Innova diagnostic tools are among the best on the market today. The company makes a wide range of them, from entry-level devices to high-end ones that cost thousands of dollars, from OBD1 scanners to OBD2 scanners and diagnostic code readers.
What Exactly is OBD?
Important side notes if you are new to OBD: OBD is short for onboard diagnostics. It’s a system that vehicles use to diagnose themselves, identify problem areas and report those problems to the user.
For you to view diagnostic reports (usually in the form of codes) you need an automotive diagnostic scanner. Now that’s where OBD scanners come into play. Cars made prior to 1996 are OBD1 compliant while those made from 1996 onward are OBD2 compliant.
How Did We Rank Our Favorite Innova Diagnostic Tools?
We tested a variety of Innova car diagnostic tools before picking the best from the batch. The 9 scanners that appear on this list performed impressively, and each one earned a spot in the review.
To ensure we provide the most accurate information we can, each scan tool is evaluated against a fixed set of criteria. For these scanners, the main factors taken into consideration were:
SImplicity of use – We want to make sure any tool we recommend is accessible to both professional and DIY mechanics alike. Any tool that is easy to learn and use gets an edge in our rankings.
Practicality – Not every user needs the entire gamut of advanced features in their diagnostic tools. We prioritized scanners with features that ordinary car owners and DIYers need in their tools so nothing is overly complicated (or expensive).
Compatibility – Every scan tool on the market has limitations on the makes and models it works on. We made sure that every tool on this list is compatible with the majority of mainstream cars so you can easily find a tool that works with one (or multiple) vehicles in your garage.
Affordability – We want to keep your costs low, so we consider overall cost and compare with other tools to ensure you get the most for your money.
Comparison Chart: Our 3 Favorite Innova Diagnostic Tools
Don’t have enough time to read the whole review? Here is a comparison chart that you can skim through.
|Best of The Best||Best Innova OBD1 Scanner||Runner-Up|
4.2 / 5
4.2 / 5
4.3 / 5
|Product Dimensions||10.6" x 7.5" x 1.8"||2.5" x 15" x 10.5"||10" x 8" x 1.5"|
OBD2 Scan Tool
OBD1 Scan Tool
OBD2 Scan Tool
OBD2 cars, SUV light trucks, and hybrids
Mainstream OBD1 (e.g. GM, Ford, Toyota, Jeep etc.)
OBD2 cars, SUV light trucks, and hybrids
CEL, ABS, Oil Reset, Battery Reset
CEL, Transmission, Numeric Codes
CEL,SRS, ABS, I/M Readiness, Oil Reset, Battery Reset, Freeze Frame
The 9 Best Innova Diagnostic Tools of 2022
While Innova is generally a reliable brand of OBD automotive tools, not every Innova scan tool offers the same functionality.
In this review, we talk about the following Innova tools:
- INNOVA 3145 OBD1 Code Reader for Ford – Editor’s Pick
- Innova 3040e OBDII Scan Tool with Live Data – Editor’s Pick
- Innova 3100j ABS SRS Scanner with Freeze Frame
- Innova 3160g Bluetooth Scanning Tool with ABS SRS Live Data
- Innova 3123 OBD1 Code Scanner for GM
- Innova 3020 OBD2 Diagnostic ABS Scan Tool
- Innova 3150f ABS SRS Bluetooth Scan Tool with Charging Test
- Innova 3120 Diagnostic OBD1, OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
- Innova 3030h Engine Code Reader with Freeze Frame
1. INNOVA 3145 OBD1 Code Reader for Ford – Editor’s Pick
The Innova 3145 allows you to access the onboard computer on your Ford car and pull engine codes. It’s an entry-level Innova code reader, so as expected it doesn’t cover much beyond the ECM.
That said, it does read and clear engine DTCs, and in doing so allows you to reset the Check Engine Light. The DTCs come as numeric codes, so you won’t face the trouble of having to count flashes.
It has an inbuilt memory that stores codes after you’ve unplugged the device. That means you can still review the diagnostic data even when the scanner is not connected to your car.
Like the Innova 3123 above, this particular code reader works on OBD1 cars. The difference is while the 3123 is designed for GM vehicles the 3145 covers the Ford brand of cars. You can use it on domestic Fords, Lincolns and Mercury’s manufactured between 1982 and 1995.
- Package includes a user manual with code definitions
- Very affordable
- The included adapter cable is too short, you may need to buy an extension cable
- Only works on Ford vehicles that are OBD1 compliant
The Innova 3145 is arguably the best Ford scan tool for OBD1 cars due to its simplicity. You don’t need expert knowledge to find your way around it. In case you need help, it comes with a manual that has a ‘how to’ guide and code definitions. That’s what makes it great for ordinary car owners.Learn More
2. Innova 3040e OBDII Scan Tool with Live Data – Editor’s Pick
IInnova 3040e makes up for some of the shortcomings of the 3120 above. For instance, it can generate live graphical data as an oil light reset. You can also use the scanner as a battery tester, as well as for alternator tests.
