The Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews & Buying Guide

This article explains why you should buy the best OBD2 Scanner and guides you to choose the best auto scan tool to fit your Budget. Click here to see our #1 pick on Amazon.com

Not Enough Time To Read Our Detailed Guide? Below Are Our Top 3 Best OBD2 Scanner Picks

FAQs

What is an OBD Scanner, and what do I get for my money?

Which OBD2 Scanner Is Suitable for You?

Whether you’re a do-it-yourself car owner or a skilled technician, the tool assesses auto problems, and some models locate the trouble spot and give you the solution to get it fixed. OBD2 scan tools plug in easily and read messages sent by the car’s onboard diagnostic system. Every car manufactured after 1996 has a computer chip installed in it to monitor the engine. These car computers send their info to the scanner for reading and analysis. Want to compare prices?

NAM​E

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RATING

DETAILS

1. BlueDriver – Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone®, iPad®, Android

BlueDriver photo

4.4

2. Autel AL519 Color Screen OBDII/CAN Scan Tool

Autel AL519 photo

4.5

3. BAFX Products® – For check engine light & diagnostics, Android ONLY

BAFX Products photo

4.5

4. INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles

INNOVA 3160 photo

4.3

5. ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth: OBD Adapter/Diagnostic Scanner for Android and Windows

ScanTool 426101 photo

4.4

6. ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth: OBD Adapter/Diagnostic Scanner for Android & Windows

ScanTool 427201 photo

4.4

7. Actron CP9680 Enhanced AutoScanner Plus

Actron CP9680 photo

4.5

8. INNOVA 3100 Diagnostic Scan Tool/Code Reader with ABS and Battery Backup for OBD2 Vehicles

INNOVA 3100 photo

4.3

9. Launch Tech 301050116 ‘CRP123’ ABS, SRS, Transmission and Engine Code Scanner

Launch Tech 301050116 photo

4.2

10. Autel DS708 Automotive Diagnostic and Analysis System

Autel DS708 photo

4.2

Quick Review of the Top 10 Best OBD2 Scanners for You!

If you want to know how to go about buying an OBD2 Scanner as a win-win deal for both your budget and your car engine, scroll down. Here is a Quick Review of the Top Ten Best OBD2 Scanners manufactured by the best brands on the market.

BlueDriver photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.4

Features:

  • The Professional OBD2 scanner trusted by mechanics and developed by Professional Engineers in North America.
  • Officially licensed and certified for Apple and Android devices.
  • Comes with a BlueDriver App and a BlueDriver Sensor that work exclusively together to ensure quality.
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    Integrated with the capabilities of an expensive handheld scan tools plus the benefits of a smartphone or tablet (free app updates, portability, saving data, interactive graphing of live data).
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    Free vehicle-specific Repair Reports drawn from a database of over 4.3 million fixes verified by certified auto mechanics.

Connecting this scan tool to my iPhone or Android devices is effortless. Once I get the BlueDriver device connected to either my Android tablet or iPhone, I get quick access to boundless options and information. Aside from being able to select several metrics and have them displayed real-time, I’m also able to reset the warning codes. One of the selling points of this scan tool is the Smog Readiness Status test. It runs a thorough check of your car and then lets you know if you’re going to pass the emissions test.

One complaint I have is the fact that you would have to pay extra for an App to be able to use some other features. So far, both the app and the hardware are working properly as they should. I’m looking forward to using this scan tool for several years.

Things We Liked

  • Easy to set up and straightforward to use
  • Reliable Bluetooth connection
  • Able to provide comprehensive repair reports
  • Check Circle
    Works on both Android and Apple devices

Things We Didn't Liked

  • One would have to pay extra to be able to use some features like TPMS diagnosis, and more.
Autel AL519 photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.5

Features:

  • Patented one-click I/M readiness key provides quick state emissions readiness checks and drive cycle verificat
  • Able to retrieve generic, manufacturer-specific, and pending codes including vehicle information
  • Disable check engine lights, clears codes, and resets monitors
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    Compact unit is portable, thus it can be taken almost anywhere
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    Able to read, record, and playback live sensor data

