Are you on the hunt for next best OBD2 scanner, but you’re not sure where to look? Do you want an easy to read model that could be the best OBD scanner you’ve ever seen, complete with key features that only the best scanners have – such as a color screen?
Professionals everywhere know that it’s hard to find the best options for their vehicle. You have to make sure that the key features of the greatest OBD2 scanners are equipped to deal with anything, such as fault codes. In order to find the best for your car – whilst it’s true that this depends on vehicle compatibility – there are a few key features you can prioritise over others.
So, to find the best OBD2 scanners that read and analyze your car’s data on a daily basis, have a look at our trusty buying guide including all the key features that you need to look for.
Top 3 Best OBD2 Scanners of 2021
|Best for DIY||Best for Beginners||Best for Pros|
4.6 / 5
4.6 / 5
4.4 / 5
|Product Dimensions||1.5" x 0.5" x 1.75"||63" x 17.7" x 92.5"||14.7" x 11.7" x 4.8"|
DIY OBD2 Scanners
Basic OBD2 Code Readers
Professional OBD2 Diagnostic Tools
|Read & Clear All Codes||✔||✔||✔|
Android And Iphone.
OBD2 and CAN
OBD2 supported 1996 US and newer models.
Cannot figure out what is right for you? Follow the 5 steps below to find the best OBD2 scanners for you:
5 Steps To Choosing The Best OBD2 Scan Tool
We know that professionals, from beginners to pros, truly struggle to find the best OBD2 scanner to suit their needs. So, here’s an easy list that will help you decipher the best scanners based on your chosen features, such as the ability to read fault codes, or have the capabilities of a Bluedriver Bluetooth scanner.
Any OBD II scanner that you opt for has to have all of your chosen features for a decent price tag, whilst being durable enough that you don’t need to watch out for recall alerts or repair suggestions, ultimately taking your OBD2 straight to the repair shop. Go through these steps one by one, in your own way and pace, to decide on the best OBD II scanner for you.
Your first question will be, “why should I get an OBD2 scanner tool?” Well, a diagnostics scanner is a brilliant idea for two main suggestions.
- Save time and money
These OBD2 scanners can save both time and money in the long run. With advanced functionalities such as smog performance, or basic functions like reading engine light codes or trouble codes, you’ll be able to maintain your vehicle and avoid hefty trips to the mechanic.
- Vehicle understanding
Any OBD2 scanner, from code readers to more sophisticated OBD2 scanners, should offer a better understanding of your car, with a handy interface that helps you in tasks such as code reading. With regular maintenance reminders – depending on your car manufacturer – these car computers are fabulous and cover a lot of data points.
There are three types of OBD2 code reader, which are explained below. Any car owner will want a decent operating system in their corded OBD2 scanner or Bluetooth OBD2 scanner, so pay attention to the info below.
- Automobiles Code Reader
These handheld OBDII scanners offer a spectrum of key features but ultimately tells you why your check light is on. These models, which are often considered some of the best OBD2 types, also help you troubleshoot the entire vehicle status. Their advantages as an OBD2 scanner include:
- Cheapest – as these OBD2 scanner models provide the most basic key features, such as reading and clearing DTCs as well as a check engine light
- Handy- easily tells you there’s a problem with your car so you can investigate the diagnostic trouble further
- DIY Scanners
This OBD2 scanner mainly comes with wireless connections via dedicated mobile apps. With an easy connection to a smartphone, they’re better than cheaper makes. However, they do not offer as many advanced key features as other makes.
- Professional Diagnostic Tools
These OBD2 scanners offer solutions to complex car issues. You will find many advanced key features in these, such as ECU coding, key programming, DPF, EPB, etc. This type offers the most among all three.
These tools are brilliant, as a diagnostic scan tool, as they provide freeze frame data, live data, the option to check engine light, and a code reader that can read any error code or trouble code.
Which should I pick?
- Your choice will ultimately depend on your requirements. Do-it-yourself scanners are growing in popularity due to their ability to provide balance between basic and advanced key features.
- You should opt for this scanner if you’re a car enthusiast or keen DIYer – they’re compact and easy to use.
