Best OBD2 Scanners

Any number of problems may be the reason your dashboard glows, or your car begins to have issues. An OBD2 scanner is one device that can make diagnosing your vehicle easier and cheaper. It connects to the OBD2 port in your vehicle and allows you to access the onboard computers and systems.

The scanner will read the fault codes produced by the car in order to assist you to diagnose the problem, allowing you to repair it and resume driving. Even if you have a limited budget, you can obtain a high-quality scanner that will still provide accurate results.

When choosing the best obd2 scanners, you have to consider a lot of factors. You want something that is reliable and easy to use. Making a wrong choice can cost you a lot of money and time.

We’ve done all the research for you so that picking up an obd2 scanner will be as simple as possible. In this article, we cover everything from budget-friendly options to high-end models that come with extra features like pre-programmed tests and live data streaming capabilities.

Best OBD2 Scanners:

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
ANCEL AD310

ANCEL AD310

9.7
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FOXWELL NT301

FOXWELL NT301

9.5
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Autel AL319

Autel AL319

9.1
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BAFX Products Bluetooth Car Diagnostic OBDII Reader

BAFX Products Bluetooth Car Diagnostic OBDII Reader

8.8
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BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android

8.6
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NEXPEAK NX501

NEXPEAK NX501

8.2
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INNOVA 3100RS

INNOVA 3100RS

8
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MOTOPOWER MP69033

MOTOPOWER MP69033

7.7
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LAUNCH CR529

LAUNCH CR529

7.4
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AUTOPHIX OM126P

AUTOPHIX OM126P

7.2
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Last update on 27th September 2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What to consider when looking for the best obd2 scanners?

What Is An OBD2 Scanner?

An OBD2 scanner is a device you attach to your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port (sometimes called an OBDII port) which lets you read your car’s computer information.

OBD is a standard set up by the EPA and all vehicle manufacturers are required to use this system. This system monitors and controls many things related to your vehicle’s emission control system and can tell you if there are any problems with your vehicle’s pollution control system.

It does this by sending a series of 16 digit codes to the OBDII port which tell the car’s computer what parts of the car are working properly, and what needs repair. OBD2 scanners can be useful for learning when your car is having engine or transmission problems before you experience difficulty driving the car, and can help you decide when to have your car repaired.

When your vehicle is diagnosed, the data is stored in the scanner and can be downloaded onto a laptop or PC. It’s very similar to getting your car checked at a dealership, except you do it at home.

How Does an Obd2 Scanner Work? What Kinds of Problems Can It Detect?

An obd2 scanner plugs into your car’s OBDII port and reads a series of codes stored in the computer on your vehicle. It then displays these codes on its LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen. The codes relate to the various components of your car and tell you if there are any problems with them.

There are different codes your obd2 scanner can read for you. As a result, your scanner will tell you if there are any problems with The emissions system (catalytic converter, catalytic converters, oxygen sensors, EGR valve, etc.) The ignition system (fuel injection, fuel injectors, distributor cap, spark plugs, etc.) The coolant system (hoses, thermostat, radiator, etc.) The electrical system (wires, alternator, battery, etc.) The steering mechanism (power steering pump, tie rod ends, etc.)

In short, an obd2 scanner can tell you almost everything there is to know about the condition of your car and give you a very clear idea of when it needs repair. It’s useful for finding out if your car needs major repair before you drive it far, or if it’s just something minor that can be fixed easily. You’ll also be able to check for codes relating to any repairs you’ve had done on your vehicle.

What are the Advantages of Using An Obd2 Scanner?

  • Using an obd2 scanner is often much cheaper than taking your car to a mechanic. This is because the codes your obd2 scanner reads are simple ones, and can be read and interpreted by anyone with minimal knowledge of engines. Using an obd2 scanner can often save you hundreds of dollars when compared to taking your car to a mechanic.
  • It Is Fast. When it comes to getting an immediate answer as to whether or not your car needs repair, there is no better tool than an obd2 scanner.
  • It can save you a lot of time. Next time your car needs some work, you won’t have to take it to a mechanic. Instead, you can simply buy an obd2 scanner and examine your car right from the comfort of your home. 
  • It can help keep you from having to drive around with a problematic car. Because the codes your obd2 scanner reads are so simple, they are easy to understand. This means you will be able to tell if your car needs repair without having to ask a mechanic for clarification.
  • It Can Be Used For Years To Come. Once you learn how to read the codes your obd2 scanner reads, you can use them over and over again. 
  • It’s also useful if you have more than one car because you can check the condition of all of them simultaneously.  
  • And it can help you avoid being involved in an accident. By using an obd2 scanner, you will be able to see if there are any warning signs your regular mechanic may have missed. This can help you steer clear of potential trouble, and keep you safe on the road. 