For the price, this OBD2 scanner is really good. It’s lightweight and has an easy-to-read, colored display. Using this scan tool, I’m able to read trouble codes and likewise get some tips on how they can be fixed. It also gives freeze data and some engine parameters. This happens at the same time trouble codes are raised. Along with the capacity to reset trouble codes, it gives a live view of information like acceleration, RPMs, and more. If you want things ready for the smog test, which is often required to renew your automobile insurance, a readiness test may be performed to get details about any pending or permanent trouble codes. This is definitely helpful for those who prefer to do car maintenance themselves.

Things We Liked

  • Satisfactory in terms of providing necessary car information
  • Comes with an easy-to-read and understand color display
  • Affordable price

Things We Didnt Liked

  • Materials are not that durable, made of low-quality, flexible plastic
BAFX Products photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.5

Features:

  • Guaranteed to work on all vehicles manufactured in the USAfrom 1996 onward.
  • Can be connected to an Android phone/tablet or to a Windows PC using a third-party app.
  • Receive real-time sensor information right on your phone. EOT, RPM, Speed, DPF Temp, Balance Rates, O2 Readings, etc.
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    Get you 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and 1-mile times right on your phone.
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    Works with Bluetooth-enabled Android devices and Windows computers.
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    Arrives with demo software for Windows computers.
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    Has 1-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty against defects.

This Bluetooth OBD2 scan tool really impressed me — it beats other expensive scan tools I’ve previously used in terms of usability. I’ve tried the Bluetooth OBD2 scan tool in at least three different cars (I own a 2004 Tahoe, a Dodge Caravan, and a Ford F250) and so far it has worked perfectly in all of them. I’ve also tested the Torque app on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and HP Touchpad and it worked fine as well. Overall, I am very happy with the diagnostic capabilities of this tiny device and how it pulls up trouble codes for me to read and clear. If you need information about RPM speed, acceleration info, and more, then you can definitely rely on this scanning device.

Things We Liked

  • No fuss or gimmicks works exactly as advertised.
  • Very easy to set up.
  • Can be used on several different cars to reliably monitor performance.
  • Check Circle
    Very affordable.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not compatible yet with iOs devices.
  • Minus Circle
    Compatibility of the device is not guaranteed for those using it outside the US.
  • Minus Circle
    Doesn’t come with a feature to adjust turbo boost or change shift points.
INNOVA 3160 photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.3

Features:

  • Can read “Check Engine” light warnings on all 1996 and newer cars (foreign and domestic), including C.A.N. or Controller Area Network
  • Able to diagnose ABS and SRS codes on most 1996 and newer GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda vehicles
  • Can provide SAE enhanced Live Data like views and graphs
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    Can record and playback live PCM data streams on screen
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    Displays OBD2 Freeze Frame Data and turns off check engine, ABS, and SRS lights
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    The unit can be updated using a USB flash drive on a standard Windows® PC
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    Includes a scan tool, OBD2 cable, USB cable, soft pouch, and a quick reference guide

The Innova 160 Diagnostic Scan Tool performs exactly as stated. It provides reliable information about your vehicle just like other scanning tools do. The screen can display about 25 pieces of car information at a time. Moreover, it’s easy to use and is quicker when it comes to generating scan results. One downside I’ve found is the absence of some clear explanations for all of the manufacturers’ trouble codes, including ABS codes. To interpret the codes, you have to check them online. In addition, there’s less information from the Innova 3160 when you’re checking for the generic codes of some European or Korean vehicles.

