You may never know the importance of having the best obd2 scanner until your car develops a fault. At this point , you are torn between driving to a mechanic shop or troubleshooting the issue yourself.
Of course , you can easily drive to the mechanic and splash 200 or 300 bucks to get it fixed. But it may shock you to know that it was a minor issue that shouldn’t have cost you half as much as you paid.
This is not to say that mechanics are rip-offs , NO. But there are some minor car issues that can be diagnosed and fixed by you without the help of a mechanic. All you need is the best obd2 scanner.
OBD2 scanners are compact devices which are built to enable car owners run a diagnosis of their car. These diagnostic tools come with integrated software which reads and updates the owner in real time of any/all problems found on their vehicle.
On-board Diagnostics – OBD , has been in vogue years now since it was developed and subsequently adopted by the Society of Automotive Engineers. It has become a set standard for all manufactured vehicles.
This article takes a look at the top best obd2 scanner reviews on the market.
Best OBD2 Scanner 2018 Reviews
OBD2 and OBD1 vary in that OBD2 scanner is the standard for all vehicles produced from 1996 and beyond. The 1996 standard is supported by all existing vehicle manufacturers making one piece of an OBD2 scanner a universal diagnostic tool able to retrieve codes from vehicles manufactured from 1996 to date.
|OBD2 Scanner||Quick Summary||Availability|
1). Bluedriver Bluetooth Professional Scanner
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| BlueDriver is our preferred on-board scanner because of the amount of flexibility and functions it offers at a decent price tag. |
It is also preferred for its user-friendliness as it is designed to be used by professional automotive engineers as well as amature car owners.
2). ANCEL AD310 Universal OBD2 Scanner
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| This scanner fully supports most 1996 US-Based vehicles as well as 2000 EU-Based and Asian vehicles, and the latest iteration of vehicles which support OBD II and CAN. |
The ANCEL AD310 Scanner supports languages like Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Russian, German, Portuguese and Finnish.
3). Innova 3160g OBD2 Scanner
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| The Innova 3160g is impressively easy to use and has become one of the most sought-after best obd2 scanner by do-it-yourself enthusiasts. |
The 3160g also has several advanced features which professional technicians find handy.
4). BAFX 34t5 OBD2 Scanner
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|The Bluedriver obd2 scanner (our no 1 recommendation) is a complete scanner for Android and iOs devices , but if for some reasons you want something else that works with Android , BAFX 34t5 OBD2 is the best obd2 scanner to consider.|
5). ScanTool 427201 Bluetooth OBD2 scanner
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| he ScanTool 427201 Bluetooth OBD2 scanner is a pricier mobile car scanner when compared to the BAFX 34t5 scanner. |
This scanner just like the previous OBD2 scanner is not compatible with devices running IOS operating systems (Apple devices) but would work seamlessly with your Android or Windows phone, tablet or PC.
Here are the top 10 best obd2 scanner 2018 :
1). BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scanner – Overall Best On-Board Scanner
Top of the list is Bluedriver Bluetooth professional scanner , a product developed by professional automotive engineers in North America.
BlueDriver is our preferred on-board scanner because of the amount of flexibility and functions it offers at a decent price tag. It is also preferred for its user-friendliness as it is designed to be used by professional automotive engineers as well as amature car owners. It’s not the most expensive OBD2 scanner on the market but one of the best OBD2 scanners available.
The Bluedriver bluetooth scanner is a diagnostics tool which can read all codes and clear them if you wish. This scanner works well with Apple devices (iPhone & iPad) as well as Android smartphones. It however dosen’t work with windows smartphones.
How does it work ?
This scanner works by communicating with your smarphone and your car via bluetooth.
After purchasing the Bluedriver scanner from amazon , download the official app to your Android / iOs device from their respective app store. Connect the scanner to your smartphone via bluetooth and plug it to your car’s OBD port. You’re ready to go!
The Enhanced Diagnostic of BlueDriver OBDII scanner allows you unrestricted access to information which you can find on costly OBD2 models which are usually used by professional mechanics.
With the Enhanced Diagnostic, you will have access to information of the car’s ABS, Airbag, climate control and many more data which are not accessible on several budget scan tools except on pricey professional scan tools. BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 scanner is also used for diagnostic of different manufacturers and brands including all General Motors (GM) brands like Buick, Cadillac, Saturn, Chevrolet and Saab, and many more.
Benefits of Bluedriver Bluetooth Professional Scanner
- Access to all CEL codes of all makes with permission to read and clear (Confirmed, Pending and Permanent)
- Access to all Enhanced codes like Transmission, Airbag, ABS, etc. for such cars like Toyota, Ford, Nissan, BMW, Chrysler and 2003+ Honda.
