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5 Best Compression Testers – Engine Gauge Kits

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The best thing you can do for your vehicle and garage is to buy a compression tester.

A compression tester is a handy device which can be used to check the performance of your engine without going too heavy on your pockets.Best Compression Tester

Moreover, having it at your garage is really beneficial because going to a workshop for minor inconveniences is too time consuming and by avoiding so, you can end up having a bigger damage which your car was indicating.

By having a compression tester, you can easily test your vehicle at home and can reach out to work shop if you notice difference between the pressures of cylinders. Hence, the error can be identified before time and save you from expensive damage repairs.

But which compression tester is good for your vehicle? Don’t worry, we got your back. Below we have compiled a list of best compression testers, their specifications and also their pros and cons.

Later, we will be heading towards what to look for in a compression tester and how to use it. So, keep reading and find out.

Check Best Compression Testers

Name Item Weight Price
INNOVA 3612 Compression Tester 8 ounces Check Price
TC 5605 Deluxe Compression Tester 3.2 ounces Check Price
OTC 5606 Compression Tester Kit 1.72 pounds Check Price
8MILELAKE Professional 1.95 pounds Check Price
Shankly Compression Tester 1.6 pounds Check Price

1- INNOVA 3612 Compression Tester – 4 Piece Kit

The INNOVA compression tester with model number 3612 is one of the most demanded and highest selling compression testers. This device, in comparison to its price got the best features one could ask for.

Carrying the weight of 8 ounces, you can use this tester multiple times without disconnecting it.

The Innova compression tester is compatible with almost any engine and unlike the other devices which are designated for a certain engine, this device works equally well with electrical, conventional and computerized vehicles.

Product Description

The INNOVA Compression Tester is a one known tool which helps you identify damaged burnt valves, blown head gaskets, pistons, and worn rings. It has a 15-in high-pressure rubber hose which is oil and grease resistant.

Its side-release valves allow repeated tests without disconnecting the hose. Alongside its other astonishing features, it has a dual dial with color coded scales and durable bourdon tube movement.

It comes with a choice of two different types of adapters which both are compatible with most of the vehicles. Each adapter set is of standard 12mm. To sum up, it is one of the most cost effective yet reliable product available in the market.

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  • Highly affordable
  • The side-release valves allow repeated testing without disconnecting

  • Doesn’t come with a storage case
  • Difficult to store and transport the set

2- OTC 5605 Deluxe Compression Tester Kit 

As light as feather, the model 5605 by OTC is one of the most demanded and highly convenient compression testers available in the market. Despite weighing in 3.2 ounces only, this device is all one can ask for.

Take about strength or authenticity, the OTC compression is a winner in all aspects.

The OTC deluxe compression tester kit is a full suite as it comes with special adapters and a sturdy storage kit with detachable cover which brings the ease of storing the device properly and makes it highly portable.

Product Description

The OTC deluxe compression tester is a highly recommended device. Idle for gasoline engines, this device works equally well on narrowed and smooth surfaces.

Its highly authentic gauge has double scales which enables the user to read the pressure in PSI as well as kPa. The range of OTC compression tester’s gauge is from 0-300 psi (0-2100 kPa).

Its long and flexible hose allows the user to place the gauge in a manner that enables you to gaze inside the vehicle.

It has a range of different sized threaded as well as flexible connectors. Moreover, it also has a 16mm connector for its new Ford triton adapter.

Lastly, this nickel-plated kit is corrosion resistant and enables you to identify the faulty valves even if they are located in narrow engine spaces.

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  • Comes with a storage kit and different parts for versatility
  • Durable nickel corrosion-resistant surface

  • Not suitable for diesel engines

3- OTC 5606 Compression Tester Kit for Gasoline Engines

Coming in with all the necessary equipment, the 5606 handy kit from OTC for gasoline engines can be trusted blindly.

Its extra-long hose makes the process way easier and its quick coupling action allows easy job in dense and narrow positions.

Moreover, its minute 2.5 inch gauge is extremely durable which makes this professional tool one of the most reliable option.

Product Description

OTC compression tester kit is compatible with almost any gasoline engine be it a motorcycle, imported or domestic vehicle and even with marine engines.