Things We Liked

  • Excellent in terms of scanning car information
  • Designed with an easy-to-use menu
  • Includes the ABS and SRS of Honda and Toyota vehicles

Things We Didn't Like

  • Most trouble codes are yet to be checked online for a clear interpretation
ScanTool 426101 photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.4

Features:

  • Transforms phones, tablets, or PCs into a professional-grade automotive scan tool
  • Safe to leave plugged in, won’t drain your car’s battery
  • Free Android app and Windows software (compatible with third-party apps such as Torque and DashCommand)
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    Works on all 1996+ cars and light trucks sold in the USA except hybrid or electric vehicles
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    Supports all 5 OBD-II protocols, plus SW-CAN (GM) and MS-CAN (Ford)

In terms of reliability of performance and delivery of information, the ScanTool 426101 is a device you can trust. There’s no question about its accuracy in providing information to diagnose car problems. What I like more about this scanner are the security features. It has an Auto-Shutoff feature that turns itself off automatically after the car is turned off. I also like how the Torque app informs you once the engine gets to its operating temperature.

Things We Liked

  • Fast and reliable in terms of providing useful information about the car
  • Works fine with third-party apps. Also comes with a free Android app and Windows software
  • Designed with some security features

Things We Didn't Like

  • Not compatible with iOS devices
ScanTool 427201 photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.4

Features:

  • Transforms phone, tablet, or PC into a professional-grade automotive scan tool
  • Safe to leave plugged in — won’t drain the car’s battery
  • Free Android app and Windows software (compatible with third-party apps such as Torque and DashCommand)
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    Works on all 1996+ cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. except hybrid or electric vehicles
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    Easy to use, installs in seconds and features hacker-proof wireless security

The OBDLink LX OBD2 scanner is very straightforward. Even novice users won’t have a hard time setting it up for first time use. As long as you know how to pair Bluetooth devices, you’re almost set. The scanner is also designed to perform real-time monitoring of just about anything in your car, like the speed, oxygen sensor readings, and much more. So far, the Bluetooth connection is stable. Moreover, it works perfectly with other third-party apps. It’s highly recommended to automotive technicians or auto enthusiasts who are into troubleshooting car problems.

Things We Liked

  • Accurate and efficient in terms of displaying car information and a variety of settings
  • Can be left plugged into the car — uses very low voltage
  • Very easy to set up for first-time use
  • Check Circle
    Includes free software for Android and PC. Also works perfectly with third-party apps

Things We Didn't Like

  • Incompatible with iOs devices
Actron CP9680 photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.5

Features:

  • With CodeConnect, it quickly pinpoints and prioritizes the solution and not just the code
  • Has provided over 4.3 million verified fixes specific to the vehicle’s make and model, year, and engine
  • Compatible with OBD-II and CAN vehicles, 1996 and newer
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    Includes expanded Asian and ABS code coverage record and playback data stream and on-screen graphing; also compatible with trilingual
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    Custom data list for live data and graph live data
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    Additional advance features such as freeze-frame data, drive cycle mode, state OBD check, and print data support
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    Generic and manufacturer specific code definitions on screen and trilingual support

Actron CP9680A easily recognizes your car when plugged in and it scans fast. Scanner directions are sufficient enough and easy to use. It quickly finds errors and provides the appropriate repair info. This is made possible by the Code Connect feature that gives information about possible fixes to some known errors. This scan tool has so far worked on all of the cars I’ve tested it on. However, there have been reports that this device is not compatible with the firmware of certain respective cars. Contact Actron first before purchasing the device to see if it works with your car.

Things We Liked

  • Easy to use and set up
  • Works fine if your computer is compatible with it
  • Code Connect feature provides possible fixes to some detected problems

Things We Didn't Like

  • May not be compatible with the firmware of some cars
INNOVA 3100 photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.3

Features:

  • Ability to quickly reveal the cause of “Check Engine” light warnings on any foreign or domestic 1996 and newer car, light truck, or SUV
  • Read and erase ABS light trouble codes for most GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota vehicles
  • Features a patented all-in-one screen and LED display for quick state emissions readiness check and drive cycle verification
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    Automatically refreshes data every 30 seconds when connected to the vehicle, making it easy to verify repair completion
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    Battery backup memory provides off-car review and analysis

This INNOVA 3100 Diagnostic Scan Tool is a self-powered device that has the capability to provide any user with important information to troubleshoot car problems. It can tell you about the pending and current trouble codes and what monitoring tasks have been run. It comes with a booklet that describes how OBDII works. It also includes a code chart for several different cars. The only downside is you have to pay extra to get information through innova.com about some trouble code definitions, a full diagnostic report, and probable causes.

