The cars are full of sensors, and these sensors can tell you when there is something wrong with the engine or any other vehicle component. The dashboard has various status lights, and you will see one of them glowing in case of an issue. It can be an expensive visit to the mechanic, and there are always some chances that the mechanic will try to rip you off. Many people faced similar issues when the mechanic tried to charge them an astronomically high amount for a simple problem. We are sure that you do not wish to spend $1000 for a $20 job. For such cases, OBD 2 scanners can prove to be of great help.
The OBD scanners will reach the signals from the OBD port in the car, and it translates the signals into meaningful information for you. The scanner will help you in identifying the issue quickly with the help of diagnostics. Regular monitoring can also help you in maintaining the car in good condition. Even if you are going to the workshop for a repair, it is a good idea to run a scan yourself so that you know what the issue is. This kind of information will help you in saving any unwanted expenses from the visit.
There are many brands OBD2 scanners available on the market, and you can rely on us to tell you which one of these is a good option. In today’s review, we have listed the top 10 best rated OBD2 scanners that value for money. Check them out to get an idea of which one to purchase.
Table of Contents
- Best Buy OBD2 Scanners For Cars Reviews
- 1. Bafx Products – Wireless Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner & Reader Tool
- 2. BlueDriver LSB2 Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool
- 3. ANCEL AD310 Classic Enhanced Universal OBD II Scanner
- 4. FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner Professional Mechanic OBDII
- 5. Kobra Products OBD2 Scan Tool – Clears Check Engine Lights Instantly
- 6. OBD2 Scanner CAN OBDII Code Reader
- 7. Innova 3160g Pro OBD2 Scanner
- 8. Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool
- 9. LAUNCH OBD2 Scanner – CRP129E Scan Tool
- 10. Actron CP9690 Elite Auto Scanner Kit
- How To Choose The Best OBD2 scanner
- OBD2 Scanners Do’s and Don’ts
- OBD2 Scanner Frequently Asked Questions
Best Buy OBD2 Scanners For Cars Reviews
We have considered different models to come up with the list of the top 10 best OBD2 scanners. We researched the features, accuracy, warranties, and even the cost information for all these scanners.
1. Bafx Products – Wireless Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner & Reader Tool
The wireless OBD2 scanners are the easiest to use. Let us begin our list with one such Bluetooth OBD2 scanner. If you are looking for an OBD2 scanner that can easily connect to windows or android device, then this is the one for you. This scanner works with a wide range of vehicles, and hence you do not have to worry about the compatibility part. The scanner reads all types of OBD2 related data, and that is the reason why it helps in easy diagnostics of the issue. It is highly accurate, and the scanner provides consistent results all the time.
Another advantage of purchasing this OBD2 device is that it can also help you in checking the emissions and other such fitness-related issues. You can run a diagnostics before any fitness inspections, and the scanner will help you in passing the test. You can also check the air/fuel ratio using the scanner, and it can be of great help while you are trying to fine-tune your engine.
- Bafx offers a 2-year warranty on this OBD2 scanner.
- It is a portable device, and it is easy to install. Connecting the device is equally comfortable.
- The scanner also helps you with the emission-related data.
- This scanner is not compatible with iOS devices.
2. BlueDriver LSB2 Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool
Wouldn’t it be amazing if the OBD2 scanner can also advise you on the way to fix the issue? Well, here is one such OBD2 scanner that is going to help you with the repairs. This OBD2 scanner connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and it quickly starts generating the reports. With the help of the application support, you can even get reliable repair advice from the mechanics. The brand offers 24×7 technical support to all its customer.
Many devices can only check the engine light, but this OBD2 scanner checks for other essential components like the Airbags, ABS, TPMS, and other such parts. The advanced diagnostics information is dependent on the manufacturer of the car as well. Your vehicle should support such details for this OBD2 scanner to display the data. Other features of this scanner include getting the Love Data, Emission checks, and the count of misfires.
- This scanner is compatible with iOS and Android devices.
- The device also checks for ABS, TPMS, ABS, and other related issues, and hence it is versatile.
