We live in an age where the wrench is no longer needed to boost horsepower and torque. So, with nearly every ride being controlled by onboard computers, it’s no wonder that aftermarket performance companies have found a way to optimize OEM programming. While generally known as “chips”, these flash programmers and performance modules use customized software to boost performance. Once installed, they ramp up horsepower, torque, throttle response and MPGs. Choosing the right tuner for your ride requires a bit of research, luckily for you, we’ve assembled this list of the Top 10 Power Programmers & Performance Chips to steer you in the right direction.
This hard-wired tuner and performance monitor features on-the fly adjustments and 4 different performance tunes from mild to wild. There’s no need to re-boot your ride for a trip to the store or a launch down the strip. And, the full color display keeps you in the loop with live engine data and instant fuel-economy readings. Combined, this makes for a great, hands-on tuning experience.If you've got a HEMI, make sure you check out the Bully Dog 40430 Hemi Plus Tuner. It's specifically built to tune your American iron with gains up to +20HP!
Perfect for drivers who want to safely add power, throttle, response and mileage to their ride without adding a permanent fixture on the dashboard. This performance module plugs into your ride’s diagnostic port under the dashboard and loads performance software into the computer (ECU). Once the download is complete, simply disconnect the Hypertech Max Energy Programmer and enjoy a revitalized ride. Best of all, the tune stays in place until you decide to change it, so feel free to stow the programmer at home, under the seat, etc.
Simplicity and powerful features are hallmarks of the Superchips Flashpaq Tuner. Perfect for the daily driver and performance enthusiast, it’s easy to use and delivers outstanding performance. Start by plugging the tuner into the diagnostic port under the dash, punch in a little info and tune. It’s that simple. Within minutes, your ride experiences a boost in horsepower, torque and depending on the tune, mileage. Even better, when it comes time for service at the dealership, simply use the Flashpaq to restore your ride back to factory mode.
If you’re looking for a tuner with loads of features, a dazzling touch-screen display and great power gains, look no further than the DiabloSport Trinity T-1000 Programmer. Melded to your ride’s mind, this powerful programmer loads custom-designed go-fast or gas-saving tricks into the ECU. Best of all, the Trinity T-100 displays live sensor data, a virtual drag tree and logs data through the OBD II port—tuning you into your ride like never before. One thing’s for sure, with this bad boy in place, you may never look at your instrument cluster again.
Hold massive tuning power in the palm of your hand with this friendly, easy-to-use programmer. Simply plug it into your ride’s diagnostic port and use one of the many pre-loaded tunes for a boost in performance. Browse through intuitive menus on the high-resolution color touch screen to read sensor data, trouble codes or clear a check engine light. Best of all, the twin 32-bit processors and 1GB of memory allows you to create and store your own custom tunes.
Tune your ride or rig with the Edge’s next evolution in programmers, the CS. This tuner and performance monitor plugs into your ride’s diagnostic port for an easy installation. And unlike many other tuners, the Edge CS Evolution attaches to your ride’s windshield for easy viewing. The 2.4”, high-resolution screen displays live sensor data, 0-60, quarter mile times and has a built in drag-strip feature. Best of all the Edge CS Evolution Programmer displays and clears those pesky diagnostic trouble codes.
Gain an unmistakable advantage over the competition with the original Edge Evolution Programmer. When tuners were clunky and had few features, the Evolution stood above all in terms of performance. In many ways, the same holds true to this day with powerful tunes for economy and power, plus an adjustable backlit color LED screen that displays live sensor data. And if the dreaded check engine light pops up on the dash, your Edge Evolution Programmer lets your read those codes and clear ‘em.
Take the best that the Edge CS has to offer, kick it up a notch and you get the Edge CTS Evolution Programmer. It’s packed full of the same great performance features as their CS programmer but with a massive 4.3” touch screen. This makes for easy viewing and fast menu navigation. No doubt about it, when it comes to performance you can see and touch, the Edge CTS Evolution Programmer is a clear contender.
Looking for plug-n-play power? Well look no further than this tuner. Just hook the Cortex to your ride’s diagnostic port, punch a few buttons and tear up the tarmac. You get your choice of three built-in programs to work with to tailor your ride’s power level. And, the built-in MSDP link works great with with add-ons like gauges, dash displays and other sensors. Throw in the ability to log data, performance times and speeds and you have enough tuning info to blow your mind.
If you’re looking for a clandestine way to wake your Hemi-powered ride up, it’s hard to beat a Hypertech Interceptor Tuner. This unassuming programmer packs a wallop with one goal - to crank your ride’s horsepower level to 11. All you have to do is plug the Hypertech Interceptor Tuner into the engine harness under the hood, turn the key, and blow away the competition. And, the Hypertech Interceptor Tuner leaves your ride’s diagnostic port open for service.
As you see above, tuners generally add horsepower and torque to your ride with minimal effort. The main differences between these powerful modules are the way they accomplish this task. A programmer that plugs into your ride’s diagnostic port and reprograms the ECU is the easiest way to go but may lack a display to view vehicle information while driving. On the other end of the spectrum are performance modules that tie directly into the car’s wiring harness and correct sensor signals in real-time. One thing’s for certain, if you want a better driving experience, any choice from the above list is a winner. If you have questions or comments about the programmers on this list or want more info from real-world experiences, check out our performance chips reviews.