- You should opt for a professional scanner if you’re a professional or in pursuit of advanced key features- they’re larger but more extensive in capability, with capabilities such as live data streaming and read and clear codes. These code definitions, and the data stream, can easily help you eliminate all of your car problems without having to go for a high quality repair.
3. Key Features
Your next question in your search might be to narrow down the key elements of of function that you’re looking for in the best OBD2 scanners. The more functions and settings an OBD scanner has, the easier diagnosis will naturally be.
Basic features of OB2 scanners include:
- Check engine light reset, RPM, speed, fuel, pressure, CEL
- Coolant and oils temperatures, and air fuel
- Live map and freeze framed data
- Fueel pressure, DPF temp, smog, and oxygen sensors
Advanced features of OBD2 scanners include:
- ABS (anti-brake lock system), SRS, oils change, and misfire counts
- Weather, mileage, and initialization
- BMC coding, oils reset, key coding, ECU coding and programming
4. Wired vs Wireless
There are many bonuses to wireless OBD2 scanners, but wired and wireless generally share most elements of functionality. let’s take a closer look at OBD2 scanners that use Wi-Fi, versus those that do not.
As the name suggests, these connect to the vehicle via a wire, as opposed to Wi-fi connection. Sometimes you may have to buy the wire separately. They are:
- Easier to connect, as there’s no fault with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals
- Less commonly used nowadays, with the advance of wireless technology
These scanners use wireless technology, and seem to be more popular nowadays. They are:
- Just as capable as providing diagnostic info
- Connect with Windows, Androids, or iOS to transfer data.
Wireless scanners operate via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and the former is generally a little faster and more energy efficient.
However, both wired and wireless scanners operate in similar ways. Ultimately, when finding the best OBD2 scanners for connecting, it’s a case of personal preference. What will make your decision is the brand and its reliability. Click here to see our picks for the best Bluetooth OBD-II scanners of 2021.
The final thing you’ll want to consider in your search for an OBD II scanner is the checklist of key features. From compatibility to live data, the best OBD2 scanner will be able to perform with everything you need.
Pick a scanner that is compatible with your vehicle (model, make, fuels type, etc., should be considered). This can be checked with the vehicle identification number, or checked at an auto parts store. Most scanners support cars but some may support light and heavy-duty trucks as well.
Corded scanners have their benefits but Bluetooth scanners are preferred by more people these days.
Bluetooth adapters work better with Android and WiFi adapters work better with iOS. However, some can support both.
- Price Range
Wi-Fi adapters are typically more expensive than Bluetooth adapters, but the cost usually depends on factors such as warranty, features, etc.
You should ideally pick one that is within your budget. Glance at our guide on Best OBD1 Scanners in 2018 for some good OBD1 scanners under your budget…
Go for an OBD-II scanner that comes with regular updates to cover more problems. This will help if you’re looking for an OBD2 scanner that’s equipped to show live data.
This can be a good option especially because new vehicles come with new problems and only updates can keep you safe.
Some scanners can update online and some need to be connected to a computer. While they both work fine, getting a computer can often be a problem for some users.
Pick an OBD2 scanner that comes with a warranty so that you do not have to worry about anything in case of faults. Most come with 1 or 2 years of warranty – this typically isn’t extendable.
Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews
If you’re looking for the best tool to use at the quick connect of your OBD2 port, search no further than this section. Here we’ve got some of our favorites on offer, which all have a wide spectrum of functionality, including check engine lights or a malfunction indicator light.
FIXD™ OBD2 Scanner – Editor’s Pick
FIXD™ OBD2 Scanner
4.4 / 5
FIXD™ is an expert problem-solving Scanner, authorized for Apple and Android devices. In this device features of a sophisticated scanner are coupled with the marvelous technology in your smartphone, giving you a unique tool to count on for a ton of reasons.
The biggest one being it uses Bluetooth – so it’s in the same league as scanners such as the Bluedriver Bluetooth.
Extensive Repair Solution:
FIXD™ scanner has around 30 million fixes in the database that provides you with an accurate and complete repair solution.
FIXD™ can conduct a variety of advanced tests such as Fuels Test, Comprehensive Components Test, Airbag, Freeze Frame Data, ABS codes, Misfire Counts, etc.
FIXD™ scanner offers great customization options. You can customize the dataset you want to see such as RPMs, speed, fuels pressure, etc.
