Best OBD2 Scanner: Complete Buying Guide and Review 2019

Read this Buying Guide and find the best OBD2 Scanner for all makes and models of cars. Learn about the best brands, so you can make an informed purchase for the best OBD2 tool to buy.

The best OBD2 Scanners help identify what is wrong with your car accurately and reliably. An OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) is in every vehicle and self-corrects many issues your car might experience.

The scanner connects to the car and collects data from the OBD about the performance of your vehicle. The OBD Scanner reads this information and presents it in a form a car’s owner can understand.

For instance, if the check engine light pops up on your dashboard, the scanner reads and identifies, through a series of codes, what is causing that light to turn on. It gleans data on your vehicle’s air temperature, RPM’s, road speed, camshaft and crankshaft positions, and much more.

So let’s breakdown the essential features you need to be looking for, so you can determine the right scanner for the car you own.

OBD Scanner reads information and presents it in a form a car’s owner can understand.
The best OBD2 Scanners identify what is wrong with your car by collects data from the performance of your vehicle.
Credit: upload.wikimedia.org

Contents

Best OBD2 Scan Tool: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart

Best Bluetooth OBD2Best Handheld OBD2Best Budget
BlueDriver
BlueDriver
FOXWELL NT301
FOXWELL NT301
Veepeak OBDCheck BLE
Veepeak OBDCheck BLE
Customer Rating
4.44.4 / 5
4.34.3 / 5
4.34.3 / 5
PriceBlueDriverVeepeak OBDCheck BLE priceFOXWELL NT301 price
Item Weight8 ounces1.1 pounds2.4 ounces
Item Dimensions2.2 x 1.9 x 1 inches8.7 x 3.1 x 6.7 inches1.6 x 2 x 0.9 inches
Reset Check Engine LightYesYesYes
OBDII FunctionsYesYesYes
ABSYesNoNo
SRS DiagnosticsYesNoNo
Transmission DiagnosticsYesNoNo
BrakesNoNoNo
Fuel SystemNoYesNo
Protocols Supported• SAE J1850 PWM,
• ISO9141-2,
• ISO1430-4 KWP,
• SAE J1850 VPW,
• ISO15765-4 CAN
• J1850-10.4
• J1859-41.6
• KWP2000 (ISO 14230)
• ISO9141
• CAN (Control Area Network ISO 11898)
• SAE J1850 PWM
• ISO 9141-2
• ISO1423-4 KWP 2000
• SAE J1850 VPW
• ISO15675-4 CAN

20 Best OBD2 Scanners Review And Comparison 2019

Before I break down a number of top models, let’s take a look at the two categories of scanners I mentioned in the introduction: OBD2 Bluetooth scan tools and OBD2 Handheld scan tools.

OBD2 Bluetooth: Bluetooth OBD2 code readers run tests from any connected device (phone, tablet, computer, etc.). Theses scanners plug into the proper console and send the signal to the device you’re using.

Most require you to download an app to be able to run the features. Apps either come as companions created by the company you purchased from or in the form of a third-party app. Check for compliance with third-party apps before making any downloads or purchases.

OBD2 Handheld: Most Handheld OBDII code readers must plug indirectly using a cable. Tests run directly on your device’s screen. But the handhelds are portable, meaning car owners travel with these OBD2 scanners and can run tests both in the garage and on the road.

And handhelds mostly operate using your car’s battery power, so they don’t need batteries or need to be charged before using.

Now, here’s a breakdown of 10 of the top OBD2 Bluetooth scanners on the market.

10 Best Bluetooth OBD2 Scanners

BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scanner for iPhone & Android

 BlueDriver
BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scanner for iPhone & Android
4.44.4 / 5
Perfect for car owners and DIYers who want to save money fixing certain issues in their car on their own.

The BlueDriver holds a place as one of the best (if not the best) Bluetooth scanners on the market today. This OBD-II scanner reads and clears multiple systems in your car, including your check engine light, Airbag, ABS, and transmission. And after the codes are checked, the Bluedriver offers vehicle specific repair reports from millions of fixes certified by professional mechanics.

The BlueDriver also offers live data with interactive graphing, gauges, or digital printouts. This Bluetooth scanner also comes equipped with Mode 6 testing and smog check to determine if you pass emissions.

BlueDriver is compatible with multiple models of GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Honda, Volkswagen, and Mazda

Note: not all features work with every make or model.

Compatible protocols include SAE J1850 PWM, ISO9141-2, ISO1430-4 KWP, SAE J1850 VPW, and ISO15765-4 CAN.

BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool
BlueDriver is powerful and easy to use
———

Pros

  • Works quickly
  • Free App and Updates
  • Mode 6 testing
  • Emissions testing

Cons

  • Sometimes inconsistent
  • Users complain about live data not being user-friendly
  • Not all advanced features supported as advertised

Who’s it For?

Perfect for car owners and DIYers who want to save money fixing certain issues in their car on their own.

BAFX Product Bluetooth OBDII Scanner for Android

 BAFX Products for Android
BAFX Products Bluetooth OBDII Scanner for Android
4.44.4 / 5
Car owners and mechanics at all level who primarily deal with check engine lights and need to save money.

Now as for an OBD scanner that covers every vehicle made after 1996, the BAFX Scanner for Android might be the best one out there.

BAFX advertises their OBDII Scanner for Android as being for “any car made after 1996.” That includes diesel and hybrid cars. And the BAFX supports all OBDII protocols.

Protocols supported include:

  • SAE J1850 PWM
  • SAE J1850 VP
  • ISO9141-2
  • ISO14230-4 KWP
  • ISO15765-4 CAN
  • SAE J1939 CAN

What’s more?

The BAFX Bluetooth scanner for Android will check and reset your Check Engine Light, read your O2 sensors, and check your oil and fuel temperatures. Car owners also receive real-time data for the air-fuel pressure, the DPF temp, the fuel trim, and more.

