Cars really are great. They give us the freedom to travel whenever and wherever you want, they keep us safe from the rain on short journeys and are excellent for deep, meaningful chats and singing sessions.
And while most of the time they are very reliable, like all good machines they will break down at some point, and when that happens you want to be prepared.
That’s why an automotive oscilloscope can be so handy because as soon as you spot a potential fault, or a warning light appears on your dash, you can just plug this little device in and it will run a troubleshoot communication, analyzing your car’s function and identify any potential electrical problems.
But as automotive oscilloscopes are such a specific product, and because there are so many on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is the best for you and your car.
That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide to the best automotive oscilloscope on the market, complete with a buyer’s guide to ensure you know exactly what to look for before you make a purchase.
In a hurry?
If you think there’s an issue with your motor which you want to identify immediately, why not pick the KAIWEETS automotive oscilloscope?
We think this is the best one on the market for a variety of excellent reasons, including:
- It features 6000 counts auto-ranging for accurate measurements of AC/DC voltage, AC/DC current, resistance, continuity, and lots more.
- It’s an advanced, versatile tester that can be used to diagnose automotive, industrial, and household electrical issues.
- It is very easy to operate, simply switch the dial and the LED lights will shine accordingly.
- It has a variety of features for ease of use, including a 2.9-inch backlit display with bar graph, flashlight for use in dim areas, and a stable kickstand with pen slot on the back.
OUR TOP PICK
Our favorite automotive oscilloscope on the market is produced by KAIWEETS. This device features a 2.9-inch analog display screen that is backlit with LED lights to ensure you can see it whether you are using the device in the light of day or the dark of night.
Additionally, it has a flashlight on the back of the device to allow you to use it in dim areas, and a kickstand with an additional pen slot on the back.
As well as being extremely easy to use, this device features 6000 counts auto-ranging for accuracy to measure AC/DC voltage, current, and resistance, among a variety of other things that could be affecting your motor.
This extremely versatile device is perfect for use with automobiles, in industrial settings, and also with household electrical issues, and comes with safety features such as anti-burn fuses and a thermistor protection circuit to ensure you don’t have to worry when using it.
With all these amazing features considered there is no doubt that the KAIWEETS automotive oscilloscope is one of the best on the market.
- Features 6000 counts auto-ranging for extreme accuracy
- Versatile - it can diagnose automotive, industrial and household electrical issues
- Large 2.9-inch display with LCD backlit display
- Flashlight on the back for use in dimly lit areas
- Kickstand for ease of use
- Safety features including anti-burn fuses and thermistor protection circuit
- No notable drawbacks
Another excellent choice is the LIUMY automotive oscilloscope. This device is best known for its fast sampling speed allowing you to easily identify issues within your vehicle’s electrical system.
It is designed to provide extremely accurate readings with its powerful detection range and automatic waveform caption function. It comes with an LED-backlit LCD screen which makes it perfect for use at night and gives you the choice between an automatic shutoff function or continual use.
This handy little device is perfect for use at home or work and is definitely one of the best automotive oscilloscopes on the market.
- Fast sampling speed
- Powerful detection range
- Extremely accurate readings
- LED backlight on the LCD screen for working at night
- Automatic shutoff or run continuously depending on your preference
- Perfect for use at home or work
- Low screen resolution
You should also consider the Astro AI digital oscilloscope. This device can run all the basic tests as well as a variety more including testing diodes transistors and temperatures.
It is designed to a professional level with handy features such as holding data, auto shut-off, and a large LCD backlit screen for you to easily read the results of the tests.
This device is excellent for both home and commercial settings as it is built to operate for long periods and is designed with durable materials to prevent wear.
Additionally, it comes with a magnet to allow you to hang it as well as a kickstand for balance, among a variety of safety features, including overload protection. This device is excellent for a variety of settings, and understandably one of the best devices on the market.
- Able to run a wide range of tests
- Auto-ranging capability and true RMS for measuring AC current and voltage
- Holds data
- LCD backlit screen, with auto shut-off feature
- Hanging magnet and kickstand for ease of use
- Safety features including explosion-proof tubes and overload protection
- Magnet is handy but does attract other metal objects (screws, nails, etc.) so be careful where you place the device
Another excellent option is the Siglent SDS1202X-E model oscilloscope. This device is best known as being one of the quietest oscilloscopes on the market and also features a color temperature display mode for easy readings.
It can achieve a high sampling rate allowing the device to collect lots of data and produce extremely accurate readings, and its digital screen allows for you to zoom and change the view so you never have to worry about being unable to read the findings.
