Buying Guide, Industrial & Scientific

Best Hobbyist Oscilloscope Reviews of 2018 – Best Top Reviews Online

Are you thinking to buy an oscilloscope? We have tested 53 oscilloscopes and selected top 12 for you. You can easily track signal voltages, their changes, frequency by using- Siglent sds1202x-e, Rigol ds1054z, Siglent sds1052dl as our top pick. On this page, you’ll find the best hobbyist oscilloscope on the market in direct comparison – with accurate tests and many interesting tips.


Comparing The Options

ViewProducts NameBest forRange (Mgh)Channel
siglent sds1202x-e Siglent sds1202x-eDigital2002
Rigol ds1054zRigol ds1054zHobby504
Siglent sds1102cml+Siglent sds1102cml+Money1002
Hantek dso5072pHantek dso5072pHandheld702
Makerfocus Nano DSO211Makerfocus Nano DSO211USB101
Siglent sds1102xSiglent sds1102xDigital1002
Siglent Sds1052dlSiglent Sds1052dlTop Selling502
Hantek Dso5202pHantek Dso5202pHigh Quality2002
Siglent sdg1025Siglent sdg1025Budget252
Sainsmart dso203 Sainsmart dso203Portable84
GDS-320 GDS-320Automotive2002
Signstek Nano ARM Ds202 Signstek Nano ARM Ds202Cheap Price150

1. siglent sds1202x-e – New Generation Digital Oscilloscope

 siglent sds1202x-e

 

SIGLENT’s SDS1000X-E Series Super is now available in 1 bandwidth and 200 MHz. It has the highest sample rate of 1 GSA/s and a standard recording length of 1 Mpts. For ease-of-application, the most ordinarily utilized functions can be obtained with its user-friendly frontal panel layout. The SDS1000X-E series applies a new generation of SPO technology that gives exceptional signal accuracy and execution. Its sound is also moderate than comparable products available in the market. It appears with a merest upward input area of 500 V/div. It has a new digital trigger mode with high responsiveness and faint jitter, and a waveform recovery rate of 400,000 frames/ sec. The SDS1000X-E also applies a256-level power grading screen function and a brightness display mode not seen in other models of similar class oscilloscopes. Siglent’s advanced oscilloscopes are giving supports various convincing triggering forms and one of them is serial bus triggering. Its decoding is a standard form including IIC, CAN, SPI, LIN, UART. History waveform record and sequentially trigger allow extensive waveform reporting and investigation. An extra sturdy extension is the latest 1 million duration FFT math capacity that provides the SDS1000X-E an extraordinary-frequency determination when adopting signal colors. The new form also adds a coprocessor that performs measurements swiftly and correctly. The characteristics and execution of Siglent’s current SDS1000X-E is unique and better than other brands at this price.

Features
  • Weight 7.5 pounds
  • New generation SPO technology
  • 200 MHz
  • 2 channels
  • 7-inch TFT-LCD display
  • History waveform record function
  • Serial bus decoding function
  • 1 GSA/sec sampling
  • IRecord length up to 14 Mpts
  • Up to 40,000 WFM/s

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Pros

  • Provides Real-time sampling rate
  • Intelligent triggering to Pulse Width, Edge, Slope, Window, Pattern, Timeout, Runt, Interval
  • Low noise
  • One button shortcut to use quickly
  • Auto setup helps the newbies
  • Security Erase mode will help to erase or save data
  • High-Speed hardware
  • The large screen will allow you to read clearly
  • It also supports remote control commands to control it from remote places
  • Its multiple languages for different countries people to use easily
  • The manufacturer also provides online support for any kind of query
  • Overall great quality and performance at a low price

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Cons

  • Not yet found after using 5 months

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This SIGLENT’s SDS1000X-E is an excellent device. Its great large screen and lots of options to use impressed me with its superb quality. I believe that this is a unique piece of equipment for a house laboratory or a repair workshop. I love the point that Siglent opted for personal sales thus depositing the price in the affordable range.

2. Rigol ds1054z – Best Hobby Oscilloscope 

 Rigol ds1054z

Rigol DS1054Z one of the best selling in the WORLD since its release. It has a 30-day money back guarantee. DS1054Z Features 50 MHz Analog Bandwidth Entirety of 4 Analog Channels Maximum Waveform Acquisition Rate of up to 30,000 wfms/s Carries 4 RP2200 150 MHz Passive HighZ Probes Low noise floor USB Host for Thumb Drive Large 7″ Display 12 Mpts of Memory. It works well, and the construction is as good as that of expensive top-brand items. Rigol’s innovative UltraVision technology provides a deeper memory depth of 12Mpts standard and is upgradeable to 24 Mpts (with the purchase of MEM-DS1000Z). With a resolution of 800 X, 480 pixels makes it possible to observe all channels on a single screen. This presents for better usability and more dynamic analysis. So we choose it in our test as our number one oscilloscope.

