Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews 2017 : Car Diagnostic tool

OBD2 scanners are becoming more and more invaluable as a helping tool. Finding the best OBD2 scanner is not always easy. More and more of the cars on the roads today have some type of electronics. While some repairs still can be done without a reader, there are so many other repairs that require it. It can also help diagnose many repairs quicker as well, which most mechanics can appreciate.

There are some great OBD2 scanners out there and some within most budgets. If you want to be able to keep up with the times, you should really consider getting one. We will explain why they are so important, how to choose one and give you the information for the best ones on the market.

Contents of This Page

What Is And Why You Need Best OBD2 Scanner ?

Best OBD2 Scanner

If you have never used an OBD scanner, but have heard of one or seen one. You may be wondering what one really is. Well OBD stands for Onboard Diagnostics, it is a standard system that cars and trucks produced after 1996 use for self-diagnostics and reporting. The system actually started out of California Air Resources Board regulations. Then it eventually got implemented with specifications made by SAE, which is the Society of Automotive Engineers.


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There are earlier OBD scanners such as the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specific and the OBD-I systems but they handled different systems. So eventually to make it simpler the OBD II was made, so then systems would use the same communication protocols, codes and connectors from one maker to another. All vehicles after 1996 used the OBD-II, since that was the first year it was required that they all use it.


Our Top 3 Best OBD2 Scanner Tools


It was a great advancement in OBD use, making it more efficient in both time and money. They do come in different configurations, which does affect the price. There are different sizes and styles as well from basic code readers to larger more in in depth scanners. There is one for almost any budget though, just plan accordingly to your needs and budget.

How to Choose the Best OBD Scanner

Step By Step Guideline

When it comes to choosing a scanner the main thing to first decide is do you want a reader or a scanner. There are two main types of OBD scanners and those are it. Code readers are typically the cheaper and simpler of the two. They are used to see any error code or codes. They will also allow someone to clear the error log as well. Getting the code will give you what you need to start the repair. Deleting the codes will in most cases get rid of any dash indicator lights that may be on.

The OBD scan tools are the more expensive version and is typically what you will find in an automotive shop. If you are an avid solo mechanic though you may put out the money for one as well. That extra cost does give you more, such as more access to the on-board diagnostic system. The access you get depends on the model you decide to purchase.

Basic ones typically only provide access for a couple of modes like powertrain or emissions. The OBD II protocol though allows access up to 10 modes of access to the system. The top of the line ones will give you everything you need and provide things like live system data. Also more detailed vehicle information like VIN, verification info and software ID.

Different Types of OBD Scanners

types of OBD scanner

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When it comes to scanners there are two basic types of scanners. These types of scanners are the smaller in scale so they are great for those not looking for the large machine type. The two basic forms are handheld and PC Based. We will go over both, so you know what you need to know to make the best decision for you.

Handheld OBD II scanners

Handheld OBD II scanners are exactly that, designed to be small enough to hold in your hand. It will plug straight into your car or truck and get the diagnostic codes through your autos PCM. Those codes will warn you of any problems with vital areas of the auto. Such as problems with your autos engine and emissions. With the code you receive it will be easier to figure out the source of your problem. Some will also give you the capability of erasing those codes. Shutting off any indicator lights that may be on. The higher priced more innovative scanners will also give you info from sensors in actual time.

These are great for someone who just wants to get the codes and don’t need all the extras that come with a PC-Based OBD II scanner. They are also a great choice for those who want something portable. Since laptops are bigger and are easily broken, this is a great choice for those times that worrying about a computer may be a problem. All you need is your cell phone to look up codes on the go. They also tend to be the cheaper of the two as well.

PC-Based OBD II Scanner

PC-Based OBD II Scanner now there are two types of PC-Based. You can get one that has to be connected with a wire to a laptop and there is wireless. The wireless does require Wi-Fi to operate, otherwise it won’t work. This type is not just plug and go, you do have to first put in all the needed applications into your computer. Then link the diagnostic cable using diagnostic key to talk. This type of scanner does share the same operations as a handheld.

Some of the options these come with are switch off check engine gentle, as well as erase save diagnostic data. You can also check your emission readiness, which is great before an emissions test. Some will also allow you to browse and erase the difficulty codes both generic and manufacturer specific. Many also allow you to screen the real time parameters. You will also be able to view the history information later if wanted. As well as the plot knowledge if wanted from graphs and maps. You will also be able to view some awesome customizable electronic gauges. Some are also loaded with a drag feature as well.

You will also be able to print out much of the information that you are looking for. There are so many great features when you utilize a PC-Based computer, which the features do vary between units. So make sure you read the features each one offers, so you know it has what you want.

Others

we have already mentioned the two basic types on the market. There are some that are referred to as portable, which both of the ones mentioned above can be portable. However, the pc version needs to have Wi-Fi unless wired directly to the laptop. The handheld is already portable due to the size. There are larger units that are available as well, which are a great fit for an automotive garage. They can really be expensive, so you usually tend to find them in large scale garages.

Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews

We have taken the time to put together a list for you of our suggestion of best OBD II scanner reviews. That way you can save yourself time and in most cases money. So all you have to do is take a little bit of time to read about the ones we found for you and make your choice.

Blue Driver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone, iPad & Android

Expert Review
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone, iPad & Android

Everyone is on the go today and chances are you are too! So when you are looking for a professional grade OBDII scanner, you want one that can go with you. This one is a great option because this one can go where ever you go with ease. It is small enough to store just about anywhere.

No need for a computer to lug around with this one either. This is a two-piece system one piece plugs into your system and the other into your cell phone. Information is transferred from the sensor to the adaptor that plugs into your phone.

Why buy Blue Driver?

  1. Portable – It is small enough to take anywhere you need to go.
  2. Convenience – It works with your phone via bluetooth.
  3. Ease of Use – Works with phone via app provided by BlueDriver.

