Our testing team, led by Haakan Light, has selected and tested 12 key programmers and OBD2 scanners with key programming capability.
We conducted evaluations and compared them based on various factors, including key programming coverage, other IMMO functions, ease of the key programming process, and additional OBD2 and service functions.
After testing, we’ve chosen out the 5 best key programmers. Let’s check them out.
|OBD Advisor’s Testers
|Oct 10th – Oct 24th, 2023
|Number of tested products
|Number of tested cars
Best Automotive Key Programmers Comparison Chart[Mobile users: Swipe left for full table]
Autel MaxiIM KM100
|Autel MaxiIM IM508 PRO
|XTOOL InPlus IP616
(*): The Autel MaxiM KM100 is only designed for IMMO system, while other scanners can perform diagnostics and service functions on all vehicle systems.
(-): No support
Here’s my quick recommedations:
- Looking for a tool with numerous advanced IMMO functions? Try the Autel MaxiIM KM100.
- For the best OBD2 scanner with key programming function, check out the XTOOL InPlus IP616.
- Need advanced IMMO functions, vehicle diagnosis, and maintenance? Consider the Autel MaxiIM IM508 PRO.
- Simple Key is the cheapest key programmer if you are a 1-vehicle owner.
Table of Contents
- Testing Records
- Best Automotive Key Programmers Comparison Chart
- Best Key Programming Machines for All Cars
- Best OBD2 Scanners with Key Programming for Pros
- Best Automotive Key Programmers Full Comparison Chart
- What’s Next
Best Key Programming Machines for All Cars
#1. Autel MaxiIM KM100
- Transponder chip programming capability
- Two free iKEYs included
- Key programming support for all vehicles
- Frequency detection function
- No OBD2 functions
The Autel MaxiM KM100 is the best key programmer that we’ve tested. It is specifically designed for the IMMO system and does not have OBD2 functions for other system diagnostics or service resets. If you’re a home mechanic or a beginner, we suggest considering simpler options like the XTOOL InPlus IP616 or Simple Key.
One impressive feature of the Autel KM100 is its ability to generate not only key fobs but also transponder chips. This expanded functionality sets it apart from other key programmers we’ve tested. During our testing, the Autel KM100 proved to be the fastest tool for programming keys and transponders, taking less than a minute. Another great aspect is that it comes with 2 iKeys, which can be regenerated on another vehicle even after being locked with one. Another standout feature of the Autel KM100 is its frequency detection capability. We’ve tested this function with a non-functional key, and the Autel MaxiIM KM100 was still able to read its frequency.
However, it’s important to note that using the Autel KM100 requires technical knowledge to avoid potential vehicle damage. The instructions are clear, but it’s crucial to carefully follow the multiple steps involved in each task.
Today’s best Autel MaxiIM KM100 price:
#2. Autel MaxiIM IM508 PRO
- Autel XP400 Pro included
- Extensive OBD2 diagnostic
- Service functions
- Key programming for all vehicles
- Slow connection with the XP400 Pro
The Autel IM508S Pro belongs to the same MaxiIM product line (key programmer line) as the Autel KM100 mentioned earlier. However, along with the IMMO system, it also has extra features for other parts of the vehicle. When we opened the box, we were happy to find a variety of fancy accessories included.
This tool is incredibly powerful when it comes to adding new keys, working for 95% of the vehicles we tested. There are two modes to program new keys. If you’re new to this, you can choose the Smart Mode which provides step-by-step instructions. And for those who are more comfortable with advanced functions, the Expert Mode is perfect. Autel said that the product fits both DIYers and skilled technicians. However, after testing, we believe this tool is more suitable for professional use.
One of the best features of the Autel MaxiIM IM508S Pro is that it comes with the Autel XP400 Pro – a professional keychip programmer. The connection between the scanner and the XP400 Pro is not very fast, taking about 2 minutes to connect and read EEPROM data. However, once connected, all advanced functions like key learning and dealer key making are fast.