Its corrosion resistant nickel coating protects the metal and the sturdy blow molded case keeps the components intact when not in use.

The extra-long 25-inch flex hose gauge allows easy viewing of cluttered compartments and the profession dual reading gauge scale allows accurate reading with zero error fixing.

All in all, this compression tester has all the features under one roof.

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  • Multiple hoses and adapters for authentic testing
  • 0-300psi range gauge
  • Detailed instruction manual

  • Non-digital
  • Slightly expensive

4- 8MILELAKE Professional Petrol Gas Engine Cylinder Compression Tester Gauge Kit Auto Tool

The model FBA_SZ by 8MIleLake is one of its kind which belongs to the group of compression tester that is compatible with almost every type of vehicle.

Weighing in 2.4 pounds only, this compression tester like its alternatives also has a gauge with dual scale which gives accurate readings in kPa and PSI.

Unlike other devices which require to thread the connectors into the head, 8MILELAKE Professional Petrol Gas Engine Cylinder Compression Tester Gauge Kit has rubber cone ends which guarantees a quick pressure check.

Product Description

8Milelake professional petrol gas engine compression tester’s dual scale gauge comes with finest air sailing and a tetrad of distinct fittings which makes this device accordant with almost any type of vehicle.

It has a couple of multifaceted adapters with rubbered cones and a long flexible hose.

Unlike other compression testers which allow you to check the faulty valves and bands only, 8MILELAKE professional petrol gas engine cylinder compression tester allow you to even conduct carbon build up inspection.

Coming in a handy storage case, this device is easy to store and easy to transport. Lastly, the kit which comprises of 18-inch extension hose, angled fittings, a protected gauge and a blue blow mold storage kit is hands down one of the most untroublesome testers available in the market.

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  • Easy to use
  • Can be used for carbon buildup inspection

  • Some users complained about its durability
  • Faulty bridging of hose and gauge

5- Shankly Compression Tester (Professional Grade)

Compatible with domestic and imported cars and even with vehicles with gasoline engines, the model 58240912190 from Shankly is your go to product if you are looking for a reliable and easy to use product that is compatible with variety of vehicles.

Weighing as light as 1.6 pounds only, the Shankly compression tester is an easy and flexible device which comes with long flex hose and adapter which eliminates the extra hassle of removing brakes, steering and other equipment to get the job done.

Product Description

Shankly’s compression tester is one of the most reliable options available in the market.

It allows quick retesting due to its side release valves and long flex hose. Moreover, it has a large gauge with dual reading which gives you the accurate reading in both PSI and kg/cm2.

The Shankly’s compression tester also includes 3 types of adapters. One solid short adapter, one long flexible adapter and a long reach adapter allows you to reach them in depth located spark plugs.

It is hands down one of the most convenient devices available in the market.

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  • Quick retesting due to side release valves
  • Large gauge with dual readings

  • Relatively expensive

Best Compression Testers Buyer’s Guide

Now that you have sorted a brief list of compression testers from thousands available in the market, you ought to see what do you need in a good compression tester.

Below we have a complete buyer’s guide for the best compression testers. We have also given a complete guide on how to use a compression tester and answered some of the most frequently asked questions.

So, read further and get your all queries answered.

What to consider before buying Best Compression Tester

Some of the most considerable features in buying a compression tester include:


Look for a tester that has multiple features and specifications in a single device as it allows you to get job done on various vehicles.


A durable compression tester is bound to last longer and give optimal performance.

Error-free Gauge

Whether digital or analogue, an ideal compression tester has an error free gauge which gives accurate and precise readings.

Easily Operated

A compression tester must be user friendly, easy to operate and must include a detailed manual in order to ensure an error free use.

Storage Case

A compression tester is a sensitive device which should be kept in a cool and dry place. Therefore, it should include a sturdy storage case to keep its components safe and makes it easy to carry.


An ideal compression tester must include a variety of adapters to reach them small and hardly located spark plugs.


A compression tester is prone to damage. The glass on the gauge could crack or there could be a malfunction in those needles. Therefore, look for a compression tester with lasting warranty so you have a peace of mind in case of any damage.

