by Joshua Thomas
If you want to know there are any problems with your vehicle, then the OBD2 scanner is the tool to use. It will give you a complete diagnostic of your vehicle, including detailed reports about your motor engine, brake system, temperature sensors, etc.
In addition, the OBD2 scanner is able to not only diagnose problems but most models these days can also correct errors.
Now, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars at a garage shop to diagnose and correct errors in your vehicle. You can use the OBD2 scanner and do it for free.
If you are fresh on the market for the best OBD2 scanner, our review below has you covered. We have hand-picked a few quality OBD2 scanners and give you our impressions. Let's see which model you need to buy for your vehicle.
1. BAFX Products BAFX3127 (Best Overall)
2. Ancel AD310
3. BlueDriver LSB2
4. Fixd Professional OBD2 Scanner
5. Foxwell NT301
6. Autel Maxicom MK88
7. OBDLink MX 426101
If there is one department where the BAFX is unbeatable, then it is definitely the price department. Indeed, when it comes to price, this model is by far one of the best OBD2 Bluetooth scanners that you can buy in this review.
Since this model is Bluetooth, you will have no problem connecting it to an Android smartphone or to a Windows laptop.
From there, you can generate diagnostics about your vehicle and even correct problems like an engine oil light that is not switching off.
Moreover, this model is quite slim and compact, so you will have no difficulty installing it in tight spaces.
You also enjoy a 2-year manufacturer warranty with this purchase, so you have very little to lose.
Best of all, this OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner guarantees to be compatible with almost all vehicles on the market that has a 16 pin OBD port.
If you are on a tight budget and require a decent OBD2 scanner, then we seriously recommend the BAFX because it is really worth it.
This Bluetooth OBD2 scanner will not work on iOS devices like iPhones.
Also, keep in mind that the few users have mentioned that leaving this scanner in your OBD2 port may cause battery drainage over time.
The Ancel AD310 is a very popular handheld OBD2 scanner. It is extremely convenient, but above all easy to use as well by anyone.
With this scanner, you can simply connect it to your OBD port on your vehicle, and it will start displaying diagnostic information right away.
It already contains a large LCD display, so you do not have to use a smartphone or a laptop to view the information. Of course, the LCD display is colored for your convenience.
Moreover, due to the excellent brightness of this OBD2 scanner, you will be able to see the screen quite clearly even in lowlight conditions.
But what we really like about this OBD2 scanner is that there is no battery in it. Indeed, it draws power directly from the OBD port of your vehicle which is highly practical.
Navigating through the various settings of this scanner is very easy and straightforward. You will quickly become a pro with it in a matter of minutes because it is very straightforward to use.
The cable is also quite long so you can easily maneuver this scanner, which will prove to be helpful especially in tight environments.
If you're looking for convenience and ease of use, then the Ancel AD310 is definitely one of the best OBD2 scanners for the money.
Just be aware that this model has a screen that is a little bit smaller than the rest of the competition. However, it is still big enough to display data that can be easily viewed.
Notes: Since this OBD2 scanner uses power directly from the 16 pin OBD port, you need to ensure that you have sufficient charge on your battery for it to work.
Most Bluetooth OBD2 scanners work with either Android or iOS. This is not a problem with the BlueDriver Pro because it contains app for both Android and iOS. It is quite versatile.
One of the best things about this scanner is that it will not only provide you with a diagnostic of your vehicle, but you can also use it to clear errors.
You will have no problem clearing common errors like engine oil light with this device.
Furthermore, its slim and compact form factor means that it will install in tight spaces very easily.
You simply have to connect it to your OBD port and forget it because all operations are then done on your smartphone.
Best, it contains a blue LED light that will show you when the scanner has paired with your smartphone and is working.
The only caveat we note with this device is its price, as it is a little bit steep when compared to others.
One of the best things about the Fixd Professional is the presentation of its Android and iOS application. Indeed, when compared to others it is the most aesthetically pleasing.
If you value aesthetics and a well-built app that is easy to read diagnostic and clear errors from, then this is an excellent OBD2 scanner for you.
In addition, its slim and compact form factor means that you can carry it anywhere very easily and also install it in a small vehicle that does not have a lot of space.
Of course, it is universally compatible with any vehicle made after 1996.
Another good thing about this top-rated OBD2 scanner is that it can provide you with professional suggestions on how to fix any errors that it finds in its diagnostic report.
The terms that this OBD2 scanner uses a very simple to beginners and you can even use it to set maintenance reminders if you want. It is quite versatile.
However, keep in mind that for security reasons you should never have this OBD2 scanner attached to your OBD2 port while driving. Indeed, a few of its users have complained that it can affect your vehicle while driving.
Choosing and OBD2 scanner that does not connect to your smartphone by Bluetooth or to your Windows laptop usually means that you are sacrificing functionality.
This will not an issue with the Foxwell NT301 because despite being a handheld OBD2 scanner, it sports significantly more features than the rest of the competition. In fact, this is a professional grade scanner with a vibrant TFT screen and displays a lot of informative data about your vehicle.
For one, the TFT screen is large at 2.8 inches, very easy to read in lowlight conditions, and fully colored.
Furthermore, you can interact with this handheld scanner by using the arrows and keys. It is quite straightforward and very easy to use, even if you have no experience operating a handheld scanner before.
The OBD cord is quite long so all you have to do is connect it to the OBD port of your vehicle and you can easily maneuver the scanner anyway you want.
If functionality has prevented you from choosing a handheld OBD2 scanner over a Bluetooth or PC-based scanner for professional work, then don't worry.
