A popular function generator A popular frequency generator (Amazon.com).

Please note: We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. This is to help support our blog and does not have impact on our recommendations. See disclosure for details.

In addition to an oscilloscope, you also need a frequency generator at home or at work. If you want to quickly provide a sine or square wave signal for a circuit, there is nothing better than a stand-alone frequency generator. All desired parameters are set via the control panel and the circuit and oscilloscope are connected via a BNC cable. It couldn't be simpler.

Which criteria are relevant for a frequency generator? First of all, the number of output channels count. Simple function generators have only one output, better frequency generators have two outputs. The usable frequency range, the adjustable amplitude and the quantization are also important. The frequency range indicates from which minimum to maximum frequency signals can be generated. The wider this range, the better. The amplitude indicates the range in which the voltage of the modulated signal can be varied. As a rule of thumb, this ranges from millivolts to several volts. The quantization indicates how many bits the analog to digital converter has. The higher the bit count, the finer the amplitude steps the frequency generator can produce.

Further parameters are the modulation types, e.g. frequency modulation, amplitude modulation, phase modulation, Frequency Shift Keying, etc. In addition, user-friendliness plays an important role. Even if it is against the trend nowadays, touch devices are not optimal when working in the lab. Often you have a soldering iron, electronics or other objects in your hand and need a good haptic feedback. Push-buttons and knobs on the frequency generator are much easier to operate than touch displays. Pushbuttons are preferable to membrane keys.

Here follows a list of cheap and popular frequency generators.

Frequency Generators - Review of the best function and signal generators:

Koolertron Upgraded 15MHz DDS Signal Generator Counter,High Precision Dual-channel Arbitrary Waveform Function Generator Frequency Meter 200MSa/s (15MHz)
Koolertron Upgraded 15MHz DDS Signal Generator Counter,High Precision Dual-channel Arbitrary Waveform Function Generator Frequency Meter 200MSa/s (15MHz)
  • Frequency Generator
  • Frequency Range:15MHz
  • Dual-channel
  • Sampling Rate:200MSa/s

92% Overall Rating
 
 

Advantage: High frequency precision up to 10-6 orders of magnitude. Frequency Characteristic: Normal Modes & Square & Triangle Wave: 0~15MHz Sawtooth & Arbitrary & TTL Digital Signal Wave: 0~6MHz Square rise time: ≤30nS Frequency accuracy: ±20ppm×10-6 Frequency stability: ±1ppm×10-6/3h Waveform Characteristic: Waveform: Sine, Square, Triangle, Pulse (duty-cycle correction), Partia Sine, CMOS, DC level, Half-wave, Full-Wave, Pos-Ladder, Neg-Ladder, Noise, Exponential Rise, Exponential Fall, Tone, Sinc Pulse, Lorentz Pulse, and 60 kinds user defined waveform. Output Characteristics: Amplitude resolution: 1mV Amplitude stability: ±0.5%/5 h Amplitude flatness: ±5%(<10MHz); ±10%(>10MHz) Frequency Meter Function: Frequency measurement range: 1Hz~100MHz Measurement accuracy: Gate time continuously adjusted between 0.01S~10s Counter Function: Counting region: 0-4294967295 Coupled mode: 2kinds Coupling modes, DC and AC Counting mode: Manual operation Package Included: 1 x DDS Signal Generator 1 x USB Cable 1 x Power Adapter 2 x Q9 Cable 1 x CD


Koolertron 30MHz High Precision DDS Signal Generator Counter, Upgraded Dual-Channel Arbitrary Waveform Function Generator Frequency Meter 266MSa/s (30MHz)
Koolertron 30MHz High Precision DDS Signal Generator Counter, Upgraded Dual-Channel Arbitrary Waveform Function Generator Frequency Meter 266MSa/s (30MHz)
  • Frequency Generator
  • Frequency Range:30MHz
  • Sampling Rate:266MSa/s

80% Overall Rating
 
 

Advantage: High frequency precision up to 10-6 orders of magnitude. Frequency accuracy: ±20ppm Frequency stability: ±1ppm/3h Waveform Characteristic: Waveform: Sine, Square, Triangle, Pulse (duty-cycle correction,Pulse width and cycle time adjustable), Partial Sine, CMOS, DC level, Half-wave, Full-Wave, Pos-Ladder, Neg-Ladder, Noise, Exponential Rise, Exponential Fall, Tone, Sine Pulse, Lorentz Pulse, and 60 kinds user defined waveform. Phase characteristic: Phase adjusting range: 0~359.9° Phase resolution: 0.1° TTL/COMS Output: Low level: <0.3V High level: 1V~10V Level rise/fall time: ≤20ns Package Included: 1 x DDS Signal Generator 1 x USB Cable 1 x Power Adapter 2 x Q9 Cable 1 x CD


