Automotive scan tool for sale

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Last Updated on September 28, 2021

Whether you’re a professional mechanic, a car enthusiast who enjoys working on their own cars, or just someone who wants to avoid expensive diagnostic fees at your local dealership, a car scan tool is one of the best investments you can make.

The best automotive scan tool doesn’t have to cost a fortune and can often pay for itself in only one use.

An OBD (on-board-diagnostics) code reader give you the ability to troubleshoot various systems and features of your vehicle, such as the airbag, engine, emissions, suspension, anti-lock braking system, and various other components.

Obviously, the functionality of each of these systems is critical for any car. Before they end up failing on you, using a car code reader will ultimately let you know if the vehicle is safe to drive or not.

Whether you’re tired of taking your vehicle to the local parts store or you’re looking for a tool that gives you a little more information, the current generation of OBD2 scanners are cheaper and do more than you think.

In this comprehensive guide of the best OBD2 scanners on the market, we’ll break down everything you need to know to find the perfect scan tool for your vehicle.

Skip to: Best Professional Diagnostic Scanners

Best Automotive Scan Tools for Home Use

Not everyone needs the most comprehensive scan tool available. Whether you’re a DIY mechanic or looking to troubleshoot a few vehicles to make a few bucks on the side, these are the scan tools you’re looking for.

#1 – Autel Scanner MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Scanner

best OBD2 scannerIf you’re looking for a scan tool that can do it all, then the Autel MK808 is the perfect scan tool for you. It works with 85 different car makes and models. Not only will it read all engine, PCM, TCM, ABS codes, and more, but it has multiple other functions that display live data as you troubleshoot.

Furthermore, this Autel scanner provides detailed reports that let you know the most likely cause of a problem. Even better, it has over 25 maintenance buttons that make it easier than ever to repair vehicles.

These features include ABS bleeding, battery registration, oil resets, injector coding, and so much more. While the price for this Autel scanner is on the higher side for an at-home scan tool, the extra features that it comes with more than makes up for the added cost.

The Autel MaxiCOM MK808 also comes with a 1-year warranty and 24/7 customer support. However, the yearly updates to add new vehicles and download the latest troubleshooting guidance costs just under $125. However, you don’t need to purchase these updates to continue to use all of the same features you’ve been using all year!

If you’re looking for an all-in-one scan tool that will put everything else in your garage to shame, this is what you want.

#2 – LAUNCH CRP129E OBD2 Scan Tool

automotive scan tool reviewsIt’s a more affordable version of the Autel scanner that we looked at above. While it has many of the same features, it doesn’t work with quite as many vehicles. That’s not to say it’s lacking, though. It works with more than 57 car brands and over 10,000 different vehicle types.

Furthermore, it comes with live data tracking for up to 10 different data streams simultaneously. Moreover, it comes with multiple maintenance features from oil resets, TPMS resets, battery voltage tests, steering angle calibration tools, and more!

The Launch CRP129E supports nine different languages and has free lifetime updates! When you buy this scanner, you won’t have to spend another penny to keep it working with the newest vehicles coming into the shop.

Of course, this scanner reads the engine, TCM, PCM, ABS codes, and everything else your vehicle could throw at you.

While the comprehensive features, free lifetime updates, and lower upfront cost are great, what really sets this scanner apart is the comprehensive 5-year warranty that it comes with. Make this the last scan tool you need to spend a dime on.

#3 – Actron CP9690 Elite OBD2 AutoScanner

Actron CP9690 reviewWhile we focused our efforts on OBD2 scanners for these reviews, that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize that older vehicles have codes too. Standardized OBD2 codes didn’t become mandatory until 1996 before that OBD1 was the standard.

This scanner reads both OBD1 codes for GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyotas. From there, it reads codes for all newer OBD2 vehicles.

While this scanner looks simple, don’t let that fool you about what it can do. Just like the fancier looking scan tools, this scan tool can display live data from over 300 different sensors and inputs throughout your vehicle.

Furthermore, you can freeze frame data to take the extra time to pull all the information you need to troubleshoot a vehicle properly. The Actron CP9690 easy to use, does everything you could ask for, and doesn’t cost a bundle.

If you’re working on older vehicles in addition to newer ones, you want a scan tool that can handle it all – this one can.

#4 – Autel ML629 OBD2 Scanner

Autel ML629 reviewThis Autel scanner is a much more lower-end option than the first one that we reviewed. While it comes with a much lower price tag, it also comes with far fewer features.

It works with any OBD2 vehicle, and it can pull codes and data in just a few seconds. Whether you’re looking for your current emissions or you’re troubleshooting a pesky ABS or SRS light, this scan tool can help you get the job done.

Despite its limited functionality beyond code reading, the Autel ML629 scanner does give you the ability to live stream from select input options. It’s not as comprehensive as their top model, but at a fraction of the price, it’s still a great deal. Even better, unlike their top model, the ML629 scanner comes with free updates for life!

Finally, this scan tool comes with a 1-year warranty giving you a little extra peace of mind that you’re getting a quality product.

#5 – BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool

best automotive scan toolThe world has moved to mobile devices; why shouldn’t your scan tool? While this OBD2 scanner doesn’t look like much on the surface, when you pair it with their mobile app, you get a comprehensive vehicle diagnostic tool that can help you fix any vehicle.

It works great with both Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, but if you have an older phone that can’t handle the app, you’re out of luck.

Not only does this comprehensive scan tool give you your engine code, but it also connects you to an extensive database that automatically generates repair reports to help you fix your vehicle.

With the BlueDriver, you get free app updates, the ability to screenshot and save data easily, and the ability to interact with live data graphs to help break down the problem.

The best part about this forward-thinking scan tool is that it’s significantly cheaper than some other models out there.

#6 – OBDeleven Pro Diagnostic Scan Tool 

best scan tool for Audi or VolkswagenIf you drive an Audi, VW, or other VAG (Volkswagen Auto Group) vehicle, the OBDeleven Pro should be at the top of your list for a scan tool. This Bluetooth enabled scanner has many advanced functions but is easy to use no matter your skill level.

This scan tool is compatible with Android devices and provides an in-depth list of functions. The OBDeleven is capable of accessing a wide array of vehicle DTCs and offers the ability to perform a number of diagnostic tests.

Technically adept users will find the OBDeleven Pro to be quite useful when attempting to validate repairs and relearn certain automated vehicle functions. This unit also allows users to access numerous dealer specific menus where you can customize your vehicle’s default settings (which isn’t possible with other diagnostic scan tools).

While it’s an excellent tool if you have an Android powered device, those with iPhones or other Apple products are out of luck if they want to be able to use all features. But as an alternative, purchasing a cheap Android tablet is a good workaround. OBDeleven also makes a standard edition which is less feature-rich but comes at a lower price point.

#7 – ANCEL FX2000 Vehicle OBD2 Scanner

top rated OBD2 scan toolThis scan tool provides tons of great features for a fraction of the cost of some of the more expensive scan tool models out there. The tradeoff is that it doesn’t cover as many vehicles.

