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8 Best OBD2 Scanners for Cars Reviewed in 2020

By Darren,
14th May 2020 | Updated: 19th May 2020

Are you looking for the best OBD2 scanner for your car or motor business? We've reviewed and compared 8 of the leading OBD2 diagnostic scanners available online to help you.

8 Best OBD2 Scanners for Cars Reviewed in 2020

Are you looking for the best OBD2 scanner for your car or motor business? We've reviewed and compared 8 of the leading OBD2 diagnostic scanners available online to help you.

Last updated on 14th May 2020 by Darren

Quick Comparison

Introduction

Our review team spent several weeks rigorously testing out the big-name OBD2 scanners. From our research and results, we have compiled our top picks for the 8 best OBD2 scanner you can buy online.

When we reviewed these devices, we were keen to look at how easy they are to use, portability, the data storage capabilities, and whether they can perform a variety of readings to make them suitable for professional use.

If you can’t wait to read the full review, we can announce that at the No. 1 spot is the Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool.

Its large, easy-to-read 7 inch screen display, coupled with its ability to perform full diagnostic checks and other functions, make it our stand out choice.

However, there are plenty of other options on the market for all budgets. Read on and check out our comparison table below – the product reviews which will help you make an informed decision and choose the best OBD2 diagnostic scan tool for you and your business.

  1. 1
    96%
    96%

    BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool

    For those looking for an impressive diagnostic scanner on a budget, we recommend you look no further than the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional scan tool. Powerful, easy to use, and one of the cheaper options on the market, this device also works with most Android and Apple devices.

    The scanner comes complete with integrated technologies that help you not only identify the issue with your engine, but also match the code against a verified repair or proven solution to rectify the problem from their huge database of over 30 million mechanic submissions.

    The BlueDriver App is included free with the BlueDriver scanner, is exclusive with the sensor.  The app and tool itself work across a wide range of models and makes, with nearly all major brands of car and engine covered. It also offers enhanced engine diagnostics, which can report issues such as ABS, airbags, air conditioning, with most popular brands of cars. It can also display and save live data for later analysis, if necessary.

    This particular OBD2 scanner did have one or two issues on some of the really old and more classic vehicles we tested it on, but for modern and general use we can highly recommend the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional. We also had no problems using Bluetooth to connect the tool to our smartphones and found it to be very durable and surprisingly robust, coming out scrape-free from a couple of minor fumbles along the way.

    The Good
    • Great range of diagnostic features for the price
    • Huge database of repairs across most makes of car and engines
    • Reliable Bluetooth connection and user-friendly app included
    The Bad
    • Some compatibility issues with older and classic vehicle models
    • Enhanced features and diagnostic options only work with major brands
    Check price on amazon

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  2. 2
    92%
    92%

    Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool

    If budget is not an issue, or if you want professional specification diagnostic equipment, then the Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool is our pick for the ultimate in OBD2 car scanner technology.

    This device from Autel features industry-leading performance specifications including a large built-in 7-inch LCD display, a lightning quick Cortex-A9 quad-core processor, ample amounts of RAM thanks to a 32GB memory, and runs the familiar and user-friendly Android 4.4 operating system.

    As you would expect from the price, this diagnostic device can perform a full engine system diagnosis, read, analyse and clear codes, and display accurate live data about the health status of various car components of all systems such as the engine, ABS, SRS, brake system, fuel system, emission system, and anything else that may need a fix.

    The scanner is guaranteed to work against 56 brands of car and engine makes, although we also found it worked perfectly with some older models.

    The Autel MaxiCOM MK808 boasts a range of special diagnostic functions for the most common mechanical tasks such as IMMO service support (which gives car owners the ability to disable lost car keys and program new keys), oil reset, TPMS (Tires Pressure Monitoring System), BMS (Battery Management System), EPB (Electronic Parking Brake), among others.

    Another important aspect of this tool is the incredibly sturdy build and durable feel thanks to a tough frame and robust screen. The device has some solid and reassuring weight behind it as a result, and you can tell this is made to withstand a hard life in a busy garage or car mechanic shop.

    A special “TS” variant of the MK808 is also available for those who require a Bluetooth connection to their own device or computer. The standard model has all apps and features built-in to the device.

