What is a Programmer for a GMC Sierra 1500?
Also known as a “tuner,” a programmer is a specialized car or truck modification module that plugs into a vehicle’s diagnostics port. From there, it can be used to reprogram aspects of the vehicle’s internal computer, including its map and performance data. When utilized properly, a programmer can help increase a vehicle’s horsepower, torque, and fuel economy beyond factory pre-set levels.
For the most part, GMC Sierra 1500 is usually pretty satisfied with their truck’s performance. But for a small portion of GMC Sierra 1500 drivers, there’s always an urge to take their favorite truck’s capabilities to the limit. A programmer for a GMC Sierra 1500 can make that aspiration a reality in as few as 10 minutes.
However, there are numerous GMC Sierra 1500-compatable programmers on the market today. You’ll want to pick out a unit that is best suited to your truck’s make and model year, not to mention your budget. Read on to learn about several of the best programmers for a GMC Sierra 1500 as well as find answers to your questions about picking the best unit to meet your vehicle enhancement needs.
List of Top-Rated Programmers for a GMC Sierra 1500
|Photo||Product||Visual Interface?||Adjustable Top Speed Limiter||Details|
|Bully Dog 40417||Yes||Yes/No||View on Amazon|
|DiabloSport 8245||Yes||Yes/No||View on Amazon|
|Edge Products 85450||Yes||Yes||View on Amazon|
|DiabloSport 9300||Yes||Yes||View on Amazon|
|Hypertech 2000||Yes||Yes/No||View on Amazon|
|Edge Products 84130||No||Yes||View on Amazon|
|Jet 15008||Yes||Yes||View on Amazon|
Reviews of the Best Programmer for a GMC Sierra 1500
Bully Dog 40417 – Best Overall Programmer for a GMC Sierra 1500
Who is this for: The Bully Dog 40417 is best overall programmer for a GMC Sierra for a reason – it is made for anyone to use. Regardless of how much or how little you want to modify your Sierra’s computerized settings, you’ll be able to do it easily with this model. In fact, you’ll have 20+ options for changing your truck’s pre-sets with this tuner, including options for modifying its Smart Lock systems or Fuel Dynamics Compensation. While it may take you a bit of extra time to install it properly, that effort pays off when you are able to monitor 15+ performance metrics at once on this model’s main screen.
Why we like it: With certainty, we recommend Bully Dog 40417 for its ability to maximize your Sierra’s performance right out of the box. You won’t even need to spend time updating this unit’s software because it come pre-installed with 10 useful tunes. Each of those tunes has been field tested, too, so you can be certain that they won’t harm your truck.
- Monitors 15+ performance parameters at once
- Holds 10 custom tune files at once
- Can be used to disable TPMS
- Can modify Smart Lock systems
- Can disable Fuel Dynamics Compensation
- Provides 20+ options for modifying truck’s computer
- Monitors more performance parameters than previous models
- All custom tune files tested in-house
DiabloSport 8245 – Best Racing Programmer for a GMC Sierra 1500
Who is this for: Though you should always be safe when on the roads, we do believe that the DiabloSport 8245 is best suited to GMC Sierra drivers who enjoy racing. In many ways, this model’s tuning capabilities are optimized to suit the needs of racers. This includes its 4 power level tunes, which includes an “extreme” mode that can get the absolute most out of your truck’s engine. This model’s inclusion of Chip Master Revolution compatibility also makes it ideal for use by drivers who have already equipped their Sierra with aftermarket modifications. As with all other tuners, this model can also read out and resolve OBD-II codes with ease.
Why we like it: We recommend the DiabloSport 8245, not least because it is one of the few tuners on the market today that is fully focused on core performance. As a result, we found its ability to safely and reliably increase a Sierra’s torque and horsepower to be almost entirely unmatched. We also appreciate this model’s overall value because it comes with some essential cords, such as an OBD-II cord, that other models would require you to pay extra for.
- Compatible with Chip Master Revolution, allowing for tuning with aftermarket modification
- 4 power-based tunes that are ideal for racing
- Includes an economy tuning for maximum fuel performance
- Comes with compatible OBD-II Cable
- Pre-loaded with dyno-tested performance programs
- Ideal for calibrating cams, headers, and superchargers
- Optimizes drivability and core system performance
Edge Products 85450 – Best California-Approved Programmer for a GMC Sierra 1500
Who is this for: California drivers – take note! The Edge Products 85450 is for you. This model specifically adheres to that state’s strict rules relating to fuel emissions tracking, so you can safely buy it and install it in the Golden State. Just be aware, though, that this model will not allow you to delete any emissions related info at all. Also, Sierra drivers who are looking for a tuner that is easy to update can turn to this model with confidence. As it turns out, it can be updated over the internet in just a matter of minutes.
Why we like it: The Edge Products 85450 is easy to recommend because of its exceptionally clear user interface. This model’s touch-screen controls and gesture-based navigation feel just like using a smartphone, making it easy to learn and manipulate in short order. You won’t need to worry about contrast on this screen, either, thanks to this unit’s active light sensitive meter. You can even modify this model’s background and interface color scheme if you’re looking to match your truck’s interior lighting.
- Touch-screen controls with gesture-based navigation
- Customizable interface colors and backgrounds
- Light sensitive meter adjusts screen brightness actively
- Can be updated over the internet
- Adheres to California laws on emission controls
- Can add up to an additional 50 HP and 50 ft.-lbs. of torque
- Universal mounting system is easy to install
DiabloSport 9300 – Easiest-to-Read Programmer for a GMC Sierra 1500
Who is this for: It is suitable for drivers who want to get the best performance since it is the most advanced custom, tunable performance programmer. It allows you to monitor various parameters, thanks to the full color, 5-inch touch screen. The unit has customizable gauge screen layouts that will enable you to see only the essential information. Why we like it: The programmer enables the users to tune their vehicles to increase drivability, torque, and horsepower. It helps you save money when you switch to economy tune to achieve more efficiency and better MPG. Towing tunes also help to keep your engine cool all the time.
Why we like it: In general, we can recommend the DiabloSport 9300. Its ergonomic design makes it easy to install, even if you don’t have prior experience using a tuner. At the same time, this unit is far easier to update than its predecessors, thus ensuring you always have the latest tunes available to you. So long as you follow this model’s instructions for maximizing a truck’s core performance, you should see a significant horsepower increase from your Sierra after just a few setting changes.
- 5-inch full-color, high-resolution swipe screen
- Multiple gauge screen layouts
- Slim, sleek case design
- Fully customizable backgrounds
- One-touch navigation notification center
- Read and clear diagnostic trouble codes
- Internet updateable
- It helps to store and deliver custom tunes
- Allows you to adjust speed and rev limiters
- You can activate user-adjusted night/day modes
- It provides detailed data logging and performance tests
Hypertech 2000 – Most Versatile Programmer for GMC Sierra 1500
Who is this for: As it turns out, the Hypertech 2000 can really be useful to any type of GMC Sierra 1500 driver. That includes models that run on regular, premium, E85, or diesel fuel. That alone makes this a very versatile unit that could even be used on some of your other trucks. In fact, this model is one of the few that guarantees support with all of the newest Sierra model years. All you have to do is download the latest software from this manufacture’s website and you’ll be ready to perform 25+ different modifications to your new truck’s core computer.
Why we like it: While it may not be the easiest programmer to read, we still recommend the Hypertech 2000. That’s primarily because this model can safely manage EGTs while still maximizing your truck’s torque and horsepower. To that end, this is also one of the only popular models available now that allows you to turn off your Sierra’s torque converter clutch. That’s an in-demand feature right now, as is the ability make TPMS and speedometer adjustments (both of which this model can handle).
- Manages safe EGTs while maximizing towing capacity and torque
- Can turn off top-speed limiter
- Can modify torque converter clutch
- Saves stock settings for one vehicle at a time
- Compatible with regular, premium, E85, and diesel models
- Larger backlit LCD screen than previous models
- Can be upgraded to newest calibration if truck model is newer than when unit was manufactured
HP Tuners MPVI2 – Best Budget Programmer for GMC Sierra 1500
Who is this for: If you’re looking for a programmer for a GMC Sierra 1500 on a budget, than this model is for you. The HP Tuners MPVI2, it should be said, isn’t like most cheap tuners. It actually comes with the unique ability to read out all kinds of data and configurations onto a compatable laptop or smartphone via Bluetooth. This is all made possible through this brand’s unique programs, VCM Scanner and VCM Editor. Both make it simple and easy to do everything from resolve an OBD-II code to install a customized parameter for fuel optimization.
