LAST UPDATED: May 26, 2021

The Best Performance Chips: Upgrade Your Vehicle’s Performance

Best Choice The Best Performance Chips: Upgrade Your Vehicle’s Performance DiabloSport Car Fuel Management Module
Premium Pick Edge Products Insight Monitor Edge Products Insight Monitor
Best Value Range Technology Active Fuel Management Range Technology Active Fuel Management

By: Heather Fishel

Have you been thinking about improving your vehicle’s performance? While there are plenty of different upgrades and tweaks you can make under the hood, one of the easiest and most effective is to buy a performance chip. Also known as tuning chips, performance chips allow you to customize your vehicle in wholly beneficial ways. Available in all kinds of styles to target different aspects of performance, you can choose a chip that improves your fuel economy, delivers more power, and increases torque. Some chips even allow you to customize and control multiple aspects of your car’s performance.

Which performance chip is the right choice for you? It depends on what you’re driving — and what you want to get out of your car. But no matter which kind of tuning chip you’re interested in, adding one of these affordable components can help you enjoy every drive even more. We’ve rounded up our favorite performance chips to simplify your search right here.

The Best Performance Chips

DiabloSport is a well-known enterprise when it comes to providing the public with fresh new tuning programmers, and this item is one of our favorites. Compatible with a variety of trucks, you simply need an OBDII port in order to plug this in and get started.

This item focuses on the power and torque of your car by overriding the four-cylinder mode with the V8 option, allowing you to quickly and forcefully move when you need to. Just be aware that your vehicle will need to host the Active Fuel Management system in order for this performance chip to work.

Key Features
  • Connects to the OBDII port
  • Suits most domestic vehicles that feature Active Fuel Management (AFM)
  • Forces regular V8 mode
Specification
  • Brand DiabloSport
  • Model S1000
  • Weight 0.8 ounces
PROS

Very simple installation with no tuning or alterations required

Quickly resolves lagging problems often seen when changing from 4 to 8 cylinders

CONS

Not suitable for cars without AFM

No tuning of personalization abilities

A great option that meets the needs of a wide range of vehicles (providing they were registered after 1996 and equipped with an OBDII port), this programmer is perfect for a variety of vehicles. Whether you like to check out the open road, commute to work, or are a long-distance driver looking for maximum performance, the Insight Monitor from Edge Products is a popular option.

The easy-to-read screen displays all the information you need, making it easy to monitor your performance and to self-regulate. You should be aware, however, that this option does not come with any tuning abilities and acts as a monitor only.

Key Features
  • Suitable for vehicles with an OBDII (diagnostic) port
  • 5” screen
  • Range of on-screen colors and designs available
Specification
  • Brand Edge Products
  • Model 84130
  • Weight 12.8 ounces
PROS

Touchscreen makes it easier to manage tasks and monitoring

Slimline and easy to carry when not in use

Great for monitoring and diagnostics

CONS

This is only a monitor, so no tuning capabilities

Screen can slow down considerably over time

A power chip that focuses on driving performance in high-load vehicles, this device works by disabling the four-cylinder mode, allowing your vehicle to regularly operate under V8 mode. As you can imagine, this provides extra power and torque where you need it most.

Since it’s so small, the change that this simple addition can make is incredible. It uses a plug-and-play style of installation, so you don’t have to worry about spending hours tinkering under your hood. You can even maintain your warranty with this option.

Key Features
  • Easy installation
  • Designed for high-load vehicles
  • Disables 4-cylinder mode
Specification
  • Brand Range Technology
  • Model FBA_RA003
  • Weight 3.2 ounces
PROS

Does not reprogram factory settings, maintaining your warranty

Ideally for vehicles with high-load requirements, such as tow trucks

Very easy to install with a plug and play system

CONS

Can result in “check engine” light coming on

Affects miles-per-gallon negatively

Another option that doesn’t void your warranty, the Throttle Response Controller from Pedal Commander does exactly what is promised on the packaging. Easy to install, you can plug and play this component quickly and easily, allowing you to improve fuel efficiency.

There are four adjustable modes that are pre-programmed into this tuner, which can also be altered to give you a massive 36 configurations to best suit your needs. It also comes with an app, which acts as your display and allows you to easily see the output and efficiency of your system.

