Best OBD2 Scanners 2020 [Honest Review & Buying Guide]

You need the best OBD2 scanner to be able to scan your vehicles for problems and keep them well-maintained.

OBD 2 scanners are made to perform a variety of tasks, based on the tool you have. In this buying guide, we’ll talk all about OBDII scanners to help you pick the right one.

BEST OVERALL RUNNER UP GREAT PICK
ANCEL AD310
ANCEL AD310
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Autel AL319
Autel AL319
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FOXWELL NT201
FOXWELL NT201
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Customer Rating
4.64.6 / 5

4.64.6 / 5

4.54.5 / 5
PriceANCEL AD310Autel AL319FOXWELL NT201
Item Weight9.6 ounces6.2 ounces12 ounces
Product Dimensions9.28 x 6.9 x 1.43 inches62.99 x 17.72 x 92.52 inches4.7 x 3 x 0.8 inches
SummaryBest OBD2 scanner for simple functionality.An excellent OBDII scanner for DIYers.Top-quality OBDII scan tool for any car owners.
ProsAffordable scanner that don't need battery. Easy-to-use interface for beginners.Cheap and reliable tool. Read and display codes in 7 languages. Simple interface.Read and clear codes as well as monitor live data. Friendly user interface.
ConsWill not read all possible error codes. Difficult reading live data.Software update is not compatible with most current hardware.Can't display all data nor print it from computer.

Types Of OBD Scanners

There are two kinds of OBD scanners:

  • OBD1
  • OBD2

While they both do the same job, they do differ in terms of functionality and compatibility.

OBD1 vs. OBD2 Scanner: Do I Need OBD1 Scanner Or OBD2 Scanner

OBD1 Scanners: These diagnostic tools cover older vehicles, manufactured before 1996. They offer some basic features such as CEL, smog tests, sensors tests, etc.

OBD1 scanners are considered obsolete now as they were not widely accepted due to their limitations.

They offer more functionalities, a proper standardized system, wide coverage, and even wireless connectivity.
OBD2 scanners cover modern cars, manufactured in and after 1996.
Credit: encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com

OBD2 Scanners: OBD2 scanners cover modern cars, manufactured in and after 1996. They offer more functionalities, a proper standardized system, wide coverage, and even wireless connectivity.

In short, OBD2 scanners reign over OBD1 scanners in every aspect. The best OBD2 scanner will allow you to perform a variety of functionalities including complex jobs.

Go for an OBD2 tool if your car supports it (1996 or later model). If you have an older vehicle, then your only option is to choose an OBD1 tool.

 OBD2 ScannersOBD1 Scanners
Cars Supported- Cars manufactured in 1996 and later (OBD2 compliant).

- Some electric cars and trucks manufactured in 1996 and later are also compatible with OBD2 scanners.
Cars manufactured before 1996 work with obd1 scanners.
DiagnosisFully automaticSemi automatic
Features- Read and clear engine trouble codes, show results in graphical form, perform freeze frame.

- Can show live results, perform bidirectional tests, and read most systems.
- Check actuator shorts and sensor problems.


- Find engine issues.

- Display trouble codes.
InterfaceUniversal specific (a single scanner is compatible with many car brands)Manufacturer specific (compatibility issues are at large).
Years Used1996 and after.Supports older cars from 1991-1995.
StandardFederal Standard (Standardised to support modern cars)California Standard.
ConnectivityCorded, Bluetooth, WiFi.Corded.

3 Types Of OBD2 Scanners: Code Reader, DIY Scanner, and Professional Diagnostic Tool

Now that we know OBD2 scanners are better than OBD1 scanners, let’s get to know more about them.

Code Reader

A basic code reader offers beginner lever features. It can help you read and clear engine codes, perform smog tests (inspect a car’s exhaust), and freeze frame (store data related to emission system faults).

It also has a DTC lookup feature that helps understand codes.

OBD2 code reader also has a DTC lookup feature that helps understand codes.
Code Reader can help you read and clear engine codes, perform smog tests and freeze frame.
Credit: live.staticflickr.com

DIY Scanner

DIY scanners are faster and also offer wireless connectivity. They offer all the features offered by basic readers and some more. They are said to be suitable for DIYers or car owners who want to solve car issues on their own.

With DIY diagnostic tools, you can perform fuel tests, gauge pressure levels in the engine, export data to a computer using USB cable, etc.

You can customize the dashboard of the scanner to save time. DIY scan tools are said to be easier to use as they also offer graphs. Moreover, some devices may also offer advanced features such as ABS and SRS.

Professional Diagnostic Tool

These devices are expensive as they are made for professionals including mechanics and car shop owners.

They offer almost all the features you can think of including battery testing, steering angle, oil change, etc.

It’s made to run faster but may be quite complicated to use as it’s designed for people who are well aware of cars and internal systems.

Should I Take A Code Reader, A DIY Scanner, Or A Professional Diagnostic Tool?

Each scanner has its own pros and cons.

