Whether you are a professional, a student, or a hobbyist, you need a portable, accurate, and user-friendly oscilloscope, right?
As you go out to troubleshoot various systems, you are going to need the best portable handheld oscilloscope you can get (Source).
With so many portable oscilloscope models in the market, choosing the right one can be a little bit challenging.
To ensure that you buy only the best, consider such aspects as the oscilloscope type, bandwidth, sampling rate and sampling mode, resolution, and triggering.
Most Common Issues People Have with Portable Handheld Oscilloscopes
Table of Contents
- 1 Most Common Issues People Have with Portable Handheld Oscilloscopes
- 2 What is a Portable Handheld Oscilloscopes?
- 3 Best Portable Handheld Oscilloscopes 2019
- 4 1. Siglent Technologies SDS1052DL+ 50 MHz Digital Storage Oscilloscope – Best Overall
- 5 2. Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope – Great Value for Money
- 6 3. Kuman DSO 138 DIY KIT Open Source – The Best Budget Oscilloscope
- 7 4. SainSmart Mini DSO203 Handheld Pocket-Sized Digital Storage Oscilloscope – The Best Oscilloscope for Lightweight & Compact Design
- 8 5. LIUMY Professional Handheld LED Scopemeter Oscilloscope – The Best Portable Handheld Oscilloscope Below $100
- 9 Features of the Best Portable Handheld Oscilloscopes
- 10 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Portable Handheld Oscilloscope
- 11 Our Final Review
- Poor Battery Life: One of the common mistakes people make with getting a portable oscilloscope is to not consider battery life. You should expect the oscilloscope you purchase to last as long as you need it to. To avoid running into power issues, make sure to find a model with a long battery life which lasts longer than you estimate needing.
- Slow Processing: The speed and type of processing is a feature which many people don’t consider. Also known as sampling rates and modes, certain models are better at processing and projecting your data than others.
- Hard to Read: Getting portable devices of any sort isn’t necessarily the ideal solution. Especially if the device’s portability makes it more difficult to use. If you are too concerned with the portability of an oscilloscope, it is easier to end up with a model that is difficult to read.
What is a Portable Handheld Oscilloscopes?
An oscilloscope is a device which can be used for a wide variety of professional tasks which require the user to visualize data which isn’t visible. An oscilloscope displays and graphs electrical signals from a variety of possible sources letting the user convert invisible signals into visible data.
Best Portable Handheld Oscilloscopes 2019
|Siglent Technologies SDS1052DL+ 50 MHz Digital Storage Oscilloscope|
|Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscop|
|Kuman DSO 138 DIY KIT Open Source|
|SainSmart Mini DSO203 Handheld Pocket-Sized Digital Storage Oscilloscope|
|LIUMY Professional Handheld LED Scopemeter Oscilloscope|
1. Siglent Technologies SDS1052DL+ 50 MHz Digital Storage Oscilloscope – Best OverallThe Siglent SDS1034DL oscilloscope is rated one of the best by leading experts in the industry. This may be attributed to the advanced features it offers. For instance, this unit can filter and discard false triggers whenever you are taking measurements. As such, it is renowned for providing accurate readings.
Furthermore, it features a 500 MSa/s real-time sampling rate and has a memory depth of 32 Kpts. Plus, this oscilloscope supports two channels.
More than that, it also boasts a 7-inch color TFT, LCD display. Not only does this display offer you an exceptional view of waveforms, but the size and resolution of this screen allow you to take precise measurements as well.
Similarly, as it is a modern gadget, the SDS1034DL is designed to support the standard interfaces like RS-232, USB Host, and USB Device. Some of the advanced trigger modes among its features include pulse, video, slope, width, edge, and alternate selectable modes.
2. Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope – Great Value for MoneyIf you are looking for a reliable product by a reputable manufacturer, the Rigol DS1054Z will be a great choice. Among the best features of this gadget is its support for four channels.
Thus with this product, you do not have to sacrifice essential features. For instance, the device offers a sampling rate of 1GSa/s and a memory depth of 12 Mpts.
Alongside that, the memory on this gadget is upgradable to 24 Mpts as well.
