The Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter is a professional-standard device that provides accurate current, voltage and resistance readings conveniently and easily. The benefits of a clamp meter – in this example, the twin jaws can measure currents up to 30mm without actually touching or interrupting the circuit – are many. These are compact devices that are very handy for home use, and are also used by professionals, so if you are into DIY that involves electronic circuits, you may want one in your toolkit for convenience.
In brief, the Fluke 323 is a sensibly-priced, well-made and easy to use clamp meter that covers a wide range in all areas – we will discuss this in more detail in a moment – and one that would make a great addition to your tool kit. Prices start at around $100 dollars, and can go up to $210 if the meter also includes an NIST Certificate.
If you need to measure electrical circuits for efficiency as part of your daily job, or want one for use at home for DIY or hobby purposes, this could be a wise buy. Let’s have a look at the specifications a little more closely.
What Can It Do?
If you have yet to use a clamp meter, the concept is simple: the two jaws open so you can place the device around a cable or other area you want to measure, and are clamped together. This means the jaws now surround the cable, and the reading can be taken. It’s the safest and quickest method of measuring, and also returns a greater level of accuracy than some other tools.
Fluke is a manufacturer that offers a range of clamp meters – and other equipment – so you have the benefit of knowledge and quality, and a lot of satisfied users who pay testament to the performance and value of this little tool. The general response is of a well-made and easy to use device that does the job it is designed to do, with accurate readings across the board.
The Fluke 323 has gotten very favourable reviews in fact, with users pointing towards its effectiveness in measuring AC currents to a high level of accuracy – be aware that this tool will not measure DC currents. It’s also worth noting that this model comes with test leads; users – as well as the manufacturer – strongly advise the use of these for the most accurate readings on voltage and resistance, with the clamp itself to be used for current readings.
Other comments of note concern the digital LCD readout, which is clear and large enough to give you the information you need. The Fluke 323 readout is not backlit, which may be a problem in confined or awkward spaces, but there are models in the range that do offer a backlit readout, for very little extra outlay.
The Fluke 323 is a mid-range model designed for both professional and DIY use; it covers a wide range of purposes and is intended for use in tight areas, such as cable compartments and junction boxes. It measures 8x3x2inches, which is surprisingly compact and easy to fit into a tool box, and is ergonomically styled so it fits neatly in the hand and the buttons that give you the reading are all close to hand.
The 323 measures AC currents up to 400amp; that’s more than adequate for most purposes, and it does so with surprising accuracy. It can measure both AC and DC voltage up to 600v (it does not measure DC currents, as we said). The device can measure resistance up to 4-kilohms. These are sufficient ranges for measuring home circuits, and for professional use also.
The jaws, when clamped, can measure currents up to 30mm distant; this gives you plenty of scope for measurements in DIY projects. You can use the test leads for physical connections and more accurate readings where needed. Everything you need to take measurements is provided in the package, so you are ready to start work straight away.
More about the Fluke 323
The fact that customer testimonies are very good with regards to the Fluke 323 – in fact, it is rated as 4.5/5 on Amazon – stands it in very good stead when it comes to comparisons with the competition. As we have said, ease of use and compactness are two of its selling points, and its range of measurements also adds to the appeal. If the range offered by the 323 is not enough for you, there are other models in the Fluke range.
The 323 is handily equipped with a ‘hold’ button function. Click the button and your last reading will be displayed on the LCD screen so you have no chance of getting it wrong. Users point to its accuracy and effectiveness, with its one downside being the one we have already mentioned – the lack of a backlight to the screen.
Another point that makes an appearance in customer reviews is that of the test leads; while many say these are perfectly adequate, a number of customers have commented that they are not powerful enough for some purposes – a car starter for instance – so this is a point that you might want to consider if you are looking to buy a clamp meter.
Is the Fluke 323 True-RMS Clamp Meter the one you need for your toolkit? We’ve covered its ability and the benefits of one of these devices quite clearly above, and we think there is a clear indication of who this device would be useful for.
The upside is that it is a Fluke product, who have a reputation for quality, well-made and robust products that are accurate and reliable. All of those attributes are present in this model. It offers a sensible measuring range and can be used for many different measurements, and it is suitably compact and comes ready to use (unlike many such products, the two AA batteries needed to power the 323 are included when you purchase).
The only negatives are the concerns about the test leads – these are not, however, universal concerns but those of a few customers – and the lack of a backlight. For the record, the Fluke 324 and 325 – the next two in the range – are backlight-equipped.
If you want a handy, capable and accurate clamp meter that is not expensive and will come in useful for general, everyday troubleshooting, the Fluke 323 is certainly worthy of your consideration.
You might want to check out my post on wireless fire alarm systems as well.