Last updated on December 4th, 2019 at 06:01 am
In this USB oscilloscope guide, you can learn about some of the best USB oscilloscopes you can find.
What is a USB Oscilloscope?
A USB oscilloscope is a type of modern-day digital oscilloscope which can be connected to a PC though hardware.
Like traditional ones, USB oscilloscopes can be used for displaying and analyzing digital waveforms of electrical signals.
In other words, it is an electronic testing instrument that is helpful for analyzing different signal voltages over a period of time.
The waveform can be displayed on the screen of the PC. Vibration and sound signals can also be converted to voltages and it can be easily displayed.
Also, they are more practical and convenient to use. These are some of the obvious advantages of USB oscilloscopes.
But well, since you are here looking for top USB oscilloscope, we are keeping the introduction short, assuming you are already aware of the basics of Oscilloscope. Let’s head on to the list of top oscilloscopes.
Best USB Oscilloscope Comparison
Best PC Based USB Oscilloscope Reviews
PicoScope 2204A Reviews – Best Pc Osiclloscope
Due to its many awesome features, PicoScope 2204A is a very popular model. It also comes with its own software, probes, and cables so that it can be used for many types of applications.
- Bandwidth: The oscilloscope offers a bandwidth of 10MHz and has an impressive transfer rate of 100MS/sec.
- Dedicated software: Due to its dedicated software, high-end operations can be performed easily. It is a two-channel oscilloscope and mixed-signal models can add a 16 channel best logic analyzer
- Advanced: It offers 10,000 waveforms circular buffer to 80,000 waveforms per second. It has an update rate and masks limit testing for doing advanced Maths and filtering measurements with statistics. There are advanced digital triggering and 12 bitsPicoScope resolution enhancement. The form factor of the unit is very small that can be helpful for many applications.
- Sampling rate: The sampling rate of the unit is 1 GS/sec. Moreover, it is an 8-bit oscilloscope.
- High end features High-end characteristics like mask limit testing and serial decoding can be performed with the PicoScope 6 software supplied with the unit. Free upgrades are always provided to customers.
Why Buy PicoScope 2204A?
The weight of the oscilloscope is less than 700 grams so that it can be easily carried in a laptop bag.
The upgrades can deliver new functionality quite regularly.
Moreover, you can easily get this model at any store near you and you may not have to visit a specialist store for it.
Hantek HT6022BE20Mhz 6022BE Oscilloscope – Top PC Based USB Digital Storage
There is a +/- 3% 8StepsDC accuracy with 39 steps vertical adjustment.
The trigger mode is auto, normal and simple while the trigger type is of rising and falling edge.
- Durability: It comes in an extremely durable anodized aluminium case that makes it quite sturdy to use.
- Lightweight: The device weighs only 700 grams and has a dimension of 21 X 17 cm so that you can carry it wherever you go.
- Bandwidth: It offers a bandwidth of 20MHz and is available with two probes that can be helpful in many types of applications.
- Easy connection: It can be easily connected to a laptop or desktop and no extra power cord is required for it.
- Usability: You can select a sampling while using the oscilloscope and for input protection, there is Diode clamping. You can also calibrate the oscilloscope manually and the waveform intensity can be easily adjusted in it. For enhanced accessibility, it is available in many languages.
- Budget-friendly: The oscilloscope is available at a budget price, that makes it a great buy in its class.
Why Buy this Hantek Oscilloscope?
This product can be very useful while working on waveforms on a PC or computer. It is a versatile product in the sense that it can be used anywhere.
However, at such a low price, it can be the best suitable oscilloscope for the purpose.
Hantek 1008C 8CH Automotive Diagnostic PC Oscilloscope
The input sensitivity of the oscilloscope is 10mV/div to 5V/div while the input impedance resistance is 1 Mohms.
The waveform signal processes consist of Positive, Negative, Multiplication, Division, Invert and FFT types.
The cursor measurements can be done in Horizontal, Vertical, Auto Measure, and Track modes. It has a frequency range of 0 to 250kHz with an output level of LVTTL.
- Video help: This USB oscilloscope comes with a Video Help Function that provides a diagnostic video help that can be watched online for a complete understanding of the process.
