What is the best OBD2 scanner in the world? The best onboard diagnostic scanner is something you want to check the health of your automobile from now and then. The first onboard scanner, termed as OBD1, are made and utilized by OEM car manufacturers to read the cars error codes, and make sure that everything is fine, and your car easily gets diagnosed.
The good thing is, after the development of the diagnostic system, thanks to OBD1, automotive engineers have improved it and came up with OBD2. This device is not OEM specific and can generally be used for any car model and maker.
So, if you have a few different brands of car, you will only need one device to figure out what’s going on inside it! You will not have to buy specific scanners for every make of your car.
We know for sure that your maintenance guy checks your car extensively every time you visit for your routine preventive maintenance. However, if you are using your automobile on heavy or stressful applications, an obd2 scanner to routinely check your car vehicle’s status.
Now, we took the liberty to give you one of the best obd2 scanner reviews and present to you the most advanced models that you may want to get your hands on. I know you are a busy person and you might not have the time to scour the internet to look for the right device for you. Here are 10 of most useful scanners on the market.
The Best OBD2 Scanner 2021
Innova Electronics Corporation is one of the world’s leading manufacturer of vehicle diagnostic tools. These aftermarket diagnostic tools are thoroughly researched and designed at California and distributed on a global scale. The company understands that it is important to give users accurate results to properly diagnose and repair their automobiles. To make sure that every patron is satisfied, they have allotted a huge chunk of their resources in research and development.
Innova 3100j is an entry-level diagnostic tool that works on 1996 models and newer OBD2 ready vehicles. This device diagnoses and finds out why your “check engine” light is lit. It is designed to read, diagnose, and reconfigure SRS and ABS trouble codes to fix them.
It can also check the battery status of your vehicle. This device can check your alternator to see if the battery is being sufficiently charged. One of the best features this product has, for an entry-level device, is its freeze frame diagnostics. This gives you the overall data and status of all other systems at the time of error to check and see what causes the error.
For more than fifteen years, Innova has been working with Automotive Service Excellence-certified technicians to become the best leading brand in the market. They have been working rigorously and were able to diagnose more than 3 million errors to help maintain and keep your vehicle in top condition. The company takes pride in their outstanding customer support to help their clients in cases of malfunctioning devices.
This device is a more advanced model of the 3100j. It has all the features of the previous model plus more. It is Bluetooth enabled and can communicate with mobile devices for thorough recording and review of the details it gets from diagnosing the vehicle. This model is also compatible with most American, European, and Asian cars.
It has 3.5” screen display for easy viewing of the diagnostics. This model is also able to record real-time data from running the diagnostics. It also has an ergonomic design that fits and can be operated with one hand. This gives you convenience while working on your automobile.
Actron is an innovative company that is focused on manufacturing devices that accurately diagnose failures and discrepancies. They are dedicated to their niche of choice and even have a campaign on their website that tickles inventor’s mind. They manufacture top-notch diagnostic tools that auto-mechanics and enthusiasts will find useful in their day job and hobbies.
This scanner is specially built for diesel and hybrid vehicles. It can be used with cars dating from 1996 up to the present. It can diagnose most European, American, and Asian cars without a problem. They have developed a patented CodeConnect® feature that verifies the nature and extent of system failure. The results are verified over 26 million fixes concerning SRS, ABS, and other check engine light signals.
This device can record real-time data that enables you to make a comparison to your gathered historical information log. This scanner can be regularly updated via USB connection to make sure that your tool has the latest diagnostic information to lead you to the right repair solution for your vehicle.
Identifix is a company who has chosen a radical step in creating a diagnostic tool for motor vehicles. They have dared to be different and designed Bluetooth diagnostic devices that can be used with a handheld device application. They have been operating since 1987 and have more than 30 years of experience in providing their clients with high-quality products for professional use.
This BlueDriver is uniquely designed for the new millennium. It is a Bluetooth transceiver device that sends a signal to your mobile device through BlueDriver OBD2 Scan Tool app. You get a blue-themed interface that controls the device. The Bluetooth scanner can read the error codes on your vehicle, and the app can reconfigure and clear error codes.
It gives a diagnostic report that details the status of your vehicle. The scanner transmits live data to your mobile device and has a freeze frame feature that gives you a thorough report about the systems of your vehicle at the time of the error.
Scantool has more than 15 years in the industry of diagnostic devices. Their goal is to provide users with affordable diagnostic tools that would not require people huge sums of money. Their personal scanner tools have good quality for the prices they offer. To make sure that they are up to date, they have been recently focusing on wireless technology to give the most convenient experience to users.
