Best OBD2 Scanner for Your Car

Looking for the best OBD2 scanner for your car? You might feel a bit confused to determine the best suitable scanner for you on the market, but here’s an extensive analysis of some of the best OBD2 scanners available.

This research will help save you plenty of time and effort while making it possible to make the right purchasing solution. Without further delay, here is a breakdown of the best OBD2 scanner devices.

Top 4 OBD2 Scanners

1. BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool – Best Overall OBD2 Scanner

Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool

Lemur is a small company based out in Canada, but their Bluetooth BlueDriver app and adapter are one of the biggest things to happen in the automotive diagnostics world. However, it’s not because the BlueDriver is a revolutionary device – after all, many other companies have Bluetooth adapters that work through specific smartphone apps.

In fact, some of the other solutions offer features that are closely similar to what’s available in this model. What makes BlueDriver stand out is its simplicity and great integration.

The BlueDriver is a one-off hardware purchase, and you can install its app on as many devices as you have. Also, the adapter unlocks all functionality, vehicle-specific modes, recall databases and service bulletins.

The system utilizes Bluetooth 4.0 protocols that are compatible with Android 4.0 or iOS 7.0 and higher devices. The app and adapter connect immediately and transfer data seamlessly between each other.

Lemur also offers drivers an extensive list of what their app can and cannot discover for specific vehicles through their compatibility list. Before investing in this tool, you should have a look at the list and see what you can and cannot get.

The black plastic casing of the device measures 2.25 inches long by 1.75 inches wide, large enough to accommodate an OBD2 plug on one end. The dongle will plug into your car’s OBD2 port, which is usually located under the dashboard on the driver’s side.

The app home screen features icons for the main functions, and the stripe along the bottom, labeled Live, is the shortcut for viewing data streaming from your engine. The secondary menu screen has icons for BlueDriver customer service, manual and ordering information.

For a novice, the app features a Read Codes function for interpreting error codes generated. You can use the Clear Codes function to reset the check-engine light, but if the problem still exists, the engine will send the code again.

The app also features the capability to print a Repair Report that interprets codes, showing what could have caused it and potential fixes. The reports are like having your own experienced mechanic in your pocket!

The BlueDriver app also throws in a handy flashlight feature that uses your phone’s LED flash. Use it whenever you need to dig around your engine or look for the ever-elusive OBD2 port.

Pros

  • A convenient tool for first-time users
  • Compact design that easily fits near the car’s dashboard end
  • App offers possible repair methods

Cons

  • The device’s app does not offer sufficient information to interpret live engine data

2. Launch Creader 6001 OBD2 Scanner Code Reader – Best Wired OBD2 Scanner

Launch_Creader_6001_OBD2_Scanner_Code_Reader

The Creader 6001 OBD2 unit features a simple design that makes it easy to read and clear trouble codes fast. Also, it offers you extensive information on your car through a set of enhanced features. Below is a brief review of yet another good OBD2 scanner tool and oxygen sensor by Launch.

This unit is capable of reading generic diagnostic codes for all OBD2-compliant cars as well as some manufacturer-specific codes. You can also determine whether your vehicle is ready to go in for an emissions testing and it’ll pass based on information available on your car’s onboard computer. With the 6001, you can also:

  • Scan codes
  • Clear codes
  • Monitor vehicle operation

Some of the extended Creader features include the capability for specific tests of the evaporative emissions system, oxygen sensor, and other OBD2 supported tests. A recording feature allows for capturing of the diagnostic and operating information for review once you disconnect the reader from the car. You can upload the recorded data to your computer using a USB cable.

The Creader also features comprehensive reference information on every diagnostic code, which gives you an idea of what the source of the problem is and you can order the right parts. With the information from the scanner, you get further information on diagnostic codes on the Internet.

The Creader 6001 is compatible with vehicles made after 1996 in the United States. The unit will also work with OBD2 protocol Asian and European cars made from 2001 to date. Furthermore, the scan tool supports ISO15765-4, SAEJ1850, ISO14230-4, and ISO9141-2.

The scanner features a built-in DTC designed to enhance fast problem identification. The Launch Creader 6001 offers responsive OBD2 PIDs, which request data from a car.

Pros

  • A help button offers access to basic OBD information
  • An inexpensive tool that performs all functions as advertised
  • Free updates available via the Internet
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    Works on 12V diesel engine cars
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    Enables adequate preparation for an emission test
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    Includes live data graphing feature

Cons

  • Lacks software for reading transmission or engine trouble codes
  • Cannot diagnose Airbag (SRS) and ABS systems
  • Doesn’t come with a battery
  • Few sensor tests available don’t function with every car brand
  • The software upgrade website is usually flagged as dangerous
  • Does not support connection to Android and iOS devices

Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool

The Autel AL519 AutoLink features all that a basic and a professional scanner would have. If you are in the market for a midrange scanner, this is the right choice. This code reader is designed to troubleshoot your vehicle effectively.

