Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews and Buying Guide

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It is distinctly evident from the past that there exists a boundless scope for advancement and growth in the technological aspects of a vehicle to enhance its productivity and efficiency by monumental proportions. To facilitate these advancements, highly detailed reports of the vehicle’s previously recorded operations are required.

On-Board Diagnostics II (OBD-II) is the standardized system which the onboard computers in vehicles, like cars and trucks, use for formulating reports and self-diagnostics. An enhanced version of the older OBD in terms of both standard and capability, the OBD-II scanner is subdivided into 2 categories of models- Code Readers, which are comparatively inexpensive, and, Scan tools, which are comparatively expensive and consist of a wide variety of features.

What is an OBD-II Scanner?

The OBD-II scanner is a device which provides the user with a vehicle’s reported self-diagnostics. However, the mechanism of an OBD-II depends on whether it is a basic code reader device which provides the limited feature of simply reading and clearing codes, or an advanced scan tools reader which enables the user to access the manufacturer-specific codes, live and recorded data, and advanced troubleshooting details.

The standardized OBD-II scanners are relatively simpler to use as they all have a universally same connector. Basic scan tools function with ease as they can be conveniently inserted into the OBD-II diagnostic connector of the vehicle. The OBD-II scanner is only functional with vehicles manufactured post the year 1996.

OBD-II Scanner Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does the OBD-II Scanner work?

The device continually stores the information and data about the vehicle’s process in its database to provide with self-diagnostic reports. The device switches the “Check Engine” or the “Service Engine Soon” light on whenever a problem is detected.

How sophisticated is the OBD-II system?

The OBD-II system has an exquisite mechanism design which detects serious problems with the vehicle and displays alerts even before the driver becomes aware of the problem. This saves the driver huge service and repair costs.

What does the “Not Ready” signal mean?

The servicing technician, when finished with the components’ repair procedure, turns off the “Service Engine Soon” light to “Not Ready”. The device will stay on “Not Ready” till the computer has had adequate time and data to report the vehicle’s performance. And if the vehicle’s emission system reads “Not Ready” for the initial testing stage, a tailpipes emission test will have to be conducted.

What is the difference between OBD-II Scans and Treadmill Tests?

The treadmill test measures the concentration gases coming out of the exhaust pipe of a vehicle, whereas, an OBD-II scan is an automotive test done by an electronic hand-held device plugged into the vehicle’s diagnostic connector port.

What are the causes for failing an OBD-II test?

Faulty gas cap, malfunctioning catalytic converter, incorrect ignition timing, misrouted vacuum lines, faulty positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system or exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR) system, contaminated engine oil, malfunctioning air injection system, and fuel system malfunctions are the reasons for failing an OBD-II scanner test.

The OBD-II scanner is an exceptionally well-designed tool to enable a vehicle owner to save huge costs on maintenance and repairs. If you are interested in DIY diagnostic procedures for your vehicle, then this scanner is strongly recommended for a purchase.

Best OBD2 Scanners

1. BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool

BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan ToolBlueDrive Bluetooth device comes with a free android app connected via wireless connection. The android app is available for both iOS and android devices. After installing the device, the BlueDrive gives you a detailed report of your car system and easy ways to repair the issues with your car through the app.

Features

In-depth Reports: This device provides an enhanced report for your car systems.

Information: This is the only device that gives you the information that is available to mechanics in an understandable language.

Smog Check: It provides you with valuable details that help you ascertain if your car is ready for smog test.

Customization: BlueDrive Bluetooth device lets you customize your Live Data Dashboard.

  • BlueDriver Bluetooth app works in perfect synchronization with its sensors.
  • Gives you reports of errors along with the repair reports as soon as the device detects an error.
  • Extremely user friendly.
  • The app is not supported in windows phones.
  • The app is unstable.

Verdict

Regardless the cons, BlueDrive Bluetooth device is one of the best OBD2 devices you can get your hands on. This device gives you detailed reports with repairing options plus information that only expensive OBD2 devices provide.

