Best OBD2 Scanner in 2019 for your car problems!

No products found.

With the advent of technologies designed to make life easier, diagnostic tools for cars have become more. Check our reviews of the best OBD2 scanners!

Automobiles operate on a delicate balance, and monitoring the correct running of an automobile is important in discovering, addressing and preventing faults which could lead to accidents. This need is filled by the best automotive scanners.

Automotive scanners are “electronic tools used to interface with, diagnose and reprogram vehicle modules”. This is a fancy way of saying that the best automotive scanners work with the vehicle to tell you when there is a fault, what can be done about that fault and sometimes even fix the fault.

OBD2 Scanner Buying Guide

Before choosing a scanning device, it should be clear what type would perform the needed function-a basic code reader or a more high-end scan tool, bearing in mind that the basic tools have the most compatibility issues and do not have the programming to cover more sophisticated protocols like an high-end device would.

OBD2 enabled vehicles use at least one of the following protocols: J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, ISO 9141-2, ISO 14230-4 (KWP2000) and CAN-BUS (J1939 & ISO15765-4).

Users are advised to check the vehicle protocols before making a choice of OBD2 scanner to buy to make sure that it is compatible with the desired device and to determine whether a basic code reader would cover the functionality or a high-end device would be more appropriate. This protocol is provided on a label under the vehicle’s hood and in other strategic positions in the car. It can also be accessed on the Internet by searching for the vehicle specifications on the OBD2 scanner manufacturer’s database.

A basic understanding of the above explanation is enough to help you narrow your choice to the best, just as we have in the reviews below. However, you must also take into consideration the necessary market buying considerations, which include design, appearance, durability, customer support and even price. The best ODD2 scanners contain the perfect blend of functionality and affordability.

Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews

We have reviewed the best scanners available on the market and weighed their various strengths and weaknesses based on their features, specifications, functionality, and price. The following are in descending order of review strength – as determined by confirmed purchases on amazon as well as research done by our online investigators. You’re in good hands:

We used this three-step process

  1. Research what you should look for when buying the best scanner, based on our buying guide above
  2. Identify at least 15 popular and highly-rated models of various brands, prices, and types.

Narrow down the list to a maximum of 10 based on the criteria that are most important when selecting the best obd2 scanner

Product Quick Compare

No products found.

No products found.

The scanner requires the download of a third-party application, which can be bought at the Android or Windows store, the most recommended of which is called “Torque” . The manufacturers do specify that customers outside the USA can ask if their countries and cars are supported by the BAFX OBD2 device.

It makes it possible to read and clear “diagnostic trouble codes” (DTC) and also to read data on engine functionality like vehicle speed, long term fuel trim, short term fuel trim, timing, advance intake, air temperature and flow, oxygen sensors and much more.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

No products found.

The AUTEL MS300 plug-and-play device retrieves and interprets both generic and manufacturer-specific diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) when accessed through its companion computer. The best OBD2 scanner comes equipped with definitions lookup software on a CD, making repair and understanding of the codes easier for the user. It has an easy to use button design and is equipped with a cord and so there is no need for external hardware in using the device.

It reads and erases DTC including generic codes, pending codes and manufacturer codes on all American, Asian and European vehicles.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

No products found.

The BLUEDRIVER OBD2 scanner is highly recommended especially in the United States because it was built by automotive engineers and so comes with features that anticipate and fill the needs of mechanics.

Its data be accessed on both Android and Apple devices and it integrates the multi-functional high-end scan tool features with your smart device both handheld and tablet, allowing for quick and convenient fixes, code updates, data saving and exporting to other devices and viewing of live data.

RepairReport feature, which is an online support and help database filled verified by real automotive technicians who provide help, fixes and information on vehicle diagnostic problems to BLUEDRIVER users. Repair Report is vehicle-specific and contains valuable information such as code definition, possible causes of vehicle faults and reported fixes.

For the optimal total experience, the BlueDriver Sensor and the free BlueDriver application on iTunes and Google Play store are designed to work together as a single tool.

The device also has the freeze frame feature that takes a snapshot of the car’s diagnostics at the time a code is reported and stored.

Live data streaming and storage for later viewing is also available on this OBD2 scanner

The device reads and clears a wide variety of codes.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

No products found.

The PANLONG device is desirable more than most OBD2 devices because it reads and records real-time data from vehicles and indicates when there is a problem to be diagnosed. It is plugged into the vehicle’s OBD2 port and reads data sent by the vehicle’s diagnostic system, detects when there is a problem in those systems and provides a solution to those problems. It works on any OBD2 compatible vehicles manufactured in 1996 or newer.

The device pairs with its companion application which can be gotten on the AndroidPlay Store. It makes the user able to monitor the vehicle’s sensors, RPMs, speed, the temperature of the engine and other parameters that are not readily viewable on the vehicle’s dashboard.

It enables the user to get ahead of faults by indicating when the engine is faulty and why it is faulty before a visit to the mechanic.

Diagnostic trouble codes both generic and manufacturer-specific can be read and their meaning interpreted.