- Easy saving of data: The diagnostic result from it can be generated through a diagnostic report and can be printed or a screenshot taken of it by pushing a single key. Alternately, this data can also be saved easily on the device. It is built to support recorded waveforms for an ample period of time and can also simulate crankshaft and camshaft signals.
- No additional power needed: There is no need for any additional power supply for the device as it can easily transmit signals through its USB 2.0 interface for an easy plug and play.
- Sampling rate and specs: The real-time sampling rate of the equipment is 2.4MSa/sec with a 100K bandwidth. The time base precision of the unit is +/- 50 ppm while the time base range is 1ns/div to 20,000s/div with 1-2-5 sequences.
- Multiple measurements: It is capable of providing many types of voltage measurements like Vpp, Vmax, Vmin, Vbase, Vcrms, Vrms, Vamp, Vtop, Vavg, Vmid, Overshoot and Pre-shoot. Similarly, many types of time measurements like Period, Positive Width, Duty Cycle, Frequency, Rise Time, Fall Time, and negative width can also be measured with it.
Why Buy Hantek 1008C Oscilloscope?
It can easily be connected to a laptop or a PC that has up to Windows 7.
Moreover, it is designed to detect all types of automobile problems so that it can be an ideal tool for a home garage enthusiast or a mobile mechanic.
Digilent Analog Discovery 2 USB Oscilloscope – Best Variable Power Supply
It has a 2-channel, 14-bit function with a superb sampling rate of 100MS/sec.
The voltage range of the unit is +/- 25V whereas, the maximum buffer size consists of 8,192 samples and a bandwidth well above 30MHz.
- Dual channel: As discussed, it is a dual-channel USB digital oscilloscope that can also act as a dual-channel arbitrary function generator.
- Built-in stereo: It has a built-in stereo audio amplifier that can be useful for speakers or external headphones with copied AWG signals.
- Ease of carrying and usability: The whole unit can easily fit into a pocket and can replace many types of lab equipment providing freedom to work with any type of analog or digital work environment. It offers a 16-channel pattern generator along with a 16-channel digital logic analyzer.
- Easy connectivity and use: It comes with an adapter with lead pins which can easily be connected to a breadboard or any other accessory. The free software that comes with it can be used to set up many tests easily. Due to its dense features, it can easily be used as a waveform generator, pattern generator, programmable power supply, spectrum analyzer, logic analyzer, voltmeter or a network analyzer.
- Other features: The function generator can generate waveforms from 10MHz to 100uHz whereas, there is a scope of 100 mega samples per second with a bandwidth of 30MHz. In it, you can also stream the data in real time.
Why Buy Digilent Analog Discovery?
This oscilloscope can be a prized possession for many types of educational purposes as well as for the industry.
Its ability to deal in many types of situations make it an ideal choice for many applications.
Electronic enthusiasts, engineering students, industry specialists as well as hobbyists can use this oscilloscope for testing and analyzing different types of signals.
Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Automotive Diagnostic Digital Oscilloscope / DAQ / Programmable Generator
It is a vehicle-specific device and comes with a lot of features that can be very helpful for conducting many types of tests.
- 8 channel and impressive specs: The 8-channel oscilloscope features a real-time sampling rate of 2.4MSa/sec with a 12-bit vertical resolution for spectrum analysis. The bus diagnostic of the unit includes CAN bus signal integrity, LIN bus, CAN bus data examine and CAN bus LH long-time acquisition. It offers automatic testing functions of more than 20 types which is a similar type of interface that is found in benchtop oscilloscopes.
- Multiple types of sensors: It has many types of sensors including the camshaft sensor, distributor sensor, throttle position sensor, air flow meter sensor, crankshaft sensor, and the lambda sensor so that the oscilloscope is quite easy to use.
- Effective wave determination: It has a DAQ card function that can be very effective for wave determination.
- Ideal for testing: For an ideal vehicle testing, it can be used for the first diagnosis that may include petrol fumes adjusting valve vacuum and ignition, starting exhaust ignition, intake manifold vacuum and ignition and the idle exhaust ignition. It also features options for the primary and secondary ignition. It is meant to perform on petrol as well as diesel vehicles. All types of starter and charging circuits can be analyzed with it. The software of the unit offers a glitch detection facility so that it can easily save a waveform.
- Compatibility with various platforms: It works well with a wide range of software which includes Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 7 and VISTA.
- Lightweight: The weight of the oscilloscope is only 12.3 ounces so that it offers much portability and ease of movement.
