8 Best OBD2 Scanner Picks for Cars

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This guide reviews 8 of the best OBD2 scanner choices for DIY and professional mechanics. Some are easier to use than others. Moreover, the price between the low and high-end devices is considerable. Keep reading this short introduction if you’re new to mechanical and electronic diagnostics. By the end of this section, you’ll know what an OBD2 scanner is—exactly—and the reasons you may want one.

Budget
best-budget-obd2-scanner-for-cars
FOXWELL NT301 OBD2
4.6/5.0
Type: Handheld
Wired/Wireless: Wired
Battery-free, live graphic data, data logging, DTC lookup library, printer-ready.
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Best Value
best-value-obd2-scanner-for-cars
ANCEL FX2000 OBD2
4.7/5.0
Type: Handheld
Wired/Wireless: Wired
Intuitive interface, durable build, handheld design, full range of diagnostic tests.
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Top Pick
top-value-obd2-scanner-for-cars
Innova 3150f Pro OBD2
4.8/5.0
Type: Handheld
Wired/Wireless: Wireless
Check engine light, ABS/SRS codes, oil light reset.
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OBD2 Scanners Defined

OBD2 is an abbreviation for Onboard Diagnostics 2, and the technology has been with us since 1988. It’s now a standardized system hidden behind the dashboard of cars and trucks. The OBD2 software in vehicles scans, regulates, and monitors its central systems and functions. It sends periodic commands to wherever is needed to help keep the vehicle running at optimal performance.

No car or truck is perfect, though. Sometimes, they malfunction or break down for no apparent reason. Warning lights warn, but they’re never specific. That’s where the OBD2 scanner comes in. It runs visible diagnostic tests that motorists and trained mechanics can easily understand.

3 Types of OBD2 Scanner

No two OBD2 scanners are the same, and there are three different types to choose from. It’s important to buy one that meets your needs, budget, and expectations.

The 3 types of OBD2 scanner are:

  1. Basic code readers
  2. DIY Scanners
  3. Professional scanners

DIY scanners read codes as well as offer other features. The most basic scanners, though, only show codes without any supporting data. That’s still useful, as explained below.

Ok, let’s now look at each of the above vehicle diagnostic tools in turn.





About My ‘Best OBD2 Scanner’ Buyer’s Guide

Don’t worry if you’re still a tad confused. The features and functions of these scanners will become more apparent as you read the reviews. I looked over several dozen before settling on a list of 8 products. The scanners range from 45–212 dollars and prices between the two. The top 3 reviews are for the Best Budget OBD2 scanner, followed by The Best Value and the Top Pick.

OBD2 Scanners for Cars Comparison Table

1. FOXWELL NT301 Pro OBD2 Scanner | Best Budget

FOXWELL NT301 Pro OBD2 ScannerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The Best Budget OBD2 Scanner goes to the universal FOXWELL NT301. The company designed this Engine Light Checker tool specifically for DIY home diagnostics. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Best feature 1: Comfortable handheld design with intuitive keypad
  • Best feature 2: Good sized 2.8” color display screen
  • Plus points: Battery-free, live graphic data, data logging, DTC lookup library, printer-ready
  • Minus points: Display brightness, poor instructions, compatibility issues

NT301 Professional Scanner Highlights

Today’s vehicle scanners have come a long way in a short space of time. The NT301 Mechanic OBD2 Scanner Code Reader here has a handy 2.8” color screen to display error codes. That means you can find out right away what caused your engine’s warning light to come on. You’ll know in an instant whether you can fix the problem, or need to take the vehicle to an auto repair shop.

This is a comfortable scanner to hold and has a simple, well-arranged keypad. It’s an easy tool to grasp and doesn’t need a battery to function. More highlights include live graphing data, data logging, and record OBD-II PIDs of Parameter IDs. Another welcome feature is the built-in DTC lookup library. What that does is offer repair help and suggestions for any of the detected codes.

