We gave PE tester Tom the chance to test drive the MM500A Tough Meter from Klein Tools. We had no idea he was going to take that literally…
When I was asked by the team at PE to test the latest Tough Meter from Klein Tools, I wasn’t sure
what to expect. I had only read about the Klein meters in a previous issue of the mag which mentioned that they could take a beating.
Now I work in the Welsh Valley’s so I can be in a nice country pad one minute, and then literally up to my ears in cow **** the next. I looked at my old meter at the bottom of my tool bag and had to admit it was looking a little battered and bruised. So would the new meter be tough enough to deal with life in the real world?
When I picked up the meter, a couple of things stood out straight away. Firstly, it’s a very compact unit, and secondly there’s no dial, just three buttons to operate. So simple maybe even my apprentice would be able to work this one.
After a quick play around with it I saw that all the main functions were there. It automatically reads both AC and DC voltage, resistance up to 4000 ohms, and also has an audible and visible continuity function. A pretty functional and basic meter overall.
“It automatically reads both AC and DC voltage, resistance up to 4000 ohms, and also has an audible and visible continuity function. A pretty functional and basic meter overall.”
With the formalities of checking the spec and features out of the way I got to the fun part. But how was I going to test just how tough this meter really is? Then it came to me. I was due to go out to a customer’s farm on the weekend, with a mile track off road before I got to the site. Why don’t I tape this bad boy to the bottom of my truck and see how we get on (I’m sure PE won’t mind).
Well, the good news was that it was still working after a miles worth of grit, mud and puddles. The bad news was, I wasn’t ﬁnished. I thought why not up the stakes and wash the dirt off with a thorough blast from a jet wash. Surely it couldn’t take that treatment?
Now I know in reality you would never knowingly subject any meter to a test like this, but you will drop your kit at some point and it’s always possible for water or any other liquid to spill on your meter. Despite all my fun trying to destroy this Tough Meter, I failed. The MM500A continued to operate as well as it did when I got it out of its packaging.
When it comes to my line of work I think the team at Klein are on to a winner. Durability aside, this is deﬁnitely one of the most simple meters I’ve had a chance to use, it literally is just plug and play. One thing I would have liked to have seen is a magnet embedded in the body. It’s always useful if you can attach your meter to a surface to free your hands up for the probes. Just a small gripe but hopefully we can see this on future models.
Not the most advanced meter on the market but it is simple, functional and can clearly handle itself on site.