User Reviews and Recommendations

Overall this product rates highly with buyers, some did mention small issues early on. However, it seems now that the small things people thought were an issue are not one now. It seems that things just had to catch up since first introduced.

BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone, iPad and Android

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Most of them appreciated the ease of use and being able to use with modern technology. Aka via cellphone instead of larger items such as a tablet, laptop or desktop. Most don’t want to deal with wires and anymore extras then they are already messing with. So this is great since it is only a two piece set up.

Things Liked

  • Small and compact
  • Access to lots of data
  • Affordable
  • Bluetooth
  • Works with iPhone or Android phones
  • Developed by professional engineers

Things Not Liked

  • Doesn’t read airbag codes for all makes (but more will come with updates).
  • If vehicle is not from US, you won’t be able to access everything. Only clear codes, general diagnostic and live data sheet. 

BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android

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Features

Some of the great things that the BlueDriver has to offer is

  • Vehicle specific Repair Report containing code definition, possible causes, reported fixes and more. They can also be emailed as a PDF.
  • Reads and clear codes for confirmed CEL codes all makes, pending CEL codes all makes, permanent CEL codes all makes and enhanced codes (ABS, Airbag, Transmission, etc) for GM/Ford/Chrysler/Toyota and more as time goes on with updates.
  • Freeze frame, a vehicle snapshot when a code gets stored.
  • Smog check, which will tell you if vehicle is ready for a smog test.
  • Mode 6, advanced test results such as misfire counts.
  • Live data that you can graph multiple PIDS or export the log to a file to store.

Who should buy this tool?

There is a simple answer to that, someone who wants to keep it simple and uncomplicated. Someone who is on the go and wants a scanner that can go with them when they need it to.

This is great for the basic scan users to the moderate scan users. This is for someone who is tends to work on vehicles from 1996 on. Which is when OBD was required on all vehicles.

Blue Driver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone, iPad & Android

How Does It Work?

This scanner is simple! You download needed apps on phone being used. You plug sensor into the car and plug the driver piece into your phone. All information is sent via Bluetooth between the two.

Conclusion

You cannot go wrong with this product, especially for everything it gives you at a budget friendly price. One of the best thing is this one does receive updates. So things will only get better especially when it comes to the Airbag codes. So this one will last for quite some time as long as general manufacturers care is followed.

Blue Driver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone, iPad & Android

Autel AL519 Handheld AutoLink Enhanced OBD II Scan Tool with Mode 6 and IM Readiness

Expert Recommended

The Autel AL519 is a handheld scan tool you will love to own. This is designed to easily be held in your hand with ribbed edges for better grip. It has a durable build which is expected for such a tool. It has decent size screen for reviewing results.

This is a portable wired unit is great for those who a regular basic styled scanner. Yet while still having a wide range of features to get the job done. This unit is also upgradable which means this unit has long term possibilities.

Why buy the Autel AL519?

This unit is tough, upgradable, portable and it works on all 1996 and newer vehicles. Including domestic, Asian and European as well. This great scanner gives you a lot of bang for your buck, is simple to operate and display is easy to read as well.

  • Universal: This can be used for a wide range of vehicles.
  • Affordable: Autel is known for making reliable products at an affordable price.
  • Durable: This is built with the type of work it will be used for in mind.
  • Portable: handheld respectable in size for on the go if needed.

User reviews and recommendations

There were a few issues with reading older GM vehicles and there were problems when using software on XP version of windows. Since those though, there has been updates so those no longer seem to be a problem.

Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6

People loved the functions it does provide for the money. It will get you the basic information you need but if you want more in depth another model may be ideal. However, those just looking to get basic needed information were more than pleased.

Things Liked

  • Affordable, cheaper than other products on the market
  • One click patented I/M readiness key
  • Built in speaker
  • Easy to read display
  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Universal, works on domestic/Asian/European vehicles 

Don’t Like

  • Limited details, not in depth details like higher end scanners
  • Doesn’t give you option to clear only codes personally fixed
  • Basic interface, nothing fancy basic 

Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode

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FEATURES

Even though this is a basic OBD II scanner, there is still plenty of features to be happy about. For a baseline OBD II it is pretty great inside and out. It weighs in at 2 pounds which is reasonable for a handheld scanner. So here is what it has to offer you inside this small package.

  • One click patented readiness key for quick state emissions readiness drive cycle and check verification.
  • Retrieves generic P0, P2, P3, and U0.
  • Retrieves manufacturer specific P1, P3, and U1 codes and pending codes.
  • Shuts off check engine light MIL, clears codes and resets monitors.
  • Can view freeze frame data.
  • Reads, stores and also plays back live sensor data.
  • Displays monitor and I/M readiness status, and live O2 sensor test data.
  • Bright color coded LEDs.
  • Built in speaker.
  • Determines check engine light cause.
  • Displays DTC on the TFT colored screen.

Who needs this tool?

This is the scanner for the person who just wants to get answers. Without all the extra bells and whistles of other types of scanners. Someone who just wants the basic diagnostic information needed to get the job done.  This is one that is handheld, so it is portable if needed. So it is great if you do have to bring it on the go, making it great for mobile mechanics. You just can’t print or download anything without a computer.

Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool

How does this scanner work?

One end of the cord plugs into the scanner and the other attaches to the vehicle. So easy hook up! Power on answer questions or go to feature wanted. If you want to download information or do a printout of the information, that has to be done via computer.

Conclusion

This is a great basic scanner with a few extras. It is well worth the budget price it is typically offered at. It is great for shop use as well as use outside the shop. It is great when you need a scanner that can handle several different makes of vehicles without worry. Keeping the amount of scanning equipment, you need to a minimal amount. It is durable with mechanics in mind and fits in the hand with ease. This will help you diagnose the problem, so you can get started on the most important part which is to repair it.