2. Innova 3100j Diagnostic Code Reader

Innova 3100j Diagnostic Code Reader

Innova 3100j is one of the best OBD2 corded devices available. It runs on 3AA batteries and provides an amazing diagnostic check of your car systems. It provides all the information on the device screen. This device is supported by many vehicles for car manufactured in and after 1996.

Features

Easy Reports: Gives quick and easy to read reports for your car’s engines.

Provides Resetting options: Innova 3100j lets your reset your car’s oils and batteries through the device.

Repair Solutions: This device’s manufacturers provide a solid web based system through which you can solve your issues quickly.

Easy to Read: The device provides all the icons on the screen, which makes monitoring the car systems to read.

Services: The manufacturer also provides you with customer services.

  • All information is visible on the screen.
  • Supports various languages.
  • The device supports ABS.
  • The device comes with hotkeys, which makes it easy to operate.
  • This model does not provide live data.
  • Website support needs to be purchased.

Verdict

This is an amazing tool and a must have for those who love to do repair their cars on their own. This device provides “on point” reports and repair solutions.

3. Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool

Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool

This is a corded OBD2 device, which runs on Lithium Metal batteries. The product comes with a case, USB cable, OBD cable and a user manual. This device is fairly easy to use and is compatible with many vehicles.

Features

Live Data: This device reads live data for your car systems. It also provides an option of playback.

Swift Reports: Autel AL519 provides quick reports on emissions and drive cycle vehicle through their patented One-Click button.

Easy to Read: This large screened device features bright LEDs and speaker which generate audio through the speakers for readiness verification of the device which makes the displayed  data easy to read.

Codes Obtained: The device can obtain generic and pending codes from the manufacturer.

  • The device is compact, which is easy to carry.
  • It supports various languages.
  • Allows you to print your stored codes through a computer.
  • You can monitor through only one graph.
  • No more updates for this device.
  • Does not support ABS.

Verdict

Need a compact and portable device, with few of the best features available for OBD2 devices? This is the device for you, the device allows you to store, read, print or erase your data.

4. BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool

BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool

The BAFX Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool is one of the best OBD2 tools out there. After installing this device, you can easily connect it to your android device. This is the only OBD2 device that works on any kind of vehicle manufactured in or after 1996. The manufacturer provides a two year warranty, and also an option of extending the warranty.

Features

Connectivity: This device can be easily connected to your android device or android tablets or windows pcs.  A demo app is also provided by the manufacturer. The manufacturer also provides third party app recommendations for you.

O2 Readings: It provides O2 readings for your vehicle.

Read and Reset: It provides clear readings of the engine lights and lets you reset it too.

  • This device is stable.
  • It is cheap.
  • Supports third party apps.
  • The device does not come with battery saving mode.
  • It is huge in size.
  • The device only uses Bluetooth.
  • This device does not support any iOS devices.

Verdict

The BAFX Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool is in a league of its own. This provides you with the best features available for OBD2 devices and gives you clear and easy to read codes.

5. ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth: Professional OBD-II Scan Too

ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth

ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth is considered as one of the best OBD2 scanners available in the market. Its available in India too. But the product is non foldable. This OBD 2 belongs to the code reader category of scanners.

Features

Professional use – it is highly professional scanner. It can transform phones, pc or even tablets into highly professional automotive scan tool.

Compatible with all cars and light trucks – This scanner is compatible with all the cars and light trucks that are developed after 1996 in USA.

Wide range of support – This scanner support a wide range of software like it supports 3rd party apps like torque and Dashcommand. It supports both android as well as windows. It supports android 2.2 and above in smartphones then android 2.3.3 and above in tablets, windows XP SP2 and newer in windows pc and laptops.

  • The product is very easy to use. You can also leave it plugged in because it doesn’t drain the car’s battery.
  • It can be installed in few seconds and highly secured from hackers.
  • Free windows software and android app.
  • Doesn’t support IOS platform and devices.
  • Not compatible with windows phone 8.

Verdict

Need a compact and portable device, with few of the best features available for OBD2 devices? This is the device for you, the device allows you to store, read, print or erase your data.

