10 Best OBD2 Scanners (Complete Review and Buying Guide) in 2019

The best OBD2 scanners on the market do beyond the essential function of reading and erasing trouble codes. They’ll give you not only a wide range of features but also the best quality. When looking for a good OBD2 scan tool, you should look for the most user-friendly, functional code readers that are also reasonably priced.

The range of features offered by an OBD2 scanner varies. You’ll need to decide which features are a priority for you before you make a purchase. For example, if your car is showing a trouble code that is manufacturer specific, you’ll need to buy a car scanner that can read that code.

Best OBD2 Scanner Review
Best OBD2 Scanner Review.
Credit: hocvien.haravan.com

Hence, we have provided the following list to help you out.

Contents

10 Best OBD2 SCANNERS Reviews

OBD2 Scanner 2019
OBD2 Scanner.
Credit: OBDfocus.com

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional mechanic or only a car owner. Having an OBDII scanner on hand is a smart idea. Not only does it save you money, but also helps you diagnose car problems quicker.

This list includes the most efficient vehicle code readers available online. 

1
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Scan Tool

 Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner 
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Scan Tool
4.44.4 / 5
The Autel AutoLink AL319 is the best OBD code reader for beginners and domestic car owners. It’s easy to use and has a great user guide complete with detailed illustrations and diagrams.

Features

The Autel AutoLink AL319 scanner reads and erases your trouble codes within seconds. It turns off your Check Engine light and diagnoses your car problems with the comprehensive DTC library available in this OBD2 scanner. Check codes for both generic (P0, P2, P3, and U1) and manufacturer specific (P1, P3, and U1) problems.

You can view live data as well as freeze frame information. This OBDII code reader even shows you your I/M readiness, emissions test status, PCM data, and vehicle information, including your car’s VIN, CIN, and CVN.

The Autel AL319 can check all this information and more without you having to use any battery or charger. Instead, it has a separate OBD2 cable that gets power straight from your car. Hence, it’s an easy and convenient choice of vehicle code readers.

Who should take this tool?

The Autel AutoLink AL319 is the best OBD code reader for beginners and domestic car owners. It’s easy to use and has a great user guide complete with detailed illustrations and diagrams. The user guide and language settings on the car scanner are available in English, French, German, and Spanish.

Furthermore, it’s okay to use for any car manufactured after 1996 or compatible with a 16-pin OBD connector.

Vehicle coverage: The Autel AL319 is compatible with any OBD2 and CAN domestic and imported vehicle. It can be used with many brands. For example, 2012 Fiat 500 POP, 2002 Ford Explorer XLT, and 2006 Audi A4.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Color-coded LEDs
  • Built-in Speaker
  • One-year warranty
  • Free lifetime updates

Cons

  • Heavyweight
  • Requires manual connection

2
FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner Professional Enhanced OBDII Diagnostic Code Reader

 FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner Professional
FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner Professional Enhanced OBDII Diagnostic Code Reader
4.34.3 / 5
This is a good option for all generic OBD2 car owners. The OBD2 scanner is available in three different multilingual packages.

Features

The Foxwell NT301 supports a wide range of functions with which you can read and erase different codes, whether they’re generic, manufacturer specific, or pending. It’s specifically been designed to give you highly accurate results in less time. The size and look of the OBD scanner allow for easy use. It comes with a handheld design with a 2.8-inch colored screen and LED notifications.

You can look at, playback, and record live information. If you’re unsure about the meaning of a trouble code, this OBD2 code reader lets you directly share and print diagnostic reports and send it to your nearest mechanic.

Information you can look at includes O2 sensor data, emissions test status, DTC definitions, VIN specification, etc. 

Who should take this tool?

The Foxwell NT301 is a good option for all generic OBD2 car owners. The OBD2 scanner is available in three different multilingual packages. These languages include English, Spanish, German, Italian, French so the Foxwell NT301 can be used by multiple non-English speakers.

