Best OBD2 Scanners

An OBD2 scanner can make life much easier when your engine check light decides to make an appearance. They are crucial in understanding and identifying any issues with your vehicle.

Equipped with a port you can connect the scanner to your car's computer system to receive feedback and diagnosis of any problems.

It is important to select the best OBD2 scanner for your needs. Understandably this can seem like a challenging task as the market offers many models from different brands.

We have done the hard work for you and browsed the market selecting our top five picks of the best scanners available. We have also attached a buyer’s guide below with our top tips for selecting the best scanner. 

Are you in a hurry? If so, we have selected our top pick for you below.

Top 5 Best 0BD2 Scanners

OUR TOP PICK

Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Scan Tool

The Autel Autolink OBD2 scanner is designed to cater to those who are unfamiliar with vehicle repair. Courtesy of the plug-and-play concept, this scanner can easily be connected to your vehicle providing feedback on the cause of the engine check light.

Additionally, the scanner supports DTCs reading and live data display. The scanner is also able to turn the engine check light off which will make it easier to diagnose the problem.

Impressively, this scanner is equipped with I/M readiness. For those that are unfamiliar with the purpose of I/M readiness it essentially conducts a self-test of the vehicle’s emission control system. 

For user convenience, this scanner is designed with a color display that clearly shows the DTC definitions. It also features LED indicators and a built-in speaker which is ideal for those that require audible alerts. 

Pros

  • This scanner supports several languages making it suitable for a range of users.
  • The definitions of the codes are stated which is ideal for those who are unfamiliar with the function of OBD2 scanners.
  • Backed with a 12 month warranty there is help available if you experience any issues with your purchase.
  • The plug and play design allow for easy vehicle connection.
  • The 2.5 foot long cable allows you to use this scanner without being restricted on movement.

Cons

  • This scanner comes with minimal instructions which may make it a little difficult for those that are new to using this scanner.

EDITORS CHOICE

Bafx Products Wireless Bluetooth Obd2 Scanner Diagnostic Code Reader & Scan Tool for Android Devices Only - Scan, Reset & Clear Car Check Engine Light

If you are looking for an effective scanner that retails at an affordable price, the Bafx Wireless OBD2 Scanner could be a great choice for you.

As a Bluetooth scanner, it connects to your Android or Windows device and displays the readings and results via your device display rather than having its own. 

The scanner is suitable for use on US vehicles that are 1996 or newer and unlike most cheap scanners, it reads all protocols. This makes it less limited when it comes to vehicle compatibility providing greater assurance that it is likely to work with your vehicle.

With a reliable Bluetooth connection, you can diagnose the issue with speed eliminating the need for a mechanic. Aside from clearing your engine light, this scanner also allows you to monitor your vehicle's sensors too. 

Pros

  • This Bafx scanner is built to last and is also covered with a 2 year warranty.
  • Affordably priced, this is ideal for those who don’t want to spend a lot on an expensive scanner.
  • Impressively, this scanner is compatible with use on a range of vehicles.
  • Thanks to the reliable Bluetooth connection you can diagnose the issue quickly. 
  • Unlike other cheaper models, this scanner supports all protocols.

Cons

  • This scanner doesn’t support IOS which limits it to android and window users. 

BEST VALUE

ANCEL AD310 Classic Enhanced Universal OBD II Scanner Car Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool-Black

The ANCEL AD310 OBD2 Scanner has a universal and classic design making it ideal for those that are unfamiliar with this tool to use too.

You can quickly scan your vehicle and the codes will then be displayed clearly on the screen. For those that are unsure of the meaning behind these codes, you will be pleased to know that the scanner displays the definition of each.

Not only can this scanner detect the reason as to why your engine light has appeared, but it also features I/M readiness monitor testing, freeze frame data, and historic codes. Suitable for use with 1996 US vehicles, 2000 EU and Asian cars, and OBD11 newer models, it has a broad car compatibility range. 

Durably designed, this scanner is equipped with a thick 2.5ft capable which is going to be strong against daily use. It’s also compact in size so it isn’t going to consume a lot of space inside your car. 