Autel AL519 Handheld AutoLink Enhanced OBD II Scan Tool with Mode 6 and IM Readiness

Things to consider when choosing the best OBD2 scanner

  • COST: it is the biggest and most important factor. Figure out what your budget is and stick with it. Unless you have budging room, but most don’t.
  • FREQUENCY: how often do you plan on using the OBD? If it is just once in a while you may not want to opt for the expensive end of OBD’s. If you are someone who is always working on vehicles you may want to spend the money on a good one. That way it will last for the long haul and provide you with more information.
  • SIZE: if you have a small area to work in or want something that is portable. You will want something smaller and easier to handle. If you have plenty of room to spare or are planning on staying in one area with it, the bigger models usually give you a better display.
  • INFORMATION NEEDED, if you only need to get the code and don’t want all the rest save your money and opt for the code reader. If you want more control, access and in depth diagnostics then you need to look into a scanner.
  • ABS or NO ABS, if you want to be able to erase ABS codes you want to make sure the reader you are looking at offers that feature.
  • Multi Compatiable or Not, do you need it for only one type of vehicle and year or several and many years? Best bet is to play on the safer side and get the multi selection.

Those are main factors to consider when thinking about buying the best OBD2 scanner. There are code readers and scanners that only work for certain years. There are also some that will only give you extra information if hooked up to a computer. Some are updateable, which is one of the best ones to have since you will always have fresh information. Some will erase codes and some will not, so always make sure that the OBD that you are considering will have the things you are looking for.

There are some that will purchase both a reader and a scanner as well. So they have the two to alternate between depending on their need at that time. Reviews are still one of the best ways to find out what other people are saying, unless you have already had your own experiences with a brand or type.

ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Professional Bluetooth OBD II Scan Tool for Android or Windows

User Recommended

This scan tool is a one-piece wonder! Once you get your hands on it you will wonder how you ever did without it. This great scanner works with your android phone or a windows operated computer! This is small enough to stick in your pocket for on the go use.

ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool for Android & Windows

You can virtually store it anywhere in your toolbox, glovebox or any other easy access small space you can find for it. All information is transferred via bluetooth so no need for Wi-Fi. It will also put itself to sleep when not being used, so no worries about draining your car battery if you forget about it.

Why buy the ScanTool 426101 OBDLink?

This great scanner boasts plenty of reasons why to purchase it! The top reasons why you should be because

  • Compact, this scanner is small enough to fit in your pocket.
  • One piece, this scanner has a one-piece design.
  • Affordability, usually offered at a price most can afford.
  • Auto Shut off, scanner will shut off when not in use.
  • Will work on all cars and light trucks sold in US.

User Reviews and Recommendations

This scan tool is loved by the majority of reviewers that have purchased and used. They all loved many of the same things size, compatibility with all US vehicles, features and customer service. There really wasn’t much they had an issue with, but the few they did we will mention for the sake of mentioning.

ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool for Android Windows

Some stated it takes a while to connect and others stated that it gives generic OBD codes. If you want the manufacturer codes you have to have additional software. However, neither was a common issue they were single issues. 

Things Liked

  • Small in size
  • Portable
  • Affordable
  • Works with all US cars and light trucks
  • Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi needed
  • Can be used with phone, tablet, or windows operated computer (Not Apple iOS Devices)
  • Hacker proof

Things Not Liked

  • Not compatible with Apple iOS devices
  • Does not show fuel level on all vehicles
  • No cords all bluetooth (Bonus for some, might not be for others 

ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool for Android

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FEATURES

There are more than enough features to love with this scanner. You will surely be more than pleased what this small scanner can provide you. They have you in mind, especially with the auto shut off! They know you get busy and things get forgotten. So no worries forgetting to unplug, let’s go over what all this has in store.

  • Compatible with all cars and light trucks made in the US.
  • Auto shut off, will shut off when not used.
  • Supports all OBD II protocols.
  • Supports single wire CAN (GMLAN) and Ford Medium-Speed CAN (MS-CAN).
  • Works with android and windows devices.
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • Hacker-proof security mechanism.
  • Overvoltage protection.
  • Connects to more 3rd party apps.
  • 3-Year warranty.
  • Lifetime software and firmware upgrades.

Who needs to buy the ScanTool 426101?

Anyone that works on 1996 and newer vehicles can benefit from the ScanTool 426101. As far an experience level this will work for all levels, but is best for beginner and intermediate. The most advanced users with probably be even looking for something with more.

ScanTool OBDLink MX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool for Android & Windows

How does it work?

This scan tool is easy to set up and use since it is one piece. The piece plugs into the automobile and sends and receives information via Bluetooth to and from phone or computer. Of course you will need to install needed apps in your phone and computer prior to use to use the scanner.

Conclusion

This is a great overall scanner for DIY mechanic or the everyday mechanic. It is a great way to get the answers that you are looking for to get the job done. You will be able to finally diagnose with east and erase the codes that you need to erase as well.

ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Professional Bluetooth OBD II Scan Tool for Android or Windows

Innova 3160 Diagnostic OBD II Scan Tool with Live Data ABS and SRS

Professionals Recommended

The Innova is the scan tool for you when you want a no hassle solution to diagnostics. This is among the best in the market! It feels great in your hand, as it should for a handheld scan tool. This tool is for diagnosing OBD II vehicles 1996 and newer and this one will do both foreign and domestic. Cars, light trucks, SUV’s and minivans including C.A.N. Need one that handles both ABS and SRS, this scan tool has you covered.

INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles

Screen decent size, and the screen is easy to read. This is a corded unit, but still portable because it is handheld. This can be updated simply by connecting to a computer using windows. It is easy to hook up and easy to use! If needed it does have some OBD I vehicle coverage as well for certain vehicles.

Why Buy the Innova 3160?

There are many reasons to buy the Innova 3160, which we will tell you about all of them further down. The main reasons you need to buy the Innova 3160 in a short version is

  • ABS & SRS, you can do both with this one.
  • Ease of Use, it is easy to hook up and easy for most to maneuver interface.
  • Domestic & Foreign, you can use this on both domestic and foreign vehicles.
  • Affordability, the price range is great for all the functions it provides.

