LAST UPDATED: January 11th, 2021
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An oscilloscope is a machine that is used to measure the ups and downs in the voltage of flowing electric current. Usually, this data is shown in the form of a two-dimensional graph on the screen of the instrument.
If you are someone working at a lab or are interested in working with electrical appliances, then you must be very familiar with this particular equipment.
However, often, it is seen that the most well-known and sophisticated forms of oscilloscopes available in the market are quite expensive.
But we have good news for you. To ease your worry, we have come up with a list of the best oscilloscope under 500 dollars.
The comprehensive review will provide you with some of the best quality products that won’t put a strain on your budget.
Best Oscilloscope under $500 Comparison 2021
Last update on 2021-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Oscilloscope under $500 Review in 2021
This list of top oscilloscope under 500 bucks has only picked the most trusted and good quality items. So, without any hesitation, you can follow the list. Without further ado, let’s take a look at our top 10 picks:
Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscopes
A digital oscilloscope converts its input signals into a digital signal and displays it on an LCD monitor in the form of a two-dimensional graph. This model from Rigol is also a digital Oscilloscope.
Despite being just under 500 dollars, this scope is worth the value. It is packed with amazing features that can help any lab worker or hobbyist carry out their electrical tests with great ease.
To start on its features, the machine has a bandwidth of about 50MHz. This means that it can accept electrical signals from appliances having a signal frequency below or equal to 50MHz.
Moreover, the machine can simultaneously accept signals from 4 different channels. It also comes with easy to use control buttons. The monitor gives a detailed report of the signals analyzed.
The memory space of this scope is also commendable. With a storage capacity of 24 Mpt, you can store a lot of information at once and view it later on. On top of this, it has a sampling speed of 1 GSa/sec, which is great for measuring both static and fluctuating signals.
Last but not least, the machine is quite light. And it is made of plastic. This gives you easy portability. You can also carry the instrument with ease.
Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E
This product from Siglent Technologies is a unique oscilloscope that displays the information it has gathered in waveforms on its monitor. As you can tell by its name, this is a digital scope, meaning it can convert the signals into digital outputs.
Moreover, this instrument has a frequency bandwidth of 200 MHz, which is greater than the first pick on our list. Having a frequency of 200 MHz means that the machine is capable of working with electrical appliances of different signal ranges.
On top of that, the instrument supports a real-time sampling rate of 1GSa/sec, which is great to view detailed information on an oscilloscope’s monitor. This is also the standard speed used in most quality scopes. On top of this, the instrument can record information at a length of 14 Mpts.
You must be wondering as to what other great features are present in this scope that makes it so unique. Well, to satiate your curiosity, the scope has a color temperature display and an intensity-graded trace function.
This means that the monitor displays the signals in different colors according to their intensity. For example, the most frequent events are represented by the color red, while the lesser occurring events are represented by the color blue.
Siglent Technologies SDS1052DL+
Another product from Siglent is the SDS1052DL model, which is a more affordable alternative to the previous model mentioned by the same manufacturer. It costs less than that model but has quite similar features to it. The only downside is its bandwidth.
Whereas the other model’s bandwidth is 200MHz, this one comes with a frequency spectrum of 50MHz. However, this range is not bad in any way as it can adapt to a variety of electrical appliances.
This model, too, can work on two different signals at a time due to its double-channel facility. It gives you the freedom to analyze two signals simultaneously. Moreover, you can use this instrument for various purposes, such as designing an electrical product and assembly lines.
On top of this, you can repair broken appliances using this instrument. Engineering students will be greatly benefitted from buying this machine due to its low price and efficient functioning.
The speed of showcasing data of this model is a bit less than the standard speed. It is 500MS/s. But despite this shortcoming, you can comfortably analyze any electrical signal with ease by using this scope.
Not only this, but the machine also has a record length of 32Kpts per channel. This gives you the ability to store and view a detailed analysis of the captured signals. Its display is also of extremely high resolution.
Related Review: Beginner oscilloscope review and buying guide.
Rigol DS1102E 100MHz
Another great product from Rigol has made it to this list due to its amazing features and affordability. To start, this oscilloscope is fully digital, which means it can analyze its inputs into digital outputs.
Moreover, it has a frequency bandwidth of 100 MHz that makes it adaptable with a range of electrical devices. A range of additional components is also available, along with its package.
