Fluke 175 vs. 177 – Which One is Best?

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Choosing a multimeter requires you to go through the various options available with regard to your particular needs. The Fluke 175 vs. 177 represents two of the best options for people looking for an alternative with a wide variety of features. Fluke 177 comes with a backlight, an aspect missing from its 175 counterpart. 

If you’re in need of an industrial-grade multimeter for your work, choosing a suitable option may not be as easy as you might think. Though there are a variety of options available in the market, only a few represent serious candidates for light industrial work. The Fluke 175 vs. 177 are two highly recommended alternatives in this category, and a closer look at both devices can aid you in making a well-informed decision. Both devices offer similar features in terms of functionality, but it has been argued that one offers better quality than the other. As you might be able to guess from the numbers, the Fluke 177 is a somewhat improved version of its counterpart. This means that though the features between the two might be similar, they offer different levels of quality in terms of functionality.

Differences between Fluke 175 vs. 177 – How do they compare?

Model Fluke 175 Fluke 177
Backlight No Yes
True RMS Yes Yes
DC Volt Accuracy 0.15% 0.09%
Closed case calibration Yes Yes
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Fluke 175 vs. 177: What is the difference?

Backlight Application

As mentioned earlier, the Fluke 175 and 177 pretty much have the same capabilities. However, one feature that provides a clear difference between the two devices is the presence of a backlight in the Fluke 177. The provision of this additional illumination is not an element that is present with the 175 alternative. Though it may seem like a minor variation, it can make quite the difference – especially with people who work night shifts on occasion, or operate under dimly lit environments. The ability to see what you’re doing is not something that should be taken for granted, so if you know that there is a high chance you might be faced with dark surroundings in your work station at some point – then the Fluke 177 is your best shot of addressing such circumstances.

True RMS Readings

An element that makes the Fluke 175 vs. 177 two of the more reliable multimeters in the market is the integration of True RMS application with their readings. In simple terms, most multimeters are provided in two main categories – True RMS and average responding alternatives. Both options can efficiently read ac voltage and alternating current. However, the former offers a higher accuracy due to its extended capabilities. Whereas average responding meters are capable of clearly distinguishing standard waveforms, the nature of the wave can affect the results provided.

If the current being studied represents a distorted format, the average responding option will offer some discrepancies with the readings produced. A True RMS meter, on the other hand, can read both clean waves (sinusoidal) as well as distorted variations (non-sinusoidal). Distorted waves can present themselves in a number of different patterns, including spikes, triangles, pulse trains, and squares, to name a few.

To get a better sense of the difference between a True RMS reading and its average response counterpart, looking at the results related to these distortions can enhance your understanding of the subject. Below is a table exhibiting the different accuracies available with a True RMS and average response reader, with regard to different types of waveforms.


Multimeter Sin Wave Single phase diode rectifier Square wave 3 Ø diode rectifier
True RMS Accurate 40%  10%  5 – 30% 
Average Response Accurate Accurate Accurate Accurate


Another important issue to consider when choosing between these two alternatives is the level of accuracy available with various ranges. The Fluke 177 beats its counterpart in this sector, as some of the developments that have been integrated into its system are not present in past models. As such, there are certain areas where the more recent design surpasses its predecessors. A good example of such a scenario is exhibited in the different levels of accuracy enjoyed by both devices when dealing with DC voltage. The Fluke 177 offers an accuracy level of up to 0.09%, while the 175 alternative does not lag too far behind with 0.15%. However, some jobs require detailed data when developing solutions, with even a minor fraction proving to be of great importance. The Fluke 177 is ideal for such needs.

Build and Design

Both the Fluke 175 and 177 exhibit excellent features when it comes to their design and construction. Their sturdy casing comes with an integrated holster that further enhances the protection available. The shape has been designed with ergonomic influences, ensuring the tools can fit comfortably in your hand and encourage a firm grip. The recession incorporated into the shape of the dial makes sure it doesn’t suffer a lot of damage if dropped by mistake. Their weight of 420g also makes it easier to carry around when dealing with fieldwork. A tilting mini-kickstand is fixed on to the back of the casing, allowing it to remain erect without the user’s assistance. This can be a lifesaver when you happen to have your hands full during a diagnosis. Probe holders have also been attached as a means of storing the test leads after use. The 9V battery has been made easily accessible with its placement.


Both products come with a limited lifetime warranty, which is a great assurance of the quality involved. However, many people have some mistaken assumptions about the nature of the guarantee provided. It should be noted that a limited lifetime warranty represents a different context from a simple lifetime alternative. In this case, the term “lifetime” refers to a period of 10 years after the purchase of the device, or seven years after the product concerned has been discontinued. This is a common feature with many electronic guarantees, however, and shouldn’t raise any flags. As a matter of fact, ten years is a pretty impressive time span when taken into consideration. In essence, the manufacturer is guaranteeing that consumers will be able to use their product for at least a decade without any issues. It should be noted that this cover doesn’t extend to the batteries and fuses of the device. The warranty itself is also non-transferable.

