Best OBD2 Scanners: Make Your Car Run Like New For A Long Time To Come!

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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. You can read of buyer’s guide in order to understand the criteria you need to consider in order to make an educated purchase.

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.

In case you don’t have the time to read, let me just get straight to my number one choice you might want to consider. I personally like the ANCEL AD310 and consider this model the best overall option as it ticks all the boxes and comes at a reasonable price for its features. If you don’t know where to start your research from, this model takes my vote, but read on to find out which are the best OBD2 scanners that made it into my top ten list.

What Is An OBD2 Scanner? What Does An OBD2 Scanner Do?

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 obd2 port which tells the car’s computer what parts of the car are working properly, and what needs repair. These devices 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.

An OBD2 scanner is the most efficient way to diagnose your vehicle

How Does an OBD2 Scanner Tool Work? What Kinds of Problems Can It Detect?

An obd2 scanner plugs into your car’s obd2 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 Benefits of Having 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 scan 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

Types of OBD2 Scanners
wireless vs wired 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 port and display all the data on your mobile’s LCD screen. In order to use these Bluetooth adapters, you will need a Bluetooth-enabled tablet or mobile phone, along with the App of your choice.

Most often, an app scan tool only has a few functions, such as displaying the diagnostic 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) scanners 

Most people don’t need a professional scan tool. 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.

How We Picked Our Recommendations? Which Criteria Can Help You Choose The Best ODB2 Scanner For your Needs?

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 code 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 scan tools 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 OBDII 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 code reader you pick, OBDII 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 OBDII wired scan tool. 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 car code reader 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.

There are a lot of options, so it's important to know what your needs are before making a purchase.

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, its o2 sensor and can read abs codes, ECU coding. 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 core updates. These software updates ensure that your diagnostic 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. Combine this with a rugged smartphone and you have a bulletproof system for your adventures.

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 OBDII 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 diagnostic scanner has an automatic diagnostic feature. This way the diagnostic tool will scan itself and display any fault code on its screen without you having to manually look for the error code yourself.

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 obd2 car 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 price of an OBD scanner varies 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 scanner 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 code reader 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.

The OBD scanner comes 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.

The 10 Best OBD2 Scanners You Can Buy Today:

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
ANCEL AD310

ANCEL AD310 – Best Overall

9.7
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FOXWELL NT301

FOXWELL NT301 – Best For Advanced DIY Mechanics

9.5
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Autel AL319

Autel AL319 – Best On a Budget

9.1
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BAFX Products Bluetooth Car Diagnostic OBDII Code Reader

BAFX Products Code Reader – Best Wireless OBD2 Scanners For Android

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 – Best For Professionals

8
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MOTOPOWER MP69033

MOTOPOWER MP69033 – Best For Beginners

7.7
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LAUNCH CR529

LAUNCH CR529

7.4
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AUTOPHIX OM126P

AUTOPHIX OM126P – Best Value For Money

7.2
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Last update on 21st January 2022 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Which OBD2 Scanner Should I Buy? Our Recommended OBD2 Scanners

ANCEL AD310 OBD II Scanner – Best Overall

Editor’s Choice
ANCEL AD310 OBD II Scanner
9.7/10 Our Score

Last update on 21st January 2022 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Ancel AD310 model 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. This OBDII scan tool 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. I love the freeze frame data feature, a great one to have in your code reader. The Ancel AD310 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 – Best For Advanced DIY Mechanics

Runner-up
FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner
9.5/10 Our Score

Last update on 21st January 2022 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The NT301 obd2 scan tool 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 vehicle 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 – Best On a Budget

Value For Money
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner
9.1/10 Our Score

Last update on 21st January 2022 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Autolink AL319 is a budget-friendly obd2 scan tool for anyone looking for an affordable yet reliable code reader 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 engine codes and can retrieve generic and manufacturer-specific codes to help you check your vehicle. Overall the Autel scanner is a great entry-level automotive scanner, with a bright LCD, that come to help you solve problems quickly without breaking the bank, making this a great option for anyone on a limited budget.

BAFX Products Bluetooth Reader – Best Wireless OBD2 Scanners For Android

Honourable Mention
BAFX Products Bluetooth Car Diagnostic OBDII Reader
8.8/10 Our Score

Last update on 21st January 2022 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This Bluetooth model is a great handheld scanner for anyone that prefers to work with their Android or Windows device and simply needs an obd2 s code reader for their vehicle. This obd2 scan tool will allow you to read and clear any diagnostic trouble code 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 check engine light codes of your vehicles at the moment, so if you have a Bluetooth-enabled device this Bluetooth dongle can get you started for such a low price that definitely worth a closer look.

Update: I was looking for a new OBD2 scanner lately, preferably with a bigger screen as I felt mine is just too small. I came along with the FOXWELL NT706 but haven’t tried it yet. Looking at its specs, I must say it seems like a great deal. I’ve also spotted one with a 7″ screen. Damn… this one looks beautiful!

Has anyone tried them? Are they worthy of the price tag? If so, please feel free to send me an e-mail!

FAQ

Are cheap OBD2 scanners any good?

Cheap obd2 code readers 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 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?

A handheld scanner should be compatible with most vehicle systems 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 and returning any trouble code. 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 used as such a diagnostic tool. 

You can start using your new obd2 scanner right away. These scanners are backward 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.