- Access to repair reports including code definition, possible causes of problem, reported fixes (which are vehicle-specific for each DTC)
- Freeze frame
- Smog check
- Mode 6
- Live data
- Supports lots of manufacturers and brands including all GM brands, all Ford brands, all Chrysler brands, all Nissan brands, all Toyota brands, all BMW brands, all Honda brands
- Works on almost all car brands
- Access to enhanced codes which are not available on low-end scanners
- Compact and lightweight.
- Has an Android and IOS compatible app which gives you a complete vehicle repair solution.
- This best obd2 scanner gives you access to Identifix database which is notably used by professionals
- The code database is incomplete with the manufacturer selecting key codes and seemingly leaving out important codes.
2). ANCEL AD310 Enhanced Universal OBD2 Scanner – Second Best Scanner
The ANCEL AD310 Universal OBD2 Scanner takes the second spot on this list. This scanner fully supports most 1996 US-Based vehicles as well as 2000 EU-Based and Asian vehicles, and the latest iteration of vehicles which support OBD II and CAN. The ANCEL AD310 Scanner supports languages like Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Russian, German, Portuguese and Finnish.
The ANCEL AD310 which has a large LCD that measures 128 x 64 pixels correctly displays test results. This scanner doesn’t require any external source of power like charger and battery as it gets its power straight from the OBD2 Data link connector that is attached to the vehicle.
Interestingly, this universal OBD2 scanner is quite cheap, but unlike other scanners that are similarly priced, it supports all OBD2 protocols like KWP2000, J1850 VPW, ISO9141, CAN and J1850 PWM. The ANCEL AD310 enhanced scanner comes with a three-year warranty.
Benefits of the ANCEL AD310 Universal Scanner
- Has a large easy to read LCD screen (with backlight)
- Retrieves vehicle information
- Views data from freeze frame
- Access logs, reads and clear (check engine light) diagnostic trouble codes including the manufacturer specific codes and generic codes
- Very budget friendly diagnostic car scanner
- It’s quite easy to use and offers a diverse language support
- This best obd2 scanner supports all OBD II protocols
- It supports many 1996 car models, unlike several other OBD2 scanners.
- The unit is very sturdy and effectively clears codes
- For cars that it’s compatible with, setup and connection is easy
- It’s simple to use and doesn’t require a tech-savvy person to handle.
- Gives out very little information
- Doesn’t work for some car brands
3). Innova 3160g OBD2 Scan Tool – Third Best Choice :
The Innova 3160g is the third on our list and for good reasons too. It’s the most expensive scan tool on our list, but this is well deserved as it comes with free lifetime updates to ensure the scan tool has got you covered if you purchase the latest iteration of your favorite car.
The Innova 3160g is impressively easy to use and has become one of the most sought-after best obd2 scanner by do-it-yourself enthusiasts. The 3160g also has several advanced features which professional technicians find handy.
The 3160g Innova scan tool makes scanning and analyzing data (including streaming and recording live data) and easy to operate. It works effectively for diagnosing check engine, reset oil and battery maintenance lights, ABS and SRS lights and so on.
Benefits of Innova 3160g :
- Ability to read and clear check engine lights on most types of cars including domestic and foreign cars which were produced in 1996 and newer and OBD2 compatible.
- Works with both cars, hybrids, light truck and SUVs
- Ability to read and clear ABS and SRS trouble codes of most vehicles (the U.S., Asian and European made)
- Reset oil light (works with popular OBD2 vehicles)
- Streaming and live data recording to be reviewed at a later time
- Reset battery maintenance light
- It’s fast and effective and takes a couple of minutes to set up fully.
- This best obd2 scanner is easy to use and works with many different vehicle brands from ’96 to date
- It provides solid info, and the software is regularly updated to ensure it keeps working with new car brand releases.
- Doesn’t have decent instructions for all its features
- Incur additional cost to get exact repair details
- It’s pricing is above the 100 bucks mark which may not be affordable for everyone.
4). BAFX 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool – Best For Android Devices
The Bluedriver obd2 scanner (our no 1 recommendation) is a complete scanner for Android and iOs devices , but if for some reasons you want something else for your android device , BAFX 34t5 OBD2 is the best obd2 scanner to consider.
This scan tool is a compact, affordable device which works best with Android smartphones or tablets and is compatible with other operating systems like Windows OS
The BAFX 34t5 , unlike many other scan tools which boast of supporting all vehicles but don’t support CAN and J1850 protocols , is regarded as one of the most reliable OBD2 scanners as it supports all protocols. This makes it support a wide range of vehicles manufactured between 1996 and to date.
The setup of the BAFX 34t5 Bluetooth scanner is easy as it easily connects to your Android device. The BAFX 34t5 is not however compatible with Apple iOS devices.
