According to [pileofstuff], he didn’t really need another digital multimeter. However, when he saw a DT-832 meter on Banggood for the princely sum for $4.99 he wondered just what kind of meter you’d get for that price. You can see his conclusions in his recent video (below). He does make it clear, by the way, that he wasn’t paid for the review or given the meter. He just decided to see what $5 would buy in a meter.
Depending on your predisposition to cheap Asian electronics, you may or may not be surprised. After all, for $5 you can’t expect a top-of-the-line lab instrument. The device measures AC and DC voltage, DC amperage, ohms, transistor beta, and has a diode tester and continuity buzzer. It also has some frequency measurement capability. You can’t be too surprised it doesn’t auto range, though. To be fair, although he mentions Banggood as the source of the meter, a quick Google search shows you can get them from all the usual sources, and the price is down to $3.73 as long as you let them ship it from Canada.
In addition to taking the instrument through its paces, he also shows the insides, and there isn’t much. The PCB has a fuse, an op amp, a big blob IC that runs everything, and a handful of discrete components.
Of course, the real test is how well it works electrically. Turns out [pileofstuff] had on hand several Fluke meters, an old Radio Shack meter, and a pocket-sized meter from Hioki. With all those meters on hand, he was able to make measurements with them all and found that the cheap DT-832 compared favorably with the Flukes and did better than the old Radio Shack meter.
Although the readings were in line with the very expensive Fluke meters, [pileofstuff] is quick to point out that the meter is probably not going to take a beating like the professional meters, but for sitting on your workbench, he was impressed with the cheapest meter on Banggood.
We occasionally pick up free meters from Harbor Freight when they are giving them away, but have always been sad they usually don’t have continuity buzzers. So maybe $5 isn’t bad, after all. Of course, a little more money will get you more features like bar graphs, reading hold buttons, true RMS readings, auto ranging, and nicer displays. But only you know what your price to features balance point really is.
Of course, if you buy a Fluke or other name brand meter, you can expect warranty service, calibration service (if you need that), and–the best part–lots of known hacks using the meters. You can even make an Internet of Multimeters with a WiFi connection if you go in for that sort of thing.