Best OBD2 Scanner - Guide & Review


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If you’ve ever had to take your car to a repair shop because a light on the display won’t go away, the mechanics have probably used an OBD2 scanner to detect.

Best OBD2 Scanner

They are designed to measure a car’s sensors and computer to determine if everything is working properly. The device gives you and your mechanic an idea if your sensors need to be replaced or if the computer is not registering the information correctly.

It gives codes to let you know what the computer is telling the reader, which you can then take to a mechanic and have them look at it. Here are some OBD2 code readers that you can look into if you’re looking at solving any issues with your vehicle.

How to Choose the Best OBD2 Scanner

1
Code Reader or Higher End?

If you’re looking for a scanner that reads basic engine codes and then erases them, you will be better off with a basic code reader.

They are simplistic and easy to use for anyone, so you don’t need technical training with it. However, the lower end ones are compatible with certain vehicles, so that should factor in your decision as well.

Some of the higher end ones allow different information to process through the scanner to do more work. The price difference may be a deciding factor as well.

2
Find a Compatible Unit

Since no vehicles are alike, knowing what compatibility your vehicle has with a CBD2 reader will prevent losing time and money.

You can find the information in your vehicle’s manual, and if you can’t find it there, you can check online. The vehicle protocol is important to ensure the reader will work with your car to give an accurate reading.

There are only five sets of protocols the units use, so it is easy to figure it out if you’re still unsure about what set to use.

There are plenty of ways to determine if the code reader is suitable for your car, so it will help to know your car’s standards.

3
Features

The different features that certain coders provide will allow to you to make more modifications to your engine.

While it may seem difficult to use some code readers, you can find some that will tell you what you need to do. While most vehicles have updated their computer systems, you can find the right coders for you.

As long as you have the compatibility correct, it will help when you start working on your vehicle. You can refer to the manual to determine what the codes are saying to make sure you don’t read the code wrong.

4
Pricing

The prices of code readers vary, depending on the type of code reader you’re looking at purchasing.

Some of the basic code readers are going to be inexpensive, but if you plan on using it a lot, it may help to spend a few extra dollars. It all comes down to if you want to store any relevant information on the unit so you can keep a log of all the diagnostics you’ve done.

Determining the use and how often you plan to use it will help you know if you need to spend the extra money for it.


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1.	Actron CP9580A Enhanced AutoScanner Plus
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Actron CP9580A Enhanced AutoScanner Plus

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Quick to Use

The CodeConnect feature allows you to quickly and accurately determine the area of a problem.

It has the ability to locate over 4.3 million fixes specific to a vehicle’s make, model, and engine type. Understanding the codes and locating any problems will help you get your engine running properly.

Compatible with Newer Vehicles

Any vehicles that are 1996 or newer are compatible with this scanner. It includes any foreign imported cars and includes an ABS code coverage record.

The playback data stream is also offered on the device. On screen graphing gives you information about your engine to ensure the parts get fixed.

Custom Data

The custom data list offers live and graph data to give you a complete diagnostic picture. The live data will tell you where your engine needs work and the graph will provide you information regarding the engine’s performance.

It’s an excellent way to tell how your engine is doing and what repairs need to be made.

Code Definitions

The code definitions include generic and manufacturer specific codes to give you the best idea of what needs to be fixed.

All the information is presented on the screen to help you find out any issues in the engine. The trilingual support is ideal for anyone using a foreign made vehicle.

Highlighted Features

  • Quickly pinpoint and prioritize solutions
  • Compatible with vehicles newer than 1996
  • Custom data provides information
  • Generic and manufacturer code definitions

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

Editor Rating

Quick Response

The display quickly determines the causes of a “check engine” light on any vehicle, after 1996. 

It works for all trucks, cars, and SUV’s, allowing you to test the sensors on any vehicle. It responds on domestic and foreign vehicles, giving you a complete report.

Quality Display

The display is LED to give you a quick State Emissions readiness check. The drive cycle verification is also displayed to inform you of any cycles that are off. The easy to read screen is ideal for anyone working on their car to find any problems.

Automatic Refresh

The display automatically updates every thirty seconds. It only resets while it is hooked up to the vehicle, but it’s ideal for anyone working on their vehicle. It is easy to read and verify the repair completion. The automatic refresh is ideal for quickly fixing any problems.

Battery Backup

The battery backup allows you to store any information you’ve recorded. You can review any information, even if it isn’t attached to the vehicle. You can then analyze the data to understand what’s going on with the engine.

Highlighted Features

  • Works on any vehicle after 1996
  • All-in-one screen and LED display
  • Quickly reveals reasons for warning displays
  • Battery backup to view information later on

Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for OBDII Vehicles
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Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for OBDII Vehicles

Editor Rating

Easy to use

The two button display is easy to read. The codes are presented in a clear fashion so you’re not struggling to read them. The two buttons are perfect for anyone who wants a simple code reader.