Key Features
  • Improves fuel economy
  • 36 variations
  • Very easy to install and use
Specification
  • Brand Pedal Commander
  • Model Pc-18 Pc-30
  • Weight 7 ounces
PROS

Doesn’t void your car warranty

Very easy to install as a plug-and-play application

Comes with a phone application for easier controls

CONS

Very expensive

Does not provide the same positive results in heavier trucks

A handheld programmer that could easily be mistaken for an MP3 player, the Flashcal F5 Tuner from Superchips is an easy-to-use system that acts as a monitor for your vehicle. This is another plug-and-play device, although this particular option only works with a Jeep Wrangler JL.

Unfortunately, this option comes with very few, limited adjustments and mostly acts as a monitor. While you can alter it for tire size, axles, and so on, there are few improvements beyond this.

Key Features
  • Fits Jeeps only
  • Handheld, plug-and-play device
  • Works with upgraded equipment
Specification
  • Brand Superchips
  • Model 3571-JL
  • Weight 5.6 ounces
PROS

Ideal for those looking for the most personalized experience

Quick and easy to use

Hosts some nice features that customers appreciate

CONS

No overall performance enhancement

Suitable for Jeep Wrangler JL only

Another option from SCT Performance, this item is WiFi enabled and therefore super quick and easy to keep up to date with all the latest tuning programs. This helps you get the most from your vehicle at all times with little to no effort.

The device fits a huge range of vehicles and can hold up to 20 custom tuning programs, allowing you to fully customize your driving experience. It also comes with a full-color display, so you can clearly and easily see your monitoring information during use and keep an eye on your fuel economy.

Key Features
  • WiFi enabled
  • Full-color display
  • Fits a wide variety of vehicles
Specification
  • Brand SCT Performance
  • Model 40490
  • Weight 15.7 ounces
PROS

Holds up to 20 individual custom tuning files

Provides clear information via the full-color display

CONS

Customer support is hard to reach with limited hours

This popular gadget from Bully Dog is one of the top products available due to its huge range of abilities. The dash-mounted display allows you to continually keep an eye on your performance management through the use of the power chip, and it comes pre-loaded with fuel-saving tuning, which is suitable for most cars.

Be aware, however, that the more complex the system, the more likely you’ll run into problems when things go wrong. This is especially true in this case as users note that when things fail it can be extremely hard to sort and resolve technical issues.

Key Features
  • Dash-mounted LCD display
  • Ability to diagnose and clear fault codes
  • Clear display uses day and night modes
Specification
  • Brand Bully Dog
  • Model 40417
  • Weight 1.02 pounds
PROS

Pre-loaded with fuel-saving tuning for most cars

15 performance parameters are displayed at once using the full-color screen

CONS

Some users note struggles with technical errors

Users note only marginal improvements overall

Suitable solely for Ford Powerstroke diesel engines, this performance chip is one of the best on the market. It is listed toward the lower half of our Top Picks as it is limited by the make and model when it comes to vehicle compatibility. It’s extremely easy to install and uses a simple six-setting knob that allows you to quickly switch between pre-loaded tunes even while driving (although this isn’t advised).

It does, however, negatively affect your MPG, and even the lifetime warranty isn’t quite enough to save this shortfall – although it’s definitely a nice little bonus to a popular and simple choice.

Key Features
  • Comes with six settings
  • Very popular product
  • Easy to install
Specification
  • Brand TS Performance
  • Model TSP1180401
  • Weight 4 ounces
PROS

Easy to switch between tunings

Comes with a lifetime warranty

CONS

Negatively affects MPG

Components can be sensitive and prone to blowing a fuse

The Edge Evolution CTS3 Tuner is a tuning chip that offers comprehensive control over your vehicle’s parameters and performance. It’s truly hard to top the in-depth data and customization you’ll get with this chip installed and the touchscreen monitor in your hand. Built with state-of-the-art technology, you’ll be able to increase your horsepower on both gas and diesel engines, boost your torque, adjust your speed and revolution limitations, and check in on your fuel economy — all via a single performance chip.

This chip is awesome to play around with. You’ll be able to check in on all of your driving stats with a 5-inch full-color edge-to-edge display, which includes swiping technology so you can monitor parameters like speed, performance, and economy by swiping left and right. All of the displayed data is crystal clear, and you can access settings for tuning shift points, shift firmness, fuel pressure, and more in seconds. And despite all of this technology, the tuning chip plugs right in and gets to work, with no complex installation needed.