This product is very lightweight and can be easily carried. Thus, if you like to work on a lab often, you can use this machine comfortably due to its portability.
Another great information about the features of this product is its availability of 2 analog channels. This gives you the ability to analyze analog signals along with digital signals.
We haven’t mentioned the display speed of this machine yet. This instrument has a standard sampling rate of 1GSa/sec. Moreover, it comes with a wide storage capacity, which is as big as 1 million points.
Thus, you can save your analyzed data and view it later on. The screen of this instrument has a dimension of 5.7 inches.
SainSmart DSO212 Pocket Size Portable
The fifth pick on our list comes from SainSmart, which is already a well-known manufacturer of oscilloscopes in the market. This product is unique and different from the ones mentioned before due to several of its features.
And the first and foremost notable feature of this instrument is its easy portability. This machine is fully handheld and, therefore, can be carried with you like a cell phone.
As you can see by its name, the machine is mini in size as well. Despite being mini, it has all the features needed in a good oscillator under 500 dollars.
For example, the machine has a monitor enabled with a full-color display. The display shows detailed data analysis and can scrutinize different types of signals like AC, sine, square, sawtooth, and triangle waveforms.
This machine has extremely smooth operability. You can use it as a smartphone by swiping through its screen. It also has some tapping buttons. Moreover, the machine can even be kept inside your pocket.
And if you want to transfer or store the data that you have analyzed, the 8MB storage capacity of the machine will enable you to do so. On top of this, for various tasks that require the experimenter to move from one location to another, this instrument is a perfect choice.
Hantek DSO5072P Digital Oscilloscope
This oscilloscope from Hantek is completely digital and comes in a range of frequencies. The greatest benefit of having this scope is its handle, which enables you to carry it easily like a suitcase.
Moreover, its weight is quite low, which adds to its portability. The machine has several bandwidth settings, such as 200 MHz, 100 MHz, to 70MHz. According to your needs, you can choose the frequency that you prefer the most.
Also, the display of this instrument is quite large. It has dimensions of about 7 inches, which is greater than most of the other options mentioned on this list. Along with this, the display of the monitor is fully colored and is telecasted in WVGA format.
The instrument has a standard sampling rate of 1GSa/s. This rate is suitable for real-time sampling, which allows you to analyze fluctuating signals.
Moreover, the storage capacity of this scope is also quite satisfactory. With a record length of 40K, you can store your data to view it later on. Along with this, the machine also has several trigger modes enabled.
This oscilloscope from OWON has set itself into a class apart of its own by providing amazing features similar to an expensive oscilloscope despite being a budget one.
It comes with four channels that give it the ability to work on four signals at once. Thus, your productivity at the lab will increase. Moreover, it has a frequency bandwidth of 100MHz that allows you to work with a range of electrical appliances.
Another great feature of this instrument is its LCD monitor that can be controlled using its touch features. Thus, you won’t have to take the trouble of pressing hard buttons that are uncomfortable to press and prone to breakage.
Moreover, this scope has a standard speed of 1GS/s per channel. Therefore, you can analyze different types of instruments with ease.
This machine has a wfms of 45000 per second. You can also refresh the instrument quickly to prepare it for analyzing new data.
On top of this, it has a great storage capacity of about 40M. You can view the detailed analysis of a widescreen monitor of 8 inches. It is also enabled with an LCD color display. On top of this, the machine has USB ports, allowing you to transfer data.
Tektronix TBS1052B Digital Storage
Tektronix is a well-known manufacturer of oscilloscopes. It has set a great precedent for others to follow by producing scopes of different sizes, features, and prices. This particular model from Tektronix also maintains its legacy.
The model is available in a range of frequencies. But you have to pay an additional price if you want an upgrade on your frequency. The higher you pay, the wider your options are for analyzing more electrical appliances.
This instrument has a long list of great features. For example, it has an amazing color display with great resolution. Its TFT display comes with a dimension of 7 inches. The fluctuations and drops on the voltage of electric currents are displayed in the form of two-dimensional waveforms on its monitor.
Another amazing feature of this machine is its ability to reduce noise. The absence of a fan makes this possible. And the best feature of this instrument is its high sampling rate. Unlike the other oscilloscopes mentioned on this list, the sampling rate of this machine is 2GS/s.
Moreover, you can analyze two signals at a time by using its two channels. The recording speed of this scope is 2.5 kpts per channel. Lastly, the monitor of this device has a very user-friendly interface and even has the option to zoom in.