Live data is particularly essential because it enables you to view real-time diagnostic reports.
As such, you can see the issues that have been fixed and those that are still pending during the repair process. This is a great feature for all but especially for DIYers and mechanics.
On matters diagnostics, this Innova scan tool can read and clear engine and ABS trouble codes. So if you are looking to reset the Check Engine Light then this device makes for a good option. The same goes for the ABS warning light.
The Innova 3040e works on most domestic and foreign OBD2 vehicles. More specifically, it covers cars, SUVs, hybrids and light trucks made from 1996 to date. That said, there are a few issues about the scanner missing some codes on certain makes and models of vehicles.
For example, it might not be able to pull ABS codes on Honda, Toyota and several other Asian-made cars. But if your car is American-made you shouldn’t have such issues.
- Conveniently resets Check Engine Light and ABS warning light
- Comes with free lifetime software updates
- Has a short adapter cable. You may need to buy an extension cable
The range of functions makes this Innova scanner ideal for DIYers. It doesn’t offer advanced functions that a professional needs. But for a DIY person, the functionality is more than enough to prove a vehicle’s ECM successfully.Learn More
3. Innova ABS SRS Diagnostic Scan Tool 3100j with Freeze Frame
Capable of checking the engine, SRS and ABS for errors, this Innova scanner is an entry-level tool that brings quite a lot to the table. First off it can read and erase ECM, SRS and ABS codes. As such, the scanner can reset the Check Engine Light as well as SRS and ABS warning lights.
Secondly, the Innova 3100j supports oil reset. The best part about this function is that you get a step by step guide on how to do it. You don’t need to be savvy with cars to perform this function.
Additionally, this Innova code reader performs emissions readiness tests. Basically, it checks the EVAP system and reports whether your car will pass a smog test.
According to Innova, the 3100j should work on any 1996 or newer car. That’s to say it is designed for OBD2 compliant vehicles that include cars, SUVs, hybrids and light trucks. While that’s the case for US-made cars, it doesn’t support ABS and SRS diagnostics on many EU and Asian brands.
Still, on the issue of compatibility, this Innova scan tool can hook to a PC and print diagnostic data. But it only works on Windows computers, not Macs.
- Very light and portable
- Good deal for money considering diagnostic and data pulling capabilities
- Compatibility issues with some EU and Asian made cars
- Doesn’t have the best guide. You may need to rely on the internet for things like code definitions
If you are a professional mechanic who knows codes off the top of your head you won’t need to check online for code definitions. However, you will find the Innova 3100j largely lacking because it doesn’t support advanced diagnostics. Not even transmission system scans.
That’s why it’s ideal for DIYers and beginner mechanics. If you are just starting off it offers enough to give you a hang of diagnostics.Learn More
4. Innova 3160g Bluetooth Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS SRS Live Data
The Innova 3160g scan tool can diagnose and reset the Check Engine Light. In addition to that, it can pull and clear ABS and SRS codes. Plus it supports emission readiness tests.
So as far as basic OBD2 diagnostics, the only thing you won’t be able to do is to check the transmission system. Regardless, it does offer some additional features that may be handy. For example, it can reset the oil light and battery maintenance light.
Compared to the scanners we’ve covered so far, this Innova scan tool offers the best data stream. With a 3.5-inch screen, it doesn’t just display real-time numeric data but can also show live graphs.
You can record your diagnostic data and analyze it later. Alternatively, you can connect the scanner to a PC and download it there for further analysis.
While the Innova 3160g is generally compatible with OBD2 cars, the range of functions that you will get depends on where your car was manufactured. You can read and erase engine codes (reset the CEL) on any 1996 or newer car, domestic or foreign. That includes cars, SUVs, light trucks and hybrids.
However, when it comes to ABS and SRS diagnostics, the device doesn’t always work on foreign cars.
There are several complaints regarding compatibility issues with Jeeps, Toyotas, Hondas and many other EU or Asian-made brands. You might want to check the Innova website to confirm whether your car is fully supported.
- Features a well-lit 3.5-inch screen
- Has Bluetooth for wireless connectivity
- Supports ECM, ABS, SRS and EVAP system diagnostics
- Gives data in numerical as well as graphical formats
- Built with hotkeys for easy access to essential functions
- Quite pricey compared to other entry-level Innova scan tools
- Other than engine diagnostics, there’s no guarantee that other functions will work on a foreign car
The compatibility issues of the Innova 3160g are a letdown. However, if you find that it is fully compatible with your car then you will love its functionality. This is a typical scanner for DIYers and beginner auto technicians.Learn More
5. Innova 3123 OBD1 Code Scanner for GM
The 3123 is one of Innova’s premier diagnostic tools for OBD1 cars. Designed specifically for the GM brand of vehicles, this device reads engine (ECM) and ABS codes.
