Best Oscilloscope: Top Reviews and Complete Buyer’s Guide

By Tom Pelly | Reviews

Feb 21
Best Oscilloscope

Whether you’re trying to navigate through an electrical distortion or fixing on a weak frequency, the intended resolution is always within reach if one is equipped with the best oscilloscope.

Without it, tracing unusual electrical waves on a malfunctioning equipment is next to impossible. Ultimately, if you’re an electrician or someone who just likes to tinker on devices, at some point in your endeavor you’re going to need only the best one in your arsenal.

But how does one know if one oscilloscope is the best of its class? With the onslaught of newer technologies today, one is sure bound to get lost especially if the right set of considerations is not on the checklist.

My post today is about making this journey a whole lot easier. Right along with my traditionally handpicked items, you’ll also be acquainted with the quickest yet essential buying guide to choosing the best oscilloscope.

The 5 Best Oscilloscopes On The Market Now

**Below, you will find more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon.

  • Analog Bandwidth: 0 – 10kHz
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    Maximum real-time sampling rate: 200ksps
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    Display: 128* 64 dot-matrix graphic LCD
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    Battery: 4 X 1.5V AA battery (included)
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    Storage capacity: DMM 100 groups of data, waveform 5 group records
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    Dimensions: 186mm * 100 mm* 45 mm
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    Weight: 370g (sans other accessories)

Your work efficiency is prioritized at all costs with Liumy’s Professional Handheld LED Scopemeter Oscilloscope. It boasts of a faster sampling speed – a 200K SPShigh-seed A/D data form of collection! With this, you can only expect high bandwidth along with an equally high sampling rate.

Meanwhile, the tool is also equipped with the more effective detection range, an able remote control test and an accurate, dedicated chip to perform measurements more succinctly.

Versatility and high performance can also be enjoyed with Liumy’s entry. It comes with a LED backlight & storage/readout to up to 5 waveforms and 100 sets of measurement values. And as the equipment is armed with a 128X64 display with LED backlighting, this should automatically render it as suitable for working at night.

What We Lik​ed

  • Comes with a large display
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    Well-built; can hold up in construction field
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    Equipped with a more powerful detection range
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    Also suitable for working at night
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    Explosion-proof fuse

What We Didn't Like

  • Poor contrast
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    Takes time before it gets to read

  • Bandwidth: 200 MHz
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    Color: Grey
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    Display Type: 7-inch TFT-LCD (800X480)
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    Real-time sampling rate: 1 GSa/s
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    Memory depth: 7 Mpts/CH; 14 Mpts/CH
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    Waveform capture rate: 100,000 wfm/s

There’s definitely a lot to be desired from Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200 MHz Digital Oscilloscope. With its array of unmatched features that is only rivaled by its unbeatable price, one might say that this product is almost impossible to boot.

The item comes with a high-functioning color temperature display and 256-intensity grading. It features a waveform capture rate of up to 400,000 wfm/s which renders the oscilloscope to capture the unusual events.

The Siglent entry can also measure utilizing all 14M sample points. That being said, that ensures the accuracy of measurements while the accompanying math co-processor decreases measurement time and levels up the ease of use.

Other perks include the history waveforms (history) mode and segmented acquisition and the serial bus decoding function.

What We Lik​ed

  • Intuitive user interface
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    Bang for the buck
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    Excellent display
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    Comes with many serial protocols
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    Multiple interface types (USB Host, USB Device)

What We Didn't Like

  • Doesn’t come with an HDMI port, logic analysis
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    Limited channels

  • Analog bandwidth: 0 – 200 KHz
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    Sampling rate: 1 Msps max
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    Sensitivity: 10mV/Div – 5V/Div
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    Sensitivity error: <5%
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    Vertical resolution: 12-bit
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    Time base: 10us/Div – 500s/Div
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    Record length: 1024 points

If you’re just fairly new to tinkering some of your devices, why not go for a training oscilloscope first? The Longruner DSO138 Open Source Digital Oscilloscope should fare just more than sufficiently with this purpose.

It is specifically designed to cater to training and as it goes, the circuit is built with simplicity and reliability. This inexpensive oscilloscope comes with an automatic, regular, and one-shot mode, which essentially makes it easy to get the moment waveform.

Longruner’s contender also comes with an adjustable vertical displacements and instructions – a handy feature that brings numerous possibilities for consumers to try and add various features or even develop new applications right on the hardware. The partially open-sourced DSO138 MCU also comes in pre-programmed.

What We Lik​ed

  • Easy to use controls
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    Spot on calibration
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    Comes in assembled, welded
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    Ideal as a training oscilloscope
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    Very inexpensive

What We Didn't Like

  • Doesn’t come with charger
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    Couldn’t be powered over USB
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    Clumsy user interface

  • Bandwidth: 50 MHz
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    Channels: 4
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    Sampling rate: 1 GSa/sec
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    Waveform capture rate: Up to 30,000 wfms/s

There is a potent reason as to why Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope remains as one of the best-selling oscilloscopes around: its overall performance just delivers! The DS1054Z comes with a reliable 50 MHz analog bandwidth with a total of four analog channels.

These channels are also supported by a maximum waveform capture rate of up to 30,000 wfms/s. Ideal for more than basic measurements, audio signals right along with the comparison of these signals.

The DS1054Z’s construction is also so well-built that it can be placed alongside some of the most expensive items in this segment. One of the newest variants from Rigol, this oscilloscope is likewise ideal for those with tight budgets and more than adequate expectations.

