People use test light because this tool provides quick action for troubleshooting. For vehicles, a test light is used to evaluate the fuse condition, find grounds, to check the brake light, to check alternator condition, etc.
Why not using voltmeter or multimeter? A test light is designed with a sharp piercing probe so you can touch the wanted component or object easily. This tool is also larger and longer so you can reach down most hard to reach area. However, for further troubleshooting, voltmeter or multimeter is used.
An automotive test light costs about $15 for a unit. For a $15 priced point stuff, a test light is really a great investment you could afford. However, it could be more expensive depending on the model.
The old-styled version that uses bulb costs the lowest. It utilizes an incandescent bulb light as the indicator. The bulb is replaceable and it’s a plus point of the bulb test light. While the one with LED light indicator, voltage reading and computer safe rated could charge more. The one priced under $30 is still reasonable. More than that is not recommended.
It’s also usually referred to a circuit tester. Whatever the name, this tool is really helpful. As a diagnostic tool, the test light will make your life easier to test the electricity presence. In this page, you will be exposed to our selection of the best automotive test light that we select for you. Keep reading to find some test light guidance and how to use them.
1. McKay PL26001 Heavy Duty [Best Automotive Bulb Test Light]
The first best automotive test light that we recommend is McKay PL26001. Shockingly, we are not alone. There are a bunch of customers who gave a highly nice positive rating for this tool on the market.
It’s a bulb test light. That means using a bulb as the indicator. Nicely, it will light up brightly when the current flows through the filament. Moreover, the bulb can be replaced in case it’s off. So, it can last long.
You might think it’s small like the picture shows up. But it’s actually larger. The probe length is 7 inch in length with the handle thickness is 1 inch. This test light is really heavy-duty. Aside from that, the cord length is 4 feet 1/2 inch with the cord thickness is 1/4 inch. That’s more than enough to connect negative to the positive pole.
Are you looking for the best automotive test light to test the fuses? The McKay PL26001 is enough for that. Since it’s designed to test 6-12 voltage circuit system, this tool is suitable for a car fuse test light. Due to its quality and reliability, this one is really capable to use for a daily basis.
- Good quality
- Great price
2. OctagonStar 16012 Automotive Bulb Test Light
In general, OctagonStar 16012 is the same type of test light like the McKay above. It works based on the replaceable incandescent bulb, has relief springs to return the wire back straight, etc. But, what makes us like it is the large clip.
It may not suit for tight space, but it works absolutely great for almost negative pole. As a large clip, it will be easily attached to and not easily slip up. The cord length will also be suitable for most uses. It’s 4 feet in length, only less 1/2 inch than McKay.
OctagonStar 16012 bulb test light has quality assurance. So, you do not have to worry about safety. It is a high-quality tester that eases your job while checking the circuits. You could use it to test the car fuses, and the long cord works great when needed. Overall, this is a worth well investment you could buy right now.
- Works great
- Not made of the best quality
- The bulb of the OctagonStar 16012 also needs fixing
3. Jastind Heavy Duty Coiled Wire Automotive Test Light
The coiled wire can extend up to 135 inch (11.25 feet). It’s extremely long for an automotive test light. And it will work best for distant and higher fuses. Plus the sharp piercing probe will combine to handle most of the objects to be tested.
If you are looking for a heavy-duty automotive bulb tester, this one is yours. The entire length is 8.5 inch with a super big 3-inch alligator clip that works mostly for the positive and negative terminal. It’s intended to check the voltage of 6-24 volts. Additionally, as a bulb test light, nicely it comes with a replacement indicator light.
- Heavy duty
- Impressive quality
- Need a battery for a continuity tester
4. OTC 3642 Long Coiled Wire Test Light for Trucks
Need a test light that has super extra longer cord plus large clip and works on 24 volt-system? OTC 3642 is the last one of the bulb test light type that exceeds those requirements we suggest for you.
This test light is clearly designed for big vehicles such as trucks and buses. Since they commonly use a 24-v system and this tool works on the 12-24-volt system, this test light will really suit well. Aside from that, the cord is super extendable up to 24 feet in length. No worry to reach down a distant place. Plus the clamp type is big enough and open freely to clip big terminal.