Benefits of BAFX 34t5
- Enables users to read OBD2 and clear CEL (Check Engine Light) codes
- Allows users to pull several other sensor reading
- Works with several apps with varying pricing
- Real-time sensor information sent straight to your mobile phone
- Gets user ready for emission testing
- Comes with a two year warranty period
- Mobile friendly and compatible with Android and Windows devices
- Uses Bluetooth to pair with devices
- Super easy setup and works with almost all Android enabled phones (with Bluetooth).
- Very budget friendly and affordable
- Offers real-time insight which is great for a cheap device
- This best obd2 scanner is compatible with several apps to make it easier for you to diagnose your car’s problems
- It’s compact, lightweight and efficiently reads and clears error codes
- Works with most modern cars manufactured from 1996 to date
- Not compatible with Apple iOS devices
- Doesn’t work in all countries, so you need to contact support to confirm it would work in your country if you are buying outside the U.S.
5). ScanTool 427201 Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner – Best for Windows Phone
The ScanTool 427201 Bluetooth OBD2 scanner is a pricier mobile car scanner when compared to the BAFX 34t5 scanner. This scanner just like the previous OBD2 scanner is not compatible with devices running IOS operating systems (Apple devices) but would work seamlessly with your Android or Windows phone, tablet or PC.
This scanner is quite easy to operate with installation taking a few seconds to get done. It can also be left plugged into your car as it doesn’t drain the car battery. The scanner comes with free software for Windows and app for Android but is also compatible with other 3rd party apps like Dashcommand and the very popular Torque.
It works great with all cars manufactured from 1996 to date as well as light trucks which are sold in the U.S. (doesn’t support electric or hybrid vehicles yet).
The adapter is very compact and would not inconvenience the driver as it’s not obstructing the legroom in the car.
Benefits of the ScanTool 427201
- Offers faster response time
- Battery saver technology with sleep function
- Hacker-proof with its multilayered link security system
- Allows users to read and clear check engine light
- Compatible with Android and Windows smartphones, tablets and PCs
- Supports a vast number of cars with its support of different variants of OBD2 including JOBD, EOBD, as well as other international variants
- Comes with its free app and software but still compatible with different 3rd party apps
- Easy to connect and works with most car brands
- Fast processing and instantly updates on error codes, keep track of mileage
- Comes with its free app and works with lots of 3rd party apps
- Expensive software updates are required for more functionality
Buyer’s Guide – Questions You Should Ask Yourself
Before committing to purchase the best OBDII scanner, you should already bear in mind that cars which were produced before the year 1996 are not going to be compatible with any available scanner you might like since they do not have OBD2 port.
Will an OBD2 scanner work on my vehicle?
As long as your vehicle is not later than 1996, it should be fine. But you should also confirm the compatibility of the scanner and vehicle before purchase. That means you must confirm that the OBD2 scanner you plan to buy supports your vehicle.
This is because while OBD2 is the standard, OBD2 vehicles make use of five (5) different types of hardware communications. Some of the OBD2 tools utilize the all five whereas some work with a specific manufacturer(s).
Are OBDII scanners upgradeable?
Sure. There are upgradable OBD2 scanners. But this depends on the type of scan tools. Professional and high-quality scanners are updateable whereas most handheld and low-end scanners cannot be upgraded.
Scanners which can be updated do have a price tag for each update and could cost as much as $500 or more. These updates come in handy to accommodate automobile manufacturer’s revision of existing models and new releases.
What kind of built-in help does it offer?
Many OBD2 scanners compliment the Factory Service Manual, but some do better than others by providing even more detailed information to save you time, money and your sanity. You can either decide to go for a tool that displays the diagnosis trouble code (DTC) number or one that defines the trouble codes to explain what kind of problem you are experiencing.
Does the tool offer data logging?
You don’t want to purchase a diagnosis tool without this capability. A diagnostic tool which stores data while driving for safe viewing is recommended.
Types of OBDII Scanners
There are two types of OBDII scanners the code readers and the scan tools. The code readers are the cheaper and simpler devices which are usually plugged into the vehicle for the sole purpose of reading and clearing all the error codes shown.
You won’t be able to extract any more information from these devices. The scan tools, on the other hand, are sophisticated tools which come in various complexity levels from the small versions for individual car users to larger and more powerful diagnostic systems which are used in large auto shops.
An OBD2 scanner is a must have for car owners in this day and age. You don’t need to have your sent over to an auto mechanic every single time. By purchasing a high quality OBD2 scanner (our list of the best obd2 scanner is a pointer for some of the best OBDII scanners on the market) you can easily read and clear error codes, diagnose problems with your car and fix the less technical problems yourself.
It’s important that if you own a vehicle, you should get the best obd2 scanner which would work with your car (as long as it has an OBD2 port, you’d find several OBD2 scanners which are compatible). Happy scanning!