Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews, Comparisons & Buyer’s Guide

Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews, Comparisons & Buyer’s Guide

best obd2 scannersOnboard diagnostics scanners are incredible tools that help scan your ride and tell you the problem. As automobiles go high-tech, you are looking at a lot of auto jargon that could throw you off and cost you more on repairs.

That’s why it’s important to know what you are talking about when you step into a garage. With an OBD2 scanner, it is an easy task on your hands since mechanics also use the same OBD2 scanners that you will find on the market.

Better still, you can avoid major repairs since you will know about the small issues like adding oil to your system instead of changing your radiator.

Best OBD2 Scanners 2018

ModelSpecialtyBest ForConnectivityRepair ReportsUnique FeaturesPrice
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII ScannerRead and clear codes
Clear engine light
GM, Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, (BMW, VW 2003+ in North America)Android
iPhones
iPads
Code definition
Possible fixes
• Live data
• Mode 6
• Smog check
• Freeze frame
• Save and send reports
• Checks airbag information
Check Price
FOXWELL NT301Read and clear codes
Clear engine light
Reset monitors
Worldwide cars, light trucks, SUVs, minivansMini-USB
Windows
Built-in DTC reports• Live data on sensors
• Freeze frame
• Enhanced Monitor 6
• Automatic VIN acquisition
• I/M key
• Print data
• LED notifications
Check Price
Autel AutoLink AL319Read and clear codes
Clear engine light
All 1996 and newer vehiclesMini-USB
Windows
DTC definitions• Freeze frame data
• I/M readiness key
• Color-coded LEDs
Check Price
SEEKONE SK860Read and define codes
Clear codes and turn off engine light
Mini-USB
Windows
DTC definitions• Live data stream
• I/M readiness key
• 15-ft. cord
• Rugged design
• Automatic VIN acquisition
Check Price
Autel MaxiDAS DS808Full system diagnostics81 US brands, Asian, and European after 2001Wi-FiOnboard repair service• CAN-capable
• Programmable keys
• ECU information retrieval
• Automatic VIN reader
• ABS, EPB, TPMS, etc. information
Check Price
Launch Creader 908111 system resets including ABS Bleeding reset1996 US-based
200 European and Asian models
(over 46 car models)
Mini-USB
Windows
None• I/M readiness key
• O2 sensor test
• Onboard monitor test
• 4.0-inch screen with hotkeys
Check Price
ANCEL FX6000Comprehensive OBD2 scanning95% of US carsMini-USB
Windows
DTC fixes• ABS, SRS, EPB, SAS, etc. resets
• Freeze frame
• I/M readiness key
• Free online upgrades
Check Price
Actron CP9690 Trilingual OBD I/OBD II Elite AutoScanner Pro KitRead and clear codes turn off engine light1984-1995 OBD1
1996 and newer OBD2 cars
Mini USB
Windows
26 million DTC fixes• Print function
• Live and freeze frame data
• Airbag and ABS coverage
Check Price
NEXPEAK NX501Read and clear codes
Turn off engine light
Perform battery and sensor analysis
1996 and newer US modelsMini-USB
Windows
DTC fixes• Battery analysis
• Memory card storage
• Freeze frame and live data
• O2 sensor test and smog checks
Check Price
KINGBOLEN KW850Read and clear engine codes
Display code definitions
1996 and newer US car makesMini USB
Windows
DTC tips• PCM data stream
• Live sensor and battery analysis
• VIN, CID, and CVN info
• Lifetime free online update
Check Price

1. BlueDriver Professional Bluetooth OBDII Scanner for Android, iPhone, and iPad

When the check engine light comes up, all you want is to find and fix the problem as soon as possible. But before you pull in to your mechanic’s shop, you can diagnose and fix the problem with a reliable OBD2 scanner. BlueDriver does not only give you the diagnostics data, but it also offers repair suggestions.

Performance Features

Designed by top professional engineers in North America, it has become a tool that many mechanics trust to identify problems and find the easiest and fastest fixes. With a database of over 6.6 million fixes, the scanner can give you a report for your specific vehicle model.

This scanner works via Bluetooth and is compatible with Android devices, iPhones, and iPads. It will work on all models produced from 1996 and newer in the USA. It is easy to use as it only needs inserting in the OBD2 port and you can leave it on. The device connects automatically to your smartphone when the Bluetooth is on.

BlueDriver does not only give you information about the check engine light. It can also check transmission codes, airbag codes, ABS codes, and other module codes in USA models like Ford, Chrysler, and GMC. If there’s a problem in one of the codes, you get the top fix that will work instead of wasting time on different repairs.

