Thermal ammeters recommend themselves for the following reasons: (I) the same instrument can be used for continuous currents and for alternating currents of low frequency; (2) there is no temperature correction; (3) if used with alternating currents no correction is necessary for frequency, unless that frequency is very high.
In ammeters for small currents it is customary to pass the whole current through the heating wire.
Hot-wire ammeters are, however, liable to a shift of zero, and means are always provided by some adjusting screw for slightly altering the sag of the wire and so adjusting the index needle to the zero of the scale.
Hot-wire ammeters are open to the following objections: The scale divisions for equal increments of current are not equal in length, being generally much closer together in the lower parts of the scale.
From this it follows that hot-wire ammeters are generally not capable of giving visible indications below a certain minimum current for each instrument.