Fluke 117 vs. 179 – A Buyers Guide?

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Fluke 117 vs. 177 – Choosing the Better Multimeter

Choosing a suitable multimeter for your needs can get a bit complicated once you start considering the different aspects you might require for your specific needs. Fluke’s line of multimeters represents a great alternative for DIY enthusiasts and various professions. The following Fluke 117 vs. 179 review is designed to provide further information regarding these two particular alternatives. 

Whether you’re looking for a multimeter for vehicular work, HVAC repair, or a variety of electrical services, choosing an established brand is your best shot of acquiring a quality product. Fluke is renowned for its array of multimeters, with the 117 and 179 models representing two of the more popular alternatives in the market. Choosing between these two options requires an in-depth review of their various strengths and features to enable a well-informed decision. Though they may have the same general purposes, their performances can vary with certain applications. The Fluke 179 comes with an inbuilt thermometer, for instance, while the 117 will need the inclusion of an external accessory to achieve the same objective.

Differences between Fluke 117 vs. 179 – How do they compare?

Model
Fluke 117
Fluke 179
Inbuilt Thermometer
No
Yes
Non-contact voltage detection
Yes
No
Diode Measurement
No
Yes
Safety Ratings
CAT III 600V
CAT III 1000V/ CAT IV 600V

Fluke 117 vs. 179: What is the difference?

Additional Measurement Options

Both the Fluke 117 vs. 179 are capable of measuring a variety of ranges, including voltage, capacitance, resistance, and frequency. This makes them ideal for a variety of general-purpose projects, but don’t represent the only needs that might arise in this sector. In some cases, additional features will be required in this category so as to fulfill your operational needs. Some of these features can be included with the integration of an external system, while in other circumstances, you will simply need to find a product that offers a more reliable function for the capacity in question.

One of the main reasons that the Fluke 179 is an attractive option for those performing light industrial tasks is due to its reliability regarding the range of options available with its measurements. Diode measurements, for example, are one of the features included with 179’s alternative that functions better as compared to the Fluke 117. The Fluke 179 also comes with an inbuilt thermometer, which can be a lifesaver if your work entails a lot of temperature measurements. Though the same objective can be accomplished with the Fluke 117, you will need to purchase an external accessory to accomplish this. The need for such a connection can significantly slow down the overall pace of your work.

Non-contact Voltage Detection

A popular feature that comes with the Fluke 117 is its non-contact voltage alert system. This is a particular feature that is extremely useful for people who work with a lot of live wires and perform multiple tasks related to electricity. This feature allows the user to determine whether a particular wire has a current running through it without having to make any sort of direct contact with the area. Instead, they can just simply let the device hover over the section involved, and a beep will alert them of the presence of a current. This can literally save lives when dealing with larger equipment. Handling electricity is an issue that should always be taken seriously in terms of safety, as a small mishap with heavy currents can lead to severe bodily harm. It should be noted that this is not a feature that is present with the Fluke 179 alternative.

Automatic Enhancements

Another aspect to take into consideration when it comes to the implementation of these tools is the ease with which a variety of functions can be completed. One of the main advantages of working with a digital platform is the varying automatic features that accompany some of their operations. Though both the 117 and 179 have manual and automatic options, the latter doesn’t always present itself in the same manner in all models.

Both alternatives, for instance, offer the automatic detection of frequency ranges (thus, you don’t have to select the AC/DC options manually). This means that once you have configured your device to the needed setting, all you need to do is connect the test leads to their different slots. The Fluke 179, however, also features an Auto-hold button that allows you to lock on to a stable reading when dealing with highly fluctuating inputs. This can be quite a timesaver when compared to using a filter to observe such readings instead.

True RMS Capabilities

Both the 117 and 179 feature True RMS software, which greatly enhances the accuracy enjoyed from the readings. This can be a highly essential factor in a variety of industries, with sectors such as HVAC maintenance and repair setting this standard as the acceptable norm for meters working in this sector. The inclusion of True RMS ensures that the readings provided are accurate by up to 0.5%. This feature also enhances the capacity of these devices, including the detection of ghost voltages that might occur during a reading. This distinguishing factor allows the devices to negate a large number of false positives produced. They are also capable of reading clean and distorted waves, which can be a big plus when dealing with nonlinear loading.

Quality and Viability

As mentioned earlier, all of the products from the Fluke multimeter line go above and beyond with regard to the quality on offer. It should be noted that looking at this aspect is not as straightforward as it seems. It’s essential that the value for money provided with a product is established when determining the overall quality of the item. Both the 117 and 179 exhibits great quality with their provisions, depending on your particular needs. The former (117) provides a great alternative for multipurpose use and is especially ideal when dealing with live wires and other electrical equipment. The 179, on the other hand, comes with a myriad of additional features – which arguably makes it the best option for light industrial work. It also comes with some options unavailable with its counterparts, such as the sufficient measuring of diodes, temperatures, and readings offered in Milliamps. These extra features have been slated as the main reason impacting the price difference between these two options.

