Top Ten Best OBD2 Car Diagnostic Scanners – 2017

With this post we aim to provide you with the most upto date reviews on what we think are the best OBD2 (On-Board Diagnostic Level Two) car diagnostic scanners on the market. The choice available to you is vast, that’s why a really informative OBD2 buying guide like this will help you decide exactly what car diagnostic scanner is right for your needs.

Below, we have reviewed the top ten rated car diagnostics tools that you can get your hands on today, along with detailed breakdowns of all the features and unique selling points of each OBD2 scan tools.

I hope you find this guide useful and if you want to share any of your thoughts on these types of products, then please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

 

TopTenSelect Top Ten OBD2 Car Diagnostic Scanning Tools – Summary

BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool
BAFX Products 34t5 OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner
Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan Tool
Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner
ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth
Memo U581 Scanner Live Data OBD2 Code Reader
MAOZUA VS600 Vgate Scan Tool Advanced OBDII
Autel Md802 4 System Obd2 Diagnostic Tool Scanner
INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles
Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6

 

Car Diagnostic Scanners – Comparison Table

ProductImageFeaturesPrice 
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan ToolTrusted by mechanics and developed by Professional Engineers

The BlueDriver App and BlueDriver Sensor work exclusively with each other
$$
BAFX Products 34t5 OBD2 Bluetooth ScannerWhen used with proper software, you can:
•Read OBDII Check Engine Light Codes
•Reset the CEL
•Pull MANY other sensor readings
•Graph sensor readings
•PREPARE FOR EMISSIONS TESTING
$
Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan ToolRead and Erase "Check Engine" light warnings on any foreign or domestic 1996 and newer car, light truck, SUV, and even Hybrids

Patented all-in-one screen displays 25 vital pieces of information
$$
Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic ScannerHigh resolution, high hardware configuration

Extensive vehicle coverage for more than 40 US domestic, Asian and European vehicles makes
$$$$$
ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX BluetoothTransform your phone, tablet, or PC into a professional-grade automotive scan tool (not compatible with Apple iOS devices)

Works on all 1996+ cars and light trucks sold in the USA (except hybrid or electric vehicles)
$$
Memo U581 Scanner Live Data OBD2 Code ReaderWorks on all 1996 and newer cars & light trucks that are OBD II compliant

Reads and clears generic and manufacturer specific Diagnostic Trouble Codes
$
MAOZUA VS600 Vgate Scan Tool Advanced OBDIIDiesel engines are not supported

Clears codes & resets monitors
$
Autel Md802 4 System Obd2 Diagnostic Tool ScannerQuick Erase feature allows all codes to be cleared with the push of a button

Live data graphing for the ECU
$$$
INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 VehiclesProvides SAE enhanced Live Data - views, graphs, records, and plays back live PCM data

Displays OBD2 Freeze Frame Data & turns off check engine, ABS and SRS lights
$$
Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6Patented one-click I/M readiness key provides quick state emissions readiness checks and drive cycle verification

Includes Carry case, USB Cable, OBDII Cable, User's Manual, CD
$$

 

BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool

The BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool is a scan tool designed to integrate with both Android and Apple mobile devices. Officially licensed and certified for use with both Apple and Android devices, the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool app has a database of more than 4.3 million fixes for every make and model of modern vehicle. Made by Lemur Vehicle Monitors, one of the industry leaders in OBDII scanner, the BlueDriver contains both the scanner as well as the app.

Author Review

A super handy tool that takes advantage of your mobile phone or tablet to interpret the data coming from the scanner. The app is completely free and it’s great that you can save all your data from previous scans. Works great at explaining common issues like the “check engine light” and the app provides a ton of data.

Things We Liked

  • Certified and officially licensed to work with both Android and Apple
  • Bluetooth connection means no messing around with wires
  • The app is free and saves all your vehicle data

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Recommended fixes sometimes require in-depth mechanical expertise to resolve

Conclusion

A truly top notch scanner and mobile app tool from one of the industry leaders in OBDII scan tools. Has a lot of in-depth information and the app can recommend running dozens of different diagnostic tools to get to the heart of any modern vehicle problem.

