RoadTest the Keysight U1282A Digital Multimeter - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: RoadTest the Keysight U1282A Digital Multimeter

Author: dougw

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: The test proposal was specific to this meter.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: minor issue - software installation required elevated privileges

Detailed Review:

I applied for to road test the Keysight U1282A because it provides so many useful features, some of which I do not have in my current instrumentation portfolio. The road test is not only a great way to add high end test capabilities to my bench, it is also a marvelous way to explore and familiarize myself with the myriad features incorporated into the multimeter. My plan is to attempt 4 phases of road testing:

  1. a traditional unboxing, including a video - first impressions are important
  2. a run through of features - we need to know what it can do
  3. a teardown - it is nice to know what is inside and how well built it is
  4. exploration of applications I am interested in - this is why I want the meter

UnboxingMy Unboxing Blog and video - click the pictureimage

The full U1282A user manual is here. It is 147 pages (9.8Mb) of English and a lot more comprehensive than the quick start guide that comes with the device.

The Keysight product page is here:

The remote probe that came in the box is not well documented and there is very little instruction about how to use it, but the Keysight part number is U5404A and I show its use later in this road test.

The programming guide is here:

The Keysight Handheld Meter Logger Software is available here: It is over 467 Mb.

There is Mobile Meter Logger software available for iOS and Android here:


Features Exploration

There are so many features I had to break my exploration of features into 2 blogs. Generally the first features blog covers component measurement and second features blog covers signal measurement, but they also cover signal generation since the device can generate signals as well as measure them.


Components Measurement Features Exploration

Signal Measurement Features Explorationimage

The measurement capabilities and features of this multimeter are spectacular. It was a pleasurable experience to discover just how much functionality is built in. I am sure I will continue to find new features and ways to use the features as I become more familiar with the device.



The teardown blog is more of a research project - I didn't want to take any chances dismantling my best meter, but did scrounge a lot of info from the internet and commented on what was found inside. The instrument has outstanding build quality, far surpassing its already very rugged specifications. This is a testament to excellent design.


Teardown and Torture Tests


Applications Exploration

The first application I explore is component sorting. I have dead stock of small parts that are wasted if I can't figure out what they are. This meter has the ability to help sort them out as can be seen in my component sorting blog. I will definitely use this capability.


Component Sorting Exploration

The second application I explore is water level measurement. I have done quite a bit of work in this area and a good capacitance meter is very useful for testing sensors, circuitry  and even direct measurement of water level.

Water Level Applications Explorationimage

It is great to be able to test sensor ideas without developing a whole circuit, just plug in a meter.


The third application I explore is datalogging using the USB cable to connect a PC. Keysight provides appropriate software for many different platforms and it is quite full featured.


Datalogging Exploration

Data can be collected manually at the push of a button or completely automated. This is a very powerful capability that can save huge amounts of work. For long periods of unattended datalogging the excellent battery life is essential.


Road Test Summary

This road test has been fun and it provided a great incentive to learn about the capabilities of this excellent meter - the Keysight U1282A is a very capable high-end handheld workhorse multimeter. It is phenomenally rugged, has outstanding battery life and great resolution. It also has some powerful time-saving features like the null function and datalogging capability. I was thoroughly impressed with the performance and comprehensive suite of features. The features that are important to me that make it stand out from my other meters are:

long battery life

high resolution

large display


frequency measurement

frequency output

ruggedness and waterproofing

I am grateful to have been selected for this road test and fully expect to get extensive use out of this versatile meter.


Links to other installments of this road test:


component and DC voltage measurements exploration

waveform measurements exploration

teardown research

applications exploration - component sorting

applications exploration - water level measurement

applications exploration - sensor datalogging

formal road test link

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