The device has an easy to use USB port system and uses Bluetooth enablement to download the vehicle’s diagnostic codes onto the android device.

Recommended applications include Torque Pro, Torque Light, OBD Car Doctor etc. available on Google Play.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

No products found.

Many automotive engineers who need advanced functions without all the hassle of learning to use a new tool use INNOVA 3160E scanner. It features advanced functionality such as live data, airbag diagnostics and optional Repair Solutions, which is a web-based service that was created to assist technicians in diagnosing and fixing modern vehicles by service providers who give professional information on repairs, repair costs, difficulty ratings of repairs and more information.

Live data streaming and recording are available on this device.

With a convenient, patented on-screen and easy to use HotKeys, it is ideal for users who do not have technical training and still works to assist technicians, saving time and money for them both.

Prompt diagnosis, repair and erasure of the causes of “check engine” light on both domestic and imported OBD2 enables vehicles of all kinds, including hybrid vehicles.

The device reads airbag/supplemental retrieval systems (SRS) in newer vehicles including hybrids.

Its patented one screen display function is available in English, French, and Spanish, showing up to 20 pieces of vital information all at the same time.

Live data can be streamed for real-time viewing or recorded to be analysed at a later time.

It also comes with a freeze-frame function that displays the fuel trim, engine temperature, etc at the time the malfunction indicator lights (MIL) came on.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

No products found.

This INNOVA product provides its users with a quick and easy way to keep up with vehicle diagnostics and repairs when problems arise. It can be used by both amateur car owners and experienced mechanics on all OBD2 compatible cars manufactured after 1996 because of its ease of use, saving time and money.

The INNOVA patented all-in-one screen and easy-to-use HotKeys and RepairSolutions, the web-based service that assists technicians of all levels to accurately and promptly diagnose and repair their vehicles, providing verified fixes, repair costs, difficulty ratings of different fixes and more.

The device reads and erases ABS and SRS light trouble codes on most cars and has an oil reset feature that provides step-by-step reset procedures for most OBD2 enabled cars.

It also has the freeze-frame feature which shows the appropriate engine conditions such as temperature and engine conditions at the time of malfunction and activation of the Malfunction Indicator Light.

Battery and alternator tests check the performance of the vehicle’s charging system.

The maintenance minder system shows engine oil life with a display light to indicate when the engine oil should be replaced or when the engine is due for maintenance. The device even comes with a step-by-step procedure manual which can be used to change the engine oil.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

No products found.

SCANTOOL’s OBD USB device is an easy-to-use diagnostic tool, effective, inexpensive and saves time. Its UBS 2.0 port interface just needs to be plugged into the vehicle’s port to turns the user’s tablet or Windows Vista laptop into a real-time vehicle performance monitor.

It quickly and accurately diagnoses vehicle problems and accesses performance parameters for all vehicles supporting OBD2 protocols and works on cars manufactured from 1996 or newer. It also supports the international variants of OBD2 (EOBD and JOBD), even though it is not Ford MS-CAN and GM SW-CAN enabled. It makes it possible for the car owners to check diagnostic codes and make repairs.

Its’ fast connection speed enables it to provide smoother graphs and real-time gauges of a vehicle function. Data can also be stored for reference purposes and erased when they are no longer necessary, and the freeze-frame feature is available to assess the condition of the vehicle’s engine and diagnostics at the time of malfunction and code activation. The display feature can graph and log up to 90plus real-time parameters and custom digital dashboards displaying the user’s preferred diagnostic parameters can be created.

It also has a battery saver feature that does not drain the car battery.

Free windows diagnostic software is included with the purchase of the device

The device measures and displays fuel economy.

The OBD2 scanner supports single-wire CAN (GMLAN) and Ford medium-speed CAN (MS-CAN), and has a large CAN vehicle buffer which makes it stable.

Supported devices are smartphones and tablets with Android 3.1 software and newer, and Windows devices on PCs and tablets with Windows XP SP2 and newer operating systems and a viable USB port.

Companion applications include Torque Pro, OBDLink, DashCommand, and Harry’s Lap Timer.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

No products found.

It is a compact Bluetooth-enabled OBD2 device that works with all OBD2 compliant cars(except for hybrid or electric cars). It takes 3 minutes to install, which is convenient and easy.The device is multi-functional as a scan tool, logger and real-time performance monitor for the cars and is up to 300% more effective than other scan devices available.

It is compatible with many third-party OBD software and mobile apps on Android, Windows and Blackberry devices.

It reads and erases trouble codes both generic and manufacturer-specific, accesses freeze-frame information and can display up to 90 real time parameters like engine capability, fuel economy and other diagnostic information.

It also offers a lot of third-party applications and software options, and free firmware updates included in the package.

The device also has maximum vehicle coverage and battery-saver mode.

It also features a unique, multi-layered security masking it from view, unlike other devices which can be viewed by any smartphones in the vicinity and use an easy-to-guess four digit pin. This makes it very difficult to be accessed by unauthorized users.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

No products found.