  • Code Reader: It’s suitable for users who want to perform basic functions. It’s affordable and easy to use, hence can be a good pick for new users.
  • DIY Scanner: It’s suitable for users who want to perform a mix of advanced and basic functions. It’s easy to use but can be a little expensive.
  • Professional Diagnostic Tool: It’s only suitable for professionals as it offers some complex features that a layman may not understand. Plus, it’s also very expensive.

The right option depends on your budget and your needs. However, remember that features differ from unit to unit, i.e: not all DIY scanners offer the same functionalities.

Best Brands of OBD2 Scanners

ANCEL

ANCEL has introduced a wide range of OBD2 scanners. The company offers long warranties on most products and is known for its excellent customer service.

You can find OBD2 automotive diagnostic tools ranging from basic to professional.

Ancel  offers long warranties on most products and is known for its excellent customer service.
ANCEL AD310 is a basic code reader that can diagnose fault codes very quickly.
Credit: live.staticflickr.com

Top ANCEL OBD2 Scanners:

  • ANCEL AD310: Excellent scanner for those who want basic features. However, it may not be suitable for some users as it’s corded.
  • ANCEL AD410: You can check for leaks and keep tabs on the fuel tank with this OBD2 scanner. It’s easy to use and quite reliable as well.

Autel

Autel is a popular name when it comes to diagnostic tools. It offers a wide range of products, each offering unique benefits.

Best Autel Scanners:

  • Autel AutoLink AL319: Great tool for DIYers and beginners. You can check CEL, perform freeze frame, I/M readiness, and watch live PCM data using this scanner.
  • Autel MaxiCheck Pro: This tool is suitable for professionals. It advanced features such as reading and clearing ABS/SRS related codes, reset oil light, see and clear DPF codes, battery management, SAS, and EPB.

LAUNCH

Launch may not be the most popular name out there but it is slowly climbing the success ladder. Its products are known to be durable and easy to use.

Best LAUNCH Scanners:

  • LAUNCH Creader 3001: If you wish to save money by reducing trips to a mechanic then get this scanner. It is a basic code reader that offers CEL codes, DTCs, live data, and freeze frame data. It will also let you do EVAP and O2 monitor test.
  • LAUNCH Creader VII+: This Launch tool is one of the best OBD2 scanners available. You can check ABS, SRS codes with this scanner and ensure that the airbag and tire traction systems work properly.
  • LAUNCH X431 V+: If you are looking for a professional Launch scanner then consider X431 V+. It offers premium features such as ABS bleeding, SAS, IMMO, EPB, Oil reset, DPF, BMS, ECU coding, ETS, injector coding and bidirectional features, too.

FOXWELL

FOXWELL OBD2 scanners can be a good choice if you want a product that offers good results.

Best FOXWELL Scanners:

  • FOXWELL NT301: With this OBD2 scanner, you can read/clear CEL, freeze frame, perform o2 sensor, and fuel pressure test, etc.
  • FOXWELL NT650: People looking for powerful OBD2 scanners that can take care of advanced features can get this one. It offers plenty of advanced features such as ABS, SRS, EPB, actuator tests, brake bleed, camshaft gear learning, DPF, BRT, and TPMS.

BlueDriver

If you want a scanner that is cross compatible and supports a wide range of smartphones (Android and iOS) then Bluedriver is the ultimate choice.

It might not offer the best-advanced features but it allows you to turn your phone into a live scanner.

You can read codes and see live data on your phone by using Bluedriver tools.

You can read codes and see live data on your phone by using Bluedriver tools
Bluedriver might not offer the best-advanced features but it allows you to turn your phone into a live scanner.
Credit: live.staticflickr.com

Best Bluedriver OBD2 Scanner:

  • BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional Scanner: It offers a variety of features including CEL, pressure gauge, graphs, RPM, fuel, dashboard customization, data exporting and more.
  • The scanner supports all phones and devices that have a Bluetooth feature.

INNOVA

INNOVA is another innovative company that manufactures top-notch OBD2 scanners.

Best INNOVA Scanner:

  • INNOVA 3150f Code Reader: It allows users to check for ABS and SRS faults, reset oil light, and perform battery initialization in addition to other basic and advanced features.

TOPDON

This company is known for making reliable basic and advanced tools. Its products are affordable and very durable.

Best TOPDON Scanner:

  • TOPDON OBD CAN Elite: With this OBD2 scanner, you can read and clear ABS/ SRS codes in almost 24 car brands. It offers free updates for 1 year and covers all basic functionalities as well.

VXDIAG

It’s not a top brand but its products are quite reliable. They are known for durability and ease of use.

Best VXDIAG Scanner:

  • VXDIAG VCX Nano Programming Tool: It’s an advanced tool that allows you to check for CEL codes, reprogram a car, perform various tests, check for DPF faults, and perform brake bleeding.

JDIAG

You might not have heard of this brand but it’s fast becoming a global icon. It offers excellent customer support and has a growing range of products.