We also tested the scanner’s other functions, such as diagnostics, active tests, and service functions. While the scanning and loading speed is slower than other professional diagnostic tools from Autel, all the functions work reliably, which is consistent with Autel’s reputation.
Today’s best Autel MaxiIM IM508 PRO price:
#3. Simple Key
- User-friendly design
- Fast operation
- Suitable for home use
- Limited to one vehicle
- Supports only five brands
This Simple Key tool is designed for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, or Volkswagen. However, one thing you should know is Simple Key can only work on the first vehicle you connect it with. So, we recommend this tool for one-vehicle owners. When we connect Simple Key with one vehicle, we can program up to 8 keys, quite impressive considering its price. This key programmer is easy and super fast. We were impressed with how fast Simple Key could program a key at first, the whole process took about 3 minutes to program one key.
Thus, we can confirm that Simple Key is easy to navigate and use. The tool comes with a manual, it’s kinda clear. But if you’re new to using key programmers, you should better search for a video tutorial on YouTube – it is much easier and faster. Overall, we don’t have any big problems using this key programmer. The only downside we could think of is it’s only for some specific car lines. If you’re lucky enough to have one of the compatible models, Simple Key is definitely worth the investment.
Today’s best Simple Key price:
Best OBD2 Scanners with Key Programming for Pros
#1. XTOOL InPlus IP616
- Easy to use
- Key programming available on most vehicles
- Great customer support
- OBD2 Diagnostic & service functions
- Lifetime free update
No major cons
If you’re looking for a simple and fast way to add a new key, the XTOOL Inplus IP616 is a great choice. One of the best things about the XTOOL Inplus IP616 is that its instructions are clear and easy to follow. The IP616 offers two ways to program keys: “By vehicle” and “By type”. In our experience, the “By vehicle” method is much easier and suits home mechanics and beginners, while the “By type” method requires a bit more knowledge. Regardless of the chosen method, the XTOOL Inplus IP616 provides super clear instructions to guide you through the process. The entire key programming process can be completed in under 6 minutes.
It’s important to note that the XTOOL Inplus IP616 may not support key programming for every vehicle like other specialized key programmers. However, it has been successful in working with about 85% of the vehicles we have tested. Just like the Autel MaxiM IM508 Pro, this tool is not only for the IMMO system but also supports all system diagnostics and maintenance. Everything seemed fine during our test. So, if you’re looking for an affordable device that can program keys, diagnose, and repair your vehicle, the XTOOL InPlus IP616 is worth considering.
Today’s best XTOOL InPlus IP616 price:
#2. Autel MK808S
- Fast response
- Key programming available on most vehicles
- Active tests
- Service functions
- Complex key programming process
If you’re looking to add new keys to your vehicle and disable lost ones, both the XTOOL IP616 and Autel MK808s can help achieve that. However, there is a slight difference in the programming process. With the Autel MK808s, you have only one way to program new keys, which is quick but can be a bit complicated. We need to repeatedly turn the ignition on and off for each key, which may require some effort. Nevertheless, the Autel MK808S is responsive and provides clear instructions throughout the process, allowing us to complete it in under 10 minutes.
When it comes to key programming, there are no major differences between the Autel MK808s and XTOOL InPlus IP616. However, the Autel MK808s excels in vehicle diagnostics and maintenance, offering bidirectional control functions. And because this scanner comes from Autel, it works reliably and smoothly. So if you need active tests for your vehicles, the Autel MK808s is the better choice. Otherwise, you can save some money by opting for the XTOOL IP616.
Today’s best Autel MK808S price:
Best Automotive Key Programmers Full Comparison Chart
[For mobile users: Rotate your phone and swipe left for full table]
|Add keys/ Clone chips
|Check key numbers
|Delete key lost
|ADVANCED IMMO FUNCTIONS
|Key frequency detection
|Universal key generation
|Ignition coil detection
|Read & Write EEPROM/MCU
|Service functions (*)
|DESIGN & HARDWARE
(*): Vary on different vehicles
Thanks for checking out my review of the best key programmers. I really hope this post helps you find the right tool for your needs.
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