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How to Choose An Oscilloscope and What Features Are Important

Oscilloscopes are very useful in everyday life, especially to students, engineers, technicians, etc. They are used to measure the voltage and frequency of the signals generated by electrical equipment and other electrical circuits.

There are many oscilloscopes in the market, but the best one is the oscilloscope that meets your needs. The first thing you should do when buying an oscilloscope is decide on the features you need. In this article, I will show you seven ways to choose an oscilloscope.

You need to determine if you need a digital or analog oscilloscope.

1. Digital oscilloscope

It is suitable for measuring analog signals, and it is very easy to use. You can measure the frequency of an analog signal with it.

It is also easy to use and has a screen which makes it easy to see the signal. It is also very useful for measuring high-frequency signals.

2. Analog oscilloscope

It is very useful for measuring analog signals. It is usually used for measuring the signal of an oscilloscope that does not have a digital screen. It can measure the frequency as well as the amplitude.

How to Choose An Oscilloscope Based on their Features

1. Rise Time

The rise time is the time it takes for the signal to rise from zero to a certain level. It is measured in microseconds. It is measured in the time for the signal to go from 0 to 10% of the maximum level. The fast the rise time, the more accurate the time measurements and the better it is.

2. Batch Width

When choosing an oscilloscope, you need to choose the one that has enough band¬width to precisely capture the signal’s maximum frequency. This is because the lower the bandwidth, the higher the signal’s frequency, and thus fewer errors are found.

3. Probing

Probing is the process of finding out the signal’s maximum frequency in an analog oscilloscope. For your needs, choose an oscilloscope with a variety of custom probes.

Only if the probe provides adequate inputs to the oscilloscope can it make accurate measurements. Active probes should be employed for higher frequency measuring applications.

However, choose probes with capacitive loadings of less than 10 pF for a mid-range oscilloscope.

4. A Good Number of Accurate and Input Channels

Choose an oscilloscope with a good number of accurate and input channels. The more the channels, the better the oscilloscope.

Choose an oscilloscope with a large number of input channels if you are going to make many measurements in many applications. For higher frequency measuring applications, active probes should be used.

However, for a mid-range oscilloscope, use probes with capacitive loadings of less than 10 pF.

5. Sample Rate

Sample rate means how frequently the oscilloscope samples the signal.
An oscilloscope’s sampling rate determines how well waveform features may be caught.

This means that the higher the sampling rate, the higher the resolution and the faster your memory will be used up. It’s recommended from the 5 times rule to use a sample rate of at least 5 times the circuit’s highest frequency component.

6. Memory Depth

The memory depth is the number of samples that the oscilloscope can store. The higher the number of samples, the more precise the measurements and the faster memory will be used up.

Choose an oscilloscope with a large memory depth if you are going to make many measurements in many applications.

7. Easy and Responsive Operations

Choose an oscilloscope with an easy and responsive user interface. Easy operations mean that the oscilloscope is easy to use, and the measurements can be made with little effort.

However, an oscilloscope with a responsive user interface is easy to operate and can measure quickly. It is also recommended to choose an oscilloscope that can be easily connected to other devices for advanced features and easier results documentation.

8. Powerful Waveform Navigation and Analysis

It’s a big task to look for specific waveform errors, and that’s why powerful waveform navigation and analysis are recommended. It also helps to accelerate the process and reduce the time taken to receive an answer.

You need things like zoom and pan, play and pause, search and mark, etc. The zoom and pan help you zoom in and out to get details on any point.

The play and pause allow you to playback so that you can see how the waveform changes when you change the signal and also get the details.

The search and mark will help you to search for a specific point in the waveform and mark it automatically.


In conclusion, choosing a good oscilloscope is not easy. You need to consider every feature that your device has. These are the seven ways how to choose an oscilloscope;

  1. Rise Time.
  2. Batch Width.
  3. Probing.
  4. A Good Number of Accurate and Input Channels.
  5. Sample rate.
  6. Memory Depth.
  7. Easy and Responsive Operations.
  8. Powerful Waveform Navigation and Analysis.