Being an OBD1 car scanner, the Innova 3123 is not exactly your high tech scan tool. Besides numeric codes, it also gives DTCs by flashing the engine light a certain number of times depending on the nature of the problem. You need to be keen to count the flashes accurately and interpret them correctly.
Luckily the package includes a user guide with code definitions. With a bit of effort and reading, you will be able to locate an engine or ABS-related problem.
The Innova 3123 is a GM scan tool that works on domestic cars made between 1982 and 1995. Those are basically OBD1 GM cars. If yours was made after 1995 then it’s an OBD2 model and that means it’s not covered by this Innova scanner.
- Connects to a car’s onboard computers safely
- Great for pulling ECM and ABS codes; and resetting CEL
- Comes with the comprehensive user guide that includes code definitions
- Multilingual menu. Supports English, French and Spanish
- Small and compact for easy portability and in-car storage
- Very affordable
- Flashing codes require time and effort to interpret
- A cord is too short. You may need to buy an extension cable
- Can only pull codes, it doesn’t erase them
The simplicity and low cost of this Innova code reader make it perfect for the ordinary car owner. If you own a GM car and don’t want to spend hundreds of bucks to get your engine or ABS codes from a shop then it makes perfect sense to buy this device.Learn More
6. Innova 3020 OBD2 ABS Diagnostic Scan Tool
The Innova 3020 and Innova 3040e are similar in a few ways. For starters, both can perform ECM and ABS diagnostics. It follows that the 3020 can also reset the Check Engine Light as well as the ABS warning light.
Just like the 3040e, this Innova code reader can display up to 25 pieces of information on the screen. It also offers live data, but you don’t get graphical PIDs with this one.
However, its ability to refresh after every 30 seconds means you get real-time diagnostic reports. The benefit of that is that you will instantly know if a problem has been fixed during repair.
A red LED means there’s an urgent problem with your emissions system. A yellow means there’s a possible problem while a green one means everything is okay. Simple as it is, this test will help you know whether your car will pass state and federal emission checks.
This Innova scan tool is designed to cover domestic and foreign OBD2 vehicles. It should work on cars, SUVs, light trucks and hybrids. However, like the 3040e above, the ABS check function doesn’t always work on all vehicles. That’s despite Innova’s claim that it checks ABS on ALL OBD2 vehicles.
In fact, there are several complaints about some of the most mainstream brands like Honda, Toyota, GM and Ford. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predetermine whether the ABS diagnostic function will work on your car.
- Great for resetting Check Engine Light
- Ergonomic design with a small and compact size
- Covers a wide range of car brands including GM, Honda, Ford and Toyota
- Features a clearly back-lit display screen
- Can show the status of your emissions monitors
- Offers good value for money
- Tends to miss some codes, especially ABS codes
- Too basic for professional use
It might not be good for a professional mechanic but the Innova 3020 can be a lifesaver for a DIYer or ordinary car owner. It not only checks a car’s engine system but also scans ABS and runs emission tests. That’s what most DIYers and car owners need most.Learn More
7. Innova 3150f ABS SRS Bluetooth Diagnostic Scan Tool with Charging Test
The Innova 3150f is capable of reading and resetting ECM, ABS and SRS codes. By resetting engine (ECM) codes this Innova scanner allows you to turn off the Check Engine Light. Similarly, when you reset ABS and SRS trouble codes you will be able to turn off their respective warning lights.
In addition to pulling and deleting codes, the 3150fcan perform battery maintenance and oil service resets. Basically, it’s a reliable device for getting rid of nagging warning lights.
But you will have to rely on online resources to interpret codes. Its guide and the built-in code definitions are far from dependable.
This device is meant to perform diagnostics on OBD2 cars, both domestic and foreign. For the most part, it does that, particularly in ECM diagnostics and emission tests. However, like most other entry-level scanners from Innova, the 3150f is mainly targeted for US-made cars.
It should come as no surprise that not all functions work on some of the most mainstream EU and Asian cars. For example, ABS and SRS diagnostics don’t always work on some Jeep, Honda, Toyota, Benz and BMW models.
- Can reset Check Engine Light and diagnose ABS and SRS
- Offers live data to help in repair work
- Built-in Bluetooth allows streaming of data to phone/tablet
- Comes with free lifetime updates
- A multilingual menu allows you to choose between English, French and Spanish
- Features compact and lightweight construction
- Not universally compatible with all OBD2 vehicles, especially foreign models
- Doesn’t have reliable code definitions or user guide
Despite the two drawbacks, the Innova 3150f is not a bad scanner at all. It is great for car owners and DIY enthusiasts who may want to do a few repairs here and there. The live data provided helps a great deal with that.Learn More
8. Innova 3120 OBD1, OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
Unlike our first two Innova scan tools that only work on OBD1 cars, the Innova 3120 covers both OBD1 and OBD2. This mid-range diagnostic tool offers a good balance between performance, vehicle compatibility and price.