User Reviews and Recommendations

The user reviews for this scan tool were pretty even across the board, it has soaring reviews for its versatility. Users reveled in not having to bring their cars to a shop. They also loved the fact that it is so easy to hook up and use. The live data and screen freeze were also helpful bonuses for many.

INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2

As far as issues were very slim, some stated that not all foreign vehicles were compatible. Someone also stated the screws were too short for connecting to vehicle. However, these may have been user issues. Software is updatable and may have been taken care of already. As far as the screws there was only one mention of it.

Things Liked

  • Affordable for the features
  • Portable handheld design
  • ABS & SRS
  • Foreign and Domestic vehicles
  • Easy connection
  • Updatable

Things Disliked

  • Cord is shorter than some (to some this may not be an issue)
  • Some foreign may not be compatible

FEATURES

There are many features that come with this scanner. So you will not be lacking the things you need when you need them. This one will help you get moving on to the next step of repairing without all the time that diagnosing used to take. So here is what this scan tool has to offer you

INNOVA Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles

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  • Diagnoses ABS, retrieves OEM enhanced and transmission DTC’s.
  • Patented all in one screen display and LED display.
  • State emissions readiness check and drive cycle verification.
  • Live data.
  • CAN OBD2 + ABS Scan Tool.
  • OBD2 Generic scan tool for all 1996 and newer vehicles (cars, light trucks and SUVs).
  • Diagnoses ABS codes on 1996 and newer GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles.
  • Records and plays back live data.
  • Freeze frame data.
  • Spanish and French Interface.
  • Updatable via USB attached to computer.
  • Hot keys, so you can go right where you need to go.
  • Does have some OBD I coverage as well.

Who Needs to Buy the Innova 3160?

The person who wants more than a basic scanner or wants a scanner that can do it all. That way you can avoid having multiple tools or having to switch between tools. This is great for the person looking for a scanner that will diagnose both ABS and SRS as well. This one is designed for OBD II vehicles but does have OBD I capability as well.

INNOVA Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2

How Does It Work?

The Innova 3160 is corded, one end plugs into the Innova and the other into the vehicle. So no lengthy install to have to worry about. When you need to update, or want the information on the computer you attach to computer with a USB cord.

CONCLUSION

This is a great all around scan tool for most, unless you are seriously techy. Beginner, moderate and avid users have all used this and raved about it. This is a great tool that will finally diagnose ABS and SRS. It will clear those annoying check engine light. As well as making sure you will pass emissions testing. Which is always a great feature to have if emissions is required.

Innova 3160 Diagnostic OBD II Scan Tool with Live Data ABS and SRS

Why You Need a Car Diagnostic Tool

OBD Scanner Tool

You may be sitting there thinking, why do I need a diagnostic tool. Especially if you are an old school mechanic. Well things change whether we like them to or not. If you are just sticking with old school vehicles that have old systems, you don’t have to have one. However, if you plan on working on anything built from 1996 on it is almost a need. All vehicles after 1996 have OBD system which will diagnose any problems for you. It will make your job so much easier and quicker. So it is actually giving you a hand up in the repair business.

You will also need a car diagnostic tool in order to properly get rid of those annoying indicator lights. With almost every large city having emissions to pass, you will have to be able to correctly fix problems and reset the indicator. Otherwise you will not pass and will not be able to legally operate vehicle until properly tended to. It’s not recommended to try and improperly bypass or ignore the indicator light. Especially on a customer vehicle, the last thing you want is a customer coming back because of not passing an emissions testing.

Mechanics have all had that problem vehicle that took forever to get just right. Since the PCM can diagnose most problems, it will save you plenty of time. You will be able to get down to fixing it instead of chasing it down. So then you can get on to other projects you may have lined up. Some of the things it can diagnose is the powertrain, body, chassis and undefined. Some will also take care of the ABS as well, but that depends on model.

You can use a handheld device, but if you are great with technology you can also have it set up to run on a laptop. Which is not always the best option for a garage since they can be damaged easily. However, using a laptop does have its benefits. You can store the information on laptop for your own records or for a customer’s records as well. That way you have something to use for a reference as well, if you have to go back to it. So being able to track your work is also beneficial. So you have proof as to what part of the system failed, to show the customer that is indeed what the repair was for.

ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Pro Bluetooth OBD II Scan Tool for Android and Windows

Professionals Recommended

You will love this totally compact and easy to use scan tool for your automotive needs. This is a great way to diagnose any problems in a fraction of the time it would take without it. This one has some much welcomed features, such as automatic shut off and wake up. No worries about being hacked either since this scanner is hacker proof.

ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool for Android & Windows

This scanner is updatable, so you will always have the latest software needs. This comes with the free OBDLink app that is exclusively for OBDlink products. You can even share items on drop box! Which is a great way to show the makers are keeping up with the times. There is so much more this has in store for you as well.

Why by the ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX?

There are many reasons why it is a great choice, and we will go over that soon enough. For right now though we will give you the top reasons as to why you should consider it. Which we are sure that you will definitely appreciate.

  • Portable, it is small in size and one piece.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Capabilities.
  • Android and Windows Compatible.
  • All US Vehicles, this will work on all cars and light trucks sold in USA (Except hybrid or electric)

User Reviews and Recommendations

Reviews are very good on this scanner many are loving the modern features this scanner offers. Being able to use with your cell phone is a bonus for many. Since it cuts down on extra equipment needed and since it is Bluetooth the no cords factor is a big one. The biggest one of all is that this will work with all US sold cars and light trucks.

ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool

The only things that people had issues with was that sometimes the bluetooth would kick off. Also there are some ABS pids that don’t show up. However, there have been some software updates since then. Also since this can be updated, there is always new things being added to keep it up to date so no worries.

