Top 10 Best OBD2 Diagnostic Scanners
The automotive industry has a huge variety of OBD2 scanners that come in a wide range of price tags starting from less than $100 and going up as high as $10,000. This glut of options is probably the reason you might be feeling slightly overwhelmed while figuring out which scanner is the best for you.
No need to worry. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best OBD2 diagnostic scanners describing their features, specifications, compatibility, and benefits. We picked scanners that are both best sellers and have high user ratings. Here are the best OBD2 diagnostic scanners we found.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: Panlong Bluetooth OBD2 Car Diagnostic Scanner
- Promoted Product: TOPDON TopScan Lite
- 2. Autel MaxiLink ML619 OBD2 Scanner
- 3. Foxwell NT301 Car OBD2 Code Scanner
- 4. Kitbest Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
- 5. ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD2 Code Reader
- 6. Seekone SK860 OBD2 Scanner
- 7. Foxwell NT510 OBD2 Code Reader
- 8. AUTOPHIX OM126 OBD2 Code Reader
- 9. Gemwon ELM3217 WiFi OBD2 Scanner
- 10. TryAce OBD2 Auto Diagnostic Code Scanner
- Everything You Need to Know About OBD2 Scanners
- What Can an OBD2 Scanner Do?
- The Different Types of OBD2 Scanners Available
- Choosing the Right OBD2 Scanner for Your Car
- How do I troubleshoot an OBD2 scanner?
- How do I know if my OBD2 scanner is working correctly?
- Our Final Verdict
1. Editor's Pick: Panlong Bluetooth OBD2 Car Diagnostic Scanner
The Panlong OBD2 Scanner comes with various features that any beginner or expert would be thrilled to have. It is compatible with Android devices so that you can conveniently connect your tablet or smartphone.
The scanner is easy to use in combination with the Torque app so you can make any alterations directly from your phone.
The scan tool is affordable and reliable simultaneously, making it an attractive purchase for any buyer looking for quality at a great price.
You don’t have to worry about false reports or inaccurate advice with the Panlong scanner. If you’re looking for an affordable diagnostic solution to your car’s needs, then this device is the ideal choice for you.
Affordable, repairs minor issues, saves money, simple diagnostics, accurate
Does not support Apple devices
Promoted Product: TOPDON TopScan Lite OBD2 Scanner
The TOPDON TopScan Lite OBD2 Scanner packs an incredible amount of functionality into a very small package.
This scan tool that weighs under three ounces is small enough to fit in your pocket and is capable of reading and clearing fault codes for more than 70 different vehicle makes.
The TopScan Lite is a bi-directional scan tool, which means you can send commands from your phone to your vehicle’s ECU to help you find problem areas. And beyond telling you what the problem is, the TopScan Lite features a DTC repair guide that provides detailed analysis of fault codes while giving you repair guidance.
For you gearheads out there, the TopScan Lite also offers performance testing. You can make accurate measurements of your vehicle’s acceleration and 0-60 mph times.
You can also test your vehicle’s emissions with just a single click, giving you a quick smog status check so you can address any issues without a visit to the mechanic.
Connecting the TopScan Lite to your phone is as easy as downloading the app and pairing it with your phone via Bluetooth. No wires necessary.
2. Autel MaxiLink ML619 OBD2 Scanner
The Autel MaxiLink ML619 OBD2 Scanner is another OBD2 scanner that is compatible with a huge variety of car models that follow OBD2 protocols. It has the ability to diagnose and test both ABS and SRS systems codes on a majority of vehicles manufactured in and after 1996.
The scanner can detect and retrieve various issues that may be affecting your car including p1, p2, p3 and even the UO.
The details collected after the readings are displayed in the form of graphical data. The scan tool then offers a wide variety of features to deal with the data including freeze-frame, reading, storage, playback, and even live PCM data streaming.
Apart from its diagnostic features and design, the device also offers buyers the option of free online updating of data, which provides quick and effective troubleshooting. The Autel MaxiLink ML619 OBD2 Scanner focuses on your engine by providing a wide variety of diagnostic codes, so you know you’re getting your money’s worth with the device.
