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10 Best OBD2 Scanners in 2021 [for DIY Troubleshooting]

10 Best OBD2 Scanners for DIY Troubleshooting and Repairs

the best obd2 scanners

If you’re tired of having to go to the shop every time you need a diagnosis, I feel your pain. Luckily, todays information driven and technologically advanced world can give us access to some of the KEY tools techs and mechanics use.

You can buy a simple OBD2 scanner that can read error codes, without you need to spend $50-$100 at a dealer to read that same code.

Better yet, those THOUSAND dollar scanners your local technician uses to run deep analysis of your cars ECU, you can do that at a fraction of the price.

I know you want to find the best OBD2 scanner for your EXACT needs, that is why I researched and created a list of 10 individual OBD2 scanner reviews.

My 10 Favorite OBD2 Scanners

Scanner: Connection: Interface: ABS: SRS: Live Data:

Cable

Touch Screen

YES

YES

YES

Cable

Touch Screen/Buttons

YES

YES

YES

Cable

Buttons

YES

YES

YES

Bluetooth

Touch Screen/Buttons

YES

YES

YES

Cable

Buttons

YES

YES

YES

Cable

Buttons

YES

YES

YES

Cable

Buttons

NO

NO

YES

Bluetooth

Touch Screen

YES

YES

YES

Bluetooth

Phone

In App

In App

In App

Bluetooth

Phone

Check App

Check App

Check App

Looking at the list above, it might look intimidating… don’t let it be. Like with anything, it can take a few attempts to get the hang of how something works.

Before you ever plug a scanner into your car, you gotta ask yourself an important question. What will I use my scanner for?

Important things like checking your Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Supplemental Restraint System (SRS), the ECU, and Transmission will give you the vital information needed to gauge the overall health of your car. It’s like a stethoscope a doctor uses, but more technical.

Depending on your needs, you may only need a cheap $30-$50 scanner that reads basic codes, and that’s okay. But I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, you GET what you pay for. In the world of OBD2 scanners, it is no exception. One of my main goals was to find scanners that were a mixture of functionality and cost.

If you wrench a good bit on your car (assuming your car is 1996 or older), you should consider getting a GOOD scanner. You’ll save money in the long run and you’ll fix your car faster as well.

Before I go any further below with the reviews, I value your time. Each scanner I listed below has both PRO’s and CON’s so you can get a better feel of where the strengths and weaknesses are.

OBD2 Scanner Reviews

Launch CRP129E OBD2 Scanner

#1 - Launch CRP129E OBD2 Scanner

After scrolling through ALL the scanners online, I came to a decision that the Launch CRP129E OBD2 scanner (2021 version) was the best one to buy.

First of all, it’s not a Snap-On scanner that costs as much as a reasonably used car, more like the costs of a set of reasonable tires. Launch honed in the magic of price and features in a very good way.

We are all moving towards a 100% touch-screen world, this scanner is no exception. The 5″ inch screen is paired with an Android operating system that gives you the familiarity of a regular tablet, while at the same time giving you the necessary tools to check your car. You won’t have to worry about the battery life since it’s paired with a 6,000mAh pack (at least a few hours of constant use).

The body of the scanner is rather rugged, it looks like it can withstand a serious drop without compromising its electronic functions.

LAUNCH is actively working on updating compatibility with vehicles coming out, every year. I’ve noticed they are actively informing potential buyers that if YOU have an issue with compatibility, they are willing to try and physically update your scanner to ensure it works with your car.

At a bare minimum, the CRP129E reads and clears codes, views live data from the transmission system, retrieves info from transmissions (Automatic only), goes through the ABS and SRS systems, can detect things like the engine ignition, air and fuel ratios, exhaust emissions, and much more. According to LAUNCH, their updated 2021 version is compatible with over 20,000 models from over 57 manufacturers). 

All of this comes at a very reasonable price. The pro’s far outweigh its con’s, have a look.

PRO's:

CON's:

Ancell FX2000

#2 - Ancell FX2000

If you want a good scan tool for a good price, look no further than the ANCEL FX2000. This thing may come in a relatively small package, but it will deliver on most of the things you need.

Compared to the LAUNCH model above, it’s not as expensive. The FX2000 uses the OBD2 interface to work with US based cars after 1996, EU based cars after 2002, and Asian cars after 2005.

The little touch screen might be some for some but for others (like me) it’s just enough to read codes. Speaking of codes, the FX2000 will scan your car and give you information regarding your ABS, SRS, Automatic Transmission, emissions, ECU parameters, re-map existing settings in your ECU, freeze-frame data and play it back, and more (just to name a few).

Once the scanner records data, you can view it in graph form by clicking the “Review” tab in the settings. Printing it out is quite easy, just make sure you have Windows 7+ operating system installed, connect the scanner to the computer, install the included OBD2 software, and click on “Print Manager”.

