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seeing that I (and i bet 99.9% of the people here) already have a nice multimeter, i find it kinda of silly to buy a kill-a-watt type of device.

But, on the other hand, it is really impractical to measure Amps/Watts without expending extra for a current clamp. which would set me back $100 if i buy from the same manufacturer as my multimeter.

Is there a in-between solution? Like a outlet bypass that would allow me to conveniently plug in my multimeter probes (or even have banana plug cables, though i don't think it would be too safe) to measure amps/watts on appliances and other devices that plugs into the mains?

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I could make you one, but with shipping and tax, it'll cost you about $100.00. You're looking for a device that you can use to measure amperes on a circuit, that costs less than a kill-a-watt type device (~$20.00). Unfortunately, kill-a-watt devices are set at a very fair price, so it's not likely you'll find anything. –  Tester101 Apr 25 at 10:07
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The commercial devices have another function in addition to voltage, current and power measurement: energy measurement. If you leave one connected to the fridge, for example, it'll tell you the energy use instead of just the instantaneous power use, which varies hugely based on whether the compressor is running and whether the defrost cycle is running. –  ArgentoSapiens Apr 25 at 22:28

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You could easily build one out of an extension cord and some screw terminals. If you can't figure out how to wire it up, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

But you likely won't find such a thing sold since the exposed terminals likely won't pass any safety certifications. You also have to be careful to make a good connection with your probes, eliminate any arcing that might damage the probes or start a fire, not short them, etc. Current clamps are great in this respect since you don't have to have any exposed wire.

Overall the killawatt devices are cheap, accurate enough for most uses, plentiful, and designed to be safe. If you need something higher quality, I'd stick with the $100 current clamp and an extension cord with the individual wires separated.

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