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I cant answer that question. I havent tried either one. To date I have used "Ideal" "southwire" and "Kobalt" all of them will lie in a heartbeat. I had to get used to how they reacted to various situations and keep in mind the state of the batteries. They all read induced voltage too well. Some of them would go off any time i drove under a power line crossing the road. They are for get me started only. I do not trust that type "guesser".

If you want a simple easy meter that will never lie to you, buy an electro/mechanical "wiggy", not a digital one.
 

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I cant answer that question. I havent tried either one. To date I have used "Ideal" "southwire" and "Kobalt" all of them will lie in a heartbeat. I had to get used to how they reacted to various situations and keep in mind the state of the batteries. They all read induced voltage too well. Some of them would go off any time i drove under a power line crossing the road. They are for get me started only. I do not trust that type "guesser".

If you want a simple easy meter that will never lie to you, buy an electro/mechanical "wiggy", not a digital one.
You must be an old guy.
 

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Estimator/PM last couple years. Switched to electrical trade in 1995.
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IMO those 'pen' testers are garbage. I never use them and if I see my guys use them I throw them as far as I can.
Ideal and Klein make multi meters with no contact button on them. This I use. However nothing is as good as a coil tester (Wiggy). Ask yourself this...'would I bet my life on the tester?'
 

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Chief Flunky
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One thing to be aware of. The packaging says something about preventing electrical shocks. That’s at best misleading. If you read the instructions all of them will clearly state they are never to be used for safety purposes!

They are OK for one thing. If you want to check for presence of AC voltage (NOT absence) and you want a quick check on say 120/240 AC residential circuits only and aren’t worried about absence of neutrals, ground faults, weak connections, something bleeding over and you know there are no electronics involved and no longer parallel runs with high loads like pool pumps they work OK.

So ask yourself what to use it for. It is clearly not safe for checking voltage for safety. It is clearly not a good option for troubleshooting . If you watch what heavy tic addicts do they either don’t do things safely or routinely make mistakes or they use the tic then pull out the real tool and check again so they really just wasted time.

Just keep in mind these things are like the ghost hunter shows. You are waving it around picking up ghosts. It might be real it might not.

Just buy a Harbor Freight one if you want one: it won’t work any better. Save your money and pay the whopping $100-200 for a professional grade clamp meter. It does everything and you can just hold one probe on ground or neutral and hit every terminal with the other one just as fast with no questionable readings: get say the Amprobe AM-300 series and it it has a built in ghost detector in addition to a real meter: Amprobe and Fluke are different divisions of the same company. I don’t know of a Fluke clamp meter with a tic function.

Sorry if I’m being harsh but these things are utter crap. They shouldn’t be used by apprentices at all. I see a lot of well drillers and mill wrights with them
If that tells you anything. And unfortunately those guys actually trust them as a safety tool. I don’t think they learned to read big words so they didn’t read in the instructions where it says not to be used for safety.

To be clear as an example Fluke currently goes out of their way to promote no contact testing as a safety device. For instance you get this Google link:


The very first picture shows a guy geared up in arc flash stuff and rubber gloves holding a no contact voltage tester (ridiculous). Fluke calls this safety. It’s more likely to get someone killed and it proves why they had a recall on a noncontact voltage detector. Safety morons or I mean professionals see pictures like this and think this is the correct way to test for voltage.

In fact and this is where Fluke will eventually lose a huge court case for misleading advertising the last sentence of this section reads: “If testing for the absence of voltage, that is, to verify there is no voltage present before beginning work, consider using a noncontact proximity tester (Figure 1), an electrical tester (Figure 2), or a multimeter (Figure 3).”

Reading further on down read the very last sentence of the section about noncontact voltage detectors “For absence of voltage testing, a different, completely reliable test method is required.”

So taken as a whole what Fluke is saying is not false but it is a slam dunk to show that it is extremely misleading. All the other manufacturers do the same thing. They slap safety labels, convenience, and other stuff all over it and bury the real world in the fine print somewhere. One of these days Fluje or another big brand name is going to get their pants sued off in a class action law suit.

But the product won’t get banned. At medium voltage (over 1000 V) the few products on the market that measure voltage are anything but cheap and lack the idiot-proof nature of a low voltage multimeter. Plus it’s plenty of voltage so the ghost problem is less. So a noncontact tester is the standard method and required. Salisbury and Amprobe are the big popular names.
 

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As @paulengr said don't start a bad habit. Meter, Meter, Meter all the time it saves lives, your own.
If you want something useful do as said buy a "Wiggy". They are a great troubleshooting tool, and the arc and click they make on 480 volt will remind you every time how bad 480 can be 🥴 .
 

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Just realized the “wiggy” is a class III tester, only good to 600 volts. I’m old school, love my wiggy. But it has its place like any tool. I also carry a non contact pen tester, a Fluke electronic testers(good for AC, DC, continuity, and amps, plus a Fluke that also does DC amps. Even carpenters carry more than one tool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
As @paulengr said don't start a bad habit. Meter, Meter, Meter all the time it saves lives, your own.
If you want something useful do as said buy a "Wiggy". They are a great troubleshooting tool, and the arc and click they make on 480 volt will remind you every time how bad 480 can be 🥴 .
What would be a good Wiggly tester to get?
 

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Gents,

Is there much of a difference between these two and which one of these is a better tester?

AC Voltage Sensor
Ultimate AC Sensor
The ultimate has sound and light, the other just a light.

I've been using these for decades now. When used properly, they are great.
Most people don't know their proper use.
 

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The ultimate has sound and light, the other just a light.

I've been using these for decades now. When used properly, they are great.
Most people don't know their proper use.
I have used them as back safety checks, I would put one in a panel near hots. When I walked away to check/do something and came back it better not be on.
 
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