The T5 is as reliable as a good, old-fashioned “wiggy” voltage tester, but adds the functionality of a digital multimeter (DMM) and an AMP meter combined. I’ve found the T5 to be a bit more robust than the average DMM and very reliable for a device in this price range. More importantly, it has a “fork” or “OpenJaw” that can be extended over a current-carrying cable so that it acts like an AMP-clamp, except you don’t have to maneuver or close the jaws, making it quicker and easier to use. The fork is also a lot less intrusive and requires less space than the old open-and-clamp design. Perfect for a cramped motor panel or junction box. For most functioning/troubleshooting, it’s helpful to know first if there is voltage and then if there is current (the garden hose comparison: do I have water pressure? is water flowing?). And, for service work for instance, it’s great to be able to check both voltage and amperage of a motor running with one very lightweight, ergonomic tool.
I have been using a range of Flukes for well over 20 years — everything from a multimeter to a scope meter and other devices. However, this relatively small unit remains my go-to instrument. It is the first one I grab both at home as well as on my job (I oversee the installation of packaging lines nationwide and, at times, do trouble shooting on pieces of automated equipment). There are two version of the T5, the 1000 and 600 models. The main difference between the T5-1000 and the T5-600 is their maximum voltage ratings, 1000 and 600 VAC respectively. To me, the relatively small price difference between the 600 and 1000 was worth it, but for general work around the house, the 600 should be perfect.