Stop wasting your time trying to troubleshoot problems that arise with your vehicle the old fashion way. Let an OBD2 scanner do that work for you.
With an OBD2 scanner, you will be able to identify exactly what is wrong with your vehicle without having to reverse engineer the problem. It’s an efficient way to get to the bottom of what is wrong with your vehicle so that you can use your time to repair it instead of trying to troubleshoot the problem blindly.
Best OBD2 Scanner – Comparison Table
Below, we have put together a comprehensive review and buyer’s guide to help you find the best automotive diagnostic scan tool on the market. We have selected the best code readers for vehicles and separated them into the categories that they specialize in. No matter what you are looking for in your vehicle diagnostic scanners, you will be able to find the best of every type here. Read on below to find out what we have to say about our best OBD2 scanner picks.
|Product Name||Bluetooth Connectivity||iOS Compatible||Android and Windows Compatible|
|Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6||No||Yes||Yes|
|INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles||No||Yes||Yes|
|BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool||Yes||No||Yes|
Let’s now move on over to the reviews of the best OBD2 scanners right now in 2018.
Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6 - Best OBD2 Scanner
The Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool is a great do-it-all scan tool that is being offered at a very affordable price. When we were looking for the best affordable scan tool, we wanted to make sure that we weren’t sacrificing on quality. The Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool provided everything that we were looking for with a device like this.
While it’s not the cheapest scan tool you will find, we were happy to find that it is a high-quality device that is offered at a very reasonable rate. We feel that it offers the best value for your money among all of the scan tools that we came across.
What We Like
It comes with a few useful accessories. It has an extra-long cable and a USB cord which makes it easy to connect your laptop to it and move it around wherever you need it. It comes with a CD that contains the software that you will be using with the device. It is very straightforward. Even the most technically challenged person would have an easy time setting this up.
We tried the Autel AL519 on several different vehicles including a Hyundai and Subaru. In each case, we had no problem connecting it and getting it to work right away. We did experience some problems connecting it to our GMC pickup. When we were trying to troubleshoot this issue, we eventually had to contact their support team. Their supporting was friendly and we were able to get everything working after being on the phone with them for a few minutes. They have a great support team on staff.
What We Don’t Like
The user manual left a lot to be desired. There was not a lot of information in it. Although we did not need to refer to it at any point, that may have been because we have a lot of experience using these types of devices. For someone that isn’t as experience, this could be an issue. Although the setup of the device is easy, you may run into problems if you are completely unfamiliar with using OBD2 scan tools on your own.
Their software is getting out of date. They are not updating their software as often as they could be. This can lead to some issues. We spoke with them while we were talking to their support team and they said they had an update in the works, however, we felt that they were already pretty far behind as it is. If you are using this scanner, you may run into some trouble because of their software.
Overall, we felt that this was one of the best values for your money. If you are looking for a high-quality scanner but you want to stay within a budget, this is a great option for you. At under $60, we feel it offers everything that you need at only a portion of the price that some of these other scanners are being sold at. The biggest thing to look out for is if you run into problems. You may have a difficult time troubleshooting those problems because of the software and limited resources that they provide.
- Long OBD2 cord for ease of use
- Easy setup and installation
- Software is not updated often enough
- Limited troubleshooting documentation provided
INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles - Best Scan Tool for a Mechanic
The INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool spares no expense in the features and data that provides for its users. It has a variety of special features that are hard to find in many other scanners. The main downside, which you will soon notice, is its high price. If you are looking for the best scanner regardless of price, this is our recommendation. It gives you everything you could ask for and more. The only downside is its cost.
What We Like
We love all of the different features that it offers. It has a live data feed that will allow you to read the inner workings of your vehicle in real time. It has an antilock brake system and a supplemental restraint system included as well.
We also loved the Innova Company. This company went to great lengths to ensure that all of his customers are happy and satisfied. Their customer support team is all highly trained. We spoke with them and we were very impressed with the knowledge that they had.
This scanner is very easy to use. It has a variety of accessories which means it doesn’t require as much hands-on work from the operator. It’s perfect for technicians that work on vehicles often. The live data feed allows the technician to see what is going on with the vehicle without any delays.
This scanner has a wide compatibility range. It works with all OBD2 models, as well as many older OBD1 models. Basically, anything that was made after 1996 should work with this scanner.
