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The Difference Between Analog and Digital Voltage Meters

A voltage meter or a voltmeter is a device for measuring the electric potential difference between two specific points in an electric circuit. It is connected in parallel and has a high resistance that draws negligible current from the circuit. Several models of analog and digital voltage meters from various manufacturers are designed for multiple applications across industries. However, buying a voltage meter can be challenging if you cannot decide between analog and digital voltage meters.

Digital or Analog?

Whenever someone decides to buy a voltage meter, the first question to answer is whether to go for a digital or analog meter. Both types of voltage meters are great tools for measuring electrical voltage, so naturally, the question is, does the type matter?

Before answering that question, we must understand the fundamental difference between an analog and a digital voltage meter. It is simple – a digital meter displays the result as a number on its screen, whereas in the case of an analog meter, you have to use the position of the needle scale to do the reading.

Here are some other differences between the two types of voltage meters:

  • An analog voltage meter requires you to observe the needle scale and do the readings. On the other hand, digital voltage meters display the reading as a number. As a result, it removes the ambiguity resulting from incorrect or inconsistent reading. It means digital voltage meters are more accurate than analog voltage meters.
  • Digital voltage meters are usually more expensive than analog meters. They also need external power to function correctly. Analog voltage meters are generally cheaper than their digital counterparts and do not need an external power source.  
  • The initial reading given by a digital voltage meter may not accurately represent the electric current if there are a lot of fluctuations. As the electricity flow changes constantly and fluctuations happen regularly, a single initial reading might not be an accurate representation. On the other hand, an analog voltage meter has a changing display, thereby giving an accurate recording of the fluctuations within the electrical flow. It will give you a reasonable estimate of any sudden changes in the circuit and notify any potential problem with the electrical flow.
  • An analog voltage meter has a fluctuating scale built into it. However, the accuracy depends on whether the user has set the scale correctly and read the results accurately. So, if you set the scale wrong, you’ll get inaccurate readings. Conversely, a digital voltage meter sets the scale and displays the results on the built-in screen.
  • While an analog voltage meter can only do what it is meant to do, a digital voltage meter can measure voltage, current, and resistance.
  • Digital voltmeter comes in two types: Ramp and integrated, while analog voltmeter is of three kinds: Average reading, true RMS reading, and sampling type.
  • A digital voltage meter has an overload indication, whereas an analog voltmeter has no overload indication.
  • A digital voltmeter offers more resolution than an analog voltmeter. Furthermore, the former can be programmed, while the latter cannot.
  • Digital voltage meters are more sensitive compared to their analog counterparts.
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Which Is Better?

Overall, in terms of features, readings, and ease of use, the digital voltage meter has the edge over the analog voltage meter. However, they have their merits, and if you are looking for an economical solution, an analog voltage meter is worth considering. Check out our wide range of electrical test equipment to find a voltage meter that suits your need.


McCoy Julia
Julia McCoy is the founder of Content Hacker, a 7-time author, and a leading strategist for creating exceptional online content. Her last $75 enabled her to build a seven-figure writing agency, which she sold ten years later. She teaches founders and marketers how to build a business through inbound content so that they can make a positive impact on the world in the 2020s. Julia's blog and podcast, Content Transformation System, offer weekly advice.


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