An hour meter functions to monitor the running time of your engine. In fact, in some cases, it is also equipped with the capability to trace the engine RPM (tachometer). Therefore, some say it a tach-hour meter. Because there are two functions in a single tool: tachometer and hour meter.
There are many benefits you can gain from monitoring your engine working hours. You can set your vehicles’ oil change interval, maintenance, service, etc. Some machines will work better with regular maintenance. Also, there is a typical machine that will last longer if threaded with regular service.
It is a very simple tool. You just need to stick it on near the engine. For a stronger grip, you could either tie or screw it. In the next step, you have to wrap around the hour meter’s wire to the spark plug. If the engine turns on, the hour meter will start off to counting. Vice versa, the engine stops, it stops counting. There is also an hour meter that works based on the vibration. The vibration models require no cable wrapping.
An hour meter is a nice investment. It can save your engine while it costs only about $10. If you are looking for the best hour meter, there are plenty of choices but you could start from our selection below.
Top 10 Best Hour Meter Reviews 2021
1. DiscoGoods Hour Meter for Motorcycle, ATV, Snowmobile, Boat, etc [Best Overall]
The DiscoGoods Waterproof Digital LCD is the best hour meter because its use spreads over many things. You could use for dirt bike, boat, generator, lawn tractor, etc. The installation process is easy to manage, you just need to peel off the sticking tape and stick it to the vehicle. It requires no wiring with enclosed hardware, no additional battery needed, simply connects with spark plug wire. It works with any gas engine. Fortunately, it comes with a standby time of up to 20,000 hours.
2. Docooler Hour Meter for Marine, ATV, Motorcycle, Dirt Bike, Ski, etc
Like the DiscoGoods above, this inductive hour meter comes with an easy installation process. It has a peel-off sticking tape and thus easily sticks to any vehicle. There are no attachments needed with enclosed hardware and requires no external power source, which simply connects with the spark plug. This small meter holds the capability to record and display to 9,999.9 hours and has a standby time up to 20,000 hours.
3. Hardline HR-8065 Vibration Hour Meter for Non-Engine Application
This hour meter was crafted for non-engine applications. Unlike the above, you are not required to install the wire to the spark plug. It automatically turns on/off recording through sensing vibration from the device in use. This wireless hour meter does not need any additional power source; there is a waterproof lifetime battery pre-installed. This can be easily installed as it has stick-on tape on its back for easy access.
Although basically universal, this one is also suitable for a non-engine application. It utilizes the vibration to start off. So, you don’t need to connect the wire to the spark plug or to another part. Simply no wire involved, just stick at the place you want. It works by counting the elapsed time, not the rpm. It works by built-in battery power that can last up to 10 years. You can set it and let it without worrying the power shuts off.
4. Runleader Digital Hour Meter (Battery Replaceable)
There are two functions you can get from this tool: hour meter and tachometer. This hour meter for lawn mower comes with a software program. Among the other hour meters, this model lets you program the maintenance reminder (for an oil change, etc). The warning will flash as a reminder.
Aside from that, it is capable of keeping track of engine RPM and running time for most 2/4 stroke engines. This tach meter is powered by a CR2450 lithium replaceable battery. That means there is no external power connection needed. The battery change is possible to do in case the battery is out.
5. Hardline HR-8061-2 Hour Meter for up to 2-Cylinder Engines
This Hardline HR-8061-2 is another nice hour meter to pick that is accessed easily with any gas engine up to two cylinders and 16,000 RPM. It is easily adjustable and can be used for all types of ignitions including fuel injected engines. It comes in handy with a maintenance program for motorcycles, ATV, power watercraft, or boats. This is used to keep track of your total time on machines and is easily maintained with planned scheduled maintenance routines.
6. Trail Tech 742-A00 Black Surface Mount TTO Hour Meter
Do you want to make sure that the time and rpm are counted together to get a richer measurement? Plus it is also modern-look? Then this stylish hour tach meter suits you. The design which is stylish will add a modern value to your dirt bike and can be used for other engines as well.
This Trail Tech digital hour meter is one of our choices because of its look and works with all gasoline engines. In addition, you are able to set custom maintenance reminders with. It comes with a big readable display head that makes it easier to read the engine’s running hours up to 99,999 hours to further ensure if you are properly maintaining your engine. There is an LCD display that allows an accessible view of all gauge readings irrespective of lighting conditions.
7. BLUERICE 2″ Hour Meter Red Backlight for Boat 9-32V Waterproof
The BlueRice 52MM 2” is the durable hour meter as it is a 316L stainless steel that is used for longer periods of time, even in acid-base and humid environments. It is IP67 waterproof and dustproof resistant. The BlueRice 52MM 2” consumes less power, holds longer life and has high precision. With its ultra-wide working voltage design, it is able to operate for longer periods and has a standard red backlight.
8. Searon DC 12v 24v 36v 48V 60V 72V Electromechanical Hour Meter
The Searon DC is the hour meter that deserves to share due to its specific design based on industrial timing and supplying data in the context under maintenance of duration for precision equipment. This unit comes in handy to track engine hours and therefore you could monitor service intervals. It has an operating range from 6 to 80 Volts DC input. Some of its common applications are those of boats, automobiles, motorcycles, ATV, UTV, go-karts.
This Searon hour meter works on DC powered system. You need to connect it to a DC source ranging from 6-80 Volt. So, it seems you will handle some wiring. How to know it’s a DC-powered system? If the engine uses battery power, then it’s DC powered. Therefore, it’s ideal to use on a boat, lawnmower, lawn tractor, etc.
9. AIMILAR Mechanical Hour Meter AC 110-250V (AC 110V 120V 220V 230V)
We choose the AIMILAR due to its appropriateness for basic industrial engine maintenance. It comes in handy in most of the engineering machinery, construction vehicles, farm machinery, generators, kilns, pumps, etc. The timer itself consists of 6 digit display with the least one being at 1/10 hour (99999.9) and functions at an input voltage of 100-250V. This is one of our favorites because of its time precision reliability and steady performance. The mechanical reading is also an extra value in which it will stay displaying the last reading despite the power gets down.
10. Searon Hour Meter AC/DC 5-270 (12V 24V 36V 48V 110V 220V 230V AC/DC)
The SEARON is one of the best digital hour meters due to its wide voltage range; AC/DC 5-277 Volts. It accumulates non-resetting total engine running time, and record 2 resettable job time; TMR 1 and TMR 2. It comes with a 2-year warranty and is waterproof. However, this cannot be mounted directly on the dash or in an inconspicuous space.
How Does An Hour Meter Work?
As the name suggests, an hour meter counts the elapsed time of an engine has passed. Right the machine turns on, the hour meter starts off. Simply, you need to connect the wire to the spark plug by wrapping it around several times.
There is also a type of hour meter that works based on the vibration. This is the model you need to install onto your electronic devices (non-engine devices). As long as it emits vibration, the tool will work.
Some of the hour meters come with battery-powered. In this model, you can simply connect the wire to the spark plug and stick the hour meter at the place you are okay with as long as the wire is long enough to support. However, it’s recommended that you attach it not far from the engine.
On the other hand, several hour meters need external power to work off. It’s not a battery-powered model. You need DC or AC power in that case. Some of them work with limited AC/DC power range. It’s not weird if you find the one that works with both AC and DC power.
This AC powered model is suitable for the generator such as the Honda generator, compressors, electric motors, etc. While the DC-powered type is great to work for battery-operated things such as RTV, boat, lawn mover, lawn tracker, trucks, tractors, and even airplanes.
Aside from the power source, you need to know the look. Some models are digital, while the others are electromechanical. The electromechanical uses mechanical reading but still needs electric power. They may have different advantages. What we like from the electromechanical type is the reading will stay on there even though the power is off.
Before deciding to purchase an hour meter for your need, it’s necessary that you need to take time for some reading.
If you don’t have so much time to make some researches, then you are recommended to take the DiscoGoods above. It works for most purposes except for non-engine devices. You need that works based on vibration for that case.
If you have read further, you can select the ones that work best on DC or AC power. Finally, an hour meter is actually a nice tool to help you manage maintenance intervals so that you can save money from any damage to your valuable engines.