While it covers any post-1996 US-made vehicle, it only covers vehicles produced after 2002 from the EU and 2005 from Asian countries. It does support eight different languages, and if you’re only using it on newer vehicles, it will do everything you could want and more.

It reads engine, ABS, SRS, and PCM codes and lives streams data from each of these symptoms to help you troubleshoot the problem. Additionally, it can run emission tests on your vehicle to help you pass smog or emission tests.

Not only do you get a great deal on the scan tool up front, but with free lifetime updates, they aren’t nickel and diming you down the road either.

While the Ancel FX2000 only works on some vehicles after 1996, it will still read basic engine codes for any vehicle with an OBD2 system. However, you will not be able to utilize live data streaming or other advanced features.

#8 – Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner

Autel AL319 reviewIf you’re looking for a low-end scan tool that can read your engine codes and freeze frame limited data, this might be what you’re looking for. It’s a 10th of the price of the top Autel scanner we looked at, but it also has a 10th of the features.

It only reads check engine codes and won’t give you any troubleshooting advice beyond the code name and description. But if you’re a competent mechanic and don’t mind scrubbing a few forums for more complex issues, then this OBD2 scanner will be more than enough to get you started.

This scan tool works with all vehicles made in the United States after 1996. For European vehicles, it works with vehicles produced after 2000. If the vehicle has an OBD2 system, this scan tool will work at reading the codes.

Finally, the Autel AL319 scanner comes with a 1-year warranty, but most simple scan tools like this last much longer.

Best Professional Car Diagnostic Tools

If you’re working in a shop, you need a scan tool jam-packed with features. That’s precisely what these scan tools provide.

#1 – Autel MaxiCOM MK908 Bi-Directional Diagnostic Scan Tool

best professional automotive scan toolThe Autel MK908 is a top-of-the-line scan tool that does everything you could ever dream of. This bi-directional diagnostic tool works with over 80 different vehicle models, reads every code available, and performs a wide array of maintenance functions.

Whether you’re looking for a standard engine code or need to read a BCM, PDM, EPS, or any other vehicle module, this scan tool can handle it. It provides maintenance functions for ABS bleeding, pump testing, engine oil resets, and so much more.

Moreover, it gives you the ability to live stream data from various sensors and freeze-frame that data for easier troubleshooting.

The Autel MaxiCOM MK908 works wirelessly from up to 755 feet away. Whether you’re working on the other side of the shop or in the driver’s seat, this scan tool can handle it. The biggest drawback to this scan tool is the upfront cost. But if you need a professional level scan tool, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Finally, like all Autel scan tools, this one comes with a 1-year warranty, but you will need to purchase yearly updates to keep this scan tool up to date with all the newest vehicles.

#2 – Launch X431 V+ Bi-Directional Scanner

Launch professional diagnostic scannerThis professional-quality OBD2 diagnostic scanner comes with everything you need to troubleshoot and repair every code that a vehicle can throw at you. As an added perk, it comes loaded with over 24 languages, so no matter where you are in the world, this scan tool can break everything down for you.

Like all the best professional scan tools, this Launch model comes with active testing capabilities and bi-directional data. This means you run ABS bleeding, gear resets, injector coding, and so much more with the touch of your finger!

While this scan tool is more expensive than the DIY options, it does everything an $8,000 Snap-On scan tool does for a fraction of the cost.

The Launch X431 V+ works with over 10,000 different vehicles and comes with one of the industry’s best warranties – a five-year comprehensive warranty. No more worrying if this scan tool is going to make it through the first couple of years!

#3 – Autel MaxiPRO MP808K Professional Diagnostic Scan Tool

Autel MP808K reviewIt’s the most affordable professional-level scan tool that we found. While it’s still more expensive than the home mechanic options, it’s because it comes packed with more features.

The Autel MP808K can read any code that your vehicle throws at you and works with more than 80 different vehicle models. Additionally, it comes with tons of features that any professional shop needs. From key programming to ABS bleeding, this scan tool does it all.

Keep in mind that this scan tool, like most professional scan tools, require a paid subscription to keep everything updated year after year. While the update isn’t necessary to continue using the scanner, you won’t gain access to all the newest vehicles and troubleshooting guide if you don’t purchase the upgrade.

It comes with a 1-year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about getting a dud out of the box. Bang for the buck, it’s hard to beat the Autel MP808K.

OBD2 Scan Tool Buying Guide

Finding the perfect OBD2 scanner for your vehicle can seem like a daunting task, and if you don’t know where to start, it can be. Luckily for you, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to find the perfect scan tool for you.

Double Check Compatibility

The most important thing you want to verify when buying a scan tool for your vehicle is that it will work with your car. While most modern vehicles utilize an OBD2 system, some older vehicles use OBD1.

Take the little extra time to verify what your vehicle has and if the scan tool you’re purchasing will work on it.

How Much Do You Know?

If you’re looking at getting a cheap and simple code reader but don’t know a thing about mechanics, it likely won’t do you any good. On the other hand, some of the more expensive scan tools come with troubleshooting tips and advice from actual mechanics that can steer you in the right direction.

If you’re looking at purchasing a scan tool to save a little money at the repair shop, make sure you’re getting a tool that lets you accomplish those goals!

Frequently Asked Questions

We know there are tons of questions surrounding scan tools. That’s why we answered some of the most common questions below to clear up any confusion!

What Can an OBD2 Scanner Do?

Basic OBD2 scanners only read engine codes. However, many scan tools come with OBD2 scanners built right in. That’s why almost every OBD2 scanner out there has more features than a simple code reader.

Read Also: DTC P1000 (OBD System Readiness Test)

Do I Need a Code Reader or a Scan Tool?

While the two tools are often confused with each other. Scan tools provide much more information and data than a code reader. Code readers provide you with the basic code, but they don’t give you anything else.

Scan tools on the other hand, provide a wide array of functions. They tell you the code, break down what the code means, provide live data streams, and often break down the most common cause of the code and how to fix it.

If you’re a competent mechanic and know how to troubleshoot different codes than a code reader might be all you need. But a scan tool speeds up the process and ensures even the most competent mechanic that they’re replacing or repairing the right part the first time.

Why Do Automotive Scan Tool Prices Vary So Much?

There are three main reasons that automotive scan tool prices vary so much: the scan tool brand, how many vehicles the scan tool works on, and the number of features on the scan tool.

The manufacturer is one of the biggest factors that determine the price of a scan tool. That’s why Snap-On scan tools can cost close to $10,000, but they don’t offer any more features or work on any more vehicles than most 1,000 dollar scan tools. Certain brands simply have a premium.

While other Snap-On tools may be worth their price, we’ve found some (namely Autel and Launch) pro diagnostic tools are just as good or very close to it.

From there, many scan tools only work on a select number of vehicles. If they don’t work on pre-OBD2 vehicles they’re often cheaper than those that only work on newer cars.