Owners will need to use a 3rd party app to use the BAFX Bluetooth scan tool.

BAFX Product Bluetooth Scanner protocols
BAFX Product Bluetooth Scan Tool works on ALL protocols
———

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comes with 2-year warranty
  • Works with a lot of vehicles
  • Excellent customer service
  • Clear set-up instructions

Cons

  • No ABS or SRS readings
  • Does not work for Apple
  • Might disengage easily

Who’s it For?

Car owners and mechanics at all level who primarily deal with check engine lights and need to save money.

A video of BAFX Products for Android
———

Veepeak OBDCheck BLE Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner for iOS & Android

Veepeak OBDCheck BLE
Veepeak OBDCheck BLE Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner for iOS & Android
4.34.3 / 5
Either the DIYer or the person who want to ensure their car passes emissions would love the Veepeak OBD Check BLE Bluetooth

Look!

Another Bluetooth scanner that supports all five major OBDII protocols (CAN, KWP2000, ISO9141-2, J1850 VPW, and J1850 PWM) is the Veepeak OBDCheck BLE.

Unlike the BAFX model, OBDCheck works for both iOS and Android. Owners will need a third- party app to access, but most apps are compatible with OBDCheck.

 Veepeak OBDCheck BLE Guideline






Veepeak OBDCheck BLE Quick Setup Guide
———

The OBDCheck reads and clears check engine lights as you’d expect. But it also offers real-time data for smog testing and fuel economy.

Another unique feature with the OBDCheck is it doesn’t need wi-fi to connect. Just connect by using the Bluetooth feature on your phone, and the OBDCheck accesses the necessary network. The OBDCheck works with all brands and models, including some light-duty diesel trucks, hybrids, and electric cars.

The OBDCheck reads and clears check engine lights as you’d expect. But it also offers real-time data for smog testing and fuel economy.

Pros

  • 1-year warranty
  • Compatible with a variety of applications
  • Easy to use
  • Doesn’t drain the battery even if you leave it in a long time
  • Emissions testing features work for even the most stringent emissions states

Cons

  • Not all features are compatible with every car
  • Works slowly with some apps
  • Not always up to date to current technology when you purchase it

A video of Veepeak OBD Check BLE
———

Who’s it For?

Either the DIYer or the person who want to ensure their car passes emissions would love the Veepeak OBD Check BLE Bluetooth.

4
OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Professional Scanner

OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Proesional Scanner with Real-time Performance Monitor
4.14.1 / 5
Beginners and DIYers will love the depth of features the OBDLink Mx+ offers for minimal cost.

The OBDLink MX+ works great as a more advanced diagnostic tool for experts and professionals.

This Bluetooth scanner should be compatible with any model car. And MX+ specifically includes free OEM data upgrades for Ford, Mazda, GM, Nissan/Infiniti, or Toyota/Lexus, Scion vehicles.

The OBDLink Mx+ comes with an app (though the OBDLink still communicates with the 3rd party apps as well). Car owners can use the app to perform advanced diagnostics, gauge trips, and check smog readiness. The OBDLink won’t drain your battery thanks to its battery sleeper mode. And the Mx+ reads and clears your check engine light, ABS/SRS codes, TPMS codes, and checks transmission temperature while creating graphs for hundreds of measurements.

The OBDLink Mx+ also supports most major OBDII protocols.

OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tool
OBDLink MX+ Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tool Data
———

Pros

  • Year warranty
  • Comes with an app
  • Compatible with Windows
  • Free add-ons
  • Defines codes
  • Works quickly

Cons

  • Community Forum created for submitting warranty claims
  • No Key Programming

Who’s it For?

Beginners and DIYers will love the depth of features the OBDLink Mx+ offers for minimal cost.

5
Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter for Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mini, Scion, Toyota or VW

Carista COBD-BT24
Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter for Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mini, Scion, Toyota or VW
4.24.2 / 5
Perfect for car owners and mechanics who regularly work on the car brands mentioned above.

Another scanner with its own app is the Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter.

The Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter supports service for the check engine light for all makes and models. And this Bluetooth adapter reads ABS and SRS lights, turns off oil lights, and reprograms key fobs. But advanced features are only supported at a manufacturer specific level. Volkswagen, Nissan, Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, Mini, Scion, and Toyota are all car brands that support the Carista OBD2’s advanced features.

The availability of advanced features varies depending on the car. And the Carista supports all major OBDII protocols.

 Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter
Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter Car Compatibility
———

Pros

  • One-month free trial for all advanced apps
  • Clear screen
  • Easy to use
  • Interfaces with the factory settings of your car
  • Compatible with 3rd party apps

Cons

  • All advanced app functions require monthly purchase
  • Advanced features only work for certain car brands
  • Poor customer service

Who’s it For?

Perfect for car owners and mechanics who regularly work on the car brands mentioned above.

A video of Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter
———

6
OBDLink LX Bluetooth Professional OBD2 Automotive Scan Tool for Windows and Android

OBDLink LX
OBDLink LX Bluetooth Professional OBD2 Automotive Scan Tool for Windows and Android
4.14.1 / 5
For beginners and DIYers who want to check the meaning behind problems before taking cars to the mechanic.

The OBDLink LX works for all cars made after 1996. Using your Windows PC, laptop, or phone, the OBDLink LX reads and clears your check engine light and offers repair tips for diagnostic issues.

This code reader comes with BatterySaver technology so you can keep the LX plugged in without fearing that it will drain your battery. And the LX checks your car for emissions readiness at speeds 4 times faster than most other Bluetooth code readers.