Key Features
  • 5-inch edge-to-edge full-color touchscreen shows real-time data.
  • Creates intelligent visual and audio alerts so you’re always in the know when data changes.
  • Allows switching between multiple gauge screens for even more insight.
Specification
  • Brand Edge
  • Model CTS3
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Wholly comprehensive in offering data from multiple angles and specs.

Can monitor up to 10 different parameters simultaneously.

Plug-and-play installation is easy for anyone to get up and running.

CONS

Chips for different vehicle models can vary in the features they include, and some can be more limited than others.

May provide too much information for first-time performance chip users.

Designed purely to read and restore your engine, the F5 tuner from Superchips is made for 1999-2016 GM gasoline and diesel engine Trucks. It analyzes fault codes and allows you to improve MPG. It also has the ability to adjust some performance settings in order to gain more power and speed — although there are many others on our list that are easier to work with in this capacity.

It will not work in customized vehicles, so swapping from another tuner to this option is not the best idea. It also gets slammed by users for the high price tag – an understandable qualm, considering the same programs can be covered by cheaper options.

Key Features
  • 2-year warranty included
  • Loved by customers
  • Compatible with 1999-2016 GM gasoline and diesel engine trucks
Specification
  • Brand Superchips
  • Model SPC-2845
  • Weight 11.2 ounces
PROS

Full-color screen is easy to diagnose, find faults, as well as tune

Sends power to Chevy Silverados, GMC Sierras, and other trucks

CONS

Won’t work with customized computing in vehicles

Many customers aren’t happy with the overall value

If you’re looking for a performance chip that’ll give you more power alongside improved performance, the Hypertech Max Energy Programmer is just the right choice. This chip delivers optimized engine tuning to help you achieve the maximum power possible from your car’s engine. It allows you to change your automatic transmission’s shift point and shift firmness, and an adjustable RPM “rev” limiter is available for some makes and models.

Along with the performance chip itself, this Hypertech product includes a speedometer calibrator that’ll work for non-stock tires. On the programming screen, you’ll be able to read and clear any diagnostic trouble codes, and you’ll always have the latest information available thanks to readily available online updates that upgrade your chip.

This performance chip is available for a variety of makes and models, and the features can vary for each car type.

Key Features
  • Always up-to-date thanks to online updates that come with regular changes and tweaks to performance.
  • Designed to optimize power and performance, helping fuel economy along the way.
  • Available for all different makes and models, as well as diesel and gasoline vehicles.
Specification
  • Brand Hypertech
  • Model Max Energy 2.0
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Enhances performance via different parameters and offers diagnostic help with DTCs.

Improves fuel efficiency and helps optimize engine performance.

Backed by a lifetime warranty for long-term reliability.

CONS

Have to download software updates from your computer to update the chip every so often.

Updating can be challenging, depending on your computer.

Our next DiabloSport choice has a full-color screen and a quick-and-easy installation due to the plug-and-play design. This particular option works with a huge range of models and is best matched with larger trucks with up to and around eight-liter engines.

This is most likely because the additional 25Bhp that this item provides is best utilized by heavier vehicles that can handle the change in tuning. It even works well with customized vehicles and therefore is one of the most popular options.

Key Features
  • Best fit with larger trucks
  • Plug-and-play installation
  • Works with wide range of models
Specification
  • Brand DiabloSport
  • Model 7202
  • Weight 1.19 pounds
PROS

Provides up to an additional 25Bhp

Can be adjusted to fit a customized vehicle

CONS

Customers note that check engine light often appears when in use

Not designed for added throttle/Bhp

The SCT Livewire TS Performance Tuner is one extensive tuning chip. With this sole performance chip, you’re able to increase your vehicle’s horsepower and torque — and there are models available for both gas and diesel models. But the real standout feature of this chip is its ability to recall 10 different tuning adjustments at once. You’re able to control an impressive number of performance aspects while you’re behind the wheel, and you can adapt to different conditions or driving needs.

In addition to upping your horsepower and torque, this performance chip allows you to read and clear DTC trouble codes and return to stock factory settings at any time. You can make adjustments to increase the throttle response, firm up transmission shifting, and increase your fuel economy. You can even adjust if you’re towing a camper or trailer to lighten the load your vehicle is pulling. With extras like rear view camera input, a built-in performance calculator, and data logging, you’re in control from every angle.