Closed Case Calibration

Another great feature with the Fluke 175 and 177 multimeters is their enviable closed case calibration system. Having to open up the back whenever you need to perform this objective can be highly frustrating, especially when you’re hoping to complete the process as soon as possible. The Fluke 170 series took this issue into consideration with their design, allowing for an easily accessible panel through which you can accomplish this goal. The process has also been simplified as compared to the more traditional methods of carrying out this task. Instead of tweaking the various trim pots on the device’s circuit board, reference signals are fed into the system to confirm the correct voltage, resistance, current, frequency, and capacitance. This is a great improvement from the old way of doing things. It also makes it easier for you to complete the process without any professional assistance, reducing the overall maintenance costs of the instrument.

Safety Ratings

Both multimeters have been designed to offer the best protection for individuals working in different fields. This is ascertained through the achievement of CAT III 1000V/ CAT IV 600V safety ratings. The Fluke 175 and 177 have been designed to protect against high voltage spikes ranging to at least 8 kV. This can be a crucial aspect when working with heavy-duty equipment with enough juice to exhibit such risks. The fuses have been placed away from the rest of the circuit board and have been reinforced with blast protection to enhance their durability. The grove built into the casing is designed to prevent the accumulation of dirt and water, as well as protect the environment against potential blasts.

Fluke 175 vs. 177 Review

Fluke 175

The Fluke 175 is a great alternative for electricians on the go, with its rugged design incorporated with quality features, accurate readings, and friendly contours. Weighing in at just 420g, it is one of the lighter options in the market, with its digital format making it easier to conduct your diagnosis and identify different readings from the results. Its generous digital screen is accompanied by an analog bar graph that enhances the level of information that can be accrued from a measurement. Its flexible design also makes it suitable for a variety of settings, including workbenches, garages, and home counters. The compact nature of the instrument means that it can be easily carried along during fieldwork as well. One of the major drawbacks of this particular model, however, is the lack of a backlight.

The smoothing mode on the device enables the instrument to stabilize highly fluctuating noisy signals, allowing for better and more accurate reading. Both the voltage and current come with generous resolution and ranges, ensuring the user can enjoy the best data possible. Diode testing is another excellent feature that comes with this line of products, which can be useful when dealing with specific conditions in your work. This particular provision comes at a range of 2.4V. Another impressive element of this tool is its quick response times in relation to auto-ranging capabilities. This can be a real issue with some other alternatives in the market, with some cases even requiring a user to switch to manual ranging so as to obtain faster results.

The interface consists of four buttons in total, allowing for adequate spacing between the various options. This can be a great advantage when attempting to use the tool one-handed.


  • It’s one of the more affordable products in its line
  • Excellent quality in build and design
  • Adequate protection against power surges
  • Diode testing available


  • Lack of a backlight
  • It’s not as accurate as of its successors in this line


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Fluke 177

The Fluke 177 is one of the better options when it comes to a general-purpose multimeter for industrial and DIY use. It offers higher levels of precision as compared to its predecessors, making it the weapon of choice when in need of highly accurate data. Its interface has been designed to be easily manageable and understood. All the essential ranges such as AC and DC voltage, AC/DC current, continuity, resistance, and the like have been given dedicated placements on the interface – allowing you to navigate your way through the various options available easily. Its levels of accuracy are further enhanced by the application of a True RMS reader, which is capable of reading different waveforms with exact precision. This feature also allows for the detection of ghost voltages, negating the inclusion of false positives with your readings in the process.

One of the major advantages of the Fluke 177 over its counterpart is the presence of a backlight to assist with dimly lit surroundings. This can be highly essential for users who might be working different shifts, or generally operate under a somewhat darker environment. The display also comes with clear resolution featuring a 6000 count, enhancing the ease with which one can read the data produced.


  • Greater accuracy and precision
  • True RMS integration
  • Easy calibration
  • Presence of a backlight


  • Features an old-school battery connector
  • No microamps


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The Final Verdict

At a glance, the Fluke 177 offers a better option for those who are intent on high levels of accuracy and top-notch quality. The inclusion of a backlight is also an essential aspect, especially when considering flexibility in terms of suitable working environments. The Fluke 175 is a good alternative when you’re looking for a cheaper option that features a variety of ranges with its provisions.


Can the Fluke 175 or 177 measure temperature?

No. Unfortunately, only 179 in this series comes with an inbuilt thermometer.

Can I change the type of battery in a multimeter?

It is always advisable to maintain the specifications that have been integrated by the manufacturer to maintain efficient operating levels.

How long is the battery life of the Fluke 170 series?

This line features approximately 200 hours of battery life. This value may decrease as the battery loses its vigor.

Can anyone recalibrate my multimeter?

No. The initial calibration process requires you to input a password that will be used for all later access, ensuring uninvited interference is prohibited.

What does it mean when a warranty is non-transferable?

It means that you cannot transfer the coverage on offer with one product to another tool.

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Steven Reilly is a qualified mechanic and his passion for cars goes beyond just the technical aspects. He is also an amateur racer and all round car enthusiast. When he is not driving them, he can often be found in his garage under the hood of a rare model. Steven Reilly has lost track of the number of hours he has spent setting up his fine collection of rebuilt models. He believes that cars can provide a constructive and fun opportunity to teach the youth important life skills. In line with this, he is developing a community outreach program, potentially dubbed ‘Cars for change'.
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