OBDLink LX has its own app but is also compatible with third-party apps. And the hackproof software protects your information. All OBDII protocols are compatible with the OBDLink LX, including:

  • SO15765-4 (CAN)
  • ISO14230-4 (Keyword Protocol 2000)
  • ISO9141-2 (Asian, European, Chrysler vehicles)
  • J1850 VPW (GM vehicles)
  • J1850 PWM (Ford vehicles).
 OBDLink LX  Bluetooth
OBDLink LX Bluetooth includes OBDLink app for Android and OBDwiz for Windows
———

Pros

  • 3-year warranty and 90-day money back guarantee
  • Processing Speed
  • Easy to use
  • Software Protections
  • Vehicle compatibility

Cons

  • Not Compatible with Apple products
  • No ABS/SRS, or Transmission fixes
  • Slows down when determining multiple PIDs at once

Who’s it For?

For beginners and DIYers who want to check the meaning behind problems before taking cars to the mechanic.

7
Carly Bluetooth GEN 2 OBD Adapter for Android for BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Renault, Toyota

Carly IV-259BT2
Carly Bluetooth GEN 2 OBD Adapter for Android for BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Renault, Toyota
3.53.5 / 5
Primarily for BMW owners who do advanced research to determine all the parts they need to get full use of the product.

BMW drivers will love the Carly Original Bluetooth GEN 2.

Many other car brands, including Mercedes (since 2004), Porsche (since 2001), Renault (since 2004), and Toyota (since 2005) are compatible with the Carly Original. But this scan tool is specifically meant for BMW models built since 1996.

 Carly Original Bluetooth GEN 2 supports many models
Carly Original Bluetooth GEN 2 supports many models
———

Now, be warned, the Carly Original has two versions: the lite app and the pro app. The lite app reads codes on your phones, offers fault reports, and checks used-car history.

For the full benefits of the device, you need to purchase the pro app. The pro app resets error codes, provides diagnostic data, and offers access to other advanced functionalities.

Because the Carly is meant for European cars, ISO9141-2 is its primary protocol.

Pros

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • High-quality hardware
  • Coding capabilities
  • Easy to use
  • Frequent app updates

Cons

  • Must purchase full app for full benefits
  • Additional adapters might also be needed
  • Customer service just generic email responses.

Who’s it For?

Primarily for BMW owners who do advanced research to determine all the parts they need to get full use of the product.

8
JDIAG Faslink M2 Bluetooth OBD2 Professional Scanner for iPhone, iPad & Android

JDIAG Faslink M2
JDIAG Faslink M2 Bluetooth OBD2 Professional Scanner for iPhone, iPad & Android
3.23.2 / 5
For mechanics and average car owners who want fancier features while saving money.

The JDIAG Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner is notable for its distinct orange color. But another distinct feature of the JDIAG is the ability to talk to it.

Car owners can use Smart Voice Control System to get the information they need by talking to this code scanner.

Just ask the JDIAG to reset your check engine light, check your car for emissions readiness, and view real-time sensor readings on your phone.

The 16-point OBD2 port makes the JDIAG compatible with any US, European, Canadian, or Asian car built after 1996. And all major OBDII protocols are supported by the JDIAG.

 JDIAG Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
JDIAG Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
———

Pros

  • Smart Voice technology allows you to talk to the device
  • Supports 8 Languages
  • Free App saves data
  • Updates are free
  • Offers similar info to high priced scanners at a much cheaper cost
  • Compact

Cons

  • Doesn’t work properly or update when using other apps on your device (such as GPS)
  • Doesn’t work on PC or with Windows software

Who’s it For?

For mechanics and average car owners who want fancier features while saving money.

9
Innova 3150f Color Screen Bluetooth Scanner with ABS/SRS

Innova  3150f
Innova 3150f Color Screen Bluetooth Scanner with ABS/SRS
4.14.1 / 5
For average car owners and DIYers who want to fix some of their own issues or have a better idea what is plaguing their car.

No scan tool offers as clear a screen as the Innova 3150f does. And that clear screen provides users with diagnostic data for most any system in the vehicle.

Along with the standard clearing of the check engine light, the Innova 3150f also determines emissions readiness, reads ABS and SRS codes, and performs oil resets. This diagnostic scanner also performs battery resets, reads live data, and offers freeze frame technology.

Car owners gain access to FixAssist: a program inside the 3150f that not only informs drivers of the problems in their car but walks driver through the steps of fixing the issue.

 The 3150f should work with most any car after 1996 (though some features are not available on all vehicles). Specific brands include Chevy, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Lexus, Toyota, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Hyundai, and Kia.

All major OBDII protocols are supported by the 3150f.

Innova  3150f
Innova 3150f has some features
———

Pros

  • Clear screen
  • User-friendly
  • Free lifetime updates
  • Expert Customer Service
  • LED light on the end of the cable

Cons

  • Not all features work for all cars
  • Updates may crash before completed
  • Customer Service required to add vehicles

Who’s it For?

For average car owners and DIYers who want to fix some of their own issues or have a better idea what is plaguing their car.

A video of Innova 3150f
———

10
PLX Devices Kiwi3 Bluetooth OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool


PLX Devices Kiwi3
PLX Devices Kiwi3 Bluetooth OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool
44 / 5
Experts who don’t need guidance on how to use a scanner or for those who need to keep up with the fuel efficiency of their car

Most OBD-ii scanners simply identify the problems. But with its GPS tracking, PLX’s Kiwi3 shows you where codes popped up, so you can determine where the problem started and how long you’ve had the problem.

The Kiwi3 performs diagnostic functions, which include showing real-time data, determining fuel efficiency, logging data, and showing other performance measures.

Video Overlay offers drivers important data in real-time as they drive. And the trip computer provides numerous metrics, so the owner can determine the fuel efficiency of their car.

This PLX brand scanner works with most major OBD2 protocols, including:

  • SAE J1850-PWM
  • SAE J1850-VPW
  • ISO-9141-2
  • ISO 14230-4 Slow/Fast
  • ISO 15765-4 CAN
  • SAE J2411-SWCAN
  • SAE J1939 250/500kps.