Features
  • Weight 6.6 pounds
  • Body style benchtop
  • 50 MHz
  • 4 channels
  • Deeper memory 12 Mpts upgradable to 24 Mpts via a software key
  • 1 GSA/sec sampling
  • Up to 30,000 Waveform capture rate
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Pros

  • Solid building quality
  • Fine software
  • Many adjustment controls
  • The software is easily installed able
  • Easy to carry and use
  • Reliable
  • It comes with all the advanced features includes triggers, storage etc.
  • Lightweight
  • It can capture 30.000 wmfs/sec and it means it too fast
  • Its memory is expandable
  • You can control it through the control buttons
  • Easy to read the screen
  • It can trigger too quickly
  • It has a USB port to connect with PC

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Cons

  • The fan is quite loud. So you can change

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Overall this Rigol DS1054Z oscilloscope is perfect for all side except the sound. From my personal experience and by sales data from the website as it will fulfill your task as it has that capability.

3. Siglent sds1102cml+ – Best Oscilloscope for the Money

siglent sds1102cml+

If you are searching for an excellent for use in a broad purpose or different applications, then Siglent’s SDS1000CML+ series suits the job! This SDS1102CML+ has the second-highest bandwidth available in the market of 100MHz. It is a dual-channel digital oscilloscope to measure two waveforms side-by-side on display. It has an exceptional quality 7″ TFT-LCD display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, analyzing different waveforms is as manageable as possible. It has a memory depth of up to 2Mpts, with the whole memory of 40Kpts. The higher memory setting allows you to do a higher sample rate to take more of the signal as excellent as zoom in on the exclusive area of interest for more analysis. It also gives full support for a time, voltage and delays measurements, with a total of thirty-two different parameters accessible and the capability to display five results at once on the screen.

Features
  • Weight 7.5 pounds
  • It’s height- 6.2 inches and width-5.3 inches
  • 100MHz bandwidth
  • 2 Channels
  • 1GSa/s maximum sampling rate
  • Record length of 1 Mbps
  • Automatic measurements
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Pros

  • Parameter measurement
  • Auto measurements
  • Mathematical use
  • You can zoom the result when necessary
  • Online support
  • Built-in frequency counter
  • Cursor indication
  • It comes with easy scope software to control the scope from your computer
  • Low cost
  • Lightweight
  • Data logging facility
  • The zero key function allows engineers to work more efficiently
  • The open wave connection software allows users to conduct waveform observation
  • Large screen and excellent graphics
  • It comes with two probes
  • Lots of knobs and menus

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Cons

  • The instruction may be complicated to you. So you can watch the youtube video to make it clear or contact with their online support if necessary.

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These Siglent SDS1000CML+ oscilloscopes are mainly for beginners at an affordable price without arbitrating on quality. The low price results from a vast number of units traded as well as strong earnings. They are furnished with well designed and simple to use control panels giving general ease-of-use functions for all tasks. The menu navigation is automatic and convenient in various languages. So, you can buy it without hesitation. .

4. Hantek dso5072p – Best Handheld Oscilloscope

 Hantek dso5072p

The Hantek DSO5072P Oscilloscope which has 70 MHz Bandwidth, 7.0″ LCD Display. We found this is perfect for those you serious hobbyist. The large LCD of 7-inch, colored, WVGA(800×480) screen shows you the full waveform analysis. The product has the motion trigger mode features which include slop, edge, line selectable, overtime, pulse width. It is suitable for simple Spectrum Analysis, assist in baseband work and many other primaries use with two channels and record length up to 40K. It also comes with four math functionalities which are congenial with FTT standards. It is more affordable compared to the other items in our test.

Features
  • Weight 6.17 pounds
  • 70MHz bandwidths
  • 1GSa/s Real Time sample rate
  • Large (7.0-inch) color display
  • Record length up to 40K
  • Trigger Mode: Pulse width/line selectable video/overtime etc
  • Warranty 1 year
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Pros

  • An alternative to an expensive product
  • Easy to switch
  • Well designed
  • Well written easy manual
  • No need to control from PC
  • Smooth and solid control
  • Easy to use firmware
  • The bright screen helps to read the analysis properly
  • Good quality probes
  • It can store screen pictures on a USB flash drive
  • Lightweight

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Cons

  • Packaging needs to be improved
  • If it comes with Euro power cord then you might replace it

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All these features and pros make us decided to take Hantek DSO5072P as the 4th position in our test. The price and quality are excellent without hesitation.