Key Features
  • 4-inch color touchscreen display with automatic on/off and sleep modes.
  • Includes high-speed data logging and monitoring.
  • Users can fine-tune and customize everything from performance to graphics to gauge layouts.
Specification
  • Brand SCT
  • Model Livewire TS
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Can switch between tuning modes without resetting or reprogramming, which gives you more versatility.

Suitable for gas or diesel engines.

Allows you to set, adjust, and control 10 different tunes from your handheld screen.

CONS

Not legal in California.

Drivers may have trouble using this chip in states that have stricter emissions, so you’ll need to check if it’s legal in your area.

The Superchips Dashpaq+ Tuner is a performance chip that gives you the power to fine-tune your vehicle’s performance while you monitor it from behind the wheel. Made with a combination of a tuning chip and a monitor, this duo will work with both gas and diesel trucks and SUVs. It utilizes Superchips’ innovative flash tuning technology, giving you real-time performance stats and data so you can manage many aspects of your vehicle without even getting under the hood. You can certainly achieve increased horsepower and torque, but there are other benefits to choosing this performance chip too.

With this chip installed, you can observe an array of metrics. You can choose the parameters and monitor details like routine maintenance, engine power levels, transmission temperature, and more. Features can vary depending on the chip that’s suited to your specific make and model. However, all chips are able to switch between parameters so you can easily see everything. Mount the monitor on your dashboard or hold it in your hand; like your performance, it’s entirely up to you.

Key Features
  • Allows for performance tuning and in-cab monitoring from behind the wheel.
  • Can deliver an increase of 116 to 180 horsepower, plus significant torque increases.
  • Allows for real-time fuel economy management to fine-tune efficiency.
Specification
  • Brand Superchips
  • Model Dashpaq+
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Able to customize small and large details, including aftermarket tires, aftermarket gears, and even your own maintenance schedule.

Perfectly suited for SUVs and trucks, giving you better control for larger vehicles’ performance.

Available for Ford, GMC, Chevrolet, and Dodge vehicles, both gas and diesel.

CONS

Not available for all makes and models, only the select automakers mentioned.

Not for passenger or sports cars.

Best Performance Chip Buying Guide & FAQ

What to Consider When Buying a Performance Chip

Vehicle Make and Model

Naturally, you’ll want a performance chip that is suited to the make and model of your car. Not all power chips are universal, so you should always check with the manufacturer before purchasing your next chip.

Amazon has a handy feature which gives you a good idea as to whether a new component will match with your current vehicle but it’s always better to be safe than sorry when spending hundreds of dollars on a new item for your car.

Fuel Type

Your fuel type will have an effect on which items you can buy for your car. Diesel performance parts are naturally going to be very different from standard gas components, and diesel tuning requires a different set of systems to gas tuning. Thus, in this example, you’ll need to be sure that you grab a diesel programmer that can match your fuel type. Just like the make and model, you need to be completely sure in order to be safe, so do get in contact with the company if you have any uncertainty.

Tuning

Each performance chip comes with its own set of pre-loaded programs, but there are also some that allow you to create and alter your own tuning programs. These are incredibly handy if you’re looking for a specific output to be increased and so on, but they are often more complicated and harder to get to grips with. Decide what you’re comfortable with first, before purchasing your power chip.

Monitor

Depending on how you like to check out your data, you may find that you prefer a smaller monitor that you only need to access during tune-ups – or a full-color monitor that provides details of every aspect of your vehicle.

Bear in mind that you may need to carry your new monitor around with you, while parked up or will have to find a place to store it when not in use, so be sure you’re comfortable with this before immediately choosing the biggest option.

Car mechanic team

Benefits of a Tuning Chip

Increased Horsepower

A horsepower boost is one of the biggest benefits of adding a performance chip to your vehicle. In fact, that’s the main benefit that most are made to offer. You can get anywhere from a subtle increase to a significant bump, depending on the chip you choose and the vehicle it’s used in. With an ability to adjust to different driving conditions and situations, these chips can bump up both horsepower and torque for all-around power.

Better Fuel Efficiency

You can shave a gallon or two — or potentially even a few — off your usual miles per gallon with a performance chip. These high-tech upgrades can fine-tune your engine performance, which in turn can result in slightly better efficiency. You won’t see a huge change, but a chip can usually help you travel a few more miles on every gallon of gas (or diesel).