User-friendly, does not need any additional batteries, great display function, compatible with different 1996 models and newer vehicles, button design makes it easy to control
Does not offer full coverage on all models, costly
3. Foxwell NT301 Car OBD2 Code Scanner
The Foxwell Car OBD2 Code Scanner – NT301 offers accurate and effective functionality in terms of reading and clearing diagnostic trouble codes along with any other error readiness monitors.
The increased functionality and performance allow you to figure out what’s causing your engine’s issues so that you’re better prepared to deal with the problem and fix it either at home or at some professional mechanic shop.
The Foxwell NT301 scanner is able to work for most car models from 1996 onwards, including American-based 1996 models and well as EU-based 2000 models including a large majority of Asian vehicles.
Other features of the device include the ability to display live sensors of your vehicle in a better understandable form of texts and graphs.
The scanner comes equipped with a 2.78-inch LED display so that you can easily read codes and issues without worrying about accuracy. In addition, the device supports a large range of languages.
You don’t need to worry about charging it or having extra batteries since the scanner gets its power directly from the OBD2 port.
Easy to use, supports different languages, has LED lighting for easy reading, works with Wi-Fi, does not need extra batteries
The LCD display is small, not compatible with older car models
4. Kitbest Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
Many people have some budget issues when considering what OBD2 scanner to buy. The Kitbest Bluetooth OBD2 scanner eliminates the issue. If you own an Android phone or tablet then this is the ideal cheap scanner for you.
It is made to function on all car models from 1996 onwards that follow OBD2 protocols including the J1939 and CAN.
Many people have issues with pre-emissions testing for their vehicles, but the Kitbest scan tool makes sure you don’t have to deal with the issue. All you have to do is connect the device in your vehicle’s OBD2 port a then you should be able to figure out the emissions reading without even having to get your car out of the driveway.
If you’re an Android user that needs to go easy on the wallet with an OBD2 scanner, then you shouldn’t have to look any further than the Kitbest Bluetooth OBD2 scanner. Its simplicity, ease of use, price tag and efficiency prove that it is a dependable and reliable product.
Compact and lightweight, simple design, checks and clears codes, is only on when the car is powered for safety
5. ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD2 Code Reader
This Enhanced OBD2 Code Reader by ANCEL is one of the best devices to diagnose your engine effectively. Its easy-to-use and simple design and features allow beginners and professionals to easily follow and read codes to fix vehicles.
It quickly and efficiently gives you the readings for your engine and also conveniently turns off any stored emissions, pending codes and code definitions so you’re left with the basic data and diagnostics to deal with easily.
The ANCEL AD410 scanner is able to scan and diagnose your motor vehicle’s sensors by monitoring and fixing the air and fuel compositions. It comes equipped with a 2.4-inch LCD display that allows users to easily view and read the codes and diagnostics.
The scanner is designed using a lightweight material to make it portable. It is also able to turn off your vehicle’s check engine light. The scanner is compatible with all OBD2 protocol-compliant vehicles to give you a large variety of troubleshooting reports and updates.
Offers a wide variety of readings, simple and easy to use, works for a majority of cars sold in the U.S., comes with a large LCD display for better reading
6. Seekone SK860 OBD2 Scanner
The Seekone OBD2 Code Scanner – SK860 can collect, read and erase codes quickly and easily. It focuses on ECU data which triggers the check engine light in vehicles because of several issues. The scanner is compatible with a majority of US-based vehicles manufactured in and after 1996, complies with all OBD2 protocols and supports multiple languages including English, German, French, Italian and Dutch.
The SK860 scanner comes with a wide variety of OBD2 functions including the capability of reading and erasing DTCs, resetting monitors, turning off CELS, and live streaming graphs, numbers, and texts. Seekone also offers buyers a lifetime of free software updates with a 3-year warranty.