All of these are huge advantages, and they are more and more important as time goes by.

Types of OBD2 Scanners

  • Bluetooth (Wireless) Scanners 

They are very small and can be easily mounted inside your car. When you use an app scanner, you simply use your car’s OBD port and display all the data on your mobile’s LCD screen. In order to use these Bluetooth Scanners, you will need a Bluetooth-enabled tablet or mobile phone, along with the App of your choice.

Most often, app scanners only have a few functions, such as displaying the trouble codes and letting you clear them. However, some app scanners come with additional features, such as being able to tell you how old the codes are, how many miles you have driven since the vehicle was last inspected, and how many services visit the car has had so far.

  • Professional (Wired) OBD2 scanners 

Most people don’t need a professional scanner. However, if you are a mechanic, or someone who works on cars professionally, then you should definitely consider getting a professional scanner. Professional scanners usually cost much more than the others mentioned above, but they have several advantages.

They are the most accurate, have a large built-in memory, and are very durable. Most professional scanners have a large LCD screen, which makes reading and displaying information much easier. Some scanners even have a “history” button.

Buying Guide

The obd2 scanners are compatible with cars made after 1996 that feature onboard diagnostic systems. They help you monitor the vehicle and diagnose various issues via scanning codes. Pick an obd2 reader from a reputable manufacturer, like Bosch, that comes with lifetime support as such devices can be updated in order to be compatible with codes from future vehicles making them futureproof.

These scanners will provide you with diagnostics codes so that you can decide to fix the issues or get the help of a professional. If you plan to use the device in a workshop professionally look for models that feature anti-shock and slip designs that will prevent falling damage. A large LCD is a must so is fluctuation protection.

Wired Vs. Wireless

Purchasing an obd2 scanner may not be for everyone. However, it is a great investment for people who want to save time and money on their cars, and who don’t want to have to rely on a mechanic every time they have an issue.

There are two main types of obd2 scanners available: wired models, which connect directly with your car’s OBD port, and wireless models, which communicate with your mobile device through Bluetooth. No matter which type you have, obd2 scanners have a common goal: to give you accurate information about your car and help you keep it in good condition.

If you want to save your data and use advanced functions, then we recommend the wired scanner. If you want to take care of your car simply and quickly, then Bluetooth obd2 scanners are perfect for you.

Code Lookup Functions

This is an important feature that most people overlook. There are many different codes, and it is easy to have problems with your car if you don’t know the meaning of those codes.

In order for your obd2 scanner to be as effective as possible, it should have a built-in code lookup function. This way you won’t have to search for an online database every time you want to find out what a problem is.

Compatibility

If you are looking for a model for personal use, It is very important that you find a device that is compatible with your car’s model. If you are looking for a scanner for professional use, the device’s compatibility with every vehicle is essential. Since an OBDII scanner is an investment, you should look for models that allow for code updates. These updates ensure that your scanner is up to date with the latest vehicle models and protocols.

In order to ensure you have a device that will help you solve problems faster, we recommend looking for compatibility with iOS and Android platforms. Most scanners are compatible with both platforms, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

These scanners can provide live data to your smartphone wireless, just check that the model can provide such functionality. There are plenty of apps for Android and iPhone to choose from, some are free while others can be bought from the app store.

Most devices have a friendly user interface that will provide plug-and-play use. Some scanners are designed to work with mobile apps for monitoring, so they are also worth some research if you need such functionality while on the road. These can be done via Bluetooth, so look for obd2 scanners that have Bluetooth connectivity.

If you need help deciphering or understanding all of your car’s codes or trouble areas, make sure that your obd2 scanner has an automatic diagnostic feature. This way it will scan itself and display any errors on its screen without you having to manually look for them.

Price and Warranty

The price range of obd2 scanners varies greatly, but we recommend choosing a device with as many features as possible for the price you want to pay. If you only need a basic and cheaper scanner, then there is no point in spending extra money on a more expensive one that has significantly better features.

A well-constructed scanner made from durable materials is a worthy investment as will withstand the test of time. Pick one with large-sized buttons and a large screen for easier operation. An important factor to consider is the obd2 scanner cable length, as you can imagine a longer cable will give you more freedom when working at your garage.

The prices of obd2 scanners vary from $20-$200, depending on the model and its functions. Newer models usually cost more than older ones, and scanners with Bluetooth and Internet connectivity will be more expensive than those without. If you want a device with as many features as possible, we suggest looking for one that costs around $60-$90.