And the Kiwi3 is compatible with most major OBD2 compliant cars.

 PLX Devices Kiwi3 Apps
PLX Devices Kiwi3 supports 3rd party apps 
———

Pros

  • Fast and convenient
  • Easy to use plug and play system
  • Vast amounts of fuel efficiency data
  • Does not drain your battery
  • Compact

Cons

  • App costs extra
  • Poor customer service
  • Loses connection while in use on some cars
  • Not a lot of guidance for how to use it

Who’s it For?

This tool is for experts who don’t need guidance on how to use a scanner or for those who need to keep up with the fuel efficiency of their car.

That was all the top Bluetooth models. Now, let’s take a look at the best Handheld scanners.

10 Best Handheld OBD2 Scanners

11
FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Professional Scan Tool/ Code Reader

FOXWELL NT301
FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Professional Scan Tool/ Code Reader
4.34.3 / 5
For mechanics, experts, or car enthusiasts with an above average knowledge of how to properly use a diagnostic scan tool.

The FOXWELL NT301 OBDII Scanner performs most any function you’d want from a diagnostic tool (well everything except ABS or SRS data).

Turn off your check engine light and reset monitors. Read enhanced data. Access a large library with DTC definitions. And the automatic VIN acquisition and decoding allow you to read both manufacturer’s specific codes and mode 6 data. This scan tool accesses live data and makes it easy to read the text and graphing forms.

  FOXWELL NT30  accesses live data in both graph and text forms
FOXWELL NT30 accesses live data in both graph and text forms
———

And FOXWELL offers some of the best features with all their models to determine emission status. The NT301 offers a color-coded testing system (Red=Fail, Yellow=You might have an issue, Green=Pass) so you know if your car is ready to pass emissions testing. A built-in speaker assists with finding issues with your emissions system as well. Add in the crystal-clear screen and the NT301 is a great advanced plug-in tool.

Protocols covered by the NT301 include the 1850-10.4, J1859-41.6, KWP2000 (ISO 14230), ISO9141, and CAN (Control Area Network ISO 11898). And this FOXWELL model should work for any OBD2 compliant car made after 1996.

Pros

  • Translates to multiple languages
  • Emissions readiness testing
  • Thorough instruction manual
  • Clear live data readouts
  • Easy to update
  • Ships quickly

Cons

  • Does not read ABS/SRS codes
  • Not clear on supported vehicles
  • Very specific on conditions for how it connects to your car

Who’s it For?

For mechanics, experts, or car enthusiasts with an above average knowledge of how to properly use a diagnostic scan tool.

A video of FOXWELL NT301 Review
———

12
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 CAN Automotive Scan Tool

Autel AutoLink AL319
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 CAN Automotive Scan Tool
4.44.4 / 5
The Autel Autolink 319 is perfect for someone who needs an affordable scan tool that will help them save money on future diagnostic tests and repairs from mechanics.

The Autel AutoLink AL319 works as a “plug and play” device with multiple advanced features.

Along with checking the status and turning off your check engine light, the AL319 also resets monitors, views emissions status, and displays monitor data. The AL319 also performs ignition tests and reads live PCM data streams. I/M monitoring determines your emissions readiness using a speaker and color-coded identifiers on the device’s keypad.

Use your VIN, CIN, or CVN numbers to look up previous information about your car. And the bright color screen displays DTC definitions. The AL319 reads both generic and manufacturer specific codes.

Compatible with all major OBD2 protocols, the AL319 works with any car built after 1996.

  Autel AutoLink AL319 supports multiple languages
Autel AutoLink AL319 supports multiple languages
———

Pros

  • Translates to multiple languages
  • Emissions readiness testing
  • Free online updates
  • Easy to operate
  • Clear screen is easy to read

Cons

  • Only reads codes, doesn’t tell you specifics for what’s wrong
  • Poor customer service
  • The update requires TF card reader not included with the original purchase

Who’s it For? The Autel Autolink 319 is perfect for someone who needs an affordable scan tool that will help them save money on future diagnostic tests and repairs from mechanics.

13
ANCEL AD410 Vehicle Code Reade Automotive OBD2 Scanner with O2 and Evap Test

ANCEL AD410
ANCEL AD410 Vehicle Code Reade Automotive OBD2 Scanner with O2 and Evap Test
4.34.3 / 5
Great for beginners looking for an easy to use scan tool or DIYers who do most standard maintenance in their own garage.

Like the previously mentioned handheld models, the ANCEL AD410 checks and clears your check engine light. The AD410 also performs I/M readiness testing to determine if your car can pass emissions.

But unlike the previous two, the AD410 supports O2 Sensor and EVAP testing. The O2 sensor testing monitors and adjusts your air and fuel mixture, improving your fuel efficiency. And the EVAP testing checks the integrity of your fuel tank and seeks out potential leaks.

The 2.4 inch, easy to read color screen presents clear information to car owners. The DTC lookup offers clear definitions explaining what is wrong with your car. And when you hit “review and print,” this OBD 2 scanner prints up a full diagnostic report.

The AD410 works for any US car made after 1996. Protocols supported include KWP2000, ISO9141, J1850 VPW, J1850 PWM, and CAN.

  ANCEL AD410 has many functions
ANCEL AD410 has many functions
———

Pros

  • Easy to read
  • Easy to use
  • Free lifetime updates
  • Monitors drive cycle while trying to reset check engine light
  • Clears lights when dealing with minor issues
  • Available in multiple languages

Cons

  • Poor/non-existent customer service
  • Doesn’t read ABS/SRS system
  • Limited codes available

Who’s it For?

Great for beginners looking for an easy to use scan tool or DIYers who do most standard maintenance in their own garage.