 

BAFX Products 34t5 OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner

If you’re looking for a very basic but reliable scanner, the BAFX Products 34t5 OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner is designed to quickly and efficiently interpret diagnostic codes and deliver the information to a third-party mobile app via a Bluetooth connection or via cable to a computer running Microsoft Windows.

Author Review

For car owners wanting to ensure that their modern vehicle can get reliably scanned and diagnosed, the BAFX Products 34t5 OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner certainly fits the bill. Once you’ve downloaded a third-party Android app or connected the scanner to your Windows PC, it’s simple and easy to get comprehensive information about your vehicle’s performance as well as any ongoing issues.

Things We Liked

  • Provides real-time information about temperature, RPM, speed, O2 readings and much more
  • Has a ton of diagnostic tests
  • Comes with a one-year warranty

Things We Didn’t Like

  • There is no way to use the scanner with an Apple mobile device

Conclusion

For vehicle owners wanting an affordable scan tool, the BAFX Products 34t5 OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner may be exactly what you’re looking for. Simple and easy to use both when the car is moving and stationary, all diagnostic and testing information is wirelessly sent to a paired Android device for real-time information about what’s going on with your vehicle. The unit can also be disconnected and hooked up to an ordinary Windows PC for better storage and portability of your data.

 

Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan Tool

For vehicle owners wanting the simplicity of an all-in-one device, the Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan Tool is designed to display real-time information on every make and model of modern vehicle with the touch of a button. A complete handheld unit, the Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan Tool can reset most problem lights like “check engine” while recording and graphing all incoming data on the fly.

Author Review

With all the power of a professional mechanic’s scan tool yet far more affordable, the Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan Tool quickly connects to any modern vehicle to instantly display and diagnose real-time information. Once you’ve keyed in the vehicle’s make and model, the Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan Tool can quickly show you what’s going on and allow you to clear most problem lights. Using the free compatible software, the Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan Tool can connect to a Windows PC for long-term storage of data and further information about what’s going on with your vehicle.

Things We Liked

  • No need to pair it with a mobile device
  • Has a “freeze frame” mode to show engine conditions at the time a problem light was turned on
  • Can record and graph information right on the unit

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Can’t transmit information when the vehicle is in motion

Conclusion

Not bad for a hand-held unit. The Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan Tool feels comfortable in the hand and the screen can live graph real-time information as well as giving you vital data about what the vehicle’s engine conditions were when the problem first appeared. With the free software on the manufacturer’s website, the Innova 3040c Diagnostic Scan Tool can connect to any Windows PC for the latest information about fixes and issues with any make and model of modern vehicle.

 

Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner

The Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner is a stand-alone device somewhat resembling a small tablet with a large 8-inch touch screen. Simply connect it to the scanner and it will instantly read and interpret all diagnostic codes as well as identifying any potential problems.

Author Review

Weighing in at a hefty 19 pounds, the Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner is a very powerful hand-held scanner device. Able to be updated wirelessly with the latest repairs and model information, the Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner conveniently recharges when in use, meaning you’ll never have to worry about a low battery.

Things We Liked

  • Self-contained tool comes with touch screen
  • Large 8-inch screen
  • Battery charges directly from OBDII connector

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Software updates are only free for one year

Conclusion

For anyone who wants a large touch screen self-contained device without needing a late-model mobile phone or tablet, the Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner delivers. Able to wirelessly transmit information from the OBDII unit to the scanner as well as receive updates and information about new models, the Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner makes diagnosing and assessing the performance of your vehicle as simple as touching the screen.

 

ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth

The ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth uses wireless technology to transmit information in realtime from the scanner unit to an Android mobile device using the company’s free app or popular third-party apps like DashCommand and Torque. The free software/app allow vehicle owners to easily view, graph and save data as well as upload it and share it via DropBox.

Author Review

Designed to stay permanently plugged into your vehicle’s OBDII scaner, the ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth is a great way to constantly monitor and store information about your vehicle’s performance. Engineered to be hack-proof, the software, firmware and Android app is truly and genuinely free and also includes free updates.

