Pros: Alligator clips a must-have for all Fluke meters, stronger lead-wires, thinner and easier probe tips.
Cons: $40 pricetag is a bit steep for occasional meter users.
----- About The TL20 Kit -----
If you need a quality digital multimeter, most tradesmen and electricians wouldnt hesitate to recommend any of Flukes many models. Ive used the excellent Fluke 87 meter for over 7 years, and I conclude the only downfall to their line of meters is the average quality of the factory-included test leads and probes. I would say that purchasing the TL20 Test Lead kit is almost a necessity. This kit is mid-level in the line of Fluke accessories, with many individual test probes available for about $15 a set, and the $99 all-inclusive TL81A 20-piece kit at the high end of the spectrum.
The TL20 kit includes:
*** 1 set of TL24 (63") silicone-insulated test leads, with cold/heat resistance from -112?F to + 302?F (-80?C to + 150?C). Silicone insulation plus 384 internal strands provide improved flexibility, superior resistance to oil, chemicals and other contaminants, less likely to tangle, and redesigned overall with improved tear resistance. Standard diameter banana plug connectors (one right angle and one straight) are shrouded to prevent accidental contact, and have integral strain relievers. 10A rating. CAT III 1000V rated.
*** 1 set of AC20 Electrical Alligator Clips, class leading safety grip and spring-loaded jaws with wide 20mm opening. Jaws are shielded on exposed surfaces to prevent accidental contact. 10A rating. CAT III 1000V rated.
*** 1 set of Slim-Reach Test Probes offer safety with slender, slim-reach bodies and stainless steel tips. Narrower than standard test probes, slim-reach are effective for reaching closely spaced deep test points or recessed terminals. All slim-reach probes are rated for 10 amps, and may be used in 1000V CAT III environments.
NOTE: The TL23F Electrical Test Lead Set includes TP1 Slim-Reach test probes, with flat 1.78 mm x 2.79 mm (0.07 in x 0.11 in) blades designed to hold securely in blade type electrical wall sockets, typically found in North America.
----- Why Do I Need This Kit (and can I save my 40 bucks)? -----
The standard test probes included with Fluke meters have a thick point on them, which makes it very difficult to test outlets or thin plug openings. They also have a large (1) finger guard to prevent your fingers from sliding into the probe tip and an accidental shock. The downside to this is you cant test points which are close together since the finger guards collide with each other. Since they are probes and not clamps you must keep both hands on the probes at all times. Attempting to jam or otherwise force the probes into a hands-free position can crack the object being tested, or more often than not the probe will still fall out and no reading is taken.
The slim-reach test probes are a big improvement since they dont have any finger guard to block the probes from co-habitation in a tight area. They also have a thinner probe tip for more versatility and easier access to small test points.
The AC20 alligator clip leads are the BEST accessory for any meter, bar none. They allow you to lock onto a set of test points and then have both hands free to operate the object being tested or change meter parameters. Ive found one of the most common uses for the AC20 gators is to clip one onto a ground source and use a probe on the other lead to check for readings at multiple sources.
Fluke knew what they were doing when they designed the TL24 silicone test leads, and thankfully they eliminated several problems with their lower end leads. The stock wires have a tendency to fail when they are pulled hard or jerked. Extra reinforcement was added to the exterior and the wire has more strands inside, both add to the extra strength. These leads are 10-12 longer than the standard leads included with most meters. This helps when you need that extra length required for hard to reach areas. Finally, the silicone exterior is slipperier and much less likely to tangle; Fluke wasnt just making a boast on that advertised point. My meter is housed in a Fluke C100 DMM case, and it has plenty of opportunities to tangle if it wants to. Thanks to the silicone leads, its always easy to shake the wires back to straight again.
----- Final Comments -----
Whether you use you Fluke a little or a lot, the TL20 accessory kit is a really helpful addition to your meter. If you have a cheaper meter than my Fluke 87
you may have trouble swallowing the $40 MSRP price, but you can find them for about $30 street price. Check your local Grainger store, they sometimes have sales on Fluke equipment. If you cant spring for the whole kit, at least try and find a set of the AC20 gator clips I would go nuts trying to use my meter without them.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment!