June 21

Best Timing Light: Timing Light for Cars and Motorcycles

Accessories, General, Repair

0  comments

Experiencing car trouble is something that no car owner would wish on their enemies. It gets even worse when you have no mechanical awareness of your car and can’t tell where the issue is stemming from. This might compel you to spend a fortune on the services of a mechanic when the problem was right under your nose!

Sometimes, the issue could be as simple as faulty ignition timing. The best thing you can do to save yourself all the trouble is to invest in a high-quality timing light. But with so many brands in the market to choose from, you can easily end up getting overwhelmed. 

Below, we consider the best timing lights you can use on your motor vehicle!

In a Hurry? The Test Winner after 30 Hours of Research: 

INNOVA 5568 Pro-Timing Light with Tool Case

Our Rating: 89/100

Why it is the best?

  • an easy-to-use digital readout
  • reads voltage, tachometer, dwell, and advance
  • comes with a patented skip circuitry test that can measure up to 9990 RPM
  • heavy-duty ABS plastic construction
  • a molded boot protects you from possible accidents
  • a molded plastic storage case for convenience

How I Picked:

14 Resources 

378 Reviews Compared

30 Hours Of Research 

24 Popular Products Considered

Last Updated: June 20, 2020

By James Ruhle: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best timing lights available for those who are interested in having an accurate measuring device. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best timing lights currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Current Top Timing Lights On The Market - Comparison Table

Best Timing Lights- Individual Reviews

1. INNOVA 5568 Pro-Timing Light - Editor’s Choice

INNOVA 5568 Pro-Timing Light with Tool Case

Our Rating: 89/100

The Innova 5568 is the best choice for anybody looking for a high-performance tool that can be used professionally. This professional-grade timing light boasts top-quality materials to go with versatile features on its sturdy frame. 

This timing light comes with a heavy-duty ABS plastic housing that is shock-proof. This allows it to comfortably cope with regular use without showing signs of wear. It will serve you diligently for years to come.

The screen is conveniently backlit to make it possible to use in dark and low visibility environments. The rotating barrel also features a slim design that serves to improve your aim at the timing mark.

You won’t have a problem using this device! The Innova 5568 boasts an advance dial with a direct reading feature that you can comfortably adjust. The feature allows you to check advance and retard timing, as well as the base timing. 

The timing light is pretty versatile and can be used on most kinds of ignition systems; it can check both 2 and 4-cycle engines. You can use it on a fleet of cars if you own one. The light’s Plug and Play operation enables fast setup while making it easy to use, even inexperienced car owners will be able to use it. 

Among the best features on the 5568 Pro should be its ergonomic design. The light will naturally fit into your palm and allow you to hold it at different angles, including odd ones, without feeling awkward. The backlit display also remains visible and readable from various perspectives. 

A metal clip on the timing light comes in handy when placing it around the spark plugs. This is much safer for you compared to the commonly-used plastic connector. The light also comes with a digital readout that lets you check four different functions.

You can use it to check Dwell, Tachometer, Advance, and Voltage readings. It also features detachable cables that offer a significant advantage if you have varying types of cables to affix. You’ll also appreciate the 6-foot detachable lead on the 5568 with an inductive pickup, which can test a maximum of 9990 RPM.

In a nutshell, the Innova 5568 Pro is user-friendly, versatile, durable, and safe! It ticks all the boxes and it comes as no surprise that it is the best timing light on our review!

Pros

  • It has 6-foot detachable leads with an inductive pickup
  • It can check both 4 and 2-cycle engines
  • Comes with a sturdy molded plastic storage case
  • Durable design with a shock-proof housing
  • Versatile enough to check four different readings
  • Plug and play operation

Cons

  • Light isn’t bright

2. INNOVA 3551 Inductive Timing Light - Best Budget Option

INNOVA 3551 Inductive Timing Light

Our Rating: 85/100

If you have a tight budget to work with, this is another quality product from a reputable brand that won’t let you down. The Innova 3351 inductive timing light is an entry-level model that is compatible with the majority of ignition systems, making it a must-have device in your tune-up kit.