Furthermore, many scan tools offer diagnostic troubleshooting, wireless features, blake breed assist, and so much more. The more features a scan tool comes with the higher the price tag.

Are Car Diagnostic Scanners Universal?

Yes and no. While any OBD2 scanner can read engine codes on a vehicle with OBD2, that’s where the universal functions stop. The diagnostic advice, maintenance features, and everything else only works on specific vehicles depending on the tool – even if it has OBD2.

Categories Product Reviews, Trouble CodesTags ECU, obd, productSours:

Best OBD2 Scanners For 2021

“OBD” stands for “On Board automotive Diagnostics,” and OBD-II (oft abbreviated to OBD2) is the second generation of this technology. A vehicle’s computers monitor the data from multiple components, keep track of what they’re doing and if something’s wrong. When a fault does occur, it’s stored in the computer as a diagnostic trouble code, and sometimes triggers the check engine light on your dashboard. Every gasoline-powered vehicle built since 1996 and every diesel since 2008 is equipped with an OBD2 port to get access to that information. The port’s design is standard across different makes, it’s always located within 3-feet of the driver and can be accessed without tools.

 In the early days, only dealerships and independent mechanics had scanners that could read the data and the fault codes. Today, do-it-yourselfers have a large variety of OBD2 scanners they can keep in their home garages, or even in their vehicles. A good scanner tells what’s wrong when the check engine light comes on and allows users to clear the code, turning off the warning light. 

The trouble codes also provide information useful for carrying out any repairs that might be necessary. If the underlying problem isn’t fixed the check engine light will come on again. Fuller-featured models can include Bluetooth connections to smartphones and tablets, a wider array of functions, databases of repair and parts information specific to the vehicle, the issues detected and more. The good news is that most of these more functional scanners are still reasonably priced, but there are some heavy hitters. Our list of the best OBD2 Scanners includes units that range from $60 to $480.

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Are you a DIY looking for a professional OBD2 scanner or a technician finding a professional automotive diagnostic scanner that can provide the best services ranging from OBD2 functions (e.g. MIL reset, O2 sensor test, I/M readiness, etc.), system diagnostics (e.g. ABS, airbag, transmission, etc.), or service functions (e.g. ABS bleeding, bi-directional control, injector coding, key coding, or ECU programming, etc.)?

I’ve got you covered!

But, many are asking “Which is the best match for me and my budget? Do I really need that $1,000 tool – and conversely, will a $100 scanner can do what I need?”

In this article, I will review the top professional car diagnostic tools in the market from 2020 to 2021 and show you how to choose the right one.

Read on to find out the right OBD2 scanner for your specific need and pocket. Choose the group of scan tools you want below and go with me!!

Table of Contents

Best professional car diagnostic tools comparison chart

*Prices were updated on September 1st, 2021.

This article shows you the best OBD2 scanners and the best professional automotive diagnostic scanners

Best OBD2 scanners for beginners

Price range: $30-$100

Are you new to diagnosing car problems on your own? With universal OBD2 scanners, you can easily carry out checks on your vehicle’s key components. These tools allow you to perform diagnostics on multiple vehicle brands, unlike OBD1 that are usually manufacturer-specified.

ANCEL AD310, FOXWELL NT301, and Bluedriver are the best OBD2 scanners for beginners on the market. We’ll take a look at these scanners, comparing their features and functions. 

Best cheap OBD2 scanners for beginners comparison chart

Best cheap OBD2 scanner for beginners: BlueDriver, FOXWELL NT301, or ANCEL AD310?

Design and Connection

All three OBD2 scanners have a classic, compact design. So, you can easily carry them anywhere you go. 

ANCEL AD310 and Foxwell NT310 both feature a cable that easily fits into your vehicle’s 16-pin OBDII DLC. The scanners boot up when you connect the cable to the DLC. The cable then serves as the communication link between your car and the scanner. 

BlueDriver, on the other hand, doesn’t need any cable to work. Instead, it uses a Bluetooth connection. All you have to do is plug it into the car’s OBD2 port, install the BlueDriver App on your smartphone/tablet (Android and iOS), and you can perform diagnostics on your vehicle. 

For convenience, BlueDriver is your best bet. You get all the benefits of a wired OBD2 scanner without the drawbacks of having to hang back and spend all your time diagnosing behind the steering wheel. You can move around your vehicle, although you still have to be within 30 feet of the scanner, while diagnosing faults from a comfortable position in your garage


BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android


Beginners and enthusiasts who want professional-level system diagnosis and enhanced code reading should go for the BlueDriver.

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OBD2 functions and Enhanced codes

All three universal scanners support all OBD2 protocols, such as ISO 9141-2, ISO 14230-4, SAE J1850 PWM, ISO 15765, and SAE J1850 VPW. They perform full OBD2 functions, including reading and clearing error codes, freeze frame data, accessing live data, executing I/M readiness test, O2 Sensor test, on-board monitor test, component test, and reading of vehicle Information. However, only BlueDriver can read and clear enhanced codes, such as ABS, Airbag Transmission, TPMS, Climate Control, and others. 

So, while all three tools can serve OBD2 diagnostic purposes, only BlueDriver supports enhanced diagnostics. For that, it gets my recommendation.


BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android


Beginners and enthusiasts who want professional-level system diagnosis and enhanced code reading should go for the BlueDriver.

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System diagnostics and reset functions

All three scanners are primarily engine code readers. They diagnose what causes the “Check Engine Light” to come on and then reset it. The ANCEL AD310 and Foxwell NT301 only diagnose the engine system. However, BlueDriver can read and clear error codes in the ABS, SRS, and other vehicle systems. So, if you’re looking to perform just engine checks, then any of the three scanners can go. 

However, to diagnose more systems beyond just the engine system, you should go with BlueDriver.

Read more: Never Buy BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool Before Reading This Guide

Vehicle coverage

ANCEL AD310 works on all OBD2-supported vehicles sold in the United States from 1996 till date and all cars sold in the EU and Asia from 2000 till date. BlueDriver, on the other hand, supports all cars and light trucks with the model year 1996 or newer. Foxwell NT301’s vehicle coverage includes all cars and SUVs from 1996 and newer. With an OBD1-OBD2 adapter, the NT301 can also work with OBD1 vehicles from 1994 to 1995. 

All three universal OBD2 scanners have extensive vehicle coverage. As long as your vehicle is OBD2-compliant, you won’t have any issues using any of the tools. So, I’ll recommend any one of those scanners. 

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone and Android is ideal tool for beginners and enthusiasts who want professional-level system diagnosis and enhanced code reading


For a beginner scanner, Foxwell NT301 could use a better and clearer instruction manual. Even its menu can get complicated at times. Aside from that, the only thing I don’t like is its protective casing, of which there is none, save some rubber protection around the edges.

BlueDriver doesn’t support Windows phones. If you want to use another mobile app, you might have to jump through some hoops to get it to work properly. Although it doesn’t occur all the time, the Bluetooth connection can sometimes drop or slow down. Lastly, adding advanced features like fob reprogramming and ECU coding would make this scanner perfect, although those are only for experts. 