Shows Accurate Results:
FIXD™ scanner shows accurate information regarding your vehicle’s maintenance schedules, TSBs (technical service bulletins) and specifications.
Smog tests let you know if your car is producing excessive emissions.
A log file can be made and exported to a computer as well.
The downside of FIXD™ is that it doesn’t support camshaft timing. Also, you can’t reprogram a FOB and read transmission temperature.
FIXD™ scanner complies with all Volkswagen, Chrysler, GM, BMW, Ford, and Nissan sold in North America. The software runs on both iOS and Android devices and is also free to download.
FIXD™ also complies with major OBDII formats.
- Instant accurate data (engine temp, pressure, fuels usage, etc.)
- Takes a snapshot when a code is stored (Freeze Frame).
- Offers all basic and a few advanced diagnosing features.
- Reads and clears CEL codes.
- Up to 50% discount available at the official website
- Sells out regularly
Autel AutoLink AL319 Cheap OBD Reader
Autel AL319 OBD Reader
4.4 / 5
The Autel AL319 is ‘Plug and play’ and very easy to use even for beginners,works on all 1996 and newer vehicles (OBD II & CAN)-domestic and import, offers a range of language features.
If you have a 1996 model or newer car, the AL319 is good as a plug-and-played OBD2 system operation.
AL319 diagnoses and fixes issues quickly and is a good fit for beginning users even if they don’t know anything about engine problems.
AL319 will check engine light codes and clear them. It shows live PCM data so that you can know which parameter is wrong.
Freeze frames data tells you the reason for your car’s breakdown.
Other common functions it offers include I/M Readiness Status(emissions), Live Sensor Data, VIN, CIN, CVN, and DTC Lookup.
With AL319, you can print the code along with the definition. This is a good option as you can show it to any professional and ask for tips – even a Google search can be of help.
Autolink AL319 doesn’t support Bluetooth or other wireless connectivity as it is not phone supported.
This model lets you download free software updates.
Used with OBD2 1996 and newer makes, CAN support vehicles, EOBD vehicles as well.
- 1-year warranty.
- It has P0, P2, P3, U0 and U3 within the DTC library.
- Lets you reset A.B.S and S.R.S lights.
- Gives updated information.
- Short cord – won’t allow the device to come to the lap.
FOXWELL NT301 Full OBDII Scanning Tool
FOXWELL NT301 Full OBDII Scanner
4.3 / 5
NT301 is open to global customers. It is an upgraded version from the basic car obdii diagnosing scanner with distinctive features. No batteries required, it is charged directly from the OBDII car scanner interface in your vehicle.
FOXWELL NT301 provides some amazing functions which is why it is one of the best OBD2 scan tools we have on the list. It shows the code’s definition on the TFTs screen which is graphically superior and also erases DTC (engine fault codes).
Other than that, Foxwell NT301 performs most of the common functions such as CEL(check engine light), MIL(malfunction indicator lamp), VINs etc.
It complies with multiple code requests including manufacturer specific, generic and pending codes.
Performs engine diagnoses such as Fuels Trim, Engine Coolant Temp, I/M Readiness, Freeze Frames, Fuels Pressure, ECT and reads live O2 Sensor as well.
An EOBD and OBD II Scanner:
FOXWELL NT301 complies with 1996 and after US-based OBD2 supported makes. Moreover, it can also support 2001 and newer petrol supported European cars with OBD diagnoses
NT301 complies with five major OBDII formats. This OBD II scan tool is connected to the CPU of the vehicle using a diagnosing cable.
- Charges when the ignitions is on.
- 1-year money back guarantee and lifetime free updates.
- On-screen DTC definitions that point the exact problem.
- Saves data log that can also be printed.
- High demand so limited availability.
Autel MaxiCOM MK808 Scan Tool
Autel MaxiCOM MK808 Diagnoses Service Scan Tool
4.5 / 5
This diagnosing tool will give your car a full detection since it can read/clear DTCs and view data stream for ALL systems (A.B.S,Engine, etc…)
MK808 is one of the best automotive scanners on the market for vehicle geeks who know their way around with cars and can repair complex malfunctions, too.
It’s a diagnosing tablet with a 7-inch LCD that means scanning is a lot of fun. It works on polymer batteries which come included.