The scanner has a one-click button system, as well as a 2.8-inch TFT display and a 5-foot diagnostic cable, making it simple and easy to use. The handheld scanner comes equipped with an anti-shock function and can handle a 15-foot drop.
The scanner is different from many devices in its price range in that it has a triple LED indication system for effective alerts and diagnostics. For a versatile and well-designed diagnostic tool, you can rely on the Seekone SK860 OBD2 Scanner.
Complies with all the OBD2 protocols, supports multiple languages, compatible with 1996 models and newer vehicles, free lifetime software updates, 3-year warranty
Difficult to erase unrepaired codes, not compatible with Apple devices
7. Foxwell NT510 OBD2 Code Reader
The Foxwell NT510 scanner can read and clear codes while also offering actuation, adaptability, programming and diagnostic services. The scanner focuses on OBD2 DTCs to read and clear ECU codes so you can turn off your CELs.
All 1996 models and newer ones are compatible with the reader. Moreover, you can focus on coding, deactivation, adaptation, and control module resets as additional functions of the scanner. It provides access to different vehicle systems for services like EPB, ABS, and airbags.
The Foxwell NT510 collects vehicle data so you can be aware of the last time your engine codes were cleared, components replaced and various other details. Provided with the Foxwell scanner is a 2.8-inch colored TFT screen with a backlight to show live sensor data in forms of both graphs and texts for an easier diagnosis and data analysis.
Its language database includes English, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Russian, Chinese and Hungarian.
In terms of design, the handheld device weighs 1.3 pounds and has 10 x 3 x 7-inch dimensions, making it lightweight and compact for efficient portability and limited space consumption, so you can easily store it in your car’s toolbox or glove compartment. All these quick and easy features make the NT510 a great scanner choice
Affordable, good quality, plug-and-play device, supports OBD2 protocols, easy to use, great design
Manual is poorly made, not user-friendly for beginners
8. AUTOPHIX OM126 OBD2 Code Reader
The AUTOPHIX OM126 offers buyers quick reading and clearing of emission-related codes. Its DTC base helps the user to efficiently find any definitions of the DTCs within its collection. It also provides code breaker information.
To keep an eye on your vehicle’s fuel tank stability, the code reader allows you to perform a leak test for the car’s EVAP system. One of the biggest causes of check engine light issues is a defective oxygen sensor. The AUTOPHIX OM126 code reader allows you to diagnose your car’s oxygen values to avoid any errors in the future.
The code reader functions as a feedback provider by helping users record different issues in their car’s systems, and then conveniently sending the feedback advice to their email. The scanner is also one of the few scan tools that offer a multi-language base that offers Portuguese, Russian, German, English, Spanish and French.
The AUTOPHIX OM126’s display comes equipped with a freeze-frame function that displays live data in the form of texts and graphs. It also has a streaming function that allows you to see your data in stream and waveform. You can effectively analyze all DTCs while simultaneously using the automatic VIN acquisition.
Another great feature of the scanner is that it has an easy-to-use button system for better navigation of the diagnostic menu and data as well as effective carry-out of emission tests. It also comes with free software upgrades for a lifetime of efficiency, so you know the AUTOPHIX OM126 is a reliable code reader.
Multi-language database, easy to use, affordable, no extra batteries needed, quality design, quick startup, lightweight and compact
Ineffective instruction manual, poor plastic casing
9. Gemwon ELM3217 WiFi OBD2 Scanner
The Gemwon OBD2 scanner will quickly provide data to your Android and Apple devices in real time. You can read both generic and manufacturer-specific DTCs using a 3000+ DTC database.
The device has great compatibility with a large majority of OBD2-compliant vehicles for versatility. The scanner can also show live sensor data, including engine RPM, load value, coolant temperature, fuel efficiency, speed, fuel trim, intake pressure, and much more.
Along with its great compatibility with a majority of devices and vehicles, the scanner is also well-equipped to work with apps such as DashCommand and Torque for simpler and quicker scanning. Not only that, but Gemwon’s 18-month warranty makes it an easy buy for people looking for a budget-friendly scanner.