- You get a confirmed repair report after ever diagnostics, and it helps in quick resolution of the trouble.
- No warranty information available
3. ANCEL AD310 Classic Enhanced Universal OBD II Scanner
A lot of people are not comfortable with the wireless OBD2 scanner, and if you are among them, then here is a handheld OBD2 scanner for you. One thing that we love about this OBD2 scanner is that it not only displays the error code, but it also displays the meaning of the code. The screen is easy to read, and it helps in quick diagnostics of the data. The OBD2 scanner can also post live data for you.
Apart from all the details listed above, the scanner can help you in checking EVAP Leaks, and it also helps you in preparing the car for the inspection. This scanner supports multiple languages as well. It is one of the quickest and most affordable readers that you will find in the market. There is no additional battery needed to use the scanner.
- The device displays the OBD code and the meaning of the code, which saves you from searching the details online.
- This OBD2 scanner has an I/M monitoring test, and the scanner also stores the historical data.
- The screen is large and bright. It is easy to navigate between the screens.
- Nothing that we could notice.
4. FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner Professional Mechanic OBDII
At number 4, we have an OBD2 scanner from Foxwell. This scanner is a handheld device, and it has an outstanding user-interface. The colored screen makes it easy to interpret the data. Apart from running the OBD tests, the scanner can also help you in replacing the faulty O2 sensor. The scanner shows the live data, and it also has a utility for emission readiness test. It is a complete solution for the diagnostics of all types of vehicles.
Some of the other features include live data tracking, data logging, and seeking help on OBD codes. This scanner can help you with checking, saving a lot of time and money. If you are looking for an easy to use OBD2 scanner, then you must have a look at this tool.
- The brand offers a 1-year warranty, and it also provides lifetime updates for the OBD2 scanner.
- The scanner has a colored screen, and hence it makes it easy to interpret the data.
- This OBD2 scanner can help you in running an array of diagnostics tests and emission readiness test on your car.
- Nothing that we could notice.
5. Kobra Products OBD2 Scan Tool – Clears Check Engine Lights Instantly
Most of the professionals need a simple to use the tool. If you are also looking for a quick and easy to use OBD2 scanner, then you can have a look at this product from Kobra. The scanner is loaded with the capabilities to scan over 3000 codes for almost any car. It can check the manufacturer-specific code as well as the generic codes. Since it can check the manufacturer codes, it points you in the right direction.
The brand also provides a manual so that you can check for codes and issues displayed on the screen. Overall, the OBD2 scanner is straightforward to use. You just need a few seconds to complete the scan, and then you can address the issue. The engine status lights will automatically shut down once you solve the problem.
- This OBD2 scanner is for professionals, and it can help you in quickly checking over 3000 codes.
- The brand offers 1-year warranty on this OBD2 scanner.
- The scanner is quick, and it takes just a few seconds to run the complete diagnostics.
- This OBD2 scanner has a tiny screen.
6. OBD2 Scanner CAN OBDII Code Reader
Here is another basic and affordable OBD2 scanneron our list. This scanner is very portable, and it is of the size of the palm. The scanner is compatible with most of the cars. It is quick to scan the vehicle using this OBD2 scanner. You can start the scan with just a press of two buttons. Apart from this, you do not need any extra battery for the scanner as it can obtain power from the car battery.
The manual offered with this OBD2 scanner has all the codes listed so you can quickly refer to the codes and see what the issues with the engine are. It is a must-have tool for the people who often go on a road trip. It can prove to be handy, and it can reset the engine lights quickly for the normal functioning of the car.
- The device covers 3000 generic codes as well as manufacturer-specific codes for the diagnostics.
- It is compatible with an extensive range of vehicles, and it can scan very quickly.
- The device is very portable, and it is easy to use.
- You need to refer to the manual to find the meaning of the codes.
7. Innova 3160g Pro OBD2 Scanner
If you are fine to spend a little extra, then you can have a look at this OBD2 scanner from Innova. This scanner can run the diagnostics for a variety of foreign cars. It not only works with the engine as well as other components like ABS, battery, SRS, and other things. The scanner is capable of streaming live data on your handheld device. You have an option to connect the tool via Bluetooth or cable.