Upgraded 60MHz DDS Signal Generator Counter,Kuman 2.4in Screen Display High Precision Dual-channel Arbitray Waveform Generator Frequency Meter, 250MSa/s, 819214bits, VCO, Burst, Modulation, Counter
Upgraded 60MHz DDS Signal Generator Counter,Kuman 2.4in Screen Display High Precision Dual-channel Arbitray Waveform Generator Frequency Meter, 250MSa/s, 819214bits, VCO, Burst, Modulation, Counter
  • Frequency Generator
  • Frequency Range:60MHz
  • Dual-channel
  • Sampling Rate:250MSa/s

72% Overall Rating
 
 

Features Various waveforms: Sine, Square (Duty Cycle adjustable), Pulse (Pulse width and cycle time can be set accurately), Triangle/Ramp, CMOS(0~10V), Four channels TTL, Exponential Rise, Exponential Fall, Noise, ECG, DC etc Storage:Enable to store 64 arbitrary waveform data files, each one of waveform storage depth 8192 points * 14bits Support two or more signal generators connected to achieve multi-channel output, the maximum support 16-channel synchronous output, the phase between each channel can be adjusted Output short-circuit protection: All channels can work more than 60 seconds when the load is short-circuited Advantages 5Vpp output quantization error is less than 1mV Minimum amplitude resolution can be up to 1mV Duty cycle of each channel can be adjusted separately. Precision can be 0.1% Frequency Characteristic Sine: 0~60MHzSquare Wave: 0~25MHz Ramp, Triangle, Pulse, Arbitrary Waveform: 0~10MHz TTL/CMOS:0~20MHz Frequency accuracy: ±20ppm Frequency stability: ±1ppm/ 3hoursMinimum pulse width:20ns Output characteristics Amplitude Resolution:1mV Amplitude Stability: ±0.5%/ 5 Hours Amplitude flatness: ±2.5%(<10MHz);±5%(>10MHz) Frequency Meter Function Measurement Objects: Frequency, Period, Positive/Negative Pulse Width, Duty Cycle Input Voltage Range: 2Vpp~20Vpp Frequency Meter: (Resolution: 0.01Hz; Range: 0.01Hz~100MHz; ) Counter Function Counting region: 0-4294967295 Coupled mode: 2kinds Coupling modes, DC and AC Counting mode: Manual operation Package List 1 * DDS Signal Generator 1 * Power Cable 1 * USB Data Cable 2 * BNC-Clip Cable (Signal output cable) 1 * BNC-BNC Cable (Signal output cable) 1 * CD (Contain the user manual and PC software)


GW Instek SFG-1013 DDS Function Generator with Voltage and 6 Digit LED Display, 0.1Hz to 3MHz Frequency
GW Instek SFG-1013 DDS Function Generator with Voltage and 6 Digit LED Display, 0.1Hz to 3MHz Frequency
  • Frequency Generator
  • Frequency Range:3MHz

82% Overall Rating
 
 

The SFG-1000 Series, an economic function generator with high accuracy and high stability output, are designed based on the DDS (direct digital synthesized) technology embedded in a large scale FPGA. The 3 MHz frequency range and the output waveform selection of Sine, Square, Triangle and TTL available in the SFG-1000 Series adequately provide the fundamental functions to ensure high confidence in test results. The DDS technology at an affordable price gives a high value solution to the users who need a signal Source, 100 MHz Bandwidth for accurate but simple measurement applications.


Siglent Technologies SDG805 Siglent Single Channel 5 mhz Bandwidth Signal Generator, Function Generator, Arbitrary Waveform Generator, 125 MSa/s Sampling Rate
Siglent Technologies SDG805 Siglent Single Channel 5 mhz Bandwidth Signal Generator, Function Generator, Arbitrary Waveform Generator, 125 MSa/s Sampling Rate
  • Frequency Generator
  • Sampling Rate:125 MSa/s

90% Overall Rating
 
 

With the new innovated easy Pulse technology, SDG800 can generate pulse of low jitter, quick rising/falling edge regardless of frequency effect, while the duty cycle, edge and pulse width could be widely and accurately adjusted. SDG800 is much superior in performance to similar DDS signal generator. Main Features: ● Advanced DDS technology, 125 MSa/s sampling rate, 14 bit vertical resolution ● Single channel output, 5 kinds of standard waveforms, built-in 46 kinds of arbitrary waveforms (including DC) ● Complete modulation functions: AM, DSB-AM, FM, PM, FSK, ASK, PWM, linear/logarithmic sweep and burst ● Innovative easy Pulse technology, can output pulse of low jitter, quick rising/falling edge ● Standard interfaces: USB Device, USB Host, support U-Disk storage and software update ● Provide 10 nonvolatile storage spaces for user’s arbitrary waveforms ● Be capable of seamlessly connected to SIGLENT digital storage oscilloscope ● Configurable with powerful arbitrary waveform editing software easy wave.