What is the best OBD2 scanner? There are three types of these devices: a basic code reader, a DIY scanner, and a professional scanner. The first type is the most common and affordable option. It uses diagnostic trouble codes to notify you about the issue and then clears the codes if needed. Basic code readers can be both wireless and corded. A more advanced option is a DIY scanner. It has more features and provides you with more information, such as average speed, fuel usage, and what is going on in your vehicle right now. The third type includes professional OBD2 scanners, which are more sophisticated and richer in features than the two previous types. In particular, they can save data and offer ECU programming.

1. INNOVA CarScan Pro 5510 Code Scanner
This professional OBD2 scanner reads and clears trouble codes as well as checks transmission temperature, brake pad, tire pressure, etc. The RepairSolutions2 app is included.

2. Innova 3160g Pro OBD2 Scanner
The device reads and erases ABS and SRS codes as well as engine lights. It works with most cars, SUVs, and light trucks. The scanner allows you to stream and record live data.

3. Innova 3100j OBD2 Scanner
This low-cost scanner will detect the cause of your vehicle's check engine warnings, reads and erases ABS and SRS light codes, and offers step-by-step reset procedures.

4. BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android
This is another budget-oriented scanner that reads all codes and provides the full set of diagnostics on a variety of car brands. It comes with the BlueDriver App for iOS and Android.

If you have an OBD2 scanner, you do not have to go to a service center and pay for expensive diagnostics. Now you can easily check the car yourself. For small car-care centers, it is also advantageous to buy an inexpensive scanner to identify the main series of errors and malfunctions. But what is the best OBD2 scanner to buy? Today I will tell you how to choose a worthy buying scanner that will fit your car and how to use it. We have made a top-rating that will help you make a choice.

Table of Content

How does an OBD2 scanner work?

The scanner is connected to the diagnostic block, which is located at the base of the steering wheel. Usually, it is a trapezoidal connector under the steering column or bottom of center console. It has several data exchange protocols: CAN (ISO 15765-4), VPW, PWM, KWP2000, and ISO9141. The machines produced since 1996 are available for diagnosis. It was then that they began to produce cars with an OBD2 connector.

This is a standard type of connector that transmits (pass) the maximum number of errors. It fits most machines, but some brands do not support this format, so read the car's passport before you buy it to learn which type of the connector is in the car.

Depending on the model, devices can work by ‘Plug and play’ principle like portable scanners or with APP for your smartphone like Bluetooth/Wi-Fi models.

Having connected the device to the connector of the electronic control unit, it is necessary to start the car so that it can read errors. Diagnosis is instantaneous. Data can be transferred not only through a standard USB cable, but some scanners can work via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This is convenient because the absence of wires is much more comfortable. Immediately after switching on, you will be able to see the main indicators:

  • Coolant is the current temperature of your engine
  • Vacuum - the state of the vacuum brakes,
  • Pressure - for brakes and cylinder
  • Speedometer and odometer - violations are detected here. Drivers can cleverly remove the mileage readings.

Depending on the installed application, you can select several diagnostic tests. Here it will identify more than a hundred faults and translate this code into your language. Here there is the possibility of resetting errors that occurred when changing auto parts or wiring, after which the car can normally drive.

TOP-7 best OBD2 scanners

Depending on the functionality and features, we have rated the top best scanners that work together with the OBD2 protocol. One of them is made in the form of a block, to which you need software and a smartphone, tablet or computer. Other models are portable, and the result is immediately displayed on the scanner's display.

OBD2 scanner reviews

In most cases, buyers are guided by the ratio of price to quality and try to save money. They like a portable scanner that does not require installing the program on a computer or smartphone. It is inexpensive but contains less programmed codes that it reads.

Others like the expensive Professional OBDII Scan Tool for its versatility and compatibility with any device. In addition, there is no need to install the program, it is already installed in the block. Wireless models are convenient because you can synchronize via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

1. Best Professional Level Functionality - Innova CarScan Pro OBD2 Diagnostic Tool

This model is produced by Innova, a California-based company that has been present on the automotive aftermarket for over 15 years and now is one of the leading suppliers and trusted brands. All its products are researched and designed in the USA at then, undergo rigorous testing at the production facilities. That is why Innova delivers only quality and high-precision tools.

Recently, the company has launched RepairSolutions2 Automotive App and OBD Tool Bundle. This is a comprehensive solution that allows users to get vehicle-specific inspection reports and fix the problem in the most efficient way.

We have tested the coolest model in the INNOVA product line — CarScan Pro with the RepairSolutions2 app.

The product is indeed groundbreaking and interesting. During scanning, the scanner extracts all the data on the vehicle. Generally, this is just a bunch of data from different sensors and databases of the vehicle itself. And unless there are any obvious errors and alarms, you have no idea about what to do with all this stuff.

Is everything okay with my car if no errors are revealed? Well, you install the RepairSolutions2 app on your smartphone to receive reports about everything you have scanned using this device. And the program makes conclusions based on these data. Based on this analysis, the program can give recommendations and advice on the technical condition and repair work to those car owners who are not very well versed in cars.

As a result, you get your own car service in your garage. Just for a couple of hundred bucks, you get complete knowledge about your model of car, including recommendations and tips. More importantly, you do not need to go to a technician to do a car diagnostic test and pay extra money.

How does it work?

What are the advantages of the PRO model? How does it differ from more budget models of scanners?