ANCEL AD310 is generally suitable for only absolute beginners since it largely has only basic functions. It also lacks the feature to scan some codes like the ABS system, stability, airbag. It doesn’t support some Nissan and other brand models, so it may be best to contact the manufacturer before buying. Although the manual doesn’t mention it, it can connect to your computer, but it doesn’t come with the required yet outdated Mini-B USB cord.

Read more: ANCEL AD310: Classic Universal OBDII Code Reader Review

Best Professional OBD2 Scanners

Price range: $150-$500 [for experienced home mechanics] 

As a home mechanic, the right professional OBD2 scanner can quickly become a wondrous tool in your hand. These scanners allow you to read trouble codes, analyze operational data, and arrive at the cause of the vehicle’s problems. But what are the top professional OBD2 scanners for home mechanics that you can rely on?

We’re going to review and compare Foxwell NT614 Elite, Launch CRP129E, and Autel MK808. Placing them side by side will help you make the right buying decision in earnest.

Best Professional OBD2 Scanner comparison chart

*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Best Professional OBD2 Scanner: Autel MK808, Launch CRP129E, or FOXWELL NT614 Elite?

OBD2 Functions and System Diagnostics

All three scanners perform full OBD2 functions. These functions include reading and clearing error codes, showing freeze frame data, live data, I/M readiness status, oxygen sensor test results, requesting on-board monitoring test, component test, vehicle information, and checking system status, and DTC lookup.

Foxwell NT614 Elite provides an affordable way for home mechanics to diagnose troubles in vehicles’ engine, transmission, ABS, and airbag/SRS systems. The Launch CRP129E is also a four-system scan tool, allowing you to check the same systems as the NT614 Elite. On the other hand, the MK808 is a full system diagnostic tool. It can check the engine, transmission, SRS, EPB, chassis, ABS, steering, and any other vehicle systems. 

MK808 is the professional OBD2 scan tool of choice because it offers full system diagnostic functionality, which allows for comprehensive vehicle checks. If you’re looking to diagnose just the engine, transmission, ABS, and SRS systems, then I recommend buying the NT614E. 

Advanced Service Functions

Advanced service functions of NT614 Elite include activation or deactivation of SBC systems, programming the clutch pedal, sensor calibration, and adaptations. NT614 Elite also allows reset services such as oil light reset, and EPB reset service, which both ensure the smooth running of the vehicle. 

 Foxwell NT614 Elite

FOXWELL NT614 Elite OBD2 Scanner


NT614 Elite may not offer as many functionalities as the other two, but its advanced service functions can prove itself as one of the best professional car diagnostic tools for home mechanics.

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CRP129E takes it further with three additional service reset functions, which include TPMS reset, throttle position reset, and steering angle calibration. 

Launch CRP123E

LAUNCH CRP129E OBD2 Scan Tool for TCM Eng ABS SRS Code Reader


The CRP129E is another professional OBD2 scanner for home mechanics that offers a number of service functions and allows the diagnosis of the most important systems in a vehicle: engine, ABS, airbag, and transmission.

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Interestingly, Autel MK808 has even more service functions, over 25 in number. These service functions include oil reset, SAS calibration, adding and disabling IMMO keys, injector coding, battery registration, DPF regeneration, ABS bleeding, odometer, and others. 

Autel MK808

Autel Scanner MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Car Diagnostic Scanner


Autel MK808 is an ideal scanner for experienced home mechanics or new auto technicians. It has more than 25 service functions, allowing you to do so much more. The fact that it’s a full system diagnostic tool makes a must-have if you want to find out the problems in any system.

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Without a doubt, the Autel MK808 stands out when it comes to advanced service functions. Notably, it allows for IMMO coding, which NT614 Elite and CRP129E don’t offer. 

With MK808, you can read the IMMO code of specific car models, add and match new keys to the car, and delete keys that it doesn’t need.

If you want a tool with comprehensive service functionality, I recommend MK808.

However, if you just need some specific service functions, Launch CRP129E is an excellent choice.

The CRP129E is one of the best professional OBD2 scanner for home mechanics that offers a number of service functions and allows the diagnosis of the most important systems in a vehicle: engine, ABS, airbag, and transmission.

Vehicle coverage

If you intend to work on any OBD1 or OBD2 vehicles from 1996 to 2020 models, Foxwell NT614 Elite will be a good pick. The CRP129E supports cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans after 1996 up till some 2019 vehicles. While the CRP129E works with 57 car brands, Autel MK808 supports over 80 brands. The scanner works with different car models from 1996 and newer. So when it comes to making a choice based on vehicle coverage, you won’t go wrong with the Autel MK808.

Any of these scan tools will be compatible with any OBD2-compliant vehicles. So there isn’t so much of a headache making a choice in that regard. 


Autel MK808 provides free updates for the first 12 months, but you’ll have to pay after that. Also, to avoid compatibility issues with exotic vehicles, we recommend checking the vehicle compatibility before buying it. 

Some people have complained about the information provided on its IMMO function. In short, it can’t add new keys. Also, the wireless connection of this professional OBD2 scanner doesn’t include Bluetooth. 

Launch CRP129E runs on a battery, which means that you have to keep it charged to use it. This advanced OBD2 scanner can perform multiple features on many car brands, but like many other scanners, it is limited by the features or data your OEM decides to share. Its many features mean that it costs a bit extra, and you may have to purchase some advanced features separately. 

Foxwell NT614 Elite is quite limited when it comes to system diagnostics. It can’t diagnose other vehicle systems apart from the engine, ABS, SRS, and transmission. Sometimes, reading data can be slow on this device, and it isn’t always compatible with newer models.

Read more: Autel MK808: Full-system OBD2 scan tool with IMMO review

Best professional automotive diagnostic scanner  

Price range: $750-$1,300 [for pros] 

We have seen the best diagnostic scanners for beginners and home mechanics. But what if you’re an expert looking for the right tool to assist in figuring out what the problem is at a professional level? 

A professional automotive diagnostic scanner for you must have advanced system diagnostics, service reset functions, programming, and coding. 

Here, we’ll be looking at the Autel MP808K, Launch X431 V+, and Autel MS906BT. These are the top professional car diagnostic tools you can always count on. 

Best professional car diagnostic tools comparison chart

*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Best professional automotive diagnostic scanner: Autel MP808K, Launch X431 V+, or Autel MS906BT?

Advanced system diagnostics

Autel’s MP808K and MS906BT are both full system automotive scanners, covering the engine, transmission, ABS, SRS, EPB, steering, light, and fuel systems – making it a perfect tool for pros. 

Autel MS906BT

Autel MaxiSys MS906BT with MV108 Automotive Scan Tool


Its relative, Autel MS906BT, has more reset functions. If you want an Autel product with more special functions, stable ECU coding, buy the MS906BT.

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In addition, the scanner can diagnose several modules available in a vehicle, including ECM, PDM, PCM, TPM, EPS, ABS, SCCM, ACS, and BCM. Autel MS906BT differs in that it supports bi-directional control over different vehicle systems and components.