What We Lik​ed

  • Very solid built
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    Can “hack” add on options
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    Easy on the pocket
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    Excellent color depth, contrast, and resolution
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    Compact and lightweight
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    Large 7” display

What We Didn't Like

  • Quirky user interface
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    Problematic file-saving process

  • Analog bandwidth: 0 – 200 KHz
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    Sampling rate- 1Msps max
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    Sensitivity: 10mV/Div – 5V/Div
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    Sensitivity error: <5%
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    Vertical resolution: 12-bit
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    Record length: 1024 points

The partially open-sourced Kuman JYE DSO138 is a perfect haven for users who tinker a lot and are open to numerous possibilities on features and eventual developments of new applications.

All of these potentials are armed with nothing but simplicity in form, along with the hassle-free assembly. It boasts of a 2.4-inch TFT LCD with 320 X 240 dotmatrix, an ideal display for those who are always on the go.

The accompanying, interesting DIY kit also involves soldering, among others. Only go for this variant if you have adequate soldering and troubleshooting skills so assembly won’t be an issue.

The DSO138 kits are currently retailed under two configurations: the one with all the SMD parts pre-soldered and the other one only comes with the main IC (the MCU) pre-soldered.

What We Lik​ed

  • Partially open-sourced
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    Easy to assemble· Comes with schematic
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    Reasonable price point for a functional oscilloscope
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    Good quality components and circuit board

What We Didn't Like

  • Doesn’t come with a battery cable for the power
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    Kit doesn’t contain sufficient size resistors or capacitors
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    A reported faulty screen set up

The Essential Buyer’s Guide to Choosing The Best Oscilloscope

The hectic world of science and technology has brought about newest developments on oscilloscopes. As such, these devices now come in varying shapes and functions. If you’re fairly new with these terms, you might get tangled up in confusion that easily.

This segment is dedicated to those who’d like to up their game in choosing the best one on the market now. Below are the things that you need to consider:

1. Veer away from the Analog

If you’ve come across between an analog and a digital oscilloscope, then by all means, choose the digital one. Analog oscilloscopes only come with fewer advantages compared to the digital oscilloscope.

In addition, you won’t be able to enjoy the analog type that much as it only is equipped with limited performance and that its eventual parts replacement might be quite of a challenge.

2. The Bandwidth

When you’re about to purchase an oscilloscope, make certain that you know the specification of the bandwidth that you have to go with. The bandwidth should be five times higher on top of the signal’s maximum frequency that needs to be measured. This should ensure the waveform’s exact representation.

On the other hand, scopes of this caliber are generally on the expensive side. Needless to say, this is definitely worth the compromise.

3. The Sampling Rate

For the uninitiated, you’ll be acquainted with two varying sampling rates: the equivalent-time sampling (ETS) and the real-time sampling.

These sampling modes are placed under specifications in giga- or mega-samples per second. As such, when you’re already at the point of evaluating, ensure that you’re familiarized with the type of sampling a certain specification is applied to.

Today, most manufacturers would provide these higher specifications so they’re retailed better. But as a wise buyer, you should know that the equivalent-time sampling only goes with signals that are repetitive as these build waveworms in “successive acquisitions.”

Now, if the signals are mostly single-shot, varying or transient, users are only given with the use of RTS sampling – typically just a series of magnitudes which is relatively lower than that of the ETS in terms of sample rate.

4. The Memory Depth

Just how far is your oscilloscope willing to store sample points in its memory? The general rule of thumb here simply indicates that the higher your oscilloscope’s memory depth is, the better your product is going to capture sample points in memory.

Whenever there’s an insufficient memory, this limits the effectivity of the oscilloscope’s sampling rate. You’ll get to experience this when you’re zooming in right on a signal or a dedicated software that can isolate an activity. Memory depth can be obtained by multiplying the sample rate against the time across display.

5. The Channels

Nowadays, having the conventional two- or four-channel oscilloscopes are deemed to be insufficient especially when you’re viewing all the intended signals.

That being said, it’s logical to go with a mixed-signal variant which caters to two to four analog channels along with the 16 digital channels (logic timing). This version should be able to eliminate the need to get an amalgamated oscilloscope solution and logic analyzer.

6. The Resolution

Most digital-type oscilloscopes come with a design specific to digital signals – a sufficient eight-bit resolution. However, one has to have a 12- or even 16-bit of scopes if users intend to look into analog signals like that from automotive and audios.

7. The Handheld vs. PC Scopes

Whenever you feel that you’re going to be taking your oscilloscope outdoors that often, a PC-based oscilloscope is most recommended. This variant can be plugged into your laptop that conveniently. As it goes, the handheld ones often provide small displays which can be quite a hassle when you’re reading them outdoors.

They also have a shorter battery life and ironically more expensive than the PC-based versions. Meanwhile, handheld scopes’ most advantageous perk comes from its size and ruggedness – two features that can come very handy if you’re in a delicate environment.

8. Probes

You’ll also find that a number of manufacturers today often skimp on probes. These have to match or exceed the scope’s bandwidth accordingly. In addition, make certain that the right probe for your application is taken.

An active FET-amplifier probe is ideal for those who seek ultra-fast signals while the differential isolated probes are suggested to deal with high voltages.

The Verdict

The Standout: The Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope

Whether it’s the ignition system of your car or you’re dubious with your home’s abrupt power surges, there’s no doubt that the Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope is all equipped with reliable features to counter those with ease and confidence.

The formidable entry level device’s four separate analog channels and incredible twelve megabytes of memory, along with its several types of trigger functions, this scope is simply the best in this segment.

Did you like this post? Do you think Rigol is deserving of its place? Do you have anything to add, share, or ask? If you do, please feel free to sound them off in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Pelly. I'm a home designer and founder of TidyTheHome. While doing my job, I found that choosing a right tool to repair home is an essential factor. As a result, my blog is designed to provide you with important information of latest tools to help you complete job faster and more professional. Explore my blog to get all information you need in home improvement.

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