  • It reads the oil level and data about service oil changes in the engine.
  • It can reset the oil pressure light.
  • It reads airbag codes and can reset them.
  • It scans the battery status information, including that of hybrid vehicles.
  • In modern vehicles, it reads brake system codes, as well as monitors the wear of brake pads and brake discs, and tire inflation pressure.
  • It reads gearbox status.
  • It reads the status of the exhaust system.

Actually, Innova has a large product line. There are inexpensive models such as CarScan Reader for $59 to feature-packed models like CarScan Pro for $329. Check out the company’s official website to compare these products.

Are all INNOVA models compatible with the new free RepairSolutions2 app?

— All modern Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth®-enabled Innova OBD tools work with this application.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Innova 3160: Check the current price

2. Best OBD2 scanner for the money

This bright red model Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner has a large color TFT display. An important advantage is the absence of necessity of synchronization with a computer or tablet. All information will be displayed here. It displays basic metrics, clears codes and resets monitors besides errors after changing the airbag, srs, electronic parking brake. There is also the possibility to receive software updates. The cord is long enough. The dimensions of the device are 6.3 x 17.7 x 9.2 inches. You can sit at the wheel and keep it in your hand.

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Autel: Check the current price

3. Best OBD2 Scanner for ABS & SRS Trouble Codes

Now, take a look at this scanner manufactured by a well-known and trusted producer Innova. The company has its own patented products and developments in the field of automobile service and is a leading supplier of test devices intended for the automobile aftermarket. Well, it is not just the brand that has drawn my attention. The model differs from other budget ones featured in this review in its ability to search for and detect faults not only of the engine but also ABS & SRS systems and airbags.

So for some $100, you get a device that is easy to use and provides you a lot of useful information. It is powered by 3 AA batteries which come with the product. In comparison with the previous model, this one is twice as heavy, with a weight amounting to 2.5 pounds.

Innova 3100: Check the current price

4. Best Bluetooth OBD2 scanner

BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner is suitable for a smartphone supporting Android or installing on a computer with a Windows operating system. Suitable applications you can download from the Internet. This is Torque, Dash Command, Carista, Scan Master, Piston & more. Ability to build graphics and analysis in real time.

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BAFX: Check the current price

5. Best cheap OBD2 scanner

This is a simple and inexpensive Panlong Bluetooth OBD2 OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner for Andriod. It works together with the Torque Pro application on gadgets that have the Android operating system. The flaw (or drawback) is that the unit cannot diagnose cars diesel, hybrid & trucks with 24V voltage. It is the smallest one ( 1.9 x 1 x 1.3 inches).

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Panlong: Check the current price

6. Best OBD2 scanner iPhone

Universal BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan is convenient. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad & Android. Here you can save the result, make a report and display various graphs. Data is exchanged via Bluetooth. No additional software is required, the installation will start automatically as soon as you connect the scanner to the car. Unlike other models, this scanner has a Smog testing function. Here you can save information about the result in the dropbox and view from any device. In addition, a powerful scanner not only diagnoses and shows possible causes of breakages but also offers options for repairing a car. Mode 6 can show you the status of each sensor located in the car. Here, errors can be reset, for example, when replacing the airbag, ABS settings. In addition, you can receive updates for free. It is convenient that technical support works 24/7.

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BlueDriver: Check the current price

7. Best OBD2 classic portable scanner

ANCEL AD310 Classic Enhanced Universal OBD II Scanner does not require additional equipment and has 8 languages in the interface. On a small LCD display, not only error codes are displayed, but also their description and the possibility to solve the problem.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

ANCEL: Check the current price

What problems can a Scanner discover in your car?

Depending on the model, the number of possibilities can vary. The main indicators that a scanner can diagnose are:

  • Problems with the ignition system. Diagnostics of adjustment of coils and ignition control, sensors, spark plugs and their clearances
  • Breakage in the wiring and loss of contact, the condition of the fuses.
  • Malfunctions and errors in the fuel system and injection.
  • Breakage of all bulbs, sensors on the instrument panel and their reset.

In addition, the main indicators you see immediately when you connect: speed, fuel consumption, and temperature.

Vehicle diagnostic services

If a check engine light is blinking in your car, you can test the vehicle using one of these scanners and even clear fault codes. However, if they occur again and cannot be cleared, we recommend that you address to the professionals. To make an appointment for car diagnostics or any other service repair in your state, you may contact Pep Boys service center at www.pepboys.com.

Expert Opinion: Ben Wojdyla, Associate Auto Editor, Popular Mechanics

Ben Wojdyla, Associate Auto Editor, Popular Mechanics

Ben Wojdyla is an associate automotive editor at Popular Mechanics. He provides step-by-step recommendations on how to repair and upgrade your car as well as some useful troubleshooting tips.

“Lots of folks complain these days that cars are no more than computers on wheels. The benefit though is that you can tap into all that data that was never available before. Since 1996, all cars have come with OBDII, which stands for on-board diagnostics and it is a standardized gateway into your car's computer. In order to get to that information, you are going to need a reader that scans for the data that is in the computer. The first step is to plug into the port that is under the dash. To power it up, you just press the button. At this point, we have to key the vehicle on. The check engine light on this car is on, so we are going now to scan the car to find out what is the problem. Press scan and follow the directions on the screen and wait for the computer to do its work. And now it is telling us what is going wrong”.

OBD2 scanners Comparison Chart

If you purchase a universal OBD2 car scanner, you will save on the repair of the car and its maintenance. Now you do not need to visit a car service because you yourself can conduct diagnostics!

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