This timing light may not be as impressive as its pricier sibling above, but it will get the job done for you. The 3551 inductive timing light offers a simple yet efficient way of performing different functions like diagnostics, checking timing, and more. This is just the kind of versatility you would expect from the best timing light.

The device’s leads are detachable and a patented skip circuitry test that lets you check up to 9990 RPM. There is also a protective handguard that shields you against electrocution, ensuring that your safety is always prioritized.

The 3551 timing light is relatively easy to use, even for the inexperienced car owners. It comes with an advance dial with a direct reading feature that you can adjust between 0 and 60 degrees. This allows you to assess different timings whenever you want.

You’ll also enjoy its Plug and Play operation, which makes for quick setup and use. The timing light has an adjustable barrel with a slim design that boosts your aim at the timing mark. Its leads are also detachable and feature inductive pickups. 

The Innova 3551 timing light might offer you basic features and functionalities but its high efficiency makes it stand out from the crowd. This timing light has a swivel head that enables you to access sections in your car that other models may not be able to get to.

It also comes with a bright backlight that makes it useful in both too bright and too dark environments. You also get a power switch that saves you the trouble of keeping your finger on the button when you want it to continue running. It boats quite an ergonomic design and feels comfortable to grasp.

Overall, this a convenient tool that you’ll want to have around in your garage. The best part is that it comes at a very affordable price, so you can expect great value for your money!

Pros

  • Very versatile- it can be used for checking timing, diagnosing no-spark conditions, etc.
  • Compatible with most kinds of ignition systems
  • Rotating barrel improves timing aim
  • Detachable leads
  • Protective handguard for safety
  • Patented skip circuitry

Cons

  • Complicated return procedure

Actron CP7527 Inductive Timing Light

Our Rating: 82/100

This is one of the most advanced timing lights you can find in the market. The manufacturer has designed the light in such a way that it remains comfortable to use and allows you to set and measure initial timing, as well as centrifugal advance. 

The Actron CP7527 timing light is a type of timing strobe light that can be used to check the ignition timing. It will also prove useful when you want to check both electronic and conventional ignition systems with ease. Overall, it is an effective device that you won’t regret having, plus it comes with a 1-year warranty. 

The timing light will be a great pick for first-time users who have never held a timing light before. It is relatively a basic model that won’t trouble you to operate, although there are pretty excellent features on its frame. You’ll be able to work your way around its operation without even referring to the manual.

Its Plug and Play design ensures that all you have to do is plug in the power to start using it. Once you get a reading, you can proceed to make the necessary adjustments and you’ll be good to go. Despite its sturdy design and efficient performance, the CP7527 timing light comes with quite an affordable price tag. 

The timing light happens to be heat resistant and features over-molding on its battery clips. This protects your hands from getting burned while allowing for easy plugging. A tough ABS plastic housing protects the timing light against shock, making sure you have a durable performance tool. You also get a one-touch on/off control system to power up the device.

This works with all metallic inductive pickups. There’s a Xenon flash that is super bright to enable it to function in the darkness. You can look into the hardest-to-reach and darkest corners under your hood with little hassle. 

In case the spark plugs die, the device will use the strobe light to enhance efficiency. The Actron CP7527 is quite easy to use and is compatible with 12V and 6V batteries found in most car brands in the market. 

Pros

  • One-touch control button
  • Over-molding on battery clips makes the timing light heat resistant
  • All-inductive pickups made of metal
  • Xenon flash is super bright
  • Strong ABS plastic housing to enhance durability
  • Checks both conventional/electric systems

Cons

  • Bulb tends to get dim at times

INNOVA 3568 Digital Timing Light

Our Rating: 81/100

This is the third timing light from Innova that we’ll be reviewing, which goes to show the high-quality you can expect from the brand. This particular timing light is quite versatile thanks to its compatibility with most ignition systems. You can use it to check conventional, electronic, as well as computerized systems with relative convenience.

