best beginner oscilloscopes for hobbyists , student and engineers

3 Proven best oscilloscopes for beginners & hobbyists [2019]

Hay there, hope you are doing right. Looking for some recommendations on the best oscilloscopes for beginners, not for just the best beginner oscilloscopes but for the best scopes in general. Then you landed on the right page.

An oscilloscope is a fundamental instrument for every electronics engineer, professional, or hobbyist to measure or analyze changes in any electrical signal. It displays an electrical signal with respect to time, so you can see every detail of the signal i.e. its shape, frequency, amplitude.

However, getting your own oscilloscope can be a tricky task. You may have a lot of questions in mind, like what parameters should I look for? What should be the price range for a beginner oscilloscope?  What are the best brands out there in the market? And perhaps a lot more.

In this post, I try to answer the above question and try to help you in finding the quality oscilloscope.

Hopefully, this post will help you.

The best beginner oscilloscopes

Well, I just cannot emphasize how much an oscilloscope is the basic need of every electronics hobbyist or beginner or any person involved in electronics. If you are thinking to learn or go with electronics without an oscilloscope, you are wrong.

The best beginner oscilloscope that many field professionals recommend and use is either the Tektronix TBS1032B, or the Rigol DS1054Z, or the Siglent SD1052DL. All these are from famous brands that have proved themselves in the market for years. You can pick any of them according to your requirements and budget.

Let’s see what I get for you below.

Famous oscilloscopes brands

There are a lot of manufacturers out there making all kinds of oscilloscopes i.e. Analog and Digital. Digital scopes are far better than analog as they have the storing capability and plenty of other options.  On the other hand, analog scopes have a high resolution as they are displaying the signal in real-time.

Why?

Because in digital scope we have ADC (Analog to digital conversion), while in analog there is no ADC process. But clearly, we don’t use old analog scopes anymore in general. So, clear your mind from the old scope and give your mind a clear answer that we are going to use the only digital scope.

Moving to our main topic, I find the following five brands the best (not written on the base of any kind of ranking, I liked it that way):

  • Tektronix
  • Keysight
  • Siglent
  • Rigol
  • Hantek

I am not just saying it in the air. I mean it. They are the best, they are in the industry for quite a long time. Everyone who used scope from these brands is happy with it. They are global brands and have a proven track record. I am sure if you are graduating from engineering university you may have seen a scope from these brands in your labs.

Let’s see how are they competing with one another on Google and their overall brand presence.

The above trends chart is live. So, there may occur changes in it.

The time I am writing this post, Tektronix is at the top of the game. It has more brand signals and presence than the rest. So, at this time for me and for you all Tektronix is the best brand among the above listed according to Google. It may change with time.

How are the best oscilloscopes priced?

Prices of oscilloscopes are based on many parameters but mostly on the following two:

  • The Bandwidth
  • The Sample Rate
  • Number of channels

The higher the above parameters, the higher are the prices. That is the reason I am asking you to pay close attention to your highest frequency in your required measurements. See my following articles if you want a detailed study of parameters and things to consider before buying an oscilloscope:

Now, I think we have enough information that we can see at the proven best oscilloscopes for beginners and can select the one best for us.

1. Beginner oscilloscope from Tektronix

This is a great deal, this model got everything. You will simply fall in love with this model. It got a lot of bandwidth ranges. I am sure it will match your required bandwidth.

best beginner oscciloscopes for hobbiysts

Important Features:

  • It got a 5-year warranty, which is amazing. 
  • Option to select the bandwidth of your choice. For your information, It has 30MHz, 50MHz, 70MHz, 100MHz, 150MHz, and 200MHz. This is crazy and too amazing.
  • The sample rate of 2GS/s, unbelievable.
  • For 30MHz bandwidth, it costs $425. For 200 MHz bandwidth, it will cost you $1766. I think this is a very decent price range for a beginner.
  • Most importantly it has UL Certified, CE approved, CAT II 300V safety rated. If you don’t know about these terms just keep in mind for short they are safety standards. 
  • They are very quiet during operation, as they got no cooling fan which means greater reliability.

In summary, the Tektronix TBS1032B (Amazon link) has got everything a beginner or professional need for his projects. 


2. Beginner Oscilloscope from Rigol

The best alternatives to the above brand are the Rigol, Siglent and Hantek brands. I am sure, you may have heard of these brands in your own research on best oscilloscopes if this post is not your very first. These brands are popular and trying their best to provide their customers with the best products.