The Not So Good

The display screen is okay, but it’s not as bright or as vibrant as the advertised images. The instructions are not the best and get plenty of complaints. Don’t try to decipher them if you find them overly vague. Look for a YouTube video tutorial instead. Some users complain about vehicle compatibility and connection types. Interested buyers should check with the seller if they’re unsure.

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Tech Specs
Brand: FOXWELL
Model: NT301
Color: Black/orange
Display Type: 2.8” color screen
Updates: Windows systems only
LED Notifications: Yes
Dimensions: 8.7 x 3.1 x 6.7”
Product Weight: 1.1 lbs.
The Pros
Comfortable, user-friendly design
Intuitive, well-spaced keypad
Color display screen
Battery-free operation
Graphic live data
Data logging
DTC lookup library
Printer-ready
I/M Readiness
Custom storage case (optional extra)
Excellent value
The Cons
Screen is clear but could be brighter and more vibrant
Poor instructions
Potential compatibility issues

2. ANCEL FX2000 Vehicle OBD2 Scanner | Best Value

ANCEL FX2000 Vehicle OBD2 ScannerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

ANCEL gets the Editor’s Best Value slot with its FX2000 Vehicle OBD2 Scanner. The capable code reader can check your ABS braking system, SRS (airbags), and transmission diagnostics.

  • Best feature 1: Smart function/navigation buttons
  • Best feature 2: Large 4.0” TFT color screen
  • Plus points: Intuitive interface, durable build, handheld design, full range of diagnostic tests
  • Minus points: Windows update only, vague instructions—in parts, slow to update

ANCEL FX2000 OBD2 Scanner Highlights

ANCEL’s FX2000 Professional Scan Tool is a step up from the Best Budget pick. It has a large 4.0” TFT color screen, an intuitive interface, and smart buttons for easy navigation. This tool supports all OBDII modes and 45+ vehicle brands. The FX2000 sports a durable design made to fit comfortably in both hands. And its TPU protective case boasts anti-slip and anti-shock properties.

Diagnostic checks include SRS (airbag) issues, ABS brakes, transmission, and engine tests. Other diagnostic highlights are Read/Erase Codes, I/M readiness, Live Data on Graph, and much more.

The Not So Good

You need to receive updates via a Windows PC. That’s not ideal if you’re a dedicated Mac user, as it means you need to borrow someone’s PC for every update. Less experienced users find the included instruction vague in parts. It looks like the typical inadequate translation issue from Chinese to English. Lastly, downloading software updates can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming.

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Tech Specs
Brand: ANCEL
Model: FX2000
Color: Black
Display Type: 4.0″ TFT color
Lifetime Updates: Yes
Add-on Extra Functions: Yes
Vehicle Service Types: US, Europe, Asia
Voltage: 12V
Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.8 x 7.8”
Product Weight: 1.59 lbs.
The Pros
Comfortable 2-handed design
Large 4.0” TFT color screen
Anti-slip and anti-shock case
Supports 45+ vehicle brands
Supports all OBDII modes
Smart navigation buttons
Reads, stores, and playbacks
Intuitive interface
Full range of diagnostic tests
Built-in DTC lookup library
Life-time Upgrades Via PC
The Cons
Windows-only updates
Slow to update
Vague instructions in parts

3. Innova 3150f Pro OBD2 Scanner | Top Pick

Innova 3150f Pro OBD2 ScannerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

Motorists can check their engine warning lights with the Innova 3150f Pro OBD2 Scanner, Top Pick. It’s an excellent scanner that works on most vehicle types (see below).

  • Best feature 1: Large, 3.5” color LCD screen
  • Best feature 2: Bright LED OBD port connector
  • Plus points: Check engine light, ABS/SRS codes, oil light reset, battery initialization/reset
  • Minus points: App not intuitive (at the time of writing), no paper instructions

Innova 3150f OBD2 Scanner Highlights

The Innova 3150f Pro OBD2 Scanner and code reader is a quality handheld diagnostics tool. It works with any OBDII car, truck, hybrid, and SUV from 1996 onward. You can use the 3150f to read a multitude of Fault Codes and Repair Solutions/Suggestions. Some of those include all Engine Warning Lights, ABS/SRS codes, Oil Light Resets, and Battery initialization.

