The BAFX Products 34t5 OBDII Scan Tool is our best OBD2 scanner which is able to read and clear any diagnostic trouble code for a lot of problems such as check engine light as well as in both manufacturer specific and generic codes. You can easily set up with any Android phone, tablet or a Windows PC using an app and it works on any device that has Bluetooth enabled. This scanner gives real time information from the sensor on the speed, EOT, RPM, DPF temp, O2 readings, balance rates and many others right on your phone or device and it also has a pre-test mode for emission testing.
Our step-up pick is the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool and it is highly compatible with Android, iPhone and iPad and other Apple products. This scanner uses both BlueDriver Sensor and BlueDriver App to give quality readings and has been developed and supported by Professional Engineers in North America. It is open for free app updates on your smartphone or tablet and shows live data which has an interactive graphing feature. The OBD2 scanner also allows you to save data and it has a very portable and compact design.
The budget pick is the Veepeak Mini WiFi OBD2 Scanner Reader and you can read sensor data and real-time engine data which includes engine RPM, coolant temperature, calculated load value, fuel system status and many more. Any person can easily fix some problems without visiting the mechanic right away due to its diagnostic trouble codes that you can read and clear, which are both on manufacturer specific and generic DTCs . It has the option to turn off the check engine light and MIL and you can easily display all those sensor readings right to your tablet, phone or other devices using apps for Android and iOS.
A Little Background
An OBD2 scanner or On-Board Diagnostics scanner is a tool that helps you scan specific parameters of your car or vehicle, so as you do not have to wait for a mechanic to know if something is wrong with your car. This is most especially the case if you are a techie when it comes to car specifications.
Most people use an OBD2 scanner just for fun or for racing, but a lot will use it for car dealing, especially to show that the car they are selling have the best specs and are in good running condition, because most OBD2 scanners print out the details of the car or vehicle.
How We Picked
In terms of the best OBD2 scanner, we chose based on the following criteria:
Does the OBD2 scanner support a wide variety of car makes and models? Any OBD2 scanner will generally work on vehicles that are dated 1996 and newer, as long as they support OBD2, or EOBD for European cars.
What is the price of the OBD2 scanner? Most OBD2 scanners are very cheaply priced but do know the specifications of the scanner before buying.
Which protocols can the OBD2 scanner support? Most can support CAN, ISO, J1850 and others, but you have to know first if it is compatible with your car or vehicle.
What do the reviews say about the OBD2 scanner? Weigh down the pros and cons of the OBD2 scanner and see if there are more good sides to the OBD2 scanner.
What are the some of the diagnostics and information it can give you? In the description, most OBD2 scanners will give you examples of what it can read, both in general and for specific models, such as RPM, fuel information and more.
BAFX Products 34t5 OBDII Scan Tool
The BAFX Products 34t5 OBDII Scan Tool is our best ODB2 scanner and is able to read and clear any diagnostic trouble code for a lot of problems such as check engine light as gives real time information from the sensor on the speed, EOT, RPM, DPF temp, O2 readings, balance rates and many others right on your phone or device.
It reads well in both manufacturer-specific and generic codes and it works on any device that has Bluetooth enabled. You can easily set up with any Android phone, tablet or a Windows PC using an app and it also has a pre-test mode for emission testing. You can get you on different mileage times – 1 mile, 1/2 mile, 1/4, and 1/8 miles for its emission testing diagnostics.
There are purchasable apps for syncing with PC and Android phones range from $0 to $5 for Android apps and up to $50 on PC programs. The BAFX Scan Tool also has a function to reset the CEL and is able to read OBDII codes for check engine light. There are a lot of sensor readings that can be pulled out as well as many other graph sensor readings. It also manages sensor readings such as throttle, boost, fuel trim, speed, balance rates, EGT and others.
In addition, you can also check the engine temperature oil pressure as well as the gas quantity as it also works on Windows phone 8. With a black color, the BAFX OBDII As with most scanners, it is compatible with all USA vehicles that are on year 1996 or newer. The reader only weighs 2.9 oz and backed by a hassle free 2 year warranty.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
The only known flaw of the BAFX Products 34t5 OBDII Scan Tool is that it does not work with iPhone and Apple products and it is only currently compatible with Windows and Android.
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool
The BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool has a very portable and compact design and is our step-up pick. It iscompatible with Android, iPhone and iPad and other Apple products and it was developed and supported by Professional Engineers in North America. It is also open for free app updates on your smartphone or tablet.