In addition, in case the bulb gets broken and off, you could purchase the replacement. If you are looking for heavy-duty 7-inch long probe test light for trucks, the OTC 3642 is the most favorable.
- The light works great
- The tester may melt on the inside
5. Jastind JTCVT-01B [The Best Automotive Test Light]
Imagine that your test light is able to detect electricity present in the range of 3 to 48 Volt? It must be versatile, right? Here, Jastind JTCVT-01B heavy-duty 8.5-inch long probe test light is designed to meet that requirement.
For testing uncommon vehicles such as forklifts, tow tractors, personal transporters, golf carts, electric cars, etc, this Jastind test light will suit well.
Moreover, it’s equipped with an LCD screen in which you can easily read the voltage of equipment being tested. If you are working in the night, then this one does the job due to the white backlight. In addition, it comes with coiled wire which is extendable up to 11.67 feet. Surely, it can reach down a far object but will not mess you to tidy it up.
This test light is extremely definitely what you are looking for. It poses all the features that we are sure you want it: the voltage range, LCD display, coiled wire, sturdy heavy-duty high-quality material probe, and large alligator clip. You cannot go away to choose another tester anymore. Priced with an affordable price, this is a must-buy tool that has to be in your toolbox.
- High-quality tool
- Not optimal for higher voltage
6. Lisle 29050 Computer Safe Test Light
Your car is fully computerized. And if you use the bulb test light, chance is it could damage the circuit because it draws current. Lisle 29050 is safe for that case because they use LED rather than a bulb that draws only a small amount of current (approximately 40 milliamps).
It’s a red-and-green LED test light. That means when the probe touches the positive terminal and the clamp hooks the negative terminal (positive polarity), the red LED turns on. And vice versa, if you operate it in negative polarity, the green LED turns on. Plus, the screen will let you easily read the voltage.
Other features such as the 4-feet long cord, big clamp, and insulated probe will complete this equipment to accompany your job done well. We like the big clamp because it will open largely and grip strongly. The Lisle 29050 is the best automotive circuit tester which you can use for heavy-duty vehicles due to its operating voltage 3-30 volt.
- Works great
- Fast and quick with the detection
- Not the best quality
7. Oemtools 25887 One-Handed Wire Piercing Circuit Tester
That’s not the overall benefits. This one may look like a bulb test light that can draw significant current but it actually utilizes LED which draws about 11 milliamps. That number will not give damage. So it’s absolutely computer-safe. Also, the LED is replaceable. In terms of brightness, there is no doubt.
For versatility, it runs in 6-24 voltage system so suits for various vehicles. The coiled flexible wire (the recommended wire type) can extend until 12 feet. That’s long enough and able to gain most workpiece. Oemtools 25887 is a reliable heavy-weight tool that can detect the circuit fast and quickly.
- Works great
- Weak red LED light
8. Innova 3430 Best Digital Test Light
This digital test light is awesome. The design is unique and ergonomic. It has an LCD screen with big number that displays the voltage reading accurately. The red and green LED lights near the screen; which is easy to spot, function to indicate high and low voltage respectively.
For safety, it’s computer safe because it’s made with 10 MegOhm resistance component embedded inside the system. It really reduces the current draw and not harm your computerized engine. And the 6 feet cord will be adequate to test the surrounding workpieces such as fuses and other equipment.
Innova 3430 operates under 6 to 12-volt rating system. So, it’s suitable for most cars. Additionally, it comes with a one-year warranty to guarantee the satisfaction of customers.
- Works decently
- Great price
- The LED light is not the best quality
9. Astro 7760 Best Cordless Computer-Safe Test Light
Astro Pneumatic 7760 is a super quick circuit tester. It is cordless which allows you simply probe the workpiece or circuit you want to test and it will light up and beep. For testing equipment around the interior car such as in the dash, this is an ideal tool to go for.
In comparison with the other test lights, this one uses an internal power source (a typical AA battery). And therefore, this one is typically computer-safe. If you are looking for the best test light which is safe for airbag and ECM, this is the best choice for it.
