read all the specifications before making any purchase.

2. Can a multimeter measure amps in a circuit with non-linear or reactive components?

Ans: Yes, but the measured value may not be as accurate as with a linear component. reason being, that the nonlinear component or reactive components sometimes may manifest difficult behavior due to which the meter cannot capture a stable value.

3. Are there specific safety considerations when measuring high amps with a multimeter?

Ans: Yes, Dealing with any current measuring tool make sure the device is capable of handling the load of the circuit. In the case of a multimeter make sure the lead & probe specification of the multimeter meets the circuit output requirement in order to avoid any damage.

4. Is it possible to measure amps using the voltage setting on a multimeter?

Ans: Calculating the amps value using the voltage settings is definitely not possible as both of them have different range setups and standard units. In order to measure correct amps value the multimeter should be set on current measurement “A”.

5. Can a multimeter measure amps in a circuit with variable frequency?

Ans: Multimeters are capable of measuring the amps value with a variable frequency but it depends on their specification. As the base model cannot perform such measurements due to their low calibrated frequency range.


Measuring the flowing current value through a conductor using a Multimeter really is a helpful practice to avoid any future short circuits. Also, if a user is facing any issue with a home appliance or with any other electronic device and feels that is happening due to the high current flow. The process of measuring the value using a multimeter is really easy but one needs to take necessary precautions before performing the test. In the above article, we have mentioned all the notes for your easy understanding. While measuring the current one must keep in mind that they might have to update the measuring range depending on case to case.

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