The brand offers exceptional customer support,and the brand also provides repair solutions.The device updates itself on the internet. If you have an issue, then you just need to check the app on your mobile. It will give you the solution, and it will also show you step by step videos to repair your car. Another unique feature of this OBD2 scanner is that it has LED lights in the connector so that you can find the OBD port easily.
- This OBD2 scanner can work in the wireless as well as wired mode.
- It can check engine status, ABS, Airbags, battery, and it can run other advanced diagnostics.
- This OBD2 scanner is slightly expensive when compared to other models.
8. Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool
It can be tough to navigate between the screens if you are using a handheld OBD2 scanner. A lot of us wish for a scanner that has a touchscreen interface. You can go ahead and check out this OBD2 scanner that comes with a full system diagnostics and a touch screen control. The scanner not only helps you in checking the engine, but it also helps you in identifying issues with the transmission, ABS, Airbags, Steering, Fuel System, SRS, and emission system. The scanner can even check the battery and wiper systems for you.
The brand offers 1 year warranty on this OBD2 scanner, and you can also return it in 30 days if you are not satisfied with the product. It is one of the most user-friendly tools that you will find in the market.
- It is a complete diagnostics solution for your car that can help you in checking all the systems of the vehicle.
- This OBD2 scanner has a touchscreen interface, which makes it very easy to use the scanner.
- The device runs on Android, and it comes with 3200 mAh battery along with 32 GB storage.
- Nothing that we could notice.
9. LAUNCH OBD2 Scanner – CRP129E Scan Tool
You would agree with the fact that the touchscreen OBD2 scanneris the easiest to use. If you are looking for another option for a touchscreen OBD2 scanner, then have a look at this model from Launch. It helps you in diagnostics of Engine, SRS, ABS, and transmission. The scanner also helps with TPMS reset, steering angle calibration, and many other advanced features. After running the diagnostics, it generates a report, and you can use the DTC lookup to find the codes.
You can even use the OBD2 scanner for checking the live data. Apart from this, the scanner syncs the reportin a cloud space. It maintains the records of the data, and the device is compatible with over 10,000 cards. The device can update itself over Wi-Fi
- This OBD2 scanner is a touch screen device that offers 4 system diagnostics along with real-time visualization.
- The device comes with 9 language support and a lifetime update support.
- The brand offers a 5 year warranty on this product
- Nothing that we could notice.
10. Actron CP9690 Elite Auto Scanner Kit
Here is the last scanner that we are going to talk about today. This scanner is also a handheld device, and it has a bright LCD color screen. It offers a complete diagnostics solution to you, and it can also diagnose the problem with ABS and airbags. The data can be visualized in real-time, and the machine also allows you with the freedom to record the data and playback the data at a later point in time.
The database of this machine has over 26 million fixes based on the real experience of the users. The connection cable offered with this OBD2 scanner is 6 feet long, which enables you to connect easily. It can check for manufacturer codes as well as generic codes. The scanner is available at an affordable price. Overall, the device offers a complete solution, and it is also available with a soft storage case that allows you to carry the OBD2 scanner with you.
- The scanner works with a wide range of vehicles, and it has an LCD screen that makes it easy to use the diagnostics.
- The scanner also can record real-time data and playback the data in the future.
- Apart from the engine, the OBD2 scanner can run diagnostics for many other systems.
- No warranty information is available in the public domain.
How To Choose The Best OBD2 scanner
Since most of us do not have a lot of knowledge about cars, it can become challenging to choose the right OBD2 scanner. Well, we thought of helping you by sharing a buying guide about the OBD2 scanners as a little knowledge can help you in many ways. We did a research, and we compiled a list of factors that you must consider while purchasing the OBD2 scanner.