The Innova 3568 timing light features an advanced dial that enables direct reading. This allows you to check mechanical advance or retard, electronic advance or retard, as well as base timing applications. You're left with a versatile piece of equipment that can be used on most types of ignition systems. 

This timing light further features a protective handguard to protect you from injury, as well as enable one-hand operation. You also get detachable leads and a patented skip circuitry that will test up to 9990 RPM.

The 3568 timing light boasts a nice design that many users will appreciate. The light is not only ergonomic and easy to hold, but also comes with a unique split-screen LCD. This lets you assess different functions simultaneously. You can check on Dwell, tachometer, and other functions at the same time. 

The display on the Innova 3568 timing light also enables you to adjust the advance dial whenever necessary. As such, you’ll be better placed to adjust the light’s distributor more accurately. Furthermore, the timing light has been designed in such a way that it allows you to work in tight and narrow spaces with little struggle. 

Another great feature on this timing light is its slim rotating barrel, which can be fully adjusted to provide you with a better aim. This makes for an adaptable design that lets you work anywhere with ease, including large areas and tight spaces. 

The 3568 allows you to achieve maximum fuel economy, as well as peak engine performance with proper ignition timing. It was designed for the stubborn DIYers, so if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, this is among the best timing lights for you!

Pros

  • Perfect for DIY enthusiasts
  • Slim and rotating barrel design improves timing aim
  • Split-screen LCD to for showing multiple functions simultaneously
  • Compatible with most ignition systems 
  • Patented skip circuitry test
  • Works well in narrow and tight spaces
  • Measures mechanical and electronic advance/retard, as well as base timing

Cons

  • Expensive

Engine Timing Light with Spark Plug Tester,Inductive Timing Light Gun Timing Light Ignition Testers Engine Ignition Coil Tester for Car Motor Motorbike Vehicle Motorcycle Marine Lawnmower

Our Rating: 75/100

Diesel-engine vehicles don’t come with a distributor or spark plug but have a carburetor. The Engine Timing Light with Spark Plug Tester from Dirautos is among the few devices in the market that will work well with these kinds of engines. Also, you may use it for testing spark plugs on gas engines.

This timing light features an ergonomic pistol grip design that will be comfortable to hold anytime you’re inspecting your car. This will come in handy when you want to access the farthest confines of your automobile. The design also matches the ideal engineering build to facilitate seamless operation.

The light works with a 12-volt battery-powered system that ensures you won’t have to worry about the power running out on you. The battery can be connected to the engine as the car runs. This light also adapts to all types of 12V batteries for automobiles, including motorcycles, ATVs, automobiles, golf carts, boats, etc.

The extended lead cable length, up to 4.5 feet, ensures that you don’t have to worry about the cable not be long enough. It enables you to reach the farthest working points comfortably. 

You’ll be able to use the ignition spark tester to assess the condition of your car’s ignition system without wasting your money on an expensive mechanic. The spark tester easily connects between the spark plug wire and spark plug, making it easy to use. 


The overall easy handling of this timing light makes it durable down the road. The non-slip grip especially improves accuracy when aiming at the timing mark. Therefore, this will be a practical product for whenever you need to time your cars.

Most users are happy with the light and portable design. Besides, there is a manual book included in the package for those who have no prior experience using this timing light. 

Pros

  • Long cable length
  • Light and portable construction
  • Ignition spark tester
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to operate
  • Compatible with both petrol and diesel engines

Cons

  • Cheaply made

Performance Tool W80587 Digital Advance Timing Light, 1 Pack

Our Rating: 74/100

This is another great timing light that you’ll want to include in your vehicle testing kit. The W80587 features initial and advance timing lights that have been professionally set for superior performance. With this timing light, you’ll be able to perform diagnostic work easily, as well as to conduct precise tuning with the help of its LED display.