Since it works on the voltage of 3 to 28 volts, you could use it for various system. You might think it’s expensive. This one is actually super affordable with a long last battery plus versatility, a must-have tool and economical choice for electrician and mechanic as well. Further, the V-tip lets you easily pierce the wire need to be tested. Grab it now.
- Great price
- Good quality
10. General CT8002 Cordless Computer-Safe Circuit Tester
This General CT8002 is the competitor of Astro above. By looking, they have a similar design. This one employs LED light, audible beep, and vibration when the probe touches the positive point. Plus, a V-tip is designed for easy piercing.
Made in Canada, this tester only draws a very little 20 microamps current which is highly recommended to use for the safety of your airbag and ECM. If you are working in the car interior, you don’t need to pull power from the cigarette lighter, this one is a very simple cordless model.
It operates in the range of 3 to 28-volt system, and that deserves to be in your toolbox for many application. When needed, it can be carried in your pocket. General CT8002 cordless test light is a quick problem solver to check the live voltage with ease rather than take out your multimeter and grab this grab that which takes time.
- The cordless saves the hassle
- Not great with the accuracy
Factors to Consider Buying Test Light
Replaceable Bulb. One advantage of picking up an incandescent test light is the bulb can be replaced when it’s burned out or dead. As long as the quality is good, it can last long and only need replacement.
Size Clip. The size and type of the clip (ground) make sense to be considered as the thing you have to take a look. Make sure it’s not easy to slip, open freely or big, and exceeds an adequate size.
Computer Safe. The drawback of using bulb test light is that they are not computer safe. The incandescent bulb draws current and could endanger some circuits. Some test lights are considered as computer safe when they have no possibility to harm the vehicles’ computer and the other control modules due to the small current that they draw. This type of test light generally uses their own power source (battery) or take from an outside source such as from cigarette lighter. There is also a model that looks like a bulb type but it actually uses LED. Using LED as an indicator reduces the current draw and could minimize danger to the car computer.
LED indicator. Based on the light indicator used, there are three types: 1). Incandescent bulb type, 2). LED type (uses one LED and one transistor), and 3). Positive and negative polarity type (uses red and green LED with a circuit board). If you concern with the safety of your car circuit, then not to choose the bulb type. Furthermore, picking up the very low current draw model will be the most secure option.
Cable Length. Surely, this feature is determinable. A long cord will reach most areas rather than a short one. However, a long cable can be a bit difficult to store because it consumes space. As a result, we suggest buying the coiled one in order to make it neat easily.
Operating Voltage Range. The voltage system of the vehicles you are going to test is important to recognize. This will allow you to select the best favorable test light for that. If your car is a hybrid one which uses the 24-v system, then the old-styled 6-12 volt test light will not accurately be used for it. In contrast, a 6-12 volt test light will suit well for cars manufactured before 1950. Our tip is simple, if possible, buy the most versatile one which operates in a wider range of voltage.
Relief Spring. It functions to turn back the cord to its initial position so that it doesn’t bend for a long time which can cause breakage to the cord. This feature seems to be an overlooked thing but actually very determining and helpful to make the cord long last.
How to Use A Test Light
Using a test light is very straightforward. But, at the first step, you have to make sure that this tool works as expected. Then, you could clip the alligator clamp to the negative terminal battery and pierce the probe to the positive terminal. If the light turns on and you know that the battery has power, then the test light is working expectedly.
For the most common application of test light in automotive is to checking fuses. How to use a test light for fuses is really simple. Open the fuse box. Then clamp the ground. In this case, you could clip the test light’s clamp to the negative terminal of your battery. Lead the sharp piercing probe to one of the fuse sides. If the lamp or other indicator turns on, then there is power. If not, then it could be blown.
From a variety of models available, it’s not strange that it could lead to a headache. But taking the time to select your most preferred one could lead to an optimal choice. Since everyone’s need is different, we cannot pick the one which suits all.
The only most possible test light that suits all is Jastind JTCVT-01B because it supports a wide range of voltage system plus a long coiled cord to reach down the farthest object to be tested. However, if you could find the one that draws super less current, that would be safe to use for most application. The cordless test light would your next preference because it’s really simple and safe.