Whether you are a professional or a student, 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. 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, you need to consider such aspects as the oscilloscope type, bandwidth, sampling rate and sampling mode, resolution, and triggering.
In this guide we will review the five best portable handheld oscilloscopes today.
Best Portable Handheld Oscilloscopes 2018
|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.
The product features a 500 MSa/s real-time sapling rate and has a memory depth of 32 Kpts. You will also love the fact that the oscilloscope supports two channels. Among the most impressive aspects of this product is its 7-inch colour TFT, LCD display. Not only does this display offer you an exceptional view of waveforms. The size and resolution of this screen allows you to take accurate measurements.
Being a modern gadget, the SDS1034DL is designed to support the standard interfaces, such as RS-232, USB Host and USB Device. Some of the advanced trigger modes you will find in this gadget 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. 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. However, the memory on this gadget is upgradable to 24 Mpts.
Extendable memory is a must have feature for users looking forward to recording more samples. The unit is equipped with a relatively large 7-inch display, 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. However, the product comes with illustrative assembly instructions to help you through. The unit is rather inexpensive, with a complete kit going for less than $25. 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. Additionally, this gadget is packed with all the essential features for minimum usage. To begin with, the handheld oscilloscope offers a real-time sampling rate of 10 MSa/s.
This unit comes with a colour touch nano screen with a resolution of 320*240 pixels. You will also love the fact that this oscilloscope can record lengths of up to 8K. The DSOS204 boasts of a 1 MHz bandwidth. With such capabilities, this unit is best suited for educational and minimal engineering applications.
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. Again, it comes with rechargeable batteries. Such aspects make it one of the best portable oscilloscopes today.
While the product is meant for modest applications, its features make it worth every penny. One of the features that set this unit apart from the rest is its automatic waveform capture capability. The 200 Ksps real-time sampling rate, pocket-sized design and LED backlight screen are other features that make this pocket-sized oscilloscope more appealing.
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, with many additional features and options. Although portable handheld oscilloscopes are relatively popular today, choosing the right one is not easy.
Not only are there many portable oscilloscope models to choose from today, there complexity and features offered by these gadgets are diverse. If you are looking forward to buying the best portable 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. With such considerations in mind, you should try to figure out the ideal oscilloscope display as well. However, these are the main types you should consider:
- Dual Beam Oscilloscopes
Would you like to have a device that can display the waveforms of two different signals at the same time? In such a case, you should consider investing in one of the best dual-beam oscilloscope today. Most of the gadgets within this category feature a pair of screens, on which two electric signals can be displayed simultaneously.
There are some real-time digital oscilloscopes that are designed to offer you the same functionality. However, those real-time oscilloscopes do not have the impressive display features offered by the best handheld dual-beam oscilloscopes today.
- 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 gadget are equipped with color screens, and feature improved capabilities, simplified controls, larger storage capacities as well as faster processing capabilities.
Analog oscilloscopes have been around for a while and are the traditional option. However, digital oscilloscopes are the popular choice, and for a reason. In addition to the additional features mentioned above, the leading digital oscilloscope models are compact and more portable.
Other digital oscilloscopes have USB capabilities, allowing you to tether them with your PC or integrate them into Automatic Test Equipment (ATE). If you are looking for affordability, analog oscilloscopes will do. However, the digital models are the best choice for professionals looking for the best value for their money.
2. Sampling Rate and Modes
Sampling rate and sampling modes are other important considerations you need to make while shopping for these gadgets. With regards to sapling 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. This type of oscilloscopes is best suited for recurring signals.
The real-time sampling oscilloscope models, on the other hand, are suited for most industrial applications. Sampling rate referrers 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. As such, it is advisable to read the specifications of these gadgets when shopping for one.
While choosing the best bandwidth, you should aim at minimize 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; it allows the device to capture more accurate, useful and strategic data.
For more complex applications, you your preferred model should have more than the common trigger options. In such a case, it is advisable to buy an oscilloscope that can support upgraded trigger capabilities as well.
The display is another thing you have to be very careful with while shopping for the best handheld portable oscilloscope. 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 (this includes the small and large signals).
While 8-bit is the commonest resolution today, you should choose the right resolution for the intended oscilloscope application. If you would like to get precise measurements or measure small and complex signals, it is advisable to go for higher resolution.
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, 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. If you are a student, you must be looking for a trendy, yet compact, pocket-friendly design.
In such a case, the SainSmart Mini DSO203 will be a great choice. This model feels and looks like a conventional tablet device—really trendy, right? Regardless of your preferences, the various considerations discussed in this guide will help you choose the right portable handheld oscilloscope.