Best JDIAG Scanner:

  • JDIAG 101: This scanner lets you check engine codes with some advanced features such as DTC, I/M readiness, and freeze frame.

OBD2 Scan Tools For Specific Vehicles

While the best OBD2 scanners are made to support a wide variety of brands, some may work best with specific brands. This is why it may be a good idea to pick an automotive tool according to your car brand.

BMW OBD2 Scan Tool

It can be daunting for conventional OBD2 scanners to offer good connectivity and features for a BMW.

This is why you’ll need a BMW specific scanner. Some good options include:

● Carista OBD2 Bluetooth BMW Scanner: Carista is a popular OBD2 scanner that covers 1996 and newer BMW models. It comes with an app of its own which is free to use for the first month.

The tool may be a little expensive but it’s quite reliable and is known to produce quick results.

You can check for ABS codes, wheel problems, SRS issues, key programming, with this beauty.

With this tool, You can check for ABS codes, wheel problems, SRS issues, key programming, with this beauty.
Carista is a popular OBD2 scanner that covers 1996 and newer BMW models.
Credit: live.staticflickr.com

● iCarsoft i910: This is another BMW specific OBD2 scanner that offers many basic and a few advanced features. It can fix ABS and SRS related issues in your BMW with this scanner and also perform key programming to enhance security.

With this scanner, you can also calibrate steering sensors and measure tire pressure. Plus, it offers some basic features as well.

Audi OBDII Scanners

Audi is a luxurious brand that’s known for its amazing performance. You will need a high-quality scan tool to support it. Here are some good options:

● Xtool VAG401: This OBD2 scanner supports most Audi models. It covers most systems and also offer all basic features.

Ford OBDII Scan Tools

If you own a Ford then look at these amazing Ford-specific OBD2 scanners:

● INNOVA 3040e OBDII Live Data Code Reader: This scanner is a good fit for most Ford models. It offers a variety of features including live data, engine light problems, battery performance, I/M readiness, freeze frame, etc.

Moreover, you can also enjoy a few advanced features such as ABS code reading and oil reset.

● AUTOPHIX 7710 OBD2 Automotive Diagnostic Scanner: If you own a FORD manufactured between 1996-2017 then this scanner can be an excellent choice.

It offers premium functions such as TCM, PCM, EPB, ABS, SRS, TPMS, DPF, and intake air throttle valve.

It also covers all basic features.

VW OBD2 Scan Tools

VW is one of the most luxurious brands but sadly, not many scanners can support this brand.
Credit: http://pngimg.com

VW is one of the most luxurious brands but sadly, not many scanners can support this brand. Here are some good options to try:

● Xtool VAG401: This OBD2 scan tool supports most VW models made between 1996 to 2016. It offers many useful features that will help you keep your vehicle in top-notch shape. You can reset SRS light, perform actuation tests, reset oil-light with this beauty.

● With this tool, one can check TP position, reset brake pads, reset oil, ABS and SRS lights. It supports a wide range of VW models as it’s tailor-made for the brand.

Toyota OBDII Scan Tools

Since Toyota is among the most popular brands, most tools will support Toyota models, however here are some of the best options:

● BAFX Bluetooth Toyota Scan Tool: It supports most OBD2 supported Toyota cars. The highlight of this tool is the wireless connectivity it offers. You can connect the scanner to an Android phone via Bluetooth and perform basic features such as checking engine codes, perform smog and sensor test.

● GM Scan Tools: People with GM models should look at these OBD2 scanners as they are reliable:

● iCarsoft i900: This scanner will let you read and clear engine codes, display live results, freeze frame, and complete system diagnosis as well.

It supports most GM cars manufactured in and after 1996.

Heavy Duty Truck OBD2 Diagnostic Tools

Very few OBDII diagnostic tools cover heavy duty trucks. This is why you will need a tool that is specifically designed for big trucks.

Here are some good options:

● ANCEL HD510 Heavy Duty Truck Scanner: It supports a wide range of heavy-duty trucks that are OBD2 compliant.

It can perform functions such as CIN, CVN, smog, CEL, I/M readiness, VIN, DTC lookup and battery status.

OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters For iOS, Android, and Windows Devices

Cordless tools are popular due to the ease they offer.

Let’s look at some of the best Bluetooth adapters for various platforms:

Bluetooth OBDII Scanners For Android:

● BAFX Bluetooth Toyota Scan Tool: This scanner might not have an app of its own but it supports various third-party apps like Carista and Scan Master.

It supports almost all Android phones running the latest version. The scan tool is known to form solid connections and works quickly as well.

It offers a bunch of basic features such as CEL, smog test, graph sensor readings and data logging.

● OBDLink MX OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner: This scanner supports both Windows and Android phones. With it, you can check and clear engine codes and use a few advanced features on FORD and GM brands only.

It comes with an app of its own which is free to download.

