Oscilloscopes are essential tools for electronics hobbyists. They allow us to analyze signals from circuits and devices, such as oscillators, transistors, and capacitors. That said, a great oscilloscope for hobbyists can make it easier to work in various fields involving electronics and electrical signals.
I spoke with 15 experts about the best inexpensive oscilloscope and found a list of easy-to-use, reliable, and accurate tools to cater to repairing and test needs. I weed out faulty components through extensive research and handpicked the best-of-lot products.
After 120 hours of research and testing more than 50 models, I found the best budget oscilloscope models that are often recommended by experts, beginners, and hobbyists are the Rigol DS1054Z and Siglent SDS1104X-E. They are the best because of their reasonably priced, ease of use, and helpful customer support
Table of Contents
. How We Picked and Tested
I spent several weeks understanding the behavior of circuits in testing and diagnosing problems. I also measure, and analyze signals for maximum visibility. I worked with various models for research, development, troubleshooting, and quality assurance in the office and at home.
After selecting 33 oscilloscopes we narrowed our final testing list to just seven oscilloscopes., Most of these oscilloscopes for hobbyists performed decently. Based on our testing We’ve broken down the list of some crucial factors like Bandwidth, onboard memory for data transfer, sampling rate, and many more.
The number of channels — Most oscilloscopes have ubiquitous 2 or 4 analog channels. The mixed signal is the input from the external world displayed simultaneously on the screen.
Bandwidth — Bandwidth is a crucial determining factor and is defined as the range of frequencies where the amplitude of the input signal attenuates by 3 dB. For example, a 100 MHz oscilloscope is usually guaranteed to have less than 30% attenuation at 100 MHz.
Sample rate — Sample rate (samples per second) is the maximum number of instances an oscilloscope can acquire per second. It is one of the banner specifications and must be 4-5 times the oscilloscope bandwidth.
We reviewed and tested all available options and assessed their accuracy and ease of use individually. As a result, we recommend the following digital oscilloscopes. After using a ton of different oscilloscopes across numerous tech companies and testing for performance and ease of use, Here are my top picks for the best oscilloscope for beginners to use this year.
BEST Oscilloscope for Hobbyists in 2023
1. Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes
We’ve tested the Rigol DS1054Z many times at my lab. Based on our extensive research and analysis, I found It the best oscilloscope for hobbyists of 2023.
It provides accurate and detailed insights exceptionally well. If you want a compelling combination of features along with affordability, we recommend the Rigol DS1054Z oscilloscope. It has a bandwidth of 50 MHz. It is very compact, and its weight is only 3 Kg.
The Rigol DS1054Z is a popular 4-channel digital oscilloscope that offers various advanced features at an affordable price. This is at the top of my list of the best oscilloscopes for home use. The device is a smart choice for scientists and electronic product developers.
There were no problems with its reliability, and it ranked high among the Best Entry-Level Oscilloscopes for Beginners, Hobbyists, and Professionals. The only downside to this oscilloscope is that it is not a good choice for first-time buyers.
- Wide range of measurement options.
- Easy-to-use interface with USB connectivity.
- The device has a 7-inch TFT LCD High-resolution display.
- The Rigol DS1054Z has multiple trigger options.
Overall, the Rigol DS1054Z is a popular digital oscilloscope with upgraded bandwidth, Good features for the price, and with User-friendly interface. The only downside I have seen in this product is no built-in battery.
2. Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200
It is one of the first oscilloscope signature technologies I’ve used. We were surprised by the accuracy of this 200 MHz Digital Oscilloscope from Siglent Technologies. The Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E is a decent (if somewhat limiting) option.
We used this model’s large 7-inch TFT-LCD display in signal analysis for troubleshooting test applications. The best in our testing, detect and analyze small signal details accurately like Rigol, Hantek, and Sainsmart better than its competitors.
This oscilloscope features a high-resolution display with an extensive range of measurement options, such as sampling rate, bandwidth, and trigger level. Additionally, the oscilloscope also includes a built-in spectrum analyzer and waveform generator.
- Built-in function generator.
- Featured with advanced triggering capabilities.
- Display up to 1 million points per second.
- Easy-to-use interface with auto-calibration.
I had a bit of trouble getting the oscilloscope and running. It does not have a built-in battery option because designed for benchtop use only. Additionally, Some users have reported concerns about the build quality of this device there is further scope for improvement.
3. Siglent Technologies SDS1052DL+ 50 MHz
It is one of the first oscilloscopes for hobbyists I’ve used. Siglent SDS1052DL is a futuristic design and is a dual-channel universal digital oscilloscope. It is an excellent oscilloscope for hobbyists as well as beginners.