Things Liked

  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Compact and Portable
  • Works with all US sold vehicles
  • Auto shut off and wake
  • Works with Android and Windows
  • Free 3rd party app
  • Hacker proof 

Things Not Liked

  • Only works with Android and Windows not Apple iOS systems
  • May not be in depth enough for advanced or avid mechanics 

FEATURES

There is plenty to be pleased about when it comes to this OBD II scanner. It is not the most advanced scanner on the market, but it still has plenty to offer for its affordability and its size.

ScanTool OBDLink LX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool

  • 4X faster than closet competitor.
  • Battery saver technology, this has a sleep function so you can leave it plugged in without worrying about draining vehicle battery.
  • Hacker proof, can only access with hands on access.
  • Reads and clears check engine light.
  • Works on smartphone, tablet or computer (Only android phones and windows computers).
  • Works on all US sold cars and light trucks.
  • Free software and app.
  • 3-Year manufacturer warranty.

Who Should Buy the Scan Tool?

Anyone who wants a faster way to diagnose automotive issues quicker than manually. On vehicles that are 1996 and newer. This does have more features than a very basic, but it is something that most can learn to maneuver relatively fast. If you can use a smartphone you can use this.

ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Tool for Android and Windows

How Does Scanner Work?

This scanner is pretty straight forward you plug it into you automobile. Then you transfer information via Bluetooth to your phone or computer. You will have to download the needed app onto your smartphone, computer and or tablet to use.

CONCLUSION

When you are looking for a scanner that will give you what you need, without too much or too little this is the one. There are standard features as well as customizable too. Even though this comes with a free app, you can also use it with other 3rd party apps as well.

Where to Buy OBD Scanner

So maybe now you are thinking about getting the best OBD2 scanner. Yet you are not quite sure where to get one. There are many local places you can find one, especially automotive supply stores. However, they tend to cost you more in the retail setting than they would being online. Sometimes the price difference can be a big enough different to want to buy online. If you need it right away retail is the way to go, but if you can wait a couple of days then online is a great choice. You can also buy from some specialty automotive companies which some of us know, but again when price may be a factor you may want to try elsewhere.

One of the first places tend to flock to when looking online is eBay. We recommend though you always pay attention to the feedback of the seller. You also want to know where it is coming from, otherwise you may get excited about the price and not realize it is from overseas. Which can increase waiting and put you at higher risk for a bad product or getting hosed. If you buy overseas it can also be harder to get a replacement or your money back if there is a problem. It can also be a hassle to return US purchases as well and you don’t always get a warranty depending on the seller.

Our best recommendation where to purchase online would be Amazon. They have a wide variety of OBD II scanners and they show you different purchase options. So then that way you will be able to determine which one is the right one for you in price and features. You also get honest feedback and an exact shipping time if it has one. If you are lucky enough to have Amazon Prime you can have it at your door within two days. Two-day shipping is sometimes offered free on some items on Amazon if you are a Prime member. If you are not prime member and you don’ t want to be, there are always different shipping options to suit your needs.

When you buy on Amazon to there is also always suggestions on what others bought with it. That you may or may not want to buy. You also tend to find more through information on the items as well. You will typically find more thorough feedback from those who have bought one. Which is always a great factor when buying something you have not bought before. You can also ship to others or another address with ease and don’t have to keep track of bids or ending times. Which most of us don’t have the time to do. Most of the products are new as well and come with warranties, even though there are some used items as well. I would always suggest new especially with electronic items, so you know you are covered under a warranty.

Actron CP9580A Enhanced AutoScanner Plus Handheld Scanner

Expert Recommended

When you need a professional auto scanner, you want one you can trust. This one is manufactured by a company who specializes in this product. This one is also perfectly sized for being a handheld unit. It is also perfectly shaped for that use as well. The buttons are bright and large enough to see and use. The screen is clear and a good size for the scanner unit.

Actron CP9580A Enhanced AutoScanner Plus Handheld Scanner

This is a corded unit, but the cord is a great non-invasive length. This one also has some of the features would find on the more expensive advanced types. You will finally be able to cut your repair down by being able to using this to help pinpoint the problem on vehicles that are 1996 and newer.

Why Buy the Actron CP9580A?

This is a great mid-level hand held scanner, this one has everything a basic one does plus some advanced features. This is a must have for any mechanic that wants to cut diagnosing time way down. In some cases, to almost nothing for time. Top reasons to buy this scanner are

  1. Portable, since this is handheld this can be taken on the go if needed.
  2. Reputable Company, made by a company who has been in business for 40 years.
  3. Wide Compatibility, works with OBD II and CAN vehicles 1996 and newer.
  4. Warranty, this scanner comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Actron_CP9580A_Enhanced_Auto_Scanner_Plus_Handheld_Scanner

User Reviews and Recommendations

This scanner has gotten some great feedback from both beginner users and avid users. They all appreciate the wide range of vehicles that this scanner is compatible with. Many also loved the realtime data and the code connect features. Many said they enjoyed how fast it was getting what they needed.

  • The only complaint there was, was someone said they had a problem updating. That was before some of the latest updates though and there has been no more complaints since. So that issue may have been taken care of.

Things Liked

  • Faster than some of the more expensive scanners on the market.
  • Has 10-foot attachment cord.
  • Weighs only 1 pound.
  • Compatible with OBD II and CAN vehicles, 1996 and newer includes expanded Asian
  • ABS code coverage.
  • Live data graph and freeze frame as well.
  • Portable since it is handheld. 

Didn’t Like

  • This one has a connecting cord, some don’t want a cord because they think it will be in the way.
  • There is a locking edge on the connector of the cord keeping it in place. While some like them, some say it can be a challenge to remove when needed. 

Actron_CP9580A_Enhanced_AutoScanner

FEATURES

Now we are going to go over the features that the Actron CP9580A has to offer you. You may find out it has more to offer than you thought. So let’s get started, on them.