This diagnostics tool even has a bright LED connector so that users can find the OBD port in the dark. The Bluetooth capability is another welcome feature, but it’s not perfect, see below. It lets you read codes via a smartphone or tablet using the Repair Solution App. It shows things like repair estimated costs, parts information, helpful articles, and some how-to videos.

The Not So Good

The free mobile app is useful, but it’s fiddly to navigate, and it doesn’t have a very intuitive layout. But it is an app, and that means future updates should see improvements. Bluetooth can also be tricky to connect at times. The 3150f Pro doesn’t come with paper instructions. Instead, new users must download them from the website. It’s not a major con, but some folks do prefer a booklet to hold.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Innova
Model: 3150f Pro
Color: Black
Display Type: 3.5” color LCD
Free Updates: Yes
Batteries: 3 x AA (included)
Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.2 x 1.5”
Product Weight: 1.45 lbs.
The Pros
Comfortable to hold, easy to use
Large color LCD screen
Bright LED OBD port connector
Service light reset
ABS/SRS codes
Oil light reset
Battery initialization/reset
Multi-language codes
Free internet updates
Bluetooth connectivity w/ app
The Cons
App needs work
Instructions not included

4. ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD II Scanner

ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD II ScannerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

Meet the ANCEL AD410. It’s an inexpensive OBD II vehicle code reader for checking engine lights. It has a DTC Look Up feature that saves users from searching for code definitions online.

  • Best feature 1: Super easy to use with a little practice
  • Best feature 2: Works with most US vehicles post-1996
  • Plus points: Color display, code library, live data stream, reads RPM, Volts, Temp, Speed
  • Minus points: Poor instructions, shortish cord

ANCEL AD410 OBD II Scanner Highlights

The ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD II Vehicle Code Reader, is an affordable handheld OBD2 scanner. It works with most US vehicles from 1996 and newer. It’s an easy-to-use tool even for the raw novice. Simply plug it into the vehicle’s OBD II port and turn on the ignition. That’s it. You can view the real-time live data stream in an instant. That includes RPM, Volts, Temperature, Speed, etc.

Other features worth mention include the color LCD screen, DTC Lookup, and 1-key I/M readiness. The AD410 OBD II Scanner does lack a few diagnostic checks, but then it is a budget-end product. Users get free lifetime software updates for the scanner directly from ANCEL’s website.

The Not So Good

This scanner is easy to operate once you’re familiar with its features and functions. Unfortunately, the instructions are less novice-friendly than the tool. They lack detail, and they also seem to be translated from Chinese to English. This issue is not unique to ANCEL. New users should search for YouTube videos tutorials instead. Lastly, some people complain that the cord is awkwardly short.

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Tech Specs
Brand: ANCEL
Model: AD410
Color: Black/orange
Display Type: 2.4 color LCD
Lifetime Updates: Yes
Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.6”
Product Weight: 0.75 lbs.
The Pros
Super easy with a little practice
Covers US vehicles post-1996
Read and erase codes
Color display screen
DCT code lookup
Live data stream
RPM Volts and Temp
Speed readings
One-key I/M readiness
Affordable OBDII scanner
The Cons
Vague instructions
Cord is quite short

5. TryAce OBD2 Auto Diagnostic Scanner

TryAce OBD2 Auto Diagnostic ScannerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The TryAce OBD2 Auto Diagnostic Scanner is a mid-range product packed with powerful features. You can use it on most US vehicles sold from 1996 to the present day. Let’s check it out.

