how to measure amps with a multimeter

How to Measure Amps with a Multimeter

A multimeter is a versatile tool that is commonly used to measure various electrical properties such as voltage, current, and resistance. When it comes to measuring amps (short for amperes), a multimeter can be a handy device. However, it is essential to use the multimeter correctly to get accurate readings. In this article, we will guide you through the process of measuring amps with a multimeter step by step.

Step 1: Set the Multimeter to Amps Mode

The first step is to ensure that your multimeter is set to the appropriate amps mode. Most multimeters have a dial or a button that allows you to switch between different measurement modes. Locate the amps mode on your multimeter and set it to the desired range. It is crucial to select an appropriate range that is higher than the expected current to avoid damaging the multimeter.

how to measure amps with a multimeter

Step 2: Turn Off Power and Prepare the Circuit

Before measuring amps, it is crucial to turn off the power to the circuit you are working with. This will help prevent any accidents or damage to the multimeter or the circuit itself. Once the power is off, make sure there are no loose connections or exposed wires that could cause a short circuit.

Step 3: Connect the Multimeter in Series

To measure amps, the multimeter needs to be connected in series with the circuit. This means that the current flowing through the circuit also flows through the multimeter. Start by identifying the area in the circuit where you want to measure amps. Then, disconnect one wire or component from that area. Connect the multimeter’s positive lead to the disconnected end of the wire or component, and the negative lead to the remaining part of the circuit.

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Step 4: Turn On the Power and Take a Reading

Now that everything is properly connected, it is time to turn on the power to the circuit. As the current flows through the multimeter, the display will show the measured amps. If the multimeter is set to the correct amps mode and the current is within the range you selected, you should see a reading on the display.

Step 5: Interpret the Reading

Once you have taken a reading, it is essential to interpret and understand what the multimeter is displaying. The measurement may be given in milliamps (mA) or amps (A), depending on the range and settings of the multimeter. If the multimeter displays a decimal point in front of the numbers, it means you are measuring milliamps. For example, a reading of 0.5A indicates 500 milliamps. In contrast, if there is no decimal point, the reading is in amps.

Step 6: Turn Off the Power and Disconnect the Multimeter

After you have successfully measured the amps, it is crucial to turn off the power again and disconnect the multimeter from the circuit. This helps prevent any damage to the multimeter and ensures safety when working with electrical circuits.

Tips for Accurate Amps Measurements

To ensure the accuracy of your amp measurements when using a multimeter, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

Choose the Appropriate Amps Range

Selecting the correct amps range on the multimeter is crucial for accuracy and safety. Always choose a range that is higher than the expected current. If you are unsure about the current range, start with a higher range and then switch to a lower range if necessary.

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Minimize Contact Resistance

Contact resistance can affect the accuracy of your measurements. To minimize contact resistance, ensure that the multimeter’s probes have a good connection with the circuit. Clean the probes and the contact points on the circuit if necessary to remove any dirt or oxidation that could interfere with the measurements.

Check for Overload

When measuring amps, it is crucial to prevent overload, as it can damage the multimeter. If the current is higher than the maximum range of the multimeter, you will need to use a current clamp or a different measurement technique suitable for higher currents.

Avoid Touching the Probe Tips

When the multimeter is measuring amps, it is possible for the probe tips to become hot due to the current flowing through them. To avoid burns or electric shocks, make sure to avoid touching the probe tips while taking measurements or immediately after measurements.


Measuring amps with a multimeter can be a valuable skill when working with electrical circuits. By following the steps outlined in this guide and keeping the tips in mind, you can accurately measure amps with your multimeter. Remember to always prioritize safety and take necessary precautions when working with electricity. Now you are ready to confidently measure amps and tackle various electrical projects.

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