  • OBD and CAN 1996 and newer.
  • Reads Codes.
  • Erases codes and turns off CEL.
  • Show emissions status.
  • Patented TrueLink Technology
  • Definitions right on the screen.
  • Freeze frame data.
  • Vehicle information mode 9.
  • Displays live engine data.
  • Updatable via the internet.
  • Trilingual menu and code definitions.
  • Manufacturer specific code definition.
  • Record and playback data.
  • Data graphs.
  • The trouble codes are retained in the memory.
  • Read and erase ABS DTC’s GM, Ford, Chrysler.
  • Professional Companion CD.
  • Made by a company who has been in business for 40 years.
  • Comes with a manufacturer’s one-year warranty.

Actron_CP9580A_Enhanced_AutoScanner_Plus_Handheld_Scanner

Who Needs to Buy the Actron CP9580A?

Anyone who wants a quick result and something with a little more to give than a basic scan tool. Great tool for all mechanics no matter the skill level.

How Does It Work?

This is a wired unit, one end of the cord is attached to scan tool and the other to the vehicle to be diagnosed. Information can be downloaded to a computer if wanted to print out information.

Conclusion

This scan tool is a perfect size and weight for a handheld. This is the perfect choice when you want a quick and simple diagnosis without all the extra add-on’s. Although it does have some features that the basic units don’t have.

Innova 3100 Diagnostic Scan Tool Code Reader with ABS and Battery Backup for OBD2 Vehicles

User Recommended

This scanner functions as well as it looks, it has a sleek black body and blue backdrop. The body is shaped to feel and fit great in the hand. The screen is bright and clear and easy to view. This is a great solution for those who want a handheld that will get the job done. This one has a battery backup so you don’t have to worry about losing important information. This one will give you the cause for any check engine light on any foreign or domestic 1996 or newer vehicle.

INNOVA 3100 Diagnostic Scan Tool/Code Reader with ABS and Battery Backup for OBD2 Vehicles

Why Buy the Innova 3100?

There are many reasons to buy the Innova 3100, which we will provide all of the great information further down. For the meantime, the main reasons for wanting to buy one are

  1. Affordability, this is one of the most affordable on the market. It also gives you quite a bit of features for that great price.
  2. Auto Refresh, data will refresh every 30 seconds when connected to vehicle.
  3. Portable, it has a great handheld design which makes it easy to take on the go.
  4. Print, you can print out the details you need.

Things Liked

  • Portable
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable handheld design
  • Easy to use interface
  • Battery backup
  • Wide range of compatible vehicles 

Things Not Liked

  • Does not read and erase check engine light OBD1 trouble codes
  • Does not read and erase SRS light trouble codes for most GM, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota 

INNOVA 3100 Diagnostic Scan Tool/Code Reader with ABS and Battery Backup for OBD2

FEATURES

Although this scan tool may not have everything, it still has plenty to offer you. It is a scan tool that many have bought and loved since it was added to the market. You will definitely enjoy how helpful this scanner is too.

  • Read and erase check engine light OBD2 trouble codes.
  • Vehicle health monitors for instant vehicle emissions check.
  • Read and erase ABS light trouble codes for most GM, FORD, Chrysler and Toyota.
  • All in one patented screen.
  • USB for tool upgrades and updates.
  • Battery backup.
  • Code definitions with multilingual screen in English, French and Spanish.

Who Needs to Buy the Innova 3100?

Someone that just wants to get down to business and find out what the problem is. That way they can get to work fixing it. It is also a great option for those who may want to print out the findings as well. This one refreshes to let you know when and if you have fixed the problem.

INNOVA Diagnostic Scan Tool/Code Reader with ABS and Battery Backup for OBD2 Vehicles

How Does It Work?

This scan tool has a corded connection. One end is attached to the scan tool and the other attaches to the vehicle being diagnosed. The scanner gets turned on, answer any questions it asks or go to the feature you are looking for.

CONCLUSION

This scan tool is a great option for those who just need to get to the point. The ones who just want to find what is wrong so they can get on to the next step of fixing it. It will not only tell you why the check engine light is on, but it will also diagnose it before it comes on if there is a problem. It is easy to use for most people, which is something everyone can appreciate.

How an OBD Scanner Works

how obd works

There is a PCM (power control module) in vehicles from 1996 on. When something goes wrong on a vehicle and or an indicator light comes on there is a code stored in the PCM. In order to read that code and to be able to diagnose or narrow down the problem you need a scanner.

When you need to check a code with a scanner it is a lot easier than you may think. Non computer people may be hesitant thinking it is a difficult step. However, it is quite the opposite. Once you know you have a problem you will plug the OBD connector in under the dash. Turn the key on, but do not start the engine depending on the scanner it will ask you questions you need to answer. Some of the higher end ones will be able to answer some of the questions for you.

Once you have gone through all the instructions, you typically will be given different options to choose from. The higher end scanners will sometimes just give you an explanation of the code read. Some models will give you a CD or just a paper pamphlet telling you what each of the codes mean. You can also find code lists online as well for the vehicle you are working on. It is always a good idea to write the code down before you reset the indicator as well.

If you turned off the MIL, you need to drive vehicle until the PCM decides the fault has been corrected. There is not a set amount of time, but you need to make sure a few days should be plenty enough. Otherwise if you have to go through an emissions test and it hasn’t decided it has been corrected you will fail emissions. Some scanners have the I/M readiness option on the menu. So you can check yourself, before you head to emissions as well.

Launch Tech Red and Black 301050116 CRP 123 ABS SRS Transmission and Engine Code Scanner

Professionals Recommended

The Launch Tech 301050116 has the feel of a tablet it is made to be held that way too. The controls are located to the right of the screen. It has a great textured outer cover with ribbed sides. Making it easier to hold on to it with a better grip. Which is important especially as a mechanic.

Launch Tech 301050116 'CRP123' ABS, SRS, Transmission and Engine Code Scanner

This great scanner also supports all 10 test modes of OBDII with Enhanced OBDII Mode 6. You can freeze frame and view live data stream as well. There are plenty more things this scanner can do besides just the basic typical read and clear codes.

