9 Best Auto Scanner OBD2 Scanners for Car Owners

9 Best Auto Scanner OBD2 Scanners for Car Owners

What Is an OBD2 Scanner?

Based on the specifications of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Onboard Diagnostics II (OBD2) is a standard system for computers onboard trucks and cars for reporting and self-diagnostics.

obd2-scanner-reviewedOBD2 scanners allow access to data from all models produced since 1996 (depending on country). The reason being, they use the same communication protocols, connectors and code designations for all manufacturers.

The connector used by OBD2 is defined by SAE J1962.

OBD2 scanners are actually easy to use. The universal plug (standard across the world) is inserted in the OBD 2 connector in the vehicle. The standardized port means various tools can be used to look at the data from various cars.

This data can give information such as the speed of the vehicle, brake position, throttle position, fuel consumption and driving habits.

OBD2 scanners can be categorized into two basic categories:

  1. Code Readers:

    Code readers read and clear codes from vehicles equipped with OBD2. Code readers have the limitation that they lack manufacturer specific information on codes and offer limited data access.

  2. Scan Tools:

    Though expensive as compared to code readers, they offer more features. They offer advanced information on trouble shooting. They provide access to recorded and live data and to manufacturer specific codes. Scan tools also allow bi-directional control and tests. Meaning can also scan OEM systems like ABS, Airbag.

  3. OBD2 Software:

    This is between 1-2. It’s light years ahead of code reader but also  shows sophisticated data which scan tools can show, except only specializes in Engine/Transmission. But not OEM systems. Such example can be seen here.

Who can benefit from OBD2?

OBD systems allow the owners of vehicles to access the status of various vehicle subsystems.

OBD2 can be used for more than just troubleshooting, fleet managers, insurance companies and even parents can use the data from OBD 2 to monitor driving habits.

How to use OBD 2 scanner tools

You don’t need to have mechanical knowledge to understand how OBD2 scanners work, they don’t fix problems, they identify them for you so you can get them fixed without wasting time figuring out what the problem might be.

You start by connecting the data link connector, which is under the dashboard near the steering wheel, with the OBD-2 scanner connector.

Once the connection is established you enter your vehicle’s information. Once the scanner has connected and booted you can search for trouble codes.

OBD2 systems connect through a 16 pin connector that transmits any detected faults in the following four categories:

  • P for powertrain
  • U for computer
  • C for chassis
  • B for body

All codes that you see will start with one of the above mentioned four letters.

OBD2 is connected to the check engine light which illuminates when the system detects a problem.

Benefits of using OBD2

  • Using OBD2 saves you a lot of money as you can easily do your own diagnostics instead of going to the mechanic every time.
  • The data from OBD2 lets you know the severity of the problem with your vehicle so you can deal with them accordingly.
  • Since the scanners are standardized means they are compatible with all vehicles manufactured after 1996 so you don’t need a new scanner if you get a new car.
  • These scanners are portable so you can take them with you anywhere, giving you peace of mind.
  • The current OBD 2 scanners update themselves allowing them to last longer and thus serve the user better.
  • It allows you to check if the vehicle is safe to drive or not.

Factors to be considered when buying an OBD2 scanner tool

Not all good OBD 2 scanners have to cost thousands of dollars. Here are some of the factors you should consider when you go buy an OBD2 scanner tool.

  • Cost
  • Features
  • Compatibility
  • Can the scanner be updated?
  • Can the readings from the scanner be saved?

9 Best OBD2 Scanners We Researched…

There is a variety of OBD scan tools in the market with different scopes and sizes.

Here are 9 of the best OBD2 scanners available on Amazon.


1. Autel AutoLink AL539


This OBD2 scanner comes with an in built multi meter that allows you to detect electrical problems. This 10.6 ounce device is lighter than many other available in the market. The scanner’s dimensions are 74.8 x 31.5 x 102.4 inches. It requires Lithium batteries.


  • It has a pull out leg that allows it to stand on its own.
  • It comes with a 58inch cable.
  • Secure and sturdy case.
  • It has three lights:
    • red represents a permanent fault
    • yellow represents a temporary fault
    • green represents no faults
  • It comes with a one year warranty and a PC software.
  • Works on all 1996 and newer vehicles (OBDII & CAN)-domestic and import.
  • Graphs data.
  • Internet updateable and upgradeable.
  • Prints data via a PC.
  • It can retrieve generic (P0, P2, P3, and U0), pending codes and manufacturer specific (P1, P3, and U1) codes.
  • The menu is available in English and French.