Safety Ratings and Warranty

The last major factor that should be taken into consideration is the safety ratings of the devices, as well as the warranties on offer. One of the primary elements that prove the quality of Fluke multimeters deal with their adherence to the safety concerns implemented in their sector. Both the 117 and 179 boast official ratings in this category, with the latter a step ahead in this particular provision. The Fluke 117 features CAT III 600V safety ratings, which makes their use application for a variety of equipment and appliances around the house. The Fluke 179, on the other hand, comes with CAT III 1000V and CAT IV 600V ratings, which technically extends their potential application to light industrial purposes as well as DIY projects. It should be noted, however, that both are quite suitable for a range of fieldwork. Both devices also come with a three-year reliable warranty from the manufacturer.

Fluke 117 vs. 179 review: Pros and Cons

Fluke 117

The Fluke 117 happens to be the final product available with the 110 series. As such, it should be noted that this option boasts the largest number of features that are available with this particular line. One of its more popular aspects includes the integration of a non-contact voltage detector, which allows the user to determine whether a particular wire or section is subject to a live current. This is greatly helpful in terms of enhancing the safety enjoyed during use, as well as improving the pace with which you can complete your work. It also features an ergonomic design that encourages a comfortable fit in your hand, allowing you to complete extensive projects without worrying about numbing up in the middle of the process.

This model has commonly been hailed as an electrician’s dream, and it can be argued that it works more as a general-purpose multimeter in terms of the functions and ranges available. This makes it more suitable for odd jobs around the house. Its durability and protective covering also enhance the potential longevity enjoyed with the product, which is also supported by a three-year warranty. The integration of True RMS also enhances the level of accuracy that can be enjoyed with the device, as well as allowing for the detection of ghost voltages that elicit false positives. It also boasts a level of flexibility that enables you to increase its initial capacity in terms of capabilities. A common addition found in this category includes the addition of an external thermo-device, which can be used to read temperatures.

Pros

  • Non-contact voltage detection
  • Excellent quality
  • Flexible in terms of intended purposes
  • Affordable pricing

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with an inbuilt thermometer
  • Cant efficiently handle voltage over 50 kHz
  • Lack of an adequate diode testing function

 

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The Fluke 179

The Fluke 179 is a great option for users looking for an extended range of functions with their multimeter. The device offers automatic and manual ranging options when it comes to measurements, as well as an auto-hold feature that allows you to determine a stable reading when dealing with fluctuating values. One of the primary features of this model is its inbuilt thermometer, which is a great help in cases where the user deals with temperatures on a regular basis. This element is measured via an 80BK probe attached to the device. One of the drawbacks in this sector, however, is its limited range – that stands between -40°C – 400°C. There are a variety of alternatives that offer higher ranges for those looking to expand this section.

The device measures a variety of aspects, including frequency, capacitance, and continuity, to name a few. It’s also an excellent option for individuals looking to conduct diode tests on a regular basis. Its display screen is a big plus when compared to other alternatives due to its clarity. People have complained about deteriorating contrast at certain angles when dealing with other models in this line. Though such an issue can be quickly corrected by turning the screen towards you, it’s still an annoying element should it take place on a regular basis. One of the few problems that some users have had with the device is its inability to zero the leads automatically. This is not a complicated task, however, and can easily be accomplished manually.

Pros

Cons

  • It’s costlier than many alternatives in the market
  • Offers a minimal thermal range
  • Zeroing the leads must be conducted manually

 

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The Final Verdict

A closer look at these two options reveals that the Fluke 179 represents the better option on a general basis. This is because the model comes with a wider variety of features with its components, as well as comprising of the general functions found with regular multimeters. It also offers higher accuracy levels as compared to its counterpart. If you’re looking for a simple general-purpose solution to assist with a variety of projects around the house, however, the Fluke 117 might also be sufficient. This represents a cheaper option as compared to the 179 alternatives.

FAQs

Does the Fluke 117 come with the additional features needed to measure temperature?

No. Unfortunately, this is an accessory that is sold separately from the device.

Can anything be done to enhance the temperature measurement limitations experienced by the Fluke 179?

No. If your needs entail higher temperature levels, the best thing would be to identify a suitable Fluke alternative that offers higher ranges.

How long is the warranty of the Fluke 117 and 179?

Both devices come with a three-year warranty. It’s crucial to look at the details of the guarantee, however, so as to take note of any potential limitations entailed with the agreement.

Can I deal with fluctuating values during measurement without the auto-hold feature?

Yes. Alternatives such as filter modes designed to address this issue are available with models that don’t have this automatic capability.

Do I need to take my multimeter to a professional for calibration?

No. You can easily accomplish this objective by simply following the instructions related to this subject that come with the manual.

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