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How To Choose The Best LCR Meter?

An LCR meter measures the inductance, capacitance and resistance of electrical components such as capacitors and inductors.

LCR meters are mostly used by technicians and specialists to repair, test or calibrate electrical circuits and components. If you do some DIY electrical work such as building a computer, you’ll also find an LCR meter to be indispensable.

While a digital multimeter will measure voltage, current and continuity, only an LCR meter can measure inductance, capacitance and resistance to a high degree of accuracy.

In this buying guide, we review the best LCR meters and give you some tips for choosing the right one for your testing needs.

Key Considerations When Buying an LCR Meter

A. Type of LCR Meter: Digital vs. Analogue

Definitely get a digital LCR meter. You’ll actually have a hard time finding an analogue LCR meter as they are no longer used in most industries.

A digital LCR meter is easier to use, takes measurements faster and is more precise.

B. Frequency Selection

Check the levels of frequency the LCR meter offers and make sure the maximum frequency is higher than the frequency of the components you’ll be testing.

Premium LCR meters provide a wide frequency range, usually between 100 Hz and 100 KHz, allowing you to test at low and high frequencies. Cheaper meters typically start at 1 KHz and have fewer selections (usually just two or three).

C. Display

Get an LCR meter with a backlit display. It’ll make it easy to take measurements without struggling to see numbers on the screen.

Another aspect of display to consider is whether it is single or dual.

Cheaper LCR meters have a single display that shows only one measurement at a time.

Pricier LCR meters feature a larger dual display that can show two figures simultaneously. The main figure can be the capacitance, inductance or resistance while the secondary measurement can be ESR, Q Factor or dissipation factor.

Simply put, a dual screen gives you more information at a glance.

Also, check the display count. Premium models will have a primary display count of 20,000 or 40,000. This mean the display can show measurements up to 20,000 or 40,000. The secondary display typically has a 2,000 to 10,000 count.

Cheaper single display LCR meters usually have a 2,000 or 4,000 count.

A higher count allows you to measure bigger parameters and improves sensitivity and accuracy.

D. User Interface

You should spend most of your time reading figures on the display and figuring out what they mean for your circuit or component.

If you have to waste precious time scrolling through menus or trying to find the right setting on an LCR meter, it’s not worth it especially if you use it often.

Get an LCR meter that’s easy to use, with well laid out menus as well as buttons.

E. Measurements and Functions

Obviously, any LCR meter will measure the three primary parameters: inductance, capacitance and resistance.

Check the meter’s range, sensitivity and accuracy for each of these parameters.

Also, check if the LCR meter offers additional measurements. The most common extra parameters include quality factor (Q), dissipation factor and ESR (equivalent series resistance).

As for functions, check the buttons next to or below the screen. They’ll give you an idea of the functions the meter offers.

Basic functions to expect include a parallel to series switch button, calibration and frequency selection. Most LCR meters also have buttons for hold (freezes value on screen even after you disconnect the leads), min and max, average and sorting (fail/pass function).

The number of functions depends mostly on price. A cheap LCR meter will have a simple control panel with just the basics while a pricier meter will be more versatile with extra functions like sorting and relative mode.

F. Data Storage and Transfer

If you are looking for a premium LCR meter, get one that has internal memory. This allows you to call up past readings for analysis or reference.

It’s also worth it to spend more on an LCR meter that allows data download to a PC. This lets you store an unlimited amount of data and do as much analysis as you’d like.

G. Accessories

Finally, check the accessories the manufacturer provides along with the LCR meter. Premium LCR meters come with two main accessories: crocodile clips and SMD tweezers for testing different electrical components.

Cheaper meters usually include just a pair of crocodile clips.

Other accessories to expect include a battery, guard lead, data transfer cable (for models with data storage and transfer) and carry bag.

Tip: Don’t forget to check the length of the leads. Some manufacturers include clips with ridiculously short leads, forcing you to buy others separately.

Best LCR Meters: Top 5 Reviews

1. Acompatible New DE-5000 Handheld LCR Meter Review


The DE-5000 is the best choice for technicians and DIYers looking for a professional-grade LCR meter that doesn’t cost too much.

Despite its modest price, the DE-5000 is just as accurate as pricier models and offers a similarly wide range of functions.

Frequency selection starts at 100 Hz and goes up to 120Hz, 1 KHz, 10 KHz and 100KHz.

The DE-500 feature a large and backlit dual display  with 20,000/2,000 primary and secondary count. The screen also indicates the current mode as well as the selected frequency.

The well laid out control panel features buttons for basic functions like L/C/R measurements, Hold, Min/Max and frequency. There are also buttons for additional features like quality, dissipation factor, ESR and sorting.

Accessories include alligator clip leads with adaptor and SMD tweezers with adaptor.