You can easily use it for 4.5 hours straight.
Apart from offering conventional OBD2 functioning, it has specialised features in store for you to use. These include EPBs, SAS, DPF, Oil reset, BMS, A.B.S, TPMSs, and Key Programming.
Only a Professional OBD2 scanner can provide these features.
MK808 lets you save, manage and print diagnoses results. It has a memory of 32GB which is enough to save the information.
MK808 lets you perform emission tests, A.B.S light test, fuels diagnosing, wipers, light systems and all common OBD2 scanner functioning.
MK808 supports a variety of vehicles that are 1996 US-based and 2000 EU based OBD2 compliant such as Acura, Audi, AUFord, Bentley, Benz, BMW, Bugatti, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Efurd, Ford, GM, Holden, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jaguar, KIA, etc.
It covers all major PIDs and works and has a built-in Android 4.4.4.
- A9 processor processes queries really quickly.
- Works on Android.
- Comes with a charger.
- 1-year warranty
- Doesn’t support ECU programming.
BAFX Products Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tools
BAFX Products Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tool
4.4 / 5
Numerous similar OBD2s CLAIM to operate on all vehicles but have issues with the J1850 & CAN protocol however….. the BAFX OBD actually DOES operate on all vehicles & ALL OBD2 protocols!
BAFX is an OBD2 scanner that performs diagnoses on your vehicle’s engine and provides with instant results. Moreover, it is the among the most popular models on the market.
Displays Real-time Results:
Running a diagnosis while the vehicle is in motion can help driven can detect malfunctions in real-time. These include engines issues, overheating issues, sensory problems etc.
BAFX shows datasets in a graphical form which is easy to read.
BAFX also lets you perform smog testing to check for excess emissions in the car.
This can check Coolant Temp, Oils Temp, CEL(check engine light), Fault Codes, Air Fuels Ratio, Fuels Pressure, DPF Temp, oxygen Sensoring, Fuels Trim, Emission Test, etc.
The downside of BAFX is that it loses connectivity on some makes.
Moreover, it doesn’t have an app of its own. You will need to download a third party app to use it. An app is a good idea for easy software display.
These can be operated via a smartphone. It complies with Android and Windows phones only and is compatible with 1996 and newer, including hybrid cars. Additionally, it is also compatible with some vehicles outside of the USA – check your supplier for more information. You don’t want to find one that isn’t compatible and ultimately waste your money.
It complies with all OBDII regulations including CAN & J1850 protocols.
- 2-year warranty
- Quick sensoring fresh
- Real-time data reading
- Device compatibility – check your device
ANCEL AD310 Cheap OBD2 Scanner
4.5 / 5
This OBD2 scanner is a great upgrade from the more basic OBD-II scanners. The major use of this scanner is detecting the Engine and configuring error codes. Connect via your OBD2 port and experience the efficiency of this model!
This model serves as a plugged and played device and is the best for any user due to its fast speed.
With the AD310, you can Check Engine Light, I/M Monitor Readiness Testing and Turn Off the MIL (check engine light). They’re truly innovative OBD II scanners!
Easy To Use:
This only has four buttons. Two for scrolling, two for entering and exiting.
AD310 lets you do a smog test, but doesn’t provide advanced feature offerings such as SRS, Transmission, air bag systems, coding etc.
It can’t be operated with a phone and only works on a 12V battery.
Used with 1996 and newer US makes.
- 3-year warranty.
- Multi-lingual display.
- Charges directly from the OBD2 connectors.
- The display stays clear sometimes and device needs to be reset.
Foxwell NT201 Engine OBDii Reader
FOXWELL NT201 OBDII EOBD is an essential scanner which allows mechanics or car owners to verify repairs, checks State Emission Monitor Statuses and solves basic engine issues quickly and efficiently. Its 2.4” TFT color screen, hot key for I/M readiness testing and read/clear DTCs make it deserve the money.
NT201 is far better than many as it offers almost all the basic functioning and complies with OND2, EOBD JOBD and CAN cars including trucks, SUVs and minivans also. This cements it as the best for many.
