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Difference between Analog and Digital Multimeter

A multimeter is a device which is used to measure several electrical quantities such as current, voltage, resistance, inductance, capacitance, and electrical frequency.

The most significant difference between an analog multimeter and the digital multimeter is that the analog multimeter comprises of a scale and a deflection pointer which actually indicates the value to be measured on the scale, while, in digital multimeters, a digital display like LCD directly displays the value.

Routine electrical measurements are usually made with a multimeter. These versatile instruments contain a sensing device, auxiliary circuitry, and switches that allow measuring voltage, current, and resistance in several ranges.

Most modern multimeters have an electronic sensing device with a digital display. But prior to the development of integrated-circuit electronics, the sensing device was electromechanical with an analog display. Analog meters have the advantage of lower cost, and analog displays are still widely used for single-function panel meters and inexpensive multimeters.

The most important differences between Analog Multimeter and Digital Multimeter are discussed in this article on the basis of certain factors such as accuracy, reading, calibration, cost, ADC requirement, construction, supply source, input signals, and noise.The following table keys out the main Differences between Analog and Digital Multimeter.

Difference between Analog and Digital Multimeter

CharacteristicsAnalog MultimeterDigital Multimeter
AccuracyProne to error because of wrong pointer based readingMeasures with great accuracy
Reading Provides reading on a scale against pointerProvides reading in numeric form appeared on a LCD
Calibration Calibration is done manuallyThey are calibrated automatically before taking any measurement
CostLess costly as they offer very few featuresExpensive as they offer wide range of features
Range Have to set a range of measurement manuallyMostly, they have auto-ranging feature but costlier than their counter-parts
Measuring parametersUsually it measures current, voltage, and resistanceMeasures current, voltage, resistance, capacitance, and inductance as well
ADC Requirement Does not require analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to display readingRequires ADC in order to display the reading on LCD
AC Frequency Highest AC Frequency which can be measured is lowerHighest AC Frequency which can be measured is higher than its counter-part
ConstructionConstruction is easy and simpleComplicated construction because of several electronic and logic components involvement
Power supplyIs not requiredIs required in these types of meters
SizeBigger in sizeVery small like hand-held devices
NoiseSuffer less from electric noiseSuffer more from electric noise
Input signalsDisplays only one input signal valueIt is able to accept multiple inputs and has adjustable displays which allow user to choose between the input signals.

About Ahmad Faizan

Mr. Ahmed Faizan Sheikh, M.Sc. (USA), Research Fellow (USA), a member of IEEE & CIGRE, is a Fulbright Alumnus and earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical and Power Engineering from Kansas State University, USA.

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