Voltage Tester vs. Multimeter: What’s the Difference?

Voltage Tester vs. Multimeter: What’s the Difference?

Are you uncertain of the contrast between a voltage tester and multimeter? You’re not alone. In this blog post, we’ll explain the difference between these two essential tools so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your needs. Visa versa, of course. Read on to learn more!

What Is a Voltage Tester?

A voltage tester is a tool that helps detect whether electricity is present or absent in an electrical circuit. This device can be essential to ensure the safety of workers and machines while dealing with high-voltage circuits. It works like a switch, allowing current to flow between two points when it detects electricity.

Voltage testers, otherwise known as non-contact voltage detectors, offer the advantage of being able to sense electric current without making physical contact with the wires. This makes them ideal for quickly testing circuits and troubleshooting electrical problems without having to disassemble components.

Voltage testers generally consist of a handle connected to a metal tip that fits into the end of the wire being tested. When electric current passes through the wire, it causes a spark at the tip of the tester, indicating that there is power present in the circuit. The intensity of the spark varies depending on the amount of electricity flowing through the wire. [1]

What Is a Voltage Tester?

What Is a Multimeter?

A multimeter is an electronic device used for measuring several electrical parameters such as voltage, current, and resistance. It can also measure other quantities such as capacitance, temperature, continuity, and frequency. Unlike a voltage tester, a multimeter has more capabilities since it can measure both AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). It also has a dial that allows you to switch between measuring different values. This makes it much more versatile than a simple voltage tester which only measures one type of value.

The majority of multimeters come with additional features such as data logging, auto-ranging capability, bar graphs or analog displays to help the user better understand the measurements they are taking. Additionally, the more advanced multimeters may have additional functions such as diode testing, transistor testing and continuity checking.

Voltage Tester Vs.Multimeter: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to troubleshooting electrical problems, Voltmeters and Multimeters are two of the most commonly used tools. You might be wondering, what sets a Voltage Tester apart from a Multimeter?

At first glance, both devices appear to be relatively similar as they have common components such as dials or buttons for selecting functions and/or ranges, display screens that show readings, probes with alligator clips on one end and a wire lead on the other. Despite these similarities, there are some distinct differences between the two devices.

The critical aspect distinguishing voltage testers from multimeters is their range of competencies. A voltage tester is designed solely to detect AC (alternating current) voltages in different types of electrical components, circuits, and wiring. It will indicate the presence of voltage by lighting up or beeping when it comes in contact with a live circuit or wire.

On the other hand, multimeters are much more versatile devices that have the ability to measure both AC and DC (direct current) voltages as well as electrical resistance, continuity, and amperage. Furthermore, they have adjustable settings to accommodate different types of tests. This makes them ideal for troubleshooting complex electrical problems since they can provide more detailed insight into the problem than a voltage tester alone.

Voltage Tester Vs.Multimeter: What’s The Difference?

In conclusion, while voltage testers are great for quickly detecting AC voltages in simple applications without having to make any adjustments, multimeters offer far more features that can be used to accurately identify and troubleshoot more complex electrical problems. As a result, multimeters are often the preferred choice for professional electricians and DIY hobbyists alike. [2]

Are Multimeters Necessary?

The answer to this question depends on the type of work you do and the tools you need. A voltage tester is a great tool for basic electrical testing needs, but it is not as versatile or powerful as a multimeter.

A multimeter has more features than a voltage tester and can measure both resistance and current, making it the ideal choice for more advanced diagnostics and repairs. Multimeters also come with additional safety features such as overload protection, which helps reduce the risk of electric shock while performing electrical tests.

Additionally, many modern multimeters offer extra features such as built-in thermometers and data logging capabilities which make them especially useful in industrial applications.

What Is The Purpose Of A Voltage Tester?

A voltage tester is a simple, inexpensive tool used to determine whether or not there is an electrical current present in a circuit. It works by connecting one probe to the positive side of the circuit and the other probe to the negative side. When electricity flows through the circuit, it creates a small voltage that can be detected by the tester. Voltage testers are great for quickly testing circuits without having to use a multimeter.

The main purpose of a voltage tester is to check for electric current in outlets, wires and other devices at home or on the job site. Voltage testers are also useful when installing new appliances or fixtures as they help ensure that wiring has been properly connected before being energized. Other uses include troubleshooting faulty electrical circuits, checking for broken connections and helping to identify the presence of live wires. [3]

What Is The Purpose Of A Multimeter?

