best automotive oscilloscope

Top 4 Best Automotive Oscilloscopes under $165 (in 2024)

Today we are reviewing the best automotive oscilloscopes that are available on Amazon.com. All units tested are sold on Amazon, available, and ready to go. Automotive oscilloscopes are specifically designed for mechanics. An automotive oscilloscope is specifically designed to measure the frequency of electrical signals to help diagnose engine operation, sensor failures, and engine timing issues.

Preview
Best Buy
HDS272 OWON Oscilloscope 2 in 1 2CH Digital Handheld...
Editors Choice
Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Automotive Diagnostic Digital...
Top Pick
PicoScope 2204A
Most Basic
OTC 3980 750 Series Automotive Multimeter,Black
Title
HDS272 OWON Oscilloscope 2 in 1 2CH Digital Handheld...
Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Automotive Diagnostic Digital...
PicoScope 2204A
OTC 3980 750 Series Automotive Multimeter,Black
Bandwidth
70MHZ
100MHZ
10MHz
10MHz
Channels
2 channels
8 channels
2 channels
1 channel
Sampling Rate
250MS/S
2.4MS/S
1GS/S
-
Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Best Buy
Preview
HDS272 OWON Oscilloscope 2 in 1 2CH Digital Handheld...
Title
HDS272 OWON Oscilloscope 2 in 1 2CH Digital Handheld...
Bandwidth
70MHZ
Channels
2 channels
Sampling Rate
250MS/S
Prime
Amazon Prime
Editors Choice
Preview
Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Automotive Diagnostic Digital...
Title
Hantek 1008C PC USB 8CH Automotive Diagnostic Digital...
Bandwidth
100MHZ
Channels
8 channels
Sampling Rate
2.4MS/S
Prime
Amazon Prime
Top Pick
Preview
PicoScope 2204A
Title
PicoScope 2204A
Bandwidth
10MHz
Channels
2 channels
Sampling Rate
1GS/S
Prime
Amazon Prime
Most Basic
Preview
OTC 3980 750 Series Automotive Multimeter,Black
Title
OTC 3980 750 Series Automotive Multimeter,Black
Bandwidth
10MHz
Channels
1 channel
Sampling Rate
-
Prime
Amazon Prime

When it comes to automotive oscilloscopes, there are many different brands out there to choose from. Because of this, it can be a bit difficult to know which ones are the best. To help you make an informed decision, we have taken a closer look at some of the top automotive oscilloscope brands.

Hantek 1008C PC USB
Automotive Diagnostic Oscilloscope

The Hantek 1008C PC USB Automotive Diagnostic Oscilloscope is a versatile tool for automotive professionals and enthusiasts. This compact and portable device connects to your PC via USB, providing real-time data analysis of vehicle electrical systems. With multiple channels and a wide frequency range, it allows for accurate diagnostics, troubleshooting, and waveform analysis, making it an indispensable tool for modern automotive repair and maintenance tasks.

Pros

  • I measured a camshaft shaft hall effect sensor and the waveform was perfect.
  •  Nice on automotive engines, great price for features and accessories.
  • For the price of this unit, it is hard to beat! 
  • Customers like the quality and value of the precision measuring oscilloscope. 

Cons

  • The software is a little clunky.
  • May need the upgraded driver from Hantek to work with Win7 64.
  • Documentation from Hantek can be improved.
  • Some customers reported issues with accuracy and documentation.

We selected the Hantek as the Editor’s Choice Award. It means it balances performance and price. We tested this guy on a hall effect sensor and worked very nicely for us, no issues at all! It should be noted that Hantek is one of the most recognized brands for the use of oscilloscopes, this type of device is available in several models, including:

  • Process calibrator HT824
  • iDSO 1070 Series
  • Hantek 6000BC
  • HSA 2030 Series
  • PS O 2020
  • DSO 8000 E series
  • MSO 7000 B
  • HDG 2000 B

PicoScope 2204A
Automotive Oscilloscope

PicoScope 2204A

The PicoScope 2204A Automotive Oscilloscope is a compact and powerful diagnostic tool designed for automotive professionals. With multiple channels, high sampling rates, and a user-friendly interface, it’s ideal for troubleshooting and analyzing vehicle electrical systems with precision and ease.

Pros

  • 2 probes with 1x-10x built-in switchable attenuators and color marks.
  • The software works on Linux.
  • Tonnes of advanced features.
  • The software is clear and elegant, with some exotic mathematical combinations of signals possible.

Cons

  • Only has a 20v max input.
  • The sample rate can be difficult to set to a specific value.
  • 8-bit resolution can be limiting. 
  • Make sure probes are included, otherwise, call the company.

Pico Technology is the leader in Automotive Oscilloscopes yet remains at an affordable price. The PicoScope (also known as a labscope) turns your laptop into a powerful oscilloscope tool. Features include:

  • Bandwidth of 10MHz with 2 channels
  • PicoScope 6 software (advanced)
  • 1G samples per second
  • Multifunction Oscilloscope

The captain of the team is the Picoscope. It stands as a strong contender for the best automotive oscilloscope in our opinion and wins the TOP PICK selection. PicoScope offers a range of oscilloscope models designed specifically for automotive applications. These models vary in terms of performance, channel count, bandwidth, and sampling rate. Some popular models include the PicoScope 2405A, 2200B, and 2205A,

OWON HDS272S
Digital Handheld Oscilloscope

HDS272S OWON Oscilloscope

OWON oscilloscopes offer a comprehensive set of measurement and analysis features including voltage measurements, time measurements, frequency analysis, FFT analysis for spectral analysis, waveform recording and playback, and math functions for waveform manipulation and calculations.