For product design, assembly lines, repair and maintenance, and electrical engineering education, a digital oscilloscope with 50MHz and two channels is ideal for beginners.
Furthermore, The maximum real-time sample rate per channel is 500MS/s. The entire record length is 32 kpts. Speaking of studs, It featured a 7″ LCD Display for viewing waveform. The most significant and crucial feature is the multi-language display with embedded help.
It’s a compact oscilloscope, with outstanding performance. I appreciate this measurement instrument widely used in advanced applications like research and development and electronic field service applications.
- 2 Channels 50 MHz Bandwidth Digital Oscilloscope.
- Shortcut storage function key
- Multiple interfaces
- 7-inch color LCD for accurate waveform viewing and measurements.
- Digital filter and waveform recorder function.
Overall, the Siglent SDS1052DL is the best hobby oscilloscope for students and experts. It has all the features and performance of the more expensive ones available in the market. It offers a great balance of functionality and affordability.
4. Hantek DSO5202P Digital oscilloscope
If the performance is your primary concern, then the Hantek DSO5202P must be your best budget oscilloscope for 2023. For accuracy, It is the most reliable that I have tested. It comes in 100MHz bandwidth. That is pretty good for beginners.
I like it because it is straightforwardly designed for multiple automatic measurements. It is undoubtedly the best oscilloscope in 2022. It offers excellent vertical and horizontal alignment, quick setup readiness, etc.
The Hantek DSO5103P digital storage oscilloscope is designed to measure signals up to 1 GHz. With its large screen display, easy operation, and intuitive menu structure, this device provides fast acquisition and analysis of waveforms. Its compact size allows it to be used in various applications, including testing and measurement, communications, instrumentation, and industrial automation.
The Hantek best oscilloscope for professionals is excellent for beginners, hobbyists, and DIYers. In addition to that, it offers two input channels suitable for beginners. It’s an easy and excellent choice in this price range. It’s a dual-channel best-budget oscilloscope.
- Large screen display (10 inches) with 1024 x 768 resolution
- Easy operation with intuitive menus
- Fast acquisition and analysis of waveform data
- The compact size allows it to be easily integrated into various applications.
- The high-performance analog input circuitry
The only downside of this equipment is that the display is comparatively small and compact. Otherwise, I like this entry-level scope and a perfect selection for purchasing. It is the most famous name in this segment.
5. SainSmart DS212 Portable Handheld Oscilloscope
I like the SainSmart oscilloscope because it is powerful but simple to use. It is a Built-in signal generator for vertical and horizontal precise measurement and triggering threshold. Its operation is simple and easy. You will feel like using taps and swipes like any smartphone when working. It is the best oscilloscope for automotive use.
The SainSmart DSO212 is the Best Portable Handheld Pocket Size Digital Storage Oscilloscope. I would also like to put in a good word that Its display is bright and sharp. That helps to make easy work of taking readings from small.
Furthermore, I appreciate how it is for a Built-in 8MB storage space. I found that transferring waveform data and images is more accessible than ever. I love this oscilloscope because it is a simple design with a maximum sample rate of 10 MSa/s. I also appreciate that It is the perfect Mini Digital Handheld Oscilloscope for academic experiments, electronics maintenance, electronic engineering tasks, etc.
- It is a Dual Channel with a 1 MHz Bandwidth.
- Pocket-size and lightweight.
- Equipped with a unique color display.
- Best Portable Professional Kit
I always recommend carefully evaluating your requirements and budget when considering an oscilloscope. I noticed a few potential downsides in this best budget option. I found that the SainSmart oscilloscope may not come with calibration certificates.
6. Hantek DSO5202P Digital Storage oscilloscope
I Like this hobby oscilloscope because it is simple to use and set up. The Hantek DSO5072P is the combination of everything we are seeking. This product is the best well-accomplished company serving for many decades. It is an excellent 70 MHz Bandwidth option and the best oscilloscope for hobbyists.
When I used this dual-channel digital oscilloscope, I found it very impressive. It is used for electronics applications such as product design, assembly lines, repair and servicing, and electrical engineering education.
I also liked The build quality of this Hantek DSO5072P Digital Oscilloscope. Other than that, the Best Portable Professional Kit Provides software for PC real-time analysis.
I appreciate that Hantek offers some Great features and customer support. It is also a pretty great cheap digital oscilloscope. Now, there is another reason why I like this device a perfectly designed and simple Display for reading and viewing waveforms. That is the reason this is a good option.
However, like any product, it does have some downsides. The potential downsides of the Hantek DSO5202P that I bring to notice are limited advanced features, limited bandwidth, and some users who have reported issues with the software stability.