A multimeter is a tool used for electrical troubleshooting and testing. It can measure voltage, current, and resistance, enabling technicians to identify faulty circuits and pinpoint problems quickly. Multimeters are also useful for measuring the performance of electrical components like transistors, relays, and motors. A multimeter has a number of functions that make it an invaluable tool in the electrical technician’s arsenal. For instance, they can be used to test continuity by checking if two points are electrically connected or check capacitance by determining how much current flows between two points when a voltage is applied across them.

What Is The Purpose Of A Multimeter?

In addition to their ability to measure voltage and current levels as well as resistance values, multimeters also have features such as audible alerts that allow technicians to monitor changes in voltage levels, as well as auto-ranging and hold functions that allow the user to capture important readings without manually adjusting the meter. Multimeters are also used for troubleshooting car and home electrical systems, checking solar power systems, repairing electronic equipment, and more.

Pros And Cons Of Voltage Tester


  • A voltage tester is an easy and inexpensive way to check whether a device is receiving power.
  • It can also be used to detect shorts or other electrical problems in wiring systems.
  • Voltage testers are simple to use, requiring no special skills or tools. They are often used in automotive applications as well as for basic home electrical repairs and troubleshooting.


  • Voltage testers cannot measure current flow, so they won’t tell you how much power a device is using.
  • Some models may not give accurate readings when the voltage being tested falls below 12 volts.
  • Voltage testers may not detect very low levels of voltage, such as the type found in fluorescent lighting.
  • Voltage testers cannot diagnose complex wiring issues or pinpoint the exact location of a problem. For this, you will need to use a multimeter.
  • Voltage testers do not provide any protection against electrical shock and should be used with caution. Additionally, they are limited to testing only AC power sources. They cannot detect DC voltage without an adapter.
  • Voltage testers can be damaged by surges in voltage and must be carefully handled and stored away from potential damage sources such as heat or moisture. [4]

Pros And Cons Of Multimeter

The pros of using a multimeter include the ability to accurately measure resistance and voltage, as well as having the capability to test current. Multimeters are also more precise than voltage testers, making them better suited for delicate tasks such as testing circuits or components. Furthermore, they can be used to perform a variety of measurements beyond just voltage, resistance, and current.

However, there are some cons associated with multimeters as well. They tend to be more expensive than a basic voltage tester and may require additional accessories such as probes in order to function properly. Additionally, they can be difficult to use due to their complexity; they require a certain degree of understanding of electricity and electronics in order to interpret the readings accurately.

Finally, they can be bulky and unwieldy, making them difficult to transport or use in tight spots.
Overall, multimeters offer a range of benefits that make them ideal for more complex electrical testing jobs, but they may not be the best option for everyone due to their cost, complexity, and size. Therefore, it is important to consider your individual needs when deciding whether or not a multimeter is right for you.

Pros And Cons Of Multimeter

How To Use a Voltage Tester?

A voltage tester is a device used to detect the presence of an electrical current in an outlet or circuit. They are commonly seen in households as they can be used to test if an appliance is plugged in correctly, or if a circuit has been overloaded.

Using a voltage tester is easy and straightforward:

  • Start by plugging the tester into the socket you wish to test. Make sure that the metal probes are pushed firmly into the slots for proper contact.
  • Look at the display on your voltage tester to check for power readings. If there’s power present, you should see either an LED light up or other indications such as numbers indicating volts or milliamps on digital models.
  • If there’s no power present and the LED does not light up, then there may be a break in the circuit or an issue with the outlet.
  • If you have a digital voltage tester, you can also use it to measure other electrical parameters such as volts, amperes, ohms and frequency. To do this, set the dial to your desired mode before taking readings from your device.
  • When using a digital multimeter for more complex measurements, make sure to consult your user manual for instructions on how to select the right mode of measurement.
  • Once you’re done measuring, disconnect the probes from the device and store it in its designated place.

Voltage testers are a great way to quickly and easily measure the presence of electricity in an outlet or circuit without needing any special tools. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to handle minor electrical repairs safely and effectively. [5]

How To Use Multimeters?

Multimeters are one of the most versatile tools for testing electrical components. They can measure a range of AC and DC voltages, as well as resistance, current, and continuity. To use a multimeter properly, begin by setting it to the correct function that you need to test. Only then should you make any connections between your device and the component being tested.