Bluetooth OBD2 Scanners For iOS:

● Bluedriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iOS & Android: This is one of the few OBD2 scanners that support both Android and iOS platforms. With it, you can check ABS and SRS fault codes along with many other basic functionalities.

● Veepeak OBDCheck BLE OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner for iOS and Android: This OBD2 scanner supports both Android and iOS phones. Veepeak BLE allows users to see live data, perform smog, and CEL with several basic features.

This OBD2 scanner supports both Android and iOS phones.
Veepeak BLE allows users to see live data, perform smog, and CEL with several basic features.
Credit: live.staticflickr.com

Bluetooth OBDII Scanners For Windows:

● OBDLink LX OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner for Android and Windows: If you have a Windows phone then OBDLink LX will work best. It is known for strong connections and offers features such as read/clear CEL codes, freeze frame, etc.

ABS, SRS, Engine, Transmission Or Bidirectional Scan Tool?

As mentioned earlier, one scan tool may not be able to cover all systems. This is why it is important to be clear about what you want in a scanner.

Here is a list of scanners that are suitable for specific functions:

ABS: The best scan tool to read and clear ABS codes is Autel MaxiLink ML619. It can quickly check ABS and give reliable codes with easy to understand explanations.

You will have no trouble in understanding the code. The system will also help you solve the problem so that you can keep your car well-maintained.

SRS: LAUNCH CRP129 is excellent at finding airbag deployment problems. It is one of the most important features when it comes to safety as issues with the SRS can be fatal and lead to major injuries in case the car gets into an accident.

This tool is equipped to scan the SRS and help you reset the SRS light after you have solved the problem.

Engine: AstroAI OS320 is a complete tool that can identify and help you solve a majority of engine-related codes.

It is easy to use thanks to a unique LED system that makes diagnosis fun:

  • The red light means no problems found.
  • The yellow light refers to a pending code.
  • The green light indicates a fault detected.

Transmission: Autel MaxiDiag Advanced MD808 can be a good pick if you want to read the transmission system.

It offers top-notch transmission options such as live transmission data, speed displays, wheel rotation, fuel usage, etc.

Bidirectional: Very few scan tools offer this feature as it’s mostly found in professional scanners.

This feature allows you to request the control module to perform a specific function. With this feature, you can perform system, actuator, functional and inspection tests.

Get your hands on LAUNCH X431 HTT if you want to run bidirectional tests. It offers actuator testing, gearbox matching, suspension matching, gear learning, etc., making it the best OBD2 scanner for bidirectional testing.

Things To Consider Before Buying An OBD2 Scanner

Before buying an OBD2 scanner, it is important you look into certain things. It will help you make the right decision:

Price Range

Since there are plenty of options available, it is wise to set a price range first.

Basic OBD2 code readers are the cheapest and can be bought for as low as $10. DIY scanners can be expensive, at about $70 and professional tools can cost a few hundred dollars.

In addition to the cost of the tool, also consider the cost of the app if you’re buying a cordless device. Some tools only work with paid apps.

Update

Most reliable manufacturers offer yearly updates to ensure the scanner continues to work with newer models. However, updates can also often be costly so pay attention to this factor as well.

Some OBDII scan tools come with free lifetime updates while some offer free updates for the first few years only.

Other than this, ensure the process is easier. Most scan tools require the internet to update but some can be very complicated.

After Sale Service And Technical Support

Technical support is crucial when you buy an OBD2 scanner. You need the company by your side to ensure there are no issues.

Go for a brand that is known to be professional. Some companies offer poor customer service and can make it difficult to avail warranty. You do not want to work with such manufacturers so choose carefully.

Other than this, make sure to buy a scanner that supports your vehicle and offers all the features that you need. Also, remember that some features may only work if you use a specific app. Hence, do a bit of research before you pick one.

Best OBD2 Scanners Reviews

Editor's PicksProductsOur Rating
Best OverallANCEL AD3109.5/10
Runner UpAutel AutoLink AL3199.5/10
Great PickFOXWELL NT2019/10
Best Budget BuyLAUNCH Creader 30019/10
Also GoodAutel AutoLink AL5199/10

Generally, the more the functions the better the OBDII scanner. And with that in mind let’s take a look at some of the best OBD2 scanners on the market today.

ANCEL AD310 Enhanced OBDII Scanner

ANCEL AD310
ANCEL AD310 Enhanced OBDII Scanner
4.64.6 / 5
ANCEL AD310 is a good buy for any car owner. It provides all the essential functions that you may need to diagnose the engine and emissions system.

The ANCEL AD310 scan tool is compatible with OBD2 vehicles. It covers all models made in the U.S. since 1996 and those made in Europe and Asia since 2000.

Once connected to a vehicle, the AD310 identifies the vehicle automatically. It retrieves vehicle information, including VIN, CIN and CVN. That’s important information when you’re buying a vehicle or trying to find replacement parts.

As far as engine diagnostics, this code reader reads and clears generic as well as manufacturer-specific engine codes. It follows that you can use it to reset the MIL. If you are absolutely new in the diagnostics field you will love to know that each code comes with a brief description.