  • Best feature 1: Full color 2.8” TFT LCD screen
  • Best feature 2: Supports all OBDII protocols
  • Plus points: Rugged build, easy to navigate, 5ft cable, live data stream, print reports
  • Minus points: Cannot update on Mac, vague instructions

TryAce OBD2 Auto Scanner Highlights

TryAce’s OBD2 Scanner has a slick design and rugged construction. At the top is a decent sized 2.8” TFT LCD screen that makes reading data easy at any level. This handheld diagnostics tool supports all the essential protocols for most vehicles built post-1996. Color icons help novice mechanics to read the data easily. That includes No-Fault Codes, Pending Fault Code, and Permanent Fault Code.

The control buttons are large and evenly spaced out for easy navigation. The device comes with a 5ft cable that is more than adequate for most users. Some of the diagnostic highlights are Check Engine Light Codes, Oxygen Sensor Test, and Battery Checks. There’s also On-board Monitoring, Vehicle Info, and much more. It offers live data streams and users can print out diagnostic reports.

The Not So Good

It’s not possible to update/upgrade this diagnostic scanner on a Mac computer. That’s not unusual for these tools, but it may be a deal-breaker for dedicated Mac users. Another gripe—which is also common with these diagnostic tools—are the vague instructions. Watch YouTube videos instead.

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Tech Specs
Brand: TryAce
Model: OBDII S950
Color: Black/red
Display Type: 2. 8” color LCD
Lifetime Updates: Yes
Power: 12V
Dimensions: 10 x 7.4 x 2.6”
Product Weight: 1.45 lbs.
The Pros
Smart design, rugged build
Anti-shock, anti-slip material
Easy to navigate controls
Full color 2.8” TFT LCD screen
Supports all OBDII protocols
Long 5ft cable
Live data stream
Print diagnostic reports
DTC Lookup
The Cons
Cannot update on Mac computers
Vague instructions

6. BlueDriver Pro OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool

BlueDriver Pro OBD2 Diagnostic Scan ToolView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Consider the BlueDriver Pro OBD2 Diagnostic Scanner if you want an app-controlled tool. This model works with Android or iOS smartphones and tablets for viewing and saving data.

  • Best feature 1: Easy to install, simple to use
  • Best feature 2: Bluetooth connectivity
  • Plus points: User-friendly app (Android/iOS), codes + fixes, save & share, 24/7 support
  • Minus points: Small size (also a positive), quite expensive

BlueDriver Pro OBD2 Scan Tool Highlights

This diagnostic tool is a small, yet powerful gadget for engine inspections. It plugs directly into a vehicle’s OBD port and transmits all data to your mobile device via Bluetooth. The app also comes with free lifetime updates. This tool offers potential repairs and fixes as they relate to the error codes. One of its main appeals is portability, and most people carry smartphones or tablets on their person.

The BlueDriver Pro works with Android or iOS devices. It lets you save data and has interactive live graphing. Some are sure to welcome the fact that North American engineers designed this scanner.

The Not So Good

This thing is small, and that’s half its appeal. But it’s also easy to lose or misplace. It would have been better if it came with a hook, loop, or keychain so that it wasn’t loose when not in use. Also, it may drain your battery eventually if you forget to take it out of the OBD port (easily done). The BlueDriver Pro is really good rather than excellent, and it’s quite expensive because of that.

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Tech Specs
Brand: BlueDriver
Model: LSB2
Color: Black
Display Type: Mobile device
App Name: BlueDriver
Free App Updates: Yes
Dimensions: 2.2 x 1.9 x 1”
Product Weight: 0.175 lbs. (2.08 oz.)
The Pros
Engineered in North America
Easy to install, simple to use
Bluetooth connectivity
User-friendly app (Android/iOS)
Light codes + fixes
Save, print, and share
24/7 support
The Cons
Tiny size, easy to misplace
Quite expensive

7. Autel Autolink Diagnostic AL619 OBD2 Scanner

Autel Autolink Diagnostic AL619 OBD2 ScannerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The Autel Autolink AL619 is another mid-priced OBD2 Scanner. It’s a good size, yet a comfortable tool to hold for running vehicle diagnostic tests. It also comes with free lifetime updates.