It has detailed reports that provide information about four of the probable causes of check engine light and three probable fixes that have worked with vehicles like yours. It can do smog checks and it has a mode 6 feature which helps to check all the sensors if they are within the required parameters.

Finally, you can save and share the reports with mechanics over email, or send it to friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Snags

This scanner does not show all the live engine features on models like the Ford Diesel. You will also notice that the data display is not all straightforward since the lines of data do not point directly to the data it is referring to making it a bit confusing to figure out.

Pros

  • Smog checks
  • Interprets specialty codes from three major USA manufacturers
  • Live data transmissions
  • Freeze frame data
  • Compatible with most smart devices
  • Provides the most suitable probable causes

Cons

  • Can be complicated for beginners

Verdict: BlueDriver is the best value OBD2 scanner you can have. It’s unique in so many ways in that it does not only clear codes. It can scan transmission codes, ABS codes, perform pre-emission tests, and give you advanced diagnostics of your car.


2. FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner: Best Cheap

If you want a straightforward device that will read and clear codes, this is the scanner for you.

Performance Features

Save money on repairs with the Foxwell NT301. It is designed to run off of your car’s power. This scanner is a great option if you have a light duty truck and the likes of minivans manufactured after 1996. It can read and clear engine fault codes and turn off the check engine light.

You will like that it can also show live data on all your vehicle’s sensors such as the oxygen level. This allows you to be aware of what’s happening with your car such that you can act on any suspicious data in time. Data is simple to read and interpret as it is in the form of text and graphs.

The built-in DTC library adds a nice touch since you not only get to diagnose, but you can see a list of the possible fixes that can get you out of the little jam. It also allows logging and saving of data where you can come back and review the log. The 2.8-inch TFT color screen and unique keypad make the whole process straightforward even for new users.

Snags

This OBD2 scanner does not show information that is not part of the ODB 2 system. This means it cannot tell you about airbag, ABS, and oil service light information.

Pros

  • Can show live data of critical sensors
  • Emission monitor status with LED notifications
  • Allows printing of data
  • Has a built-in DTC report for reading fixes
  • Automatic VIN acquisition for mode 6 data

Cons

  • It does not have clear instructions to help beginners

Verdict: We like the simple way in which the FOXWELL NT301 has been presented. It may not give you all the information you need, but for the price, we say it is worth it. It shows crucial data that will come in handy in knowing the right approach for your car.


3. Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner: Best for Beginners

A beginner desires to have a straightforward device to eliminate guessing about picking the right fix for your car. That’s what the Autel AutoLink AL319 is all about. It lets you diagnose your vehicle in easy steps.

Performance Features

This is a plug and play scanner that does not require the installation of any software and the like. It will turn off the engine light, and it can tell you some of the causes the light came on. You will be able to clear codes and reset monitors as well.

This scanner can retrieve generic and manufacturer specific codes as well as DTC definitions and pending codes. On the TFT screen, you will see all the DTC definitions to help get a fix that does not require a mechanic or searching the internet. With freeze frame data, you get to know the specific reason behind a breakdown.

A unique feature of this OBD2 scanner is the mini USB port that allows you to transport data and update the device. With the option of saving data, you can tell whether the initial problems have been solved or not.

With the I/M readiness key, it is as easy as pressing and seeing the emission status of your car.

Snags

This scanner does not provide live data operating data. It also has a 2-ft cord that is quite short. When you want to perform repairs, it cannot reach the engine compartment which beats its usefulness

Pros

  • Bright color screen
  • Turns off engine lights
  • Provides DTC definitions
  • Offers audio and visual indications
  • I/M readiness key
  • Retrieves VIN, CIN, and CVN

Cons

  • Does not give the meaning behind the error codes

Verdict: Autel AutoLink AL319 makes car diagnostics a cup of tea for most people. It provides the basics that allow taking of the right repair measures. When you have no idea why the engine light came up, consider this portable OBD2 scanner and never have to wonder.


4. SEEKONE SK860 OBD2 Scanner: Best Professional

With the ability to scan codes and give a brief description, SEEKONE SK860 OBD2 scanner tells you the exact problem.

Performance Features

This OBD2 scanner is perhaps the most straightforward device. It tells you what you want in black and white. No jargon and other technical specs will leave you wondering whether it’s your car or a spaceship that you are looking at.

The scanner reads engine fault codes alongside the definition of each code. With the built-in DTC library finding a solution is just as easy. Not only that, the scanner will reset monitors and also give numeric and graphical live data stream. This means you get to see the oxygen sensor readings, engine speed, coolant temperature, etc.