- 2 Channels 70 MHz Bandwidth.
- Record length up to 40K.
- It has a large (7.0-inch) color display.
- Waveform Capture Rate: up to 60,000 wfms/s.
7. Owon SDS7102-V low-cost oscilloscope
The Owon SDS7102-V is a two-channel digital storage with a bandwidth of 100 MHz and a maximum sampling rate of 1 GSa/s. It comes with a large 10.1-inch color TFT LCD display, which offers a high resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, providing a clear and detailed view of waveforms.
It offers advanced triggering options, a built-in waveform generator, and a USB interface for data transfer, and easy for users to capture and analyze complex waveforms. This is particularly useful for capturing and analyzing long-duration signals. It featured a 10.1-inch display for clear monitors of the signals.
I also liked Owon SDS7102 because it comes with advanced features such as a waveform generator, digital voltmeter, and waveform record mode. Its large display, deep memory, and advanced triggering options make it ideal for hobbyists and professionals alike.
While it has several positive aspects, there are also some potential downsides that need to be considered before making any final purchasing decision. So I always recommend thoroughly researching and comparing different models to find the one that best suits your requirements.
- The SDS7102 supports a multi-language user interface.
- Built-in Arbitrary Waveform Generator.
- It provides advanced triggering options.
- The SDS7102 features an 8-inch color TFT-LCD display.
- The SDS7102 has a bandwidth of 100 MHz.
Overall, the Owon SDS7102-V is a powerful and versatile digital storage oscilloscope that offers a wide range of advanced features.
. Buying Guide: best oscilloscope for hobbyists
There are hundreds of options available in the marketplace. So to choose the right oscilloscope, one needs to research and review different parameters and factors. Buying the right one is challenging, even if you have read about them.
After several hours of product testing, research, and analysis, I shortlisted the 7 best affordable options for beginners. Out of them, I’ve tested so far. The Siglent SDS1202X-E offers almost everything asked for in a Digital oscilloscope.
Beginners face challenges choosing good options since they don’t know all the technical specs and features. Since we could not research and review all these products, we developed a list of the five best oscilloscopes to meet your requirements. The market offers a wide range of devices. To find the best among them, shoppers must research and evaluate various factors.
Before discussing its features, it is essential to understand how an oscilloscope works. It can be dangerous to work with electricity if you do not handle it correctly. Despite maintaining a minimum safety standard, we do not wish to sustain any injuries. Below are the most critical factors that need to be considered before making any buying decision on the great for beginners
Bandwidth of Oscilloscope
Beginners should focus on the bandwidth of oscilloscopes because it defines accuracy and allows the measurement to be done correctly through the display. Experts recommend selecting equipment with five times higher frequency than the one you’ll be measuring.
Bandwidth is measured in Hertz, and for Beginners or Hobbyists, better special equipment having 100MHz devices of daily use where the. The front-end amplifier of the oscilloscope determines the bandwidth, which is equivalent to a low-pass filter. Analog bandwidth refers to the bandwidth of the oscilloscope’s input amplifier.
Bandwidth can be defined as the frequency where the observed signal’s amplitude drops by -3 dB (or drops to 70.7% of its previous value) when the frequency increases in response to the frequency.
Oscilloscope Sample rate
To make the best budget oscilloscope, they must take samples at least once per second. Higher sampling rates improve the accuracy and resolution of waveforms.
Analog front ends condition signal inputs before passing them on to analog-to-digital converters. The Nyquist sampling theorem explains that ADC fs must have a sampling rate at least twice the maximum component frequency of interest.
Number of channels
Is there a limit to the number of analog signals you can measure simultaneously? Most oscilloscopes come with two, four, or eight analog channels. Some of them can easily be synchronized with multiple devices.
A certain number of channels will check and analyze several input signals. The number of channels from 2 to 4 is sufficient for beginners.
Any oscilloscope provides a lot of storage space for beginners to analyze input signals. A large amount of storage is required to calculate efficiently.
Price is always the main factor influencing buying decisions, especially when a beginner. The best effort is a low budget and valuable features to utilize your money.
Easy to use
If you seek the Best oscilloscopes for beginners, the selected equipment must be easy to use, and functions are not so complicated.
As I mentioned before, I am an electronics engineer and have worked for over 20 years as a printed circuit board test and repair expert. I have worked with almost all the oscilloscope brands available. I’ve done extensive research and spent several hours testing and analyzing. I weed out the faulty products and handpicked the best digital oscilloscope.
