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The 5 Best Oscilloscope Reviewed 2021

The 5 Best Oscilloscope Reviewed [2021]

In this article, we will review the Best Oscilloscope to help you make the best buying choice. Oscilloscopes are used every day by both professionals and hobbyist individuals to measure the electrical voltage over time and display it as a waveform.

They’re also called oscillographs or o-scopes for short, so keep an eye out for those alternative names when seeking diagnostic instruments.

We’ve chosen five oscilloscopes below and ranked them, though we’ve covered a variety of megahertz capacities so you shouldn’t put too much stock in their order unless they have the same megahertz count.

Each one has its own small review where you can see their properties and why we think they’re quality products.

If you’re here to get your first oscilloscope and need some more information about what they do and what components they’re made from, you can consult our buyers’ guide below.

By learning what makes a quality oscilloscope, you can better judge other o-scopes for yourself if you have your eyes on a different model that isn’t on our list.

There’s also a Frequently Asked Questions segment where we’ve gathered a couple of questions that often get asked about oscilloscopes, and answered them in relatively simple terms.

In a Hurry?

Whether you’re replacing an old model or just want to get your hands on a product as soon as possible, you may find that our top oscilloscope is just what you’re looking for.

In this case, that’s the Siglent Technologies SDS1104X-E 100Mhz Digital Oscilloscope, a technically impressive but relatively all-rounder model that can cover both professional and hobbyist needs. See some of its details below:

  • This oscilloscope has a maximum bandwidth of 100 megahertz along with a standard operating mode of 100,000 waveforms per second, though this can get cranked up to 400,000 waveforms per second. Its standard decoder covers four channels, those being IIC, SPI, UART/Rs232, CAN, or LIN.
  • It has a sample rating of 1 GSa/s and 1 MPts FFT. It can also use 256-level intensity grading and a range of color temperatures to better detect shifts in the waveforms that are being presented.
  • Those waveforms are visible on a seven-inch LCD screen with an 840×480 resolution. The unit as a whole weighs just 8.3 pounds and measures in at 11.8″ x 10.2″ x 16.1″.

 

Best Oscilloscopes

 

1. Siglent Technology SDS1104X-E 100Mhz Digital Oscilloscope with USB SCOPE

Siglent SDS1104X-E 100Mhz digital oscilloscope 4 channels standard decoder
440 Reviews
Siglent SDS1104X-E 100Mhz digital oscilloscope 4 channels standard decoder
  • 100Mhz, 4 channels, 1Gsa/use, 1Mpts fft
  • Standard decoder: iic, spi, uart/Rs232, can, lin
  • 16 digital channels (mso) (four channel series only, option)

The first oscilloscope we’d suggest is a sturdy 100Mhz option that should have a lot of your bases covered.

We’re talking about the Siglent Technology SDS1104X-E 100Mhz Digital Oscilloscope, a top-of-the-line device that can record an impressive 400,000 waveforms per second but will stay at a comfortable 100,000 waveforms per second when in standard mode. This device employs digital Phosphor Oscilloscope technology that provides excellent signal fidelity and performance.

Key oscilloscope specifications

  1. New Generation Digital Phosphor Oscilloscope technology
  2. 100Mhz, 4 channels, 1Gsa/use, 1Mpts fft
  3. Waveform capture rate up to 100,000 wfm/s (normal mode), and 400,000 wfm/s (sequence mode)
  4. Low background noise and 500 μV / div to 10 V / div voltage scales
  5. Serial decoding is free and includes IIC, SPI, UART, CAN, and LIN
  6. On-screen Bode plot and web-browser control (standard on 4 channel only)
  7. WiFi control (optional on 4 channel only)

It can also store a maximum of 80,000 frames. Despite that, it can detect minute shifts in the electronic current of whatever you’re measuring thanks to 256-level intensity grading and a range of color temperature modes.

As we’ve already mentioned, the Siglent Technology is a 100Mhz o-scope, but it also has a sample rating of 1 GSa/s and 1 MPts of FFT. This standard decoder has four channels to its name, namely IIC, SPI, UART/Rs232, CAN, and LIN, and across this four-channel series, you’re capable of detecting 16 digital channels.

Siglent USB Modules

Along with all this, two USB modules in the form of an AWG module and a Wi-Fi adapter for more adaptability. There is also a Vari-level Mode for accurately measuring Power Supply Control Loop Response (PSRR)

While it’s working, everything is reported to you by a large seven-inch LCD screen with an 800×480 resolution.

It’s bright and clear enough that you can clearly see what is happening on the screen, so you shouldn’t have any trouble with the visibility of the frequencies you’re detecting. The unit as a whole measures in at 11.8″ x 10.2″ x 16.1″, and it weighs 8.3 pounds.