Why you should do an engine compression test

Conducting an engine test is very important for a better performance of your vehicle as it may help you to detect mechanical issues in your engine that may otherwise go unnoticed.

The pistons and valves of your vehicle are bound to depreciate with constant use and having a timely check can preserve your engine from heavy damages.

If you notice a low or zero pressure or one or more adjacent cylinders, it may indicate blown head gaskets.

In addition, a low gauge reading may also indicate damaged camshaft. In contradiction, a high gauge reading indicates excessive carbon build up which can be severe to the point where it requires chemical removal.

Therefore, having a handy kit to test your engine is what you need for a long life of your vehicle as it helps you detect the errors before they get out of hands and helps in maintaining a better performance of your engine.

How to use compression test kit

A compression tester can be used in two different ways to conduct the test let’s talk about the dry test first.

Dry Test

Before getting started, make sure to remove the wire that leads from the center of distributor cap to the coil and place metal connectors away from spark plugs.

If your engine does not consist of a distributor, then disconnect the electrical connection of ignition control module first.

Make sure to fully charge your battery as this may affect the reading and choose the right gauge as different vehicles require different types of gauges.

Lastly, a compression test requires a warmed-up engine so consider taking a short drive before you begin the test.

  • Disable the fuel injection system to avoid gasoline vapors from causing a fire hazard.
  • Remove the fuel pump fuse before starting your vehicle and allow it to run until it’s out of gasoline.
  • Remove the spark plugs and label the boots in order to prevent mixing of wires.
  • Place the removed plugs on a clean and dry surface and in the order of removal to ensure correct reinstallation.
  • Once the starter is connected, switch to battery and connect the starter’s plug to the positive terminal of the battery as well as the solenoid terminal.
  • Insert the compression gauge in place of the spark plug and turn on the engine repetitively for about 6 times by using remote starter plug. Make sure the gauge is properly inserted.
  • Record the readings.
  • Hit the reset button and repeat the process for each cylinder. Compare the recorded readings.
  • Lastly, place the spark plugs back when finished and make sure to turn off the engine prior to connecting the wires again.

Wet Test

Issues with the pistons and walls of cylinders of the engine are better identified with a wet test.

Therefore, we perform a wet test which is somewhat similar to dry test, however, requires the input of one table spoon of motor oil in the spark plug hole. The oil is used to provide a seal on the rings.

After taking the readings of the wet test, they are compared with the dry test.  If the values don’t change, it may indicate a problem in valve train.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How compression tester works?

A compression tester comes with a hose or duct which is inserted into the spark plug of your vehicle whereas the gauge is hooked to the other end of the duct.

Once you turn on the engine, the needle on the device elevates to a certain level before it stops moving.

Note that reading and note readings of each cylinder individually. There should be little or no difference between the readings of each cylinder.

A healthy engine has a difference not more than 10-15% between each cylinder.

Q: How should I care my tester?

The performance of your tester can be affected by even a small particle of sand and can cause malfunction.

Therefore, it is important to keep your tester clean from oil, dust and grease and should be stored in a cool and dry place. Moreover, the cleaning of spark plugs is also of paramount importance.

Keep them clean which can be easily done by compressed air.

Lastly, store your tester properly in the case provided along after cleaning and detaching the components and place them in their designated slots to keep it functioning for a longer period of time.

Q: What is a compression tester?

A compression tester is a tool which is designed to measure engine pressure and provide authentic data in pounds per square inch or PSI.

It is a basic tool with pressure gauge and other detachable components which is inserted into the diesel injector socket of your vehicle.

The readings of each cylinder are noted individually and compared. A healthy engine has a reading of about 100 PSI in each cylinder.


This brings an end to our guide about best compression testers.

All in all, the best compression tester ought to have many reliable features in a single device in order to make the engine testing process easier.

Moreover, a reliable compression tester makes easy to evaluate the status of your engine and ensures quality performance.

Having a compression tester is one of the finest investments for your vehicle.

Reading it is very easy and costs you way less than that you would pay at a work shop.

So, grab the best which you can afford, start the diagnosis and always be aware with your engine’s status priory.

Reference Sources

1- How to do a compression test – 2CarPros

2- Cyclinder Compression Test – How A Car Works