    The Good
    • Large, easy to read 7-inch touchscreen display with intuitive user interface
    • Incredibly durable device, suitable for all garage and mechanic stations
    • Complete range of diagnostic features and apps across most car makes and models
    • Equipped with built-in WiFi which makes for convenient software updates and support for wireless printing of diagnostic reports
    The Bad
    • Those on a lower budget will be forced to look elsewhere
    • The software needs to be updated to the latest version before it can be used, especially on newer vehicle models
    Check price on amazon

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  3. 3
    90%
    90%

    ANCEL AD310 Classic Enhanced OBD II Scanner Review

    The Ancel AD310 Classic is on our list at number 3 as it combines the most basic diagnostic features and excellent portability with an inexpensive price tag. One of the cheapest OBD2 scanners available, this reliable tool focuses on quick, simple fault diagnostics with an emphasis on being easy to use for all levels of car enthusiasts and would-be mechanics.

    The built-in application is clean, basic, and easy to read in its interface design. The scanner tool itself has a solid, durable feel and the power is sourced from the engine connection, meaning there is no need for batteries or any additional power supply and wires.

    One drawback of the AD310 Classic is its compatibility with older models and makes. This scanner is designed to be primarily used for cars made in the year 2000 or later. This means if you have a classic car, or one that was built before the turn of the new millennium, you may need to look at a pricier and more well-rounded option such as the Autel MK808.

    If you are hunting for a cheap and cheerful engine diagnostic tool for your current motor, with a view to diagnosing issues such as engine warning lights, the Ancel AD130 Classic could be the right scanner for you.

    The Good
    • One of the cheapest OBD2 scanners on the market
    • Comes with a built-in fault code lookup library
    • Portable, compact, robust design
    • Doesn’t require batteries or additional cables
    The Bad
    • Doesn’t include sophisticated features. Not suitable for those in need of a fully fledged scanner with professional level diagnostics.
    • Not compatible with most pre-2000 makes and models
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  4. 4
    90%
    90%

    Innova 3160e Code Scan Tool for OBD2 Vehicles

    This OBD2 scanner by Innova is another entrant for the high-specification tools available from the diagnostic-tool marketplace.

    This device is claimed to be able to easily reveal the health status of most vehicles made during or after 1996, which would make it suitable for nearly all makes and models featuring an OBD2 on-board diagnosis in its engine.

    The 3160 also comes with step by step instructions for resetting oil and battery on those vehicles. It easily performs the standard engine diagnostic features can read and clear codes on OBD2 vehicles, and connects to a huge database of verified solutions to each potential problem. All codes and fixes can be kept up to date via an internet connection, which is particularly important if you’re working one of the newest vehicles.

    The Innova 3160 can also record and stream live data so you can review them later using a windows PC or via the tool’s screen and built in applications. These applications we found weren’t as user friendly and intuitive as other tools we tested during these reviews, and also the Bluetooth connections seemed a lot more temperamental.

    Once up and running however, and after some reading of the manual provided, we found that the diagnostic tool to be a real in-depth diagnostic tool that didn’t seem to lack any of the features of it’s competitors. Overall, the 3160 scanner is great for professionals and more experienced would-be mechanics, but novices may struggle and we would suggest they look for a simpler tool such as the Ancel AD130.

    The Good
    • In-depth features and built-in applications
    • Quick, accurate readings with large database of codes and fixes
    • Large screen offer clear displays of data and results
    The Bad
    • Difficult and complex user interface
    • Saved live data is only accessible through Innova’s software
    • Battery powered, requires AAA batteries
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  5. 5
    88%
    88%

    Launch Creader Professional Code Reader Scanner

    The Launch CRP123 OBD2 car scanner is another great mid-range diagnostic code reader that works with a wide range of cars and vehicles from various countries, with multi-language support making it a good option for international markets.

    Similar to other OBD2 scanners in this article, the CRP123 has a number of built in applications to serve a number of vehicle diagnostic functions. The scanner is, however, primarily designed to work with cars and other vehicles manufactured during or after 2006.

    Whilst some of the more basic features, such as engine warning codes and checks, do offer some compatibility with older models of major brands, this is something to consider. If you have or may be working with older cars then to ensure accurate and reliable readings we recommend looking at some of the other products available from this article, such as the Autel MK808.

    The CRP123 has an easy to operate and user-friendly interface and a rugged, sleek design. The display is large and bright, and the controls have a solid and responsive feel to them. Other useful features include online updates for codes, fixes, and software, as well as the ability to stream data from your engine or vehicle to your device or computer once connected.

    It also comes with a USB cable to connect to your tablet or laptop, although this is fairly short at around 1 meter and may not be suitable to use in some garages.

    The Good
    • Good set of well-rounded diagnostic features
    • Sturdy design, ideal for mechanic or garage use
    • Mid-range price makes it accessible to most budgets
    The Bad
    • Enhanced featured limited to cars made in 2006 or later
    • USB cable included fairly short
    Check price on amazon

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  6. 6
    86%
    86%

    Bafx Products Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool

    Another entrant into the low-budget end of the OBD2 scanner market is this device from BAFX Products . For the price, this is a dependable, accurate and affordable OBD2 scan tool that manufacturer BAFX guarantee will work with all U.S vehicles 1996 or later.