Instructions can explain it in MUCH better detail than I could. The main thing to keep in mind is that with the FX2000, you can not only scan and identify, but also to record, save, and transfer elsewhere for further analysis.

Even if you aren’t tech savvy, ANCEL made it easy to enough with few buttons and a simple menu.

PRO's:

CON's:

Autel AL619 OBD2 Scanner

#3 - Autel AL619 OBD2 Scanner

I’ve become of Autel as a brand, they have been known for making some great bang for the buck OBD2 scanners. The Autel AL519 is no exception in this regard, if you want to spend as little as possible and still get a ton of functionality, this model is worth considering.

While this scanner may not be fancy with touch screens and high-definition LCD screens, the small package comes with the ability to get access to check your engine codes (including generic, manufacturer specific and pending), voltage, current, continuity, emissions/smog, ABS, SRS, and AT/Transmission. Upon plugging into your car, this thing can automatically pull up your car’s VIN/CIN/CVN and begin matching data found in your vehicle with its own database.

It’s crucial that your vehicle supports the OBDII/EOBD protocol to pair with the scanner.

When you get the scanner, depending on your technical skills, you may have difficulty figuring out how to make this device work. Luckily, there’s a fairly detailed instruction manual (quite rare nowadays) that walks you through the process.

Lastly, one of the KEY things with Autel is their customer service. You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it, not much in between. Autel does it right with their customer support with many getting replacement units (when issues occur) in a matter of days.

PRO's:

CON's:

Launch CRP909X

#4 - Launch CRP909X

The Launch CRP909X is the type of scanner that you can use if you need MORE information, out of your car. I have already mentioned the first Launch scanner that won its place as a great VALUE device. With this one, it’s almost double the price… but you get more out of it as well.

If you are a serious DIY technician, a mechanic at a shop, or anyone who needs a tool that will dig deeper into a vehicle’s problems, look no further. The CRP909X was recently updated to be compatible with the latest 2019 and 2020 models (likely to be updated again for 2021 models). When you connect the scanner to your car, the system is able to automatically detect your vehicle VIN number and automatically populate all essential details.

As of this date of writing, the Launch CRP909X is compatible with the 57 most current models (including many foreign vehicles like Citroen, Renault, Dacia, and more). According to them, if you count together all the make and model combinations from the 57 models out there, there’s well over 10,000 models to choose from.

There are 15 primary functions you can have access to, the following include: Oil Reset, SAS Reset, EPB Reset, BMS Rese, DPF Regeneration, ABS Bleeding, IMMO, Sunroof Reset, Suspension Reset, Gearbox Reset, AFS Headlamp Reset, Injector Coding, Gear Learning, TPMS Reset, Throttle Adaptation, and a few different tests that are emissions related.

This scanner can generate vehicle diagnostic reports, store the data, and display it in graph form, playback your vehicle’s parameters from your scan, and ultimately, you can print what you found OR, send it digitally via email for further analysis.

PRO's:

CON's:

Konnwei KW850

#5 - Konnwei KW850

Do you want a cheap OBD2 scanner that can identify the most common issues with your car? If so, the Konnwei KW850 is an OBD2 scan tool worth looking at.

The KW850 is battery powered scanner that connects to your vehicle using the included two-way cable. This is NOT a substitute for the more professional-grade units I mentioned above. What you can do with the KW850 is truly fantastic. What you can do with this device is not just detect, define, and erase codes, at least for the engine aspect of it. You can test the O2 sensor, Modes 8 test, EVAP testing, pinpoint where the engine is misfiring, and monitor a few other on-board vehicle details that have to do with the engine.

If you live in a place that can test your vehicle emissions, this scan tool can perform a variety of tests to let you know where you stand.

You can update this device through your computer but only by using the Windows operating system (Mac PC’s are not supported). When there’s an update that is compatible with your scanner, you can have access on their official website, free of charge.

Lastly, the KW850 can test your vehicle’s battery health before and after ignition. It can even warn you if the battery level is too low or too high in both ignition positions.

PRO's:

CON's:

INNOVA CarScan Pro 5610

#6 - INNOVA CarScan Pro 5610

The Innova Pro5610 is the flagship of their entire line-up. If you want to simply check your “check engine” light and call it a day, this might be over-kill. The place this unit shines is quite obvious, it’s the detailed reports and multi-location scanning capabilities that lower costing OBD2 scanners won’t do.

Innova is not some run of the mill “knock off” company that slapped their own brand on the device and threw it online. Not at all, in fact they are more than 40 years old as a company (being founded back in 1980).

Since this is their best OBD2 scanner, it can read, and clear codes, test emissions, and smog, test the batteries for voltage, support all 10 OBD2 modes w/live data, resets oil light, reads oil levels/life, scans for faults in vehicle BMS (hybrid vehicles), checks the hybrid battery health (hybrids only), gives you complete access to your engine, access key data points of your vehicle’s ABS, SRS, and Automatic Transmission.