Vehicle Coverage: The Foxwell NT301 supports all OBD2 protocols, including J1859-41.6, J1850-10.4, ISO9141, KWP2000 (ISO 14230). Additionally, it can support Control Area Network cars with protocol ISO 11898.

Pros

  • Highly accurate
  • Recommended by professionals
  • User Guide available
  • Free internet updates
  • Multilingual options

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Heavyweight
  • No warranty

3
ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD II Vehicle Code Reader Automotive OBD2 Scanner Auto Check Engine Light Scan Tool

 ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD II
ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD II Vehicle Code Reader Automotive OBD2 Scanner Auto Check Engine Light Scan Tool
4.34.3 / 5
This OBD2 code reader comes recommended by users for its simple functionality. Even without the user manual, buyers can easily work this OBD device. Therefore, this is also a good option for beginners.

Features

The Ancel AD410 lets you turn off your Check Engine light, reset your car’s monitoring system, and tells you the problem with its long list of code definitions in the DTC library. It supports most OBD2 diagnostics, including engine, transmission, and emissions testing.

Furthermore, you get all sorts of real-time data. You can drive your car around, and you’ll be able to see live data stream on the OBD2 screen. The code reader will tell you data about your O2 sensor and Evaporative Control system tests. O2 sensor tells you information about your fuel/air mixture as well as your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

The Ancel AD410 also has free diagnostic reports and updates. You can use the “Review & Print” option to print your report or save it in a folder for easier access. The software used by the OBD scanner has frequent updates to maximize efficiency and fix bugs. Hence, you get the maximum use out of your purchase.

Who should take this tool?

This OBD2 code reader comes recommended by users for its simple functionality. Even without the user manual, buyers can easily work this OBD device. Therefore, this is also a good option for beginners.

The car scanner works for all OBD2 vehicles manufactured after 1996, supporting a variety of brands. In addition to English, the Ancel AD410 can be used in Finnish, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, French, and Dutch.

Vehicle Coverage: The Ancel AD410 is compatible with all OBD2 vehicles. It supports all protocols including KWP2000, ISO9141, J1850 VPW, J1850 PWM, and CAN (Controller Area Network).

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • Does not need a charger
  • Lightweight
  • User Manual
  • LCD screen

Cons

  • No warranty
  • Display is small

4
OBDScar OS601 EOBD OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool (2018 Model)

 OBDScar OS601 EOBD OBD2 Scanner
OBDScar OS601 EOBD OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool (2018 Model)
4.54.5 / 5
The OBDScar OS601 is very simple to use. It’s a great option for entry-level mechanics as it has the comprehensive testing capability required by professional, but it’s also easy to work and understand.

Features

With OBDScar OS601, you can perform comprehensive diagnostic tests on your car. These tests include the I/M readiness check, the O2 sensor test, the On-Board monitor test, and the EVAP system test. The list of codes includes all generic, pending, and manufacturer specific DTCs. You can find any code and definition in the DTC library.

Apart from erasing codes and turning off the CEL, you can use this OBD2 scanner to check your vehicle information. If you don’t know your car’s VIN, CID, or CVN, the OBDScar OS601 can easily tell you.

You can see both your freeze frame data and live data. The OBD scanner also has a playback, pause, and record function so you can easily swipe through your vehicle’s monitoring data.  

Who should take this tool?

The OBDScar OS601 is very simple to use. It’s a great option for entry-level mechanics as it has the comprehensive testing capability required by professional, but it’s also easy to work and understand.

You can use the OBD code reader in English, German, Russian, Spanish, and Dutch as it supports multiple languages.