When making the connection, be sure to connect the black lead (or probe) of your meter directly to ground (if necessary) and attach the red lead or probe to the component being measured. If measuring voltage, set your meter to its highest DC volts range first in order to ensure accuracy when taking measurements. Once connected correctly, simply read off the number displayed on the meter display in order to record your measurement.

When measuring current, use an ammeter clamped around the wire or line that you’re testing and then set your multimeter for its lowest DC amps range. When measuring resistance, ensure that the leads are not connected to anything else before setting it to its highest ohms range. Once done, reconnect the leads in order to measure resistance.

Finally, note that when using a multimeter, always make sure that you disconnect power sources from any device before taking measurements. This will help prevent any damage or injury during testing of electrical components. By following these simple steps, you should be able to accurately read and record results with ease when using a multimeter. [6]

How To Use Multimeters?


Do I need a multimeter or voltage tester?

The answer depends on what you need to do. If you are looking for a basic test to determine power supply, then a voltage tester is probably sufficient. However, if you need more detailed readings or measurements, such as current and resistance values, then a multimeter is the better choice.

What kind of multimeter do I need?

It really depends on your needs. The most basic multimeters are digital and have the ability to measure voltage, current, and resistance. However, some models have additional features such as capacitance measurement and temperature compensation which may be necessary for certain tasks. It’s best to research different models and decide which one has the features that are right for you.

Are voltage testers and multimeters expensive?

No, neither type of tool is particularly expensive.

Voltage testers range from a few dollars to around $50 depending on what features you want. Multimeters can also be found for very reasonable prices, usually ranging from around $20 to up to several hundred dollars for advanced models with more features.

Are voltage testers and multimeters safe?

Yes, both tools are designed to be safe when used correctly. Make sure that you follow the safety instructions provided with your device and always use it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Is a voltage tester the same as a circuit tester?

No, a voltage tester is not the same as a circuit tester. A voltage tester is used to indicate the presence of an electrical current, while a circuit tester is used to determine whether or not a particular circuit is functioning correctly. The main difference between the two tools lies in their ability to measure resistance and continuity. While both a voltage tester and circuit tester can detect if electricity is present, only a multimeter can accurately measure resistance and continuity. For this reason, it’s important to know exactly what you’re using when testing any electrical components or wiring. A voltage tester has two prongs connected by circuitry that detects the existence of electric current in circuits.

What are two types of voltage tester?

The two main types of voltage tester are digital and analog. A digital voltage tester is typically more accurate, as it has a higher resolution display that shows voltage levels in an LED readout and can detect small changes in current. An analog voltage tester usually consists of two probes connected by wiring and has a needle meter to indicate the presence or absence of electric current. Analog testers are also less expensive than their digital counterparts.

Useful Video: Difference Between Multimeter and Voltage Tester: Multimeter Vs Voltage Tester


In conclusion, both a voltage tester and multimeter are advantageous tools for use in electrical work. A voltage tester is ideal for quickly verifying the presence of electricity without having to go through the process of measuring it, while a multimeter can provide more accurate readings of current, resistance, or voltage. Depending on your needs, either tool might be best suited. However, if you’re doing any job where precise measurements are necessary, then a multimeter is probably the way to go. Keep in mind that safety should always be the priority when dealing with electricity — make sure to take all necessary precautions and follow instructions carefully. With the right tools and knowledge at hand, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that any electrical work you do is safe and effective.

If you’re still unsure which tool to go with, it may be worth talking to an electrician or someone in the know who can provide guidance. Ultimately, the decision will depend on your specific requirements and needs — consider all the available options before making a purchase. And remember — safety comes first when dealing with electricity!


  1. https://www.fluke.com/en-us/learn/blog/electrical/non-contact-voltage-detector-basics
  2. https://www.techtownforum.com/knowledge-base/voltage-tester-vs-multimeter-whats-the-difference/
  3. http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-multimeter-and-voltage-tester/
  4. https://www.tutorialspoint.com/difference-between-multimeter-and-voltage-tester
  5. https://blog.se.com/energy-management-energy-efficiency/electrical-safety/2020/09/21/voltmeter-vs-multimeter-which-is-right-for-your-needs/
  6. https://www.linquip.com/blog/difference-between-multimeter-and-voltmeter/