FOXWELL NT201 is capable of configuring and erasing codes. It offers a wide range of basic functioning including I/M Readiness Statuses test, Read & Clear DTCs, VINs, DTCs, Freeze Frames Data, oyxgen Sensoring, EvapTest, CID, CVN, On-board Monitor Test, Smog Test, Turn off MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lights).
There are 3 LED indicators. Green means the vehicle is in good condition. Yellow indicates there’s a fault that has been solved. Red light indicates there’s a serious problem and needs help. The green/yellow/red system is an effective way of ensuring modes are functioning as they should, according to reviews.
Ease of Use:
It’s very easy to use. Connect it to the DLC socket and you’re good to go. There’s a 2.4 TFT color display and also a built-in speaker.
It complies with OBD2/EOBD/JOBD & CAN.
As for protocols, in this case it supports J1859-41.6, ISO9141, J1850-10.4, CAN, KWP2000 (ISO 14230).
It supports any thing 1996 and newer.
Connects with a cable.
- 3-year warranty.
- Multi-lingual display, for ease of use.
- Compatible with a wide range of cars.
- Dust protection.
- Instruction manual is printed small.
ANCEL AD410 OBDII Affordable Scanner
ANCEL AD410 OBDII Affordable Scanner
4.3 / 5
This product is a great upgrade from the more basic device, It displays real-time live data reported by the ECUs, engine temperature, oxygen sensor readings etc, and has a handy user interface with high performance. A brilliant market brand for a number of users.
AD410 offers Check Engine Light, I/M, Monitors Readiness Test, Turn Off the MIL (check engine light), View Freeze Frames Data, Pending Codes, such as fault code, and fixes them, too.
It offers some advanced testings include emission and oxygen sensoring.
Easy To Use:
It has a 2.4 TFT true color display along with an innovative design. One can operate the scanner without even glancing at the manual.
With AD410, you can do a smog test as well.
Lifetime Free Software Updates:
You can have updated software for a lifetime, however, phones aren’t supported. You will need to connect the device to a PC with a cable.
This can’t be operated with a phone and only works on a 12V battery.
Supports all 1996 and newer US models.
- Has the latest OBD2 DTC Lookup libraries (updateable)
- 262k LCD Display.
- Meant to work with STM 32 bit CPU, hence high speed performance.
- Supports multiple languages.
- Used on a 12V battery only.
Autel MaxiLink ML619 OBD2 Scan Tool
Autel MaxiLink ML619 OBD2 Scan Tool
4.4 / 5
Quickly diagnose issues with a vehicle with the Autel MaxiLink ML619 Reader. This handheld is ideal for detecting faults on ABS, supplemental restraint systems and air bag systems, and performing OBDII diagnoses
Autel Maxilink ML619 is an OBD2 scan tool that can detect faults on anti-lock brakes ABS, SRSs, airbag systems, etc.
It can also read generic and manufacturer specific codes. It’s certainly one of the greatest for performance, especially for the money. The scanner comes with a USB cable, 16GB micro SD card, and a nylon cover.
Autel Maxilink ML619 offers some useful advanced features including ABS Warning Lights. This provides the power to the user, giving you a choice of high quality experience.
With Autel Maxilink ML619, you read and clear codes that are pending, check and clear CEL codes, and displays drive cycle readiness as well.
Code And Cause:
You won’t be only seeing a trouble code on the screen but a full explanation. For example, if something’s wrong in the intake valve, it will show P1135 = ‘Intake Valve Timing Control Bank 2’.
Autel Maxilink ML619 does tell you about the functioning in the ABS but doesn’t stream live ABS sensor signals.
Autel Maxilink ML619 supports a wide range of cars including:
Ford, GM, Honda, Holden, Mitsubishi, Rover, Acura, FIAT, Audi, Nissan and all the cars that are 1996 and newer (OBD2 and CAN) models.
Autel Maxilink ML619 is one of the best obd2 readers which is a corded device.
- Live graph data.
- Updates are free.
- Can be used on multiple cars.
- 46 feet cord can be too short for some people.
LAUNCH Creader 3001 OBDii Reader
LAUNCH Creader 3001 OBD2 Reader
5 / 5
This supports OBDII/EOBD protocols, Works on MOST 1996 US-Based, 2000 EU-Based and Asian cars, and any newer OBD II & CAN domestic or import car. Supports English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Portuguese.