With a rugged body, you can throw it in your toolbox and not mind having it being knocked around. It comes with a 15-ft cord, so you can connect it to the engine and perform repairs with ease. It has a numeric navigation system, a 2.8-inch color scheme, and an icon-based interface for easy interpretation of the information.

SEEKONE SK860 also has an I/M readiness key backed by three status lights; green, yellow, and red. Each of the colors will help tell if your vehicle is ready for inspection or if it needs serious repairs.

Snags

This scanner does not check ABS systems. If the ABS light comes on, you have no choice but to involve a mechanic in finding out whether the hydraulic valve is working correctly or not. All other information not related to the OBD2 system cannot be scanned with this device.

Pros

  • Reads and defines codes
  • Ten OBD 2 system modes
  • I/M readiness key
  • Rugged to withstand impact
  • Long 15ft cord
  • Updated over USB on Windows PCs
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • It’s bulkier than other handheld OBD2 scanners

Verdict: Professionals and car owners will benefit from a scanner like SEEKONE SK860 OBD2. From reading and defining codes to displaying live data on various sensors, it is intuitive and ideal for many issues that come up in today’s vehicles. With the capability of updating it, this scanner is excellent now and in the future.


5. Autel MaxiDAS DS808 OBD2 Diagnostics Tool: Best Wireless 

Autel MaxiDAS DS808 is an advanced OBD2 tool. It has all the features you would like for a detailed look at your car. Whether you have a US, Asian, or European model, this scanner can handle it all.

Performance Features

Using automatic VIN acquisition, Autel MaxiDAS DS808 can provide the manufacturer’s codes alongside its generic codes. With a 7-inch touchscreen, navigating the device feels just like scrolling through a smartphone. The HD display adjusts automatically to ambient light such that it can be used in the outdoors and in the dark without fuss. Its 3.7V lithium-polymer battery provides up to 4.5 hours of use and can be charged using DC power.

It comes with an SD card slot as well as a cloud-based data manager. You can save reports locally or online over Wi-Fi. It allows you to have a clear record of the vehicle’s specifications as well as scanned data, and the technician data that can be input easily on the screen.

The functionality of this devices spans a great deal. It can perform a full OBD2 scan, provide live data on sensors, and access all ECU information. It can scan the Controller Area Network (CAN) as well as perform active tests. Its quad-core processor is accurate and produces fast results.

Snags

Beginners may not have the easiest time with this scanner. It has lots of features that make it a little difficult to understand the functions and the meaning behind the codes.

Pros

  • Programmable electronic keys
  • Full system diagnostics check
  • Live data transmission
  • Save and transfer data to SD card or to the cloud
  • 7-inch LCD screen
  • Smart Auto VIN identification
  • Tablet functions (internet browsing)

Cons

  • It is pricey

Verdict: If you are a professional or DIYer who doesn’t mind paying a little more for advanced features, you will like the Autel MaxiDAS DS808. It is a high-quality model that provides just about every diagnostic that you require with extra features like CAN-capability and programmable electronic keys.

For a device with advanced ECU coding and programming, you can check out the Autel Maxisys Elite Diagnostics Tool. It has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on top of all the extra features that the MaxiDAS DS808 has to offer.


6. Launch Creader 9081 OBD2 Scanner with ABS Bleeding Reset

A midrange OBD2 scanner that performs like a pro Launch Creader 9081 is another full system diagnostics tool.

Performance Features

With eleven reset functions, this scanner can provide information on ABS brake bleeding. You will be able to turn off the oil warning light and also calibrate the parking brake. Not only that, this scanner will come in handy to reset the battery and Body Control Module if you replace either of them. You can calibrate SAS (Steering Angle Sensor) and turn off the TMS indicator.

For such an advanced system, it can provide a comprehensive check in and outside of your car to help find problems and fixes without the pressure of a mechanic.

And when you need the input of a professional, you can match their knowledge of cars and tell the exact details of what’s happening in your car. The good thing is that you can find mechanics using this tool so no additional problems will be found without your knowledge.

The 4.0-inch screen coupled with hotkeys provides straightforward navigation. You will see the graphical data streams and select each one with ease. It is an excellent addition to any toolbox.

Snags

This scanner cannot reset airbag codes. We feel that for the price, it can do more since there are other much cheaper models with more functions. It does not have any wireless capabilities like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Storage can only be done on the SD card or using a micro USB cable.

Pros

  • OBDII/EOBD functionality
  • Eleven reset functions
  • Can read and clear DTCs
  • 4-inch color LCD
  • Graphical data streams
  • Hotkeys navigation system

Cons

  • Can’t reset airbag codes

Verdict: Launch Creader 9081 might be pricey compared to other OBD2 scanners with near-similar features. It is however unique in its display of data since it is effortless to navigate through data. Its comprehensive diagnostics are more than you could ask for a wide variety of vehicle models.