Scantool’s OBD2 scanner is enclosed in a small piece of a transceiver that is connected to the OBD2 port of your vehicle. It transmits Bluetooth signal that can be interpreted by OBDLink app. This device works for Android, Windows, and IOS. You can access the controls over the application and reset error codes with it.
This product is compact and does not require a wired connection to work properly. It can log and record more than 90 parameters at once to check if your systems and functions of your vehicle are working at its best. You can customize your dashboard in your app and adjust it according to what you frequently use. It has a freeze frame feature that enables you to get thorough information about the error codes at the exact time of the occurrence.
Autel has been delivering excellent quality diagnostic tools at an affordable price. They manufacture durable equipment that is user-friendly and does not cost a fortune. To make sure that their products are what their patrons need, they design and manufacture their tools heavily according to user feedback. They have excellent diagnostic tools with a huge bank of fixes that makes every auto-mechanic’s life a lot easier.
Autel’s handheld OBD2 Scanner is an auto-mechanic partner. It works on 1996 models up to some of the recently released vehicles. It helps diagnose warning light errors and lead you to fix it. This product can fix SRS and ABS errors easily or point you on how to address it.
This scanner is built with a freeze frame feature to help you diagnose system failures and other related anomalies to make sure your car is in top shape. This device can be updated through the internet via USB and provide you with the latest error codes and fixes.
Launch Tech is a company based in California that aims to manufacture and distribute diagnostic tools that are reliable and economic. Their tools can help diagnose and lead to fixes and repairs that car manufacturers employ. They have more than 300 intelligent engineers at their research and development laboratory working on the next best innovation for the world.
This advanced scanner is packed with tons of features that helps you diagnose your automobiles system failures and monitor its health. Aside from the usual default functions of the best OBD2 scanners, this module is equipped with software that can diagnose and check the health of your ECU. This device can reset codes to clear errors and lit warning lights.
It comes with a freeze frame and live data feature for actual and precise diagnosis of your automobile trouble. This product can be updated through your PC to keep up with the latest fixes and codes. It supports many languages and can be used on most Asian, European, and American cars.
The software it runs with is user-friendly and can be used without special preparations directly out of the box.
Konnwei is a brand established in 2011 and has been focusing on improving their diagnostic tools since the beginning. They make good quality diagnostic scanners at a very affordable price. Their analog models don’t cost as much as the leading brands and can be a reliable partner for auto-mechanics.
This device comes in a black enclosure with yellow highlights for easy visibility. It works okay with most 1996 and newer car models. This device reads and resets error codes and check engine lights. This product can lead mechanics to come up with the right method of repair and fix.
To make sure that this product can be easily availed at an affordable price, the company simplified the device’s interface without sacrificing usability. To cut the cost of the price, they chose black and white screen instead of colored LED powered screens. Although it’s way cheaper than top brands, this product covers a lot. It has a freeze frame feature to help you with you comprehensive diagnosis.
This company is a dedicated company that focuses a large portion of their resources to research and development. This just shows how much they are concerned about progress and improving the user experience. Their products have been well noticed by users, and some has been featured in magazines too. Their software tools work well with diagnosing and troubleshooting vehicles. They have excellent customer support in case their clients encounter some problems with their tools.
This OBD2 scanner is a practical choice for mechanics and enthusiasts. Although it’s not the cheapest you can get, it packs useful features that you can put to practical use. This device can be used on 1996 models and up and has the standard features you would expect from an OBD2 scanner.
In addition to the default features, this product covers diagnosis for ECU functions and dysfunctions. This device can fix and reset error codes and lit warning lights. It can also point you in the right direction with the freeze frame feature that lets you see what parameters went wrong during the system failure.
It has a large screen and is designed to be handled with two hands. For user convenience, this scanner supports many languages too. On top of all, this product can be easily updated with the latest codes and fixes for free at their website.
10. TT TOPDON OBDII Computer Diagnostic Tool
Topdon is an emerging company that designs, manufactures, and distributes diagnostic tools for automobiles. Although they are relatively new in the market, they have years of extensive experience in the manufacturing and designing diagnostic tools. They manufacture various battery testers, scanners, and ECU programming tools. They have aggressive campaigns all over the world to introduce their diagnostic tools to everyone on the planet.
This diagnostic tool is ergonomically designed to be operated with one hand. It comes in black with a light blue trim for visibility. The interface is simplified to be more user-friendly and easy to use. It only has seven buttons at the front of the panel that is used to navigate through the functions and features of the device.