The Xenon flash is very bright and will be useful in low visibility areas under your car hood. The timing light also comes with a push-button control that allows you to switch between 4 and 2-cycle engines. 

The Performance Tool W80587 Digital Advance Timing Light would best be suitable for MSD ignition. It offers you superb performance and can check a maximum engine speed of 9000 RPM. It can check the ignition advance spark between 0 and 90. 

The housing of the timing is made of strong ABS plastic, which is inductive and makes for durable performance in the long run. The timing light will allow you to pick up leads as it can work with different 12V systems. 

Its push-button control allows for seamless switching between engines, making it the perfect tool for diagnostic work, as well as precise tuning.

The Performance Tool W80587 timing light can be started from either side of your automobile. With the push-button switch, it won’t only be easy to operate this timing light but also makes the light more dependable and long-lasting, even with regular use. 

Overall, this timing light boasts the kind of high-performance that any DIYer will want to have when assessing the health of their vehicles. It even has clips of high current, as well as boots to enhance protection. 

Pros

  • Push-button control allows you to easily switch between engines
  • Conveniently designed for precise tuning and diagnostic work
  • Xenon flash is super bright for low visibility operation
  • LED display
  • Inductive pickup leads with a 12-volt battery system

Cons

  • Bulbs burn out easily

Factors to Consider When Choosing The Best Timing Light

best timing light buyer's guide

A couple of issues should be taken into account when you finally decide to shop around for a functional timing light that your vehicle so desperately needs. Remember to consider the following:

Ease of Use

The majority of timing lights in the market assume the shape of a gun and come with a trigger. These designs are quite easy to use and you might even find models with a microprocessor that controls the timing light. Some lights will allow you to check your car’s RPM, battery voltage, Dwell, etc.

If you have no prior experience with timing lights, you might want to check the cover material before making the purchase. A nice option for you would be a device with a non-metallic cover to reduce the risk of getting electrocuted. 

Type of Timing Light

There are two main types of timing lights; inductive and inline. The difference between these two comes from their connections. While inductive lights come with a built-in sensor that is clipped around the vehicle’s spark, you have to unplug the spark plug before connecting inline lights. 

Inductive timing lights are relatively costlier than their inline counterparts, although they boast a better design. Inline lights are better suited for DIY car owners who would like to avoid getting electrocuted. 

Compatibility

When searching for the best timing light, there are various aspects of your car that should come to mind. Does your car have a petrol or diesel engine and what type of ignition does it use? Also, is it a 2, 3, or 4-cylinder system? 

These are just some of the features that you should ascertain to check if the timing light you’re about to buy is compatible with your vehicle. Don’t make a mistake of buying a 2-cylinder light with a maximum of 9990 RPM when you drive a 4- cylinder engine car with a 14,000- RPM timing belt!

Simple or Complex

Depending on the depth of your pockets, you might have to choose between a simple and complex timing light. Naturally, the complex designs will cost you more, but they also come with extra features to offer you additional functionalities. 

For those who are dealing with a tight budget, a simple device will also get the job done; only that it will be limited to the basic functions. This will be a valid option if you’re buying your first timing light.

Brand

Some people barely look at the brand when contemplating a product to buy, but this can prove crucial, especially when looking to buy an essential piece of equipment such as timing light. Purchasing from a reputable brand assures that you’re getting a quality product to serve you diligently with little to no issues down the road.

Purpose of the Timing Light

Naturally, most people will go for the cheapest product on the shelf to try and save some change. This might be a valid option if you’re looking for a device that will merely check if your engine’s timing is right or off. But if you’re serious about the health of your car, you might want to look for a more versatile device.

The best timing light comes with extra features that will be critical in offering a comprehensive diagnosis of your car. These will also help you to learn more about the state of your car, which in turn, ensures you get better at fixing and fine-tuning the minor issues your vehicle experiences. 

