Do Multimeters Need Calibration? – A Complete Guideline

Do multimeters need calibration?” is a common question asked by almost everyone who uses a digital multimeter for the first time. Regular calibration makes sure that it displays accurate measurement.

For further details about multimeter calibration, check out the article below.

Do Multimeters Need Calibration?

If your question is, “Do multimeters need calibration?” then the answer is yes

Only in a particular setting would a digital multimeter be able to work properly. Environmental factors, such as humidity and temperature, and line voltage, can affect its efficiency.

It is important to ensure that the external requirements are met for all types of multimeter to function normally. The errors will escalate outside of this range, and the readings will no longer be accurate.


There are usually two reasons to use a calibrator in a professional manner.

One is where you need a high degree of precision that necessitates regular checks and modifications to sustain. For a 3.5 handheld multimeter, this is probably irrelevant, but it may be crucial for a 5.6 bench multimeter.

The other scenario is that you rely on the device to have a safety paper trail and want impartial evidence to stay correct. In this case, a calibration service is a perfect choice.

When the gadget arrives and leaves the calibration lab, the calibration status has to be noted on the paperwork. This kind of data is crucial because it confirms the current measurement accuracy of the analog meter since the previous calibration cycle.

4 Reasons for Incorrect Readings on a Multimeter

If you want to understand how a calibration fixes a multimeter, it is essential that you know what causes a meter to display inaccurate readings in the first place. Keep reading to find out the 4 most common reasons.

Low Battery

Typically, multimeters use batteries for power because of their mobile nature. A common root cause leading to an inaccurate multimeter is its battery has fallen below the normal working voltage.

A lack of battery voltage within the batteries might trigger a drop in the internal voltage, resulting in a high meter reading. Hence, if your multimeter is not showing an accurate reading, it is time you replaced the existing batteries with new ones.

If the readings go back to normal, the problem is certainly low battery, and new batteries will ensure absolute accuracy.

Wrong Leads

Wrong leads are another issue that might cause a wrong reading on an analog meter. You might want to check the analog multimeter resistance measurement to ensure the leads are still accurate.

For multimeter leads with absolute accuracy, the resistance value should be zero. The leads will become unreliable if the resistance reading is above one, leading to wrong voltage readings on the multimeter.

If this situation happens, it is advisable that you replace the multimeter leads right away.

Faulty Assemble

When you fail to place the multimeter leads on the correct points of a battery or circuit, the readings on the multimeter can be false.

If the multimeter displays a wrong reading, try to double-check that you’re testing the correct areas of the circuit.


Fuses play an important role in ensuring safety when overcurrents happen to a device.

The fuse will blow if you use the analog meter to calculate voltage or current that is greater than its optimum value. As a result, blown fuses lead your digital meter to reflect incorrect voltage values.

How Often Should You Calibrate?

Finding the appropriate frequency for the calibration cycle is important to maintain the accuracy of your multimeter. Here are 4 factors you’d better take into consideration.

Manufacturer Recommendation

The manufacturer’s specifications in the user manual always tell you how often you can calibrate your tools. Be aware that different intervals are needed for important applications depending on their model, including industry-defined, stringent, or frequent ones.

Critical Events

If the instrument has been damaged—for example, the overload protection has been disabled, or the device has been subjected to a physical impact—it is recommended that you calibrate the digital meter to ensure its credibility.

This is vital since a physical flaw in the device, such as a broken connector, scratch, or dent, might not always be noticeable. The units and essential internal parts need an accredited calibration procedure to verify that they are in proper working order.

Upon Requirements

In fact, certain measurement occupations necessitate frequent calibration standard tests. These criteria may or may not be specified directly, but it is generally required based on industry norms. Until doing a procedure, often go through the process’s parameters and criteria.

The annual calibration certificate is the most general quality standard, but it can vary greatly depending on QA requirements, industry regulation, and application.

Periodic Checks

A shorter interval between calibrations means less risk of questionable test outcomes if you conduct the most important tests on a regular basis. Short calibration intervals can also result in improved specifications.

It is advisable to watch for patterns in the calibrated analog meter, check them regularly, and note improvements. For example, as the analog multimeter ages, it is likely to drift prior to the next calibration period.

Examining these kinds of patterns may help users figure out the necessary frequency of using a calibrator based on their usage and application.


If your question is, “Do multimeters need calibration?” then the answer is yes. Not only does a calibrator ensure correct voltage readings, but it also allows you to ensure your safety while using the multimeter. And calibration service is also a great option if you’re not sure how to do it yourself.

Further reading:

How to Calibrate a Digital Multimeter.

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