Launch X431 V+

LAUNCH X431 V+ PRO Elite 4.0 Bi-Directional Scan Tool


If you want the best professional car diagnostic tool for professionals, buy Launch X431 V+ to enjoy its extended models, advanced diagnostics, programming, and ECU coding functions.

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Launch X431 V+ is also a full system diagnostic scanner. With the tool, you can carry out active tests for the ECM, ABS, TCM, BCM, SAS, TPMS, BMS, light system, A/C system, fuel system, etc. 

This automotive diagnostic scanner also supports extended modules for more comprehensive vehicle checks. With these extended modules, you can perform ADAS calibrations (ADAS mobile), inspect hidden parts of the engine, braking system, and fuel tank (videoscope), and activate all vehicle sensors (x431 TSGUN). (However, you’ll have to buy these extended modules separately.)

Autel MP808K

Autel MaxiPRO MP808K OBD2 Diagnostic Tool


Autel MP808K is a reliable, professional vehicle diagnostic tool that lets you perform OE-Level diagnostics. It best serves auto enthusiasts, professional auto technicians or mechanics looking for comprehensive service functions and advanced system diagnostics.

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Autel MP808K suits those that are looking to have a full-system diagnostic tool with a number of important service functions

If you’re willing to spend a little extra on extended modules, I recommend Launch X431 V+. The tool provides the most extensive system diagnostics of the three.

Read more: Launch X431 V+: Professional auto scan tool (with ECU coding) review

Advanced maintenance/service functions

The Autel MP808K and Autel MS906BT automotive scanners allow you to perform several maintenance functions, including oil reset, EPB reset, injector coding, throttle position reset, SAS calibration, ABS bleeding, IMMO coding, language change, suspension, seat, odometer, A/F setting, airbag reset, headlamp, turbocharging, trans adaption, CHG tire size, cylinder, and TEC learn. 

However, not all of these reset functions work on all cars. You may have to check a car’s compatibility with the scanners’ manufacturer. 

Also, the Autel MP808K supports a maximum of 23 reset functions, while the Autel MP906BT has 31 ones.

If you want the best professional car diagnostic tool for professionals, buy Launch X431 V+ to enjoy its extended models, advanced diagnostics, programming, and ECU coding functions.

Notably, unlike Launch X431 V+, Autel MP808K and Autel MS906BT cannot service TPMS. Launch X431 V+ also has multiple special service functions, which include oil reset, fuel injector coding, brake reset, SAS reset, battery reset/maintenance, ABS blessing, electronic throttle initialization, TPMS reset, gear learn, SRS reset, engine reset, transmission system reset, steering angle calibration, etc.

The Launch X431 V+ supports TPMS reset and other reset functions, which puts it above the other two scan tools in this category.

Read more: Autel MS906BT: Professional Car Diagnostic Tool Review


All three automotive diagnostic scanners have full ECU coding capabilities (MP808K only supports ECU coding for some models). This feature allows you to improve vehicle performance by setting a new code for the ECU. Additionally, Launch X431 V+ supports offline and online ECU coding. 

Another common feature is their support for programming key fobs for corrupt and lost keys in various vehicles. Their key programming functions include adding, deleting, and reprogramming keys, rewriting smart keys, resetting keys, etc. 

However, with the Launch X431 V+, you won’t need a PIN code to perform those key programming functions. 

So, Launch X431 V+ is the best choice considering its support for both offline and online ECU coding and not requiring a PIN code to program keys. 

Launch X431 V+

LAUNCH X431 V+ PRO Elite 4.0 Bi-Directional Scan Tool


If you want the best professional car diagnostic tool for professionals, buy Launch X431 V+ to enjoy its extended models, advanced diagnostics, programming, and ECU coding functions.

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Vehicle coverage

For Autel MP808K and Autel MS906BT automotive diagnostic scanners, compatible vehicles include over 80 makes. If the vehicle isn’t OBD2-compliant, you can get an OBD1-OBD2 connector or adapter. 

In addition to supporting over 10,000 vehicle models, the Launch X431 V+ scanner supports a heavy-duty module (Heavy Duty 3.0) that allows for diagnosing heavy-duty vehicles and diesel trucks. This definitely puts Launch X431 V+ on top of the pecking order. 


Autel MP808K has 23 reset functions, but it can’t service the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). This feature is in demand by most professionals who want to turn off the TPMS light in some vehicles. Also, you may have to confirm which one of those reset functions work on your vehicle. The same goes for ECU coding. Apart from that, it perfectly fits the professional scanner category well.

Autel MS906BT has excellent battery life, but it still needs to be recharged. Recharging, however, isn’t as fast as it could be, but it is manageable. The other thing to note is that, like the Autel MP808K, it can’t service TPMS. You get free updates for the first year, although they are limited. After that, you’ll need to pay for newer updates. 

Launch X431 V+ uses state of the art tech, which is why it costs slightly higher. The manufacturer includes a generous warranty and 2 years of free updates. After the first two years, updates cost around $400 per year.

Read more: Autel MS906BT: Professional Car Diagnostic Tool Review

Best scan tool with ECU programming/coding

Price range: $2,500-$5,500 [for pros]

The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) controls the major functions of a vehicle. An ECU programming tool allows you to reprogram a car by transferring a ROM file to a permanent storage in the ECU. 

As a professional auto technician, choosing the right ECU programming tool can be quite a fix.

Here, we’re going to compare the best ECU programming tools today. We’ll take a look at Autel MaxiSys Elite, X431 PAD V, and Autel MaxiSys Ultra

With any of these tools, you can effectively reprogram a car to your customer’s specifications. 

Best ECU programming tool comparison chart

*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Best ECU Programming Tool: Autel Maxisys, Launch X431 PAD V, or Autel Maxisys Ultra?

Advanced service functions

Launch X431 Pad V features 50 reset service functions, including IMMO key coding, gear reset, SAS reset, TPMS reset, AFS reset, DPF reset, injector coding, oil reset, ABS bleeding, GEARBOX, BMS reset, EGR adaptation, ETS reset, etc. 

For Autel MaxiSys Elite and Ultra scan tools, you get over 36 advanced service functions, including steering angle reset, suspension reset, oil light reset, injector coding, sunroof initialization, seat calibration, DPF regeneration, ABS bleeding, IMMO service, ABS bleeding, AFS headlamp reset, battery reset, language change, ODO reset, tire reset, airbag reset, A/F reset, gearbox reset, and TPMS reset.

You should go for Launch X431 Pad V if you’re looking for a tool that allows for more advanced service functions.   

Launch X431 PAD V

LAUNCH X431 PAD V Automotive Scan Tool


Suppose you’re an professional auto technician working in a medium to large auto repair shop and you want a tool to diagnose, code, or program almost any vehicle, you should buy the Launch X431 Pad V. It also comes with 15 OBD1 adapters for that purpose.