Vehicle Coverage: The OBDScar OS601 is good for all OBDII, EOBD, and CAN vehicles. It is compatible with OBDII protocols such as ISO9141, KWP2000, J1850 VPW. Brands supported by this OBD2 scan tool include Ford, GM, Jeep, Lincoln, BMW, VW, etc.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • No battery needed
  • One-year warranty
  • Lightweight
  • User-friendly

Cons

  • The user manual should be better worded
  • Requires USB connection

5
BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android

 BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android
BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android
4.44.4 / 5
The Blue Driver is certified by Professional Engineers in North America and is used by mechanics all across the U.S. If you’re a car professional looking to make a purchase, this is an excellent choice.

Features

The Blue Driver Bluetooth Pro has a high-quality Bluetooth connection. The device can read and clear CEL Codes, including confirmed, pending, and permanent codes. The OBD scanner can be connected to any system while it provides Read and Clear Enhanced Codes such as those for ABS, Airbag, and Transmission.

With the Blue Driver Bluetooth Pro, you can receive unlimited repair reports for your vehicles without any cost. The repair reports are made from data in databases for mechanical solutions, as validated by ASE Certified Mechanics.

The Blue Driver Bluetooth Pro works like a handheld scanning device and as a portable device like a smartphone. Moreover, this OBD2 scan tool can allow you to have interactive live data graphs, free app updates, and data storage.

The BlueDriver App and BlueDriver Sensor collaborate with each other for quality assurance.

Who should take this tool?

The Blue Driver is certified by Professional Engineers in North America and is used by mechanics all across the U.S. If you’re a car professional looking to make a purchase, this is an excellent choice.

Vehicle Coverage: The Blue Driver works for cars companies like GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Nissan. The Blue Driver for these makes is available worldwide. However, the Blue Driver for BMW, VW, and 2003+ Honda is only available in North America.

Pros

  • Wireless connection
  • Can use for iOS and Android
  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No warranty

6
OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner

 OBDLink MX+ turns your iOS, Android or Windows device into a professional-grade automotive  Scantool
OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner Turns Your iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire or Windows Device into a Professional-Grade Diagnostic Scan Tool, Trip Computer, and Real-time Performance Monitor.
4.14.1 / 5
The device can be employed by mechanics as well as domestic car users. However, there’s a catch. It can only be used for cars made in 1996 and after within newer OBD-II compliant vehicles.

Features

The OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner allows the car mechanic to access more codes and parameters. This OBD2 scanner boasts a feature of unlimited and cost-free OEM data upgrades and advancement.

Moreover, the OBDLink App is available in the scanner. The app allows access to more data in the form of diagnostics, trip logs, and multi-parameter graphs. The app also provides access to custom gauges around 60 times. The OBDII code reader tracks 1/4 mile performance and provides Freeze Frame and gauges SMOG readiness.

This feature can protect the car from voltage overload and thus, prevents electrical fires.

Additionally, the OBD2 scanner comes with a BatterySaver sleep mode feature that will allow your battery to have a longer life as the sleep mode prevents battery drainage.

Who should take this tool?

The device can be employed by mechanics as well as domestic car users. However, there’s a catch. It can only be used for cars made in 1996 and after within newer OBD-II compliant vehicles.

Vehicle Coverage: The device is available for car makes like Ford, GM, Mazda, Nissan/Infiniti, and Toyota/Lexus/Scion vehicles.

Pros

  • Three-year warranty
  • Hacker-proof
  • DropBox support
  • Compatible with iOS, Android, & Windows
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No user guide specified

7
Launch CRP123 OBD2 Scanner Engine/ABS/SRS/Transmission Automotive Code Reader Diagnostic Scan Tool

 Launch CRP123 OBD2  Scanner
Launch CRP123 OBD2 Scanner Engine/ABS/SRS/Transmission Automotive Code Reader Diagnostic Scan Tool
4.34.3 / 5
This OBD2 scan tool is user-friendly, so it can be used by professional mechanics as well as regular car owners. As it comes with features like multiple languages, it is designed for a global audience.

