Anyone needs a good TPMS programmer / TPMS programming tool in their tool chest. With so much riding on your vehicle’s tires, you want to keep tire pressure at safe levels. Ideally, you just set the pressure once when you change the tires. However, season weather changes and normal wear and tear can randomly alter the pressure. You then need a TPMS programming tool to check and reset it back to where it should be.
Plus, the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) components will occasionally break down and require replacing. You must then program the new sensors properly to get back the original configuration, provided your tool is compatible with both old and new TPMS.
Don’t confuse TPMS relearn with sensor programming.
There is one more thing we must talk about before we get to the list of tools. Sensor programming and relearning are different processes. You must program the components before you install them. You then set them to relearn your vehicle once in place. While this sounds reasonable, many people forget one of the steps, usually the relearn process.
Fortunately, many newer “multi-application” TPMS kits come pre-programmed and ready to work out of the box. These sensors get all their information through the relearn phase.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best TPMS Programmers Detailed Reviews
- 2 Best TPMS Programmer Comparison Chart
- 3 The Bottom Line
- 4 FAQs
Best TPMS Programmers Detailed Reviews
1ATEQ QuickSet TPMS Programmer Tool
While most TPMS programming tools offer only activation and reprogramming, the ATEQ QuickSet does ECU relearn as well, making it a great addition to your tool chest.
On top of that, the QuickSet is a breeze to setup. You just hook the device to your computer and vehicle, install the software, and follow the on-screen instructions. Once installed, you can use the interface to set the sensor IDs, which you get from the kit box or through a TPMS decoder. After configuring everything, you only have to drive a few miles to finish the installation.
The device does have a limited vehicle compatibility list. You can only use it with the following brands:
- Intuitive and easy to use software
- Compatible with 11 vehicle brands
- Inexpensive for a relearn tool
- Reads sensor IDs stored in ECU
- Tracks and records tire rotation
- Vague user manual
- Limited vehicle compatibility, only really works with European and Asian vehicles
Who is it for?
As ATEQ made their tool for Asian and European models, you only want it if you have an Asian or European vehicle. If that is you, you may want the tool for its relearn feature.
2Autel Handheld TS408 TPMS Programming Tool
As an upgraded TS401, the Autel TS408 brings everything its predecessor brought to the table and more. This handheld programmer can read sensor IDs, battery life, tire pressure, and temperature. You can even use it to program MX sensors as OE ones.
The heart of the device is its full-color, graphic display which offers a simple and intuitive interface menu. It gives you access to every function on the device either the basics such as sensor activation and reprogramming. Other functions include air temperature and pressure, sensor ID, and battery health.
However, the TS408 does not have a relearn function. While it does have a relearn option on its menu, selecting it will just reveal instructions on how to do a relearn. This is the main drawback for the device, as the reset of the features are basic for the devices on this list.
Autel’s main selling point is the auto-configuration feature. The TS408 can read TPMS data straight from the engine. That means you do not need to search the internet to find code definitions. Everything is right there in your hands.
This is good provided the device is compatible with your vehicle. Fortunately, Autel made their device work with a lot of brands out of the box. It also works with all tire types and sizes, making it one of the best TPMS tools on the market.
- Advanced MX-Sensor programming
- Lifetime software updates
- Wide vehicle compatibility
- Solid and rugged construction
- One-click TPMS readings
- Resets tires in under 2 minutes
- Cannot print TPMS data
- Does not provide battery voltage
- Only provides TPMS functions, not an OBD2 device
Who Should use it?
The vehicle range and impressive features make the TS408 the perfect tool for DIY enthusiasts. It helps you to quickly reprogram the TPMS if you frequently work on the vehicle.
3Autel MaxiTPMS TS501 Professional TPMS Programmer / OBD2 Scanner
If you need some a bit more professional than the TS408, then the Autel TS501 might do the trick. Branded the MaxiTPMS, Autel made it for the professional mechanic, and it shows.
It’s a full function TPMS tool, giving you access to every TPMS function including tire pressure, sensor IDs, reprogramming, cloning, and everything in between. For instance, cloning lets you redefine new sensors as the old ones they replaced. This lets you ignore the normal relearn process as the ECU will maintain and reuse its old configuration.
These features are on top of the common reprogramming and activation features you see with every unit these days. However, it will not produce an actual relearn. Like the TS408, it will just tell you want to do. It does support TPMS scanning though, letting you when components fail so you can replace them.
- Compatible with all vehicles equipped with a TPMS
- Easily navigable full-color interface screen
- Supports all TPMS functions, including sensor cloning
- Displays tire pressure, sensor ID and air temperature
- Free Software Updates
- More expensive than similar models
- Doesn’t perform ECU relearning
- Limited customer and technical support
Who is it for?
Autel made the TS501 for professional mechanics, but the device works well in any DIY shop as well. It provides a full library of TPMS features that will work in any situation.
4Autel MaxiTPMS TS508 Complete TPMS Programming Tool
If you need even more features than you can get from the TS501, then the Autel TS508 might fit your needs. Autel boasts that this MaiTPMS model offers a complete TPMS programming suite, provided you put the device in the right mode.