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Bi-directional controls

All three programming tools support bi-directional controls, which allow you to locate an issue without having to rip everything apart. Right from your scan tool, you can control the parking lamps, tail lamps, headlamps, front wiper, rear wiper, parking lamps, license plate lamps, A/C compressors, daytime running lights, cooling fan, door switch, and windows, and oil pressure warning lamps. 

This way, you won’t have to drive your car or use in-car controls to recreate the problems it had. You can actuate solenoids and actuators with any of the scanners and send specific instructions to check the working status of specific components or systems.

Any of the three scanners will do the job for you when it comes to bi-directional controls. 

Read more: Autel Maxisys Elite: Why many technicians at big shops are using it?

Coding/ programming

Autel MaxiSys Elite, and Autel MaxiSys Ultra, and Launch X431 PAD V allow you to carry out both ECU programming and ECU coding. 

They all support online and offline coding, but Autel MaxiSys Elite only supports ECU coding and programming in the US. 

With ECU coding, you can program an empty ECU to arrive at the garage or customer’s specifications. You can also reprogram second-hand ECUs and match ECU components. 

On the other hand, ECU programming allows you to download the latest version of the software from the internet and program it to the car’s ECU. 

With this feature, you can easily reprogram vehicle control modules and adaptive data after replacements or repairs. 

Launch X431 PAD V professional automotive scanner comes with 15 OBD1 adapters for that purpose.

We recommend the Launch X431 PAD V for advanced ECU coding, ECU programming and key programming on a wide range of vehicles.

Launch X431 PAD V

LAUNCH X431 PAD V Automotive Scan Tool


Suppose you’re an professional auto technician working in a medium to large auto repair shop and you want a tool to diagnose, code, or program almost any vehicle, you should buy the Launch X431 Pad V. It also comes with 15 OBD1 adapters for that purpose.

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Supported protocols and vehicle coverage

Launch X431 PAD V covers virtually all car brands in the world and includes 15 adapters to extend coverage to OBD1 vehicles as well. Autel Maxisys Elite is also widely compatible with vehicle brands globally, covering over 10000 vehicle brands. On the other hand, the Autel Maxisys Ultra covers a modest 80+ vehicles including some supercars.

Autel MaxiSys Ultra

Autel MaxiSys Ultra Automotive Diagnostic Scanner with 36+ Service Functions


We recommend the Autel MaxiSys Ultra to professional mechanics who want OE-level functionality and advanced ECU programming in solid scanner hardware and don’t mind paying extra for more.

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However, MaxiSys Ultra supports more protocols than the other two scanners. Its supported protocols include DoIP, PLC J2497, ISO-15765, SAE-J1939, ISO-14229 UDS, SAE-J2411 Single Wire Can (GMLAN), ISO-11898-2, ISO-11898-3, SAE-J2819 (TP20), TP16, ISO-9141, ISO-14230, SAE-J2610 (Chrysler SCI), UART Echo Byte, SAE-J2809 (Honda Diag-H), SAE-J2740 (GM ALDL), SAE-J1567 (CCD BUS), Ford UBP, Nissan DDL UART with Clock, BMW DS2, BMW DS1, SAE J2819 (VAG KW81), KW82, SAE J1708, SAE-J1850 PWM (Ford SCP), SAE-J1850 VPW (GM Class2).

Autel MaxiSys Elite

Autel Maxisys Elite Scan Tool J2534 ECU Programming


If you’re trying to save some bucks but still want an effective ECU programming tool with support for multiple advanced service functions, buy the Autel MaxiSys Elite.

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MaxiSys Elite supports fewer protocols, including ISO 9141-2, ISO 14230-4, SAE J1850 PWM, ISO 15765, SAE J1850 VPW, Highspeed, Middlespeed, Lowspeed and Singlewire CAN, GM UART, UART Echo Byte Protocol, Honda Diag-H Protocol, TP 2.0, TP 1.6, SAE J1939, SAE J1708V. 

Launch X431 Pad V supports the least number of protocols. It supports ISO 9141-2, ISO 14230-4, SAE J1850 PWM ISO 15765 CAN, SAE J1850 VPW, D-PDU API, J2534, RP1210, DoIP.

Despite that, the Launch X431 PAD V is our recommendation in this regard. It is a great fit for professional mechanics looking for a diagnostic scanner that supports almost any car they may encounter.


Launch X431 Pad V is a high-end device with high-end pricing. For the first year after purchase, you get to download updates for the device for free. However, you pay for updates in subsequent years. It lacks the Smartlink Remote Diagnosis feature, which allows you to diagnose vehicle’s remotely without a Launch scanner or other tools on-site. However, it can perform Remote Diagnosis if you have a Launch device on-site. 

Autel MaxiSys Elite first drawback is that it doesn’t support ECM reprogramming for GM vehicles, although it fully supports ECU coding. The touchscreen can sometimes be too sensitive when using the device, so it takes some getting used to. Renewals are also pricey after the first year, although that isn’t uncommon for scan tools in this category. 

Autel MaxiSys Ultra is an IP limited version, which means it won’t work in Europe. Some other Autel products have this limitation so you should check that it isn’t before buying it. Autel’s customer service can be better, but they always respond to emails.

Read more: Autel Maxisys Ultra Vs. Elite Vs. Launch X431 PAD V: Comparison and Review

Best Professional Automotive Diagnostic Software

Nowadays, technology has made it easier to diagnose what’s wrong with our vehicles. With a professional diagnostic software, you can troubleshoot issues with your vehicles, clear ‘Check Engine Light,’ and improve its performance. Some auto diagnostic software products are compatible with all PC-based or mobile-based scan tools. Others only work with specific adapters.

TOAD Pro, OBDWiz, and AutoEnginuity are some of the best automotive diagnostic software for professional mechanics. While they all boast of exciting features, there are some differences you might want to know before getting one. 

Best professional automotive diagnostic software comparison chart

*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Best professional automotive diagnostic software: TOAD Pro, OBDWiz, or AutoEnginuity?

Operating systems

AutoEnginuity scan tool uses Windows operating system. It is compatible with Windows® XP / Vista / Windows® 7 / 8.0 / 8.1/ 10 operating systems (32 and 64 Bit). TOAD Pro also requires the same operating system.  

OBDWiz is also a Windows PC-based diagnostic software, with support for Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. 

There’s really no significant difference between the three diagnostic software when it comes to the operating system. So I will recommend any of them.  

OBD2 Functions and System Diagnostics

All three software supports five OBD2 protocols, which include SAE JI850 PWN, SAE JI850 VPW, ISO 9141-2, ISO 14230 KWP, and ISO 15765-4. With AutoEnginuity, you can perform various OBD2 Functions such as read and clear error codes, bi-directional control, reset adaptations, view maintenance tests, automated VIN decoding, and live vehicle sensors. 

OBDWiz also has similar OBD2 functions such as read and clear DTCs, freeze data frame, monitor tests, and PID values display.  

TOAD Pro’s OBD2 functions include read and clear trouble codes, freeze frame data, 02 sensor test, on-board monitoring test, evaporative system leak test, and VIN.