    BAFX also provide a comprehensive list of of makes and models that the device is compatible with from around the world. Having looked at this list we believe it is safe to assume that if your car is relatively modern, made in 2004 or after, this scanner is likely to be compatible with your engine.

    The scanner itself is quite easy to setup and use. It connects over Bluetooth to your Android device or Windows PC via a third party app. It should work with the majority of engine diagnostic apps that are available on the Android store that feature Bluetooth connectivity.

    Coupled with the software, the device can relay and diagnose all compatible Check Engine Light codes, transmit live data to your device, and also reportedly works with some major brands of motorcycle.

    As a bonus, the BAFX OBD2 scanner comes with a 2 year manufacturer warranty. One major downside is the scanner does not come with it’s own diagnostic extension cable, so unless you have one to hand this will need to be purchased separately.

     

    The Good
    • Works on all post-1996 vehicles in the U.S
    • Compatible with most modern cars around the world
    • 2 year manufacturer warranty
    • Can function with most third party android OBD2 apps
    The Bad
    • Doesn’t work with iOS devices
    • Software is not included
    • Cables and connectors must be bought separately
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  7. 7
    86%
    86%

    OBDLink SX 425801 ScanTool USB: OBD-II Scan Tool

    Another popular entry into the no-frills spectrum of the OBD2 market is the OBDLink SX 425801 OBD2 scanner from ScanTool. This diagnostic tool is great device for those on a budget and is primarily designed to work with computers running Windows.

    The scanner is an all-in-one design and comes with a built-in USB attachment that allows you to connect the tool directly into any USB port on your PC. Included with the package is a license key for the OBDwiz PC Diagnostics software which functions exclusively with OBDLink tools.

    The scanner can also work with Android devices running 3.1 or higher, but this requires a separate USB cable which is not included. If you are planning on using the tool with a smartphone or tablet device, then you will need to purchase an “On The Go” USB adaptor to fit your device.

    The SX scanner, when combined with the OBDwiz app, performs the usual array of standard OBD2 scanner tasks. It can also read, diagnose and clear trouble codes, and even research them online.

    It works with most vehicles and makes of engine, so if you are an owner or work with mainly modern cars then the SX scanner should be enough if you aren’t looking for a fully integrated and high-spec tool.

    There have been reports of the SX scanner not working fully with 3rd party apps, so if you purchase this tool you should make sure to use the bundled software for the best results and to access all features.

    For the price this scanner comes with a generous 3 year manufacturers warranty, as well as lifetime software updates for its bundled OBDwiz application.

    The Good
    • LIfetime firmware and software upgrades
    • Works with most vehicles and engines
    • 3 year manufacturers warranty included
    The Bad
    • Not compatible with all 3rd party apps
    • Doesn’t work with iOS devices
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

  8. 8
    84%
    84%

    Foxwell NT301 EOBD/ OBD-II Engine Scan Tool Review

    Another impressive OBD2 diagnostic tool in the mid-range market is the Foxwell NT301 EOBD. This scanner, despite the low price, comes with a built-in screen and keypad meaning no other connecting device is necessary.

    The user-interface of the built-in software is very easy to use, with large icons and menus and clear layouts similar to that of a smartphone. The scanner itself is robust and feels like it would withstand life in a busy garage.

    The scanner has all expected features such as engine code diagnosis, live streaming of engine data and information from engine sensors, and also allows connection to a PC thanks to a USB adaptor that is thoughtfully included with the scanner.

    As the device sources its power from the vehicle’s engine, there is no need to purchase any additional batteries which is always a plus with any technical item.

    The NT301 focuses on the EU car market, with guaranteed compatibility with all petrol-fuelled engines manufactured in the year 2001 or later, and all diesel powered vehicles from the year 2004 and later.

    The Good
    • On-screen DTC definitions and diagnostic results
    • Large, easy to read display and simple keypad controls
    • Full diagnostic features without the need for 3rd party support
    • Robust build makes it suitable for busy garage use
    The Bad
    • May not be compatible with US models
    • Only guaranteed to work with EU models of certain age
    Check price on amazon

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    However, this will not increase the prices you pay for products.