Additionally, the scanner supports live data stream from sensors. You can also view freeze frame data. Both types of data help when you need to pinpoint faulty sensors, monitors or modules.

Alongside codes and data, the ANCEL AD310 displays I/M readiness status. You can use to determine whether your car will pass a smog test. Plus it supports the diagnosis of emission systems, including O2 sensors.

ANCEL AD310 is safe for users with durability

Verdict

In sum, ANCEL AD310 Enhanced OBDII Scanner is a good buy for any car owner.

Pros

  • Detailed code description
  • Intuitive interface makes it easy to use
  • Wide vehicle coverage
  • Very affordable
  • Very quick pulling and clearing codes
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Compatibility issues with 2004 BMW 325ci and 2005 Toyota Prius
  • The construction feels cheap due to the plastic body

Check Price at Amazon

Autel AL319 OBDII Scan Tool

Autel AL319
Autel AL319 OBDII Scan Tool
4.64.6 / 5
Autel AutoLink AL319 makes a great buy, especially for ordinary car owners. It’s affordable yet packs most the features you need to diagnose the engine system successfully.

Autel AutoLink AL319 is an entry-level engine code reader designed for OBD2 vehicles. It’s compatible with domestic and foreign vehicles sold in the U.S. since 1996. Plus it is built with Auto-VIN technology and can automatically display a car’s VIN, CIN and CVN.

Functionally, this budget-friendly check engine light scanner is surprisingly oomph-y. For starters it can read and erase engine trouble codes. That goes for generic, manufacturer-specific and pending codes.

Note that clearing engine codes will reset the MIL. To make your work easier, the AL319 provides code definitions to help you understand the problem.

In addition to trouble codes, this Autel OBD2 scanner displays live PCM data, freeze frame data and I/M readiness status. Live engine data is always essential when you need to identify a faulty sensor.

Freeze frame data, on the other hand, tells you exactly when a code was recorded. It’s basically historical data that can help you figure out what triggered the problem that is associated with a particular code.

Finally, I/M readiness status informs you whether the car is ready for emission tests. You need that info to know whether the car may pass state and federal smog tests.

Autel AutoLink AL319 supports I/M reader

Verdict

Overall, Autel AL319 OBDII Scan Tool makes a great buy, especially for ordinary car owners. It’s affordable yet packs most of the features you need to diagnose the engine system successfully.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Has warning LED lights
  • Covers all OBD2-compliant vehicles
  • Provides code definitions
  • Has a one-click readiness key for checking I/M readiness instantly

Cons

  • Complicated process when updating software
  • Compatibility issues with newer versions of Windows OS (from Windows 8)

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FOXWELL NT201 OBD2 Diagnostic Tool

FOXWELL NT201
FOXWELL NT201 OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
4.54.5 / 5
It should come as no surprise that FOXWELL NT201 is designed for ordinary car owners with a low price and features.

FOXWELL NT201 OBDII code reader is compatible with 1996 and newer vehicles made in the US, 2000 and newer vehicles made in Europe and 2008 and newer vehicles made in Asia.

Built with a 2.4-inch TFT screen, the NT201 reads and clears engine codes. As such, you can use it to reset the CEL. Each code comes with a brief description to help the user understand the issue better.

It’s also capable of live data and freeze frame data. As far as live data, you can choose to view it either as texts or graphs. While some users prefer text data, others find it easier to interpret graphs.

Besides, this scan tool also supports viewing of I/M readiness status. It has a dedicated I/M readiness hotkey for easy access to this function. Additionally, there are 3 LEDs that provide visual feedback.

If your car has a serious emissions-related problem the red LED will come on. A lower-level problem but worth investigating further will trigger the yellow LED. When you get a red LED it means that the vehicle’s emission system has a serious problem.

FOXWELL NT201 is a tool which brings quickness to users

Verdict

All the above are functions that any car owner needs on a regular basis. It should come as no surprise that FOXWELL NT201 OBD2 Diagnostic Tool is designed for ordinary car owners. In fact, it comes with a low price tag for its target users.

Pros

  • Provides fairly detailed code definitions
  • Has the color display
  • Very affordable
  • Covers most OBD2-compliant vehicles
  • Effective at pulling engine codes and resetting MIL

Cons

  • Could use a better user manual
  • The process of updating software is a bit tedious

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LAUNCH CR3001 OBD2 Scanner

LAUNCH CR3001
LAUNCH CR3001 OBD2 Scanner
4.54.5 / 5
LAUNCH Creader 3001 is one of the best OBD2 scanners because it supports almost all vehicles that are manufactured in or after 1996. It supports all 5 major protocols as well.

Coming next is the LAUNCH Creader 3001 OBD2 code reader. Like all the OBD2 scan tools before, Creader 3001 is an entry-level device with a low price tag that matches its basic functionality.