On its features, the OBD2 scanner also allows you to save data and its live data has an interactive graphing feature. It uses both BlueDriver Sensor and BlueDriver App to give quality readings. The Repair Reports are all at vehicle specific and can be drawn from a big database which contains almost 4.3 million fixes which are all mechanic verified by certified professionals.
The BlueDriver Scan Tool is able to read and clear codes that are enhanced such as transmission, airbag, ABS and is compatible on a lot of makes such as Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, GM and others and it does not include any in-app purchase. Currently, all makes are supported for confirmed, pending and permanent CEL codes.
The repair reports for this OBD2 scanner include code definition, possible causes as well as reported fixes. Whenever a code is stored, it uses the freeze frame feature in which a vehicle snapshot is taken. In addition, it has a smog check feature in which it checks whether the vehicle is okay for a smog test. With this scanner, you are able to read advanced results of any test such as misfire counts due to its Mode 6 feature, as all repair reports are vehicle-specific.
In addition to that, you can even export the log to any file and using its live data, you are able to graph a lot of PIDs at the same time. The BlueDriver OBDII Scan Tool supports all vehicles dated 1996 or newer, both on import and domestic and it also supports CAN and other OBD2 protocols.
All in all, this scanner does not drain your battery even if you leave it plugged in. Furthermore, some vehicles will also display short term and long term fuel trim data. The manufacturer’s website also displays all vehicle-specific data that the OBD2 scanner can display. This compact scanner only weighs 2.4 oz.
Veepeak Mini WiFi OBD2 Scanner Reader
The Veepeak Mini WiFi OBD2 Scanner Reader is our budget pick and can easily display all those sensor readings right to your tablet, phone or other devices using apps for Android and iOS. It has the option to turn off the check engine light and MIL and you can easily fix some problems without visiting the mechanic right away due to its diagnostic trouble codes that you can read and clear, which are both on manufacturer specific and generic DTCs.
It is able to read sensor data and real-time engine data which includes engine RPM, coolant temperature, calculated load value, fuel system status and many more. The other OBD2 scanner sensor data it can read include intake manifold pressure, short and long term fuel trim as well as vehicle speed.
Furthermore, it can also read absolute throttle position, air flow rate; timing advance as well as intake air temperature and it can also read fuel pressure, oxygen sensor voltages, fuel system status, associated short term fuel trims and many others. The Veepeak Reader is very easy to use and set up.
As a sample, most of the parameters and readings it can give you are: fuel trim, EVAP system vapor pressure, mass air flow, barometric pressure and fuel level. In addition, it also reads the important stuff such as RPM, vehicle speed, fuel pressure, throttle position, fuel consumption, calculated engine load, intake manifold pressure, engine coolant tamp, mass air flow, fuel level, timing advance and many others depending on your vehicle manufacturer.
This scanner can be used with downloadable apps such as Torque Pro / Torque Lite (Android) and OBD Car Doctor, OBD Fusion, EOBD Facile, Engine Link and DashCommand (iOS). The OBD II protocols it can support include J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, CAN, ISO9141-2 and KWP2000. Generally, it works on a wide variety of devices, smartphones and tablets such as HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Sony and many others and on various operating systems such as Android, Windows and iOS.
To conclude, the OBD2 scanner weighs only 0.3 oz and is light weight. The scanner includes a user’s manual and has a 1 year warranty for replacement and a 30 days money back guarantee.
Best ABS OBD2 Scanner
Autel AL619 AutoLink OBD2 Code Scanner
If you want an OBD2 scanner for ABS and SRS, you would want the value Autel AL619 AutoLink OBD2 Code Scanner which works on a lot of makes such as Ford, Mercedes, Renault, Jaguar, Landrover, Renault, Fiat, Citroen, Peugeot, and Mitsubishi. In addition, it also works for Toyota, Honda, BMW, VW, Volvo, Chrysler, Mercedes, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Nissan, GM and many others.
Generally, this OBD2 scanner works on any OBDII and CAN supported newer than 1996 vehicles and it is easy to update online for its software. It is also an easy tool to determine why the SRS / ABS light warning is on or the MIL (malfunction indicator light) is on.
The Autel AL619 Scanner supports a lot of languages and displays DTC definitions other than English such as Russian, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and Polish. With a color combination of red and black, the vehicle information it can retrieve are VIN, CVN and CIN. It clears codes and also, the monitors are reset.
The scanner is able to display live sensor data and has an enhanced Mode 6 for its OBDII system. It is also able to display emission status and I/M readiness. In addition, the TFT color screen displays the DTC definition and it also views data from freeze frames. You can easily check cycle verification and drive.
