Owon XDM1141 Bench Multimeter: Excellent Value for Money (Review)

    • by Harry Baggen
    • Reading time: 7 min

    Every electronics engineer with a home lab has probably looked now and then for a bench multimeter to expand their instrumentation. But such a device must offer many functions and good specs, and it must also be affordable. In that case, the new Owon XDM1141 could be a good choice!

    Every electronics engineer, who has his own home lab for his electronics hobby, has probably looked now and then for a bench multimeter to expand his instrumentation. But such a device must offer many functions and good specs, and it must also be affordable. In that case, the new Owon XDM1141 could be a good choice!

    Owon XDM1141 front
    The Owon XDM1141 comes with a power cable, a USB cable and test probes with alligator clips.

    The XDM1141 is the latest addition to a series of budget table multimeters from the Chinese manufacturer Owon. In recent years, this company has specialised in measuring equipment that offers good quality for a very affordable price.

    A benchtop multimeter is often a better choice than a handheld multimeter in a home lab because the device can be placed stationary between the other devices, and it is also equipped with a mains power supply, so you can easily leave it on all day. The Owon XDM1141 is the successor to the well-known XDM1041, which is very popular among electronics enthusiasts. It has adopted many features from its predecessor, but is now equipped with a (in my opinion) better enclosure.


    The plastic case is neatly finished, and with dimensions of 20x8.8x15 cm, it is somewhat deeper than its predecessor, the XDM1041. This has the advantage that the meter stands more stable on the table, although you still have to hold the case before pressing a key to prevent it from slipping. The front plate and all keys are identical to those of the XDM1041, the options and settings have also remained the same. There is a support at the bottom with which the front of the meter can be raised slightly.

    Owon Xdm1141 rear
    There is room for a fan on the side, but this is not necessary with this meter.

    The back of the device contains a mains entrance (including a support for the mains fuse) and a USB connector for connection to a PC. Using the Windows software that can be downloaded from Owon, you can operate and read the meter on your computer. In addition to the usual measuring functions, the meter also contains a data record function that makes it possible to save measured values manually or automatically. In auto mode, the user can set the interval time and the number of readings to be recorded (max. 1000).

    Possibilities of the Owon XDM1141

    The large and clear display with a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels shows the measured value and the functions of the soft keys located to the right of the display. The brightness is adjustable in four steps. The maximum measured value is 55,000 (4.5 digits). The measuring speed can be set to low, mid and high. At low this is slightly more than one measurement/s and at high approximately 2.5 measurements/s. The autoranging function works well, but requires quite some time for the correct setting. It sometimes takes a few seconds before the correct range is found and the measured value appears. You also have to be patient with capacitance measurements, with larger electrolytic capacitors (100 µF and more) the measuring time quickly increases to more than 10 s.

    The Utility button provides access to various settings, such as display brightness, type of temperature sensor, the maximum resistance for the continuity tester at which it must respond and the maximum forward voltage for the diode tester. There are also settings for a serial port, which refers to the USB connection. The buzzer produces a fairly loud beep, but can be turned off in the menu. It is a pity that all settings made are not saved when switching off, as far as I have noticed, only the display brightness is saved. Finally, there is also a time setting for the built-in clock with backup battery.

    Owon Xdm1141 screen 1
    The display is bright and easy to read, even at an angle.

    With the Dual button, you can display the frequency in addition to the AC voltage. Pressing this button again switches the voltage and frequency reading on the display. The Math button offers the option to show the maximum, minimum and average value on the display below the measured value and there is a dB function where the load resistance can be set, and a relative measurement can be performed.

    XDM1141 Accuracy

    To test the accuracy of the Owon XDM1141, I compared it with two professional meters with a basic accuracy of respectively 0.02% and 0.03%. In all ranges, the accuracy is excellent, well within specifications. VDC in particular is excellent (better than the specified basic accuracy of 0.05%). During AC voltage measurements, I noticed that the meter did not show a value below 50 mV in the AC voltage range in the auto mode. If you manually switch to the mVAC range, values below 50 mV will be displayed correctly above approximately 5 mV. When using the dual function (VAC + freq.) the frequency display starts to work above about 190 mV. The displayed value remains accurate up to approximately 4 kHz and then slowly decreases. That is much better than the value Owon specifies (up to 1 kHz).

    Owon Xdm1141 screen 2
    Up to 1000 readings can be stored in the internal memory.

    For the frequency/period time measurement, a minimum input voltage of approximately 380 mVRMS is required for a stable frequency value. At higher frequencies the input sensitivity decreases, but with about 1 VRMS the specified range of 60 MHz can still be achieved (measuring such frequencies is not easy with two banana jacks as inputs). DC- and AC-current measurements remain neatly within the specs of Owon (0.15% and 0.5% respectively). Very nice is the high resolution of current measurements (0.01 µA). Resistance measurements are also accurate, usually within 0.1%. Capacitance measurements show somewhat larger deviations that are close to the manufacturer's specifications (2.5% and 5% for larger values), but many multimeters have difficulty with this (the only solution for this is a good LCR meter). The meter cannot measure values below approximately 600…700 pF, it simply remains at zero (for some reason it does work if you activate the Rel function). Temperature measurements are also possible, you can choose between a K-type thermocouple and a PT100 sensor. I have only briefly tried this function with a thermocouple, but in the absence of a suitable reference the accuracy has not been checked; at room temperature the display showed at least a few degrees too little.


    The Windows program DMMEasyControl is available on the Owon website, with which the meter can be operated and read from a PC. To install the program, you must first download and install NI-VISA software from National Instruments, a package that is used by several measurement equipment manufacturers as the basis for their software.

    Owon XDM1141 PC software
    DMMEasyControl allows the meter to be controlled via the computer.

    DMMEasyControl is a fairly basic program that allows you to control all functions of the meter. There is a data record function to save a number of measured values in an Excel sheet via the PC, and the measurement series stored in the XDM1141 can also be transferred to an Excel sheet via 'Device data export'. The XDM1141 can be further controlled using SCPI commands. Owon offers an extensive manual with an explanation of all commands for this purpose.


    The Owon XDM1141 has a lot to offer for the money you pay for it. In this price range, there are few multimeters that combine so many options and such good accuracy. Unfortunately, there are also some minor imperfections, such as not remembering settings made and the fact that small AC input voltages and capacities are not displayed. These are issues that can probably be resolved with a firmware update. Apart from these comments, the Owon XDM1141 is a great bench multimeter with an excellent price/performance ratio.



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