5. Makerfocus Nano DSO211 – Best USB Oscilloscope

Makerfocus DSO211 ARM Nano Digital Oscilloscope

This is a very competent pocket device. However, I would like to call out that the triggering is reliable and I was able to even to lock on to an amplitude modulated wave from my signal generator. There is a stop function that enables you to take and hold a snapshot which you can save to storage. The menu system is quite easy and fast to navigate through the features. It is an excellent digital storage oscilloscope which Can provide a great set of measurements on display. Most of its features are set through a menu system that is connected to buttons on the front of the scope. The USB port on the front panel allows saving settings, the display image, or actual signal data in files on a USB drive. 

Features
  • Shipping weight 7.4 pounds
  • 4-channel
  • Bandwidth from 60 to 150 MHz
  • 5.7 in. (144 mm) Active TFT Color Display
  • The maximum sample rate of 1GS/s
  • 16 automated measurements
  • FFT analysis for simplified waveform analysis
  • Built-in waveform limit testing
  • Built-in context-sensitive help
  • UL Certified, CE approved and CAT II 300V safety rated
  • No cooling fan meaning lower noise
  • Reliable
  • Warranty 5 years
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Pros

  • Perfect for product design and debugging, servicing, electrical engineering education and repairing
  • Safety rated
  • Real-time measurement of display
  • Autoset button helps to save time
  • Well written user manual
  • Front USB port helps to display image, save settings, etc.
  • Excellent quality
  • Lower noise as cooling fab is not needed

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Cons

  • Lower memory per channel

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All these features and pros made this oscilloscope perfect and still now it has no technical issue. So we took it on our recommendation list and it is an excellent quality low priced product.

6. Siglent sds1102x – Best Digital Oscilloscope

 Siglent sds1102x

I would like to say something about the characteristics for ‘small users.’ What do you require for your daily tasks? Even the cheapest models from the manufacturers already have a sample rate of 500 MS/s or 1 GS/s, which is more than what the average electronics engineer requirements. More important is the input bandwidth. Which is an evidence of the quality of the analog input stage? Most electronic engineers operate on circuits with frequencies up to a few MHz and then a simple USB scope with a sample rate of 100 MS/s.

Features
  • Weight 2.205 pounds
  • 100MHz bandwidths
  • Its height 7.3 inch and width 4.85 inches
  • Sample Rate1 Gsa/s.
  • 2 channel
  • New generation SPO technology.
  • 500 UV/div sensitivity
  • Record length is 14 MPts.
  • USB/LAN interfaces.
  • 256 Level intensity grading
  • Waveform capture rate to 60,000 wfs/s
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Pros

  • Good Performance
  • Easy to use
  • Complete and easy manual
  • Large display
  • Perfect menu system
  • Quick booting
  • The fan is not noisy
  • Provide more statistical data
  • Easy to read text

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Cons

  • The serial decoding is in basic level

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So, it is clear to you why we decided to take this Siglent SDS1102X as our 6th recommendation in our test for daily tasks.

7. Siglent Sds1052dl – Best Selling oscilloscope

 Siglent Sds1052dl

The latest siglent SDS1052DL is a new and upgraded version of siglent’s great sds1052dl. With a new, higher-resolution LCD and an added an interface, the SDS1052DL+ represents the updated version of one of the most popular 50 MHz available today. This is perfect for electronics uses such as product design, assembly lines, repairing, and servicing, and electrical engineering education. Its highest real-time sample rate of 500MS/s (1 channel) and record length of 32Kpts (1 channel) for getting detailed waveforms.

Features
  • Shipping weight 7.7 pounds
  • Its height- 6.2 inches, length-12.7 inches and Width-5.3 inches
  • 50 MHz
  • 2 channels
  • The maximum real-time sample rate of 500MS/s
  • Record length of 32Kpts for acquiring detailed waveforms
  • LCD display
  • Certified frustration-free
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Pros

  • New and higher resolution display
  • It is a 50 MHz but you can get 100 MHz signal without trouble
  • Advanced triggers for Isolation of specific signals
  • Built-in frequency counter
  • Automatic measurements
  • It can be used for product design, assembly lines, repair and servicing, and electrical engineering education
  • No warm-up time need
  • Better frequency counter
  • It includes USB and LAN interfaces

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Cons

  • The user guide should be more user-friendly
  • The fan is quite noisy but it’s not a significant issue to me

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Overall this siglent SDS1052DL is perfect for all side except the sound. From my personal experience, I can say it will fulfill your task as it has that capability.