If you’re looking for a universal compatible product that can offer basic functionality as well as smart scanning and diagnosis of your vehicles in a reasonable price range, then the Gemwon OBD2 scanner is perfect for you.
18-month warranty, smart scanning, excellent compatibility, live data streaming, sensor data collection
Connectivity issues for some users
10. TryAce OBD2 Auto Diagnostic Code Scanner
The TryAce SR950 OBD2 Scanner supports all OBD2-compliant tests and vehicles made in EU, Asia, and the US from 1996 onwards. It comes with a built-in speaker, large TFT color screen, and patented one-click design for speed and efficiency.
The scanner can be updated online. The 2.8-inch LCD display lets buyers view codes more easily and accurately for better diagnosis so that apps become redundant. It comes with an anti-shock feature for better durability and comfort as well.
The scanner’s LED indicators and speaker provide audiovisual feedback for quick and easy diagnostics, and its smart scanning makes vehicle diagnostics a breeze. Reading and clearing DTCs for this scanner is quite easy.
The device’s build and design are compact and lightweight for portability and ease of use. In addition, it comes with a dust-resistant covering for durability. The multi-language manual also makes it great for all German, Spanish, French, English, Russian and Portuguese users.
If you’re looking to save time and money with affordable and quick vehicle diagnostics using smart technology, look no further than the TryAce OBD2 scanner.
Smart design, dust-resistant cover, multilingual manual, affordable, quick, free lifetime software updates
Not compatible with Apple devices
Everything You Need to Know About OBD2 Scanners
Even with new cars, drivers can experience a whole multitude of annoying issues. Maybe your check engine light has gone off and you don’t know why. That’s where an OBD2 scanner comes in handy. OBD2 scanners use a system whereby onboard computers in cars and trucks conduct self-diagnostics and reporting of their computer boards. The best part of owning an OBD2 reader is that it’s essentially the same equipment a professional mechanic uses. It will save you money because you won’t have to go to a garage or shop to get your car diagnosed.
The scanner is plugged into your vehicle so it can scan your system for errors. Following that, the scanner gives comprehensive details so you could figure out how to fix the particular problem. The error messages can warn users about any serious problems with their engines.
An OBD2 scanner is a useful tool for any driver and most of them are pretty easy to use. Read on to find out more about OBD2 scanners.
What Can an OBD2 Scanner Do?
The workings of an OBD2 scanner depends on whether it is a simple OBD2 reader or a more advanced scanning system. Simple OBD2 readers essentially only read and remove codes, whereas advanced scan systems can also allow live and recorded information to be viewed, give access to detailed knowledge bases, give bi-directional controls and tests, and other more technical options and facilities.
All OBD2 scanners provide users with some basic processes and functions, including the ability to handle codes. Moreover, these scanners provide you with the option to check soft/pending codes that still have to activate the “check engine” light while giving comprehensive details and data at the same time.
Data from essentially all sensors that give users the input to their onboard computers can be seen using an OBD2 scanner, and there are those in the OBD2 reader range that can also arrange personalized lists of parameter IDs (PIDs), as well as the ability to access to readiness monitors and many other details.
The Different Types of OBD2 Scanners Available
Shopping for the right OBD2 reader doesn’t have to be a frustrating job. With that being said, there are various kinds of OBD2 scanners you should be aware of: a conventional basic OBD2 reader, a DIY scanner, and a professional OBD2 scanner tool.
An OBD2 reader is an affordable scanner that is available in any auto shop or hardware store. When you take your vehicle for a check engine light scan, mechanics usually use this OBD2 reader for their diagnostics. An OBD2 reader uses Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) that trigger your vehicle to indicate when something isn’t working properly.
A simple OBD2 reader shows the DTC on a small screen once you plug it into a diagnostic port. The code includes a letter and four digits that together help users find the source of the problem that should be focused on. The simplest way to understand the code if the OBD2 reader doesn’t specify its purpose is to check it online.