A video of ANCEL AD410
———

14
LAUNCH Creader 4001 OBD2 Diagnostic Scanner Car Engine Fault Code Reader

LAUNCH FBA_Creader 4001
LAUNCH Creader 4001 OBD2 Diagnostic Scanner Car Engine Fault Code Reade
55 / 5
For car owners who want to turn off check engine lights and run standard tests on their cars.

For those who need a code reader that performs just the basic functions, the LAUNCH Creader 4001 is the perfect device for you.

The 4001 will turn off your check engine light, read and clear DTC trouble codes, offer a stream of live data, check your car for emissions readiness (I/M readiness), and provide freeze-framing of data. The I/M readiness test individually checks different parts of your emissions system to determine compliance and pinpoint the specific issue if there is a problem.

A 2.4-inch screen presents a menu uncluttered by symbols or complicated phrasing. Instead, the Creader’s main menu presents six simple choices in text form: Read Codes, Erase Codes, I/M Readiness, Data Stream, Freeze Frame, and Vehicle Information.

Explanations for every code are available in the DLC look-up section. And a long cord comes with your purchase providing you the ability to move around the garage as you check in on the issue in your car.

The LAUNCH Creader 4001 is compatible with most cars made after 1996 and with all major OBD II protocols.

  LAUNCH Creader 4001 comes with a long cord that you plug into the OBDII port of the vehicle which you are assessing.
LAUNCH Creader 4001 comes with a long cord that you plug into the OBDII port of the vehicle which you are assessing. 
———

Pros

  • Easy to read menu
  • Easy to use and easy to understand
  • One-year warranty
  • Available in multiple languages
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No ABS/SRS diagnostics
  • No touch screen technology

Who’s it For?

For car owners who want to turn off check engine lights and run standard tests on their cars.

15
Launch CRP129 OBDII Scanner Diagnostic Scan Tool with Transmission/ABS/SRS System Test

Launch CRP129
Launch CRP129 OBDII Scanner Diagnostic Scan Tool with Transmission/ABS/SRS System Test
3.73.7 / 5
Mechanics and experts who need comprehensive diagnostic features for modern cars from a scanner in a compact unit. Be sure you check with Launch before purchasing to ensure your car or car is compatible.

Now, you’ve probably noticed the previously mentioned handheld scanners only diagnosed your check engine light and your emissions status.

But you would be out of luck if you needed anything done to your ABS system, SRS system, transmission system, or addition OBD2 functions like brake bleeding.

Well, the Launch CRP129 provides car owners with all those additional functions.

This scan tool reads, clears, and views live data for four important systems in your car: engine, transmission, ABS, and SRS. The CRP129 also runs resets for oil, EPB, and SAS systems

Now, the emissions testing hasn’t been discarded. Owners can run I/M readiness and O2 sensor testing to determine if your car passes. And all ten modes of OBDII testing work with the CRP129.

The display screen is also larger than most models, checking in at 7.4 x 4.4 inches. The model also offers free updates and a 1-year warranty (Of note: users will need a password to perform updates. The password (or register code) is located in the “help” application).

Vehicles compatible with the CRP129 include Suzuki, Infiniti, GM, Ford, Mazda, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Lexus, Hyundai, Porsche, Benz, Romeo, Honda, BMW, Audi, Subaru, Acura, Toyota, Volvo, Landrover, Fiat, Volkswagen, Nissan, Jaguar, Daewoo, Kia, and Renault among others.

Overall, the CRP129 works with about 40 different vehicle brands made since 2006 and works with most major OBD2 protocols.

  Owners can run I/M readiness and O2 sensor testing to determine if your car passes
Owners can run I/M readiness and O2 sensor testing to determine if your car passes
——–

Pros

  • Large display screen
  • Easy to operate
  • 1-year warranty
  • Free upgrades
  • Affordable compared to products that serve similar functions

Con

  • Limited vehicle compatibility
  • Only updates using Windows software
  • May struggle with brand specific codes and functions

Who’s it For?

Mechanics and experts who need comprehensive diagnostic features for modern cars from a scanner in a compact unit. Be sure you check with Launch before purchasing to ensure your car is compatible.


16
Innova 3100j CanOBD2 Code Reader with ABS/ SRS/ Oil Light Reset

Innova 3100j
Innova 3100j CanOBD2 Code Reader with ABS/ SRS/ Oil Light Reset
4.24.2 / 5
Beginners who want to learn how to run their own tests for their vehicles but are also quick studies in figuring out how to use new devices

Another handheld scan tool that offers advanced features like ABS and oil reset is the Innova 3100j.

The 3100j diagnoses the check engine light as well as reading and erasing ABS and SRS trouble codes. Receive step-by-step instructions for how to perform an Oil reset for most cars. Run tests on your battery and your alternator. And owners can break down the conditions of their engine using freeze frame. Also, the 3100j saves previous data from the last 3 vehicles scanned.

All vehicles with OBD2 systems made after 1996 should work with the Innova 3100j, though not all functions work for every vehicle. And the 3100j covers the following protocols: ISO 9141, Keyword 2000, J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, and CAN.

  This handheld scan tool offers advanced features
This handheld scan tool offers advanced features
——

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Portable
  • Available in three languages
  • Works quickly
  • Good customer service

Cons

  • No live data or bidirectional functions
  • ABS and SRS functions not available for European models
  • Does not come with an instruction manual
  • Plastic cover may damage screen; remove carefully

Who’s it For?

Beginners who want to learn how to run their own tests for their vehicles but are also quick studies in figuring out how to use new devices.

A video of Innova 3100j Review

17
Foxwell NT201 OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool Check Fault Code Reader with O2 Sensor and EVAP Test

Foxwell NT201
Foxwell NT201 OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool Check Fault Code Reader with O2 Sensor and EVAP Test
4.44.4 / 5
Regular car owners who want to save money by learning to clear their check engine light or pass emissions would appreciate the NT201

Another great Foxwell scanner is the NT201.