The cooling fan connected to the device can be noisy, so this isn’t the best option for the easily distracted. That said, we think that’s a minor complaint about a 100 Mhz oscilloscope that’s great for professionals and hobbyists alike.

 

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2. Rigol Oscilloscope DS1202Z-E 200Mhz Digital Scope

Rigol DS1202Z-E - Two Channel / 200 MHz Digital Oscilloscope
67 Reviews
Rigol DS1202Z-E - Two Channel / 200 MHz Digital Oscilloscope
  • 200 MHz Digital Oscilloscope with 2 channels, 1GS/s, 24Mpoint memory
  • Two channels
  • 200 MHz bandwidth
  1. 4 Channels Digital Oscilloscope 50 MHz Analog Bandwidth
  2. Waveform Generator, Capture Rate of up to 30,000 wfms/s Includes FREE software bundle
  3. Ultra-fast Sampling Rate
  4. Real-Time Waveform update rate, Record and Relay Option

The second o-scope we’d recommend is the Rigol DS1202Z-E 200Mhz Digital Oscilloscope with 4 Analog Bandwidth Channels which, as the name suggests, is capable of twice as much maximum analog bandwidth and so is more suitable for those working with higher bandwidths than our option at number one.

When operational, it’ll offer two channels of coverage and features the standard 1 GS/s sample rating accompanying a 24Mpoint memory. Once again, this high standard of performance is ideal for those who need either basic or comprehensive analysis of frequencies.

Rigol  Oscilloscope Quality

The Rigol oscilloscope fields many quality oscilloscopes, as you’ll see further down this list, so you can rest assured that the manufacturers knew what they were doing. This fact makes it great for learning the ins and outs of frequency analysis.

Other features you can find on this device are a memory depth of 24MPts, the ability to take real-time waveform recordings, and it can relay up to 30,000 waveforms per second. It’s also capable of serial bug analysis, so it can troubleshoot your electronics pretty easily as long as you know what you’re doing.

This oscilloscope model even has an auto-function button for quick frequency analysis. The screen of this Rigol oscilloscope is seven inches and reports a WVGA TFT intensity graded color display.

 

3. SainSmart DSO Note II Handheld Digital Oscilloscope

SainSmart DSO Note II DS202 Nano ARM Portable Mini Handheld Touch Screen Digital Storage Oscilloscope, 8MB Memory Storage 2MHz 10Mps
181 Reviews
SainSmart DSO Note II DS202 Nano ARM Portable Mini Handheld Touch Screen Digital Storage Oscilloscope, 8MB Memory Storage 2MHz 10Mps
  • Color Display: The bright color display presents any measured AC current, including sine, square, sawtooth, and triangle waveforms.
  • Simple to Use: Operation is simple and easy, using taps and swipes much like any smartphone.
  • Portable: Its small form factor conveniently fits inside any pocket so it’s always ready when you need it.
  1. Analog Bandwidth: 1 MHz
  2. Max Sample Rate: 10 MSa/s
  3. Inbuilt Signal Generator: sine/square/triangle/sawtooth wave
  4. Vertical Sensitivity: 20mV/div to 10V/div (1-2-5 sequence step)
  5. USB Port: Micro USB

At the midpoint of this list is the SainSmart DSO Note II Handheld Digital storage Oscilloscope. This is a pretty small handheld oscilloscope that’s ideal for travel or portable oscilloscope operation, making it the perfect troubleshooting tool to have under your belt.

The DSO202 Mini Digital Handheld Oscilloscope is a staple to any electronics toolkit. It’s arguably the most portable oscilloscope on this list because of its pocket-sized dimensions at 5.9″ x 3.6″ x 2″, and it only weighs 5.6 ounces. This Digital Storage Oscilloscope has 8MB Memory Storage 2MHz 10Mps

It displays in a 320×240 resolution and works off of an 8M of memory card. The small size of this portable oscilloscope kit makes it ideal for use with small memory cards, SD cards, as well as USB flash compatibility, and it can be easily charged through USB cables but otherwise has a native chargeable battery inside it.

An overlooked advantage of a smaller, more portable o-scope is the fact that you can’t load it with buttons, resulting in a simpler working interface that you can learn faster. It mainly works through one main button that you can click, double-click, press, or slide for different functions.