Things We Liked

  • Works with all 5 OBDII protocols plus GM and Ford’s proprietary protocols
  • Comes with a free Android app and downloadable Windows software
  • Can be left permanently plugged in

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Not compatible with Apple mobile devices or Windows 8 phones

Conclusion

Designed for modern sensibilities, the ScanTool 426101 OBDLink MX Bluetooth does not use a simplistic PIN and comes with 128-bit encryption to make sure that your vehicle’s information remains private. The scanner is small enough not to obstruct leg room automatically shuts off when your car’s engine is shut off. The free mobile app allows you to always keep an eye on your car’s performance with an Android mobile device. Can handle all makes and models of modern vehicles, including cars manufactured abroad.

 

Memo U581 Scanner Live Data OBD2 Code Reader

The Memo U581 Scanner Live Data OBD2 Code Reader is a stand-alone scanner that provides full text information about all error and diagnostic codes. Using a high-speed serial connection, the unit can display real-time information from the ignition timing advance sensor, mass airflow sensor and other items with no lagging or dropping data. Designed for stand-alone use without a mobile device, the Memo U581 Scanner Live Data OBD2 Code Reader can be paired with a computer for more in-depth information.

Author Review

Small enough to be kept in the glove box, the Memo U581 Scanner Live Data OBD2 Code Reader is great for anyone who wants a stand-alone device to provide full text information about warning lights and error codes. Powerful enough to display real-time information using the included high-speed serial cable, the Memo U581 Scanner Live Data OBD2 Code Reader can also be updated when paired with a Windows XP computer.

Things We Liked

  • Can pull up VIN numbers on 2002 and newer vehicles
  • Reads sensors like O2, fuel adaptation and others in real-time
  • High speed serial connection means no lagging

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Software only works with Windows XP computers

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a simple-to-use OBDII scanner, the Memo U581 Scanner Live Data OBD2 Code Reader is probably right up your alley. Simply turn it on and connect it to the OBDII port and live data will start streaming to the unit. Once you’ve downloaded the English-language version of the Windows XP software, the unit can be updated with new fixes and vehicle diagnostic information.

 

MAOZUA VS600 Vgate Scan Tool Advanced OBDII

The MAOZUA VS600 Vgate Scan Tool Advanced OBDII is a lightweight handheld device that quickly displays all diagnostic and trouble codes for modern vehicles manufactured in the North America or Europe. The unit comes with a convenient carrying case and quickly downloads diagnostic information. For offline use, the unit connects to computers via the included USB cable.

Author Review

While the unit works great for quickly diagnosing and clearing error codes, you’ll need to buy a 9-volt battery to connect it to your computer for further investigation and updates. Designed for ergonomic one-hand use, the MAOZUA VS600 Vgate Scan Tool Advanced OBDII comes with a travel case, making it easy to keep it in your vehicle for quickly clearing a warning light or finding out what’s wrong.

Things We Liked

  • Easily clears codes and resets warning lights
  • Quickly diagnoses both generic and manufacturer-specific codes
  • Easy to use handheld device

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Incompatible with both trucks and diesel-powered cars

Conclusion

Easy to operate with a simple interface, the MAOZUA VS600 Vgate Scan Tool Advanced OBDII is a great stand-alone device for understanding and clearing most basic problems. The included printed instruction manual makes it easy to start using the device right away and the LiveData and Freeze Frame features make it simple to get an in-depth look at what’s going on with your vehicle.

 

Autel Md802 4 System Obd2 Diagnostic Tool Scanner

The Autel Md802 4 System Obd2 Diagnostic Tool Scanner is a handheld scanner that quickly diagnosis and displays information about all modern vehicles made worldwide. Designed to clear air bag lights and read non-OBDII codes, the Autel Md802 4 System Obd2 Diagnostic Tool Scanner is extremely useful for identifying and clearing a multitude of issues.

Author Review

While it takes a bit of effort to set up the unit, the Autel Md802 4 System Obd2 Diagnostic Tool Scanner does a fabulous job of reading both OBDII and other codes like the air bag information. With a very powerful onboard program, the Autel Md802 4 System Obd2 Diagnostic Tool Scanner is essentially a professional mechanic’s device for far less money.