Things We Liked

  • Efficient when it comes to providing users relevant information about their car problems
  • Able to show pending and current trouble codes
  • Able to monitor running tasks

Things We Didn't Like

  • No free explanations through innova.com
Launch Tech 301050116 photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.2

Features:

  • Complete domestic, Asian, and European Coverage for ABS, SRS, transmission, and engine
  • The enhanced data stream for ABS, SRS, transmission, and engine
  • Support for all 10 test modes of OBDII with Enhanced OBDII Mode 6
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    View freeze-frame data and I/M readiness monitor status
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    Reads and clears codes on engine, transmission (A/T), ABS, and airbag (SRS)

This Launch Tech 301050116 is a great product. It can read and erase SRS codes on a few cars, which is beyond the capability of some other scan tools. Its software can also be easily updated through the manufacturer’s website. If you have issues using it, you may contact their excellent and friendly customer support team. Meanwhile, this scan tool does not have an internal battery. The only time it works is when you have it connected to the DLC. You may therefore observe some slow response times.

Things We Liked

  • Able to read and erase SRS codes on most cars
  • Can be easily updated by going to the manufacturer’s website
  • Excellent customer service team

Things We Didn't Like

  • Doesn’t come with an internal battery
  • Minus Circle
    Response time can be slow
Autel DS708 photo

Overall Customer Rating:

  • Outstandi​ng

4.2

Features:

  • Extensive vehicle coverage for more than 50 Domestic, Asian, and European vehicle makes
  • Complete function capability including live data, ECU programming, and many others
  • Wi-Fi update functionality allows for easy software updates and wireless access throughout the workshop
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    Immobilizers, key coding functionality, and component activation testing
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    Sensor initializations, ECU adaptations, coding, and module set-up functionality

The Autel DS708 device works both as a scan tool and as a diagnostic instrument for your car. Like any other expensive scan tools, this budget-friendly device is capable of providing some important car information. I’ve used it on several other cars and I was impressed at how it was able to give as much information I need, like the ABS, navigation, instrument cluster, and more. If there’s one thing I’d want to be improved, it’s the menu. For some reason, the menu is not unified and is a bit confusing. It, therefore, takes a bit of familiarity for the user to efficiently make use of the information.

Things We Liked

  • The device can be efficiently used as a scanner and diagnostic tool.
  • Able to read and scan several types of cars.
  • Affordable device, but at par with more expensive scan tools.

Things We Didn't Like

  • Menus are somewhat cluttered, requires a lot of familiarity for new users

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BUY A BEST DIAGNOSTIC SCANNER

INFOGRAPHIC OBD2 Scanner Buying Guide

Step by Step INFOGRAPHIC from deciding to buy a best Scan Tool to the point of finally ordering one:

obd2-scanner-buying-guide

To summarize how to go about buying an OBD2 Scanner >> Click Here

FAQs

What are the benefits of having a Scanner?

How does an OBD2 Scanner work?

What problems can a Scanner discover in your car?

What kind of Scanner should I buy?

Code Readers – Price range of $50

These are the most basic entry-level Scanners. A code reader is able to receive and display the codes sent by your car’s computer. The cheapest tools of this caliber only display the figures while better ones give you a definition of the codes displayed ( in some models in three languages: English, French and Spanish). You must remember a Code reader is not a Scan Tool. It does not read and display the sensors’ data.

You must remember a Code reader is not a Scan Tool. It does not read and display the sensors’ data. In brief, a Code Reader will only tell you that a problem has been detected warning you to start the diagnosis of the vehicle.

