Programmer Vs Tuner : What Are These & Which is The Best For Vehicle 2021

Custom modifications on vehicles have become quite popular as many vehicle owners seek ways to improve their overall performance and optimize fuel. To get the best out of their vehicles and boost their performance, they turn to programmers and tuners.

Programmers and tuners are practically the same things as they perform the same function in the vehicle.

They offer power upgrades to your vehicles such as jeep, car, truck or SUV. In the end, the performance of your vehicle is maximized regardless of which device you go for.

What Are Programmers And Tuners?

Power Programmers

Power programmers are small electronic devices used to manage and optimize engine performance on vehicles.

These devices alter the factory settings of the vehicle to adjust the engine’s “tune” to the specific needs of the user.

Power programmers are usually purchased as an aftermarket item and they are fairly easy to install.

You will have to install the device directly on the vehicle’s ECM through the OBD-II adapter (in most cases) under the dash.

The programmer contains data that modifies the ECM’s computation so that its former signals are changed to assimilate the effects generated by the new tune.

The introduced signal is received by the electrical parts of the vehicle’s engine where it alters the efficiency of the engine.

Performance Tuners

Performance tuners are electronic devices designed to boost your torque, horsepower and fuel economy.

Depending on your vehicle, you would be able to adjust your speed limiter, rev limit, and other basic functions just by installing a performance tuner on the said vehicle.

Tuner Vs Programmer

As said above, programmers and tuners are essentially the same things. The term can be used interchangeably as they perform similar functions.

However, a programmer might provide you some performance boosts which would be lacking in a tuner.

There are several tuners that go beyond boosting your horsepower, torque. and optimizing fuel.

They can alter your rig computer and let you modify several settings on your vehicle.

For programmers, it’s all about maximizing power and gas mileage while monitoring vital engine functions.

Overall, these definitions and functions are the same. There are several top brands that are notable for designing efficient and effective programmers and tuners.

Brands names like Hypertech, Superchips, Bully Dog, and DiabloSport are some of the best options to consider when going for either a power programmer or a performance tuner.

Power Programmers and Performance Tuners To Consider

Below, we have listed some power programmers and performance tuners from top brands. These chips are just one of the many high performing chips in the market.

Performance Tuners

Superchips Flashpaq F5 Tuner

The Superchips Flashpaq F5 is a high-end tuner that increases your vehicle’s torque, horsepower and throttle response very quickly.

The tuner also serves other functions like improving your fuel economy and providing information on your engine’s vitals.

It also offers power boosts to your engine which might be what you need if you own a pickup truck with a small towing capacity.

Its HD 2.8” screen makes the tuner very easy to operate and use. The tuner has a warranty cover of 2 years each on its entire system and powertrain.

Highlighted Features:

  • It installs in minutes with no tools required
  • Constantly checks your engine vitals
  • The High-speed processor allows for fast updates, faster upload times and quicker tuning

Bully Dog GT Platinum Tuner

Bully Dog is one of the reputable brands that design some of the best tuners in the market.

It’s GT Platinum Tuner offers similar functions you can find in other performance tuners in addition to some premium features like speedometer calibration.

The GT Platinum Tuner also reads and erases diagnostic trouble codes while checking your engine vitals.

If you have oversized tires that affect the reading of your speedometer, then you would want to get this performance tuner as it allows you to recalibrate your speedometer for actual reading. The GT Platinum Tuner comes with a 1-year warranty.

Highlighted Features:

  • A full-color display feature with night driving modes
  • It is easy to install via the OBD-II adapter
  • It adjusts your vehicle’s speed limiter

DiabloSport Predator P2 Tuner

DiabloSport Predator P2 might be one of the best tuners in the market, however, it is only compatible with GM, Chrysler, and Ford vehicles.

It is compatible with every car type produced by these brands and their truck models. The Predator P2 also supports domestic gas and diesel vehicles.

The Predator P2 is a high-performance tuner that offers tremendous performance gains, advanced data-logging capabilities, and multiple adjustable options.