Pros

  • Simplistically designed, this scanner features four buttons that allow for easy navigation through the settings.
  • This scanner supports multiple languages making it suitable for a variety of users. 
  • This is a long lasting scanner that has been durably designed.
  • The large LCD display allows you to see the readings and results clearly. 
  • Each of the codes is defined which is ideal for beginners. 

Cons

  • Some may find the functions of this scanner to be a little too limited as it mainly displays basic codes.

RUNNER UP

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android

Suitable for Apple and Android devices, the Bluedriver Pro OBDII Scanner uses a Bluetooth connection to display the results and readings on your mobile device screen.

This scanner offers a range of features. From reading and clearing the check engine light to clearing codes and displaying freeze frame data. It offers free vehicle specific repair reports too.

Aside from being easy to install this scanner is also easy to use and works effectively alongside the user-friendly app too. This provides you with access to updates and data from the convenience of your mobile device. 

When gathered each source of data from your vehicle is displayed in graph, gauge, or digital format. The colors are also customizable and the data can be resized and arranged as you choose.

Essentially, this provides you with greater control in regards to the display and appearance of your data ensuring that it is easy to understand.

Pros

  • The graphics and data display are easy to process for user convenience. 
  • This scanner is trusted by mechanics and professional engineers alike.
  • Utilizing a Bluetooth connection, it is easy to connect to your vehicle and mobile device.
  • The enhanced diagnostics provide you with access to your vehicle information that would typically be solely available to professionals.
  • It is suitable for both Apple and Android devices.

Cons

  • This scanner is an expensive option that may be unsuitable for car owners on a budget.

RUNNER UP

FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner Professional Mechanic OBDII Diagnostic Code Reader Tool for Check Engine Light

The FOXWELL Professional Mechanic OBD2 Scanner boasts many impressive features. Using this scanner you can read and erase codes, use I/M readiness testing, read DTC, locate bad sensors in your vehicle, turn off your check engine light, read data, and much more. 

Compatible with most worldwide cars, trucks, and SUVs, this scanner allows you to accurately determine any potential issues with your vehicle. Courtesy of the data log you can record codes for later use. This makes it easier to pinpoint any possible intermittent issues.

There is also the option to print data. This is useful for occasions where you are unable to diagnose the issue yourself as you can take it to a mechanic. 

While this scanner may be smaller in size it isn’t going to disappoint on the features that it offers. The compact design makes it ideal for hand-held use and the LED indicators and speaker inform you when a smog check is required.

Thanks to the selection of keys you can easily navigate your way through the settings and the color screen clearly displays the data for a user-friendly experience. 

Pros

  • After purchasing this scanner you are provided with 1 year seller assurance along with technical and service support.
  • The DTC guide allows for accurate identification of issues in your car.
  • The results and readings are clearly displayed on the color screen.
  • This scanner is easy to connect to your car via the cable.
  • It provides extensive technical feedback regarding issues with your car.

Cons

  • Some may find this scanner a little difficult to use due to the lack of detailed instructions. 

Best OBD2 Scanners Buying Guide

There are many factors that we would advise you to consider before purchasing your OBD2 scanner.

One that is worthy of your purchase should have the features outlined below.

We have also highlighted our top tips for choosing the best product for your requirements.

The Purpose

Before selecting your OBD2 scanner it is necessary to consider its primary purpose. If you require this scanner for professional use you may wish to spend a little more on a model that has a more expansive range of features.

If you are likely to be using this scanner to carry out occasional checks or to investigate the cause behind a mysterious engine light appearance, you may wish to invest in a more basic model. 

The Type

The market offers two different types of OBD2 scanners. The first is a handheld tool that utilizes a cable connection. It has a screen, buttons, computer chip and software which allow for easy use. The second is a scanner that uses a Bluetooth or wifi connection and is possibly the more modern option available. This type works via a wireless transmission and is connected to the Bluetooth setting on your phone.

Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. While a Bluetooth scanner is smaller in size, there is a great risk of disruptions from a poor wifi connection or insufficient battery power from your mobile.

Some may find a handheld scanner easy to use with less risk of technological disruption. The market offers many high performing options for both models that aren’t overly expensive.

Vehicle Coverage

Of course, the scanner that you choose must be compatible with your vehicle. The majority of modern scanners are compatible with most vehicle models.

Those that read a single protocol are going to be compatible with a smaller number of cars and you may also find that the cheaper models are compatible with fewer cars too.

Before making your purchase it is important to pay attention to the specifications of your product to ensure that it is suitable for you with a wide range of vehicles. This will allow you to avoid disappointment upon receiving your scanner. 

The functions

The functions that your scanner is equipped with can vary between brands. Almost all can digest your cars onboarding computer codes and check the engine to identify potential issues, however, others will be a little more expansive.

These scanners can provide correct mileage readings, reset the emissions monitor, and much more. You may not require all of these functions so it is important to evaluate your primary requirements before making your purchase.

If you are a professional or simply a car enthusiast you may find these functions beneficial in allowing you to conduct more thorough tests. 

Ease to use

Ideally, your scanner should be easy to set up and use. You don’t want to be faced with the issue of being unable to connect the scanner to your vehicle as this is going to prolong the amount of time that it takes to get to the source of the issue.

If you are unfamiliar with using this kind of scanner the different codings can be difficult to understand. It is beneficial to opt for a product that caters to those who are beginners to this kind of scanner.

For those that have used an OBD2 scanner previously, this may not be a significant issue. Also, ensure that the screen displays the results clearly. You don’t want to select a scanner that displays the results in a complex manner.

It is necessary to ensure that your scanner is equipped with detailed instructions if you are a beginner as this will make it much easier to set up and use.

The Accuracy

Your scanner is only going to be useful if it provides you with accurate results and readings.

An OBD2 scanner that provides you with incorrect information is going to be a particularly worthless purchase and isn’t going to come in handy when trying to diagnose issues with your vehicle. 

The size

Scanners are available in different sizes although they often conform to a similar shape. Some may find heavier and bulky scanners inconvenient meaning that they spend more time inside your home or toolbox than the car itself.

This isn’t going to come in very handy when you find yourself requiring the use of this scanner midway through your journey. 

The Durability

Most scanners are designed with a durable exterior which provides greater resistance to damage should they happen to be dropped. The material construction is often a reflection of the durability.

If your scanner is cheaply made it is likely to become damaged faster, resulting in a more immediate deterioration of the quality. 

Ideally, if your scanner uses a cable connection the cable should be thickly constructed as this is going to make it much more durable.

The warranty

It is beneficial to opt for a product that is covered by a warranty. A warranty provides you with support and a rectification of any issues with a faulty product or if you are dissatisfied with your purchase.

A warranty can also provide you with greater assurance and confidence in the brand and the product.

The cost

OBD2 scanners can vary significantly in price. While some come with hefty price tags, many options are much more affordable. If you require this scanner for professional use you may wish to invest a little more into a high end product.

Likewise, if you require this scanner for occasional use, you may prefer to invest in a more affordable option. We have included a variety in our guide above to highlight the options that are available to you.

The length of the cable

If your scanner functions via a cable connection, ideally it should be long enough to provide you with the flexibility to work around your vehicle.

One that is shorter in length is going to be a little restricting and may provide difficulties when attempting to diagnose an issue if you are not able to reach the area freely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between OBD1 and OBD2?

OBD2 is essentially an improved format of OBD1 technology.

Such improvement allows for better vehicle protocol and system checks. OBD2 is also more advanced as it utilizes Bluetooth or wifi connection while OBD1 is dependent on a cord connection.

Can I leave an OBD2 scanner plugged in?

Yes, you can leave an OBD2 plugged in. Although the connector has power when plugged in via the two pins, it is safe to leave plugged in and in some cases, it may be required.

In some cases, insurance companies require an OBD2 scanner to be plugged in at all times so that they can assess your driving.

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