The AL519 is easy to hold and operate with one hand. It measures 7.83 inches by 4.11 inches by 1.48 inches. The device’s TFT color measures 320 by 240 dot per inch resolution.

While the screen features vibrant colors, it’s also easy and clear to read. This is especially important if you prefer reading the information on the screen rather than feeding it to an attached laptop.

The AL519’s external power source is your car’s battery. Plus, it weighs 0.48kg with the wire included. You can use the AL519 OBD2 scanner just about anywhere without getting tied down to a workbench in your garage.

This scanner works with just about all vehicles manufactured after 1996. The array of cars include domestic and imported with OBD2 and CAN capabilities. Unfortunately, it does not cover cars before 1996.

The AutoLink’s package contains useful accessories like a long OBD2 cable, CD for software, a USB cord, and a handy case. The software is easy to install on your computer as long as you follow the instructions to the dot. You can also use the software to print all retrieved information and codes via a PC.

This Autel scanner model helps read trouble codes while providing a useful freeze data functionality from the time you first create the code. You can reset car trouble codes, and you get live views of the codes in real time.

You can record up to three sessions each about a few minutes long. This is a helpful feature that allows you to review the sessions on a PC, making it extremely convenient and easy to diagnose fairly complex problems.

The tool can retrieve lots of information very quickly and easily, including generic and manufacturer-specific codes, and pending codes, as well as vehicle CIN, CVN and VIN information.

The device also features a unique and popular I/M one-click readiness functionality. This feature helps you perform a fast state emission readiness check and cycle verification.

An integrated notification system in the gadget features a small speaker. This notification system produces audible sounds whenever your car is ready.

Pros

  • Simple, easy to use and intuitive interface
  • Improved notification
  • Comparatively affordable

Cons

  • ABS and SRS testing does not support many vehicles released before 2014
  • Software update no longer supported

4. Innova 3030g Diagnostic Code Reader/Scan Tool – Best Portable ODB2 Scanner

Innova 3030g Diagnostic Code Reader Scan Tool

The Innova 3030g is a basic essential code reader for the DIY car owner that informs you of the initial car diagnosis. The scanner features expert components that address the requirements of mechanics and professionals. Overall, it’s simple and easy to use for people just entering the car diagnostics world.

This code reader is capable of displaying all scanned data on a single screen. This feature is enhanced by its ability to display 25 scan data results at a go.

For instance, the display will show test results, and it’ll be available for scanning the mark. This means that technicians out there will home more than their requirements satisfied when using this scanner for repair purposes.

The Innova 30303g automatically refreshes the data on the screen every 30 seconds. This makes it a dependable and efficient diagnostic tool.

This OBD2 features a Rich component, which includes a USB port for allowing connections to external motors and components. Another feature that makes this scanner stand out is its ability to update via the Internet. This means you can manipulate your device to be compatible with cars that were previously not included in its range.

The plug and play component makes it easy to use, and the device’s engine scan allows technicians to verify scanned data easily. A direct feed function allows for transferring data frame freezes.

The 3030g is fitted with a backup battery that’s common in most Innova devices. This makes it easy to use the device even when you’ve turned off the ignition. Apart from this, this scanner is multilingual in the transmission of data – no more painful translation processes.

The Innova 3030g features a wide compatibility list that includes older OBD1 and newer OBD2 compliant cars. This is something largely attributable to the fact that you can update the scanner and a relationship that allows detection of generic code and specific manufacturer code.

Pros

  • Easy to use hotkeys
  • Supports all ODB2 protocol
  • Compared to ODB2 scanners in its quality range, it is the cheapest
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    Brings you unique capabilities
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    All icon monitor in one screen
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    Multilingual support for Espanola, François, and English

Cons

  • You need to purchase the website repair solutions software
  • Does not support ODB2 and SRS live data
  • Short cable

How to Choose the Best OBD2 Scanner for Your Car

By now, you may have gleaned some knowledge about the best OBD2 scanners and their functionality. The next thing you need to know is all about the different consideration you need to take into account when choosing a scanner.

Choosing the best OBD2 scanner for your car wouldn’t be as easy as it seems. When setting out to purchase one for yourself, you need to equip yourself with precise knowledge on the requirements of your vehicle.