The Foxwell NT301 is one of the best OBD2 scanners on the market, and it has features for both amateur and professional vehicle diagnostic work.
On the downside, the only caveat we note is that the instructions manual could have been more details and more beginner-friendly. Other than this, this OBD2 scanner is perfect.
If you're looking for an easy to use and user-friendly OBD2 scanner for professional work, then you may consider the Autel Maxicom.
However, it has a rugged build construction as well as functions that you will not find in cheaper OBD2 scanners.
For one, you do not need a smartphone or Windows laptop to operate this OBD2 scanner.
This is essentially a small computer that has a 7 inches touchscreen as well as a quad-core processor for good response times.
In fact, this OBD2 scanner is able to display live data on its colorful screen. It will scan, diagnose, as well as clear any error codes it finds in your vehicle.
You can even use this OBD2 scanner to generate professional and aesthetically pleasing reports for your clients.
However, keep in mind that this scanner is significantly more expensive when compared to the rest of the competition. The quality of the reports could also have been better considering its price.
Notes: Even if the manufacturer advertises this OBD scanner as having full immobilizer functionality (IMMO), it does not have universal compatibility. It cannot be used to program keys on every vehicle model.
The OBDLink is a small and compact Bluetooth OBD2 scanner that is incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is connect it to the OBD port of your vehicle, and it will start working right away. In fact, you will notice that this scanner is able to display data very fast as there is no lag or waiting time with it.
It draws power directly from the OBD port and uses a Windows laptop or an Android smartphone to display its diagnostic reports. This tool guarantees maximum compatibility with most vehicles made after 1996.
In addition, it contains 4 display lights right at the front that will show you exactly what it is doing.
As previously mentioned, one of the best things that we like about this scanner is that it displays live data. You can also use this scanner to clear any errors like engine light.
Based on its small form factor, and ease-of-use with any Android smartphone or Windows laptop, the OBDLink MX is definitely one of the best Bluetooth OBD2 scanners on the market.
However, this is not a perfect scanner. It does have a few disadvantages like not being as durable when compared to the competition. Therefore, this model is not for heavy-duty use.
Also, keep in mind that it may be difficult to update the firmware if you have no prior experience doing so. Especially if you're not very good with computers.
Even if most OBD2 scanners are usually compatible with most vehicles, especially those made after 1996, you must still ensure that your particular model is compatible with your vehicle.
Check out any mention made by the manufacturer about compatibility or look for keywords like "universal" so as to guarantee compatibility.
In addition, just to make extra sure that you will have no problem installing the OBD2 scanner, just check your vehicle for the OBD port.
It is usually located under the dashboard of the passenger side. If you can find it, then your vehicle is most likely compatible with an OBD2 scanner.
Now that you know that the OBD2 scanner is compatible with your vehicle check on what device the OBD2 software works.
Most OBD software works either on your smartphone or a regular Windows laptop. Note that you may need an additional purchase in case you need 1/3 party software will you OBD2 scanner.
When looking for an OBD2 scanner online, you have probably noticed that there are several types. Here are a few of the most common ones you will encounter:
Bluetooth Scanner : As its name suggests, you connect your OBD2 Bluetooth scanner via Bluetooth to either an Android or iOS smartphone.
The main advantage of the Bluetooth scanner is that you can quickly and easily get all the diagnostic you need about your vehicle on your smartphone.
This is very convenient especially considering that most people have a smartphone these days.
In addition, the Bluetooth scanner manufacturer will also most likely provide you with a free app to diagnose your vehicle.
Therefore, you will not have to make an additional investment when it comes to the software.
PC Based Scanner: By means of a cable, you connect your OBD2 scanner to your Windows-based laptop.
Most PC-based software is usually more complex and advanced than a smartphone app. It is also more powerful so you can do more with this type of scanner.
Therefore, if you need a detailed diagnostic of your vehicle, then the PC-based scanner is probably the best choice for you.
Handheld Scanner : The handheld scanner is the original and oldest type of OBD2 scanner there is.
It basically comes with a screen that provides you with all the data and information you need about the various parts of your vehicle.
The only caveat with the handheld scanner is that since it contains a dedicated screen, it is usually more expensive than both of the Bluetooth and the PC-based scanner.
However, it is by far the most convenient type of OBD2 scanner on the market because of its small portable form factor and ease-of-use.
All you need to do is simply connect it to your vehicle's 16 pins OBD port, and you can start scanning right away.
When purchasing the OBD2 scanner online, prices can quickly get out of hand. After all, there are many top-rated OBD2 scanners that can cost several hundred dollars.
You can expect to get a high-quality OBD2 scanner for less than $100. If you are on a very strict budget, then you can still find a good model for less than $40.
Since the OBD2 scanner uses software to work, it will also need regular software updates. You need to ensure that you always have the latest software version installed.
This way, you are guaranteed to get the most accurate diagnostic result from your OBD2 scanner.
Even if the OBD2 scanner looks intimidating, it is actually quite easy to use and very beginner-friendly.
All you have to do to operate this device is connected to your vehicle's 16 pin port, and you are good to go.
If you have never used an OBD2 scanner before, then don't worry. With this device, you will quickly become an expert at diagnosing your vehicle in a matter of minutes.
The OBD2 scanner is a great way of getting a full diagnostic from your vehicle.
You will be able to tell if there are any problems, as well as quickly and easily correct them by using either your smartphone or computer.
One of the best things about the OBD2 scanner is that they are universally compatible and very easy to install. All you have to do is connect it to the 16 pin OBD port on your vehicle, and you are good to go.
Finally, our OBD2 scanner review above contains some high-quality OBD2 scanners for the money.
About Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.
He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.
His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.
Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.