AutoEnginuity provides access to a selection of vehicle systems, which include the engine, ABS, instrument cluster, airbags, chassis, body, and transmission system. 

However, TOAD Pro only diagnoses the engine and transmission systems, with no support for ABS, SRS, brakes, and airbags. It even gets worse with OBDWiz, which only reads the engine system.

We recommend AutoEnginuity for its ability to diagnose problems in multiple vehicle systems, allowing for comprehensive car checks. 

Advanced service functions

OBDWiz diagnostic software combines with its adapter to provide advanced service functions such as TPMS reset, ABS bleed, program keys, and E-brake. 

Toad Pro only resets service lights, and there’s no advanced service functions information for AutoEnginuity, although ToadPro has in-depth manuals for different car brands. 

AutoEnginuity has a separate tool for service resets on BMW Mini that you’ll have to buy differently.

You’ll have to buy the OBDWiz to be sure of the service reset functions you need.


With the right OBDLink scan tool, OBDWiz can prove very useful in tuning your car. It allows you to disable artificial engine noise, enable LED headlights, and even change the speedometer settings. 

When it comes to ECU coding or OBD2 programming, TOAD Pro is the best choice here. It allows you to tune your cars or customer’s cars, which involves editing and reprogramming the vehicle’s data codes. There’s no coding/programming features offered by AutoEnginuity.

toad Pro

TOAD Pro - Affordable ELM327 OBD2 Programming Software


TOAD Pro is a professional OBD2 programming software built for repair shops, mechanics, and even “under the shade tree” mechanics who want to conduct extensive scans and ECU programming while saving thousands of dollars over the years. 

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Vehicle coverage

AutoEnginuity works with all OBD2 and EOBD IV+ compliant vehicles. Together with an OBDLink scan tool, OBDWiz supports almost all cars, SUVs, and light trucks sold in the US from 1996 to date. 

The only exceptions are electric and hybrid vehicles. Meanwhile, TOAD Pro supports cars, SUVs, and 12V trucks made or imported into the United States after January 1996. 

Read more: TOAD Pro: Perfect OBD2 Programming Software For Laptop


TOAD Pro doesn’t work with other OS apart from Windows, including Android, iOS, Linux, or macOS. Also, the connected adapter has to be an ELM327 adapter for it to work. To make a connection, you can use a USB cord or wireless setup. But the USB cord that comes with it is quite short, so you might have to use wireless more often.

OBDWiz has limited system diagnosis functionalities. It can only read codes from the engine system; it doesn’t support the diagnosis of other vehicle systems like ABS, transmission, TPMS, etc. OBDWiz also has limited advanced maintenance options. Although it can be great for tuning your car, it can’t program your ECU. It also only works with Windows.

AutoEnginuity can be difficult to use for beginners, and its help section isn’t so great.  On features, it can perform all OBD2 tests and scan multiple systems, but it doesn’t have any maintenance/reset functions, not even CEL. Besides that, it can’t code or program an ECU.

Download Links:

TOAD Pro | OBDWiz | AutoEnginuity

Final thoughts

Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast, home mechanic, or professional automotive technician, there’s a scan tool built just for you. 

These scanners are essential for reading and clearing diagnostic trouble codes and other advanced diagnostics on your vehicle. Choosing the right scanner can be problematic, especially when you’re not sure which one fits your skill level, and that’s why we put together this guide. 

Below, you’ll find a brief recap of the scanners we’ve handpicked for the very varied needs of pros and beginners car repairers:

So, go get the OBD2 scanner that fits your needs and start diagnosing car problems without stress. 

Read more: Tim’s Review of the Best OBD2 Bluetooth Scanners 2021

Automotive Diagnostic Tools Buying Guide

Having a professional automotive OBD2 diagnostic scan tool is beneficial for both DIYers and Auto Repair Shops in many ways

Benefits for DIYers

When the warning lights on your dash are illuminated, they’re responding to trouble codes that your engine’s computer has generated. For the engine, these codes are grouped under a diagnostic protocol known as OBDII. Short for “on-board diagnostics,” the OBD system is standardized across vehicle manufacturers, allowing mechanics to quickly identify and repair engine problems. 

The engine isn’t the only system that puts out these trouble codes, either. You can troubleshoot errors in everything from your tire pressure to your airbags with the right code reader. These codes aren’t standardized, however, and can’t be read by all OBDII scan tools. 

That’s where a professional scan tool comes into play, giving you access to error codes and other helpful data primary code readers won’t provide. Other benefits of a professional automotive diagnostic scanner are as follows:

Make Repairs Yourself Instead of Paying A Mechanic

Some vehicle issues require professional expertise, but others are simpler and can be easily (and cheaply) repaired at home. With a scan tool, you can identify the problem and its severity, gaining the knowledge you need to make small repairs yourself. Once those repairs are made, an automotive scan tool allows you to clear the error code and turn off the check engine light, too. 

Preparing for State Emissions Tests

Much of the information included in OBD2 diagnostics is related to your vehicle’s smog emissions. With a professional automotive scanner, you can identify issues with the emission system before you go to the inspection, saving you both time and money.

Gain Insight Into Engine Health And Performance

Professional car scan tools read a range of parameters and data. Logging this information lets you identify trends and developing issues before they’re a big problem. When you do need to go to the mechanic, you’ll walk in knowing the exact issue you need to have fixed, giving you peace of mind that you’re not being ripped off.

Recommendation for any beginnersBluedriver


BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scanner


The convenience of BlueDriver is its main advantage. It’s the best car scan tool for drivers who want to easily monitor their vehicle’s performance.

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Benefits for Auto Repair Shops

Automotive scanners don’t just read trouble codes and record module data. Professional models also allow you to interact with the engine, making necessary repairs and adjustments. If you’re a professional mechanic, there are a few key features you’ll need in a diagnostic tool:

More services to offer to your customers

A scanner with coding and programming capability allows you to go beyond necessary repairs. You can add services like making new key fobs or tuning the engine, things your customers would otherwise have needed to have done at a dealership.

Expanded vehicle coverage can grow your customer base

Professional scan tools can diagnose and repair vehicles from dozens of manufacturers. The more cars and trucks you’re able to work on, the more potential customers you have nearby.

Improve speed and efficiency

We all know time is money. Speed can be especially important in automotive repair, where customers are eager to get back on the road. Along with high processing speeds that scan trouble codes, many professional tools have intelligent features that automatically gather information from the engine. The inclusion of bi-directional control is another big time-saver, identifying failing valves or solenoids so you can get the right to repairs.

Better accuracy

A diagnostic tool is useless if you can’t trust the information it gives you. Industry experts have vetted professional tools from trusted brands so you can count on the accuracy of their readings.

Recommendation for Auto Diagnostic Specialists/big shopsLaunch X431 V+

Autel X431 V+

Launch X431 V+ Automotive Diagnostic Scanner with 30+ Service Functions


The Launch X431 V+ is the best value you’ll find in professional diagnostic scan tools, offering the same robust diagnostic and programming functions as scanners that cost 4-5 times as much.