Features

The LAUNCH CRP123 is an efficient and innovative diagnostic scanning tool. It can read and clear engine codes, transmission codes, ABS codes, and SRS system codes. The Launch CRP123 is also capable of reading support OBDII codes such as P0, P2, P3, and U0.

Furthermore, the OBD2 scan tool reads and clears pending codes as well as manufacturer-specific codes namely P1, P3, and U1. It can work with freeze frame data and determines monitor and I/M readiness.

The LAUNCH CRP123 allows the user to access live PCM stream data and determine graphing functionality for 1-4 live data streams. It handles O2 sensor test data, DTC codes and gives Data Link Connector (DLC) location hints. The OBD2 scanner can also turn off the MIL and reset the monitors if needed. 

Some specialized and advanced functions of the Launch CRP123 scanning tool include the device’s featured modules present test. Further, the OBD2 scan tool gives support for OBD II Mode 6 and extract all relevant vehicle information such as the VIN, CIN, and CVN.

Also, it provides users and mechanics with Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) aid and definitions so that diagnosis of problems is easier.

Who should take this tool?

This OBD2 scan tool is user-friendly, so it can be used by professional mechanics as well as regular car owners. As it comes with features like multiple languages, it is designed for a global audience. Some languages featured on the device include English, French, German Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese.

Vehicle Coverage: This OBD2 diagnostic tool covers vehicles that support protocols of J1859-41.6, J1850-10.4, ISO9141, KWP2000 (ISO 14230), and CAN (Control Area Network ISO 11898),

The Launch CRP123 can be bought for cars with Asian, U.S., and European manufacturers. Furthermore, the OBD2 code reader can be used in car brands like Suzuki, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Infiniti, Lexus, Acura, Isuzu, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Benz, BMW, VW, etc.

Pros

  • Lifetime free updates
  • Great customer service
  • One-year warranty
  • Detailed user guide
  • High accuracy

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavyweight

8
Innova Color Screen Light 3040e Diagnostic Code Reader/Scan Tool with ABS, Live Data and Oil Reset for OBD2 Vehicles

 Innova Color Screen Light 3040e Diagnostic Code  Reader
Innova Color Screen Light 3040e Diagnostic Code Reader/Scan Tool with ABS, Live Data and Oil Reset for OBD2 Vehicles
4.14.1 / 5
The best part about the Innova 3040 diagnostic tool is that it combines user-friendly features with advanced ones. Hence, DIYers and automobile technicians alike should use it as it has features that’ll appeal to both.

Features

Easily erase trouble codes with the Innova 3040 Diagnostic Code Reader. This OBD2 scan tool contains DTCs for most domestic OBD2 vehicles and can perform multiple diagnostic functions ranging from ABS system repair to oil light reset.

However, while it does solve issues with ABS, Oil light, emissions, and transmission, it doesn’t cover SRS codes. Although, you can still use the device to see the code and then look up the code online or on the special web service. 

One special feature of the Innova 3040 is that it pairs with RepairSolutions, a web service that connects you to professional mechanics. So if you have a problem you don’t know how to solve, you can directly use the OBD2 scanner to contact someone to help you.

RepairSolutions also gives you step-by-step video guides on how to perform some fixes yourself. You can look up the website with the Innova 3040 and save the precious time and money it would take to physically go to a car shop.

Who should take this tool?

The best part about the Innova 3040 diagnostic tool is that it combines user-friendly features with advanced ones. Hence, DIYers and automobile technicians alike should use it as it has features that’ll appeal to both.

Vehicle Coverage: The Innova 3040 works for all OBD2 compliant cars, light trucks, and hybrids.