8. Hantek Dso5202p – High-Quality Oscilloscope

hantek dso5102p

Hantek Dso5102p is providing all the advanced features compared to other oscilloscopes available in the market at this price. It has USB connectivity to connect with PC, constrain testing, information stacking, thirty-two mechanized estimations made your operations at a less time. Its 200MHz of data transfer capacity and in just a 1Gig/S testing rate at this low cost is really unbelievable. Through its easy operating buttons, you can easily read information very quickly at the time of testing. Its shortcut keys will also help you to save your valuable time. If you are searching for a powerful, affordable from a trusted brand, then this is for you.

Features
  • Weight 4.59 pounds
  • Body style benchtop
  • 200 MHz
  • 2 channels
  • 7″ TFT 16K Color Display
  • The maximum real-time sample rate of 1GS/s
  • Recording length up to 40k
  • PC real-time analysis
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Pros

  • Convenience functions such as limit testing, frequency counter, etc.
  • You can store screen picture on your USB drive
  • No cooling fan need so its run in less noise
  • High reliability
  • The scope is very light
  • Data logging will enable automatic preservation of triggered waveforms
  • Monitoring power supply stability
  • Its control keys will help you to control it easily
  • Large and bright screen
  • Well written manual
  • Easy to use
  • Cheap price

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Cons

  • Not yet found any significant problem

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The Hantek dso5102p can manage your professional needs with a brand recognized for quality equipment that you can believe. All at a very affordable rate! Properly made and simple to use, most buyers of this product are greatly pleased with their buying and would advise this high-quality product to others.

9. Siglent sdg1025 – Best Budget Oscilloscope

 Siglent sdg1025

The Siglent SDG1025 is another best device because of its functions. It uses DDS technology. It provides double output. This has adjustable phase. Its highest output frequency is 25MHz.

Features
  • Shipping weight 7.5 pounds
  • Display type 3.5″ TFT-LCD
  • certified frustration-free
  • 125MSa/s sample rate
  • 14bit vertical resolution
  • 16Kpts wavelength
  • The output frequency is 25MHz
  • Abundant modulation function
  • Sweep-frequency output
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Pros

  • Double output
  • Adjustable phase
  • Internally installed 48 types of the waveform and externally five types of standard waveform
  • It provides LabVIEW drivers which help to communicate with NI-VISA
  • Perfect as a teaching tool
  • Professional control
  • Perfect for coding and data analysis
  • The LCD screen helps to see many parameters of the waveforms at once
  • By using this device, it is possible to display and change some of the parameters in two different ways
  • versatile and precise
  • Easy to use/ user-friendly

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Cons

  • Not yet found any significant problem

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The Siglent SDG1025 is on our recommendation list because of its accuracy, quality, and strong user satisfaction and got our best budget name.

10. Sainsmart dso203 – Best Portable Oscilloscope

Sainsmart dso203

The Sainsmart is a mini handheld pocket-sized digital storage device which is PC-based. It has 3″ 240 × 400 widescreen color TFT LCD screen. STM32 is the master MCU. The FPGA to implement the control and supervision of external ADC and data cache. It is low-power, low-cost oscilloscope.

Features
  • Weight 80g without battery
  • Body style handheld
  • 8 MHz
  • 4 channels
  • 3″ 240 × 400 widescreen color TFT LCD screen
  • Sampling rate1kSa/s – 72MSa/S
  • Test Signal generator 10Hz to 1Mhz
  • Max input voltage 80Vpp
  • Storage 4k per channel
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Pros

  • Low cost
  • Useful signal generator
  • Compact Design
  • Fast operation
  • Portable
  • Easy settings
  • Easy to use

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Cons

  • Low power
  • Low storage capacity
  • The navigation takes some time

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The SainSmart Mini Nano DSO203 is a perfect low priced device for the hobbyist. So we recommend it if you want a portable oscilloscope at a low price.

