How to Measure DC Current with a Multimeter?

What is Amps or Amperage?

Before we get into how to measure dc current with a multimeter, we need to have a clear concept about Amps or Amperage.

In simple words, the intensity of an electrical current is measured in amps and is referred to as amperage. Amp is commonly known as the SI unit that helps us understand the measurement of current that is running through a circuit.

A lot of us may confuse between Amps and voltage and tend to assume that both are the same. Anyhow, we assure you that both are different from each other.

Why Measure DC Current with a Multimeter?

measure dc current using multimeter

AC current, DC current, and other terms are intertwined with all kinds of electronic devices.

There are times when we can find our electronic devices to malfunction. Under such situations, we may need to measure the amount of current that is passing through the device or circuit.

Whenever you are working with an electric circuit or device that has electricity flowing through it, we would need some idea about the ampere of that certain circuit or device. We have shown some components to measure using a multimeter. you can use a multimeter to measure such things:

However, there are a lot of scopes to get confused as the process of measuring the Amp if not done right.

Therefore, we are here with this detailed guide that will help you learn how to how to measure dc current with a multimeter.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Types of Amperage Measurements

There are two types of amperage measurements. AC and DC. Now, if you do not understand how an AC amp differs from a DC amp, have a glance at the table given below.

Alternating Current (AC Amp)Direct Current (DC Amp)
Alternating current or AC Amp is the current that can flow in both directions.Direct current or DC Amp is the type of current that will only flow in one direction.
AC Amp is often seen in household appliances or devices involving transformers.DC Amp measurements are more prevalent with battery-powered devices. This happens since power is taken first from the battery rather than provided to it.

Tools That You Require to Measure DC current

  • A Multimeter for the measurements
  • A pair of insulated gloves for safety
  • A bunch of alligator clips to build a simpler connection

How to Measure DC Amps with a Multimeter?

measure dc current

To measure DC current with a multimeter follow the steps mentioned below:


First things first, turn the multimeter on.


Now that you have turned the multimeter on, it is time to insert the probes. You will need to insert the black probes inside the COM jacks.

It is crucial to have the probes inserted into the right connections. The most commonly found or used meters will have multiple connections for the probes. Be sure to place the black probe on the connection which is usually labeled ‘common’.

Once you are done, make sure that you have connected the other probes correctly too. All the probes need to be connected in the right manner for the meter to calculate the current measurement.

Sometimes a particular connection is made to measure current, while other times a separate connection is made to measure either low or high current. You must pick the right one for the current measurement plan to work out.


Set your meter’s primary selector switch to the current measurement. After that, you should specify the range of measurements you plan to take. When setting the range, make sure it is more than the greatest range you expect to read, as previously mentioned. The DMM range can be adjusted if necessary. By selecting a high range while measuring current, you will keep your meter from becoming overloaded.


Next comes up choosing the optimal range of the meter. You could measure the current more accurately if you optimized the range of the meter. If at all necessary, have the leading digits not read zero. The highest and most significant number may be read by doing this.


And the last step is to figure out the maximum voltage. It is advised to place the probes into the voltage measuring socket, once you are through with the measurements. This will lessen the chance that your meter will incur harm from an unintentional connection made without considering the range being used.

These are the steps you may follow if you are looking for an effective way to measure DC current with a multimeter. However, to measure ac amps with a multimeter, you may need to follow a different method.

How to Use Clamp Meter to Measure DC Current?

measure dc current

Other than a multimeter, one can also use a clamp meter in order to measure DC current. If you are not able to test dc amps with a multimeter, you can rather do it with a clamp meter.

Before we move on to the procedure it is necessary that you understand what a clamp meter is.

A clamp meter is a device, usually contactless that can be used to calculate the value of amperage, resistance of a wire, or voltage. It is a lot similar to a multimeter however, instead of using the probes to make the connection, one has to place the wire in between the clamps.

Compared to measuring using a multimeter, measuring a DC amp with a clamp meter is much easier. Moreover, you may measure amps that can vary up to 1000A and commonly range from 40A to 1000A.

Therefore, for measuring circuits or cables transporting a substantial amount of Amp, the clamp meter is the most suitable option.

In order to use the meter all you need to do is clamp the wire between the meter’s clamps after setting the meter to the proper Amp range. This can be 40A, 400A, or 1000A.

When the wire is positioned correctly between the clamps, your meter will show a value measurement.


The parameters of the appliance or electrical component that has to be evaluated must be carefully considered while measuring DC amps.

And the rest of the steps are as easy as they come: insert the multimeter probes into the correct slots, connect the leads to the proper electrical connections, and check the multimeter screen for reading.

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