Likewise, the unit is equipped with a relatively large 7-inch display and is capable of capturing waveforms at 30.000 wmfs/second.
3. Kuman DSO 138 DIY KIT Open Source – The Best Budget OscilloscopeThis product is particularly produced for the professionals and students who love building things on their own and are good with the soldering iron. Rather than buying a complete unit, you can save a considerable amount of money by building your own handheld oscilloscope using this kit. In this regard, this kit comes with ready to assemble oscilloscope parts.
Some of the parts are pre-soldered to make its assembly a little bit easier. In any case, the product comes with illustrative assembly instructions to help you through.
This is a cheap handheld oscilloscope which costs only $25 on average. Therefore, if you love building things and are good at electrical assembly and soldering, it is advisable to consider this option.
4. SainSmart Mini DSO203 Handheld Pocket-Sized Digital Storage Oscilloscope – The Best Oscilloscope for Lightweight & Compact DesignAre you after a compact design with a trendy appeal in your new oscilloscope? Well, the SainSmart Mini DS0203 Digital Storage Oscilloscope is one of the best today. It is packed with all the essential features for minimum usage, and to begin with, it offers a real-time sampling rate of 10 MSa/s.
Additionally, this digital oscilloscope comes with a color-touch nano screen with a resolution of 320*240 pixels. Alongside that, it can record lengths of up to 8K. The DSOS204 boasts of a 1 MHz bandwidth.
Thus, with such capabilities, this unit is best suited for educational and minimal engineering applications. One could say this is the best oscilloscope for hobbyists as well.
5. LIUMY Professional Handheld LED Scopemeter Oscilloscope – The Best Portable Handheld Oscilloscope Below $100If you are looking for a good value for money, then your preferred portable oscilloscope should be as versatile as the LIUMY Professional Oscilloscope. Though affordable, this unit serves as an oscilloscope as well as a multimeter.
Likewise, it comes with rechargeable batteries which makes it one of the best portable oscilloscopes today.
While the product is meant for modest applications, its features make it worth every penny. Its most notable feature is its automatic waveform capture capability.
Meanwhile, the 200 Ksps real-time sampling rate, pocket-sized design and LED backlight screen are other features that make this pocket-sized oscilloscope appealing.
Features of the Best Portable Handheld Oscilloscopes
In order to find an oscilloscope which works well with your needs, there are many different variables to consider. The last thing you want to do is purchase the wrong model.
In order to help you shorten your research and find the best portable handheld oscilloscope for your needs, here are the features which you should look for:
Efficient Data Collection & Projection
The bandwidth, sampling rates, and modes are an important feature to consider before you purchase any oscillator. These are what tell you how quickly and accurately your data sets will be recorded and projected.
The sampling rate for the device you purchase should be about three times its bandwidth. A nice model’s bandwidth range will typically be around 50 MHz to 200 MHz and come with a sampling rate around 500 MSa/s.
Plenty of Channels
If you need your oscilloscope to measure multiple signals at the same time, find a model which has enough space for you to work with. There are many different portable handheld oscilloscopes which come with more than one channel. Although models with more than one channel are usually a little more expensive, you might need one.
Designed for your Particular Task(s)
Oscilloscopes come in many different styles which are best used for particular tasks. Dual-beam oscilloscopes, as an example, can simultaneously project two different signals on two different screens.
Finding the best portable handheld oscilloscope for your needs requires you to consider how and why the device will be used. This will help you find a model which is best suited and designed for your particular jobs.
Portable, Lightweight & a Long Battery Life
Finding an oscilloscope which is portable and lightweight is one of the most important specifications for many people. The best way to handle this is to consider the space have ready and find a model which won’t turn into a burden.
A portable oscilloscope also should weigh less than 10 pounds and have no dimensions which stretch much longer than a 12-inch ruler. Think about how long you will need to use the device, and make sure that battery life will be enough.
Digital Oscilloscope with a Hi-Res Screen
If you want the most affordable portable oscilloscope that is possible, an analog design might be your top choice. If your main concern is quality, you should instead find a modern digital oscilloscope. These models come with hi-resolution screens and more versatility.