11. GDS-320 – Best Oscilloscope for Automotive

GDS-320

GW Instek GDS-320 is the brand new product. Which does GW Instek produce compact digital oscilloscopes, launched 7” capacitive full touch tablet LCD which can be established in both portrait and landscape mode? The rechargeable-battery form gives the series simple to use at any place. The GDS-200/300 series are suitable for labs, R&D, sizeable electric operation analyses, power product analyses, motor analyses, solar power battery investigation and improvement, and support staff who are always on field jobs. The GDS-200/300 set, with two analog sign input channels, have excellent and standard designs which become with 70MHz, 100MHz and 200MHz bandwidth. The highest unit rate per channel is 1GSa/s; memory intensity is 5Mpts. GDS-300 series are furnished with 50,000 counts DMM and GDS-200 5,000 scores. The DMM which can concurrently cover and control A.C. and D.C. charge and flow, and temperature. The bearing plot for an extended period can also be described that enables engineers to monitor standard electric parameters while measuring primary circuit signals efficiently.
Features
  • Weight 3.3 pounds
  • New generation SPO technology
  • 200 MHz
  • 2 channels
  • Up to 5M Memory Depth Per Channel
  • Touchscreen LCD display
  • Built-In 50,000 Counts DMM
  • 1 GSA/sec sampling
  • Up to 30,000 wfm/s
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Pros

  • Fully touch screen based and easily portable
  • Lightweight
  • Perfect for laboratories, research and development, vast electric, system, power product, motor, solar power battery inspection and repair activities
  • You can use it both portrait and landscape mode. So, you don’t need to stick to any place
  • By using DMM you can easily conduct simultaneous measurements
  • It records replay function and engineers can control circuit in an extended period
  • By using optional differential probe you can achieve isolation results
  • Users can easily set test backgrounds and conditions as per their requirements
  • It has image storage and preview function for more accurate work
  • You can even use it as a USB storage device
  • You can easily measure temperature systematically

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Cons

  • The price is quite high but it deserves the price because this is the brand new model with all latest feature

Without hesitation, this will be your all in one digital oscilloscope if you can afford it to buy. If you want accuracy and advanced results hen you must have this Instek GDS-320.

12. Signstek Nano ARM Ds202 Oscilloscope – Best Cheap Oscilloscope

Signstek Ds202 Oscilloscope

The Signstek Nano DSO202 Note II is a pouch size 2-channel digital oscilloscope. It is small and easy to transport. It holds USB flash disk storage and USB. This is an amazingly compact device, at a high price. If you think the DSO202 may suit your needs, keep reading to find out if it will.

Features
  • Weight 7 ounces
  • 1 Lithium ion batteries required
  • 150MHz bandwidth
  • 2 Channels
  • Analog bandwidth 1MHz
  • Max sample rate 10MHz
  • Sample memory depth 8K
  • Coupling is AC/DC
  • Analog Input Sensitivity: 10mV/Div~10V/Div (1-2-5 Step)
  • Vertical Position is adjustable with Indicator
  • Horizontal position is adjustable with indicator
  • Automatic measurement frequency
  • Waveform storage 8MB Memory
  • Built-in: 600mAh Chargeable Lithium Battery / USB
  • Color TFT LCD
  • Input Capacitive touch and slide gesture
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Pros

  • Excellent design
  • Works great
  • Excellent measurement ways
  • Accurate measurements
  • Respond quickly
  • Multiple menus
  • Easy to operate
  • Well written manual

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Cons

  • The size is small, but if you are comfortable with a small mobile phone, then it will be ok for you.

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All these features and pros made this perfect and still now it has no technical issue. So we took it on our recommendation list as the cheap oscilloscope. This is an excellent compact scope, which can be used as a primary piece of test equipment for essential hobby application. As a portable supplement you can carry with you. Any traveling technicians will be hard-pressed to find a more useful piece of test equipment then this! This is the low-cost oscilloscope which we can say in another term as the inexpensive oscilloscope ever found.


At a glance our top picks
  • Siglent sds1202x-e
  • Rigol ds1054z
  • Siglent sds1102cml+
  • Hantek dso5072p
  • Makerfocus Nano DSO211
  • Siglent sds1102x
  • Siglent Sds1052dl
  • Hantek Dso5202p
  • Siglent sdg1025
  • Sainsmart dso203
  • GDS-320
  • Signstek Nano ARM Ds202
4.9

Summary

In this review, we these oscilloscopes on the basis of different categories, users requirements, quality and prices.


The main criteria we considered

If you want to buy an oscilloscope, you always have a question about the planned use. This means for you: what do you need for it? What do you want to measure it? Is it stationary in a workplace or do you need it on the road? Some important factors should be considered like: the bandwidth, the sampling rate, the number of available channels, the measurement accuracy as well as the storage depth. But what exactly does this information mean? We will tell you what you should pay attention to:

1. Bandwidth

One of the most basic sizes you should look for. The bandwidth determines the maximum frequency of all components of an analog signal that can be detected by the device at maximum. Remember: The highest bandwidth is not always the best choice – where you have to decide from application to application (as with the selection of suitable probes). This is because too high bandwidths can also increase the noise level and the noise (because you also detect much more disturbing and falsifying signal components from outside) or reduce the accuracy and resolution. In principle, the bandwidth should be at least twice the maximum frequency of the transmitted signal. High bandwidth is particularly necessary for high-frequency signals,

Tip: With DSP you can select different bandwidths and thus to adapt to your current circuit. This way, you suppress deliberately distracting secondary signals and noise.