The most important thing to consider when purchasing an obd2 scanner is the type of device that you need. If you want a scanner for personal use, then we recommend going with a Bluetooth model that is compatible with both iOS and Android platforms. If you would rather have a scanner to use in your business or on the job, make sure it’s compatible with every car model.

Regardless of which device you purchase, make sure to read reviews from verified buyers before you make your final purchase. If possible, try the scanner out first before making a purchase or ask for assistance from an experienced friend or family member to ensure that the device fits your needs.

Scanners come with pc integration, Bluetooth accessibility, or as a handheld device. Pick the one you plan to use most for your monitoring as it comes down to personal taste. Some scanners need to be powered via batteries in order to operate. Others rely on your vehicle’s battery to draw power from.

Our Recommended OBD2 Scanners

ANCEL AD310 OBD II Scanner

Editor’s Choice
9.7/10 Our Score
  • Classic design, fast scan and erase trouble codes, even a beginner can use it read the error code, find out what the problem is and perhaps fix it. Save money and time. It can not read and erase ABS, SRS(Airbag), and other systems fault codes.
  • Works on MOST 1996 US-Based, 2000 EU-Based and Asian cars, and newer OBD II & CAN domestic or import vehicles. Supports English, German, French, Spanish, Finnish, Dutch, Russian and Portuguese.
  • Easily determines the cause of the check engine light. I/M monitor readiness test, turn off the MIL (check engine light) as well as view freeze frame data. Read hard (memory) / pending (intermittent) and historic codes and show definitions.
  • The AD310 scanner is well built with a large LCD display (128 x 64 pixel) that has white backlight and contrast adjustment, indicates test results directly. No need any Batteries or Charger, gets the power directly from the OBDII Data Link Connector in your vehicle.
  • It’s equipped with a 2. 5 feet long cable and made of a very thick flexible insulator. There are 4 buttons on AD310. The Up and Down button for scrolling the menu, the Enter and Exit button allow for navigation back and entering menu.

Last update on 27th September 2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The AD310 model from Ancel features a classic design and great built quality with a large LCD screen. The display is backlit for easy reading and its resolution is 128×64 pixels. The device is powered straight from the ODBII data link connector of the vehicle, so you will not need any batteries or chargers to get you started. It comes with a 2.5 feet long cable and a long-lasting warranty, at a very attractive price, which makes this device highly recommended for anyone looking for an obd2 scanner.

FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner

Runner-up
9.5/10 Our Score
  • 【Vehicle CEL Doctor】The NT301 obd2 scanner enables you to read DTCs, locate bad O2 sensors, access to emissions readiness status, turn off CEL(check engine light) or MIL, reset monitor, read live data and retrieve VIN of your vehicle.
  • 【Accuracy & Streams】Live data graphing and logging. Accurately read error codes for most Worldwide cars, SUVs, light trucks and 12V diesels equipped with Obd2. Graphing live vehicle sensors data allows you to focus on any suspicious data and trend.
  • 【Worthy to Own】Recommended by Mechanic Scotty Kilmer on Youtube. Codes analysis and Printer compatible. Unique PATENTED design, 2.8″ color screen, Free Lifetime Update and 1-year seller assurance with EXCLUSIVE tech and service team.
  • 【Smog Check Helper】Read/Erase and I/M readiness hotkeys make it easy to use the car computer reader right out of the package. Red-Yellow-Green Leds and build-in speaker indicate the readiness status for confident emissions test.
  • 【Home Necessity】Open to global customers. No battery required, NT301 obd scanner is charged directly from the 16pin DLC in your vehicle. It is recommended as a necessity in your toolbox and one of the best gifts for Home and Autoshop Mechanics.
  • 【Please Note】Dear customer, if you are not pleased with your NT301 and choose to return it, please kindly mark it unsellable to avoid an used one is resold again to other customers. Appreciate very much!
  • 【Warm Tip】NT301 car scanner can be used directly with no need for registration or update, as it is already the latest version. Your Foxwell’s screen is with a tightly-fitting screen protector. If any scratches are found, just tear off the screen protector from the upper left or upper right corner. 🙂

Last update on 27th September 2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The NT301 model from Foxwell is a great scanner that comes at a great price for its features. The device provides an accurate read of codes for any vehicle equipped with odb2 and provides information in text and graph format and allows for data logging and review of your logs. The 2.8″ screen is a joy work with the built quality of the device is of professional grade. For its price, this is easily a great investment for anyone looking for an odb2 scanner today.

Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner

Value For Money
9.1/10 Our Score
  • [FOR END USER & DIYERS] This error code reader is “plug and play” and comes with an easy interface. Even if you’re not familiar with vehicle repair, you can quickly take control of this code reader, and get the information you want.
  • [TURN OFF CEL] This car diagnostic tool supports Reading DTCs, displaying Live Data, Freeze Frame & I/M Readiness etc to figure out the root cause of the Check Engine Light (CEL) and turning it off, to help you detect any potential problems, and to avoid excessive costs for unnecessary repairs.
  • [EXTENSIVE APPLICATION] Compatible with 7 languages (English, French, Spanish, etc.) and various post-1996 OBD II protocol vehicles (Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford, etc.), this OBD II scanner provides accurate and fast diagnosis for worldwide car owners.
  • [USER-FRIENDLY DESIGN] This check engine code reader features a patented One-Click I/M Readiness Key, TFT color display, built-in speaker, LED Indicator etc. The cable is long enough without being too long and getting in the way. No batteries are needed.
  • [HIGH-QUALITY SERVICES] 12 months warranty from the date of purchase and lifetime free update are offered by this Automobile OBDII scan tool. Welcome to contact us via Q&A, email, or hotline, and our after-sale-service team for technical support.

Last update on 27th September 2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The AL319 is a budget-friendly option for anyone looking for an affordable yet reliable scanner for obd2 equipped vehicles. It features a large and bright screen and a built-in speaker so you can have both visual and audible indications. It supports clearing codes and can retrieve generic and manufacturer-specific codes to help you check your vehicle. Overall a great entry-level scanner, with a bright LCD, that come help you solve problems quickly without breaking the bank, makes this a great option for anyone on a limited budget.

BAFX Products Bluetooth Car Diagnostic OBDII Reader

Honourable Mention
8.8/10 Our Score
  • NOT COMPATIBLE WITH iOS DEVICES – (iPhones, iPads etc); OUR BLUETOOTH OBD2 scanner IS ONLY COMPATIBLE WITH ANDROID OR WINDOWS DEVICES; For iOS devices, see our WiFi OBD Reader
  • READ & RESET – Our OBD2 diagnostic scanner tool will work on all cars purchased in the USA model year 1996 or newer; Unlike other OBD2 scanners, ours works on ALL OBD2 protocols including J1850 and CAN; With our scan tool you can read & reset the check engine light on your car with ease
  • REAL TIME – Monitor the diagnostic sensors in your vehicle in real time for things like O2 data, fuel pressure, EVAP system & more; Car reporting an EVAP code? Check your O2 readings to see which sensor is faulty and get it fixed; React quickly to problems like a professional mechanic
  • HUGE APP SELECTION – 3rd party app must be downloaded to use; Choose from many OBDII apps such as Torque Pro, Piston, Dash Command, OBD Fusion & more; Some OBDII readers limit you in which apps you can use, not BAFX Products; Choose an app at a price that meets your needs
  • This OBD2 scanner does not read ABS, SRS, TPMS or Oil Change lights; WARRANTY – 2 Year manufacturer warranty with USA based friendly support staff; Don’t be left stranded by support

This Bluetooth model is a great option for anyone that prefers to work with their Android or Windows device and simply needs an obd2 diagnostic reader for their vehicle. The scanner will allow you to read and clear codes and get all the professional diagnostics you need in the comfort of your Bluetooth-enabled device.

Unfortunately, it’s not compatible with iOS devices, so if you need to connect your iPhone or iPad you should probably go for a different model or the wifi-enabled model of the same company. This is the most affordable way to read and clear codes of your vehicles at the moment, so if you have a Bluetooth-enabled device this scanner can get you started for such a low price that definitely worths a closer look.

FAQ

Are cheap OBD2 scanners any good?

Cheap obd2 scanners are not good for professional use, but they can be useful if you just want to check whether your car needs any maintenance or not.


Where is the OBD-II port?

The OBD-II port is usually located under the driver’s side of the vehicle’s dashboard.


Will an OBD-II scanner tell me what’s wrong with the vehicle?

An obd2 scanner can tell you if there are any errors or problems, but it won’t be able to fix the issue itself.


Will an OBD2 scanner work on all vehicles?

An obd2 scanner should be compatible with most vehicles from the year 1996 and up. If you have a very old or extremely new model, it might not be compatible.


OBD1 vs. OBD2

There are two different protocols used for communicating with modern vehicles. These are called OBD1 and OBD. OBD1 is considered “old technology.” It was originally designed to make it easy for mechanics to know what was wrong with your car when they were working on it. OBD2 is the newer protocol. 

You can start using your new obd2 scanner right away. These scanners are backwards compatible, which means they will work with the older codes. In other words… if your car has an obd port, it should also work with your obd2 scanner.