Pros

  • User guide available
  • Remembers vehicle information
  • Easy to use
  • Use with iOS, Android, Windows, & Firefox
  • Fast speed

Cons

  • Heavyweight
  • Relatively expensive

9
Actron CP9690 Elite AutoScanner Kit Enhanced OBD I and OBD II Scan Tool for all 1996 and newer and select 1984-95 vehicles

 Actron CP9690 Elite AutoScanner Kit
Actron CP9690 Elite AutoScanner Kit Enhanced OBD I and OBD II Scan Tool for all 1996 and newer and select 1984-95 vehicles
4.24.2 / 5
This OBD2 scan tool is a highly useful tool for mechanics as it has both OBD2 and OBD1 functions. However, it can also be particularly useful for domestic car owners that have both OBD1 and OBD2 cars. Its two-in-one feature may save you a lot of hassle.

Features

The Actron CP9690 is an OBD scanner for both OBD2 and OBD1 vehicles. It can read real-time and freeze frame data for the engine, transmission, ABS, SRS, and other car systems. However, ABS and SRS codes are specific to GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai OBDII vehicles.

The OBD2 scanner has a CodeConnect feature, which is basically a library of DTCs consisting of over 26 million codes, definitions, and reported fixes. Simply use the CodeConnect feature to promptly diagnose your problem, fix the issue, and erase the code.

Who should take this tool?

This OBD2 scan tool is a highly useful tool for mechanics as it has both OBD2 and OBD1 functions. However, it can also be particularly useful for domestic car owners that have both OBD1 and OBD2 cars. Its two-in-one feature may save you a lot of hassle.

Vehicle Coverage:  The Actron CP9690 covers all OBDII domestic and import vehicles made in 1996 and after, as well as earlier models of OBDII made in 1994 and 1995. Moreover, it covers most OBDI models of GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota made between 1984 and 1995.

To check whether your vehicle is supported by the Actron CP9690, consult the user manual available here.

Pros

  • Covers a wide range of vehicles
  • Trilingual user guide available
  • 3.5 color display
  • OBDII & OBDI cable included
  • High value for money

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavyweight

10
Autel MaxiLink ML619 CAN OBD2 Scanner Code Reader +ABS/SRS Diagnostic Scan Tool

 Autel MaxiLink ML619 CAN OBD2  Scanner
Autel MaxiLink ML619 CAN OBD2 Scanner Code Reader +ABS/SRS Diagnostic Scan Tool, Turns off Engine Light (MIL) and ABS/SRS Warning Lights
4.44.4 / 5
This OBD2 scan tool is recommended for domestic users. It has simple functions that are perfect for small car diagnoses and repairs.

Features

The Autel MaxiLink ML619 can clear any code for all OBD2 compliant cars and light trucks. It can diagnose problems for multiple car systems, including engine, ABS, and SRS.

It doesn’t matter what the issue is. The Autel MaxiLink ML619 diagnoses a diverse range of car problems. The DTC library of the OBD reader covers all generic codes including P0, P2, P3, and U0 and most manufacturer specific codes including P1, P3, and U1.

Moreover, the OBD2 scanner provides detailed monitoring of your live data and reports of your freeze frame data. Record, pause, and playback your PCM data, and it’ll be displayed in easy-to-understand graphs and diagrams.

Who should take this tool?

This OBD2 scan tool is recommended for domestic users. It has simple functions that are perfect for small car diagnoses and repairs.

Vehicle Coverage: The Autel ML619 works for most OBD2 and CAN vehicles made after 1996. Brands that it covers include GM, Ford, Volvo, VW, Mercedes, Toyota, and Honda.

Pros

  • Free internet updates
  • User guide available
  • Quick diagnosis
  • Easy to use
  • LED screen

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Heavyweight

COMPARISON CHART OF 10 Best OBD2 Scanners

For your convenience, we’ve drawn up a comparison chart to make it easier for you to look at products and decide the best one for you.