 

4. Rigol DS1054Z 50Mhz Digital Storage Oscilloscope

Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes - Bandwidth: 50 MHz, Channels: 4 Serial Decode Included
527 Reviews
Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes - Bandwidth: 50 MHz, Channels: 4 Serial Decode Included
  • 50 MHz Digital Oscilloscope with 4 channels plus 24 Mpt memory and 1 GSa/sec sampling
  • The Number 1 Selling Oscilloscope 4 Years Running!
  • 4 Channels, 50 MHz Bandwidth

We told you Rigol Digital Oscilloscope would make another appearance on this list and here it is, this time with the DS1054Z 50Mhz Digital Storage Oscilloscope, a model much like the Rigol o-scope at number two but it only has a max bandwidth of 50Mhz.

With four channels of coverage, however, it’s not a product to turn your nose away from.

Rigol has continued its pattern of innovative o-scopes with the DS1054Z, being a generalized and broad example of analysis gadgetry for common use while having the powerful functions required for professional troubleshooting and calibration.

 

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5. Hantek DSO5102P 100 MHz Digital Oscilloscope

Hantek DSO5102P Digital Storage Oscilloscope USB 100MHz 1GSa/s 40K,2 Channel,2CH
173 Reviews
Hantek DSO5102P Digital Storage Oscilloscope USB 100MHz 1GSa/s 40K,2 Channel,2CH
  • Remote Control and U Disk Storage: This oscilloscope can store more than 1000 waveforms information, and can upgrade the system through the USB port, support plug-and-play USB storage devices and communicate with the computer and remote control through USB.
  • Automatic Measurement Function: With 32 different kinds of waveform parameters automatic measurement, with FFT standard, provide manual/tracking automatic/cursor test function, achieved the goal of more accurate measurement.
  • Large TFT LCD Display: Large 7-inch 64K color TFT LCD display with a resolution of 800 * 480. It can clearly show any measured alternating current, including sine, square, sawtooth and triangular waves.

We’ll finish off with another 100Mhz oscilloscope in the form of the Hantek DSO5102P Digital Oscilloscope. Like Rigol, Hantek delivers a lot of high-quality scopes over a variety of bandwidths, but we’ve chosen another 100Mhz model to spotlight for the last product on this list.

It also covers two channels with a real-time sample of 1GSa/s and a memory depth of 40,000.

The screen is quite large at seven inches, which is a standard of oscilloscopes of this size. It’s a WVGA display with an 800×480 resolution, and it’s capable of a record length of 40k. The DSO5102P retails with a USB cable, replaceable test wires, and two probes to work with. 

There are quite a few buttons on this model, which isn’t a rare criticism for oscilloscopes but it’s something to keep in mind, nonetheless. The software installed onto it can also be sluggish when doing its duties, so this isn’t the ideal o-scope for the impatient.

 

How to pick the best oscilloscope

Choosing a digital oscilloscope can be daunting if you’re unsure of what you’re doing, so we’ve written this buyers’ guide to describe some key terms and components that you’ll find when operating an o-scope.

You’ll find them divided into subheadings below, where you can use the information there to judge other oscilloscopes if the ones on our list don’t take your fancy.

We’ve also included a Frequently Asked Questions section where you can see questions that consumers just like you have asked.

Bandwidth

This is the most important oscilloscope specification that you should pay attention to when buying a Digital scope. Bandwidth defines the frequency range that the modern oscilloscopes produce the most accurate measurement, which is usually measured in Hertz and, more specifically, Megahertz.

The reported bandwidth of the scope should preferably be five times higher than the signal‘s maximum frequency so that you can have the most accurate measurement.

Oscilloscopes can be found with Megahertz ratings of 50 mhz, 100 mhz, or 200 mhz, though professional gear can reach as high as 1 Gigahertz. Assuming the price isn’t a factor, you should know the signals you want to analyze and get the correct bandwidth ability that guarantees you’ll be able to get usable readings. The pc based oscilloscope readings can be from a logic analyzer or spectrum analyzer.

Number of Channels

Consider how many signals you want to view at the same time because this will affect the channel number you want. It’s simple enough to decide since most commercial oscilloscopes will have two or four channels, so get the one that’s most suited to your anticipated uses of the product.

Oscilloscopes with more channels tend to be more expensive because of this fact, so this should also factor into your decision when deciding whether you need two or four electrical signal channels displayed.

Sample Rate

The sample rate is simply the number of samples an o-scope can take per second. It’s important to have as high a sample rate as possible since it provides a clearer resolution to the reported waveforms. The sampling rate is important in any digital oscilloscope kit

This means that you can have a more accurate measurement of the status and continuation of an electrical signal, allowing for better troubleshooting since you can better see how the waveforms react to certain stimuli and sudden changes in the sampling rate.

Memory Depth

Memory depth is what it sounds like, the amount of data that the oscilloscope is able to store, whether that’s in the scope itself or through a connected memory or SD card.

