Handy Tips For Choosing a Great Handheld Oscilloscope

So if you’re not sure what an oscilloscope is, it is a device that can measure the waveform of electric signals, and these handy devices are used in many fields of work including the electric field, science labs even in automotive work. Oscilloscopes have really come a long way since the first few models, they were bulky, slow and inaccurate so maybe you’re considering an upgrade from one you bought a while ago. The first model’s we’re bulky, inconvenient to carry around and missing most of the features that are included now, there are even oscilloscopes that fit right into the palm of your hand. However knowing what to look for in a handheld oscilloscope will make a world of difference when you decide to purchase one.

Handheld Oscilloscope Aspects:

There are a few different aspects of the oscilloscope you should consider getting to know before buying a portable oscilloscope for yourself. Some of these aspects include the sample rate, long record lengths, and bandwidth. It’s also important for you to consider and take in safety ratings of the model you choose and the number of channels. You should base your decision on what would work best for you, your job or your needs.


When choosing a handheld oscilloscope bandwidth is important. If bandwidth is too low your oscilloscope will not resolve high-frequency changes and details will be lost. When selecting an oscilloscope for you, it is recommended that the user should choose an oscilloscope with a bandwidth 5 times higher than the frequency you wish to capture. Now depending on what you will use the oscilloscope for, and depending on what field you work in you may want to look for the most accurate rise time measurements as well.

Sample Rate

In order to determine how much detail in the waveform your oscilloscope can capture it is important to choose one with a fast sample rate. The sample rate will detect any anomalies in the sample reading so it’s important to make sure you choose one that will give you accurate results. To choose one that will give you accurate results, much like bandwidth, the sample rate of the oscilloscope should be five times higher than the highest frequency you wish to measure, that way there is no room for error.

Handheld Oscilloscope’s Record Length

Once you capture data on your oscilloscope it is stored in the buffer memory, an oscilloscope can only store a limited amount so one with greater memory depth the better. Modern oscilloscopes will usually allow you to select your record length and optimize the detail level, and if your oscilloscope offers greater memory depth it can sustain its maximum sampling rate and keep accuracy while capturing the waveform. An oscilloscope measures waveform and stores waveform in points, so a basic oscilloscope usually holds 2000 which is fine for everyday use, but if you want to search for anomalies and do further in-depth research then you will need one that holds at least 1M.

Oscilloscopes are available with 2, 4, 8, or 16 channels, of course adding more channels usually means the price will go up. 2 or 4 channels will allow you to view and compare signal timings, but if you’re looking to debug a digital system with parallel data your oscilloscope will need an additional 8 or 16 channels. This all comes down to personal preference and what is required out of your oscilloscope. None the less if you 2, 4, 8 or 16 channels they all should have flatness and resistance to static discharge, gain accuracy, and good range.

When searching for any type of errors in the waveform your oscilloscope will need to have a few of the most updated features to make it possible. Some of the features your oscilloscope will need a play, pause, search, mark, zoom, pan and advanced settings. If you are looking for an oscilloscope that can give you accurate numerical readings there is often a feature included either on a button or on the screen menu, if you require any advanced mathematical functions you will need to research models that have the features you need.

For anyone who plans to use a handheld oscilloscope for the first time there are many places that offer on sight education and training and other services that are all designed to help you ensure accurate readings and better yourself. If you are unable to find a local seller, there are plenty of handheld oscilloscopes for sale online.