Autel 1Foxwell AncelOBDScar BlueDriver OBDLink Launch Innova Actron Autel 2
Customer rating4.4 4.3 4.34.5 4.4 4.1 4.34.14.24.4
PriceCheck price

Check price

Check price

Check price

Check price

Check price

Check price

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CEL Reset
Engine
Diagnostic
VIN--
Live Data
Freeze Frame

I/M readiness status
DTC library

Full OBD2 protocols
Nine protocols
ABS, SRS, Transmission diagnostics------
Life-long free updates
WarrantyOne-year No warrantyNo warrantyOne-year No warrantyThree-year warrantyOne-year warrantyNo warrantyNo warrantyNo warranty

Our Recommendations

Now that we have listed out all the products side-by-side, it’s evident that the best of these OBD2 scanners are as follows:

Autel AutoLink AL319
Autel AutoLink AL319
BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII
BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII
nnova Color Screen Light 3040e Diagnostic
nnova Color Screen Light 3040e Diagnostic
Customer Rating
4.44.4 / 5
4.44.4 / 5
4.14.1 / 5
PriceATEQ QuickSet TPMS Reset Tool priceATEQ VT31 priceVXDAS Ultimate EL-50448 price
Weight 11.4 ounces2.08 ounces 1.1 pounds
Product Dimensions 63 x 17.7 x 92.5 inches2.2 x 1.9 x 1 inches 10.6 x 7.5 x 1.8 inches
Value for money
User-friendly
Wide vehicle coverage
All OBD2 functions and protocols

Buying Guide FOR THE BEST OBD Scanner

What is OBD Scanner?

Before we get to understanding OBD scanner, let’s do a quick recap of what is OBD. On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) is a diagnostic system found in vehicles. It helps, mechanics and car owners alike, in monitoring and fixing various components of the car.

However, OBD systems on their own can only indicate that there is a problem. For example, if there is an issue in the engine, the OBD system in your car will alert you through the Check Engine Light (CEL). But you won’t be able to figure out the exact problem from just that.

This is where OBD scanners come in. OBD scanners are the tools that help in translating what the OBD system in your car is saying to something that you can understand. The OBD system checks your vehicle and produces specific Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) according to the problem.

Then, the OBD scanner makes it possible for us to read, understand, and act upon these codes. Since there are so many different scanners out there, the scanner’s functions depend on the type of scanner.

Let’s read more about this ahead.

Types of OBD Scanners

When you’re deciding which is the best OBD scanner for you, the number of options you see will leave your head spinning. Once you understand all the different types of OBD scanners, it will be much easier to narrow down your choices.

OBD1 vs. OBD2 Scanner: Do I Need OBD1 Scanner or OBD2 Scanner?

In a nutshell, OBD1 is an older diagnostic system, and OBD2 is a more modern, more commonly used, and much better diagnostic system. So, to decide whether you need an OBD1 scanner or OBD2 scanner, you first need to figure which system your car uses. If your vehicle was sold any time from 1996 onwards, it most likely has OBD2 technology.

Therefore, you’ll need an OBD2 scanner. Similarly, If your car was manufactured somewhere between 1991 and 1995, it’ll have OBD1 technology for which you’ll need an OBD1 scanner.

Besides that, there are other differences between the two types of scanners. For instance, OBD1 scanners could only be used for one specific car made by a particular manufacturer. Whereas, OBD2 technology is more standardized so the same scanner can be used for multiple vehicles, regardless of make or manufacturer. Furthermore, OBD2 scanners are more accurate, have more features, and therefore, are more popular.

Types of OBD2 Scanners: Code Reader, DIY Scanner, or Diagnostic Tool?

Now that we’ve established that OBD2 scanners are the better option, we will discuss the different kinds within OBD2 scanners. There are three main kinds: Code Reader, DIY Scanner, and Diagnostic Tool.

1.      Code Reader

Code readers is the most basic and popular scanner available. They are relatively cheap, and you can most probably find it at any hardware store. You might have also seen your mechanic using this type of an OBD2 scanner.

For most code reader type scanners, you need to plug them to the OBD2 port. These can perform essential functions like reading and clearing the DTCs. Although there are some code reader scanners which offer some advanced features as well.

