The KM601 is a relatively affordable “smart” digital multimeter from Kaiweets, an electrical testing and measurement device manufacturer formed in 2018. The KM601 is a budget digital multimeter seemingly targeted at the maker crowd, which is our primary audience. This review will focus on how the KM601 stacks up for use in electronics repair, prototyping and manufacture.
Disclaimer: Kaiweets provided a review unit of the KM601 to Learn Embedded Systems. No money (or equivalent) has been taken for this review. Learn Embedded Systems is dedicated to providing high quality, unbiased reviews.
Pricing & Availability
The KM601 is available from a wide range of sellers, listed below:
Prices accurate as of 29/05/22. Please note that some links below may be affiliate links, where we may make a small percentage commission on purchases.
- Amazon (UK): £49.99 (https://amzn.to/3rLZtWd)
- Aliexpress: £27.11 (https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_99x6bN)
As you can tell from the above prices, this multimeter comes in at an attractive price point. Popular professional multimeters such as the Fluke 115 can easily push £200, so how can a multimeter costing under a quarter of the price stack up? Well that’s what we aimed to find out after about a month of use in a maker environment. Read on to find out what we think of the Kaiweets KM601.
Included in the box
The KM601 comes well packaged with a handful of useful accessories:
- KM601 Digital Multimeter
- User Manual
- 1x Test leads (probes)
- 1x K-Type thermocouple
- 6x AAA Batteries (Kendal branded)
- Carry case (which fits the multimeter and included accessories.
It is nice to see all these included bits, and the batteries are a nice touch. You will need a small Philips head screwdriver to remove the rear battery compartment in order to install the AAA batteries. The supplied user manual provides clear and good enough instructions to get you up to speed on how to use the KM601.
The muiltimeter comes in at approximately 165x83x23mm (with it’s hard case installed) and the carry case comes in at 185x100x50mm. This is not a small multimeter but the carry case is compact enough to fit in any toolbox or hidden away into your tool drawer.
As you may be able to tell this is not your standard “dial and LCD” type multimeter, instead we are greeted with a large, colour LCD display and 5 buttons below. It reminds us of a very chunky smartphone! Below the buttons are a series of 4 LEDs which indicate which leads should be installed for a given mode. The leads themselves are installed on the bottom of the device instead of the front. We don’t really like this design choice as it stops the device sitting flat and the leads sit in a manner which means they often get in the way.
There are three buttons on the edge of the device, a power button on the topside, an APO (auto power off) button on the right hand side and a flashlight button on the left hand side.
On the whole, the design of this multimeter is refreshing and breaks the typical dial and LCD design. However, this design does add a few more user input steps before being able to use your multimeter. It is a matter of seconds so it will not matter for the majority of makers. The auto, or “SMART”, functionality does a good attempt at speeding things up and can be manually overridden as we will discuss in a moment.
We have a couple of concerns over the durability of the plastic screen. If left loose in a tool bag it is likely to get very badly scratched. We would recommend keeping this inside it’s carry case whenever you aren’t using it.
This is a pretty feature packed device, especially at this price point. it has all the basic functions you would expect and has a few nice-to-haves:
- “SMART” Automatic mode selection
- Voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, continuity, frequency, duty cycle modes
- K-Type thermocouple reader
- NCV (no-contact voltage) measurements
- Rear flashlight
In use, almost all features act as expected, however when using the continuity test mode there is a noticeable delay before the audible beep is heard. It was long enough for us to actually initially think there was no continuity. This did get quite annoying but we soon got used to it. It is hard to time the actual delay but we eventually got used to it. Also annoyingly, the flashlight can only be operated when the multimeter is switched on despite having a dedicated flashlight button on the side of the device.
The KM601 is a 9999 count digital multimeter. What does this mean?
A digital multimeter resolution is also specified in counts. Higher counts provide better resolution for certain measurements. For example, a 1999-count multimeter cannot measure down to a tenth of a volt if measuring 200 V or more.Fluke
So essentially, the higher the count of the multimeter, the higher it’s resolution. The KM601 is a good mid-range option at this price point. However, resolution is not everything and accuracy is just as important.
DC voltage resolution and accuracy
AC voltage resolution and accuracy
AC/DC current resolution and accuracy
Capacitance resolution and accuracy
Resistance resolution and accuracy
Frequency/Duty resolution and accuracy
So after throwing all those numbers with you, you should hopefully be able to see where this multimeter stacks up against others you may be considering.
To summarise, this is a well featured device coming it at a great price point. There are a few hitches with this multimeter, including the laggy continuity beeping and the frustrating flashlight. But if you aren’t looking for a professional device then you should definitely consider this multimeter. However, if you are going to use a multimeter every day, then we would recommend maybe increasing your budget a bit and look for a more durable professional product.
- Amazon (UK): £49.99 (https://amzn.to/3rLZtWd)
- Aliexpress: £27.11 (https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_99x6bN