What We Don’t Like
This scanner is expensive. The price alone may make it a non-option for many of you. Although we love all of the features that it has to offer, its high price may limit its appeal to technicians and mechanics only. It’s unfortunate that so many will disqualify this scanner on this factor alone, however, we do understand the reasoning behind it. If you look through our other reviews, you will see that there are a lot of great devices that are selling for a lot less.
This scanner is specifically designed for the United States and Canadian commission laws. If you are outside of these areas, you may not be able to use it in accordance with the laws of the other areas. If you live outside of the United States or Canada, this is probably not the best scanner for you.
We are conflicted with this device. On one hand, it is one of our favorites as far as what it brings to the table. On the other hand, we feel it is overpriced. While it’s not the best value that you will find, it is certainly worth it if you will be using it on a regular basis. We recommend this device for all mechanics and auto shops. If you are a single vehicle owner, however, we would suggest that you avoid this because of its high price.
- Compatible with OBD one vehicles
- Reduces labor requirements for the user
- Impressive live data feed
- Geographically limited to the US and Canada
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone, iPad & Android – Best OBD2 Scanner For iPhone
The BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool is specifically designed with the smartphone in mind. It has a Bluetooth connection which allows you to easily connect your iPhone or android to it. Using its Bluetooth connection, it makes the process from setting it up to determining the problem from start to finish a breeze.
What We Like
In our experience using the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool, we did not have any issues connecting through Bluetooth. The connection was stable throughout the entire time that we used this tool. We did not run into any incompatibility issues either, which can sometimes occur when you are not connected through hardwired.
To read the data on your smartphone, you have to download a free app. The app is designed to work specifically with BlueDriver. It’s easy to set up and it does not have a steep learning curve at all.
The BlueDriver has a variety of advanced data readings that will be able to access through it. One example that we were happy to see was the misfire accounts that it displayed. It also puts together repair reports as soon as it finds an error code. The reports are detailed and they show you exactly how you can fix the problem.
It assembles the reports by analyzing through its database of over 4.3 million repairs that have been performed. You can have these reports displayed on your phone, print it out, or email it directly to a mechanic so that they are ready to fix the problem as soon as you arrive.
The app is well-designed. The interface is clean and easy to navigate through. The most important aspect of the app is that it is continually updated. This means that you will always be able to access the most detailed reports as their database expands, making the process of identifying repairs easier than ever.
What We Don’t Like
Although we did not have any Bluetooth connectivity issues, it is possible to experience them from time to time. This can get frustrating at times when you are trying to perform a diagnosis on your vehicle and you are relying on speed and accuracy within your reports.
The BlueDriver Diagnostic Scan Tool is not compatible with all vehicle types. The BlueDriver has been shown to be incompatible with some VW Golf, Volvos, BMWs, and Hyundai. If you have any of these vehicles, we recommend making sure the BlueDriver is compatible with it before you make your purchase.
If you are looking for an easy to use the OBD2 scanner Android, iPhone 6, or any other Apple device, we recommend the BlueDriver. It is one of the most convenient OBD2 scanners that we tried. It excels in its wireless connection. If you value ease-of-use and you are looking for a scanner that can be connected wirelessly, we strongly recommend the BlueDriver.
- Bluetooth capabilities
- Connects to iPhone or Android phones
- Easy set up
- Additional charges for TPMS diagnostic feature
- Not compatible with all vehicle types
ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool for Android & Windows - Best OBD2 Code Reader For Android And Windows
The ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool is a great affordable option for all Android and Windows users. It has some limitations with the platforms that it is compatible with, which we will discuss below, however, it provides a great interface, a sturdy design and a wireless Bluetooth connection which we think is a great value for its price.
What We Like
This scanner is perfectly designed for all android and Windows users. It has a beautiful interface that is easy to read and navigate through. It can easily connect to all Bluetooth connections coming from Windows or Android devices.
Its Bluetooth connection can be secured with a pin code that has to be physically punched in. This will prevent people from accessing this scanner that you don’t know about. As far as Bluetooth safety goes, this is one of the strongest security systems that we came across among the professional automotive scan tools that we looked at.
We loved how durable this scanner is. Most scanners can survive a fall or two, however, this particular scanner was built to withstand more than that. If you know that your scanner will have to stand up to some mishandling, you may want to focus on getting a sturdy tool like this. It has a lifetime warranty and a protective case to help keep it working for as long as you use it.