Simple Installation

You don’t have to be an expert mechanic in order to install a tuning chip. These parts are so simple that just about anyone can plug them in and upgrade their vehicle’s performance. Unlike other upgrades, these chips make it easy to customize your engine and other aspects of your car’s performance without performing significant installation work. And if you do choose to have your chip professionally installed, it’s a job that doesn’t require a ton of time or financial investment.

Impressive Versatility

A single performance chip can give you a whole lot of control — and it’ll be highly versatile, despite its relatively small size. A chip can allow you to change the software and your customized settings based on where you’re driving, how you’re driving, and what your goals are. If you’re towing or hauling, you can make changes to your settings. Driving long-distance? You can adjust the tuning. Each performance chip allows you to control multiple metrics too, giving you a whole lot of capability in any setting.

Comprehensive Monitoring

Along with a performance chip’s versatility, you’ll also get surprisingly comprehensive monitoring capability. Today’s chips give you insight into everything from air intake temperature to transmission temperature to shifting tension to air-to-fuel ratios to ignition timing. And there’s even more available, depending on the specific chip you choose. You can set custom parameters, and many of these chips’ monitors allow you to keep an eye on as many as 10 different data points at once.

Types of Programmers and Performance Chips

Control Modules

These plug into the electrical system under your hood, where they then become permanent fixtures. They are known for providing accurate, detailed information on a real-time basis, as they are continually reading and assessing your engine and computer system. They will then analyze the output and efficiency, adjusting your engine to suit the new tuning program.

Power Programmers

A power programmer works in a very similar way to control modules, with the main difference being a “plug and play” capacity, which allows you to easily add the performance chip to your car. Once you have added the gadget to your OBDII port, you will need to answer a few questions about your car in order to get the best set-up – so be sure to keep your manual nearby.

These should only need to be kept in for around 10 minutes, although they will likely need to be updated regularly. This helps to keep your cars tuning up to date and can be done via your desktop or laptop, usually using the same plug and play system.

Engine Management Systems

An engine management system allows you to gain full and complete control over the tuning of your car. Usually preferred by truck and SUV drivers, it can handle everything in your engine – from fuel injector systems to your idle speed. At which point all of the information should be made available to you, using a screen that allows you to flick between different tuning programs. They are, however, the most difficult to install in your vehicle, as well as being considerably more expensive.

Best Performance Chip FAQ:

Q: What is a performance chip and how does it work?

Performance chips, also known as super chips or power chips, are designed to be an aftermarket computing update for your car. Some of these will completely override your current computing system, while others work alongside it to get the most out of your car.

For some “the most” translates to the best speed, torque, highest power, or even something as simple as a smoother ride and increased fuel economy. Each one runs on a different code, so the results are different, depending on which option you’d like to purchase.

Luxury SUV rear view

Q: Does a performance chip increase horsepower?

The majority of power chips don’t actually help by increasing horsepower. Instead, the focus is on creating a more economical drive. That said, there are a number of options that focus on providing a more impressive torque, while also improving the overall horsepower of your engine.

Before buying your next chip, be sure to check that your selection offers this, as you may be disappointed by some of the others if you’re looking for a more powerful engine. You should also be aware this increased power naturally comes with a reduction in your MPG.

Q: Will a performance chip damage my engine?

A good performance chip should never have a negative effect on your engine. It will, however, void your warranty and it’s likely that branded garages won’t touch your car after you have altered the computer within it. It is also likely to increase your emissions, meaning that you could fail your emissions testing. Finally, you should be aware that chips can lower the overall lifespan of your car, and these factors usually cause your insurance premiums to rise in kind.

Q: How do I install a performance chip?

Many of the options given on our list use a simple “plug and play” design. To install these, you’ll simply need to connect your performance chip to the OBDII port, and you should be good to go. The most complicated part of installing a power chip is actually beforehand – as many will need to be updated with your PC or laptop before being connected. In order to do this, it is always best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to get the precise tune you’re looking for.

Our Top Pick

We love the DiabloSport Car Fuel Management Module, as it can be used with a wide range of vehicles and enables plug-and-play installation. No tuning or alterations are required. It provides maximum power and performance by overriding your vehicle’s four-cylinder mode to achieve V8 mode. In addition, it won’t drain your battery and overall works as advertised.

Sources:

  1. How Does a Performance Chip Work? – It Still Runs
  2. Engine remapping and chipping: guide, tips and cost – Car Buyer
  3. How To Program Car’s ECU (Guide to Car Tuning / Chip Programming) – Total Car Diagnostic