The Best Automotive Test Lights – Find out which is best for you!

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Today’s modern vehicles are becoming more complicated with every passing day. Your vehicle’s battery, charging system, accessories, and now even your emergency brakes all contain electronic components. Finding the best automotive test lights for diagnosing these systems has become more important than ever.

Poor connections, faulty fuses, and a list of many other issues can occur when your vehicle is in operation. When something goes wrong with your vehicle during this time it can cause serious issues if not repaired quickly.

Knowing what is wrong with these components means checking wiring and various connection points. Not only do we need correct service information. We also need a way of being able to find if they are working correctly. These components can be tested with an automotive test light, or sometimes referred to as an automotive circuit tester. 

So, you have probably thought about adding an automotive test light to your tool box. But, you are probably asking yourself. Which one should I buy? 

With my 20 years + of industry experience I have come up with the the 3 best test lights that you can buy.

Our articles here strive to be different from other websites. We do not provide you with an endless list of the best automotive test lights. We rank them differently. As you read through this article you will find, DIY Use, Daily Use, and Professional Use ratings.

DIY use is for the average person who does some repairs in their driveway. Daily use may be for someone who is looking for more features, or uses a tool like this on a regular basis. Professional use is for a repair professional or a gear head who is always looking for the coolest most useful gadgets in their toolbox.

Things To Consider When Choosing the Best Automotive Test Light

You may ask ‘why’ choose one automotive test light over another? The answer is simple. Each automotive test light comes with its own set of features and benefits. Each of those features and benefits will allow you to purchase the one that suits your needs best. Allowing you to quickly diagnose the electrical problems you find.

If you are not familiar with these features, then you might end up buying a product that doesn’t meet your expectations. So, rather than rushing out and buying the first one on the shelf. Check out the features and benefits each product offers you so you can purchase the perfect test light for you. 

Features and Benefits of Automotive Test Lights

There are many different features and benefits that you look for when purchasing an automotive circuit tester. We have compiled a list of what we believe are the most important below.

  1. Bulbs

LED technology has become very popular in today’s world. Test lights have followed this trend. While most new test lights come equipped with LED bulbs. Some test lights are still equipped with incandescent bulbs. 

Incandescent bulbs can still offer benefits over LED bulbs. The current draw of an incandescent bulb for example is higher. This causes a higher load on the circuit which can make it effective when testing for circuit issues. 

  1. Voltage Range

The range of voltages of a test light indicates how much voltage the test light can handle. Most automotive test lights that you will find will be rated for between 5-30 Volts. There are some systems that operate with higher voltages than this but we would recommend using a multimeter in this situation.

Our suggestion is to purchase a test light that is capable of testing 20 volts or above. This will ensure that you can test charging systems without fear of damaging your test equipment. 

Depending on the voltage range that you are testing, the brightness of the light will vary. This is important to note while you are diagnosing with your circuit tester. 

  1. Cable Length

Depending on where you are completing your testing, cable length can be important. If the cable is too short you may have to use a separate jumper wire to properly test the circuit. 

We suggest looking for the longest cable possible when purchasing a test light. However, if you do require a longer cable, invest in a good quality jumper wire kit. 

  1. Insulated Probe

When trying to probe wires in hard to access areas this can be important. The probe is the portion of the circuit tester that is used to “contact” the wire that you test. If the probe is insulated this will prevent you from accidentally shorting out against something you should not have touched. 

  1. Easy to Read Display

For those of you looking to purchase an LED test light, a few other unique things are important. An LED screen with large numbers, as well as the ability to change color from green to red depending on the polarity. These features can help during the diagnostic process.

The Best Automotive Test Lights – Detailed Review!

Product NameRatingBest FeaturesVoltage RangePrice

TuNan DC Car Circuit Tester Light
4.3Incandescent bulb
Higher current draw for better testing of wiring
Cheap & reliable
6V-24VCheck Price
Lisle 29050 Digital Circuit Tester4.7LED with digital readout
Affordable with many features
Alligator Clamp for positive connection
3V-30VCheck Price
Power Probe Test Light and Voltmeter4.8LED with digital readout
Switchable 12 volts or ground
Excellent diagnostic tool
12V-24VCheck Price

Power Probe Test Light and Voltmeter – Fully featured Professional Test Light

Power Probe Test Light and Voltmeter

Specification Overview

  • Material: Plastic, Copper, LED Display
  • Voltage Range: 12V-24V
  • Bulb: LED with digital display

Pros:

  • Can supply power and ground to circuit
  • 12-24V range
  • Reliable Performance
  • Insulated probe to prevent shorts
  • 20 foot power cable
  • Digital Readout

Cons:

  • Complicated tool
  • Timely setup when compared to simple test light
  • More expensive than simpler options

This tool is for the professional automotive technician or the expert Do-it-yourselfer that is not afraid of complicated electrical repairs. 