- Other features: It also features a Programmable Generator for better results. The analog signals of the camshaft, crankshaft, etc. can be easily observed using the device. It comes with a USB 2.0 plug and play interface so that no extra power supply is required for it.
Why Buy this Hantek 1008C 8CH Automotive Oscilloscope?
The Hantek 1008C is a powerhouse when it comes to automobiles as it has many versatile features and capabilities.
It can be specifically suitable for small garage owners, automobile enthusiasts, and home garage owners so that all types of important analyses and tests can be conducted in-house.
PicoScope 4444 Differential Input Oscilloscope
The different types of voltage and current adapters available are 200-/2,000-A AC/DC 150-V CAT II current probes, dual/single BNC adapters, 1,000-V CAT III attenuated voltage probes and the 40-A AC/DC 300-V CAT II current probes.
- Advanced specs: It is a high-resolution differential USB oscilloscope offering a huge buffer of 10,000 waveforms, superb digital triggering, filtering features, and an advanced Maths.
- Differing Inputs: The differential inputs of the unit are very much helpful while measuring voltages in different components because differential probe sides offer high-impedance that helps to minimize the common-mode noise in measurements. An outstanding feature of this 4-channel equipment is that each of its channels can be fitted with differing probe styles.
- Flexible power probe: This device also has a flexible power probe interface and four true differential channels. It eliminates the risk of any short circuits due to a non-ground reference. Even when there are common mode signals, it is possible to make differential voltage measurements with it.
- Lightweight: The weight of the unit is 2.56 pounds so that it can be easily carried around and analysis can be done anywhere. The four high-impedance differential inputs of the device is an absolute eye-catcher.
- Other features: It offers a quite high common-mode rejection ratio (CMRR) as well as a breathtaking resolution so that measurements can be made with absolute accuracy. It offers a 20MHz bandwidth with a flexible 12 and 14-bit resolution and 256 MS buffer memory.
Why Buy PicoScope 4444 Oscilloscope?
It is well-suited for many types of applications ranging from biomedical sensors to voltage analysis and measurement in colleges.
It can also be helpful for analyzing waveforms for many types of devices and electrical utilities. With a price tag of $1,285, it offers a good value for each penny that is invested in it.
Check out the best oscilloscope for audio.
How to choose the best oscilloscope?
While selecting the top USB oscilloscope, some factors must be kept in mind whatever be your application.
These will ensure that you will end up with one that will prove to be an asset for the long term and you will not rue your decision later.
We have compiled here a list of such factors and features, knowing which, can be helpful while selecting a USB oscilloscope.
Have an Eye on the Bandwidth Range
Depending on an oscilloscope application, the basic consideration for selection should be the range of bandwidth that it is capable of processing.
One of the most favorable ways of deciding on it is to stick to the rule of five. As per this rule, an oscilloscope’s bandwidth should be large enough to measure at least five times the bandwidth that may be possibly needed for measurement.
In this way, it will help in getting the decisive fifth harmonic that can be a major factor in finding out the shape of a signal.
Find out the rise time
If the rise time measurement is not perfect, then fast changeovers may get lost and an analysis or waveform determination can suffer.
Therefore, if the rise time is fast enough, a measurement accuracy must also be comparatively higher for the changeovers.
As like earlier, you can make use of the rule of five over here. This effectively means that an oscilloscope must be 1/5 times of a signal’s fastest rise time.
The Sample Rate Should be 5 Times the Circuit’s Highest Frequency
A sample rate can be defined as the regularity with which an oscilloscope shows waveform elements.
The sample rate of an oscilloscope is analogous to the frame rate of a camera. The rule of five is applicable here also, in the sense that the sample rate of an oscilloscope should be five times that of the circuit’s peak frequency.
It is also important to know the minimum sample rate if, especially there is a need to analyze signals that change gradually over a long period of time.
While considering sample rate criteria, you must also find out the equipment’s memory capacity because a quicker sample rate also means consumption of more memory for signal recording. Therefore, this aspect should also be determined.
The Probes Should Match the Sample Rate
In an oscilloscope, the probes are the basic devices for taking accurate measurements.
Therefore, even if you have a sophisticated oscilloscope with a superb sampling rate and enough bandwidth, if probes are not correct, it can act as a big dampener.