The NT201 reads and erases codes for your engine. There are also multiple system monitors, including a fuel system monitor, a misfire monitor, a catalyst monitor, an oxygen sensor heater monitor, and a comprehensive component monitor among others.

You can check your emissions readiness with a one-click I/M readiness test. This test uses a color-coded system (green-in good condition, yellow-need to fix the issue and clear codes, red-has serious problems).

That’s not all …

Other diagnostic functions include an on-board monitor test (also known as mode 6 testing), an O2 sensor test, and an EVAP system test. Owners can recall previous codes, pending codes, and definitions of codes. And the NT201 freeze frames and views live data, presenting information in easy to ready charts.

The 2.4-inch display screen is easy to read, and a built-in speaker can detect further issues.

This scan tool should work with most major protocols, including OBD2, EOBD, JOBD, and CAN. Cars compatible with the NT201 include all US cars built from 1996 to now, all Japanese cars, built from 2003 to now, and all European cars built from 2000 to now.

  .One-Click I/M Readiness Key for quick state Smog Check
.One-Click I/M Readiness Key for quick state Smog Check
——

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Clear display
  • Affordable
  • Great Customer Service
  • Available in multiple languages

Cons

  • NO ABS/SRS/Transmission codes
  • Some reports say updates contain a virus
  • Short Cord

Who’s it For?

Regular car owners who want to save money by learning to clear their check engine light or pass emissions would appreciate the NT201.

A video of Foxwell NT201 Review

18
TT TOPDON AL200 CAN OBD2 Car Code Reader with Auto Check Engine Light

TT TOPDON AL200
TT TOPDON AL200 CAN OBD2 Car Code Reader with Auto Check Engine Light
4.84.8 / 5
For car owners on a budget who just need a scanner that performs basic OBD II functions.

The TT Topdon AL200 OBD 2 scanner is one of the most affordable OBD2 scan tools on the market today.

When your check engine light comes on, the AL200 offers a full library of DTC codes so you can find the specific issue. And once the issue is taken care of, this Topdon model will make sure the code is gone. This scan tool will read both generic and manufacturer specific codes.

The AL200 runs a comprehensive Smog Check using I/M readiness testing to determine if your car will pass emissions testing.

US cars made in 1996 or later, European cars made from 2000 or later, and some 1994 and 1995 models should work with the AL200. Subaru, Honda, Benz, GM, Nissan, Scion, Kia, and Mazda are all brands whose 94 and 95 models should be compatible. And the AL200 works with most OBDII and CAN protocols.

  TT Topdon AL200 can read freeze frame data recorded from their car’s ECU
TT Topdon AL200 can read freeze frame data recorded from their car’s ECU
——

Pros

  • Fits easily in your hand
  • Simple, easy to read menu
  • 1-year warranty
  • Multilingual
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No rubber protective casing around plastic design
  • Boring interface

Who’s it For?

For car owners on a budget who just need a scanner that performs basic OBD II functions.

19
Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Full-System Diagnostic Scan Tool with EPB, BMS, SAS, DPF, TPMS

Autel MaxiCOM MK808
Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Full-System Diagnostic Scan Tool with EPB, BMS, SAS, DPF, TPMS
4.44.4 / 5
For DIYers and expert mechanics who want to diagnose and solve the majority of issues they have with their cars. Also could be handy for professionals who want something a little cheaper than most professional scan tools

If you’re looking for a touch screen model that covers a broad number of systems in your car, the Autel MaxiCOM MK808 might be for you.

This multifunctional scan tool can diagnose most any system in your car. That includes your engine, ABS, SRS, transmission, brakes, fuel, emission, lights, and more. You can also program keys (though not with all models) with this scanner.

  This multi-functional scan tool can diagnose most any system in your car
This multi-functional scan tool can diagnose most any system in your car .
——

Along with reading and clearing codes, the MK808 also views live data so you can constantly check the status of different parts in your car.

The MK808 comes with a bright, easy to use 7-inch touch screen. A strong core processor inside the MK808 delivers data quickly. And the scan tool comes with organizing features. Shop Manager manages your workshop info, while Data Manager stores data and makes it easy to print.

The MK808 covers a wide range of vehicles, including any US vehicle made from 1996 onward and European vehicles made from 2000 to today. All major OBD2 protocols are supported by the MK808.

Pros

  • 1-year free updates
  • Clear, easy to use screen
  • Connects wirelessly, eliminating the need for cables
  • 1-year warranty
  • Works extremely fast

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other handheld scanners
  • Advanced features (such as bleeding brakes or key fob programming) do not work with all vehicles
  • Warranty issues handled out of the country

Who’s it For?

For DIYers and expert mechanics who want to diagnose and solve the majority of issues they have with their cars. Also could be handy for professionals who want something a little cheaper than most professional scan tools

20
iCarsoft MBII for Mercedes Benz/Sprinter/Smart Professional Diagnostic Tool Scanner


iCarsoft MBII
iCarsoft MBII for Mercedes Benz/Sprinter/Smart Professional Diagnostic Tool Scanner
4.24.2 / 5
For Mercedes Benz owners who want to handle more of what they normally outsource to a mechanic.

Mercedes Benz owners might find the iCarsoft MBII to be the best scanner for their car.

The MBII reads and clears codes for most systems in your car. Systems include the engine, ABS, SRS, transmission, parktronic, air conditioning, and more. And the MBII also performs resets on brake pads, electronic transmission control, oil lights, and steering angle sensors.

The MBII also checks to see if your Benz is ready for emissions. Run an I/M readiness with the MBII. You can also run O2 sensor monitoring and perform an EVAP test with MBII. Users can also stream live data.