  • Some users faced issues during updates.


2. SeekOne SK860


This bulky 11.2 ounce scanner is 7.8 x 3.8 x 1.2 inches. It has a 2.8inches color screen. The scanner also monitors emissions. It has a 2.8 inches LCD full color screen with a built in speaker. It has three LED indicators.

The red LED indicates a major problem in the vehicle that needs to be fixed, a yellow LED indicates problems waiting to be mounted and a green LED indicates that the vehicle is in just the right condition.

May also consider TOAD-Pro, which is laptop based scanner (live graphs, visual data).


  • Icon based interface makes it easier to use.
  • It comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • It comes with a free lifetime update on the software making it last longer.
  • It comes with a padded case.
  • Easy to use and easy to understand.
  • Provides real time battery monitoring, query freeze frame, on-board monitor test and permanent code retrieval.
  • Allows you to print data to a PC.
  • It is available in 8 languages, English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese and Italian.


  • Some customers face problems during updates.


3. BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool


Though it costs more than the above mentioned scanners yet it is worth it as it offers repair suggestions as well. It works within a range of 32 feet and has an application for both iOS and Android. The scanner weighs 3.84 ounces and is 2.2 x 1.9 x 1 inches.

This scanning tool comes with a Bluetooth dongle that you can plug in the vehicle’s OBD 2 port and app that can be used on your device to view the data retrieved by the dongle.


  • You can contact the BlueDriver team anytime through call or through their in app chat.
  • For every DTC a report is generated that contains the possible problems, solutions and much more.
  • It offers Freeze Frame. The vehicle snapshots where the code is stored.
  • The love data can be viewed as a graph, gauge or a digital readout. The data can also be exported to a file.


  • It works with only the following vehicles:
  • Vehicles made in 1996 and newer in North America.
  • For vehicles sold in Europe, it’s 2001 and newer for gas cars and 2004 and newer for diesel cars.
  • In Australia and New-Zealand, all 2006 and newer vehicles are covered.


4. Nonda ZUS Smart Vehicle Health Monitor


A top choice among wireless scanners, this scanner comes with the best software and customizable options. This 0.6 ounce device is 1.7 x 1.6 x 0.8 inches.

It comes with three status lights that blink when the device is inserted. The ZUS app is available for both iOS and Android. The device has a 32 feet range.

The computers on the vehicle power the adapter which transmits the data to the connected Bluetooth device. This data is analyzed and you can identify trends in the data.


  • It is sleek and small.
  • It shows a variety of parameters.
  • Good interface
  • Easy to pair
  • Keeps tabs on the engine and sends real time updates.
  • Allows you to locate your vehicle through the app.
  • It also keeps tabs on the vehicle’s tires.


  • Does not track MPG.


5. Launch – CReader V+


The device comes with free frame data and code reading. It also produces a colored graph that displays two parameters simultaneously.

The diagnostic software and updating options make it a good choice. The CReader V+ weighs 12 ounces and is 9.8 x 2.1 x 5.5 inches.


  • Fast, powerful and budget priced.
  • Includes all universal functions
  • Compatible with older models including the 996-US based or 2001-EU based.
  • Comes with bidirectional tests.
  • It comes with manufacturer specific definitions built-in.
  • It displays codes and freeze frame data.
  • It’s available in multiple languages including English, Spanish and French.
  • It checks your EVAP, O2 sensors and on-board monitors.


  • May not work with some models.


6. Innova – 3030 g2


This device is known for its sophisticated workflow. This device weighs 11.2 ounces and is 10 x 6.5 x 2 inches. For this device you will need to create a RepairSolutions account and then install drivers for your scanner.

With that done Innova allows you to review, recall and print reports regarding vehicles. Since this is a web service you need an Internet connection for anything more than a basic check.

It shows the scanned data on the screen and can show 25 different data concurrently.


  • Plug and play.
  • It has 3 lights, red, yellow and green that indicate the emissions and monitor status.
  • Cost effective.
  • Easy to use.
  • It refreshes automatically after a few seconds.
  • Comes with a battery backup.
  • It is multilingual.


  • It only identifies the problem not how to repair it.