Other OBD2 scanners from Launch include the Launch X431 V+ and Launch X431 Creader VII+.


7. ANCEL FX6000 OBD2 Scanner with Airbag Reset

ANCEL FX6000 OBD2 Scanner offers ECU coding and advanced programming. It is for every car owner who is looking for more than just the basics in an OBD2 scanner.

Performance Features

Have comprehensive diagnostics with this tool. From the car’s headlights to the transmission system diagnostic, airbag reset, electronic parking brake, oil light service reset, and many others. It provides live numeric and graph data while allowing freeze frame reading. The scanner can read and clear current and past codes.

With this scanner, you can perform oxygen and smog tests and get your car ready for inspections. It supports all 1996 and newer US models, and it avails ten languages. The device receives two years of free updates which allow fixing of any bugs and readying it for features in future cars.

This scanner looks and feels robust. You have an intuitive user interface and a large TFT screen. With it, you can access thousands of DTC reported fixes to help identify the ideal action for your particular car.

Snags

ANCEL FX6000 is an expensive tool. If you are searching for a basic OBD2 scanner, you can get a better deal with their ANCEL AD410. It does not have ECU programming making it a simple device to own for the money.

Pros

  • Can diagnose diesel and gasoline vehicles
  • Offers airbag code resets
  • I/M readiness checking
  • Ten supported languages
  • DTC tips for correct fixes
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons

  • Pricey for few extra features

Verdict: ANCEL FX6000 offers extensive diagnostics. If you are going to perform the major repairs, this tool will meet your exact needs. It has a long diagnostics cable so you can perform repairs even on the outside of the car. And it comes in handy for ECU coding and programming.


8. Actron CP9690 Trilingual OBD I/OBD II Elite AutoScanner Pro Kit

Actron CP9690 is an economical OBD1/OBD2 scanner that will work with all car models from 1984. It can perform ABS and SRS Airbag reset for most 1996-2013 car makes including Ford, GM, Chrysler, Nissan, Hyundai, Honda, and Nissan.

Performance Features

This scanner is the ideal pick if you have OBD1 and OBD2 cars. It works to give quick data results. It can clear codes and help turn off the check engine light. The scanner uses TrueLink technology to help increase its compatibility with a wide array of car brands.

You will get DTC fixes as troubleshooting is coupled with the top fixes for specific problems. The scanner saves you time, and keeps you from performing the wrong repair. It has an onboard database of over 26 million codes, so no problem is left out.

The scanner can give live and freeze frame data. It provides a graphical representation of data. You can store the information for future retrieval or print a copy to take to your technician.

Being a pocket-size device, you can take it with you. The scanner is powered from the car’s OBD port, but it can also be charged externally in case the battery dies.

Snags

This scanner lacks Bluetooth and a means of pairing to other devices except with a USB cable. You are stuck carrying it around when you want to discuss the codes with a technician. There are also reported cases where it won’t work on older trucks. You will want to ensure yours is among the ones it supports.

Pros

  • Wide code coverage
  • Color screen
  • 26 million reported fixes database
  • Covers older and newer car models
  • Online customer support
  • Freeze frame and live data readings

Cons

  • Reported not to work on older trucks

Verdict: With OBD1 and OBD2 functionality, Actron CP9690 seeks to offer detailed code readings for every car that you own; new and old. It is CAN-capable, and it can reset airbag codes. You get lots of reset options, but it does not come at a budget price.


9. NEXPEAK NX501 OBD2 Scanner: Best for DIYers

Do you want premium features in a budget OBD2 scanner? You got it right in the NEXPEAK NX501. Designed to offer comprehensive diagnostics, it doesn’t get any better than this when you are tight on cash.

Performance Features

Saving you money is the name of the game with this OBD2 scanner. Appear smart and even skip the garage altogether by knowing which fixes you can perform from the comfort of your home. This scanner can turn off the malfunction light as well as provide live car monitoring of the vital sensors.

It can perform an oxygen tester test as well as a smog test. With the I/M readiness key, you can quickly know the emission status of your car and pass inspections. The scanner can also give live and freeze frame data. We do like that data is presented in a graph to help compare the status and take on the necessary fixes.

The scanner has a 2.8-inch color screen and a keypad for simple navigation. You can store and retrieve data and access VIN and CID information automatically. It can also perform battery analysis in real time to give you a comprehensive look at the voltage levels.