It has multi-language support to cater more people and can be used on most models, and car makes. This product is designed to diagnose and clear engine light errors. It supports ABS and SRS reconfiguration to clear warning lights and fix errors. They also have a software update regularly uploaded to their website for your convenience. With regular updating, your device will have the latest error code reading s and how you could fix them.
OBD2 Scanner Buying Guide
Getting Started with OBD2 Scanner
First things first, Reading the article about OBD2 scanner background working information, how does OBD2 scanner work? and how to use It?
Car manufacturers use first invented On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) to easily see what the engine and other functions say before making the fix. This feature was integrated by car companies in 1996 and has become a standard feature.
On Board Scanner helps mechanics to narrow down and pinpoint the cause of internal errors in the vehicle before attempting a fix. This way, they were able to cut the cost of diagnostics which involved a thorough scrutiny of the vehicle in finding error source.
Now, On Board Scanner has evolved and gave birth to some other better methods of diagnosis. With the more advanced computer age, the OBD2 scanner was born. This is a more advanced diagnostic tool that covers more parameter and includes the latest car models.
Today, these scanners are not exclusive to car manufacturers. This scanner tool is up for grabs for anyone who wants to check their automobile’s overall health. With the high cost of labor, many people are trying out fixes on their own. A portable OBD2 scanner can help enthusiasts, and hobbyists fix vehicles without the high labor cost!
Guidelines for Selecting OBD2 Scanner
Now, before you establish a career in auto-mechanics, first, you must have the right tools of the trade. Here are some guidelines for selecting your scanner.
How much willing are you to buy expensive scanner tools? There are ultra-expensive scanner tools out there that match, if not surpasses, the quality of OEM car manufacturer’s scanner tools. However, they don’t come cheap. Top-notch equipment requires top premium.
These tools can cover most car brands and year model. Expensive brands tend to be more reliable and has excellent customer support and warranties.
However, if you don’ t plan to spend that much, there are other tools that are inexpensive and covers the basic functions a standard OBD2 scanner.
If you will be monitoring the health of your car, having a feature to save and store historical data is a huge plus. It will show you the manner of normal wear and tear and prevent troubles in the future by pre-emptively replacing parts before the end of their life.
Most scanners are advertised to cover Asian, European, and American brands. However, many people have bought scanners without checking the compatibility with their vehicles.
Before purchasing an OBD2 scanner, make sure to verify if it works on the model of car you own. These scanners are universal and cover most models. However, there are some that would not be part of their coverage.
If you must, call their technical or customer support hotline to confirm if it covers your vehicle.
There was a time that this feature was only available in high-end OBD2 scanner models. However, today, it is becoming a default feature that is incorporated on most scanners. This helps users to properly diagnose and identify where the trouble is. This dramatically narrows down and help pinpoint the origin of trouble.
Having an option to connect your scanner to your PC through a software makes things a lot easier. For one, you get a larger screen to line up multiple parameters at once. Secondly, you can easily get support and have comprehensive reading of the results in real time. You can easily print the diagnosis too.
There are models that feature Bluetooth connectivity that uses your mobile handheld device as the viewing screen of your diagnostic tool.
How to Access Your Car’s OBD2 Codes: A Step by Step Guide
It can be daunting whenever you see the Check Engine Light flashing on your car’s dashboard in the middle of a drive. The sign makes you panic, and you tend to rush over to an auto shop to find that it was just a moment of glitch.
To prevent such frustrating events, it’s better to learn how to check your car first before going out of your way for something that could be insignificant. In this guide, you’ll learn how to do just that by accessing your car’s OBD2 codes whenever the Check Engine Light signal appears on the dashboard.
OBD2 Codes: What You Must Know
You need to learn what exactly are OBD2 codes and how reading them can help you and your car. Check out the ultimate guide to understand more about reading OBD2 codes and what OBD2 codes Mean.
Technically, OBD2 or OBD-II is a code formatting that makes Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) readable when retrieved from your car’s computer. DTCs are data stored by your car’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) system to describe any issues detected in your vehicle.
When the Check Engine Light flashes, it lets you know there’s something wrong, but doesn't tell you precisely what. That's where OBD2 codes help. By accessing and retrieving these codes, you get to know what and where exactly is the problem in your car.
When you know what the problem is, you can better decide on what to do with your car. If you have some automotive knowledge and skill, you can try to fix the problem on your own. If you find that it’s a serious issue that needs some serious fixing, then you’ll have no doubts in bringing your car to the local mechanic.
You see, the Check Engine Light doesn’t always reflect an issue that needs a repair. But if you can check and read the codes whenever that happens, you’ll be able to decide appropriately and worry less.
