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6 Best OBD1 Code Readers Review and Comparison 2020

OBDI Code Readers still have their place inside the automotive community. I mean, sure, most of us have moved on to newer cars with the OBDII system technology. But plenty of people still need to maintain their older cars, and only an OBDI scan tool will do.

Here’s a look at the top OBDI scanners on the market today.

Bonus: If you prefer an OBD2 scanner for your car, choose one from my awesome post Best OBD2 Scanner: Complete Buying Guide and Review 2019

Best OBD1 Code Reader: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart

Actron CP9690
Actron CP9690
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INNOVA 3145
INNOVA 3145
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Innova 3120f
Innova 3120f
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Customer Rating
4.44.4 / 5
4.34.3 / 5
4.24.2 / 5
PriceActron CP9690  priceINNOVA 3145 priceInnova 3120 price
Item Weight4 pounds1.18 pounds5 pounds
Item Dimensions4 x 11 x 4 inches10 x 2.1 x 6.2 inches10 x 7.2 x 3.8 inches
Reset Check Engine LightYesYesYes
OBDII FunctionsYesYesYes
ABSYesYesNo
SRS DiagnosticsYesYesNo
Transmission DiagnosticsYesYesYes
BrakeYesYesNo
Fuel SystemYesYesYes
Protocols SupportedJ1962, J1850, J-2284, ISO 9141-2, ISO/DIS 14230-4, J-2284, ISO 9141-2 & ISO/DIS 14230-4, EEC-IV, SCI, ALDL, LH, J2012, ISO-15031-6, CANISO 9141, Keyword 2000, J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, CANISO 9141, Keyword 2000, J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, CAN

Best OBD1 Code Readers Review

1
Actron CP9690 OBD1/OBD2 Scanner

Actron CP9690
Actron CP9690 OBD1/OBD2
4.44.4 / 5
The Actron CP9690 works great for beginners with a real desire to learn how to use advanced OBD 1 and 2 code readers. This OBD1 and OBD2 scanner also works for professionals and DIYers who work regularly with OBD1 models

Check out the Actron CP9690 if you need a good Toyota OBD1 scanner.

The Actron CP9690 works for most Ford, GM, Chrysler, and Toyota models built between the years 1984-1995.

Users will find the nine button device with its color screen easy to use. This OBD1 and OBD2 scanner offers live data and graphs for OBD1 compatible cars. And the CP9690 features CodeConnect, a comprehensive database of over 26 million solutions for the various trouble codes the device discovers for you.

Cables that come with the device include the GM ALDL, the Ford MCU/EEC-IV, and the Chrysler SCI among others.

Users will find the nine button device with its color screen easy to use
Users will find the nine button device with its color screen easy to use

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • VIN number not needed to find car model
  • Clear Screen
  • More info for OBD1 vehicles than most OBD1 scanners
  • Built in library code definitions
  • Features three languages (English, Spanish, French)

Cons

  • Not the best customer service
  • Need to understand the information before using
  • Mainly compatible for American cars

Who’s it For?

The Actron CP9690 works great for beginners with a real desire to learn how to use advanced OBD 1 and 2 code readers. This OBD1 and OBD2 scanner also works for professionals and DIYers who work regularly with OBD1 models.

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A video of Actron CP9690 Review

2
INNOVA 3123 GM OBD1 Code Reader

INNOVA 3123
INNOVA 3123 GM OBD1 Code Reader
4.34.3 / 5
Owners of GM cars built before 1995 who simply want to be able to read and clear engine, ABS, and CEM codes.

One of the best GM OBD1 scanners is the Innova 3123.

 The scan tool can also check and reset codes for you ABS and CEM systems
The scan tool can also check and reset codes for you ABS and CEM systems

This model does the very simple of work of reading codes from your ECU and clearing the check engine lights once those codes are diagnosed.

The Innova 3123 can also check and reset codes for ABS and CEM systems. Codes receive quick definitions from this OBD1 scanner. And this Innova model is compatible with Windows software, so you can view data from it onto your computer.

The Innova 3123 works with any GM car built in the years 1982-1995.

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Affordable
  • Available in three languages (English, French, and Spanish)
  • Comes with codebook
  • Compact Design

Cons

  • No live data
  • Terminal blades protrude back after frequent use
  • Limited to use on GMs

Who’s it For?

Owners of GM cars built before 1995 who simply want to be able to read and clear engine, ABS, and CEM codes.

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3
INNOVA 3145 Digital Ford OBD1 Code Reader

INNOVA 3145
INNOVA 3145 Digital Ford OBD1 Code Reader
4.34.3 / 5
Ford car and truck owners who want to save money not taking their car to a mechanic to take care of simple problems.

The Innova 3145 works great for those in need of a Ford OBD1 scanner.

 The Innova 3145 shows numeric trouble codes, eliminating the hassle of counting.
The Innova 3145 shows numeric trouble codes, eliminating the hassle of counting.

Most OBD1 scanner tools flash a code a certain number of times to indicate the problem. Users then count the number of flashes to determine the specific problem.

But the Innova 3145 shows numeric trouble codes, eliminating the hassle of counting.

And the memory in the Innova 3145 stores codes even when the device is unplugged.

The Innova 3145 OBD1 reader is compatible with Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury models built between 1982-1995.

