Best OBD Scanner Reviews (2020)
Introduction To The Top 5 Best OBD II Scanner Tools
In this day and age, cars, trucks and SUV’s, have computers that dictate what goes on. These computers are in charge of determining what function does what, what each component is doing, and just as importantly when a component has malfunctioned.
Especially with foreign vehicles such as from Germany, one could almost say that there are sensors for sensors. When these things go bad, vehicle functionality is misbalanced, causing problems that can at times turn fatal for the vehicle.
Not too long ago, OBD2 scanners were tools that were mostly accessible to shops due to their high cost. But today (in 2020), OBD II scanners are cheaper than ever, can properly communicate with your vehicle, and tell you each function LIVE.
Some of today’s best obd 2 scanners are NOT thousand dollar products, not in the least. You can have a properly working scanner tool which will enable you to dig DEEP into your vehicles brain. You can dig into the computer to see if there’s misfiring due to worn spark plugs, bad sensors, and MUCH more. (there’s also a bluetooth obd2 module, see guide here).
In order to help you figure out which car scanner to get, we’ve put together a chart of 5 best-rated tools.
5 Best OBD II Scanner Tools To Buy and Use For 2020
- Compatible with OBD-II and CAN vehicles 1996 and newer, Custom data list, Advance features
- Professional grade scan tool features, Live engine data, Easy to read backlit display
- Support for USB 2.0 upgrade, Read&clear trouble codes, Reliable warranty,
- Easy to use, 2 button design, Retrieves generic and manufacturer specific Diagnostic Trouble Codes
- Quickly reveals the cause of "Check Engine" light warnings, All-in-one screen and LED display, Battery backup memory
NOTE: The year On Board Diagnostics 2 (OBD 2) took effect started in 1996, any vehicles prior will not be compatible with any OBD 2 scanners.
MAIN CONSIDERATIONS FOR OUR TOP RATED OBD 2 SCANNER TOOLS
There’s OBD 2 scanning tools that cost about as much, as a brand new Apple Computer. Those are what BIG shops use for a large variety of functions that in almost all cases, you’d never need to utilize. We’ve picked the best obd II scanners that don’t break the bank.
Some are great for general purpose scanning, while a few are heavy duty, deep scanning (and even those, aren’t unreasonably priced).
You’ll either want a minimalistic, or a feature packed obd scanning tool. Luckily for you, we’ve covered each category. It’s one thing to dig deep into your vehicle’s computer, but what else can you do?
Looking at our top picks, you’ll see bare-bone functionality, and crazy feature packed scanners which will tell you MUCH more than you’d typically be looking for.
PowerLead is in the industry of creating consumer electronics. Thankfully, they have created an OBD2 code scanner which quite frankly, works exceptionally well for the price.
For around 83 dollars, this code reader does more than bare bones scanning. For an intermediate to advanced mechanic, this is what we would recommend.
If you’ve been at the local AutoZone or Advanced Auto Parts store, you’ve seen the Actron AutoScanner. In particular, their CP9575 model. Priced at around 108 dollars, it may look like a simple functioning scanner, but internally it’s anything but.
Read below its main features to see exactly, what’s offered.
If you want simple and basic scanning, Autel MaxiScan MS300 scan tool is for you. This scanner can be used by everyone and anyone, requiring minimal effort to get codes.
Costing about 17 dollars, it’s also the cheapest scanner we have on the list (or of any obd 2 scanners out there).
For professional use and functionality, Actron CP9580 OBD II scanner is your go to tool. Costing a premium of around 185 dollars, you’re getting a TON of functionality. While learning all the functionality may take some time, its a compact scanner which anyone can use.
Further below, we’ve got the main features that make it a worthy car scanner tool.
Innova 3100 diagnostic obd 2 scanner tool is yet another, intermediate and semi-professional grade scan tool. Costing a reasonable price of around 115 dollars, you have the full capability of scanning through both foreign, and domestic vehicles.
For its main features, be sure to read below.
PowerLeads OBD2 code reader, you’re capable of reading any vehicle made after 1996. You’ll have the capabilities of supporting various vehicle systems such as: engine, automatic transmission, ABS, SRS, body, EPS, immobilizer system, various sensors, and a few other major components.
This scanner will display, read, clear, and reset trouble codes. With the lcd screen, you’ll have the capability of displaying life vehicle data using a graph.
**PowerLeads offers a 12-month warranty and 30 days free exchange for all of their products.
Simple design doesn’t always mean minimalistic functionality. Actron CP9575 is capable of scanning all compatible OBD 2 vehicles, generating over 15,000 generic and manufacturer specific codes (also displaying on-screen definitions).
Simple and external layout means it’s quite easy to use. Use just one hand to plug it in, and one hand to start selecting your desired function.
**Updatable via USB connection and backlit display for works great at night.
About as compact as an old flip phone, all you simply need to do is locate your vehicles OBD port, connect, and let it scan. Auto MaxiScan’s layout with just two buttons makes it impossible to get confused.
A catalog of approximately 7000 trouble codes (with descriptions), can be found inside. It has the capability of retrieving generic manufacturer specific diagnostic trouble codes (DTC), including definition lookup (which is a software located on the included CD).
Whether you’ve got a European, Asian or American vehicle, the MS300 model does basic jobs well.
Right away, this obd 2 scanner is capable of displaying generic and manufacturer specific codes (definitions included w/trilingual support). Easy to connect OBD2 port, allows for seamless in-and-out jobs.
As long as the vehicle it’s being hooked up to is 1996 or newer, you can tap into 3 million verified fixes specific to any chosen vehicles make, model, year and engine.
Unlike with most cheap scanners, here you can view custom date list for live date and graph live date. Some extra advanced features include: freeze frame date, drive cycle mode, state OBD check and print data support, and even ABS code coverage.
Innovate 3100 has held the best selling OBD2 tool status a few times (selling over 900,000 units since original launch), and its for no surprise. It’s very user-friendly towards even a beginner.
Compatible with vehicles 1996 or newer, use it on cars, trucks, SUV’s, hybrids, foreign and domestic. Scan for something as simple as a check engine light, or dive deep and see what the REAL status of your vehicles computer is.
Some of the many things this scanner is capable of are: reading and erasing check engine lights, monitoring a vehicle’s health for instant vehicle emission checking, reading and erasing ABS light codes for most GM, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota’s, keep it up to date using built-in USB port, backup battery for longer access, and code definitions in multiple languages.
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK
Most likely the most attractive aspect of this scanner is the sub 100 dollar price tag, and the amount of features it gives you. It’s perfect for beginners, intermediates, and even expert mechanics.
If you want to save money getting this scanner, visit their official Amazon page.
BEST OF THE BEST
Being reasonably easy to use, it has a TON of functionality that is ideal for any vehicle make and model (1996+). For example, want to turn off a check engine light? no problem. Want to see which cylinder is misfiring? no problem, this model is capable of helping you.
At about 200 dollars, its a bit of an investment, but it’s surely to last a LONG time.
One of the most common issues that can occurs with any automotive engine is lowered performance. Usually, this occurs when carbon build-up accumulates considerably (good quality fuel injector cleaners do the trick), and of course low octane fuel can cause for knocks and ticks from the engine… often times making it feel sluggish (a potent octane booster can usually help).
We have also created a guide of the best RC cars you can buy here.