It is designed to work on all mainstream OBD2-compliant vehicles sold in the U.S. since 1996. More specifically, the scanner supports all 10 OBD2 protocols. So there’s every chance it will be compatible with any OBD2 vehicle.

Like the ANCEL AD310 above, this CR3001 automatically identifies vehicles using their VIN. You don’t have to search through its database or enter your car make and model manually.

More importantly, you can use it to read and erase engine DTCs. With a built-in lookup library, the Creader 3001 helps you understand each code better. And you can use it to reset the CEL.

Featuring a color screen, this engine scanner is capable of displaying freeze frame data and live PCM data.

Besides, the Creader 3001 can check I/M readiness status, test O2 sensors, perform on-board monitoring tests and do EVAP system tests.

LAUNCH Creader 3001 helps control car emissions

Verdict

To put it simply, LAUNCH CR3001 OBD2 Scanner has everything you might need to check the engine, diagnose the emissions system and reset the MIL. It is designed for car owners.

Pros

  • Simple to use. Has 4 buttons only and a color screen makes navigation easy
  • Covers all mainstream OBD2-compliant vehicles, domestic and foreign
  • Doesn’t require batteries
  • Small and compact handheld device
  • Good value for the money

Cons

  • Compatibility issues, especially with Asian cars like 2002 Mazda B2300 and 2003 Honda Element
  • Unreliable support for US-based customers

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Autel AL519 Enhanced OBD2 Scan Tool

Autel AL519
Autel AL519 Enhanced OBD2 Scan Tool
4.64.6 / 5
It is that versatility that makes the Autel AL519 one of the best engine code readers on the market. This scanner is just as good for enthusiasts and DIYers as it is for car owners.

The Autel AL519 can pass as an OBDII diagnostic tool for DIYers and enthusiasts. That boils down to its impressive range of features.

First off, it can read and clear engine codes, provide code definitions, display live PCM & O2 sensor data, retrieve freeze frame data, show I/M readiness status and retrieve vehicle information.

So what sets it apart from the rest? Well, for one you can configure it to test particular monitors in the ECU. Secondly, it offers various types of feedback for emission checks. There are color coded LEDs for visual feedback, a built-in speaker for those who want audio notifications and of course the screen for reading data.

Similarly, you can choose to view live data either as text or graphs. On top of that, the scanner reads all types of engine codes, namely generic, manufacturer-specific and pending DTCs.

It is that versatility that makes the Autel AL519 one of the best engine code readers on the market. Not to mention that it works on most OBD2-compliant vehicles.

Autel AL519 works on all vehicles 1996 and newer.

Verdict

In summary, this Autel AL519 Enhanced OBD2 Scan Tool is just as good for enthusiasts and DIYers as it is for car owners.

Pros

  • Provides diagnostic feedback in different formats
  • Supports storing and saving of diagnostic data
  • Compatible with most foreign and domestic OBD2-compliant vehicles
  • Retrieves diagnostic data fast
  • Easy to use. Has simple-to-follow menus

Cons

  • The refresh rate is too fast in some cases so you can miss important data
  • Autel discontinued updates for this product

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AUTOPHIX OM126P OBD2 Code Reader

AUTOPHIX OM126P
AUTOPHIX OM126P OBD2 Code Reader
4.54.5 / 5
AUTOPHIX OM126P can check for leaks in the EVAP, diagnose faulty O2 sensors and so on.

The AUTOPHIX OM126P is designed with a color 2.4-inch TFT screen. It can display generic engine codes and their definitions, capable of clearing engine codes and resetting the MIL.

OM126P OBD2 scan tool is compatible with MOST cars sold in the U.S. since 1996. It supports all OBD2 protocols, including CAN, ISO9141, J1850 PWM and KWP 2000.

AUTOPHIX OM126P features a dedicated I/M readiness hotkey for checking emissions and emission systems. Besides informing you whether your car will pass a smog test, this function also checks the whole emission system for faults.

You can check for leaks in the EVAP, diagnose faulty O2 sensors, monitor the integrity of the fuel tank and so much more.

Autophix OM126 supports all 12 modes of OBD2 test

Verdict

To put it simply, AUTOPHIX OM126P OBD2 Code Reader can be a lifesaver for any car owner.

Pros

  • Free software updates
  • A multilingual menu
  • Solid construction with a rubber sleeve all round
  • Works on most mainstream vehicle brands

Cons

  • Doesn’t read or erase manufacturer-specific codes
  • Compatibility issues with Windows 10

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BAFX Products OBD2 Code Reader

BAFX Products
BAFX Products OBD2 Code Reader
4.54.5 / 5
The BAFX Products is a check engine light reader that can diagnose problems in your vehicle’s engine and display results accurately with iOS-based devices.

If you prefer using an adapter over a stand-alone engine fault code reader then the BAFX Products OBD2 Code Reader might just be what you need. Contrary to a stand-alone scanner, an OBD2 adapter pairs with your phone and allows you to run OBD straight from the phone.