6. Actron CP9680 AUTOSCANNER Plus OBD II

Actron CP9680 AUTOSCANNER Plus OBD II

Actron CP9680 AUTOSCANNER Plus OBD II is a unique OBD2 scanner in the market. It has tools with ABS, CodeConnect and airbag display which usually helps in troubleshooting along with the top rated fixes specific to the car’s model, year and engine. CodeConnect helps in connecting with the most reliable solutions of a specific problem. This is also auto updateable scanner which can be done through USB cable and using Battery.

Features

Compatibility with many vehicles – This scanner works in many vehicles like compatible with all the vehicles after 1996 and newer imported vehicles then domestic OBD 2 too, along with the  1994 and 1995 OBD 2 compliant vehicles too.

ABS and ARS airbag coverage – This is something new for this model of OBD 2 scanner. It provides coverage for most of the vehicles manufactured from the year 1996 to 2013 of GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai vehicles.

  • Very active scanner which can be used to record as well as playback and graph the live engine data.
  • You can also print the data received to the pc
  • It doesn’t support all the vehicles that are commonly used now days.
  • Display screen is very small.

Verdict

Need a compact and portable device, with few of the best features available for OBD2 devices? This is the device for you, the device allows you to store, read, print or erase your data.

7. Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool

Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool

Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool might be the smallest OBD 2 scanner available in the market. It tries to give the benefit of large expensive OBD2 scanners in small size. It follows the protocol specially Controller Area Network (CAN) protocol and other OBD2 protocols. Even though it is small, it has many features.

Features

Works with OBD 2 complaints – The main feature of this scanner is that it works with most OBD2complaints like U.S., European and Asian vehicles.

Retrieves VIN – It is also capable of retrieving Vehicle Identification Number of the vehicle that support Mode 9or manufactured after 2002.

Easy handling – Being small in size it’s easy to handle. It has CD Catalog of 7000 trouble codes as well as their descriptions. It has a easy to read LCD screen, a unique multilingual menu standard 16-pin OBD connector and DTC definitions too in this small package.

  • Deals with 2 buttons only for reading clearing codes
  • No additional cables required.
  • Supports CAN and other protocols too.
  • Linking issues are seen
  • Doesn’t work on vehicles before 1996( which is rare)
  • Can’t perform all the work performed in large scanners.

Verdict

OBD2 scanners are plenty in the market but choosing the one for you is difficult. Always go for compatibility test as well as features test as per your requirement of the vehicle. Overuse of OBD2 scanners may lead to drainage of battery so must be used carefully

8. Launch X431 OBD2 Scanner

Launch X431 OBD2 Scanner

The launch X431 scanner, by Launch Tech is a Bluetooth scan tool that gives information on vehicle problems like engine oil, engine light reset etc. it can troubleshoot errors that might occur in the vehicle.

Features

Classic and simple vehicle diagnostic tool – The Launch X431 OBD2 Scanner is a classic and simple to use tool. It has powerful testing functions and gives accurate test results.

Compatible with most vehicles – the device is compatible with most vehicles and car models from USA, Canada and Asia.

Multi-language provider –  The Launch X431 OBD2 Scanner includes a multi-language provider that supports most languages under the above- mentioned regions.

Supports online updating – The device supports online updating on Windows, (i.e.) Windows XP, Windows 7, 8 and 10.

Miscellaneous features – The code reader has other important features like, data stream, auto module search, graphic display, oxygen sensor test and carbon canister test. In addition to these features, it also includes features that allow it to diagnose engine, ABS, airbag transmission and oil light reset.

  • It supports all ODBI standard cars after 1996.
  • Comes with lifetime free updates.
  • Shows misfire data
  • Comes with a USB and OBD2 plug so separate purchase is not required.
  • Cannot test heavy duty. You need to buy a X431 pro 3 heavy duty for traction control and others.
  • No interchangeable cords or connectors so it can scan on OBDII card and not OBDII.

Verdict

It is a comprehensive test tool that is well-built and easy to use and comes with many features.

9. PowerLead Cadt OBD2 Code Reader

PowerLead Cadt OBD2 Code Reader

The product supports systems including engine, auto transmission, EPS, body etc. it shows you the actual problems and helps you fix certain problems. This device is only compatible on BMW cars. So, you can’t use it for other models.