This is the best automotive test light that one can buy. It contains many different functions than a standard automotive circuit tester.  

Some of these features are shared with the others.

Not only is this a test light with a digital voltage readout but it has a trick up its sleeve that advanced users will love. This trick, is the ability to provide either a 12 volt feed or ground to a circuit at the flick of a switch. 

I have met many people over the years in the automotive industry that love the Power Probe test light for this ability. Imagine diagnosing a faulty light bulb, you think there is a faulty 12 volt feed to the bulb. With a simple flick of a switch you can provide 12 volts to the bulb and if it lights up, you know you have a wiring issue. 

Along with these features you have other great features. An easy, quick to read digital display is still present when you want to use its simpler features. 

An insulated probe tip on the automotive circuit tester prevents accidental shorts. With all the cables and accessories the Power Probe test light also comes with a plastic carrying case. This is nice when you want to protect your investment. 

The Power Probe test light is capable of much more than a simple automotive circuit tester and this is the reason it finds itself in the Professional Use category. These advantages make it one of the best automotive test lights you can buy.

It is more expensive than the other options. But, it can save significant time when diagnosing electrical problems. This makes it a cost effective tool in my opinion. 

One word of advice, if you purchase this excellent tool. Make sure you take some time to get familiar with all of the great features it has. 

Lisle 29050 Digital Circuit Tester – Affordable LED test light with digital readout

Lisle automotive test light

Specification Overview

  • Material: Plastic, Copper, Digital Display
  • Voltage Range: 3V-30V
  • Bulb: 2 LEDs with 360 degree vision

Pros:

  • Easy to Use
  • Compact Size
  • Reliable Performance
  • Insulated probe to prevent shorts
  • Alligator Clamp
  • Digital Readout

Cons:

  • LED light with lower amperage draw
  • Sometimes hard to read display

The Lisle 29050 is a full featured LED test light that features some more features.. For someone who is looking for the next step up from a simple automotive circuit tester.

This test light includes a great digital readout.

The Lisle 29050 test light features 2 LED lights which provide the user with 360 degree vision. Even if you are in a hard to reach area you will still be able to see what the test light is reading.

The digital display adds features to a test light that make them even more useful. Not only can you verify that you have a ground or feed you can also see what the voltage is reading at the point of testing. 

This makes the test light more useful as it adds some of the functionality of a multimeter. The probe is also insulated which will help prevent you from accidently shorting the probe when trying to access hard to reach areas. 

We rate this test light for Daily Use, and makes it the entry level choice of the best automotive test lights. With its affordable price of this test light you will be amazed at what it is capable of. By using the combination of the LED lights and digital readout you can save time. The voltage read out will prevent you from having to get your multimeter to finish your testing. 

TuNan DC Car Circuit Tester Light – Good, Affordable & Reliable

TuNan test light

Specification Overview

  • Pen Length: 18cm/7.0in
  • Material: Plastic Copper
  • Voltage Range: 6V / 12V/24V DC
  • Bulb: Replaceable 3 Watt Bulb

Pros:

  • Easy to Use
  • Compact Size
  • Reliable Performance
  • Excellent for addition to your at home tool box
  • Higher current draw for better testing of wiring,
  • Uses an incandescent bulb

Cons:

  • No voltage readout
  • Incandescent bulb will vary brightness with voltage applied

The TuNan circuit tester has been designed to help you troubleshoot various issues with your vehicle quickly. With an incandescent bulb as the source of illumination it can quickly and effectively diagnose wiring issues. 

It features durable plastic and copper construction which can stand up to the abuse of being thrown into a toolbox drawer. If a toolbox is not an option. Its compact size allows it to be carried anywhere you want.

The voltage range of this circuit tester ranges from 6-24 volts which makes it ideal for testing automotive electrical circuits. 

We rate this test light as, DIY Use. Its affordable price allows it to fit perfectly in everyone’s at home tool box. Or, a great first automotive test light for the budding mechanic. Instead of taking the time to us a multimeter. This test light can be used quickly to probe a circuit and give quick test results. 

While some people might think of an incandescent bulb as this test light’s largest drawback. I would consider it an advantage. There are times when testing wiring issues that the higher amperage draw allows for more complete testing. 

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