How Do You Test a Wall Outlet With a Multimeter?

A multimeter is able to let you know how much electricity is flowing through a wall outlet. Though it generally is not a good idea to insert objects into a wall outlet, a multimeter only works when you insert its probes into an outlet. There is a safe way to do this.

  1. Select “AC Voltage”

    Set the dial on the multimeter to “AC Voltage.” Digital multimeters may have a button you should press to select “AC Voltage.” This may be indicated by “VAC,” “AC V” or “V” accompanied with a wavy line.

  2. Grasp the probes

    Hold on to the insulated portions at the bottom of the probes. Place a probe into each terminal of the wall outlet. You do not need to press hard, but you should thoroughly insert the probes. Do not touch the metal portion of the probes while testing.

  3. Examine the reading

    Look at the reading listed on the multimeter. For a wall outlet, this reading should be about 110 or 120 volts. A reading of 110 or 120 volts indicates the wall outlet is working properly. If the multimeter has no reading, this is an indication that the wall outlet is not properly connected to an electrical source.

  4. Carefully remove the probes

    Do not touch the metal parts of the probes as you remove them.