Every car is unique and its needs ought to be treated this way, which makes choosing the best OBD2 scanner somewhat hectic. However, once you’ve installed one in your car, it becomes safer with a better driving experience compared to before. Plus, the right OBD2 scanner will help keep you confident about your car.

Before purchasing an OBD2 scanner, here are a few considerations you ought to take care of.

1. Expected Level of Functionality

The first thing you need to do is settle on what kind of tool you want; whether a high-end or basic model. The basic scanner offers limited functionality. It’s capable of a couple of things that are geared towards notifying you about issues that require a diagnosis.

The basic scanner is the best option if you’re working with a limited budget. The biggest disadvantage of such models is that they may not be compatible with some car models. However, they can be life-saving tools.

On the flipside, there’re the high-end models that feature advanced features and inspire greater confidence. These models are great for extended use and bring you functionalities like:

  • On-screen information for a better user experience
  • Live feed from sensors
  • ABS and airbag control
  • Printable codes and scanning results
  • Storage and data logging for future reference

2. Upgrade Capability

Cheaper OBD2 systems don’t usually have functionalities to upgrade their performance. While the high-end models are a bit more expensive, in the end, they are an acceptable bargain, especially if you can upgrade yours in the future.

A smartphone lets you update apps for better features and usability. The same way, upgradable scanner systems bring you more features that work with newer car models. Unfortunately, the updates might not be free, so it’s advisable you enquire about costs before making the purchase.

3. Compatibility with Your Car

The best OBD2 scanners feature five different signal processing procedures. This means you need to ensure that you are not faced with compatibility issues while installing one of these types of scanners. Some products are advertised as 100 percent compatible, but it’s always better to play safe before buying.

4. Type of OBD2 Scanner

As mentioned above, there are five different types of OBD2 scanners on the market, these are:

  • PC-based scanners – They draw power from a PC to work, and they are effective for diagnosing and troubleshooting car issues.
  • Bluetooth scanners – Such systems work via your smartphone and tablet through Bluetooth connectivity. These scanners can also work with computers and are usually advanced tools that detect, notify and troubleshoot sensor or engine issues.
  • Hand-held scanners – The devices you usually see used by mechanics and professionals to diagnose and detect engine, brake or transmission system problems. They are sturdy, advanced devices with more informative displays for data. Hand-helds often come in a package that consists of a power cable, power supply, an extra battery pack, and more.

5. Brand

When it comes to choosing products like an OBD2 scanner, the brand is a critical component that you should factor into your decision. The market is flooded with many quality brands that offer quality service for years. So, the choice is not limited, even when you only look at the top brands on the market.

Some brand names you should consider include Launch Tech USA, BlueDriver, Innova, and Autel. Fortunately, the review covers all these brands. Each of the brands offers car users a large variety of device ranges, which result in an extensive collection of products to choose from.

Characteristics of the Best OBD2 Scanner for your car

It’s possible to come up with a short list of basic characteristics you should be on the lookout for when purchasing the best OBD2 scanner:

  • The delay between reading and producing results should be as small as possible for greater accuracy
  • The system should be compatible with most car models and makes
  • Easy to use and understand
  • Capability to store data and information for future reference
  • Capable of running on all available platforms with errors or glitches
  • The scanner should have a database or software that’s upgradable to support new features
  • Display screen should be vibrant and large enough to offer great readability and categorization of necessary information
  • The scanner should feature alternative power sources
  • Attachments and adapters should be in the package and easy to replace in case of damage
  • The product should be well worth the money you are spending
  • The scanner should have wireless connectivity capability and modern amenities included
  • Lookout for a direct manufacturer’s warranty

Conclusion

If you’ve driven your car long enough, you will see a check engine light. When this inevitable scenario occurs, most people choose to call a mechanic.

On the other hand, some people would rather know what the problem is. Such people want to make sure that the issue is truly something that can only be handled by a professional. The latter category of people is the one that needs an OBD2 scanner.

The best OBD2 scanner offers you enhanced access to your car’s various mechanisms and systems and informs you if any of the components are failing. The information derived can then help you take remedial steps without searching every nook and cranny of the car. Moreover, the OBD2 scanners above are an excellent way of ensuring that your car is in a healthy condition all through its life.

Editor’s Pick

The feature list for the Lemur BlueDriver OBD2 LSB2 Scan Tool is truly impressive, making it the easy winner of the best OBD2 scanner title. As long as your car is among the long list of supported vehicles, this device will show you even the most difficult to remember trouble codes and reset them. The BlueDriver’s report sharing and live display functions make it the best unit in its class.

So, what do you think? Have you decided which is the best OBD2 scanner for your car?

Jim Thompson