Easy to Read

The display has a backlit LCD display to read easily. The multilingual menu displays all the information without cutting out important information. It has all the cables attached so you hook it up to your car easier than other code readers.

Works on all Vehicles

It works on any foreign or domestic vehicle that is OBD-II compliant. It includes U.S. European, and Asian vehicles. Any vehicle that was made after 1996 is compatible with the code reader.

Retrieve Information

Any generic or specific information is obtainable with the software included with the coder. It will display all the DTC definitions on the screen to tell you what the issue is. You’ll be able to find any information you need for your vehicle.

Highlighted Features

  • Easy two-button feature
  • CD catalogue of over 7000 trouble codes
  • Retrieve any information about a code
  • Easy to read backlit display
  • Retrieves information on vehicles after 1996

Autel MaxiScan MS309 CAN OBD-II Diagnostic Code Scanner
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Autel MaxiScan MS309 CAN OBD-II Diagnostic Code Scanner

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Retrieve Information

Any information you need for your vehicle is easy to find from the software included with the coder.

You can determine the definitions and find out what they mean. It is easy to target specific problems with this scanner. All the information is displayed on the large screen.

Large Display

The backlit LCD display is easy to read and provides a multilingual menu. The connector has 16 points to ensure all the sensors are accounted for when you hook it up.

The definitions and menus are fully displayed for easy reading. The large display is ideal if you’re working on a vehicle and need to glance at it quickly.

Freeze Frame

The scanner allows you to freeze the display to make sure you get all the information. It will clear and reset any sensors that are having issues. Any codes that need to clear are reset with the scanner. You can turn off a “check engine” light with the scanner without other tools.

Works on any Vehicle

Any vehicle that was made after 1996 is compatible with the scanner. It is ideal for vehicles that use the CAN protocols. It also supports current OBD-II protocols for newer vehicles after 2003.

Highlighted Features

  • Retrieve any information regarding any vehicle
  • Freeze frame data to record it
  • Reset sensors with the scanner
  • The large display is easy to read

RioRand RS310 OBDII/EOBD Code Reader Powerful Faster & Newest Car Coverage Than 300 And 309 Scanner
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RioRand RS310 OBDII/EOBD Code Reader Powerful Faster & Newest Car Coverage Than 300 And 309 Scanner

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Retrieve Information

You can get any information quicker with this scanner. You have more coverage with the scanner, so you can troubleshoot more problems. 

The quick response time allows you to focus more on fixing your vehicle than time spent figuring out the problem.

Large Display

The screen displays all the DTC definitions on the screen so you’re not guessing what it says. The display has live engine data that reports promptly to let you know of any issues. The display is ideal for people working on their vehicles while trying to solve a problem.

Freeze Frame

The freeze frame feature is ideal for anyone who wants to get all the data at once. You can freeze the display until you have what you need, and then fix the diagnostics afterwards. It’s the best way to make sure you know what the codes say.

Provides Information on Emissions

If you use the scanner to make sure your car meets emissions, it will save you time and money. You don’t have to go down to the emission testing center. The display shows emission readiness and if anything needs to be fixed.

Highlighted Features

  • Display shows the complete live engine data
  • Multilingual menu allows you to work on any vehicle
  • Retrieve all the vehicles information
  • Supports CAN information

Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD II & CAN Scan Tool
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Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD II & CAN Scan Tool

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Works on Domestic and Import Vehicles

 Any information on vehicles made after 1996 is compatible with the scanner. You can use it on domestic and imported vehicles. It operates with both types of protocols for a variety of uses.

Large Display

The colored display is bright, so you can read it in dark areas. A built-in speaker lets you know when it’s ok to start the diagnostics. It is easy to verify any information that is displayed on the screen. It is perfect for anyone working in a garage with a lot of noise.

Retrieve Information

Any information you need regarding generic or manufacturer codes are easy to retrieve. Any pending codes are displayed as well, allowing you to pinpoint the exact issue. Any code that you need is displayed on the screen to help you out.

Freeze Frame

The freeze frame data allow you to pause the test. You can record your engines diagnostic with the freeze frame function. It does have other features to help you out, but you need to check out the manufacturer’s website.

Highlighted Features

  • Works on all vehicles after 1996
  • Colored display is bright for easy reading
  • Retrieve any information regarding a vehicle
  • Clear codes and reset monitors with the scanner

Donop Professional U480 CAN OBD2 OBD II Car Diagnostic Scanner Engine Code Reader Tool
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Donop Professional U480 CAN OBD2 OBD II Car Diagnostic Scanner Engine Code Reader Tool

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Works on Domestic and Import Vehicles

 Any information on vehicles made after 1996 is compatible with the scanner. 

You can use it on domestic and imported vehicles. It operates with both types of protocols for a variety of uses.