During testing, I note down all small observations on a notepad. I focused mainly on hobby oscilloscopes because they are the most affordable and straightforward digital devices. We also searched popular retailers on Amazon to find out the most suitable for this criteria. I have also checked our experts and conducted interviews to discover their interests.
For our accurate budgeted pick, we evaluated widely available oscilloscopes to identify issues such as voltage spikes, noise, and distortion. For all appropriate signal integrity, I confirmed whether the parameters of the electrical signals that were measured met the required quality standards.
We have tested the digital storage oscilloscope MHz. I borrowed some, rented some, and owned them to review individual devices. I Tested these hobby oscilloscopes in a workshop where PCB repairing is done on a large scale. The room was small but adequately ventilated. I tested all models and collected data to find the best ones.
The critical factors for making a final buying decision are accuracy, ease of use, Pricing, and customer feedback and reviews. We used other high-precision tools to cross-verify the measurements for accurate world testing. Finally, I looked at the display and valuable accessories. That way, I will help you find the options.
- 9 Best Handheld Oscilloscope in 2023 (Reviews + Guide)
- 7 Best Oscilloscope for Car Audio (Top Picks Reviewed 2023)
- Best Oscilloscope Under 500 Reviews (Top 5 Picks in 2023)
- Rigol DS1202z Vs Siglent SDS1202x-E Oscilloscope [Compare]
. How to use an oscilloscope?
The best hobbyist oscilloscope is a virtual device mainly used to look at fast voltage changes. Whatever oscilloscope you are working it needs to follow a few steps. If you are a beginner, it requires a basic level of training to operate.
Before starting It requires some basic setup and configuration. I used dual channel scope, so I will focus on this only. After switching on the power button, when I press the channel one button, it displays on the screen in yellow color, and after some time, it disappears. For the channel two controls, the color changed to blue. In such a way, I checked both inputs.
In the next step, I Connected it to Oscillating constant frequency signals. For further step-by-step “How to use an oscilloscope,” Please check out the complete tutorial video here.
What is the Best Cheap Oscilloscope?
Siglent SDS1202X-E is the best cheap oscilloscope available in the marketplace. This is a great device for the price with unbelievable value and excellent accuracy. Its good layout is capable of measuring the most critical devices.
What Is the Best Budget oscilloscope?
Hantek DSO5202P is the Best Budget oscilloscope. It is the perfect choice having great features in an affordable price range. Hantek is a very popular brand that is recommended by industry experts.
Which oscilloscope brand is the best?
Choosing an oscilloscope for your needs is not easy, as there are a lot of different brands to choose from, and each one offers different features. If you need an oscilloscope with colossal bandwidth, consider the Tektronix brand.
They offer the most expansive bandwidth option of any oscilloscope on the market, an excellent feature for those who need high bandwidth to study pulses and other signals.
Which is better Siglent or Rigol?
Rigol and Siglent are two different companies that produce oscilloscopes. Siglent has been around longer and is more established in the industry.
Rigol is a newer company trying to establish itself as an equal competitor to Siglent. They have similar features, but Rigol is cheaper.
. Conclusion -best hobbyist oscilloscope
Due to technological advances, the new-age oscilloscopes for hobbyists have become far superior in performance and accuracy. As a result, we chose the Best Portable Professional Oscilloscope Kit that performs exceptionally well in both aspects.
There are a lot of factors to consider when buying the best oscilloscope. And now that we have concluded this informative buying guide, we hope to have selected the best product from our recommendations. However, if you still need any support and suggestions, please comment. I will address the same.
A surprisingly important factor for choosing the best hobbyist oscilloscope is easy to use and affordable Pricing. The Digital RIGOL DS1054Z is the Best Oscilloscope for Beginners and hobbyists. I love the genuinely ambidextrous design of these Professional kits. They feel comfortable operating and handling. It is lightweight enough to carry anywhere.
At this point, we hope you decide to find the Best Cheap oscilloscope for beginners for your needs. Also, don’t forget to leave your valuable feedback in the comments below.
- SparkFun Learn, How to Use an Oscilloscope – SparkFun Learn.
- TechTarget, What is oscilloscope? – Definition from WhatIs.com – TechTarget.
- The EEVblog forum (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/)
- EEWeb (https://www.eeweb.com/)
- Hackaday (https://hackaday.com/)
- All About Circuits (https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/)
Video Tutorial: What’s an oscilloscope & How does it work?
9 Best Handheld Oscilloscope in 2023 (Reviews + Guide)
7 Best Oscilloscope for Car Audio (Top Picks Reviewed 2023)
Best Oscilloscope Under 500 Reviews (Top 5 Picks in 2023)
Rigol DS1202z Vs Siglent SDS1202x-E Oscilloscope [Compare]