  • Best feature 1: Checks warning lights for over 50 vehicle manufacturers
  • Best feature 2: Print and Update
  • Plus points: Easy to use, Read/Erase Codes, Live Data, Freeze Frame, I/M Readiness, o2 Tests
  • Minus points: Cheap look and feel, vague instructions

Autel Autolink AL619 OBD2 Scanner Highlights

The AL619 OBD2 by Autel is packed with all the essential diagnostics for DIY vehicle checks. That includes easy-to-perform ABS/SRS diagnostics. You also have quick engine system tests for most US vehicles. There are detailed definitions for each code using the DTC Lookup feature. Other AL619 highlights are Live Data, Freeze Frame, o2 tests, and I/M Readiness Status.

Users can also print the diagnostics data and customized test reports via a computer. The product comes with a CD, 5ft OBDII Cable, USB cable, a TF card, and a protective nylon case.

The Not So Good

The Autolink AL619 looks and feels a tad cheap compared to some rivals. It’s also quite restricted, but it should offer most—if not all—of what a novice user needs. Also, make sure all its features are compatible with your vehicle if you want to buy it. Contact the seller if in doubt. Lastly, there’s that common issue of vague instructions. Luckily, there are some useful YouTube vids to fall back on.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Autel
Model: Autolink AL619
Color: Black/red
Display Type: TFT color LCD
Lifetime Updates: Yes
External Power: 8.0–18.0V
PC Connection: USB
Card Slot: TF
Dimensions: 7.8 x 4.1 x 1.5”
Product Weight: 2.05 lbs.
The Pros
Easy to use once familiar
Checks lights for over 50 manufacturers
Print diagnostic tests
Customized reports
DTC Lookup feature
Read/erase codes
Live data
Freeze frame
I/M readiness
o2 test
Includes basic accessories
The Cons
Cheap look and feel
Vague instructions
Not all features work with all vehicles (check if unsure)

8. Actron CP9670 OBD II Auto Scanner Trilingual

Actron CP9670 OBD II Auto Scanner TrilingualView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

My last review goes to the Actron CP9670. It’s a fast and accurate diagnostic OBD II auto Scanner. The CP9670 is an excellent diagnostic tool for workshops and advanced DIY buffs.

  • Best feature 1: 15000+ manufacturer’s and generic diagnostics
  • Best feature 2: Live, real-time data
  • Plus points: Color backlit display, check engine lights, reads and erases, trilingual menu
  • Minus points: Few missing features, cannot update from Mac

Actron CP9670 OBD II Auto Scanner Highlights

The Actron CP9670 is a capable mid-range OBD II Auto Scanner. It can deliver more than 15000 manufacturer and generic diagnostic code definitions. You can use it with all 1996 and newer vehicles, either domestic or imports. It also works with 1994–1995 OBD2-compliant vehicles. The tool feels a tad wide in hand compared to some models, but then it accommodates a large color backlit LCD.

Typical diagnostic features include Engine Light Checks, Read/Erase ABS Codes, and Live Real-time Data. There’s even a trilingual menu that’s sure to appeal to some users.

The Not So Good

There are a few missing reset features, so make sure the scanner covers your needs before buying. You can view the full specs on the product’s sales page. This OBD II Auto Scanner has a slight learning curve that some new users may find challenging. Also note that the software updates are available only from a Windows PC, not Macs.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Actron
Model: CP9670
Color: Black/orange
Display Type: Color LCD
Free Updates: Yes
Dimensions: 1.2 x 10 x 6”
Product Weight: 0.75 lb.
The Pros
15000+ maker & generic diagnostics
Live, real-time data
Bright, color backlit display
Check engine lights
Reads and erase ABS codes
Trilingual menu
The Cons
Few missing reset features
Slight learning curve
Cannot update from Macs
0/50 ratings