Step by Step Guide to Accessing Your Car's OBD2 Codes
1. Know your car’s make and mod
Knowing the model and make of your car is basically how you’ll know where to start. The OBD2 coding system is primarily adopted only by vehicles that have been manufactured from the year 1996 onwards.
If your car is an old model that was made before 1996, then your car probably uses the OBD1 or OBD-I coding system. Reading OBD1 codes is much more complicated because you'll need specialized tools to do just that.
If you confirm that your car is an old model that uses OBD-I codes, there’s no better way of checking it than bringing it to an auto shop. Old models made by different manufacturers might require different methods of retrieving OBD1 codes. It may not be something that you can do for sure on your own.
If you confirm that your car is a new model, then you’ll have it easier because there are plenty of tools that you can use to access OBD2 codes.
2. Choose the right OBD access tool for your car.
When you confirm that your car uses OBD2 codes, it’s time to choose which OBD tool you should use. There are two main types of OBD access tools to choose from:
- OBD2 code reader
OBD code readers are the most straightforward access tools and also the cheapest. These are handheld, easy to use tools that retrieve and read DTCs. When there's an issue detected, the OBD2 codes are displayed on the gadget's screen.
However, this gadget only reads and displays the codes. To know what the retrieved codes mean, you need to use a separate OBD2 code reference for detailed information on the codes. This information can be obtained using your car’s repair manual, your OBD tool’s manual, or available online sources.
If you don’t do DIY repairs on your car and only need to access the codes and have time to search for additional information on the codes, this gadget would be the most practical choice. But if you need your gadget to do more, then you should consider getting the next type of tool.
- OBD2 code scanner/scan tool
OBD code scanners are pretty much the same as OBD code readers, but they pack additional helpful features and are also pricier. These tools don’t only retrieve and read OBD2 codes, and they even interpret these codes.
OBD scanners can provide detailed definitions of virtually all generic OBD2 codes and some manufacturer specific codes. Professional mechanics opt to use this type of tool because it saves them time at work. This gadget would also be the best option if you have some automotive knowledge and repair skills so that you can perform quick fixes on your car.
3. Connect your tool to your car’s OBD port.
Once you’ve obtained your tool of choice, next is to plug and connect it to your car’s OBD port. Usually, the OBD port can be found under the dashboard, near the driver’s pedals. The port should be a female connector with 16 pins and is shaped like a trapezoid.
Plug your OBD tool’s male connector to the female port. This should be easy enough for anyone. Once your gadget is properly connected, it should turn on automatically and start scanning or retrieving DTCs.
4. Read and record the codes.
After a short while of scanning, your OBD tool will read and display the codes on its screen. If you are using an OBD2 code scanner, you should be able to directly access and understand what the codes mean.
If you are using an OBD2 code reader, you should record or write down the codes on a note pad. This is so you can search for further information on them or show them to your mechanic later.
Additional Actions and Recommendations
Now that you’ve successfully accessed and read your car’s OBD2 codes, you should plan and decide on your next actions.
First, you should understand what exact problems those codes refer to. You can do this by looking through your OBD2 codes reference. If your car or OBD tool’s manuals do not have information on OBD2 codes, you should download a copy from online sources so you can have access to that information at any time.
Next, you should inspect the part of your car where the issue was detected. Doing so will allow you to decide whether you can try to fix the problem on your own or if you need professional help to look further into it. If you can't perform the inspection, then you should have your trusted mechanic do it for you.
Last but not the least; you should take note of all the issues that are frequently detected in your car. By knowing the frequency and pattern of recurring problems, you can better measure your car's capacity and performance. That way, you can come up with an actionable plan on how to prevent those issues in the future.
An OBD2 scanner will help you diagnose and monitor the health of your vehicle. If you are not an auto-mechanic, maybe you don’t see this to have an extensive use. However, considering the cost of labor, doing it yourself will give you more savings!
With frequent monitoring, you can also prevent expensive damages to your vehicle and pre-emptively counteract impending system failures!
In this review, we have seen a huge variety of OBD 2 scanner that can potentially be your partner in your day job or your hobby. There are affordable tools and expensive tools that share some features and have some unique function.
Launch Tech’s OBD2 Scanner Viii is built to last and packs the most comprehensive feature a mechanic will need. It has a large display screen that is easy to view. It reads and fixes ECU codes with ease and supports many languages. Although it’s a bit expensive, it has everything you will need for professional use.
If your budget is a bit tight, the best OBD2 scanner for you is Konnwei. It offers an affordable model that has the basic functions you need to diagnose your automobile’s problems.
Simon graduated with a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Degree. He has over 20 years of servicing experience in both Japanese and German car dealerships. He now acts as a freelance mechanic’s instructor for local schools.