In an additional way to improve the accuracy of readings, this device also has a hardware co-processor for speed and accuracy, making this device easily one of the best automotive oscilloscopes on the market.
- Low noise when operating
- Color temperature display mode
- Hardwear co-processor that delivers accurate measurements quickly
- Easily zoom and change the view to analyze data
- High sampling rate which can collect more data
- Control panel can be confusing on first use
Finally, you should consider the Hantek 1008C oscilloscope. This device is an excellent choice if you want to use it on multiple vehicles as it features 8 different channels allowing for over 80 different automotive diagnostic functions.
The results of these tests are then generated into a diagnostic report and can be screenshotted or printed for you to store.
Despite its ability to complete a variety of tests, this device is actually super lightweight and easily portable and additionally comes with a video guide to help you understand how to operate it.
If you are looking for a basic oscilloscope to run tests on your vehicle this device may be too complex, but it is one of the best on the market so you should consider it as an option.
- 8-channel oscilloscope
- Knowledge of 80+ types of automotive diagnostic function
- Video help function for ease of use
- Diagnostic report can be screenshotted or printed
- Lightweight and portable
- Lower quality scope than its competitors
Best Automotive Oscilloscope Buying Guide
Cars are great until they break, that’s why an automotive oscilloscope is an excellent investment for any car owner. As soon as you suspect a fault within your car’s main electrical components, you can simply plug this device in and it will identify any issues easily.
However there are lots of different companies that manufacture these handy products, so it can be difficult to know what to look for and how to identify the perfect one for you.
That’s why we’ve put together this buyer’s guide full of all the things you should consider, complete with a buyer’s guide to aid you in your purchase.
The first thing you should consider when buying an automotive oscilloscope is the channels as these have a direct effect on the functionality of the device. Oscilloscopes range from single-channel up to 10 channels which widen the uses of the device with every added channel.
But if you are looking to buy an oscilloscope primarily for use with your car, a single-channel device will do the trick as they can be used to complete the majority of basic tests.
Technically, the precision of readings from the device will increase as the number of channels increases, but a single channel oscilloscope can easily check the voltage and identify potential faults among a variety of other functions.
However, if you are an automotive business looking to buy an oscilloscope, one with an increased number of channels might be better suited to you, it all depends on your situation.
Ease of Use
You should also consider the ease of use when buying an oscilloscope as this will vary from product to product. It is standard that all devices will require an initial set up which may be confusing as the product is new to you, but it would be beneficial if you could use the device without having to consult the user’s manual every time.
Different devices will be more or less user-friendly depending on the number of channels, user interface, etc. but if you are looking to use the device for home use on your own cars, a more basic device might be a better choice as it will complete all the tasks you need doing while also remaining easy to use.
The perfect device will depend on your specific situation, but the ease of use should definitely be considered.
Analog Vs Digital
Another thing you should consider is the display of the automotive oscilloscope you are looking to buy as there are two main types: analog and digital. Analog oscilloscopes are the traditional model of the device and appear a lot more basic in their display, whereas digital oscilloscopes are the newer model.
Digital oscilloscopes are technically the improved version of analog devices, and they do have better functionality than most analog devices, however, the importance of this will depend on your situation.
Digital oscilloscopes also tend to be easier to use, but they are usually considerably more expensive than analog devices so it is important to weigh up your options before making a purchase.
Safety and other Features
Finally, you should consider the safety of the device and other additional features it might have. Safety is especially important as the device is being used with electrical equipment and so extra precautions should be taken to prevent electrocution.
Some common safety features included in automotive oscilloscopes that you should look out for include an automatic shut-off feature, explosion-proof fuses, and overload protection to protect the device.
Additionally, there are several other features that you should look out for which makes the device easier to use. Different manufacturers will include different features but common options to look out for include, LED-backlit display screen, a flashlight on the back to see in dimly-lit areas, and a kickstand that allows you to balance the device.
These features are not essential but they can make the task easier and so they should definitely be considered when making a purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an automotive oscilloscope?
An automotive oscilloscope is a device that can be used to run a troubleshoot function on sensors, ignitions, and other essential components of your car. It tests and displays voltage in waveform so that you can plot changes over time and identify potential issues.
How do you use an automotive oscilloscope?
The exact way that an automotive oscilloscope works will depend on the model you have bought and the car that you are attaching it to. Most oscilloscopes will come with a user manual or a video that will explain how you use the device and how to connect it to your motor.
Is an oscilloscope the same as a voltmeter?
Both an oscilloscope and a voltmeter are very similar devices as they both measure the voltage that is output by your vehicle, however, an oscilloscope will often differ in the way this data is presented depending on whether you buy a digital or analog automotive oscilloscope.