These are also the factors that we have considered while compiling the list of best OBD2 scanners in the market. Check out the buying guide below –
- Type of Scanner
It is a good idea to start shortlisting the OBD2 scanners by considering their part. You will come across mainly 2 types of OBD2 scanners. One of them is wireless, and the second one is handheld devices. The wireless devices will use Bluetooth to connect to your phone, and the phone will act as a display for your OBD2 scanner. Almost every OBD2 scanner is compatible with Android and Apple devices. The second option, which is the handheld device comes with a display unit. In terms of the scan capabilities, there is not much difference between the types of OBD2 scanner.
- Setup and Use
The next point that you can consider is the setup process for the OBD2 scanners. It should be easy to connect, and it should be easy to find out issues with the OBD2 scanners. If you have to go through a lot of manuals to use the OBD2 scanner, then you must skip that model and find another one. The overall thought process here is that you must look for an easy to use OBD2 scanner here.
- Vehicle Database
Most of the OBD2 scanners have an extensive database of vehicles. This database will help you in ensuring that a variety of cars are covered, and your OBD2 scanner is compatible with them. Ideally, this should not be a point of concern as most of the companies have an extensive database of vehicles.
- Detecting Faults
You are buying the OBD2 scanner to find the faults in your car, and we are sure that you do not have much knowledge about the fault codes. In such a case, it is better to invest in a product that makes it easy for you to find out the issue. The model of the OBD2 scanner should be able to help you with the explanation of the code so that you can fix the issue yourself. The explanation part may also help you while you are explaining the problem to the mechanic.
The next thing that we are going to talk about is portability. You must only buy the OBD2 scanners that are portable. Portability should not be a point of concern for the wireless models, but it is something that you need to consider while buying the handheld device. Give preference to the portable models that comes with a carrying case.
Look at the warranty policy applicable to OBD2 scanners. A lot of manufacturer offers devices that come with a lifetime warranty. These devices are highly reliable, and they are going to last for a long time. Many scanners come with a 1 year or longer warranty period. The general thumb rule states that the longer the warranty period, the better the OBD2 scanner is.
- Real-Time Data and Visualization
Ensure that the OBD2 scanner that you are buying helps you by giving out Live Data. It should be able to display the engine speed and other vital parameters in real-time. This feature can help you in noting down any abnormality in the engine or any other parts of the car. Also, give preferences to the OBD2 scanners that can visualize this data in a graph. If you are trying to enhance the performance of the vehicle, then this feature will be of great help.
- I/M Readiness
Your car has to go through inspections to ensure that it is fit for the roads. You may want to ensure the fitness of the vehicle before any state inspection. The easiest way to do that is by buying an OBD2 scanner that can tell you about I/M Readiness. The scanner will go through different parameters and tell you if you are good to go ahead with the inspection. If not, the OBD scanner will show you the source of the problem.
- Display & App
The display is yet another critical part of the OBD2 scanner. If you are buying a handheld OBD2 scanner, ensure that it has a more prominent display that can display all the data. You must also ensure that it is easy to navigate through the various options and parameters while using the scanner. If you are buying the wireless model, then you must ensure that the application offers an easy to the user interface.
- Price &Brand
No matter what product you purchase, it is always a good idea to buy it from a reputed brand. Some very good brands in the market offer OBD2 scanners. We would recommend you to buy the OBD2 scanner from a reputed brand. They will always provide reliable customer support. You can also find out the average price of OBD2 scanners and buy the model that has a rate around the median.
OBD2 Scanners Do’s and Don’ts
Wouldn’t it be a better choice to consider the right of using an OBD2 scanner? Most buyers or first-time users of OBD2 scanners end up taking faulty readings. The main reason is the wrong implementation during the diagnose cycle. The best option in such a scenario is to read the user manual. Apart from this, there are many other things that you can do and you can’t do. Let’s hear about all of them in easy words.
- Putting Into the Standard Connector – When you plug in the OBD2 connector, it would be a better option to go with the standard choices. This method will help you get the authentic error code and you can do this by turning off the vehicle. As the vehicle is turned odd, you can get a perfect fit into the outlet of the car.
- Running the Car – By turning on the car, you can opt for the initialization process. The scanner will start initializing and it will take plenty of time for a deep scan. In some cases, you can run the car and then opt for the power button to have a clear reading on the display of the OBD2 scanner.