2.      DIY Scanner

DIY Scanners are a step ahead of Code Readers in terms of features. Moreover, these are more expensive too. They make diagnosing easier as you can not only read and clear codes but also access more information regarding the codes and your car.

With DIY scanners, you can see details behind the codes, DTC definitions, troubleshooting methods, live data about your car, and much more. Furthermore, some of these scanners can be traditional with them having to be plugged during use. But most DIY scanners can be used wirelessly with the help of dongles and dedicated apps.

3.      Diagnostic Tool

The Diagnostic Tool scanners are the most advanced OBD2 scanners. They are more powerful and better suited for professional use. Accordingly, these are also the most expensive out of the three scanners.

Some of its features include ECU programming, coding, adaptations, and many more advanced options. Moreover, they allow you to save substantial amounts of data from your car.

Which OBD2 Scanner Type is Best for Me?

Since all three types of OBD2 scanners have different levels of features and functions, it then depends on an individual’s need. Which one proves to be the best OBD2 scanner for you will depend on how you plan to use a scanner, and which features you need. For instance, a code reader would be best for you if you’re looking for something cheap and that can perform essential functions for you.

Similarly, if you’re a home mechanic, and you want more features and secure connectivity, then a DIY Scanner would be perfect. Moreover, if you require a more sophisticated tool, more features than a DIY scanner, and you don’t care about the price, you should take a Professional Diagnostic Tool Scanner.

The Best OBD Scanner Brands

Now that you know how OBD2 scanners work and the types of scanners out there, we can start with the fun part: looking at different OBD2 scanner brands. When you’re out in the market, these are some brands you should look out for.

Autel

With more than a decade of experience, for Autel’s OBD2 scanners, quality is guaranteed. Moreover, not only are they of good quality, but they’re also cheap and easy to use. Autel has some of the best OBD2 scanners out there which are customer favorites.

Launch

With Launch, you get the best of both worlds. Their scanners are full of advanced features and that too, at a pretty good price. Also, they’re considered to be one of the most reliable brands in the market.

More importantly, one of the best things about Launch is that their scanners are supported by all U.S. vehicles.

Innova

For more basic scanners such as Code Readers, Innova is one of the leading brands today. Their scanners are easy to use and are compatible with a wide range of cars. Moreover, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a pro, everyone can find something perfect for their needs.

Foxwell

Another highly experienced brand, Foxwell is well known for its quality products. They have some excellent scanners for beginners. Furthermore, Foxwell’s scanners are on the affordable end while maintaining the quality.

Actron

Versatile yet cheap, Actron OBD2 scanners are perfect for beginners and DIYers. Their scanners are easy to use, and anyone can handle them. Actron has a whole range of scanners with various features to satisfy everyone.

Bluedriver

When you want the most bang for your buck, you go for Bluedriver. Their scanners have a ton of features at a much lower price as compared to other diagnostic scanners. Moreover, Bluedriver scanners have some of the best technology which shows in their brilliant performance.

Ancel

You’ll find Ancel code reader scanners to be some of the most highly rated scanners in the market. Even the basic scanners come with a range of features at an excellent price. Furthermore, not only are they very convenient to use but they are quite durable.

OBD Scan Tools for Specific Vehicles

Getting an OBD2 scanner specifically for your vehicle will be even better as then you won’t run into any manufacturer specific complications.

  • BMW Scan Tools: Some general scanners might not be able to interface with your BMW OBD system completely. So, you will need a BMW-specific OBD2 scanner to avail all of its features.
  • Audi Scan Tools: Similar to BMW, Audi OBD systems might not support all OBD2 scanners and will need scanners specially made for Audis.
  • Ford Scan Tools: A scanner that is specifically for Ford vehicles will give you much better results and performance than a generic scanner.
  • Volkswagen Scan Tools: With a Volkswagen scan tool, you can use the scanner with any Volkswagen manufactured from 1996 onwards.
  • Toyota Scan Tools: You will find some excellent Toyota scan tools that will give you the most accurate and reliable results when used with a Toyota.
  • General Motors Scan Tools: If you use a General Motors-specific OBD2 scanner, there’ll be fewer chances of running into trouble with your scanner.
  • Heavy-Duty Truck Scan Tools: Different kinds of vehicles have different problems. Which is why you need a heavy-duty truck scan tool if you own a heavy duty truck.

OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters for iOS, Android, Windows Devices

Another great thing to come out of OBD2 scanners are the Bluetooth adapters. Rather than using traditional cords to connect to the OBD2 system in your car, many OBD2 scanners now come with the option of wireless connection through Bluetooth. You can use these adapters with any Bluetooth compatible device like smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

Although, while most OBD2 Bluetooth adapters will be compatible with your car, your phone or laptop might not support all of them. There are some which might only work with Android systems or only Windows operating systems. Similarly, with an iPhone, it’ll be harder to find the right adapter as iOS supports minimal Bluetooth connections.

So, when you’re choosing an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter, you have to check it against the operating system you’re using.

What If I Need an OBD2 Scanner for a Specific System or Diagnostics: ABS, SRS, Engine, Transmission, or Bidirectional Scan Tool?

Something you’ll realize when you’re looking for OBD2 scanners is that there are a lot of them out there. Moreover, all of them have such different features and qualities, that everyone can find something that fits their needs perfectly.

An Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) scan tool is useful for diagnosing when the ABS light turns on due to any problem such as a bad relay. Moreover, Safety Restraint System (SRS) scanners can be helpful when the car detects a problem with the airbags. Similarly, you use Engine Code readers for engine-specific issues or Transmission scanners for checking the transmission.

Furthermore, only some of the OBD2 scanners are bidirectional tools. They allow you not only to read the incoming information from the car but also input information as actions for the vehicle to follow.

Other Things to Consider Before Buying an OBD2 Scanner

After coming this far, it’s crucial to note these few things. Otherwise, all the hard work that you’ve done up till now will go to waste.

  • Price Range: The price of these scanners depends on the features it has. You can get basic Code readers with limited features for as low as $10. While professional diagnostic tools with more advanced features can cost you even more than $3000.
  • Update: Since all new cars come with new features, they also bring with them new problems. Therefore, you need to continually update your scanner so that they can support these changes. Some brands offer free lifetime updates while some charge for it, so you must choose wisely.
  • Guarantee: Accidents can happen anytime, so it doesn’t hurt to have a 1- or 2-year warranty with your scanner. Ideally, though, you should look for 3-year warranties.
  • After Sale Service: Most of the scanners are now becoming more and more complex with much more advanced technology. So, it is best to go for an OBD2 scanner that offers after sales service in case you face any issue with your scanner.
  • Tech Support: When you’re stuck in the middle of the road and have no idea what your scanner is saying, you’ll need the best tech support to guide you out of the problem.
  • Communication: You must also look at how easily you can contact the scanner’s manufacturer or seller because they’ll be the ones you need to contact if you need any spare parts or extra tools.
  • Refund Policy: This might not be that important if you’re going for a cheap and basic scanner tool. But, if you’re going to spend thousands on a professional diagnostic tool, you need some assurance for refunds if the product is not to your liking.

Conclusion

In sum, these are some of the best OBD2 scanners you’ll find. Any of these options are great investments, ones that’ll be more practical for you in the long run. It’s a wise decision to buy an OBD2 scanner as you never know when your CEL can turn on, and a car system can malfunction.

Having an OBD2 scanner is going to be convenient in that scenario. As a car owner, it’ll be a responsible purchase to make, particularly if you’re prone to car trouble. We hope this buying guide and OBD2 scanner review was comprehensive and helpful.

Read more: Customer’s questions and answers

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