Hence, it is important for the probes to be of the same grade as that of the unit so that best results can be achieved.
Always ensure that the probes are in sync with the sampling rate and bandwidth needs for getting the correct result.
Make sure that there are sufficient input channels
An oscilloscope can process a large amount of data if it has many input channels in it.
The price of an oscilloscope will depend to a large extent on the number of input channels that it has.
But, at the same time, it does not make any sense to buy one that does not have sufficient inputs for letting you carry out tasks that you need it for.
Therefore, you should judiciously decide on the number of needed channels while purchasing an oscilloscope.
Select an oscilloscope with functional triggering
Triggering helps to maintain the signal display viewable for the naked eye, making it more precise and comfortable for viewing.
While selecting a particular oscilloscope, it is essential to choose one that provides fantastic visibility and wider boundary so that there can be a better triggering response.
Ensure to have sufficient memory along with standard USB 2.0 ports
In conventional oscilloscopes, data transfer happens through the LAN and PCI ports.
In a USB oscilloscope, the data transfer from an oscilloscope to the PC takes place through the USB port.
The time taken for a full data transfer will depend on the USB port’s speed.
Therefore, it is essential to have a standard USB 2.0 port for an efficient transfer of data.
Similarly, the disk space availability will determine the data storage capacity.
Hence, sufficient memory must be there to ensure continuous data transfers.
These two aspects must also be looked into while purchasing or leasing a USB oscilloscope.
Buy from an ISO accredited vendor
A buyer can be assured of the reliability and quality of an oscilloscope if it has a desired worldwide recognition certificate.
As a leading test equipment rental organization puts it, “An ISO/IEC 17025:2005 is fast becoming the key standard that is used by calibration and testing laboratories the world over.
Although there are many similarities with the erstwhile ISO 9001:2008 standard yet the ISO 17025 adds an element of appropriate skill to the whole concept.
Hence, it is always a wise idea to buy or lease from a vendor that is certified and widely recognized for its quality.
Use of Appropriate Software
While any hardware is connected to a PC, it will also need suitable software to function correctly.
In the current context, a USB oscilloscope must come with easy-to-use software that can help in effective and simple navigation.
At the same time, it should have ample speed and must be comfortable to use for a user.
Stay cautious regarding PC interference
If a low-level signal analysis is needed, then, in that case, stay alert of the interference that may happen due to the circuit and power supply.
In many cases, PC components develop electromagnetic noise and they may interfere with low-level signals.
A process of measurement must be kept free of any such interference so that there is a high precision while working with low-level signals.
How does USB oscilloscopes work?
A USB oscilloscope is a versatile device and unlike a conventional voltmeter which can only show the mean voltage values of circuits, it can also the shape and the changes that occur in a voltage with time.
A USB oscilloscope is connected to a computer or PC and the parameters of a signal can be visually interpreted.
The graphics on the screen are known as waveforms and the horizontal or x-axis represents time whereas, the vertical or y-axis represents the measuring parameters like voltage, signal, etc.
USB oscilloscopes make use of a computer’s processing power so that it can be easy to perform complex mathematical operations using the input waveforms.
The USB oscilloscopes get their power of operation from a PC or computer’s USB port.
Therefore, an external power source is not needed for working with the device.
USB oscilloscopes are comparatively lightweight, portable and highly compact.
Connect a USB oscilloscope with a PC or laptop and get the benefits of a standalone oscilloscope at a considerably lower price.
Unlike the traditional bulky oscilloscopes, a USB oscilloscope uses the of a computer’s screen, thereby making it a lot easier to observe and analyze all minute details of a waveform so that error identification can be done intricately.
Additionally, one can also save waveforms to the computer. It can also be easy to store, export and share data that is gathered through a USB oscilloscope.
A PC or computer can also aid in the complete process due to its storage capacity, and networking prowess.
We have seen here some of the best USB oscilloscopes and also went through some criteria for selecting a suitable one.
The basic functioning of a USB oscilloscope has also been discussed.
After going through all the products, we can safely conclude that the Hantek 6022BE can be the good USB oscilloscope for all types of purposes.
However, in the end, a choice for a USB oscilloscope will always be dictated by the job that is in hand.
A selection can be made depending on the usage and application type.
So, go ahead, determine your requirement and get a correct USB oscilloscope that can be helpful for work.