Its multiple adjustable options are meant to account for tire size, shifting, and gear.

The Predator P2 reads and clears diagnostic trouble codes and comes with a limited 1-year warranty.

Highlighted Features:

  • Multiple adjustable options
  • USB cord for downloads and updates
  • It has a limited 1-year warranty

Power Programmers

Hypertech Max Energy Programmer


Hypertech Max Energy is a high-performance programmer. With this programmer, your vehicle will gain power boosts that will lead to quicker acceleration and better drivability.

The Max Energy programmer comes in three different versions that should meet the need of every user.

Max Energy can be used on vehicles with regular fuel. Its Max Energy 2.0 is compatible with both diesel and gas-powered vehicles and has extra functions to account for cold air intakes.

The Max Energy Sport is specifically for sport compact vehicles to increase their power and MPGs.

It is quite similar to what you expect from a custom dyno tune but the Max Energy Sport will cost you less and take a shorter time to achieve this.

Highlighted Features:

  • It comes with a lifetime warranty
  • It maximizes power and improves acceleration
  • It increases MPGs at light throttle

Edge Evolution Performance Programmer

The Edge Evolution Programmer is another high-end programmer that alters the original program of your vehicle to enhance its engine performance.

This alteration leads to power boosts by increasing the horsepower and torque of your vehicle.

Edge Evolution Programmer comes equipped with three power levels that let you extract the full potential of your engine by programming for fuel economy, towing and overall performance.

It also has a backlit LED that delivers engine vitals and data. This data consists of 24 crucial parameters including RPM, EGT, and MPH

The Edge Evolution Programmer is covered by a 1-year warranty

Highlighted Features:

  • It is easy to install
  • It has a backlit LED screen to read programmer features
  • Includes a performance mode

Jet Performance Programmer

The Jet Performance Programmer is packed with a lot of features that make it a great choice to consider. The good news is that they are not so expensive but they don’t come cheap either.

The Jet Performance Programmer allows you to fine-tune your vehicle’s original program until you get your desired result.

With this programmer, you’ll be able to modify several features in your vehicle.

It also performs some functions you can find in other programmers like allowing to access, read and clear diagnostic codes, and calibrate your speedometer.

The Jet Performance Programmer is covered by a 1-year warranty

Highlighted Features:

  • It allows you to calibrate and alter your speedometer
  • Reads and clears diagnostic codes
  • Alters your engine settings to improve performance

Frequently Asked Questions About Programmers And Tuners

Below are some questions about programmers and tuners and their answers

How Do Performance Chips Improve Gas Mileage?

Performance chips optimize gas mileage by improving your air/fuel ratio and ignition timing.

By performing these actions, the vehicle’s engine will have less work to do to generate power during combustion.

This leads to improved fuel mileage as your vehicle uses less fuel but still creates more power.

Will I Be Able To Get Back My Factory Settings?

Performance chips alter your factory settings to improve your vehicle performance but you wouldn’t lose any of the original settings.

Tuners can easily be unplugged from your onboard computer leaving your factory settings on the computer.

Programmers, on the other hand, store your vehicle’s original settings in their internal memory. If you need the settings, simply access and upload them to the computer.

Can Performance Chips Prevent Damage and Reduce Maintenance Costs

Most tuners deliver diagnostic functions that enhance safety. They read and clear diagnostic trouble codes which help cut down on maintenance costs.

They also check engine vital signals which help the vehicle owner to respond in time to crucial repairs and prevent excessive damage.

Do Programmers and Tuners Cost a Lot?

Programmers and tuners are high-end electronic devices so you shouldn’t expect them to come cheap.

They should cost between $200 and $500 depending on the type you are going for. The programmers and tuners of top brands tend to cost more than those of other brands, however, they are always the preferred choice.

Does My Manufacturer’s Warranty Stand If I Use Performance Chips?

The answer to this question will depend on how you use the performance chip.

According to the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, the fact that you are using a performance chip does not void a manufacturer’s warranty. The warranty becomes invalid if only the chip causes damage to the vehicle.

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