2. Input channels

Buying an oscilloscope means that the flexibility and accuracy of the channels are critical. There is the choice between analog or digital input (a digital input can only detect the state – a 0 or 1 is output via a predefined threshold value). With first insulated data, you can avoid short-circuits during power supply measurements. Of course, you should also consider beforehand how many signals you want to measure. They have one to four channels of the input signal so you can represent and compare up to four measurements at the same time.

3. Input impedance

This value corresponds to the resistance. An oscilloscope usually has the input impedance 1 M-Ohm or 50 Ohm, to load the measuring point (<< 1 MΩ) only slightly. By connecting a probe head, this input resistance can be increased to 10 M-Ohm or more. The input resistor should be tuned to your bandwidth and probes.

4. Sampling rate

The sampling rate is another important point when you want to buy this device. It determines the resolution and accuracy of the measurement decisively – because it determines how many details of the lines and waveforms can be recorded and stored by your analyzer. To do this, you must know that the waveform consists of individual sample points. The more points the wave has, the more accurate and finer it can be displayed. This is roughly comparable to the resolution of an image: the more pixels an image has, the more precise and sharper details are revealed. We recommend that the sampling rate is at least five times higher than the input frequency. Example: 1GHz bandwidth requires 5 Gigasamples of the scanning rate!

5. Saving depth

It stores the detected signals until its memory is filled. The storage depth defines exactly this space required for this. It, therefore, indicates the number of points which can be stored when a complete signal is recorded. The higher the memory depth, the larger the size and the duration of the signal recording.

6. Health navigation & Zoom

An accurate and comfortable navigation allows you to move along the saved graph, to scale your image section horizontally and vertically, and to select the appropriate section to analyze. And especially with great memory depths and very extensive waveforms, a zoom is indispensable for an accurate evaluation. You should pay attention to an easy, controllable navigation and a powerful zoom.

7. Automatic measurement functions

These are various convenience functions to analyze the graph – such as amplitude measurements, temporal measurements, rise times, period duration, etc. Select the appropriate analysis function and read the result.

8. Probes

Probe heads take the desired values, e.g., Voltage, current or optical signals. The scope of delivery usually has at least one probe, more preferably two. This way you get the probes directly you need and are appropriate for the device and do not have to look for suitable probes for your measurement intent.

  • When purchasing probes, be aware that they affect the measuring signals as little as possible (active probes will change the voltages, for example, less than passive costs, but usually also more)
  • Digital probes are to be used with parallel bus (can scan several channels)
  • We advise you in general to compatible system heads, which are calibrated together with the system, can be directly recognized by it and allow special functions.
  • There are different types of probes: hand-held probes with manual holder, soldering probes (for soldering to the signal source), etc.

9. Triggering

Triggering means that you can start the signal acquisition at predefined times (e.g., for individual events). Of course, you need to know what you’re looking for and what events your oscilloscope can trigger. The triggering itself takes place in real time (analog) and causes the detection. 

There are hardware and software triggers as well as probe shapes such as “Visual Triggering”: In this variant, you can, for example, place self-defined areas over the graph and define them as a barrier or transition zone. The trigger jumps in this case only if the signal interacts with the fields you specify (it runs through or does not happen – depending on the settings). 

10. Application support

Some manufacturers like HP who manufacture virtual oscilloscope also offer software packages that are specialized in specific applications, which make the process (measurements, analysis, report) quite simple.

For this, of course, you need to know what you want to measure and capture in what context.