Side-by-side

BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool

  • Great range of diagnostic features for the price
  • Huge database of repairs across most makes of car and engines
  • Reliable Bluetooth connection and user-friendly app included
Check price  on amazon

Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool

  • Large, easy to read 7-inch touchscreen display with intuitive user interface
  • Incredibly durable device, suitable for all garage and mechanic stations
  • Complete range of diagnostic features and apps across most car makes and models
  • Equipped with built-in WiFi which makes for convenient software updates and support for wireless printing of diagnostic reports
Check price  on amazon

ANCEL AD310 Classic Enhanced OBD II Scanner Review

  • One of the cheapest OBD2 scanners on the market
  • Comes with a built-in fault code lookup library
  • Portable, compact, robust design
  • Doesn’t require batteries or additional cables
Check price  on amazon

Innova 3160e Code Scan Tool for OBD2 Vehicles

  • In-depth features and built-in applications
  • Quick, accurate readings with large database of codes and fixes
  • Large screen offer clear displays of data and results
Check price  on amazon

Launch Creader Professional Code Reader Scanner

  • Good set of well-rounded diagnostic features
  • Sturdy design, ideal for mechanic or garage use
  • Mid-range price makes it accessible to most budgets
Check price  on amazon

Bafx Products Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool

  • Works on all post-1996 vehicles in the U.S
  • Compatible with most modern cars around the world
  • 2 year manufacturer warranty
  • Can function with most third party android OBD2 apps
Check price  on amazon

OBDLink SX 425801 ScanTool USB: OBD-II Scan Tool

  • LIfetime firmware and software upgrades
  • Works with most vehicles and engines
  • 3 year manufacturers warranty included
Check price  on amazon

Foxwell NT301 EOBD/ OBD-II Engine Scan Tool Review

  • On-screen DTC definitions and diagnostic results
  • Large, easy to read display and simple keypad controls
  • Full diagnostic features without the need for 3rd party support
  • Robust build makes it suitable for busy garage use
Check price  on amazon

Frequently asked questions

What are OBD2 auto Scanners?

An OBD2 diagnostic tool is a device that connects to vehicles’s engine to detect issues and displays information about the engine performance.

OBD2 is the second generation of On-board Diagnostics (OBD) systems, using computer applications to draw data from the on-board sensors.

These latest devices make it easier for mechanics or an everyday person to identify and fix problems in cars and engines.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of OBD2 Scanners?

A major advantage of OBD2 scanners over the earlier OBD1 systems is that they use uniform connectors, codes, and communication protocols across manufacturers, eliminating the need for engine or model specific accessories.

For car owners, one important benefit of these devices is that they allow users to detect faults with their car engines without going to the mechanic.

They are also handy tools when it comes to routine maintenance checks. Their ability to stream all kinds of data from your engine and its sensors allows you to check on most of the mechanical elements, depending on the level of scanner you have.

Finding and diagnosing problems early limits the damage they could potentially cause. These devices help you save time and money, and they are also pretty easy to use.

On the minus side, OBD2 scan tools can cost quite a lot, depending on the desired functionality. Also, for people who are not tech  or mechanically savvy, some auto scanners might not be easy to operate.

Interpreting the codes is also another hassle, requiring research to find the problem or even the help of a mechanic depending on how efficient your chosen OBD2 scanner is.

What should I look for when choosing an OBD2 auto Scanner?

If you need to purchase an OBD2 auto scanner, then you should consider the following factors when comparing the different products available to you:

  • Variety of readings. Not all OBD2 auto scanners can scan all metrics or have the same features. Some provide a limited amount of information while others provide more information than you’ll probably ever need. If you need that amount of information, then you should get a device that can provide a wide variety of readings.
  • Data Storage. A really good OBD2 car scanner will come with storage capacity to ensure that you can view its readings after they have been taken. This is a really handy feature so you’ll want to look out for it when getting a scanner.
  • Portability. You’ll will want to get a device that is easy to carry about. These devices come in different shapes and sizes but not all are portable. So make sure your device is easy to move around.
  • Other features. Many scanners also come with special features such as WiFi connection, and automatic decoding features. While not absolutely necessary, these features make for a more valuable device.

Also, you’ll also want to consider your budget and get a device that is affordable and does everything you need it for.

What’s the approximate price range for OBD2 auto scanners?

OBD2 scanners vary hugely in price from one brand to another. This is because some scanners have everything built-in and have access to huge diagnostic databases. Others are simple connectors that transfer data to another device.

Broadly speaking, OBD2 scanners can start from as low as £30 or less for the more basic scanners and code readers to as much as £2000 or more for high end devices that would be used by professional garages.

What is a car code reader Vs a diagnostic scanner?

A car code reader is a more basic tool that scan vehicles and outputs trouble codes. These devices are usually cheap and some car shops even offer free code reading services.

By comparison a high-spec OBD2 diagnostic scanner is a much more in-depth tool that will also provide verified fixes, download and analyse live data such as emissions, and have a built-in screen and keypad with its own bespoke diagnostic software.

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