The MBII performs full ECU diagnostics in 8 languages, and the device is Bluetooth compatible.

 iCarsoft MBII Package
iCarsoft MBII Package
—-

But keep in mind, this diagnostic scanner is for Mercedes Benz owners only. Benz models supported by the MBII include the A Class, C Class, G-Class, CL-Class, B Class, E Class, CLK-Class, GLK-Class, CLS-Class, GL-Class, M-Class, SLK-Class, R-Class, and S-Class.

Compatible chassis include 163, 164, 166, 168, 171, 172, 204, 215, 216, 220, 221, 246, 251, 461, 463, W 164, W 166, W203, W207, W 209, W212, W218, and W219.

If your model or chassis was not mentioned, call iCarsoft. The company recommends calling to check compatibility for any Benz made after 2000. Chassis that are not compatible include 107, 124, 126, 129, 140, 201, 202, 208, and 210.

All protocols compatible with Mercedes cars should work with the MBII.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Portable
  • Wide Screen
  • Available in 8 languages

Cons

  • Not all functions supported by all cars
  • PC is required to update
  • Won’t change internal coding

Who’s it For?

For Mercedes Benz owners who want to handle more of what they normally outsource to a mechanic.

Best OBD Scanner: The Complete Buying Guide

What do you mean by OBD2 Scanner?

You probably noticed the “2” after OBD2 in the heading of this article. That was because an OBD1 Scanner reads engines for cars built before 1995. Those scanners only read one brand of the vehicle. They also had to be connected to the console of the vehicle.

The OBD2 scanner was a significant improvement. OBD2’s are universal for any car built after 1996. Modern OBD2’s work wirelessly over Bluetooth or Wifi as well. So if your car was built after 1996, then most (if not all) OBD2 Scanners will work for you.

Modern OBD2 works wirelessly over Bluetooth or Wifi as well.
Modern OBD2 works wirelessly over Bluetooth or Wifi as well.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Three Types of OBD2 Scanners

Code Reader

The simple and cheap option reads codes, clear codes, and checks the status of some of the OBD2 monitors. But Code Readers limit the information you can get.

No history codes, no pending codes, no sensor data, and lacking specific manufacturer codes.
Code reader can reads codes, clear codes, and checks the status of some of the OBD2 monitors.
Code Readers limit the information you can get.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

DIY Scanner

More expensive and advanced than the Code Reader, these tools provide access to historical data in the car. Most can read manufacturer- specific codes and alert you to future issues with your vehicle with pending codes.

Diagnostic Tool

Most expensive of the three, the Diagnostic Tool pushes beyond reading and clearing codes. Many Diagnostic Tools go father in analyzing the issues in a car and offering potential fixes. Diagnostic Tools read vehicle self-checks as well. Some of the features of high-grade Diagnostic Tool require professional-level experiences.

So when deciding which of the three OBD2 scanners is best for you, your knowledge and experience are crucial. If you take a car to a mechanic every time there is an issue, then stick with a Code Reader, so you can monitor the simple problems that emerge in your vehicle.

Buy a DIY Scanner if you handle some issues with your car while letting a professional handle the major problems.

Only buy a Diagnostic Tool if your car knowledge is at or near-professional level. A Diagnostic Tool is an expensive investment, but they save money over the long run if you fix many of your car’s problems on your own.

Bidirectional Scan Tool

This common term often appears when you research OBD2 scanners. A bidirectional scan tool both reads information from the car and sends data to it. Most basic code readers are not bidirectional since they only read what the car is saying.

But more advanced tools like the DIY Scanner and Diagnostic Tools need more than just the ability to read. They must make deeper communication and connection with the vehicle. By that way, the Scanners and Diagnostic Tools understand what is creating codes and provide solutions to fix issues.

Keep this in mind when you see the term “bi-directional” thrown around in your research of the best OBD2 Scanners.

What Elements Should I Consider When Choosing the Best OBD2 Scanner?

Price Range

Don’t just consider the tag price for your scanner. Do any of the features come with extra fees (For example, app use or functions within the apps)?

Updates

Make sure your scanner updates its software frequently. Car manufacturers update their codes regularly, and your car scanner needs to stay up-to-date. And will those updates cost anything?

Make sure your scanner updates its software frequently
Make sure your scanner updates its software frequently.
Credit: picpedia.org

Guarantee

Scanners often include a lifetime warranty for the product. If it doesn’t, is there a warranty, and how long does it last? Also, check reviews from people who’ve needed the warranty process to see how easy it is to use.

And if products prove defective, will refund come quickly and easily?

After Sales Service

Read online reviews about the customer service of a brand’s tech support. Are problems consistently solved? Are representatives with the company respectful? And how convenient is it to contact the manufacturer?

Which is the Best OBD2 scanner brand?

Let’s breakdown the positives and negatives of the main OBD scanner brands on the market.

#1. Actron

Actrons cost a decent amount, but their catalog offers one of the widest varieties.
Actron is a professional diagnostic tool that is compatible with pre-1996 cars.
Credit: upload.wikimedia.org

Actron scanners cost a decent amount (not always, but in many cases, they do), but their catalog offers one of the widest varieties. Professional models work with a high level of DIY instruction, and most Diagnostic Tools are compatible with pre-1996 cars.

But don’t expect frequent updates to your basic code readers. Models that allow for online updates will cost more.

Take a look at a review of Best Actron Scanners

#2. Ancel

Ancel makes their scanners affordable and user-friendly. And most of their higher line models offer free updates online. But Ancel scanner often don’t include codes for specific systems, like ABS systems and airbags.

Take a look at a review of Best Ancel Scanners

#3. Autel

Autel’s name commands respect amongst the many scanner brands. Autel has a series of scanners perfect for those who want to graduate from easy Code Readers to more advanced DIY Scanners.

But Autel’s produce slow download speeds in some of their models and vague instructions for use in their more professional devices.