11. Easy operation

Particularly with the intensive use of the device, you will appreciate a good user guidance and intuitive operation quickly. Since such qualities are not apparent from the technical description of the manufacturer, you can check out our detailed tests and product presentations here. Importantly is among other things:

  • Inputs graphical menu guidance, convenient functions
  • Settings can be saved
  • Good cars
  • Straightforward and intuitive selection duties in the context menu via right-click
  • The dashboard is possible: this allows you to compile duties and evaluations individually in a personalized interface
  • Interactive online help

12. Connectivity

Surely your product also needs appropriate connection possibilities. Again, the requirements depend on your application. The following things you should consider:

  • Slot for memory card
  • USB port
  • GPIB
  • Graphics card connector for connecting to an external monitor
  • Printer connection for direct printing
  • Programming interface
  • Data transfer to MS Excel or Word for evaluation
  • LabView for detailed analysis

13. Another scope of delivery

Also, the delivery of a connection cable (usually USB) and corresponding drivers are advantageous so that you can connect the device to your PC, if necessary – with mobile devices – recharge the battery and document the measurements on the PC. For this, of course, a similar PC software is recommended. Certainly, not but with some manufacturers an excellent Drinkable. Apart from this, a printed manual is hardly included in the scope of delivery. Meanwhile, some manufacturers are changing to PDF documents, so the instructions are always up-to-date, even if only in English. Especially in the case of technical and complex topics, laypeople should inform themselves in advance or read our tests.

It is also good for you if the manufacturer has a set of probes for each channel, which also corresponds to the analog bandwidth of the device. So you can get started right away.

In the case of battery-operated devices, you should ensure that the delivery is accompanied by an accuracy or replacement pack or if you have the appropriate batteries in stock. Useful is always an external charger.

14. Display

For the display, the requirements are based on what you prefer. Digital storage oscilloscopes are now available in the handy pocket format, while analog devices have a correspondingly large display due to the cathode ray tube used. In general, if you are looking for mobile devices and have no problem with smartphones, you will certainly be happy with modern oscilloscopes. A screen, which can represent various signals in different colors (usually ~ 65 k), is in principle also advantageous. 


Necessary Accessories

As already said, it is used to represent an electrical voltage over time. The following paragraph explains which components are necessary. It is technically based on a Braun tube (also called Brown tube or cathode ray tube). Some say the name is still a term from physics teaching. In this paragraph, we will clarify the essential components of this product. The Braun tube is an electron beam with a visible electron beam for the temporal depiction of the voltage profile. The structure is as follows:

The Brauner tube directs the electrons, due to electromagnetic fields, so that they fall on different light sources.

  • Cathode: A heated cathode (with voltages between -200 to -800 volts) emits the electrons. These migrate by attraction to the opposite anode.
  • Anode: The anode is opposite the cathode and controls the velocity of the electrons (with applied voltages of +100 to +200 volts). Their speed is so high that the electrons directly pass through the anode.
  • Electron optics / concentrating coils: The electron optics influences the deflection of the electrons in the electric field. So you can control the bundling of the electrons in it. More strong and focused electrons appear in the light-emitting layer as a clearer and sharper point.
  • Wehneltzylinder: Thanks to the Wehneltzylinder you control the intensity and thus the brightness of the bright point on the front screen – the so-called light layer. The strength is influenced by the velocity and density of the electrons.
  • Luminous layer/screen: Here, the deflected electron beams meet and are readable and readable by the user for the measurement.
  • Baffle plates/deflection coils: It is important to know that electrons are the lightest electrically charged elementary particles, but they have an (albeit minuscule) mass. This makes it possible to divert them in their orbit with electromagnetic fields or gravitational forces and to control them in a targeted manner. It is precisely this physical effect that makes use of it: two opposing deflection plates ultimately produce the original line image. As the name implies, they deflect the electron beam in several directions. The X-plates allow the time measurement with their horizontal deflection (left and right). With their vertical deflection (top and bottom) the Y-plates again visualize the voltage measurement.

Frequently Asked Questions

An oscilloscope is an electronic measurement device, which reflects voltages and their course visible on a screen. They are differentiated into analog and digital. The analog devices use a cathode ray tube to display the digital devices over time. It is one of the most important measuring tools in electrical engineering. With such types of devices, you can measure high-frequency electric. Signals in radio, in televisions or even in computers.

1. What is an oscilloscope used for?

Not only the magnitude of a DC or AC voltage can be measured and determined with it, but also its temporal progression. The voltages required for measuring are connected via so-called BNC sockets on the front side using a probe.

It can measure the following variables:

  • The frequency of a Signal or measuring sounds wave
  • The electrical current -> this can be determined, for example, using a current clamp Frequency response of electronic circuits
  • Graphs of pulses on digital microprocessors and circuits
  • The phase shift of a signal with a Lissajous figure

2. Which components are involved in the measurement?

  • It consists of a cathode, which is responsible for the delivery of the electrons.
  • Also, it contains a Wheel cylinder, which influences the brightness of the screen.
  • Also, an electron optic is installed. It is responsible for the deflection of the electrons into an electric field.
  • There is also an anode. Their task is to control the speed of the electrons.
  • Also, baffle plates are present which create an image instead of a bright spot.
  • Another component is the light-emitting layer and the light-emitting point. 

