The Top 10 OBD2 Scanners
The best OBD2 scanners are higher end models as they perform the most functions with less chance of incompatibility. Basic code readers however are more convenient, easier to use, and cost much less. We have made a list of the top ten that are great for the mechanic and the average consumer.
Overall Rank: 6
Fastest Functioning Wireless OBD2 Scanner
Overall Rank: 7
Leading Multi-Platform WifI OBD2 Scanner
Overall Rank: 10
Best OBD2 Scanner For The DIY Mechanic
Up first on our list of the 10 best OBD2 scanners is one of the most basic units on the list. For the casual DIY-type of mechanic the U480 scanner by LeadYourLife is all you’ll need for the everyday-type issues most cars face. This plug-in unit has a basic LCD display that will give you bare bones info about your car’s onboard diagnostics. It will also let you turn off that annoying Check Engine light once you have addressed the issue, and really that’s all you ever wanted anyway, right★ So why spend a fortune when the U480 will do just fine★
The ERSUN Bluetooth Mini Diagnostic Scanner is both the smallest and least expensive onboard diagnostic scanner on our countdown, but don’t think that means it’s not one serious scanner, it its own way. This scanner puts most of the heavy lifting work on the shoulders of your Android-platform smartphone or tablet, serving as a wireless connection between your vehicle’s computer and your device. It’s via your phone or tablet that you’ll suss out what’s causing that check engine light: the ERSUN Mini is just there to make introductions.
We move from the least expensive scanner on the list to the most expensive. This scanner is a clear cut above the rest when it comes to the level of information processed and ease-of-use. Innova’s 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data is more scanner than most any nonprofessional mechanic would need. Its bright, colorful display lays out onboard issues in extreme detail, all-but ensuring you will quickly and accurately identify any issues a vehicle is experiencing. The 3160 stores data and is fully updatable via USB connection.
The iSaddle WiFi OBD Scanner offers the same basic features as the ERSUN Bluetooth Mini Diagnostic Scanner, being a plug-in onboard diagnostic scanner that hooks up wirelessly with your smartphone, tablet, or computer. So why is this device better ranked on our list, especially when it’s more expensive than other comparable tools★ Because unlike so many wireless OBD2 scanners, the iSaddle works with Android, Windows, and Apple iOS platforms!
If time is money, then you might want to consider spending a little chunk of money on the OBDLink MX Bluetooth Scanner by ScanTool, because it’s one of the fastest OBD2 scanners around. This wireless plug-in scanner uses a proprietary app built for Android and Windows platforms to rapidly identify vehicular issues in great detail. And not only is the OBDLink MX fast, it is also energy-efficient, so don’t worry about leaving it plugged in all the time: your battery won’t die on you and you’ll always know just what’s up with your car.
Mechanics everywhere have been using the OBDLink SX USB for years now. This simple but reliable diagnostic tool from ScanTool directly connects your car’s onboard computer with a PC, laptop, or tablet via a USB cable. The OBDLink will work to diagnose issues in most any vehicle manufactured after 1996. Once you have found and fixed the problem, you can use the OBDLink to shut off the check engine light and get on with your day.
Innova’s 3040 Diagnostic Scan Tool is number 4 on our list because it’s a decent price, it’s easy to use, and because its diagnostic capabilities are indeed impressive. The 3040 automatically refreshes itself every 30 seconds, letting you know just when a vehicular problem has been solved and also helping prevent false positives when they haven’t been. Its large LCD display is easy to read, and that’s true whether you prefer to read in English, Spanish, or French. This unit can be updated via USB input to remain relevant for years to come.
At number 3 on our countdown of the top 10 OBD2 scanners is the 3030 Diagnostic Scan Tool from Innova. This is far from the most complex OBD2 scanner on our list, and that’s just the point: this is the scanner for the person who’s ready to learn a bit more about vehicle care and maintenance, but isn’t quite ready to rebuild a transmission from scrap. The unit’s large, simple screen displays 25 points of relevant information at all times, and more often than not, the issue causing that Check Engine light will be readily spotted among those data.
At number 2 on our list is another unit from one of the most trusted names in auto care, the 3100 Diagnostic Scan Tool from Innova. This is a more advanced, more expensive OBD2 scanner than many of the company’s more basic offerings, but it is still easy to use thanks to the clarity of its display, not to mention the Quick Reference Guide and the comprehensive support available online. Unlike many scanners out there, the 3100 has backup battery power, so you can review and analyze data even when it’s not hooked up to your vehicle.
The number 1 OBD2 scanner on our list is also one of the most affordable we’ve reviewed. Autel’s MaxiScan MS300 is a simple, rugged, and reliable scanner that is consistently reviewed as a superlative tool by both mechanics and casual vehicle owners alike. The MaxiScan can retrieve thousands of DTCs (or Diagnostic Trouble Codes) from multiple carmakers and display them on its LCD screen, so as long as you have a reference guide handy, this cheap and simple OBD2 scanner is all you’ll need to diagnose and deal with your vehicular vexation.
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