7. Autel Maxisys Pro MS908 OBD2 Scanner


This scanner is not just for anyone, it’s made specifically for enthusiasts, technicians and mechanics, people with heavy use. It comes with a range of adapters and wires so it can be connected to vehicles manufactured in different countries. This scanners weighs 12 pounds and is 16 x 8 x 16 inches.

It has a 1.4GHz processor, 32GB SSD, a 5MP camera and uses Android making the interface familiar and easy to use.

The company releases frequent updates and if for some reason your device reports an error during the update a custom update is made available within 48 hours.

The company is known for its after sale services. So if you face any issues you can always contact them any time and their technician will help you.


  • The 9.7 inch LED touch screen is highly responsive and can withstand a lot of pressure.
  • It can be made even better through add on features.
  • Smart screen
  • Auto focus camera
  • Quick battery recharge
  • Big storage capacity
  • Fast data transfer
  • Super fast performance
  • Light weight
  • Compact size
  • Multilingual support, the default being US English.
  • It also allows cloud based data management.


  • A very high priced product that not everyone can afford.


8. Autel MaxiDiag MD808 Diagnostic Scanner Tool


This midrange diagnostic tool offers a very modern design for its given budget. It weighs 3.45 pounds and is 13 x 10.5 x 4 inches. It comes with a year long warranty and free updates for life.

The screen is 800 x 480 and offers full color display. The buttons below the screen allow you to navigate the operating systems. It can be used by professionals and is perfect for people who may not know a lot about the field.

The company releases frequent updates and if for some reason your device reports an error during the update a custom update is made available within 48 hours.

The company is known for its after sale services. So if you face any issues you can always contact them any time and their technician will help you.


  • Quicker scanning speed
  • Bigger memory
  • Offers a lot given its price
  • Allows you to graph live data
  • Supports reset of oil services
  • Affordable
  • Easy to understand
  • Easy to use
  • It is tri-lingual
  • Supports advanced diagnostics
  • It displays codes, live, and frame freezes sensor data in graphical and text format.
  • It supports battery registration and reset.
  • You can print diagnostic reports through a PC.
  • It allows you to reset service mileage and service intervals.


  • Provides support for Windows only
  • Does not function with some vehicle models.


9. Actron CP9690 Trilingual Autoscanner


This tool comes with a larger than average screen that is great for viewing graphs. It weighs 3.8 pounds and is 10.2 x 13.6 x 5.4 inches.

It offers Powertrain and ABS Coverage, Vehicle Identification, Battery System Monitor, Battery and Oil Light Reset, ABS and Airbag Light Reset, and even OBD 1/CAN Support with Live Data Streaming.

The company provides reliable support so in case you face any problem, you can contact the online center any time and a technician there will assist you with your query.


  • It allows you to record, play back and graph live data.
  • Straight forward and intuitive.
  • As the name suggests, it is trilingual, it is available in English, Spanish and French.
  • Great interface
  • It is one of the few devices that supports the older OBD1.
  • It has an optional battery backup.
  • The device can be updated via a USB port.
  • Economical


  • Costs more as compared to other tools.
9 Best Auto Scanner OBD2 Scanners for Car Owners
4.5 (90%) 28 votes

12 Responses to 9 Best Auto Scanner OBD2 Scanners for Car Owners

  1. Wow, one of OBD2 scan tools here actually worked! I had my SRS warning indicator come on my 2012 E350 Mercedes and called the Mercedes service center.

    They said bring it in and well perform a diagnostic test for $225. I did a some research on Google and found this article about OBD2 scanners that will run diagnostics on the SRS system (and ABS), give reason codes and has ability to reset SRS error codes.

    I found the OBD2 auto scanner on Amazon when I did a search for my vehicle and SRS reset capable OBD2 scanners and the the obd scanner (without mentioning it’s name) came up.

    I purchased on Amazon skeptically of course as never connected anything to the OBD port before. Once received I hooked up the scanner, viewed the error code. The scanner indicated a faulty airbag, left front, had high resistance.

    Looking further into the issue, we replugged the yellow connector under the driver seat, reset the fault codes and to my suprise it corrected the worrying issue.

    Been two weeks still and all is spotlessly fine! I also hooked it up to my son’s vehicle to see if it had anything worth investigating. It called out low brake fluid. So I verified under the hood and sure enough it was about 1/2 low. This obd2 reader is amazing. Also, I would recommend getting one of these prior to purchasing ANY vehicle for any reason. Now you will be able to verify errors for peace of mind.