Take a look at a review of Best Autel Scanners

#4. BlueDriver

Bluedriver might be the most affordable option on the market. And quality refuses to take a backseat despite the money you save. While many scanners have wifi and Bluetooth capabilities, Bluedriver turns your phone into the OBD2 Scanner.

Just plug the Bluedriver into the OBD2 port in your car, and your phone submits reports on your vehicle instantly. The Bluedriver is not compatible with all vehicles, so check to see if it works for yours before you purchase. And it only works for iOS and Android phones.

Take a look at a review of BlueDriver

#5. Foxwell

Foxwell’s market all over the world and feature many bilingual models. And even Foxwell’s Code Scanners easily update online. But manuals perplex many beginners, and some models won’t work with Mac systems.

Take a look at a review of Best Foxwell Scanners

#6. Innova

Innova scanners clear check engine lights with one of the best efficiency rates of all brands. It also provides advanced tools to someone who is slightly above a beginner level for using a Scan Tool.

But Innova users report compatibility issues and a lack of clearance on specific codes frequently, so check those before you purchase.

Take a look at a review of Best Innova Scan Tool

#7. Launch

Launch offers highly rated products and excellent customer support. Updates are smooth and free over the lifetime of the products.

But while beginner products offer a plethora of solution for users, they might be too advanced for some learners. Also, Launch brand scanners cost a lot.

Take a look at a review of Best Launch Scan Tool

Best OBD2 Scan Tool for Specific Vehicles

#1. Audi Scan Tool

Xtool Vag401

Audi- Many reviews consider the Xtool Vag401 Live Data Audi Scanner as the best for Audi vehicles. This portable and easy-to-use device does not need a computer to work, but some users think the device downloads too slowly.

Autophix V007

The Autophix V007 Audi Scanner works well for many. In addition to regular readings, the Autophix can read and clear Airbag, ABS, and transmission codes. But the Autophix costs more than many would like to spend.

#2. BMW Scan Tool

Foxwell NT510

BMW- The Foxwell NT510 Diagnostic Tool works as well as any scanner will for your BMW. The Foxwell reads most all the codes and systems of your vehicle. It works well for those who want to do most of their car maintenance at home.

Maozua Creator C310+

The Maozua Creator C310+ works well for those who want an affordable scanner that merely tells you what the lights on the dashboard mean.

#3. Ford Scan Tool

Autohphix 7710

Ford- One of the best Ford Scanners fits in your pocket. The Autohphix 7710 comes with free software updates and little set-up. But it doesn’t work with Mac’s and doesn’t include a full collection of codes. Many Ford Scanners struggle with the latter issue.

OTC 3111PRO

GM- The OTC 3111PRO speaks three languages. It updates easily online and creates reports you can print out from your PC. But its scope includes no data for ABS or SRS systems.

iCarsoft i900

The iCarsoft i900 works for advanced and expert level car owners with great definitions and repair recommendations.

#4. Heavy Duty Trucks

LAUNCH CReader HD Plus

Heavy Duty Trucks- The LAUNCH CReader HD Plus works great for beginners. It supports lifetime updates, is easy to use, and reads various languages.

OTC 3418 Professional

The OTC 3418 Professional Diagnostic Scanner costs an arm and a leg, but it displays code definitions and is perfect for making quick repairs on trucks.

#5. Toyota Scan Tool

Actron CP9690

Toyota- DIYers love the Actron CP9690 for their Toyotas. The CP9690 transports easily from the garage to the truck and is easy to use if you understand the language.

Autel MaxiLink ML619

Car owners with an intermediate level knowledge of their vehicles would prefer the Autel MaxiLink ML619. The ML619 diagnoses ABS and Airbag functions, though the software updating struggles.

#6. Volkswagens Scan Tool

VS450 OBDII EOBD

VW- Volkswagens contain multiple computers so that you will need a VW compatible scanner for your Volkswagen.

The VS450 OBDII EOBD reads as accurate as any scanner on the market. It also reads some model vehicles pre-1996. But prepare yourself for a potential error message for some “aftermarket radios.”

(Listed above are just a few examples. Use these as guides to exploring other similar model scanners).

OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters

I mentioned Bluedriver earlier as a top Bluetooth adapter that puts data from your car on your phone. These high tech options take up less space in your home than many scan tools and present information quickly on your phone.

But manufacturers of adapters (intentionally or unintentionally) leave holes in adapter software so that specific functions of the original scan tool aren’t compatible. So keep this mind when deciding if you want to purchase a Bluetooth adapter and which one you want to buy.

What About Scanners for Specific Systems? (ABS, SRS, Engine, Transmission, etc.)

I made the point with several of the models that don’t include readings for specific systems. For example, many scan tools don’t read Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS) in cars. So if that is something you want regularly checked, make sure the code reader you buy can do that.

ABS helps to improve the safety of your vehicle.
ABS helps to improve the safety of your vehicle.
Credit: upload.wikimedia.org

Scan Tools may not read Safety Restraint Systems (SRS) either. That means your scan tool will offer no direction if an issue emerges with your Airbag System. So if the purpose of purchasing your scan tool is to improve the safety of your vehicle, ensure it reads SRS systems.

Now, choosing the right scan tool gets trickier when you consider the Transmission Control System in your car. Many scan tools read transmission codes. But often, OBD2 scanner reads only for certain car brands. So check to be sure your vehicle is compatible with the device you want to buy.

The Bottom Line

Users get intimidated when they consider all the options out there for OBD2 Scanners. But you can find the best OBD2 Scanner for you by noting your experience level, researching the leading brands and considering additional factors (customer service, updates, etc.) you believe to be valuable.

And remember that not all scanners work with all cars or systems in your vehicle. Apply these tips with your research so you can make a concise and informed choice regarding what the best OBD2 Scanner to buy is for you