4 Best Oscilloscopes in 2023 (Ultimate Buying Guide)

best oscilloscopes

Looking for the best oscilloscope for your electronic workbench? We have scoured user and editorial reviews to bring you a list of the top oscilloscopes that are suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to professionals.

In this article, we are going to review 4 of the best oscilloscopes and give you tips on what to look for when buying one. Without further ado, let’s get started!

How To Choose The Best Oscilloscope

First, let’s explain what an oscilloscope is and what it actually does. Wikipedia defines an oscilloscope as a device used to graphically display signal voltages.

It can also measure other signals, like sounds and vibrations. The resulting waveform can then be measured to analyze the signal change over time, looking at properties such as the waveform’s rise time, frequency, and amplitude.

Oscilloscopes are used by engineers, automotive mechanics, students, scientists and hobbyists alike.

Given the multitude of applications for an oscilloscope, ideally, you’ll know how you intend to use it (what signals you’ll be measuring) so that you’re best equipped to select the specifications that are right for you.

Here are some features and specifications you should take into consideration when choosing an oscilloscope.

  • Price: Let’s be honest, this is going to be #1 on most people’s list. A successful scientist or engineer can afford a top-quality oscilloscope and cares about features and benefits, regardless of the price. Conversely, a beginner may not need to invest in a high-priced oscilloscope and can get by with an entry-level model, or even a DIY kit.
  • Bandwidth: Over what frequency range can the oscilloscope accurately measure? More precisely, it is the “maximum frequency of the oscilloscope that can transverse the front end without significant attenuation.” Most people should be fine with a 100MhHz bandwidth.
  • Sample rate: Samples per second. A higher sampling rate will allow you to more accurately measure intermittent events and faster signals.
  • Channels: The standard is 2 and 4 channel oscilloscopes. Only professionals should need more channels than that as more channels will cost more.

4 Best Oscilloscopes in 2023

Hantek DSO5102P USB Digital Storage Oscilloscope

Hantek DSO5102P USB Digital Storage Oscilloscope

The Hantek DSO5102P Oscilloscope is one of the best entry-level oscilloscopes as it has a reasonable price and all the features one would expect for a dual-channel oscilloscope at this price point.

As for notable features, it has:

  • Bandwidth of a 100MHZ.
  • 7 inch display at 800×480
  • 1 G samples per second.
  • 4 mathematical functions
  • Record length up to 40K

Plus it has a USB port, allowing you to use additional software for detailed analysis and storage of your signal pictures to your laptop.

Setup is pretty straightforward and there’s a help menu and plenty of online support to help you get started. All in all, this is our first pick for a bench oscilloscope that’s perfect for hobbyists or small electronics shops.

Rigol DS1054Z Oscilloscope

Rigol DS1054Z Oscilloscope

This is an established brand in the scientific and tooling space and they make great oscilloscopes as well. You get the comfort and peace of mind that comes with purchasing a product backed by the service and warranty of an established brand.

As for features:

  • 50 MHz Bandwith
  • 4 Channels
  • USB connector
  • LAN(LXI) for connection to an ethernet cable
  • Free Included Software
  • 12Mpts standard memory

This is the priciest option on the list but may be the best option for demanding users. It is an Amazon’s choice because it has had excellent user reviews for several years. Full review of the Rigol DS1054Z here.

Hantek DSO4102C Oscilloscope

Hantek DSO4102C Oscilloscope

The Hantek DSO4102C is the cousin of the Hantek DSO5102P but has the added benefit of having an auxiliary channel that can be used to generate arbitrary (function) waveforms.

Specifically, the same features include:

  • Bandwidth of a 100MHZ
  • 7 inch display at 800×480
  • 1 G samples per second
  • 4 mathematical functions
  • Record length up to 40K

With its auxiliary channel that can generate arbitrary waveforms, the Hantek DSO4102C offers versatility in waveform analysis. This feature enables users to not only observe and measure signals but also generate custom waveforms for testing and simulation purposes.

One of the standout features is its user-friendly interface. The 7-inch display provides a clear and vibrant viewing experience, allowing users to easily analyze waveforms and navigate through the menu options.

Siglent Technologies SDS1052DL Digital Oscilloscope

Siglent Technologies SDS1052DL Digital Oscilloscope

This is another solid option and maybe a better fit for those who need a bit more features and capabilities than the aforementioned Hantek oscilloscopes.

  • 50MHz dual channel
  • 500 MS/s sampling rate
  • 32Kpts (single channel) record length
  • USB host and USB interface

The included math functions, such as FFT (Fast Fourier Transform), allow for more in-depth analysis of waveforms, making it a valuable tool for troubleshooting and circuit design. However, the FFT feature has a limited frequency range, which may not be sufficient for advanced frequency analysis.

The oscilloscope comes with a set of BNC probes that are of decent quality, providing reliable signal transmission and accurate measurements.

How To Use An Oscilloscope (Video)

We have talked about how to use an oscilloscope in one of our other articles so feel free to check it out for more detailed information.

Also, you can watch this video from YouTube.

This video discusses the practicality of 10x probes, provides guidance on tuning the compensation capacitor in such probes, demonstrates the measurement of periodic signals, and explains the setup of a single capture trigger for transient signals. The goal of this video is to offer a helpful introduction to oscilloscopes for beginners.

Best Toy Oscilloscopes And Oscilloscopes DIY Kits

While the aforementioned oscilloscopes vary in price range and capabilities, they still may not be within your budget.

You obviously won’t get the same out the box capabilities as far as functions, accuracy, software integration, etc of a professionally-manufactured oscilloscope, but there are DIY kits and toy oscilloscopes.

There are Youtube videos and articles that you can view such as these DIY oscilloscopes from Instructables.

You can also take a look at low-cost entry-level digital oscilloscopes such as the DSO150 or the DSO138 digital oscilloscopes, which are only around $25. Again, they have very limited feature sets but perhaps that’s all you need for now if you’re just a student, for example, that wants to debug some circuits.

Final Words

We hope you found this list helpful and we tried to showcase some of the best oscilloscopes in their respective price categories. You may try choosing a slightly higher or lower version of any of the Hantek, Rigol, or Siglent oscilloscopes if they are better suited for your needs. We hope you find something you like. Cheers!