Once you have a DTC, the OBD2 reader can clear the code to stop your check engine light from flashing repeatedly. You can now get wireless options for OBD2 readers that provide more information compared to conventional corded scanners.
DIY scanners are a more advanced OBD2 scanner type that provides more information about vehicles at a higher price. They can include a simple dongle to plug into a diagnostic port, which can then link up via Bluetooth or wifi with an app on your phone or computer. The scanner reads the vehicle and sends details to your device.
Other DIY scanners are similar to conventional corded handheld scanners. They can provide live data from your vehicle for analysis, repeat your gauge readings, and provide details of average speed, average mpg, fuel usage, and other data. They can also carry out basic functions of a regular OBD2 reader like read DTC’s and clear codes.
A professional-grade OBD2 scanner can carry out all the functions required of a good scanner. It provides advanced features such as ECU programming, well-designed software, and ECU adaptations. The OBD2 scanner comes with different connectors which allow versatility and universality in usage. Some can also diagnose heavy-duty vehicles like trucks.
A huge benefit of the professional OBD2 scanner is that it is able to save data that can be used to graph your car’s performance using various metrics and categories. You don’t have to be an expert car tuner, a professional mechanic, or even a car enthusiast to find OBD2 scanners useful — anyone with a car will find this tool very handy.
Choosing the Right OBD2 Scanner for Your Car
With numerous systems and options available to you, it can be hard to pick the OBD2 scanner that is best for you. The ideal OBD2 scanner depends on your skill level. For instance, code readers provide basic functionality to read and clear codes connected to the problems of a car that comes equipped with the advanced onboard diagnostics (OBD) system.
However, if you are an experienced user that is familiar with the important details of your vehicle, you can opt for more expensive and precise OBD2 scanners that are professional and provide a lot of detailed information regarding various mechanical problems.
Another thing to remember when picking the right OBD2 scanner is to crosscheck whether the scanners you are viewing and considering are actually universal and truly support the system incorporated in your vehicle. Usually, current OBD2 systems are standardized nowadays so that they are compatible with every manufacturer.
You can find a variety of OBD2 scanners ranging from price tags less than $100 to some as expensive as tens of thousands of dollars. You should choose the OBD2 scanner that fits within your budget and is also compatible with your car’s computer software. Some scanners don’t work with older cars, however, so make sure a scanner works with your model year vehicle.
How do I troubleshoot an OBD2 scanner?
Regardless of how popular and effective OBD2 scanning tools can be, they are just like any other technical tool that can cause errors, problems, and improper results.
The troubleshooting methods and directions are different for each brand and product of OBD scanning tool. You can usually find the essential troubleshooting information of a specific OBD2 scanner in its user manual or instruction guide.
That said, if you are not provided with the proper details or you lose your instruction manual, then you have no other choice but to check out the manufacturer’s webpage.
Furthermore, if your device is the one that uses Bluetooth, one way of fixing the device is by updating it so the necessary troubleshooting information and techniques are provided automatically.
How do I know if my OBD2 scanner is working correctly?
The functionality of any OBD2 scanning device depends on the condition of the car it’s installed in. When the scanner is plugged in, all you have to do is tap the scan button to start the procession of reading code data. This isn’t any different from other plug and play devices.
Once you turn the ignition on, the “Service Engine Soon” or “Check Engine” light should blink to let you know that the OBD2 scanner tool is prepped to scan your car for any problems. After the indicator flashes, you should now be able to drive without any light flashes if there are no underlying problems with your car.
Some OBD2 scanners come with Bluetooth features that have remote diagnostic functionality. You can also check if your OBD2 scanners are working by checking the timeliness of the data and how the data is being displayed to you.
Our Final Verdict
After reviewing and comparing all the listed OBD2 scanners based on price, speed, features, quality, design, and technology, we've determined that the Panlong Bluetooth OBD2 scanner is the best one for both beginners and professionals with its efficiency and accuracy at an affordable price point.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works. Photo credit: Mi Pan / Shutterstock.com
Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.
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