Why Buy the Launch Tech 301050116?

The reason to buy it is because it will give the avid mechanic most of the data he is looking for. It will get you well on your way to fixing what needs to be repaired, in way less time than without it. It is a full coverage ABS, SRS, Transmission and Engine Code scanner.

  1. Convenience, it is about the size of a small handheld tablet making it easier to handle then a laptop.
  2. Affordable, this scanner is an affordable price for everything it has to offer.
  3. ABS and SRS, this scanner reads ABS and SRS.

User Reviews and Recommendations

Since this is a very popular scanner there was plenty of feedback on this scanner. This scanner rated very high with all of the purchasers. They appreciated all the extras that were provided with this scanner for the price range it sits at. They loved how they had full hand control over it when holding it and the quality of it. The interface was easy to use and figure out.

Launch Tech Transmission and Engine Code Scanner

There were only a couple of small things that were issues. If you have a firewall or antivirus you may have to disable one or both in order to run your updater for it. Live data is limited, but at this price range it is great to even have live data. So that is more of a personal opinion issue.

Things Liked

  • ABS and SRS
  • Also Transmission and Engine
  • Live Data
  • Freeze Frame
  • Easy to Handle
  • Reads and Clears Engine, Transmission A/T, ABS, and Airbag (SRS) Codes.
  • Complete domestic, Asian and European coverage. 

Things Disliked

  • Some firewalls and or antivirus software may have to be disabled to update.
  • Doesn’t provide as much data as more expensive ones.  

Launch Tech 301050116 'CRP123' ABS, SRS, Transmission and Engine Code Scanner

FEATURES

There are some great basic features on this scanner as well as others. Many have found this to be a great mid-level scanner and is plenty for what most need. Here are the features this great scan tool has to offer you..

  • Complete coverage for domestic, Asian and European vehicles for ABS, SRS, transmission and engines.
  • Data stream for ABS, SRS, transmission and engines that has been enhanced.
  • All 10 test modes of OBD II
  • Enhanced OBD II Mode 6
  • Freeze frame data
  • I/M readiness monitor status, which is great to make sure you ready for emissions.
  • Reads and clears the codes for the engine, transmission, ABS and airbag.
  • Measures in at 9.2 inches X 7.8 inches X 1.7 inches.
  • Weighs only 1.4 pounds.
  • Handheld, held similar to a small tablet.

Who Need to Buy the Scan Tool?

The person that needs to buy this scan tool is someone who wants more than basic. However, still wants a few of the features of a more expensive scanners without spending a ton of money. That is where this is a great too. It is a mid-level scan tool, that all levels of mechanics can use. Great for personal or business use.

Transmission and Engine Code Scanner

How to Use Scanner

This is a wired scanner so there is a corn connection required. One end connects to the scanner and the other end plugs into the vehicle. It is simple to hook up and the interface is readable and easy to maneuver.

CONCLUSION

This is a great overall scanner that many love and many more are sure to find out. Having the live data feed, freeze frame and the wide coverage are things that are a must for most. Since it is updatable, you will always have the latest data when available. This is the perfect scanner for those always working on something different.

Autel DS708 Automotive Diagnostic and Analysis System Wi-Fi ECU Programming Touch Screen

Expert Recommended

This is the automotive diagnostic tool you want to get when you want the best. This is the one for the avid mechanic that needs it all! This has plenty of features to keep you happy and busy. The outside design is made for mechanics in mind with a durable shell with textured hand placements. That way there is less chance of dropping when using.

Autel DS708 Automotive Diagnostic and Analysis System

It has a decent size TFT display that is easy and beautiful on the eyes. Easy to operate interface that you are sure to appreciate. If you own a shop this will give you what you need

to provide complete servicing. Even giving you print capabilities anytime and anywhere with Wi-Fi printing.

Why Buy the Autel DS708?

If you are looking for a machine that can give you the most for your money, this one is it. If you have a small garage this can take you to the next level by giving you what you need to be a full service garage. Even if you are already a full service garage, these would still be a great asset to your business.

  1. User Friendly, easy to use interface.
  2. Cost Effective, this is offered at a lower price than many others while still giving you the same features.
  3. Durable, this item is built to be tough which is what a mechanic needs.
  4. Great Size, this is the size of a small tablet so no need for a large computer.
  5. Wi-FI, no wires needed to transfer information. 

User Reviews and Recommendations

Users love the fact that this system does just as much as well-known brands out there for a fraction of the cost. The fact that it scans and diagnoses is another big plus for many.

Autel DS708 Automotive Diagnostic & Analysis System

The only complaint that was mentioned, was that some stated the menu was hard to figure out. Once they did everything was fine. Since this does have a lot of features that it can do, it is expected to have a little bit of learning and getting used to.

Things Liked

  • Extensive vehicle coverage for domestic, Asian and European vehicles.
  • All 5 OBDII protocals and all 10 test modes.
  • Wi-Fi internet capability for wireless access.
  • Touch screen with TFT display.
  • Live data with record and playback.
  • Printing capability. 

Things Not Liked

  • Some may have to shut off antivirus or firewall to do updates. Unless you know how to add to the list of ok websites and etc. 

Autel DS708 Automotive Diagnostic and Analysis System

FEATURES

This one is the best of all, but it also does more than all the other ones mentioned. We have touched the base on a few things, but now we will go into more depth for you.

  • Coverage for more than 40 US domestic, Asian and European vehicles.
  • Live data, ECU programming and more.
  • All 5 OBDII protocols and all 10 test modes.
  • Wi-Fi for wireless access to printer, tablet and computer.
  • TFT color display touch screen.
  • Recording and playback capability of the live data.
  • Can print out recorded data anytime using Wi-Fi data.
  • Component activation and immobilizer key coding.

Who Needs to Buy the Scan Tool?