Easy to Read

The easy to read display is crystal clear. The backlit, two-line display makes the codes easy to read without too much effort. The plugs are put together for a quick one-step plug in process. You don’t need to squint or guess when you’re reading the display.

Turn off Sensors

Any sensors that are reading any problems can be reset with the scanner. You don’t need any extra computers or equipment to turn off the sensors. It is simple to use and ideal for anyone who loves to work on cars and vehicles.

Highly Accurate

The reliability of the scanner is unprecedented. Your readings will be accurate and reliable with the scanner. It will safely communicate with the vehicle's computer to address any issues that may show up. It’s the best way to get information quickly and accurately.

Highlighted Features

  • Retrieve any information regarding any vehicle
  • The unit is reliable and durable
  • Backlit display produces a perfect reading
  • Communicates with the computer safely

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

Editor Rating

Works on Domestic and Import Vehicles

Any information on vehicles made after 1996 is compatible with those vehicles. You can understand why the sensor for the engine to fix the problem. It works on minivans as well to give you a better understanding of how to fix any issues.

Easy to Read

The display shows different makes of vehicles and produces graphs. 

You can get records of any previous readings to make a log of your engine. The data streams can playback to retrieve any previous work you’ve done to the engine.

Update with USB

A cable is included to hook the unit up to a computer to get any new updates. You just need a computer to plug it in and get all the new features available. You won’t need to keep a pen and paper with you while you’re working on your vehicle.

Scan Tool

The scan is ideal for finding any issues with any sensors in the engine. You get all the cables and a soft pouch to carry the unit around with you. A quick reference guide will inform you of what the codes entail for your records.

Highlighted Features

  • Retrieve any information regarding any vehicle including minivans
  • Enhanced Live Data responds when you need it to
  • USB cord included to help assist with updates
  • Turns off the sensors without any other computers

LYL® U480 Car Auto Diagnostic Scanner OBD2 OBDII CAN-BUS Code Reader Memoscanner
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LYL® U480 Car Auto Diagnostic Scanner OBD2 OBDII CAN-BUS Code Reader Memoscanner

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Works on 1996 or Newer Vehicles

Newer cars that are OBD-II compliant work with the scanner. As long as your car meets the protocols, the scanner will give you the proper readings. The scanner will read the VIN number to help keep logs on the vehicle.

Easy to Read

The codes provided by the scanner include generic and manufacturer specific protocols. You can pinpoint any issues with the scanner to make sure your engine is updated. The easy to read display ensures you won’t misread any codes.

Turn off Sensors

Any sensors that the scanner detects can be turned off with the scanner. You don’t need to worry about any extra equipment to make sure the sensors are corrected. The check engine light code is easily fixed with the scanner so you can do more work on your vehicle.

Trademarked

The scanner is trademarked with a serial number, so you can ensure you’re getting the right equipment. Some scanners are cheap knock-offs that don’t work properly. The trademarked serial number prevents any fraudulent scanners.

Highlighted Features

  • Retrieve the VIN number with the scanner
  • Read and clear any codes
  • Turn off the “check engine” light
  • Serial number is trademarked to prevent fraud

SingPad New U480 CAN-BUS OBDII Car Diagnostic Check Engine Auto Scanner Trouble Code Reader
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SingPad New U480 CAN-BUS OBDII Car Diagnostic Check Engine Auto Scanner Trouble Code Reader

Editor Rating

Works on 1996 or Newer Vehicles

It works on most OBD-II vehicles, but there may be some vehicles that it may not register. U.S. European, and Asian vehicles have codes installed on the scanner. You can find the codes for your vehicle.

Easy to Use

The scanner has one plug that fits into the sensors. You don’t need to worry about too many features and what they do. The two-button system is easy for everyone to use. It’s ideal for people while they’re working on the vehicle.

Turn off Sensors

The scanner can turn off the check engine light without any other special equipment. You don’t need to hook up your laptop to the scanner to get the sensors turned off. It’s the easiest way to fix any sensor that won’t turn off.

Supports CAN

Vehicles with the CAN protocols are compatible with the scanner. You can rest easy knowing how well the scanner works with your vehicle. Other OBD-II protocols are also honored by the scanner. It’s an excellent to work on different vehicles.

Highlighted Features

  • Use the scanner for various vehicles made after 1996
  • Easy to use for anyone
  • Read the display without any issues
  • All the codes are included in the scanner to inform you of a problem

If you’re in the market for a scanner for your engine, there are plenty of options available. You need one that will work for your needs and will provide all the information you want. The Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD II & CAN Scan Tool is the best one of the scanners.

It has a brightly colored display to inform you of any issues. The audible sound is also an excellent way to be notified of any issues. It is the best scanner on the list, and you’ll be very happy with the scanner for working on your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is compatible with the scanner to prevent wasting time and money.