Clamp amp meters

I would like to ask if you use an clamp meter what type do you use. There must be a dozen in Professional Equipment magazine.

I would like to use for energy audits to determine power consumption. I figure I can use ohms law to convert amps/volts to power.

Would also like to use for heat pumps/electric furnaces/panels.

Also anyone know a good reference source for the proper use of the meter?

An electrician friend of mine recommended a Fluke brand. He said get at least a 100 amp rated meter. I would think 200 amps would be needed.

Thanks for your time and opinions.

I use the Ideal 61-736. Rated for 400A. Costs about $100

Thanks Jeff

I hope the Ideal clamp meter is not like the ideal circuit analyzer. I have gone through 3 in the last 2 years. But they are good about swapping out with a new one.

How often do you use yours? Lets say I am unsure of the main house amperage can the meter be used to determine main service amperage.

Can you use this for electric furnaces?

Thanks again.

Hey David, I worked in a calibration lab for nine years calibrating all types of different meters. I would recommend Fluke over any other brand. They are solid, accurate, and can be calibrated if it ever needs it. I would stay away from Ideal, as they aren’t very accurate and they cant be calibrated.

Hope that helps.

David, smaller clamp jaws come in handy to get in tight spaces (lots of wires).

To use; just clamp around one power leg and read the meter.

You can set the meter at 200/400 (top range) and it measures anything above 1.0 amp.

You may consider a combination volt/amp meter so you can do your figuring. You need to know both the volts and amps to figure watts.

Thanks guys appreciate the feedback.


They cannot be used to determine the service capacity, only the draw (the current/amperage the house is actually using) at that moment.

It can be used on any circuit where you can isolate one of the ungrounded conductors.

I use mine on almost all inspections, and even more so when there are indications of other issues.


Did you answer no because the meter only measure under a load?

Please explain no!!

Jeff you posted right before I did. Thanks, explains the no answer.

Going to get one. What do you think of this product. Trying to decide for Inspecting and energy audits.

Jeff elaborated on my short answer David. It can be useful with A/C season coming to check RLA on the outside unit.


What does the $235 dollar unit do that this $25 one doesn’t?

I don’t use one. Thinking about it though. Could you explain what you use it for on every inspection?

It can be used to check running load amps (RLA) of the outside A/C unit. RLA info is typically on the nameplate data.

Quality, safety, true rms.

This link takes you to flukes’ ABC’s of multi meter safety. Take the time to learn what makes a quality meter and how to use them safely.

If it makes a difference to you I used to test product to UL/CSA 61010-1.

When you say quality, safety and true RMS are you saying one has it and the other doesn’t?
Do have a source of more detailed info?
I couldn’t verify that from the specs.

BTW-Fluke products are great and I have used them for 40 years.

I use a Fieldpiece sc67. Does everything you need. Vac,Vdc,Ohms,amps,temp,continuity,mfd. I think I paid 175.

When you say quality, safety and true RMS are you saying one has it and the other doesn’t?
Do have a source of more detailed info?
I couldn’t verify that from the specs.

No Michael thats not what I’m saying. I’m sure the P3 you suggested has its applications but in my opinion I didn’t think it would suit D.C. Macey’s needs. Since he also seems to be new at using electrical meters I thought the price range of $25 dollars coming from a respectable person as yourself might mislead him into buying an inferior meter. The site I refered to was for safety and operation. I am sure there are many less expensive meters that would suit the same purposes.
I’m sure Fluke would be happy to verify any questions regarding specs.

As William stated, I use it to check the load on condenser units - remember, I’m in CA, so there’s rarely a case where I won’t run the A/C. So that’s the “every inspection” part. I guess the exception would be when the home does not have A/C.

I have a Fluke 332. Cost about $125. Here’s more info on clamp meters:

Check out the info on the bottom left.