This version of the BAFX Products scanner works with iOS-based devices (iPhone, iPod & iPad). Your task is to install a third party OBD2 app on your iOS device. Once that’s done connect the adapter and your device via Wi-Fi and you will be good to go.

As you may have already guessed, the functionality of this check engine code reader depends on the OBD2 app you use. That said, it generally supports reading and clearing of engine codes, pulling of sensor data, reading live data, data logging and checking emission readiness status.

Of course when you clear engine codes the MIL will reset. Also noteworthy is that the BAFX Products scanner not only shows sensor data in text but it can graph them as well. Make sure you use the best OBD2 software for iOS in order to take maximum advantage of the adapter’s capabilities.

In terms of vehicle compatibility, this OBD2 adapter works on all OBD2-compliant vehicles.

Verdict

BAFX Products OBD2 Code Reader is perfect for ordinary car owners who own OBD2 vehicles and use iOS devices. Note that BAFX Products have a different version for Android and Windows users.

Pros

  • Very affordable engine code reader
  • Quick at refreshing sensor data
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Works on all OBD2-compliant vehicles
  • Offer excellent customer service for this device

Cons

  • Strictly an iOS-compatible scanner. Android and Windows users can’t use this version
  • Depends on third party diagnostic apps

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TryAce SR950 OBD2 Scanner

TryAce SR950
TryAce SR950 OBD2 Scanner
4.54.5 / 5
It is a professional scan tool that can perform basic and advanced functions.It supports EVAP system tests, O2 sensor tests and on-board monitoring tests.

TryAce SR950 is undoubtedly one of the most bought engine code readers. Featuring 7 apps on the main menu, this device is simple and straightforward to use. It should come as no surprise that its marketed as a consumer product meant for ordinary car owners.

Of its 7 apps, the two most important are arguable “Diagnostic” and “DTC Lookup”. The former allows you to run engine OBD. You can read and erase engine DTCs, view live data, freeze frame data, vehicle information and I/M readiness status.

In addition to the above, the TryAce SR950 supports EVAP system tests, O2 sensor tests and on-board monitoring tests. To put it simply, the scanner not only pulls emissions-related codes but also checks the emission system for faults.

Cycling back to codes, the TryAce SR950 displays generic, manufacturer-specific and pending codes. When you select the “DTC Lookup” you will get code definitions. You can print your diagnostic data by connecting the scanner to a PC.

With regards to vehicle coverage, the SR950 is compatible with all OBD2-compliant vehicles. It supports all OBD2 modes.

TryAce SR950 with unique one-click I/M readiness status design, which fast to scan vehicle’s engine healthy status

Verdict

TryAce SR950 OBD2 Scanner is an OBDII scan tool for any car owners as well as professionals.

Pros

  • Free lifetime software update
  • Works on domestic and foreign OBD2 vehicles
  • Package contains everything you need, including storage case
  • Simple to use. Apps are easily accessible from the main menu
  • Features dedicated I/M readiness key for emission tests

Cons

  • Doesn’t work on diesel vehicles
  • A bit vague instructions

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AstroAI OS320 OBD2 Scanner

AstroAI OS320
AstroAI OS320 OBD2 Scanner
4.64.6 / 5
Outstanding features make the AstroAI OS320 a handy tool for car owners. It’s affordable, compact and (most importantly) excellent for checking the engine and emissions systems.

Like most other entry-level engine scan tools, the AstroAI OS320 is designed for OBD2-compliant vehicles. It covers most domestic and foreign car brands. As a matter of fact, this scanner supports all OBD2 protocols, including the most popular ones like CAN, ISO9141, J1850 PWM and KWP 2000.

In terms of functionality, this check engine light scanner is capable of reading and erasing engine DTCs. That’s what gives it the ability to reset the MIL. If you are new to OBD codes you will be glad to know that it does provide code definitions.

Additionally, it displays live PCM data as well as freeze frame data. As already mentioned, live PCM data is helpful when you need to pinpoint faulty sensors and monitors. On the other hand, freeze frame data helps you know when a particular engine code was recorded.

To top the above off, the OS320 checks the I/M readiness status of your vehicle. With it you can know whether your vehicle will pass state and federal emission checks.

Besides, OS320 OBDII code reader monitors the emission system, including O2 sensors and the EVAP system. In case there’s a mechanical or electrical problem it will pinpoint it and report to you using a code.

AstroAI OS320 is a versatile tool for users with handy features

Verdict

All the aforementioned features make the AstroAI OS320 OBD2 Scanner a handy tool for car owners. It’s affordable, compact and (most importantly) excellent for checking the engine and emissions systems.

Pros

  • Reads generic, manufacturer-specific and pending engine codes
  • Allows PC connectivity for updating software and printing diagnostic data
  • Quick startup and delivers diagnostic data promptly
  • Has 3 LEDs for reporting emission status
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Instructions manual has very small font and may be hard to read
  • Compatibility issues, especially with Asian-made vehicles
  • Has a cheap feel (construction-wise)

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TOPDON AL200 OBDII Scanner

TOPDON AL200
TOPDON AL200 OBDII Scanner
4.64.6 / 5
TOPDON AL200 is a handy piece for viewing data. Top on the list are live data and freeze frame data. In addition to those two, you can also pull a vehicle’s VIN, CIN and CVN.