All in all, the AL619 Code Scanner comes with a built-in speaker, other than its visual function, as well as LED lights to alert the user for readiness. It also determines the root cause of the MIL / Check Engine Light. This handy OBD2 scanner is able to print data via PC.
As for its other features, the software update and data backup can be supported by a TF memory card. It also comes with a code tip guide as a troubleshooter for most technicians. The OBD2 scanner is able to retrieve codes for manufacturer specific such as U1, P3 and P1 as well as generic codes such as P0, U0, P2 and P3 and it also retrieves pending codes.
OBD2 Scanner with Low Energy Consumption
LELink Bluetooth Low Energy BLE OBD-II
The LELink Bluetooth Low Energy BLE OBD-II is highly compatible with not just OBD II vehicles but also EOBD compliant vehicles. A big plus to most drivers is that it has very low energy consumption and has a plug and play design.
As for its functionality, it reads and clears most DTCs or diagnostic trouble codes and you can easily customize the gauges so you can only see the data that matters to you. In addition, the sensor data and car performance are displayed in real time.
This scanner uses Bluetooth technology for connecting to your vehicle and is highly compatible for iOS such as iPad, iPhone and iPod. It is easy to carry and weighs only 0.3 oz. It also has a fast refresh rate and does not need to pair to the device to work due to its automatic connection and configuration function.
In addition, it shows DTC, CEL or fault code and then reset it and comes with an HUD mode that is perfect for night driving instances. Do know that some of its data and parameters that it can read and show are horsepower, torque, boost, accelerations, vacuum gauge, and transmission temperatures depending on the vehicle, engine speed, fuel tank, coolant, engine load, RPM and others.
You can easily customize the GUI and choose your preferred display element: digital, plot gauge, dial, bar gauge or on / off gauge with the LELink OBD-II. In addition, it has a custom PID support and has preloaded libraries for GM and ford and furthermore, it also comes with standard PID libraries as well as Prius libraries.
The Low Energy BLE OBD-II supports multiple ECU such as 11-bit CAN as well as 29-bit ECU CAN and it is also applicable with iTunes file sharing or using the app. Additionally, it also supports multiple formula for PID and has a timer from 0 to 6 miles per hour and also has a quarter mile timer. The dashboard is fully customizable and it also has an MPG widget with graph data so you can view the fuel efficiency in real time. It is a great alternative to gauges in analog or digital for most diesel engines.
OBD II Scanner with Color Screen
Innova 3040c OBD2 Scan Tool
The Innova 3040c OBD2 Scan Tool reads and clears off the Check Engine Light code. This scanner works on any vehicle that has OBD2 and dated 1996 and above. The engine conditions that can be shown by the freeze frame include stats such as engine coolant temperature and fuel trim right at the time when the MIL was set.
On the live data color screen, you can record and play back live data as well as graph it. With this scanner, you can easily diagnose ABS codes, especially on Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, GM and other new model vehicles. It also comes with an alternator / battery test to diagnose problems involving starting of the car or vehicle and weighs only 8 oz.
This OBD2 scanner can also be updated. Overall, the Innova 3040c scanner is an ideal tool for buses because of its readings on ABS and SRS such as brakes, seatbelts and airbags, and is important when it comes to safety.
Best OBD2 Scanner designed for the Torque App
Vgate Bluetooth Scan OBD2 for TORQUE
With an affordable price, the Vgate Bluetooth Scan OBD2 for TORQUE is ideal for the Torque app for Android. The Bluetooth model is of CSR quality and its PCB design is super compact and updated with the latest chips. It easily clears off the MIL or check engine light along with the trouble codes as it has over 3,000 code definitions that are generic in its database.
As for its functionality, all the diagnostic trouble codes it can read amount to both generic as well as manufacturer specific, all with full meanings and details so you can understand them better. For its appearance, the scanner has a blue color and weighs 0.3 ounces. Like most OBD2 scanners and readers out there, all cars 1996 and newer, domestic or foreign, can work as long as it is compatible with Bluetooth OBDII or OBD.
Best Mode 6 OBD II Scanner
Autel AL519 AutoLink OBDII Scan Tool
If you want an OBD2 scanner that specializes in Mode 6, you would want the Autel AL519 AutoLink OBDII Scan Tool which easily turns off the MIL (malfunction indicator light) and returns live data from its sensor which you can read and record as well as play back.
Equipped with a very portable design of the unit lets you take it to any place, the scanner displays the vehicle information such as CIN, VIN and CVN and pending codes as well as both manufacturer specific and generic codes. In addition, it comes with an I/M readiness key to check if you are ready for state emission as well as to check the drive cycle verification with just one click.