Things We Liked

  • Can read OBDII codes for vehicles manufactured in North America, Europe and Asia
  • Quick Erase button allows all warning codes to be cleared with a single button
  • Displays live graphs of engine status and performance

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Rather complicated to synch it with a computer and does not work with Apple products

Conclusion

A truly great stand-alone device, the Autel Md802 4 System Obd2 Diagnostic Tool Scanner can display live data, read all global OBDII codes and clear warning lights for the air bag, oil service and more. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to setting up and using the unit but once it’s working, you’ll have all the information that you could ever want about your vehicle’s performance and problems.

 

INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles

From one of the leading manufacturers of scanning devices, the INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles provides advanced full-text information on a handheld device for most OBDI and OBDII vehicles. The trilingual screen options and free firmware updates make this scanner a versatile device easily able to read and clear most problems with modern vehicles.

Author Review

Once it’s been paired with a Windows computer and updated, the INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles reads a variety of OBDII codes as well as advanced DTC functionality from Chrysler, Jeep, Ford, Mazda, GM, Isuzu, Honda, Acura, Toyota and Lexus vehicles. ABS information is available for all domestic modern vehicles.

Things We Liked

  • Comes with a cool blue LED display with full text on error codes
  • Handheld unit can be updated when connnected to a Windows PC
  • Works with both OBDI and OBDII vehicles

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Must be connected to a computer with a serial port to get full functionality out of the device

Conclusion

A very versatile handheld device with a lot of advanced diagnostic functionality for domestic vehicles. The backlit LED screen makes getting full-text information simple and the unit can capture live data on the fly. For older vehicles with OBDI ports, the INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles comes in extremely handy and the unit can also display and clear ABS brake information.

 

Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6

A standalone handheld scanner, the Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6 comes with a handy one-touch button to verify the drive cycle and display the vehicle’s emissions readiness. Able to free frame data and store information on the handheld unit, the Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool has both a built-in speaker as well as intuitive display to make diagnosing and analyzing vehicular issues fast and easy.

Author Review

Easy to connect and rapidly get diagnostic codes, the Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6 must be connected to a Windows PC to get more information about the codes as well as recommended fixes. Able to handle all 10 categories of OBDII codes as well as manufacturer-specific codes, the Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6 can do everything from clear a check engine light to retrieve the vehicle’s VIN. Probably the best feature is an information button which explains the various symbols in plain language.

Things We Liked

  • One-touch functionality shows vehicle’s emissions readiness
  • Can handle all 10 forms of OBDII codes
  • Provides VIN numbers and reads manufacturer-specific codes

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Requires a Windows PC to get full functionality from the device

Conclusion

A very comprehensive handheld scanner once you’ve connected it to a Windows computer with latest version of the manufacturer’s free software. Packed with features and the ability to graph issues, the Autel AL519 AutoLink Enhanced OBD ll Scan Tool with Mode 6 is a powerful diagnostic tool for vehicle owners.

 

Considerations When Buying an On-Board Diagnostic Level Two (OBDII) Scanner

Just about every vehicle, foreign or domestic, made after 1996 has an OBD generation 2 connector for mechanics and automotive service personnel to quickly diagnose problems as well as monitor real-time information about the performance of a vehicle. Buying your own OBDII scanner means that any vehicle owner no longer has to go to a repair shop or garage in order to learn more about their car’s status as well as clear and repair problems indicated by warning lights.

When buying an OBDII scanner, the first choice you’ll have to make is between a stand-alone handheld unit or one that synchs up with a PC and/or mobile device in order to download and save information. Some units rely on cable connections to a PC while others use either WiFi or Bluetooth to wirelessly transmit information to either only Android or both Android and Apple mobile devices. Another consideration is whether you the software and/or app that interprets the scanner’s information is free or not, with some manufacturers offering software/apps/updates that only remain free for a limited amount of time.

Be aware that some scanners offer an incredibly amount of diagnostic information which may be more than some vehicle owners need or can profitably use. Some scanners graph and save information for offline use while others use onboard databases to more quickly arrive at fixes for thousands of problems. Most scanner tools allow vehicle owners to clear problem lights like “check engine” but if the problem is not addressed, the warning light will illuminate once again.

With such a wide range of options and styles to choose from, there is an OBDII scanner tool for every budget and vehicle diagnosis/repair need.