It is compatible with android and Windows smartphones, tablets and laptops. If you have any of these devices, this scanner will work perfectly with them. If you are using a laptop, make sure that it has a Bluetooth connection so that you can link up to the scanner when you are using it.
What We Don’t Like
The major red flag with this scan tool is that it does not work with iOS operating systems. This seems odd to us because most people have iPhones. We don’t understand the reasoning behind this; however, they are missing out on a huge portion of their audience because they have not made their scanner compatible with Apple products.
Its wireless connection is great; however, it does create some connectivity issues from time to time. We were generally pleased with our experience connecting wirelessly to the scanner and it does have some security features to prevent anyone else from accessing it, however, hardwired is the best choice if you value safety and responsiveness.
Overall, this is a great Bluetooth device but it has one major flaw; it is not iOS compatible. If you are looking for a more affordable Bluetooth solution using Android or Windows, we recommend this model.
- Impenetrable Bluetooth security
- Bluetooth wireless connection
- Durable and sturdy construction
- Not compatible with iOS
Best OBD2 Scanner - Buyer's Guide
We put together this buyer’s guide so that you can gain some insight into what you should be looking for when shopping for your next OBD2 scanner tool. Below, we will go over what to keep in mind for these devices.
The first thing you should do when you are looking for the best OBD2 scanner is to identify which type you need. There are two main types of scanners that you can choose from. These two types are code readers and scan tools. Below, we will give you a quick overview as to what each of these does.
OBD2 Code Readers
Code readers are inexpensive and they provide the bare minimum to what you will need in order to troubleshoot your vehicle. These devices have many limitations and they will typically only provide a general overview as to what errors are occurring in your vehicle. If you are looking for something in more depth, we would recommend take a closer look at the OBD2 scan tools.
OBD2 Scan Tools
A scan tool is a more advanced type of scanner. It provides a better look into your vehicle and the errors that are occurring within it. It is a little more expensive; however, there are plenty of very affordable options. We recommend this type of scanner over the code reader because of how much data it is able to deliver to the user. This is why we have focused our reviews specifically on OBD2 scanner tools as opposed to code readers.
There are advantages and disadvantages to wireless connections. Wireless connections make it very easy to set up your device and begin reading any errors that are happening in your vehicle. The downside of the wireless connections is that the link between the vehicle and the scanner is not as strong as a hardwired connection. This may result in the occasional this connection and slower response times.
Most OBD2 devices will range between $50 and up to $200 or more. In most cases, you should be able to find a respectable OBD2 device for under $100. If you are using it for your own purposes, we recommend staying within that price range.
If you need something specific or you will be using it for multiple cars, it may be worth spending a little more to get a higher quality device. For the most part, we suggest that single vehicle owners look for scanners that fall under the hundred dollar price point, and mechanics or car enthusiasts look at the over $100 price point.
Not all scanners are compatible with all vehicles. Most of our highest rated scanners are designed to cover pretty much all vehicles, however, it is always a good idea to check to make sure it will work with yours before you make the purchase.
There are many different factors that may cause problems with vehicle compatibility among the different scanners. These factors include the software that is being used, how much it is being updated, the design of the scanner and the specific type of vehicle. Occasionally, we will come across a combination of factors that will lead to some incompatibility issues between the scanner and the vehicle.
Each scanner will have a different type of interface. Some scanners have a digital interface on the device itself, while others require software or an application download to display it on your phone, tablet or laptop. The digital displays that appear on the device are more simplistic but they don’t require any extra equipment. If you want an advanced display, you should look for a scanner that has an incorporated smartphone apps for software that will be able to better display the data to you.
Reports are used to compile any found errors and display possible solutions based on the data that is cross-checked against its database. The more detailed these reports are, the more information you will be able to extract from them. You should also look for options as far as sending the reports. Some systems allow you to email or print out reports directly so that your technician can look at them in real time.
If you are in the market for the best professional automotive diagnostic scanner, you will quickly find that you have a lot of great options at your disposal. To help you narrow in on the right scanner for you, we recommend sticking to the four that we have selected as our best OBD2 scanners.
Our experienced staff has a lot of experience working with scanners like these and they know what they are talking about. You can trust them to ensure that the scanner that you select will be a great one.