  2. Been looking for best auto scanners and see most sites reviewing auto scanners are commission based with agenda-motivated writeups. This site not doing that, that’s why I actually read this page. Excellent summaries of automotive scanning devices.

  3. Which is best tool for car is incorrect question. Which is best obd2 auto scanner for MY car, is the right question. Example technician may only work with European models, therefore get best european car make, auto scanner.

  4. In short of this article, Diagnosing problematic issues your vehicle can detect is pretty easy on paper. Ignoring the high level of mechanic skill you may need, specialized tools for working on the vehicle, and the mind-numbing trial-and-error process that comes with fixing a car, all you really need is the auto scanner and a vehicle.

  5. Before using an OBD2 scanner, I suggest first know why even to use one:

    When the “Check Engine” light comes on, many drivers don’t have a clue as to what to do next. They know the light means something is wrong, but is it a serious problem or a minor one? The only way to know for sure is to plug a obd2 scanner / obd-2 scantool into the vehicle’s diagnostic connector and see what comes out.

    One of the first auto parts stores to offer a free plug-in diagnostic service for motorists who wanted to find out what was causing their “Check Engine” light to come on.

    Being able to tell customers via their own obd2 scanner why their “Check Engine” light is on opens the door for potential parts sales, and it helps the motorist to decide whether or not the problem is something they want to tackle themselves.

    At the very least, knowing why the “Check Engine” light is on allows the customer to be better informed should they decide to take their vehicle to a professional for repairs.

    Therefore an independent obd2 onboard Diagnostic II (OBD II) diagnosis is relatively simple to perform and requires only a obd2 scanner or basic scantool.

    The tool is plugged into the diagnostic connector (which is usually located under the instrument panel near the steering column).

    To read the code(s) that are causing the “Check Engine” light to come on, you simply turn on the ignition, follow the prompts on the code reader or scan tool screen and read out the code(s).

    The least expensive obd2 scanners only display a number, so you have to look up the code definition in a handbook to find out what it means.

    The more expensive scanning tools give you the number and a brief definition.

    The trouble is, a code doesn’t always tell you what the underlying problem is, what might be causing it or what parts are needed to fix the problem.

    Therefore it is useful doing a obd2 scan on your vehicle.

  6. We’ve used 3 bi directional scan tools so far, recommended by several car forums. However to make job easier, we need obd2 scanner with visual output of targeted parameter. For example, we want to monitor cylinder misfires, the automotive scanner should outlive live reporting.

    In terms of best/worst code readers, it’s a different matter, because we’re not after mere code reader. But top scanner obd2 with live-visual monitoring. Ideally handheld.

  7. Bluedriver Bluetooh is a good scanner car, infact one of best auto diagnostic scanner on Android app like DashCommand or even TOAD obd2 scanner (with Windows software).

    I will read all system fault codes on the vehicles I’ve used it on such as an 2012 Astra 1.3 Sri xep Airbag. 2011 Hyundai i30 1.6CRD Engine management. 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero sport 2.5d ABS System.

  8. Hi, can I use a obd 2 scanner to control evap purge solenoid and leak detection pump? I’ve searched around and seems this is a job for mechanic, which is too inconvenient to drive. Any tools which can do this from home. If yes, let me know.

  9. Regarding seekone sk860. I had an issue with one of the I/M monitors in my vehicle not being ready so I couldn’t get through my smog check.

    There was a similarly-priced auto scanner at my local auto store, but the guy in the shop said it wouldn’t read I/M readiness.

    This auto scanner was even less costly and it did just the job. I could run my vehicle and check the readiness without having to keep going to the repairman.

    When the tool showed it was fine, with all green checks, I got it through the smog check.

    And it has a one-click button for checking the I/M monitors. Just ideal for what I wanted at a great price. Definitely considered (based on autoscanner reviews), one of best audio scanners.

  10. I have an older Chevy auto scanner that was giving me issues with a MIL check engine light. I bought an automotive scanner for sale on eBay, to diagnose and have ended up using it many more times as other codes kept popping up. Using the Actron scanner after reviewing Innova VS Actron.

    Since then, I’ve also used it on our 2019 VW Jetta when the CEL light came on at 30,000 miles. Saved me a bunch of money taking that car to the dealership. It works well and is easy to use and read in all light conditions. Certainly one of best auto scanners used.

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