Snags

Domestic customer support is unavailable. Communications has to be done via email, and though NEXPEAK may be prompt, a means of talking on the phone would be a welcome feature.

Pros

  • Free lifetime upgrading
  • Live sensor and battery readings
  • Large 2.8-inch color screen
  • I/M readiness key
  • Onscreen DTC codes
  • Budget price with lots of functions

Cons

  • Does not perform ABS analysis

Verdict: NEXPEAK NX501 is a top pick on the cheap. You can expect lots of functionality that’s why it competes effectively with high-end models. It may lack wireless performance and other extra features, but it provides a thoughtful way of analyzing sensors and knowing the problems.


10. KINGBOLEN KW850 Professional OBD2 Scanner

KINGBOLEN produces simple and affordable tools for the average Joe. This particular OBD2 scanner has professional qualities but is easy enough for anyone to use.

Performance Features

This handheld tool comes in a rugged design. It can fit in your palm as well as in your pocket. It works as soon as you plug it in the OBD2 port using a 16-pin connector. It does not need any batteries so start using the device right away.

KINGBOLEN will read and clear engine error codes. It can reset the monitor and turn off the engine light. It has over 3000 generic codes that come in handy when you want to know the reason behind the error codes. This way, you will know which repairs are ideal and which ones need professional hands.

This tool will also give your vehicle’s information and help you know emission levels. You can view freeze frame data and real-time battery status. Not to mention, it can perform oxygen sensor tests, EVAP system test, and offer PCM data stream. Even if you buy a new car, updates for this OBD2 scanner are free for a lifetime.

Snags

KINGBOLEN does not offer airbag reset and gauge light analysis. It also lacks other features like showing the coolant temperature and fuel consumption tracking. For the price, it could be nice to have some of these features to be at par with devices in its class.

Pros

  • Code tips guide
  • Real-time data including battery status
  • Frame and PCM data
  • I/M readiness key
  • Offers Eight languages

Cons

  • It has only 3-years warranty

Verdict: KINGBOLEN is a simple diagnostics tool that will save you from expensive repairs. You get all the necessary codes scanned, and it gives you tips on how to go about it. It is easy to understand from the very beginning offering you great value for money.


Best OBD2 Scanner: Buyers’ Guide

The auto repair world is filled with confusing vocabulary. The best way to stay on top of it is by knowing the exact malfunctions of your car. Here’s where we come in as we help identify the features to look for in an OBD2 scanner.

Benefits of using an OBD2 Scanner

  • Saves Money on Repairs

Instead of going blind and performing major repairs, OBD2 scanners are useful in preventing such occurrences. You just plug in the device in the OBD2 port, get a diagnostic. Minor repairs are simple to do, meaning a mechanic is not needed. It saves you money in the process.

  • Know the Cause on an Engine Light

Detailed information about a car’s system is no longer straightforward. You can spend a great deal of money trying to know the cause of the check engine light. But with an OBD2 scanner, plugging it in and getting the feedback is all you need to do.

  • Easy to Use

These scan tools are some of the most straightforward in the auto industry. Especially with devices that define codes, even beginners can tell what’s happening under the hood.

Type of OBD2 Scanner

It helps to know the kind of scanner you want. Is it a basic, a DIYer, or professional scanner? The cheapest scanners are quite basic in that you only see the codes. You have to go looking for the meaning behind the codes and their fixes.

If you want to perform repairs, a tool that tells you the code, the meaning, and the top fixes is a good bargain. But if you want to perform a comprehensive diagnosis on everything, a professional-grade OBD2 scanner is ideal. Remember it will be a bit expensive than the other two kinds of scanners.

Upgradability

The ability to update an OBD2 scanner is so essential when you are dealing with the newest car models. Updates may cost money, but there are those that offer free updates even for a lifetime.

Customer Support

You don’t want a device where you can’t get a hold of the manufacturer. This is where reading reviews comes in handy. You will be able to know the experience of other users in trying to get technical support. It also helps to try and enquire something from the manufacturer and gauge their response even before you finalize the purchase.

Compatibility

While most OBD2 scanners can work with worldwide car models, some manufacturers use their code readers. It is important to know if a particular scanner works with your car or you require a car-specific diagnostics tool.

Wrapping Up

Every car owner should at least have an OBD2 scanner. We cannot emphasize their importance enough. Above is a list of the Best OBD2 Scanners. These tools are some of the most efficient in the market. Whether you need a basic device or you want one for self-repairs or professional use, we believe one of them is for you.

Disclaimer: DefinitePoint.com participates in some affiliate programs and we might get a commission on purchases made through our links, but that doesn't change the fact how we write our articles.

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