The more that you’re able to store, the more you have to analyze, which is handy for detecting irregularities or other changes across a wider time frame when looking at an electrical signal.

If you anticipate that you’ll need to analyze signals across a long period, then you’ll need to buy products with a superior memory depth.

Screen Quality

The size and resolution of the screen can be important since it’s the portal through which you’ll see the results that your digital oscilloscope finds. Most of these screens will be seven inches, but that’s assuming you’re operating with the average-sized digital oscilloscope, so smaller o-scopes will naturally be smaller.

While we’re talking about the screen quality, it’s also worth making sure that the weight and general construction of the device itself is fine with you. You can do this remotely by finding dimension measurements on the product listing page and seeing which materials have been used for the o-scope casing.

Price

As always, price is a factor. Oscilloscopes are often considered professional instruments, meaning their manufacturers can demand a higher price since those using them are either dedicated hobbyists or belong to telecommunications and electronics industries that can afford the cost.

You should try to find a balance between the quality and functionality you’re looking for versus the amount of cash you can spare.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an oscilloscope used for?

This is quite a simple question to start with but, for those new to using oscilloscopes, it’s useful to set out in words just what oscilloscopes are used for in everyday life.

Put simply, the o-scope displays graphs of electrical signals, usually with how the input signal changes over time as the signal fluctuates up and down the Y-axis. This is called a waveform because it looks like waves, and not everything to do with oscilloscopes needs to be complicated.

So how is this used?

They’re used to measure the frequency and period of the input signal it’s scanning, as well as the rise and fall time. These measurements are often used in medical settings as a display of life supports or other electronic equipment that may be connected to the patient, where the electronic signals of these machines must be very closely monitored. There are a few types: automotive oscilloscope, analog scope, handheld oscilloscope, and USB oscilloscope.

Otherwise, they’re used to discover the amplitude and the minimum, maximum, and mean voltages of an input signal.

Can an oscilloscope measure current?

Most oscilloscopes will only measure the voltage of a signal, not the current. That said, the two can often be connected, and so there are ways of using the voltage measurement of the o-scope to determine the current that it’s detecting. Most currents are 50 mhz and 100 mhz.

There are also current probes available that are more suited to measuring current.

Otherwise, you can measure the voltage that is dropped across the shunt resistor of your power supply. This can be a problem if the power supply you’re working with doesn’t have a shunt resistor, but that’s another issue. Measure the drop in voltage across the resistor with a differential oscilloscope probe.

Using a differential oscilloscope probe with low-level signals may be difficult if you haven’t taken some noise reduction precautions. Limit the bandwidth and attenuation of the oscilloscope probe to stop this problem so that you can get more accurate readings.

Questions and Answers.

What is the best automotive oscilloscope ?

The best automotive oscilloscope is the Siglent Technology SDS1104X-E 100Mhz Digital Oscilloscope. As it is the best selling and next-generation technology.

What is the best cheap oscilloscope ?

The best cheap device is the YEAPOOK ADS5012h Handheld Digital Portable Oscilloscope Mini Storage Oscilloscope Kit. This is a very good price for the power of the unit in your hands.

What is the best oscilloscope for hobbyist ?

The best unit for hobbyist is the SainSmart DSO212 Pocket Size Portable Handheld Mini Digital Storage Oscilloscope. It is compact size and price point is great for hobbyist to start.

What is the best usb oscilloscope ?

The best usb oscilloscope is the Hantek 6022BL PC Based USB Digital Portable Oscilloscope It has an Excellent industrial design-the same anodized aluminum casing as the iPad, which is not only beautiful and tasteful but also greatly enhanced the hardness of aluminum alloy surface, and has a good heat resistance and strong wearability

What is the best budget oscilloscope?

The best budget unit is The DSO202 Mini Digital Handheld Oscilloscope. The best function and powerful application at half the price of the high tier units. This portable device is a good choice for people who are always on the go. Many students and hobbyists prefer them over benchtop models which are typically heavier and more difficult to carry around.

Other questions to consider:

What is analog discovery?

How is the pulse width?

What are the prices of an entry level oscilloscope?

Can USB scope cause a mixed signal oscilloscope?

What are other Digital scopes?

Alternatives are cathode ray oscilloscope, pc based scope, and analog oscilloscope

Many devices uses arduino schematic and arduino software

About Charles Ingram

Hi, I am Charles your local Home Tech and Gadget Expert. I’ve been fascinated with electricity for as long as I can remember. I grew up in an old home in a rural setting, so the quality and continuity of our electrical service were spotty at best. Spending time without power (or running off a generator) gave me a lot of appreciation for the benefits of electricity. I love writing and talking about it.