KOBRA wireless OBD2 car code reader is an automobile diagnostic tool manufactured by Goliath Industries that uses wi-fi to connect to android, iOS and windows devices, and boasts of helping diagnose any car trouble and saving money, in addition to being easy to use which makes it ideal for inexperienced, DIY users with no technical experience. KOBRA is compatible with most cars and trucks in the United States of America so far as they are OBD2 enabled and manufactured from 1996. Customers from other countries need to contact KOBRA customer care to get information on the OBD2 compatibility of their cars.

The car’s on-board computer offers a real-time feed of data streaming from the car, giving the user a complete picture of the inner workings of the car and highlighting any faults so that pre-emptive strike can be undertaken to manage and eliminate car trouble.

It offers a wide variety of code definition database and is very effective and offers wide functionality.

Its LED indicator display reads and displays the meaning of both generic and manufacturer-specific diagnostic codes, more than 3000, in fact.

This scanner uses various third-party applications, both free and paid including Torque pro for Android and OBD Car Doctor for iOS.

The device has also been recently upgraded to include improved wi-fi signal range, enhanced application compatibility and upgraded components.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

No products found.

The AUTEL AUTOLINK OBD2 scanner works on most OBD2 compatible vehicles both domestic and imported so far as it was manufactured after 1996. It has the unique feature of the patented one-click I/M readiness key for quick state emissions readiness check and drives cycle verification. It features both a multilingual visual and audible indications, as it has both a LED screen and built-in speakers.

When the Malfunction Indicator Light comes on, it easily determines the cause of the malfunction, and the light can be automatically turned off and the codes reset. Data can be freeze-framed for review, and the display features all the parameters displayed at once, eliminating the need to scroll. The device is easy to use and reliable and can be updated via the internet.

It enables users to verify repairs, perform road tests, check State Emission Monitor Status and solve basic engine and drivability problems.

This scanner can be powered externally via the vehicle battery.

It retrieves all manufacturer specific codes, generic and pending codes.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

What Are OBD2 Scanners?

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) is a self-diagnostics system formulated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) according to specifications laid down by the American Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). This system works by using a car’s onboard computer hooked up to a standardized, external self-diagnostics system to report on the state of the vehicle’s mechanics and detect faults when they arise.

The earliest OBD systems (designated OBD1) had to be adapted to suit different car manufacturers. The newer systems have been upgraded to use the same communication protocols, code designations and connectors for all the car manufacturers.

Thus, the best OBD2 scanner can provide the desired data required across all makes and models of cars produced in and after 1996, making it more universal and easier to use.

This eliminates unnecessary waste of resources in the maintenance of vehicles of different types and streamlines the process of automotive diagnostics so that even an inexperienced user who wants the DIY experience can undertake diagnostics successfully with the use of the best OBD2 scanner.

Classes Of OBD2 Scanners

The difference in the class creates a distinctive categorization which eventually helps your choice more straight forward. OBD2 scanners can be broadly divided into two categories:

Code readers can read and clear codes from any OBD2 enabled vehicle. They are limited in this function in that after reading the faulty vehicle codes, an experienced mechanic or a manual would still be needed to interpret the codes and proffer solutions to the errors. They just provide basic information.

Scan tools are more varied in function, and thus more expensive. The user is given access to a wide range of features including manufacturer-specific codes, a database of information to draw upon when there are faults and specific fixes for code errors. Due to this comprehensive function, scan tools are the best diagnostic tool able to be used even by an inexperienced vehicle owner with ease.

How Do OBD2 Scanners Work?

OBD2 scanners are equipped with several features that are determined by what class they belong to: scan tools or basic code readers. Either way, their interaction with the vehicle is accomplished in the same way.

OBD2 enabled vehicles to have ports, activation centers and sensors in strategic positions all over the interior of the car. This enables them to monitor the proper functioning of the vehicle and control engine functions through the onboard computer, taking regular readings of both normal and abnormal activities of the vehicle.

This it does by taking regular readings of different systems in the car including the engine, chassis, frame and other parts of the car. These readings are then charted against a pre-determined and standardized set of codes that represent different areas of the vehicle’s functionality, and abnormalities are easily spotted and reported as error codes.

All the information gathered is stored in the system and can be assessed by attaching a computer or smart device to the port and downloading the codes. This makes it so easy to pinpoints faults and under what conditions the damage or malfunction occurred. It also makes implementing a specific solution easy, eliminating generalized hail-Mary fixes that might do more harm than good.

The best OBD2 scanners even have support hotlines that can provide technical help to car owners and mechanics, while others are equipped with comprehensive user manuals even in the form of interactive videos, which the user can access and follow the instructions step by step to repair the noticed fault.

Both professional mechanics and DIY-enthusiasts could find an OBD scanner invaluable in their arsenal of tools, even though the expensive, high-end scanners could be unnecessary and too expensive.

More difficult fixes can be left to a professional or the needed step-by-step information for correcting the fault can be accessed on any available companion manual if it is provided.

Other Posts You Might Like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.