Something unique that only Innova has (from what I notice) is they have an app called RepairSolutions2 that can give you further information on which codes you find. It’s available on both Android an iOS devices.

NOTE: Be sure to visit their website and update the scanner for the latest software. This will ensure you have the most up-to-date version.

Lastly, the device IS battery powered and can be connected by a two-way cable.

PRO's:

CON's:

Ancel AD310

#7 - Ancel AD310

I had to include a dirt-cheap OBD2 scanner that does a basic job at figuring out what could be wrong with your car. Ancel AD310 is a sub $50 unit that has become so popular that it’s hard to ignore why people are going after it. With over 20,000 reviews, this scanner in particular gets an overwhelming 90%+ recommendation rate.

The AD310 is battery operated and it can connect to all 1996 and newer vehicles found in North America. For European or Asian markets, anything made after the year 2000 should be good to go.

This scanner can scan for codes and in most cases, determine the underlying root cause of the code. It can monitor live data, freeze frame it, and store it on the scanner.

It’s small and has few buttons you can push. However, its small 124 x 68 pixel screen has a crisp, backlit display that is easy to read during the day and night.

Compatibility issues always exist with low to mid-tier scanners, this one is no exception. Some BMW and Mercedes models have codes, this scanner cannot locate.

Overall for the price, you can’t go wrong in buying the Ancel AD310 and keeping it at the very least, as a backup tool.

PRO's:

CON's:

Autel Maxisys Pro MK908P​

#8 - Autel Maxisys Pro MK908P

I dug through many different scan tools and most would range between $100 and $300. Great tools, as I mentioned above, but I wanted more. Automotive shops usually have high-end tools that cost THOUSANDS, that is why I included the Autoel Maxisys Pro as #8.

This scan tool is radically different from all the other ones I mentioned earlier, in fact it costs almost 10x more than most of the OBD2 scanner reviews above. If you want the best OBD2 scan tools money can buy (or at least one of them), look at THIS.

Before you plug anything anywhere, this package comes with accessories that could in handy. There are 18 adapters, 2 fuses, an instruction manual (a detailed one), an ECU programming device, and a hard case where you can store the scanner.

The specs of the scanner give many of today’s gaming tablets, a run for the money. There’s 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB of memory, a hexa-core 1.3 GHz + 1.7 GHz processor, a 10.1″ inch LCD touch screen and enough battery capacity to last you a whole day of use. I could list off all the 30+ key functions of this scanner, but I won’t bore you with the things you already know. The things I think are worth noting are: finding engine fault codes, figuring them out and even clearing if necessary. Monitor, and calibrate your ECU, as well as the suspension, transmission, and a LOT more.

Unlike with many other tools where you need a cord to make a physical connection, not with this one. You can connect via Bluetooth or WiFi to your vehicle. Get access to over 80 makes and thousands of models. Whatever you find, you can graph it, save it, print it or electronically send it elsewhere, the options are MANY. Technicians, mechanics, and serious DIY repairmen will love this tool. Its not cheap, but it IS worth the money.

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BlueDriver Bluetooth

#9 - BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 Adapter

With all the handheld devices mentioned so far, wouldn’t be great if you can use your phone instead and read all the data you need… from your iPhone or Android device? Yes, you can do that. The BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 adapter is one of the most popular units you can buy today that gives you pro-grade access to your car, without needing to spend a fortune.

The package comes very small, and that is where it could be a little tricky to think all THAT could do what #3 and #6 on the list could do… but its true. Upon plugging into your vehicles OBD2 port, download the BlueDriver app and make a successful connection between your phone and the adapter. From there, you can scan for codes of not just the engine, but transmission, AirBag, ABS, SRS, TPMS, and more.

Additional features include Mode 6, Freeze Frames, Smog Check, via LIVE data, import scheduled maintenance info, recalls and service bulletins. For a code reader just under $100 bucks, you can’t go wrong.

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Veepeak Bluetooth OBD2

#10 - Veepeak Bluetooth OBD2 [Excellent for Torque PRO]

The last on my list is the Veepeak Mini Bluetooth adapter. This little device (unlike with the BlueDrive) does not come with an existing app, it can be paired with. The reason I bring this device up is because there’s a popular app on both iOS App Store and Google Play Store called Torque PRO. The app costs 5 dollars, but when you combine it with an OBD2 adapter, you can explore beyond the basic parameters.

I chose this version of the Veepeak because it’s compatible with Android and iOS devices. Connection is made via Bluetooth, and when you have the Torque PRO app installed (or any other similar app for that matter), you can diagnose your car, read LIVE data and you can even look online for custom made PIDs for your car.

I find this tool very useful because I own a Chevrolet Bolt EV, most scanners won’t find much information with the car due to it not having a traditional transmission, engine, or most other things. The Torque PRO app allowed me to download a custom PID for the Bolt EV and from there, I was able to see live data such as battery capacity, battery state of charge, and much MUCH more.

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