This OBD2 scanner has a black and red color combination. As for power draw, it has a voltage of 12 volts and it weighs 2 lbs. This scanner works on any vehicle that has OBDII and CAN and dated 1996 and newer, all on domestic, European and Asian.
Do know that the generic codes it can retrieve are U0, P3, P2 and P0 while manufacturer specific codes it can retrieve are U1, P3 and P1. Also, the freeze frame data can be easily viewed as it can also display monitor status as well as live O2 sensor data. It has a built-in speaker as well as LEDs with bright colors to notify you of the vehicle’s readiness. In addition to its features, the TFT color screen is able to clearly display the DTC definition as it also resets the monitors.
When you order, the Autel AL519 Tool, it includes a user’s manual, CD software, linking cable for the OBDII as well as a USB cable. In addition, you can even print the scanned detail record so you can show it off to potential customers who might want to buy your car or vehicle.
Best 2-Unit OBD2 Scanner
OxGord CAN OBD2 Scanner Tool 2-Pack
With the OxGord CAN OBD2 Scanner Tool 2-Pack, you get two (2) scanners for the price of one. It is used for diagnostics with the MIL or check engine light to clear DTCs and turn it off and the trouble codes it can read amount to both manufacturer specific and generic codes. All in all, it has up to 3,000 definitions of DTCs in its database in which all of them have clear meanings for you to understand.
Like most scanners out there, all vehicles dated 1996 or newer are supported by this OBD2 scanner. This small but mighty scanner weighs 8 oz and has a smooth exterior. It is also available in 1 unit only. With a red color finish, it is backed by a 1 year limited warranty.
Wireless OBDII Scanner
IDEAPRO Super Mini ELM327 OBD2 Scanner
The IDEAPRO Super Mini ELM327 OBD2 Scanner is ideal for use on Android devices and uses Bluetooth wireless linking. It can display data such as calculated load value, coolant temperature, engine RPM, fuel trim (long term and short term), timing advance, and vehicle speed and fuel system status.
In addition, it also displays air flow rate, intake air temperature, intake manifold pressure, throttle position, oxygen sensor voltages, fuel system status, associated fuel trims, fuel pressure and many more. This scanner includes various programs such as Scan Master ELM, OBD2Spy, wOBDCRAZY, EasyOBDII V2.2 and Scantool_net113win. It works for most Windows versions and as for connectivity, the pair code for the Bluetooth is 1234.
The OBDII protocols it can support are CAN, J1850, ISO9140 and KWP2000. You can easily switch between fixed CAN message and variable lengths and to speed up your data transmission, it also removes the spaces on the responses of ECU. This scanner clears up the check engine light or MIL to turn it off and it has a one command setting of the filter and CAN mask. It also allows you to send RTRs or CAN remote frames.
The max number of obtainable responses can be set. This works on all vehicles dated 1996 and newer with OBD2 on the USA and it also works for diesel cars from 2003 or 2004 as well as Petrol cars from 2001 in Europe with EOBD. The IDEAPRO OBD2 Scanner has a very low power draw from your car so it does not drain the battery so you can leave it sitting on your car even for days without taking it off.
Most OBD2 scanners we did not include in this article were not too special and were not too compatible with a lot of devices and car makes out there, and also, they lacked features that are important.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the many uses of an OBD2 scanner?
A: According to Make Use Of , they are important for self diagnostics so you would not have to waste your time going to the mechanic when you already know of what is wrong with the car first hand. Most emissions can be detected with the use for an OBD2 scanner and the codes and data all vary per manufacturer. They can be connected with most devices today such as Android and Apple devices as well as Windows desktops and laptops.
Q: Any tips on how to read and understand OBD2 codes?
A: According to WikiHow , you should know that when connecting the scan tool connector into the vehicle’s DLC, turn on the ignition but do not start up the car or vehicle. Most scanners will require you to input the VIN, make and model of the car or vehicle as well as the engine type in some cases.
Do know that different codes will begin with a letter and they all mean different things. For instance, P is for power train which has something to do with the fuel system, engine, ignition, transmission, emissions and others. B is for the body which covers power seatbelts, airbags and other safety features. ABS, axles and brake fluid are covered by the C or the chassis codes. And last but not the least, the U codes or undefined are for other car or vehicle aspects that may also be manufacturer specific.
If you are not sure with reading the diagnostics, you can get help from a car technician. In fact, some OBD2 scanners can also reset the check engine light when you have made your repairs.
Wrapping It Up
Concluding the review, the BAFX Products 34t5 OBDII Scan Tool is our best OBD2 scanner with a ton of features for its price that will definitely make any car enthusiast happy and worry-free.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.