Features

Upgrades – Supports free upgrades for BMW cars between 2000-2013. Reads and clears trouble codes.

Display – It includes a display screen that shows the live data stream and graphic data display.

Size: It is small in size and very light in weight. It is no bigger than the size of your hand. Weight would be around 1.1 pound.

Other features –  The device includes other important features such as engine oil reset and displays vehicle version information. It also offers a reliable warranty.

  • It is a simple and straightforward tool that will help identify your problem.
  • Easy to use and simple to understand features.
  • Affordable price, so it saves your money from the mechanic.
  • Only for BMW. Does not work on other cars.
  • Resetting the device can sometimes be hard job to do.

Verdict

If you own a BMW and are searching for the perfect scanner for your car, this one will serve you well. It has all the features of a good scanner.

10. Blusmart OBD MATE OBDII Auto Code Reader

Blusmart OBD MATE OBDII

This device provides you with an easy and simple way of finding out the actual problem before visiting a mechanic. It also saves you time and money. It is basically an easy-to-use device that monitors your car’s health.

Features

Compatible with most cars  The deivce is compatible with most ODBII cars, from different regions like USA, Asia, Australia and Europe.

Multi-language support – Blusmart OBD MATE OBDII Auto Code Reader also supports most languages from all these regions, so you can select among the many it offers.

Pinpoints your problem: It saves you time and money by pinpointing your problem quickly and immediately. It gives an accuracy in reporting, so you don’t need to spend all your money on just knowing what the problem is. And, the device is affordable too.

No Battery required:  This device operates without a battery so you don’t need to worry about replacing the battery. It works easily by just plugging it in to the ODBII port on your car.

  • Multi-language availability.
  • Pinpoints the problem with accuracy
  • Affordable cost
  • Designed to work on all cars after the year 2000
  • Only works for car engine problems, and not airbag related problems.
  • Cannot work on car models that were manufactured before 2000.
  • Warranty period is only 1 year.

Verdict

Blusmart OBD MATE OBDII Auto Code Reader works well with all cars, provided they were manufactured after 2000. It is the best device you can get at a completely affordable price.

OBD-II Scanner Buying Guide

Before making the transaction for the purchase of an OBD-II, it is essential to have an exhaustive knowledge of the quintessential features that comprise the Best OBD-II Scanner.

Updatable Product

Like any other technological device, an OBD-II scanner too needs to go through time-to-time version updates to develop an updated skill for detecting new and unknown types of threats the vehicle may face. Therefore, it is necessary to choose an OBD-II scanner of which the company is continuing to release updates.

Compatibility

In addition to considering the available update releases for the OBD-II scanner, it must be ensured that it offers the desired software compatibility. Some of the scanners offer the compatibility option of connecting the device with a laptop, while others can be connected to a cellular phone device via Bluetooth. Therefore, the type of scanner should be considered according to the user’s suitable requirements.

Affordability

One of the key factors affecting the purchase of any product is its price. It must be ensured that the customer isn’t purchasing an overpriced OBD-II scanner when a cheaper substitute alternative was available in the market. Hence, for a rational consumer, it is of paramount importance to thoroughly research the market and compare different products’ prices and features to make the optimal choice.

Customer Support Service

Before purchasing an OBD-II scanner, one of the most important things to be considered is the availability of the company’s support service. Therefore, the Best OBD-II Scanner is the one for which the technical and customer support services are conveniently accessible.

Surveys

The customer or professional reviews should be extremely well surveyed to gain assurance about the quality of an OBD-II scanner product. This is to add the final touches to a user’s decision for purchasing.

Conclusion

OBD2 or OnBoard Diagnostics 2 is computerized systems that are installed in trucks and cars that gives a self diagnostics report. This system can only be installed with specifications developed by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Before installing it you need to know what the best OBD2 available in market is. An ODB2 scanner helps you notice and understand the problem with your vehicle before you visit a mechanic. The best ODB2 vehicle would be the one that is affordable and gives accurate reports. Before you buy, always check reviews.

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