This is the perfect tool for those who want to take their garage to the next level. This is even great just for the backyard mechanic that just needs a system that can do everything without breaking the pocketbook. Even established garages that want an affordable system can benefit from this.

Autel Automotive Diagnostic and Analysis System

How does it work?

It is wireless so there is two parts the piece that plugs into the vehicle and the monitor. All information is transferred between the two wirelessly.

CONCLUSION

When you want a scanner that is updatable and can last for years, this is it. If you are serious about your automotive work and most of the cars you work on are built after 1996 you need this. It will make your work so much easier. This is also a must need if you work on a mixture of domestic and foreign vehicles.

BAFX Products 34T5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for Android Devices All US Vehicles 1996 and Newer

Expert Picks

Looking for that automobile scan tool that can do all US vehicles 1996 and above? Than look no further, this is the one! If you work on several different makes of cars, you need a scanner that will not work with just some. You want to be able to pull out one scanner that can take care of them all.

BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for Android Devices

This one is great because it connects to your phone. So no bulky monitors or laptops to carry around. Just your phone which you typically carry around anyways. This will work with android based phones and it is simple to use via a 3rd party app.

Why Buy the BAFX Products 34T5?

While there are many different features this has to discuss, we will get to every one later. For right now the main big reasons you should buy this scan tool is because

  • Cost efficient, more affordable than most others on the market.
  • Portable, due to its small size and that it is one piece it can go anywhere. As well as store just about anywhere.
  • All US Vehicles, this works on all vehicles that are located in the US. Yes really! As long as they are 1996 and newer.
  • Real Time Sensor Information.
  • 2-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty.

User Reviews and Recommendations

This scan tool has gotten a lot of attention, the two biggest reasons is because of the affordable price and other because of the fact it will work on all US vehicles 1996 and newer. People also loved the fact that it is Bluetooth and that everything can be sent right to your phone.

BAFX_Products_Bluetooth_OBDII_Scan_Tool_for_Android_Devices

The biggest complaint, is that this phone will not work on Apple iOS devices. If you are not located within the US you have to call the company to see if it will work in your country.

Things Liked

  • Affordability
  • Portability
  • Bluetooth
  • Use with Android device
  • Works with ALL US based vehicles
  • 2-Year manufacturer’s warranty 

Things Not Liked

  • Will not work on iOS devices
  • May not work for you if you are in another country 

BAFX_Products_34t5_Bluetooth_OBDII_Scan_Tool_for_Android_Devices

FEATURES

  • Works with ALL US based vehicles.
  • Reads OBD II check engine light codes.
  • Reset the CEL.
  • Pulls many other sensor readings.
  • Can graph sensor readings.
  • Check for emission issues.
  • Real-time sensor readings like EOT, RPM’s, Speed, Temps, Balance, O2 reading and so much more.
  • This also comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty.

Who Needs to Get the BAFX Products 34T5 Bluetooth?

This is the perfect scanner for those who are on the go or want to keep things simple.  The only equipment you need is the adaptor for the vehicle and an android device such as your phone or tablet. So no wires to get in your way, when you really want them out of your way.

BAFX_Products_34_Bluetooth_OBDII_Scan_Tool_for Android_Devices

How Does It Work?

To use this scan tool is easy, you install needed app into your android device. Then you attach the adaptor to the vehicle that you need to work on. Then the two pass information back and forth via Bluetooth.

CONCLUSION

If you are watching that pocketbook, but need that helping hand in auto mechanics this is perfect for you. You can use it with ease because it aims to please, you will not be disappointed. You will be disappointed if you don’t buy this. This is a great option for beginner to moderate user, the more advanced users may want more.

OBD Scanner Tools Advantage

There are several advantages to getting yourself an OBD scanner but you have to have a Best OBD2 Scanner. So we will go over the advantages of having one on hand.

  • Time saving, having a scanner will greatly reduce your diagnosing time. So you can get down to repairing the problem. At the very least it can at least give you an idea on where to start.
  • Money saving, since it will narrow the problem down for you or tell you exactly what it is. You don’t have to end up worrying about buying parts you may not end up needing. Like you would have trying to diagnose without a scanner.
  • Paper Trail, some scanners allow you to bring information up on a computer. So you can save the information if you need to. Showing the diagnoses that was given and worked on. Which is great if you ever have a contested bill.
  • Portable, there are some portable models that can be taken with you. Which is great if you are a mechanic on the go.
  • Emissions, if you have to do emissions some will let you know if you will pass before you even have to go. At least when it comes in regards to your PCM findings. Also emissions testing time is shorter due to having OBD.
  • Better Built Vehicles, it is a great way to get manufacturers to build better engines and emission controls.
  • Affordable, this is a more affordable way of testing.

So there are great advantages to the consumer, business owner and everyone as a whole. Once you purchase one, you will finally see why it was worth the purchase. It is also a great thing for the environment. Since it keeps vehicles from emitting any more harmful fumes, vapors or smoke that is necessary to. Keep us safe and the environment from those things.

Final Thoughts

So now we have provided you a list with the Best OBD2 Scanner. So hopefully now you will be able to fine the right OBD2 Scanner for you! There is quite a selection in price, style, features and more. So there is something for everyone. Each one of these made the list for different features they offer, but most of all because of the rave reviews they have been given by actual buyers and users.

So you can be sure which ever one you decide to choose, you will be choosing a great product. No having to go out looking for it either, it can be shipped right to your doorstep. That way you don’t have to waste time driving around until you find one.

2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Gnanaraj Thavamani Nadar August 26, 2016 at 10:59 am

    hi,
    goodafternoon
    so glad about your diagnos
    tools,i need and like to go for
    buy which is Scantool 426101 MX
    OBDLink Bluetooth,please help to whom to
    wetern send ,all details send on mail,please thanks

    • Reply
      tracker October 11, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      You can easily purchase from amazon, which one you liked most?

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