In addition to reading and clearing engine and transmission codes for OBD1 and OBD2 cars, this scanner also supports ABS diagnostics for OBD2 vehicles. So besides using it to reset the Check Engine Light, you can rely on it to tell you what’s wrong with your OBD2 ABS, tpms, or OBD1/OBD2 transmission.
The 2.8-inch color screen displays 20 pieces of data at a go. That includes codes and their definitions to help you understand what each one means. During repair, the Innova 3120 automatically refreshes after every 30 seconds to show problems that have been fixed.
As far as ECM checks and resetting the Check Engine Light, the Innova 3120 works on all mainstream OBD2 cars sold in the USA. That includes cars, SUVs and light trucks made from 1996 onward.
It also does the same for a wide selection of OBD1 cars.
First, it covers GMs made from 1982 to 1995. Secondly, the scanner works on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars that have EEC-IV systems. Those are basically Fords, Lincolns and Mercury’s that were manufactured between 1983 and 1995.
Thirdly, this Innova scanner is compatible with Toyota and Lexus models made between 1991 and 1995. It also covers Jeeps that were manufactured from 1993 to 1995. Finally, you can use it on a Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge vehicle that was made from 1984 to 1995.
- Supports one-click reset of Check Engine Light
- Provides real-time data to help during repairs
- Menus and code definitions are multilingual
- Doesn’t support all-system scans (like SRS)
- Doesn’t give live data graphs
The fact that this Innova scan tool neither supports advanced nor full system diagnostics means it just falls short for professional use. But if you are a beginner mechanic or DIY enthusiast it covers enough vehicles and offers adequate functionality.Learn More
9. Innova 3030h Engine Code Reader with Freeze Frame
The Innova 3030h is as basic as a code reader can get. It offers two of the most essential diagnostic functions.
First, it reads and erases DTCs related to the Check Engine Light. Those are basically ECM codes that usually trigger the Check Engine Light. In doing so it allows you to turn the light off.
Secondly, this Innova code reader performs emission tests. It uses color coding to indicate whether your car will pass a smog test. Just below the screen are three LEDs, one red, one yellow and one green
When the red one comes on it means your car’s EVAP system needs immediate attention. A yellow LED means there MIGHT be a problem while a green one indicates that your car’s EVAP is in perfect condition. It’s that straightforward.
Basic as it is, the Innova 3030h does offer a wide range of helpful data. For one it shows freeze frame data for various parameters like engine coolant temp, battery and fuel supply. It also notifies you when a critical DTC pops up so that you act on it with urgency.
This Innova code reader is for OBD2-compliant cars. It covers domestic as well as foreign vehicles that have the 16-pin OBD2 port. That goes for cars, SUVs, light trucks and hybrids.
It does work as advertised when reading codes. The problem comes when you want to erase a code on a foreign car. On average it will probably clear less than 75% of all the codes on a European or Asian car.
- Straightforward and simple to use
- Basic but supports CEL reset and emission tests
- Will tell you how severe a code is
- Supports English, Spanish and French languages
- Updates easily on PC (software upgrades are free)
- Doesn’t diagnose important systems like ABS, SRS and transmission
- Too basic for professional use
- Problems erasing codes on some foreign cars
The Innova 3030h is for the ordinary car owner. As long as you are not trying to do any major repairs it will offer just enough for you to maintain your engine and EVAP systems.Learn More
What’s the difference between OBD1 and OBD2?
The OBD1 system was used until 1995 after which the OBD2 system was introduced in 1996. Both have the same underlying principles but vary in functionality.
Where is the OBD port in my car?
Most cars have the OBD port under the dashboard, just below the steering wheel. However, some have it under the gearbox, just above the pedals or in the passenger compartment. It largely depends on the type of car.
What is a check engine light?
It is a warning light that indicates a malfunction in the engine control unit (ECU) or engine control module (ECM).
What is ABS?
Anti-lock braking system prevents a vehicle’s wheels from locking up when you brake. It’s essential to a car’s control and safety.
What is SRS?
The supplemental restraint system is basically a system that controls the airbag(s).
What is the EVAP system?
The evaporative emission control system prevents gas from leaking and escaping into the atmosphere. Essentially it ensures minimum pollution if any.
How can I know if an Innova scan tool is compatible with my car?
In addition to checking our reviews above, visit Innova’s website and search for the tool you are interested in. Check whether your car is listed among those covered by that scanner.
Can I use one tool for several cars?
Yes, provided all the cars are compatible with the device.