You won’t find a better OBD2 code reader than Creader 3001. It offers almost everything except for advanced functioning. This is why many consider it to be the best car code reader for basic functioning.
It offers a wide range of basic functioning including I/M Readiness statuses test, DTCs, VINs Information, Freeze Frames Data, Dataset Stream, oxygen Sensor, Evap System Test, On-board Monitor Testings, Smog Test, Turn off MIL(Malfunction Indicator Lights)
DTC Lookup Library:
See trouble codes explanation.
This OBD2 is compatible with all US 1996 and newer, and supports both OBD II & CAN vehicles.
Connects with a 2.5 feet cable, however, can’t be controlled with a phone/ mobile interface.
- 2-year warranty – premium covergae for your car diagnostics.
- Insulator cable.
- Supports multiple languages.
- Dust cap design – protection against dust.
- No instructional manual.
How Does OBD-II Work?
These handy devices link up the computer database within your vehicle to diagnose all systems. Every tool is unique, but each will provide the capability of detecting DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes).These identify and locate potential problem areas containing trouble codes.
Today’s vehicles are a lot smarter and have the capability to self-correct issues. However, some issues need our external assistance. If the check engine or malfunction light turns on, this means the PCM (power control module) can’t decode your error.
How to Use an OBD2 Scanner: A Step-by-Step Guide
Here’s a basic guide to how you can use your scanner as an effective diagnostic system.
1: Initial Set-up:
- Turn OFF car ignitions before connecting equipment
- Locate the 16-pin DLC port, which is usually behind the steering wheel
- Plug in your OBD connector from your tool into the DLC port
- Turn ignitions ON- though note the engine doesn’t need to be running
- Use the scanner’s interface buttons to scroll and select components from the main screen. You can press ENTER/ EXIT to select different options- such as a system summary from the diagnostic tool menu
2: Code Reading
- The diagnostic scanner menu should have a READ CODES option
- Here you can access and read stored, pending, and permanent codes and their definitions
3: Code Erasing
- The diagnostic menu should have an ERASE CODES option
- Here, you’ll be asked to confirm deletion – select yes or confirm if you wish to delete a code
4: Live Data
- Scroll down to the live dataset function
- Wait a moment for your tool to access the stream of datasets from your engine
- If you want to view a complete dataset, select complete datasetand press enter
5: Freeze Frames
- Select the titlefrom the diagnostic menu
- Wait for your device to detect the vehicle’s information
- Use the scroll function to read messages from your vehicle’s freeze frames data
- If there’s no dataset to be viewed, you should see a message indicating there’s no dataset stored
6: I/M Readiness
- Select the titlefrom the diagnostic menu
- If your device allows you to view two different cycles, you should be able to select between the current drive cycle and DTCs cleared
- The screen will show you a list of codes to monitor variables such as fuels system monitor (FUEL) or engine misfire (MIS)
- Select what you wish to view, and when you’re done press ENTER/EXITto return to the menu
7: Retrieve Vehicle Information
- Select this title from the display menu
- An advisory message may remind you to turn OFF the ignition/ engine
- After a short wait, you’ll be able to see vehicle stats onscreen
- Here, you can read VIN number, ID number, Calibration and more
What to Do When Your OBD2 Scanner Does Not Work:
The first and most common issue, according to folks’ comments, answers, and every opinion, is connecting to your scanner to your vehicle. If the touchscreen indicates no response when you plug your device in, there may be a communication issue. Many owners of automobiles turn to Youtube to find a solution. Here are some of the essentials to try if nothing else works:
- Ensure your ignitions key is turned to ‘ON’
- Make sure your cable is placed firmly in the DLC port
- Check your vehicle’s compatibility to avoid a problem
- Turn off your car, wait up to 10 seconds, then turn it on and try again
Sometimes a tool buyer will find no fault in device connection, but will find that their OBD2 scanner fails in operation. If this is your issue, your OBD2 scanner could be freezing or running a lot more slowly. Here’s what we recommend to fix your OBD2 scanner operation:
- Reset your tool
- Turn off your ignition, turn it on, and try again
If your tool doesn’t turn on at all, you might have to check that:
- Your cable is securely in the DLC port
- All pins in the port are present and straight
- The vehicle battery is charged to at least 8 volts