Pros

  • Multi features, scope, and DMM.
  • Large bright LCD with high resolution.
  • Accurate against a Fluke 789 (voltage accuracy test).
  • Comes with a nice case that holds the accessories.

Cons

  • Button layout takes time to learn.
  • Firmware/operating systems can be buggy.
  • The BNC connector needs double-checking
  • Multimeter functionality is not the fastest.

This little monster called the HDS2722 OWON Oscilloscope is our Best Buy pick since it is multipurpose and can be used for troubleshooting in various fields, such as automotive diagnostics, industrial equipment and sensors, and school education at the best price! The HDS2722 OWON Oscilloscope will make the mechanical electronics dude very happy.

OTC 3980 750 Series

Okay, we know this bad boy is not an oscilloscope, but this beauty was added because it is a meat and potatoes tool for any mechanic. A quality automotive multimeter. The OTC 3980 750 Series Automotive Multimeter is an essential tool for all automotive technicians. With a wide range of measurement capabilities, including voltage, current, and resistance, it enables accurate diagnostics and troubleshooting of vehicle electrical systems, making it a reliable choice for automotive professionals.

Pros

  • High-quality electric circuit testing device.
  • Nice as it has automotive-specific tests true RMS RPM dwell pulse width
  • ATII is compatible with Hybrid vehicle systems.
  •  Takes automotive multimeters to the next level with graphing software.
  • The large backlit display is easy to read.

Cons

  • The refresh rate can be slow for some.
  • Cheap leads and zippered case.
  • Auto shut-off can be annoying.
  • The logging function needs to have a USB connector.

This type of oscilloscope can be able to differentiate two signals at the same time thanks to its two channels of great accuracy, being this type one of the best and newest existing in the automotive market, one of its particulars is that it works with a frequency 25MHz.

Additionally, the OTC oscilloscope brings an option called Perception OTC or what is the same fault capture with its button, which is an intelligent application that is used to detect a normal and an unusual signal, records these moments, and performs an accurate analysis to be able to solve the problem detected. In the box of the OTC Automotive Oscilloscope includes:

  • 2 channels are available with their respective cables.
  • Graphic multimeter
  • Database for vehicles of specific brands
  • Web updates
  • 110-volt adapter
  • Probes
  • Second ignition clamp

An automotive oscilloscope is a tool used to display the frequency of an electrical signal. It’s also called a waveform monitor, wave analyzer, or spectrum analyzer. The automotive oscilloscope can be used to trace signals from vehicle wiring and parts. It can also be used to troubleshoot electrical systems during repair and maintenance.

An automotive oscilloscope is specifically designed to measure the frequency of an electrical signal in the automotive industry.

It displays waveforms as they are being traced across its vertical scale while showing their amplitude. This allows you to take precise measurements of signals, identify problems when they occur, and fix them before they escalate into costly issues.

Analog

The latter work directly with an applied signal, and this, amplified, deflects a beam of electrons vertically, proportional to its value. In a cathode ray tube comes the electron beam generated by the cathode and accelerated by the anode.

Digital

Digital oscilloscopes are the ones that are currently replacing analog ones, thanks to their quick sampling, more accurate results automatically, advanced calculations, and can also be used to measure voltage signals.

These types of oscilloscopes have advantages and disadvantages, for example, the analog is preferably favorable when you want to observe in real time the rapid changes of the input signal, while the digital is ideal if you want to analyze non-periodic events such as peaks of tension that originate at random.

Spectrum Analyzer

It is used to visualize the frequency and dimension of an electromagnetic wave through a screen where that details the spectral elements in a frequency span, whatever the type of wave, among them: acoustic, optical, and electrical.

On the other hand, spectrum analysis is the process by which the different intensities of a specific frequency are studied more precisely and in detail, that is, it studies each part in a profound way and that any wave is impossible at first sight.

Automotive oscilloscopes for laptops

They are more comfortable and lighter. You can connect them to the USB port of your laptop for automotive diagnostics (with previously installed software). It can work perfectly in the same way as large oscilloscopes.

  • Before turning it on, you must ensure that the intensity control is low.
  • Now, turn it on
  • Wait for the tube to warm up to start working
  • Increase the intensity control until a not-very-bright horizontal line appears
  • Adjust the focus control until a very thin line appears
  • Connect the probe to the input of channel one (CH1)
  • Plug the probe tip into the outlet (CAL)
  • Configure the time scale and amplitude controls for CH1 until a square probe appears that occupies most of the screen, and at least one full cycle is visible.
  • Disconnect the probe tip from the square wave output
  • After doing these procedures, the oscilloscope is now ready to be used.

In this article, we review the best and most affordable automotive oscilloscopes. We selected the Hantek at the top tip balancing performance and price. But the captain of the team is the Picoscope and stands as a strong contender for the best automotive oscilloscope in our opinion.

Of all the units reviewed, we were indeed happy with their performance. Yes, all have some quirks, but if you are looking for performance, excellent price, excellent reviews, and availability, the Top 4 Best Automotive Oscilloscopes under $165 are right here.

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