Why we like it: For its lower-than-average price alone, we can recommend the HP Tuners MPVI2. But at the same time, we are really impressed with all of the added value packed into this small unit. That includes a free Pro-Link cable, which usually costs extra to bundle in. This unit can also be upgraded easily through its series of proprietary expansion ports.
- Easy-to-use graphical interface through VCM Editor
- Enhanced data logging and visualization through VCM Scanner
- Quick downloads to compatible device via Bluetooth
- Includes OBD-II scanning and diagnostic tool
- More affordable due to lack of graphic interface
- Can be expanded via a proprietary expansion port
- Comes with a free Pro-Link cable, which usually costs extra
Jet 15008 – Simplest Programmer for GMC Sierra 1500
Who is this for: If you’re not a big fan of fussing with a bunch of assorted options, the Jet 15008 may be a perfect pick for you. This model keeps matters simple and only provides a couple pre-loaded tunes to choose from. Despite that, you can still make most of the usual computer setting modifications with this unit, including changes to your Sierra’s air and fuel ratios, ignition timing, speed limiter, and more. It isn’t all that expensive relatively, either, so it would be a great entry level model for most Sierra drivers.
Why we like it: As far as the Jet 15008’s basic operations go, we can recommend it. While it cannot necessarily max out your Sierra’s capabilities, it can take you up a notch or two when it comes to fuel efficiency, torque, or horsepower. We can also recommend this unit for its easily installation. With use instructions written in plain language, even a trucking novice will be able to get a handle of the Jet 15008.
- Tri-Power tuning allows for tuning based on low octane fuel
- Can modify air and fuel ratios, ignition timing, shift points, shift firmness, speed limiter, and rev limiter settings
- Built-in scan tool with live data monitoring
- Can correct speedometer to resolve some errors
- Detailed instructions allow for quick installation and easy use
- User-friendly programming uses plain language
- Can add up to 100 HP and 168 ft.-lbs. of torque
GMC Sierra 1500 Programmer FAQ
What is the best tuner for a 1500 Sierra?
There’s a great deal of variety on today’s truck tuner market, especially when it comes to models compatible with the GMC Sierra 1500. While many of those models carry premium prices, some of the very best among them are actually some of the most affordable, as well.
The Bully Dog 40417 is a prime example of what you can get out of a Sierra 1500 programmer for a modest price. This model can store up to 10 custom tunes at once, which is almost triple what some of its competition models can carry. This tuner can also modify more that 20 truck computer pre-sets, thus allowing you to maximize your vehicle’s torque, fuel economy, and more. You can even monitor up to 15 performance metrics at once on this model’s wide, bright graphic interface.
How do I add power to my 1500 Sierra?
One of the best ways to improve your GMC Sierra 1500’s power is by bypassing some of its factory pre-sets. While these settings are ideal for maintaining a balanced overall performance, modifying these limitations can help you get more torque and horsepower out of your truck’s motor. To do that, you’ll need a programmer or tuner, though. Check out the reviews below to find a model that will help you accomplish your power-enhancement goals.
How do you tune a 1500 Sierra?
Tuning your GMC Sierra 1500 will vary, depending on which programmer you are using. Your tuner’s user’s guide should be able to take you through the basic steps of using your unit, as well as help you troubleshoot any issues that arise along the way. However, if you want to learn the basics of tuning in short order, check out this video.
What does a tuner do for a gas truck?
Depending on the tuner you are using, you’ll be able to add all kinds of additional functionality to your gas truck. However, many users tend to optimize their vehicle’s fuel efficiency or core power using a tuner. When it comes to fuel efficiency, your tuner may even include a specialized tune or program that minimizes your truck’s fuel intake. On the other side, a tune optimized for power may increase fuel intake, but improve your truck’s torque and horsepower in return.
As you can see now, there are a lot of great programmers for GMC Sierra 1500’s on the market right now. Almost all of the most popular models provide an assortment of features that allow you to manipulate your truck’s computerized settings without needing to jump through extra hoops. Even the most basic model’s double as an OBD-II reader as well, making these units all a wise investment for a Sierra owner who wants to get the most out of their ride.