Things You Must Know Before Buying a Portable Handheld Oscilloscope
Oscilloscopes have a myriad of applications in the industry today, especially in the fields of science, medicine, telecommunications, and engineering. Owing to technological advancements in the industry, these gadgets are now sophisticated and packed with many additional features and options.
Although portable handheld oscilloscopes are relatively popular today, choosing the right one is not easy.
If you are looking forward to buying the best handheld oscilloscope, here are some of the considerations you should make:
1. Types of Oscilloscopes
The right type of portable oscilloscope will mainly depend on the intended application. Additionally, you should also consider the number of signals you would like to track simultaneously using the gadget.
While trying to figure out the best oscilloscope type to buy, it will also help to estimate the amplitude range of the signals you will be measuring. Alongside that, you should try to figure out the ideal oscilloscope display as well.
- Dual Beam Oscilloscopes
Would you like to have a device that can display the waveforms of two different signals at the same time? Most of the gadgets within this category feature a pair of screens where two electric signals can be displayed simultaneously.
There are some real-time digital oscilloscopes that are designed to offer you the same functionality.
- Digital vs. Analog Oscilloscopes
Conventional analog oscilloscopes are relatively affordable, but modern digital handheld portable oscilloscopes have more features to offer. For instance, the best digital gadgets are equipped with color screens and feature improved capabilities, simplified controls, larger storage capacities, and faster processing capabilities.
However, if you are looking for affordability, analog oscilloscopes will do.
2. Sampling Rate and Modes
Sampling rate and sampling modes are other important considerations you need to make while shopping for these gadgets. For sampling modes, you will have to choose between real-time sampling and equivalent-time sampling (ETS) options.
The ETS oscilloscopes reconstruct signals from the single shots it has collected. Thus, this type of oscilloscope is best suited for recurring signals. Meanwhile, the real-time sampling oscilloscope models are suited for most industrial applications.
Sampling rate refers to how fast an oscilloscope can process an electric signal into digital data that you can read from its display. As a guide, the right sampling rate for your preferred unit should be 3 to 5 times its bandwidth.
While choosing the best bandwidth, you should aim at minimizing the loss of amplitude for incoming signals. For best results, it is advisable to go for a bandwidth that is at least twice the frequency of the unit.
If you will be primarily using the gadget to measure high-frequency signals or pulses, it is advisable to go for the devices with a high bandwidth.
Alternatively, such professionals should buy a digitizer. Should you opt for a device that has a lower bandwidth than needed; the results will be warped, hence useless.
This is the precipitating event that commences the sequence of measuring an incoming signal. With a good portable handheld oscilloscope, you should be able to distinguish signal events that preceded and followed the main event. Not only does triggering prevent the onboard memory from getting clogged with useless data; but it also allows the device to capture more accurate, useful, and strategic data.
For more complex applications, your preferred model should have more than the common trigger options.
The display is another thing you have to be very careful with. This being the case, the resolution offered by your preferred gadget should allow you to view the displayed waveforms.
For small signals, you will need an oscilloscope that has a relatively high resolution. The various high-resolution oscilloscope models are considered to be good at displaying dynamic signals.
Consider the number of signals you want to be displayed when choosing an oscilloscope. One channel is enough to recognize the presence of a signal within the normal range, while two channels are efficient for signal and correlation reading. On the other hand, four channels are perfect for a simultaneous view.
Our Final Review
The choice of the right portable handheld oscilloscope can be a tricky one. Not only are there many models to choose from, but you also need to get a unit that has the features you need.
Based on the intended application, your preferred models should have the right resolution, triggering features, bandwidth, and sampling rate.
Some professionals are looking for a compact oscilloscope that is packed with all the essential features. In such a case, the Siglent Technologies SDS1052DL would offer a good value for your money.
However, if you are a student, you must be looking for a trendy yet compact and pocket-friendly design. Therefore, the SainSmart Mini DSO203 will be a great choice. This model feels and looks like a conventional tablet device.
Regardless of your preferences, the various considerations discussed in this guide will help you choose the right portable handheld oscilloscope.