You’ve probably noticed that the products in this best engine code reader review are entry-level devices designed for car owners. The TOPDON AL200 is no different. It costs under $30, yet offers everything that a good engine code reader should.

For starters, it can read and clear engine DTCs. Consequently, you can use the scanner to reset the MIL. It has a DTC lookup library in case you need more info about a code that has popped up.

Alongside engine codes, the AL200 OBD2 scan tool checks vehicles for I/M readiness. With it, you can know whether your car will pass state or federal smog tests. Besides, the scanner allows you to view the status of available emissions-related monitors.

Finally, this check engine light reader is a handy piece for viewing data. Top on the list are live data and freeze frame data. In addition to those two, you can also pull a vehicle’s VIN, CIN and CVN.

In terms of vehicle coverage, TOPDON AL200 works on 1996 and newer cars made in the US as well as 2000 and newer cars made in Europe. It also supports all the popular Asian brands that are OBD2-compliant.

Topdon AL200 makes great sense in the CEL turning off

Verdict

TOPDON AL200 OBDII Scanner is a good OBD2 product for DIYers and car owners.

Pros

  • Has a multilingual menu
  • 12-month warranty
  • Retrieves generic, manufacturer-specific and pending codes
  • Built-in DTC lookup makes it easy to understand the problem
  • Connects to a car’s ECU quickly. Displays progress bar during connection

Cons

  • Doesn’t have the most exciting user interface
  • Doesn’t have a rubber sleeve to protect the plastic body

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Recommendation: Top 3 OBD2 Scanners

Our top pick is the ANCEL AD310 for its design and easy-to-use interface. Also, this excellent OBD2 scanner provides all the essential functions that you may need to diagnose the engine and emissions system. Plus it may help you reset the Check Engine Light.

Next, Autel AL319 works on virtually every OBD2-compliant vehicle. And it has every function that you may need in an engine code reader, ranging from MIL reset to live engine data and even freeze frame data. It has a lookup library to help those who are new to OBD.

The bronze pick will be FOXWELL NT201. This OBD2 diagnostic tool doesn’t boast the same compatibility capabilities of the Autel AL319. Nonetheless, it offers the functions that any ordinary car owner might need. You can scan the engine, check emissions, view I/M readiness status, freeze frame data and live data. With regard to the latter, the NT201 supports graphical and textual data display.

FAQs

❓ Where is the OBDII port?

💡 You can find it under the dashboard, below the wheel.

❓ Can OBD2 scanner indicates what’s wrong with my vehicle?

💡 That depends on the problem and the scanner you use. In most cases, your OBD2 scanner will display error code. Otherwise, you need further investigation to identify the issues. For newer cars, manufacturers provide specific codes and their definitions.

❓ Where to store my OBD2 diagnostic tools?

💡 You will need the scanner nearby in case of unexpected issue. We recommend keeping it in your vehicle because most OBDII code readers are small.

❓ Can I use OBDII scanners that mechanics use?

💡 Why not? There are many OBD2 scan tools offering advanced features to solve your issues. However, prepare yourself for a higher cost.

The Bottomline

This is all you need to know in order to pick the best OBD2 scanner for your car. Make sure that you understand the scan tool thoroughly before buying.

Bonus: 7 Best OBD1 Code Readers: Review and Comparison 2020

4 thoughts on “Best OBD2 Scanners 2020 [Honest Review & Buying Guide]”

  1. I’ve been searching for a OBD reader for several months. Nearly every site review has different results, with it’s own limited faves due to small survey list and a short description of each. NO ONE has a list of all devices lined up with categories and features check marks like is done at Consumer Reports and for several very detailed reviews I’ve seen of the many PC Anti-virus and spyware programs. It is very confusing, un-encouraging and makes me wonder too often that some companies are slipping beer and pretzel money to the staff, ala the Chinese and Japanese ways of doing reviews.

    While I laude the idea here of discussing each reputable brand –not just the best devices– even this site has no check mark line up and doesn’t list every product made by each company. The review is not dated at top, only the responses are dated as a ref. So, we have no idea how when the data were collected other than it is being presented in 2020. When new devices appear, how can we decide if they came before or after this article, or if some are improvements of older ones?

    Still, this page is one of the more helpful I’ve encountered and I mean this response as encouragement to do more for us.

  2. Generally speaking, too many OBD devices look similar. Some have same model numbers and controls. Please inform us if some brands use rebrandings, recasings or relabelings of common devices. If 4 devices are actually the same, might as well consider the price as the main decision point. On the other hand, if one company has done a better job programming a common device, that might be a decider. I hope someone will get out their tools and take a look under the hood.

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