Best Timing Lights - Frequently Asked Questions 

How Do You Check Timing with Timing Light?

If you’re using an inductive timing light, you may set it up when the engine is off to prevent accidents. The light should have a couple of clamps or plugs for this. Start by connecting the corresponding cables to the ground and power terminals of your car’s battery.

Ensure that the plugs are rightly placed as this will majorly influence your timing results. With everything appropriately attached, start your car and let it sit for a while. Aim your light at the timing number towards the marks located on the crankshaft pulley and you will see a number. 

The timing gun follows a simple principle; as soon as the spark plug fires, the current causes the gun to flash. The strobing effect will make one of the timing numbers to be steady as the engine is running. You want to compare this number to the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

When you’re done checking the idle timing, proceed to rev the engine, while in neutral gear. Do this up to around 3500 RPM and as the engine picks up speed, the timing will change. This will create a timing range whereby you’ll compare the whole range against the manufacturer listing. 

How Do You Adjust Timing Lights?

Now that you know the right number, it will be easy to make the necessary adjustments. Advancing or regressing the timing is a relatively easy part that shouldn’t trouble you. You want to loosen the distributor bolt to a point where it can barely be twisted.

Remember that you’re not removing the distributor; you are simply rotating it. Whenever you spin the housing of the distributor, you are adjusting the ignition timing. You want to make these adjustments in tiny increments until you get the timing to the correct range.

It may take some time to get used to this but you’ll finally wrap your head around it. After this, you might wonder what the right direction to rotate the distributor is; the answer will actually depend on the car. As a rule of thumb, you’ll be advancing the timing when you rotate the distributor opposite the rotor. 

Once you’re finished with making the adjustments, tighten the distributor while ensuring that the vacuum hoses have been appropriately attached. Check the timing then rinse and repeat until you have the correct readings. 

This is what you need to do! After that, your engine timing will be optimized and your automobile will be running at its most optimum. 

Can You Set Timing without a Timing Light?

Yes, you can! To do this, turn the engine so that it is at the timing mark of your choice. Ensure the rotor is pointing the #1 plug wire connector, and if it isn’t, turn the engine to bring back the mark. Connect your testing light between the coil negative and ground terminal then rotate the distributor in a clockwise direction until the light goes out. From here turn the distributor in the reverse direction until the light goes on. Tighten the distributor to complete the timing!

After it’s said and done, we recommend the INNOVA 5568 Pro-Timing Light as the best timing light for 2020. It comes with a variety of useful features that professionals would be lucky to have in their garage. These include:

  • It has 6-foot detachable leads with an inductive pickup
  • It can check both 4 and 2-cycle engines
  • Comes with a sturdy molded plastic storage case
  • Durable design with a shock-proof housing
  • Versatile enough to check four different readings
  • Plug and play operation

After It's All Said and Done, I Recommend: 

INNOVA 5568 Pro-Timing Light with Tool Case

Our Rating: 89/100

Why it is the best?

  • an easy-to-use digital readout
  • reads voltage, tachometer, dwell, and advance
  • comes with a patented skip circuitry test that can measure up to 9990 RPM
  • heavy-duty ABS plastic construction
  • a molded boot protects you from possible accidents
  • a molded plastic storage case for convenience

Conclusion

A timing light is a crucial device that vehicle technicians, mechanics, and any DIY enthusiasts should have in the garage. It goes a long way to ensure that your engine lasts long and enhances fuel efficiency when you are driving it. In short, it helps to get your engine running at peak performance. 

If you’re worried about the state of your engine, investing in the best timing light will allow you to perform a quick diagnostic test and figure out what’s troubling your vehicle. Above, are some of the best timing lights you can find in the market.

Use them to ensure that your vehicle is healthy whenever you take it out for a spin!

About the author 

James Ruhle

You may also like

Where can i find my title number if i lost my registration

Homemade bird poop remover for cars

How to find the current owner of a vehicle?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter now!