Note that the leads for the alligator clips are very short. Depending on your needs, you may need to buy a replacement with longer leads.

What we like about it:

  • Good value for money.
  • Highly accurate .
  • Multiple measurements.
  • Includes both alligator clips and SMD tweezers.

2. Extech Instruments 380193 Passive Component LCR Meter Review


The Extech Instruments 380193 is another good choice if you are looking for an LCR meter that offers professional-grade measurement performance at a pocket-friendly price.

The Extech 380193 has a smaller frequency range than the DE-5000 (120 Hz to 1KHz), hence the slightly lower price.

But it measures most of the same parameters as the DE-5000. These include the basic ones (L, C ad R) as well as quality, dissipation and ESR.

Other functions available on the control panel include hold, min/max, REL, Hi/Lo limits and tolerance mode.

The display is a backlit dual type with 20,000 count for the primary and 10,000 count for the secondary.

The user interface is straightforward and easy to use. You also have the option of using your PC as an interface. All you need to do is install the included software and then connect the meter with your PC using the included cable.

With the meter connected, you can see real time data as you take measurements (useful if you find the meter display too small). You can also save, print and export data, create calibration reports and do some data analysis.

In addition to the software and cable, you’ll also receive test leads, a 9V battery and a carry bag.

What we like about it:

  • Good value for money.
  • Multiple measurements.
  • PC interface.
  • Includes carry bag and test leads.

3. Peak Electronic Design LCR45 LCR Meter Review


If you are looking for an LCR meter that also measures impedance (useful for technician that deal a lot with speakers), the LCR45 LCR meter is the best choice.

The LCR45 measures the usual three parameters: inductance, capacitance and resistance. In addition, it’ll measure the impedance as well as admittance of an electrical component.

The LCR45 LCR meter has limited frequency options compared to other LCR meters. It has only three elections: 1 KHz, 15 KHz and 200 KHz.

Design-wise, the LCR45 meter has a much simpler look. It fits in your palm and features a small screen and only two buttons.

The two buttons allow you to switch between different measurement modes and frequency. You can also select between manual or auto measurement and frequency selection.

What we like about it:

  • Great choice for audio technicians.
  • Compact and easy to carry around.
  • Fine resolution improves accuracy for low measurements.

4. PeakTech 2170 LCR-ESR-Meter Review


If you are looking for a premium LCR meter with high accuracy, wide frequency range and multiple measurements, we recommend the PeakTech 2170.

The PeakTech 2170 is the most expensive of our picks, for a good reason. It outmatches other LCR meters in performance and versatility.

Frequency range is similar to that of the DE-5000. You can make five selections between 100 Hz and 100 KHz.

As for measurements, the PeakTech 2170 has the three primary ones (L, C and R) as well as ESR, dissipation, quality, phase angle, equivalent parallel resistance and winding resistance.

You can select a wide range of functions from the control panel including sorting, hold, REL and calibration.

We love the display on the PeakTech 2170 LCR meter. It’s big and bright, making it easy to see what you are measuring in any kind of lighting. It is a dual display with primary and secondary measurements shown on the same screen.

The display also includes a bar graph.

Similar to the Extech 380193, the PeakTech 2170 LCR meter can also connect to a PC via the USB port at the top (connection cable is included).

Install the included software to see real time measurements on your PC. You can also analyse, store and print data.

Accessories include a cable, software, kelvin clips, battery and carrying case.

What we like about it:

  • Versatile functionality.
  • PC connection for data recording, printing and analysis.
  • Large and bright display.
  • Includes carrying case.

5. Proster LCR Meter Review


The Proster LCR Meter is our top budget pick. We recommend it for DIYers and electronic enthusiasts looking for a cheap LCR meter.

You are probably thinking the Proster LCR meter some limitations, and you are right. One of the biggest is the lack of frequency selection. This significantly reduces accuracy.

For the main L, C and R measurements, the Proster meter has lower resolution and accuracy compared to pricier models like Extech and the DE-5000.

You also don’t get any additional measurements like quality, dissipation and ESR.

For the price however, the Proster LCR meter is a pretty good deal. It measures inductance, capacitance and resistance. But because it has lower resolution, accuracy and range, we don’t recommend using it to measure very high or low parameters.

The control panel looks like that of a digital multimeter. There’s a dial you rotate to select the parameter you want to measure. A single 2,000 count display shows the measurement.

Interestingly, you can tilt the screen for better viewing.

Overall, if you can tolerate wider accuracy margins and the lack of some key functions like frequency selection and ESR, the Proster LCR meter is a great choice if you are on a budget.

What we like about it:

  • Inexpensive.
  • Large display.
  • Tilting display.
  • Includes crocodile clips, battery and carry bag.

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