This is another model from Hantek that has some upgraded features from the one mentioned before. For example, this oscilloscope has a bandwidth of 100MHz, which gives you the ability to work with a wider range of electronic appliances.
Moreover, this machine is fully digital, thus providing more modern features for your use. This model, too, follows the standard sampling rate of the scope market, which is 1GSa/s.
However, this sampling rate is only applicable to analyzing real-time data. This means you can only analyze fluctuating signals with it. Apart from all this, the machine has a large display of 7 inches.
The resolution of its screen is amazing, and it lets you view your analyzed data in a detailed manner. Also, the interface is showcased in WVGA format. You can even record the data at a length of up to 40K. Thus, you can save your data and view it later.
Not only this, but the machine has also trigger mode enabled and can connect with other devices via its USB port.
Siglent Technologies SDS1102X
The last pick on our list is from Siglent. But that doesn’t mean that it’s in any way less than its alternatives mentioned on this list. In fact, some of its features are unique and sets itself on par with some of the best oscilloscopes on the market. This scope is also a digital one that serves you with the most modern features.
First of all, the sampling rate of this machine is 1GSa/second. As you are aware by now, this is the standard speed used in the market.
On top of this, the instrument can analyze data on two channels at a time, offering you greater flexibility. Not only this, but the data of this device can also be shared through a USB and LAN device.
Another great feature of this machine is its sensitivity range towards UV rays. It can endure UV rays as high as up to a measurement of 500. You can also record the data shown on this device at a record length of 14mpts.
And to top all of this off, the different waveforms displayed on this machine follows intensity grading. Thus, the frequently occurring events are displayed in one color, while the ones occurring less frequently are displayed in another.
What to Look for in an Oscilloscope Under 500?
At this point, you must know what an oscilloscope is, what it does, and what some of the best oscilloscopes to buy under 500 dollars are. However, one question you might still have in mind is the features that you need to look for to purchase a good scope.
Depending on the type of oscilloscope you need, the features might differ. Firstly, determine whether you are going to work with this machine regularly or occasionally.
You should also determine your budget and frequency capacity that you want to analyze. However, let’s look at the common features you need to look for before you make your purchase:
Checking the frequency range of the scope is very important before purchasing it. This is known as its bandwidth, and it tells you the range of devices that your machine is compatible with.
The higher the frequency bandwidth, the greater will be the accuracy of your scope. It is recommended that you pick a bandwidth that is five times greater than the ones you are planning to measure.
However, if you only work with a scope occasionally, you can easily pick a 100MHz equipment.
The sampling rate indicates how many samples a scope can measure per second. So, the higher is this rate; the greater is the ability of the machine to detect faster changes in signals.
Usually, two types of sampling rates are available in most digital scopes. These are known as ETS and RTS. ETS is used to measure stable signals, while RTS is used to measure fluctuating ones.
The number of channels available in an oscilloscope tells you how many signals you can analyze simultaneously.
Usually, most modern scopes have a channel range of 2-4. If you are someone who occasionally works with a scope, then the two-channel equipment is enough for you.
On the other hand, if you regularly work on a lab, then you can purchase a four-channel scope.
Since we have already mentioned on the heading of this article that all the picks on this list have a price range below 500, so all of these should be well within your budget.
However, if you have a much lower budget, you can buy yourself a DIY kit to test basic circuits in order to practice and then move on to a more advanced one.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main differentiating feature of a digital oscilloscope?
A digital oscilloscope has the ability to convert inputs into digital signals. You can also view this digital signal using an LCD monitor.
Why should one purchase a mixed-signal oscilloscope?
If you are planning to analyze both digital and analog signals at once, then you can purchase a mixed-signal oscilloscope.
What mechanism is used by an analog scope to display its data?
A cathode-ray tube is used by an analog scope in order to show its data in the manner of waves.
How does an oscilloscope run?
There are different power sources that an oscilloscope can use, such as a battery, a wire, or even a generator.
What are the benefits of purchasing a digital oscilloscope?
The biggest benefit of purchasing a digital scope is its availability of more modern features that are unavailable in the analog ones.
We hope that this list of the ten oscilloscopes under 500 was helpful for you. So, the next time you go to the store to purchase this instrument, make sure to refer back to this article. We are sure that you will not be disappointed.