[review_product_right box_title="Should to Buy" box_url="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006NZTZLQ/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B006NZTZLQ&linkCode=as2&tag=scantoolcenter-20&linkId=ORXXNYU2BSF6MK52" image_url="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61%2Bl6NBRMfL._SL200_.jpg" product_title="ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth: OBD Adapter/Diagnostic Scanner for Android & Windows" user="4.4" full_review_url="https://scantoolcenter.com/obd2-scanners/scantool-426101-with-obdlink-and-mx-bluetooth-review/"]ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth technology enables you to use your smartphone and PC as a part of your diagnostic tool. It works with any car or light truck made after 1996 and provides diagnostic data 4 times faster than its similar competitors in the market.[/review_product_right]

Scan Tools – Price range from $200 to over $3000

With modern cars coming into the market these days, for a comprehensive diagnosis of vehicles having a Scan Tool is essential.

Without it, you would be in the dark about the status of your engine.

There are two kinds of Scan Tools:

1. Scan Tools for Do-It-Yourself car owners which can read the sensors’ data but are unable to do checking operations such as checking the performance of the fuel pump, cooling fans, fuel injectors or leak tests.

2. If you want to perform these tests you should acquire a professional Scan Tools which are much more expensive.

[review_product_right box_title="Should to Buy" box_url="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001QIUGVI/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B001QIUGVI&linkCode=as2&tag=scantoolcenter-20&linkId=FXI6FB2WGSAAHVBJ" image_url="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81oTAADUjIL._SL300_.jpg" product_title="INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles" user="4.4" full_review_url="https://scantoolcenter.com/obd2-scanners/innova-3160-diagnostic-scan-tool-review/"]In case of INNOVA 3160 the feature which has attracted so many customers is its simplicity. Having a large monochrome display, all the data readings are displayed on one screen without needing to scroll up or down.[/review_product_right]

Other special features of Professional Scan Tools:

With the surge of High-Tech devices in the car industry, Professional Scan Tools in addition to providing Advance data reading, offer many more features such as:

  • Assess to the comprehensive database and troubleshooting procedures providing repair solutions.
  • ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) diagnosis, including ABS motor pumps and solenoids, brake switch, speed sensors, and control units.
  • SRS Airbag coverage for 1996-2013 GM, Ford, The Chrysler, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Toyota vehicles.
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    Ability to connect to a computer to conduct research online about the codes saved in the memory of the Scan Tool.
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    Ability to display graphs of the sensor code readings making it easier to analyze the data.
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    Transmission scans.

Famous OBD2 Brands Trending in the market

  • Innova
  • Launch Tech
  • Autel USA
  • scantool
  • Actron

Actron is one of the top Scan Tool and Code Reader producers in the market. Their OBD2 Scanners are well known for their quick and accurate data readings. They offer basic Code Readers up to cutting-edge advanced professional Scan Tools. One of the well-known features of the Actron Scan Tools is the introduction of the “CodeConnect” technology which connects you to a huge database of car diagnosis fixes.

Points to consider when shopping for a best OBD2 Scanner

After deciding on the kind of Scanner you want to buy in your search on the internet you should answer the following questions:

Is it compatible with your vehicle?

Can you upgrade it?

Does it have a full code definition?

Can you store your data readings?

Does it fit your Budget?

What Items are included in the package?

What is the view of the customers?

Video about OBD2 Scanner reviews & how to choose the best OBD2 Scan Tool

Reading these guidelines it is all too obvious that buying a Scan Tool in the market is not easy. You reap what you sow, therefore the more time you spend in doing research the better end result you will get. Check features and prices, read all the Pros & Cons and most important of all read the customer reviews and find out what the buyers say. Spend time online to research about different models and brands. Only then seal your decision and buy your Scan Tool.

Final Review of the Best OBD2 Scanners

Having your car break down in the course of the journey can in most cases cause a lot of emotional turmoil for most vehicle owners. However, most people used to suffer this phenomenon until the mid-1980s when the regulation to fit the cars with OBD scan machines was passed.

The new brands of OBD2 scanner have the unmatched efficiency to make your journey more enjoyable if you take heed of all the messages it relays. With proper fitting and maintenance, the OBD II scan tools are bound to take vehicle ownership to the next level.

Note: Besides the article about the best OBD2 Scanners, you can click on following links to get more information about Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner and Top Rated Car Diagnostic Tools 2016.

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