What Is Hfe on a Multimeter?

What Is Hfe on a Multimeter?

Hfe is an important parameter on a multimeter and plays a key role in testing electronic components. In this article, we’ll discuss what Hfe means, why it matters, and how you can use it to measure electrical current accurately.

Understanding the Basics of Multimeter and HFE Measurement

A multimeter is a device used to measure electrical current, voltage, and resistance.

Understanding the Basics of Multimeter and HFE Measurement

It features a test lead which connects two terminals of a circuit. The user can then read the measurement on the display of the multimeter.

HFE stands for “forward transfer admittance” or “hybrid frequency effect” and measures the forward gain of a transistor. It indicates how much current the transistor will allow to pass through it. This is important information when testing transistors as it can indicate whether the component is functioning correctly or not.

One way to measure HFE is by using a multimeter’s “hfe test” feature. This feature allows you to measure the forward gain of a transistor without using an external power source. The multimeter will display the measurement on its screen. [2]

hFE – The Definition

The acronym hFE stands for ‘gain factor’ or ‘forward current gain’. It is the ratio between the input current and the output current of a transistor when used as an amplifier. This term is often written on multimeters to indicate how much of an increase in current there will be if a signal passes through it.

To understand this, take a look at the following example. Say we have a device with an input current of 1 ampere and an output current of 5 amperes. The hFE for this device will therefore be 5 (the ratio between the two currents). This means that if a signal passes through the device, it will be amplified by 5 times in terms of current. [2]

How is HFE Measured?

HFE (or “h-factor”) is measured using an ohmmeter, also known as a multimeter. The ohmmeter measures the amount of resistance in a circuit; this resistance is then compared to the expected resistance value provided by the manufacturer. If the difference between these two values is too great, it indicates that there’s an issue with one component or another.

To measure HFE, first disconnect the circuit from its power source and set the multimeter to resistance mode. Then identify the two terminals that need to be tested; these will usually be marked by a series of numbers on the device itself. Connect one lead of the multimeter to each terminal, ensuring that it’s securely connected before powering it up. [2]

How to Interpret HFE Readings?

HFE, short for “hfe measure” is a simple and easy way to determine the gain of transistors. The hFE reading can be measured with an ohmmeter or multimeter in order to determine the current amplification factor of a transistor.

The most common method of measuring hFE is with an ohmmeter that has a separate range for hFE. This range is used to measure the resistance between two terminals on the transistor while it is turned off. The ohmmeter will then display a number that represents the current amplification factor or gain of the transistor. [3]

What Does hFE Stand for?

hFE stands for “transistor gain.” Transistors are electronic components that control the flow of electricity in circuits and other devices. They work by allowing or restricting the current passing through them, depending on the voltage applied to their base pin. The hFE of a transistor is its ability to amplify small signals when a larger amount of current passes through it. [3]

What Does hFE Stand for?

What is the hFE Test for?

The hFE Test, or gain test, is a useful tool for understanding the performance of transistors. A transistor is an electronic component with three terminals: base (B), collector (C), and emitter (E). The transfer of current between these three terminals can be controlled by applying a small voltage to the base terminal. This process creates amplification, in which a small input signal can produce a large output. The hFE Test measures the ratio of current gain (hFE) between the collector and emitter terminals.

The hFE Test is typically performed with a multimeter, which allows you to measure voltage, current, and resistance. When testing transistors with a multimeter, there are two methods: dynamic testing and static testing. Dynamic testing involves applying a signal to the base terminal, while static testing involves applying a voltage across the collector and emitter terminals. The hFE Test is performed by measuring the current gain between the collector and emitter terminals with each method. [3]

How is the hFE Calculated?

The hFE value of a transistor is calculated by measuring the current flowing through it and then dividing this current by the base current that is applied to it. The result is known as the Beta ratio, which is usually abbreviated as hFE or βF. This measurement can be made using either a multimeter or an oscilloscope, depending on what type of results you are looking for.

When using a multimeter to measure hFE, it is important to ensure that the multimeter is set to its transistor testing mode. This will allow you to easily select the appropriate range and read off the hFE value directly from the display. [1]

What’s the difference between hFE and Beta?

When it comes to multimeters, the term “hFE” is often used interchangeably with “Beta.” However, there are distinct differences between these two measurements.

Beta (β) is a measure of the forward current gain achieved in an amplifier circuit, while hFE is a transistor-specific measurement. In other words, Beta is the ratio of output current to input current; it measures how much an amplifier increases the current. On the other hand, hFE looks at how a transistor amplifies or reduces input voltage and its relationship with collector-emitter voltage.

Considering these two measurements, it’s clear that Beta is applicable across all kinds of amplifier circuits while hFE is only relevant to transistors. In addition, Beta measures the gain of an entire amplifier circuit while hFE only measures the characteristics of a single transistor.

To sum up, hFE and Beta are two different measurements used for different purposes within multimeters. While Beta looks at the ratio of output current to input current in an amplifier circuit. [1]

How do I measure a transistor using a multimeter?