Pros

  • Shows numbered DTCS, so no need to count flashes
  • Comes with clear instruction book
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Clear LCD screen

Cons

  • Terminal blades slide back
  • Reads codes, does not clear them until problem is fixed
  • Does not work with most medium or heavy-duty trucks

Who’s it For?

Ford car and truck owners who want to save money not taking their car to a mechanic to take care of simple problems.

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4
Innova 3140g OBD1 Bluetooth Code Reader

Innova 3140g
Innova 3140g OBD1 Bluetooth Code Reader
3.93.9 / 5
For Mechanics and DIYers who just need to pinpoint a problem and have the means to fix the issue themselves.

For those who need a good Chevy OBD1 scanner, the Innova 3140g might just be for you.

This OBD1 reader features a bright color screen
This OBD1 reader features a bright color screen
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This OBD1 reader features a bright color screen that displays both generic and manufacturer specific codes. And unlike many OBD1 scanners, the Innova 3140g can read the ABS and SRS systems in your older vehicles.

A wide range of brands works with the Innova 3140g, including Chevy, Chrysler, GM, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Acura, and Lexus. Any vehicle created for these brands between 1982 and 1995 should be compatible with this scanner. But some features only work for brands built after 1985.

And the 3140g works great for those needing an OBD1 Bluetooth scanner. Live stream data from your car and upload to your computer, so you can review your data later.

Pros

  • OBD connector comes with flashlights
  • Backlit screen
  • Easy to Use
  • Lightweight
  • Records and Saves Live Data
  • Bluetooth Compatible

Cons

  • May not work for every car it says it does
  • Trying to update software means “purchasing new model”
  • OBD1 data may slow down device

Who’s it For?

For Mechanics and DIYers who just need to pinpoint a problem and have the means to fix the issue themselves.

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A video of Innova 3140g

5
FOXWELL NT510 OBD1&OBD2 Scanner

FOXWELL NT510
FOXWELL NT510 Full OBD1 & OBD2 Scanner
44 / 5
Mechanics and professionals who regularly work with BMW brand cars.

The FOXWELL NT510 works great for those in search of a BMW OBD1 scanner.

  The FOXWELL NT510 works great for those in search of a BMW OBD1 scanner.
The FOXWELL NT510 works great for those in search of a BMW OBD1 scanner.

This OBD1 and OBD2 scanner reads and clears codes for any BMW model built between1987-1996. The rugged build of the NT510 makes the scan tool compatible with both garage and road testing. And the NT510’s portable design makes it easy to move from one location to another.

The menu on this FOXWELL brand is easy to read and navigate. Also, this BMW scan tool plays back and prints data from previous uses.

You can also find more BMW Scan Tool

Pros

  • Comes pre-programmed
  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Nice, easy to use display screen
  • Stores and prints data

Cons

  • More expensive than other OBD1 scanners
  • “Free lifetime updates” is really 18 months
  • No updates using Mac

Who’s it For?

Mechanics and professionals who regularly work with BMW brand cars.

Check Price at Amazon

6
Innova 3120f OBD1and OBD2 scanner

Innova 3120f
Innova 3120f OBD1and OBD2 scanner
4.24.2 / 5
People from all levels of automobile expertise who prioritize products that are easy to operate.

Check the Innova 3120f for a good OBD1 Scanner for your jeep.

Along with Jeep, the 3120 works for many other brands built between 1981-1995, including Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota, GM, Chrysler, and Lexus. The 3120f can diagnose and reprogram your OBD1 computer. And this Innova model refreshes every 30 seconds to determine if problems have been fixed.

A 2.8 inch grayscale screen makes the 3120f easy to read. And the user-friendly interface makes this OBD1 scan tool accessible to beginners and experts alike.

The Innova 3120 reads and clears trouble codes for your engine, transmission, and emissions systems. A three-color system of warning lights indicates whether you will pass or fail your next emissions test.

The Innova 3120 reads and clears trouble codes for your engine, transmission, and emissions systems.
The Innova 3120 reads and clears trouble codes for your engine, transmission, and emissions systems.

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Clear emission readings
  • Presents code definitions
  • Erases faulty codes
  • One year warranty

Cons

  • Model specs may not line up with car you are connected to
  • Does not read live data
  • Does not read or clear ABS or SRS codes

Who’s it For?

People from all levels of automobile expertise who prioritize products that are easy to operate.

Check Price at Amazon
A video of Innova 3120

Recommendation

For the best functions, I recommend three models:

The Actron CP9690 offers live data and solutions for OBD1 models and a bright screen that is easy to read.

And the Innova 3120 provides clear emissions data for the older cars most likely to fail emissions testing.

Bottom Line

Unfortunately, with OBD1 scanners, products don’t always deliver. Just read a handful of the thousands of reviews for these products and you’ll see just how many promised features OBD1 technology won’t produce.

So before you purchase an OBD1 scanner, know exactly what it is you need it for. Do you need something that will clear your check engine light? Do you want diagnostic info and code definitions? Or do you just need to find the basic problem? Know your situation and match it up with the code reader that performs what you need for the OBD1 car you own. And check those reviews so you can get a sense of whether the OBD1 scan tool you are considering lives up to what is advertised.

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