3. How does an oscilloscope work?

In the following list, we explain the most common user functions for an oscilloscope using the above graphic. Certainly, the controls and knobs can vary slightly or be arranged differently on your particular device – but this overview should explain a large part of the controls.

Note: In the following, the term “div” is often mentioned. The abbreviation Div comes from “Dive,” which means “part.” Divis thus in the case for a raster unit.

4. What are the functions of an oscilloscope?

The functions of an oscilloscope are divided into three areas. The users should be careful while using this product.

5. What is triggering in oscilloscope?

To obtain a standing image when measuring with an oscilloscope, the signal to be measured must be properly triggered. Here you can select the channel on how the triggering should take place using a switch. The digital storage oscilloscope has an external trigging input. After running the display, the time-delay generator waits until the measuring signal has the same direction and the same level. Only then it can be triggered again.

6. How to choose an oscilloscope?

I already discussed the considerations areas to choose the best but for technical issues, you should also focus reasons you know the technical issues to be considered.

Best Brands

1. Siglent

SIGLENT is a global high-tech company; They began developing digital oscilloscopes in 2002. After 13 years of research and development, their products include digital, isolated handheld, function/arbitrary waveform generators, DC power supplies, digital multimeters, spectrum analyzers and other general test instruments. They provide the Best Value in Electronic Test & Measurement.

2. Tektronix

They are the measurement insight company committed to performance, and forced by possibilities. They design and manufactures test and measurement solutions to break through the walls of difficulty, and accelerate global innovation. They emphasize greater ease, speed, and accuracy. Their solutions have supported many of humankind’s most significant improvements over the past 70 years. In 2016 they launch TBS2000.

3. Rigol

There are no compromises while you choose a Rigol product. They provide all of the performance and characteristics you require to quickly accomplish your tasks along with the quality and comfortable to use you demand. They believe that you will be delighted with their products & the outstanding value they provide that all backed by a three-year warranty.

4. Hantek

Qingdao Hantek Electronic Co., Ltd. is a producer of general instruments specializes in composition, product, marketing, and service. It is an industry in national level with new and powerful technology which has passed the ISO9001:2008 global quality management system certification and ISO14001:2004 environmental management system certification. Hantek has several possible different type innovations. The absolute power of Hantek has improved day by day after more than ten years service and development, and the constant innovation in science and technology. Hantek has built up an active fighting team and formed an excellent national machine brand.

5. SainSmart

SainSmart is a professional Open Hardware company specializing in Maker products ranging from Development Boards and Sensors to Motors and Testing Tools. They aim to meet the comprehensive demands of any and all electronics hobbyists. SainSmart strives to give top-notch high-grade products at prices that even the most cost-conscious buyers cannot resist.

12 Comments

  1. David Martindale

    The Siglent SDG-1025 (item #6) is a signal generator, not an oscilloscope! It does not belong in this review at all.

  2. GW Instek Announces New 50Ω Impedance Adapter (GAK-003) Option for the GDS-2000A Series Digital Storage Oscilloscopes… Do you think GDS-1000B is better than GDS-2000A?

    • Thanks, cooper. This it should be offered as a standard option with every new Oscilloscope. similar third-party solutions retail at 40 – 50 USD. The GDS-1000B is better in some cases like its providing 100 MHz, 70 MHz, 50MHz compared to GDS-2000A it’s providing 70 MHz. But the price of GDS-2000A is quite similar.
      On the other hand, GDS-2000A is providing some facilities like- 80,000 wfm/s Waveform Update Rate and VPO Technique, Function Generator Option, Upgrade to Mixed Signal Oscilloscope (MSO), Design for Plugged-in Options, Segmented Memory, Zoom Window, Mixed Signal Oscilloscope(MSO), Complete Trigger Functions, 36 Automatic Measurement, Data Log, CAN/LIN Bus trigger and analysis, Advanced Logic,Various Interfaces Support, Option of DDS Signal Generators.

  3. Thanks Alex.

  4. Alex you are really great and thanks again for your help and after your review I bought it and its really working like a pro 🙂

  5. What probes would I be able to use with this degree that will enable me to take a gander at 50 microvolt motions between 500 Hz and 30 MHz in Siglent Technologies SDS1052DL?

    • If you have a known pickup intensifier that will work at 50 UV and in any event appear on your most reduced vert. Input setting it should work OK for you. I’ve utilized this procedure. You would utilize an x-1 test. An unpleasant estimation on an adjusted beneficiary would be an S-9 perusing on its S-meter.

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