The TS508 has two different mode for different situations. Its Quick mode offers only basic TPMS functions, making it perfect for ordinary owners and entry-level DIYers. It lets you active and reprogram sensors.
Professionals and enthusiasts may find Advance mode to be more helpful. It opens up evert TPMS function to you, making it a great device if you need it all. You can clone sensors and scan for faulty components. Both let you skipped the ECU relearning phase by letting the ECU see the new sensors as your old ones.
Beyond the device itself, if you get the TS508K kit version, you get 8 programmable sensors right in the box, ensuring that you always have compatible sensors to use with your vehicle. This is because Autel TPMS tools will only work with Autel sensors. Fortunately, the included sensors and device will work with any vehicle on the market.
- Full-color, intuitive interface
- Compatible with any vehicle with a TPMS
- Basic and Advance TPMS modes
- Kit version comes with compatible sensors
- Adjusts to your needs, great for both the DIYer and the professional
- Expensive for a TPMS tool
- Compatible with only Autel sensors
- Does not have relearn functionality
Who is it for?
With its breath of configurable features, anyone that works on vehicles will find a home for the TS508 in their tool chest.
5Autel MaxiTPMS TS601 Professional TPMS Programming Tool with OBD2 Diagnostics
All the other tools on this list are for TPMS only. They are great if you only need to work on tires, but you may want an all-in-one OD2 device to save on space and money. Fortunately, Autel has you covered with their TS601 Professional TPMS and OBD2 tool.
It has it all. It is both a full-feature TPMS programmer and a complete OBD2 diagnostic scanner in a single device. While expensive, this simple tool lets you do everything the other TPMS devices on this list can do and more.
This device reads DTCs and freeze frames. It can program any OBD2 and TPMS you have, and also lets you get the most out of your Autel MX sensors. It will even let you read and clear TPMS codes.
Autel TS601 goes above and beyond to give you the most accurate information about your vehicle as well. Plus, you can save, display and print life reports as well.
This product is by far the best device on this list. It will even do an ECU relearn for you.
- Compatible with all OBD2 vehicles with a TPMS
- Complete list of OBD2 and TPMS functions
- Ergonomically designed, sleek shape
- Software upgradable
- Can do ECU relearn
- Only works with Autel sensors
- High learning curve, might be too much for beginners
Who is it for?
Autel made the TS601 for the professional mechanic. It has everything diagnostic function you need to service customer vehicles and then some. Because of this, this handy tool can free up your OBD2 scanner of other functions.
Best TPMS Programmer Comparison Chart
|Best Affordable||Editor's Pick||For Professionals|
3.7 / 5
4.3 / 5
4.4 / 5
|Weight||14.1 ounces||1.76 pounds||2.2 pounds|
|Dimensions||12 x 1 x 7 inches||13 x 11 x 4 inches||12.8 x 10 x 4.8 inches|
|Activate TPMS Sensors||✔||✔||✔|
|Read TPMS Sensor Data||✔||--||✔|
|Reprogram TPMS Sensors||✔||✔||✔|
|Clone TPMS Sensors||--||Autel sensors only||✔|
|Relearn TPMS ECU||✔||--||--|
|Read TPMS Codes||--||✔||✔|
|Read & Clear OBD2 Codes||--||--||--|
|Car Makes and Models Supported||Hyundai, Acura, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Pontiac, Infiniti, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Scion, Toyota||All Makes and models||All makes and models|
|Bottom Line||This device is suitable for you if you have an Asian or European vehicle||It is the perfect tool for DIY enthusiasts||Autel made the TS501 for professional mechanics, but the device works well in any DIY shop as well|
The Bottom Line
A good TPMS is essential to safe driving. It keeps your tires properly inflated, reducing the risks for accidents, skidding, and exploding tires. This is all provided that the TPMS itself does not break down.
However, nothing last forever, and you will find yourself swapping sensors in and out. When that happens, you need a good TPMS programming tool to ensure everything works out of the box.
The five devices above are the best programming devices on the market this year. They offer everything you need to keep your tires running as they should. If you need help choosing one, feel free to contact us, and our reps will help you find the best TPMS programming tool for your situation
Why does TPMS light come on?
The TMPS light only illuminates when a tire’s pressure falls below the recommended level, which is about 25%. This pressure drop can mean something wrong with your tires or it could be just be weather related.
What to do when TPMS light is on?
When the light turns on, you should inspect the tires. The indicator will show you which tire has the issue, but it will not show you why it has the issue. You should only hook up a pump If the tire seems deflated. If there is a puncture, you should get that repaired before you do anything else.
Inflating the tire to its proper pressure should turn off the indicator. If it does not, you should take the vehicle to any tire shop to change out the tires and fix any other problem you might have.
Why Should I buy a good TPMS reset tool?
While a TPMS exists to keep you safe, it is not foolproof. A TPMS scan tool will show you the health of the system, letting you know if you need it repaired or not.
Read more: 5 Best GM TPMS Relearn Tools Review 2019