Measuring the Hfe or Beta of a transistor is one of the most common uses of a multimeter. To do this, you’ll need to use the diode test settings on your multimeter and follow these steps:

  1. Set your multimeter to the diode test mode.
  2. Connect one lead of your meter to the emitter of the transistor and the other lead to the base.
  3. Make sure your leads are firmly connected and then take note of the reading. This is your Hfe or Beta of that particular transistor.
  4. To confirm your readings, you can reverse the leads and take another measurement to ensure accuracy. [1]

How do I measure a transistor using a multimeter?

Tips and Tricks for Accurate HFE Measurements

When taking a measurement for HFE, the key is to make sure that you are working with accurate readings. Here are some tips and tricks to help improve your accuracy:

  • Use a calibrated multimeter. This will ensure that any readings taken are as accurate as possible.
  • Pay attention to temperature when measuring HFE; it can have a significant effect on the results.
  • Make sure to use the correct settings for your multimeter when measuring HFE; this will increase accuracy and help you get precise readings.
  • Take multiple measurements of HFE, as readings can vary from one measurement to another.
  • Clean the probes before inserting them into the circuit; dirty connections can adversely affect the accuracy of readings.
  • Take note of any changes in HFE over time; this can indicate a problem with the circuit or component being tested.
  • Use a digital multimeter for measuring HFE, as analog meters are not as reliable and accurate.
  • Be sure to use quality cables and probes when taking measurements; cheap cables and probes can lead to inaccurate readings.
  • Use a reliable source for HFE specifications; references such as datasheets will help ensure that you are getting accurate readings. [4]

Troubleshooting and Safety Considerations When Using a Multimeter

When using a multimeter, it is important to keep a few safety considerations in mind. First, always disconnect the power or circuit before measuring any component or checking for continuity. This will prevent any electrical shock from occurring. Additionally, use caution when inserting test leads and probes into tight areas as this can damage the instrument and cause an incorrect reading.

Another important consideration when using a multimeter is understanding the limits of its capabilities. Never use it to test a current or voltage higher than its stated maximum ratings; doing so may result in permanent damage and void your warranty. Also, be aware that testing with very low resistance values can cause significant heat buildup in the meter, which could also lead to permanent damage.

Finally, it is important to understand the limitations of your multimeter when measuring Hfe. As previously mentioned, most multimeters are not designed to measure transistor gain accurately and may display inaccurate readings if the specified range limits are exceeded. Therefore, it is always best to use an amplifier or oscilloscope for more precise readings of Hfe. [4]

Troubleshooting and Safety Considerations When Using a Multimeter


What is the meaning of hFE?

HFE stands for “forward current transfer ratio” and is a measure of how well the transistor amplifies the input signal. Specifically, hFE measures the ratio between the output current and input current of a device, with higher values indicating better amplification capability.

What is the hFE measurement circuit?

The hFE measurement circuit is a test setup used to measure the gain of a transistor. It usually consists of two power supplies – one for providing the input signal and another for providing the correct base current – as well as an adjustable resistor that can be used to control the base current, an ammeter for measuring current flow and a voltmeter for measuring voltage drops.

What is a good hFE for a transistor?

A good hFE for a transistor depends on the type of amplifier circuit it is being used in. Generally, hFE values should be between 50 and 500 for common-base amplifiers and between 5 and 10 for common-emitter circuits.

How do you know if a transistor is good?

There are a few simple tests you can use to check if a transistor is working properly. First, measure the hFE using the hFE measurement circuit mentioned above. If it is within the recommended range for your amplifier circuit, then it should be good. You can also try testing the transistor with an ohmmeter to ensure that there are no shorts or open circuits.

What is the typical hFE of 2n2222?

The typical hFE of a 2n2222 transistor is around 400. This means that it has good gain and can be used in most amplifier circuits without any issues.

However, as with any transistor, you should always measure the actual hFE before using it to make sure it is within the recommended range.

What is the difference between 2n2222 and 2n3904 HFE?

The main difference between the 2n2222 and 2n3904 transistors is their hFE. The 2n2222 has a typical hFE of around 400, while the 2n3904 has a much lower hFE of around 40-50. This means that the 2n2222 is better suited for amplifier circuits that require higher gain, while the 2n3904 is better suited for low-power applications.

What is the HFE for 2n3904?

The typical hFE for a 2n3904 transistor is around 40-50. This means that it has lower gain than the 2n2222, and should be used in low-power amplifier circuits where higher gain is not needed.

Useful Video: Venlab VM-200M Digital Multimeter with transistor test hFE – Manual Range DMM


In conclusion, understanding what Hfe on a multimeter is can be very helpful in assessing the performance of various electronic components. It is essential to understand how to use and interpret this measurement so that you can get accurate results. Remember that while an Hfe value may be useful for determining whether a component is functioning properly, it should not be used as the sole indicator of performance. It is important to consider all other factors before making any decisions about a component’s functionality. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions and save yourself time and money in the long run. Thanks for reading! We hope this article has answered all of your questions about What Is Hfe on a Multimeter.

Good luck out there!


  1. https://toolsweek.com/what-is-hfe-on-a-multimeter/
  2. https://bestmultimeterreviews.org/what-is-hfe-on-a-multimeter/
  3. https://rlctalk.com/hfe-on-a-multimeter/
  4. https://multimeterworld.com/what-is-hfe-on-a-multimeter/