- Always Save diagnose trouble code – After diagnosing the car and saving the trouble code, you can consider checking the data later. Or, if the car gets the same kind of issue, the old report will help figure out the right problem in an effective manner. Having the trouble code written somewhere can come in handy for future use.
- Put Necessary Data Adequately – Once you complete the whole process of initialization by adding necessary data and doing diagnosis, you get the accurate readings. You have to mention engine type, VIN, model and what else required by the scanner. Then you press the scan button for a deep analysis of the problem.
- Turn off the car – After analysis, it is time to turn off the ignition and carefully removing the OBD2 scanner plug. You can store the OBD2 scanner for further use and take a look at the data available from the analysis.
- Keep Patience – While using the OBD2 scanner, it would be a better choice to have some patience. The diagnosis part takes time and being restless at this time can make you get faulty results. So it would be a better choice to spend some time or working on something else when the OBD2 scanner is taking accurate readings.
- Save DTC – In case you are willing to reset the OBD2 scanner, it would be a better choice to save DTC. If you save the necessary data, you can avoid facing further issues and keep using the old data for further analysis of the same vehicle.
OBD2 Scanner Frequently Asked Questions
- An OBD2 scanner cannot function without the car ignition ON? Is there any model available on the market that does not require the same?
Yes, an OBD2 scanner would function only if the engine ignition is turned on and if the engine is running. The function of an OBD2 scanner is to identify if there is an engine or electrical system issue, this cannot be determined if the engine is not running, this is why it demands the engine to be running. No, as far as we know, all the ODB2 scanners need the host automobile to have its engine running for obtaining the codes.
- What is the difference between OBD1 and OBD2? Which one is better?
Unlike most other comparisons, these two do not have to be compared. OBD1 is outdated technology and system used. Yes, OBD1 is the predecessor of the ODB2 system and they were used before the year 1990. From 1990, the OBD2 system is incorporated into most of the automobiles and not OBD1.
- An OBD2 scanner could reset the codes?
Yes, an OBD2 scanner could reset the codes quickly. This is one of the reasons why most people consider purchasing an OBD2 scanner.
- ODB2 ports come incorporated in every car and truck?
Yes, almost every car and light trucks that were manufactured in the United States of America after January 1st, 1996 have to be incorporated or equipped with the OBD2 system. This simply means that almost every car manufactured from late 1995 in the United States of America would have an OBD2 system in it. If you want to find out if your car has one, there will be a sticker or nameplate under the hood of your automobile mentioning “OBD2 compliant”.
- I do not have an OBD2 scanner as of now, how could I reset the ECU without it?
Resetting the ECU is not an easy task. Tampering with the ECU could void your car warranty. However, the most efficient and professional way to reset ECU is to use an OBD2 scanner, if you do not own one. Try disconnecting the automobile battery. Remember, this might not work, for most automobiles, it resets the ECU. But, it is not just the ECU that resets, but also the radio codes, GPS, security system, and drivability.
- If I tamper with the ECU and if malfunctions or dies, it would cause trouble?
A dead ECU will be the least of your concerns. If the ECU is dead, your engine might not even start. Most cars today are designed to start only if adequate input from the computer is received. If there is no input, the engine might not start. On the other hand, if the ECU is functioning and but not in the right way, it could lead to step by step destruction of your engine and other parts connected to it. Without adequate input, the engine and other parts connected to the ECU would start functioning the way they shouldn’t, which eventually could lead to a breakdown.
We hope that you found all the information about the OBD2 scanners that you were looking for. You can consider one of the OBD scanners that we have listed above, or you can go through the buying guide and choose your own OBD scanner. Ensure that it is compatible with your vehicle. Also, it can be a better idea to buy a wireless OBD scanner that can connect to your phone. This will make the diagnostics easy for you, and since the mobile connects to the internet, you will be able to find more information about the error codes on the OBD scanner. The applications undoubtedly offer a lot more flexibility and utility to the user.
We understand and appreciate the fact that you might still have some questions about the scanner that you are purchasing. So, in case of any questions, you can reach out to us via the comment section, and we will help you in finding the answers to your question.