Talking about the specific brand, Rigol,  is a well-known company, making digital oscilloscopes since 1999. Its products have been used worldwide and people are very much satisfied with its products. I found that they have great customer services, and answer any question you ask them.

best oscilloscopes

 

Important Features:

  • The model has 4 channels, best for car diagnosis. And if you are dealing with a lot of signals at once, this model is for you.
  • 50MHz bandwidth, same as the above model and can be upgraded, so don’t worry.
  • 1 GSa/s real-time sample rate
  • External triggering
  • Math functions including FFT
  • 12 Mpts memory depth, this is upgradeable to 24 Mpts
  • 30,000 wfms/s Waveform capture rate, this is so impressive
  • Comes in nice packing and has a beautiful bright screen.
  • It feels so great, one enjoys working with it

In summary, the Rigol DS1054Z (Amazon Link) Digital Oscilloscope is the second choice in selecting the best oscilloscope for beginners. You can use it as a student and can analysis your projects with it.


3. Beginner Oscilloscope from Siglent

Siglent Technology is new to oscilloscope industry but its models are too reliable and affordable. I did research on its every model, read people reviews, saw videos, and used my own engineering knowledge to compare it with other brands. In the end, I am very happy and positive about this brand, and decide to list it in my best oscilloscopes list.

As I said, there are a lot of models from this brand. But, in my opinion, this is the best suited for beginners and hobbyists people. I personally like this model too much and it is just beautiful.

best digital oscilloscope

Important Features:

  • It has got 50MHz bandwidth, a kind of ideal for a beginner person
  • The sample rate of 500MS/s, this is the real-time making the scope so powerful.
  • A lot of math functions including FFT function. This feature is important if you want to analyze signal in the frequency domain.
  • Two channels and with external triggering option
  • Memory depth of 32Kpts, this is a kind of low but it is that too much bad.
  • Huge bright and color display i.e. 18 Division on the horizontal line and 8 on vertical
  • Quick boot time, small size, and feels very solid
  • Computer connectivity includes old RS-232 and new USB connection
  • USB storage for saving purposes
  • Pass/Fail out the connection

In summary, the Siglent SD1052DL (Amazon Link) is my best oscilloscope for complete beginners, electronic hobbyists, and electrical engineering students. It will be a tool to measure all your signals, sum them, subtract them, give you the power of each signal, give you the frequency content of it.


Comparison chart

See the comparison. You see Tektronix is the most expensive but most powerful among them all. But Rigol beats it in the number of channels. Compare your requirement and budget and go for one. They are all the best beginner oscilloscopes.

Yaman Electronics

Are there other great options available?

Obviously, there are many models you can check online. You will see some USB scopes too, just do not go for them. They are not really good until you buy a high-quality one.

From Hantek

I do not think Hantek needs any introduction for the majority of you people. It is well known for providing best quality beginner oscilloscopes. It has all the features as in the above oscilloscopes.

I love the model DSO5072P from Hantek for the beginners out there. It is simply amazing.

best beginner oscciloscopes for hobbiysts

Important Features:

  • It has got the bandwidth of 70MHz which is comparable with the above-mentioned models
  • No of measuring channels are 2, pretty standard
  • The sample rate of 1GS/s, more than the above Siglent model
  • Got memory depth 40K, not impressive but decent
  • 8bit of ADC resolution

In summary, the Hantek DSO5072P (Amazon Link) can be the best alternatives to the above ones if someone is low on budget. It is the most inexpensive scope I listed so far.

From Keysight

The only problem with Keysight which made me not to include it in beginner list of oscilloscopes is, it costs you a high amount of money.

But you know something if you can buy this model, the DSOX1102A. It will be your lifetime oscilloscope unless you get more professional in electronics and there happens the demand for larger bandwidth and other stuff. 

See yourself this model Keysight DSOX1102A on Amazon.

Best usage of these beginner oscilloscopes

I don’t know what you are going to do with these scopes. Good luck with what you gonna do with them. I created the list of applications, which I think can be effectively done by the above listed scopes.

  • Engineering undergraduate students, electricians
  • Automotive diagnosis
  • Camshaft/crankshaft correlation and reading signals from sensors
  • Instrumentation work
  • Robotic projects
  • For playing around with pulse width modulation (PWM)
  • Remote measurements
  • Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects
  • Electronics product development
  • Electronics diagnostics/troubleshooting

Final words on best oscilloscopes

Every scope I talked above is best in its own way. It depends on your budget and requirements, how you choose it.

I shared everything I want myself to be told. Personally, I think, finding the best oscilloscope for beginners or for anyone in the second task. The first task is to find the brand you can trust and has a proven track record. Then I look for a buying guide to educate myself about the important parameters. This is my personal approach to buy anything. I used the same strategy here too.

Using the above stratgy I found the following the top brands:

  • Tektronix
  • Keysight
  • Siglent
  • Rigol
  • Hantek

Besides the brands, bandwidth, sample rate, and number channels are the price defining factors. So, you need to pay close attention to these parameters when going for the best oscilloscope.

I hope you have found great value here. And if you are the reader who jumps to summery and then read the whole article, brother I got you, I am sure you will enjoy more than this boring conclusion.

Thank you and have a good life.


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