How to Choose the Best Oscilloscope for Beginners

The best oscilloscope  is a great tool for beginner electronics hobbyists and is a must-have for anyone starting out in this field. Choosing the right one for your needs is important to avoid disappointment and frustration. In this article we’ll look at the features of several entry-level options to help you make an informed decision when purchasing your first oscilloscope.

The first thing to consider is what type of signals you want to use it for. Oscilloscopes come with either two, four, or more analog channels. More channels mean you can compare multiple signals at once or combine them mathematically (such as multiplying a voltage signal by its current to calculate power).

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Another consideration is the device’s maximum frequency of operation. This is important for both determining how much detail you can see and avoiding interference from other sources such as nearby electrical devices. The next factor to consider is the device’s rise time, which indicates how quickly it can track a fast-changing signal. This is especially important when using the device to identify intermittent problems.

Lastly, consider the device’s memory depth and sample rate. The more data the device can store, the more detailed the waveform it will capture. A higher sample rate also ensures that you can see even the fastest signals.

The Siglent SDS1202X-E Digital Storage Oscilloscope is our top pick because it has many of the features that are most important to beginning hobbyists and is at an affordable price. This option has a sample rate of 1 GSa/s, a deeper memory of 12 Mpts which is upgradable to 24 Mpts, a 30,000 wfms/s waveform capture rate and a 7″ color display.