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Bonus 2: Best Launch scan tools and code readers 2021: Never buy it before reading this guide

Types of Automobile Diagnostic Scanner

Not all code readers are created equal—and it’s not just a matter of which brand makes them. Different models are suitable for specific users, so you want to make sure you get the right one for your needs. While there are a lot of different styles of automotive scanner out there, the ones you’re most likely to come across include:

OBD2 Scan Tools for DIY

This is the type of scanning tool that most DIYers want. It goes beyond a code reader, providing multi-system diagnosis and some service functions, but it is more affordable than OE-level diagnostic tools meant for professional garages. Bluedriver and Foxwell NT614 Elite are excellent choices in this group.

Professional Automotive Diagnostic Scanners

Service functions, coding, and programming capabilities are the main advantages of professional diagnostic tools. You can tune, remap, and otherwise customize the ECU and perform tens of service and diagnostic functions. They’re more expensive and, therefore, what they can do is excellent. However, this type of diagnostic tool ONLY suits professionals working in auto repair shops. If you are a professional automotive technician or diagnostic specialist and ECU programming is not your priority, think about the Launch X431 V+. But if you regularly program ECU of BMW or Mercedes Benz vehicles with J2534, consider taking the Autel Maxisys Elite.

Launch X431 V+

Launch X431 V+ Full-System Automotive Scanner


The Launch X431 V+ is the best value you’ll find in professional car diagnostic tools, offering the same robust diagnostic and programming functions as scanners that cost 4-5 times as much.

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How Much Should I Pay?


DIY-ers should expect to spend somewhere around $100 – $500 for a high-quality diagnostic scanner. Models in this price range typically include full-system diagnosis and service functions such as Oil Reset, ABS Bleeding, Injector Coding, EPB Reset, BMS Service, SAS Calibration, DPF Regeneration, etc. The features they omit also tend to be what hobbyists and home mechanics won’t use anyway, things like ECU coding requiring more advanced knowledge to do successfully. A typical choice for you, if you want to have such a scan tool around $500, is the Autel MK808K. The Budget Buy is the Bluedriver, only about $100. Somewhere in the middle is the FOXWELL NT614 Elite, which costs you around $250.


BlueDriver - Best OBD2 scanner for beginners for iOS & Android


It costs you only about $99.95 to own this perfect Bluetooth OBD2 adapter plus the full version Bluedriver app with life-time FREE update.

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A professional automotive technician or diagnostic specialist is most likely looking at a budget from $500+ to $3,000+. Expect to be on the higher end of that spectrum if you need more sophisticated service functions or complicated performances like car key coding, programming, or ECU mapping. With a budget of around $1,000 to $1,200, you can buy a professional car diagnostic tool like Launch X431 V+, my favorite choice ever. It can do almost everything in your shop, from Oil Reset to ABS bleeding, from bidirectional control to key programming, or ECU coding.

Autel X431 V+

Launch X431 V+ Full-System Automotive Scanner


The Launch X431 V+ is the best value you’ll find in professional car diagnostic tools, offering the same robust diagnostic and programming functions as scanners that cost 4-5 times as much.

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Bonus: Best Autel scanner 2021: Never buy it before reading these reviews [updated]

Compatibility and Vehicle Coverage

The OBD2 code system is universal on all vehicles made in 1996 and later. Most professional car diagnostic scanners have broad compatibility for essential diagnostic functions, but the same may not be true of the service functions, “active tests,” or multi-system diagnostic abilities. 

With BlueDriver, for example, you can read necessary information from any vehicle with an OBD2 port. It can also read and clear Enhanced Codes for ABS, SRS, and transmissions systems, but not all cars. Those services are only available for select brands and vehicle model years. 

The same is true of more advanced professional scanners. The Autel Maxisys Elite is compatible with more than 10,000 models, but not all service functions will be available for all of them. The most limited is the J2534 ECU programming, which can only be done on two manufacturers BMW and Mercedes. 

The bottom line is that you should pay close attention to which features are offered for vehicles when you’re shopping for diagnostic tools.

Key Features

Automotive diagnostic tools don’t just read trouble codes and record module data. Professional models also allow you to interact with the engine, making necessary repairs and adjustments. If you’re a professional mechanic, there are many crucial features you’ll need in an advanced auto diagnostic tool:

These are five key features that are included in professional automotive diagnostic scanners

Full OBD2 Diagnostic Functions

The OBD2 diagnostics consists of ten modes. These include reading and clearing codes, retrieving live and freeze frame data, and conducting emissions tests. Many cheap code readers will only give you access to half of these modes or less. For the most accurate diagnosis, DIYers will want to get a scanner with full OBD2 functionality like the Bluedriver


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All System Diagnosis

Scanners that can read trouble codes from all the electronic modules in a vehicle are ideal for advanced DIYers and necessary for professionals. The OBDII system doesn’t catch all engine problems. In a professional garage, you need a scanner that can read all electronic modules, giving you a complete picture of the engine’s health. You’ll find many scanners in the price range from $200 to $300, like the FOXWELL NT614 Elite that not only lets you diagnose all systems but also perform several service functions like Oil Reset or EPB services. The average price goes up if you also want to get information from other electronic modules like climate control.

Reset and Service Functions

The term “service functions” is a catch-all for a range of repair functions included in auto scanning tools. One of the most common is oil reset, allowing you to turn off the oil light on your dash and reset the parameters after an oil change. Other essential functions include DPF regeneration, ABS bleeding, TPMS reset, adjustments to the throttle or suspension, etc. Generally speaking, reset and service functions will be more important from a professional standpoint than they are to DIY-ers, though they can be helpful in home garages, as well. You will find the essential service functions (26 ones) in the Autel MK808K, a perfect pick for you if you’re an experienced home mechanic.

Active Tests/Bidirectional Control

Also called “active testing,” bidirectional control allows the mechanic to activate or test mechanical components on demand. This process tells you if individual actuators, valves, and pumps function the way they should, allowing for more efficient and effective repairs. If you’re looking to do such tests, buy the Launch X431 V+, one of the best bi-directional scan tools today.

Read more: 10 Best Bidirectional Scan Tools Review 2021 [Update]

Key/ECU Coding and Programming

Car key/key fob/ECU coding or programming is primarily used to change keys, tuning, and remapping engines to optimize their performance, allowing you to make changes to the engine computer’s parameters and settings. It’s also helpful for making software updates and troubleshooting issues with fuel efficiency or engine power.

Read more: Best Actron Scanners / Code Readers Review 2021

TOP 5 Best OBD2 Scanners 2021 (Buying Guide \u0026 Reviews)

The best OBD-II scanners in 2021

Need to save money on car maintenance and repairs? Putting one of the best OBD-II scanners in your glove box or trunk may end up being crucial in those moments when your car's Check Engine light suddenly comes on, and you're on a lonely country road or just a week shy of getting the vehicle inspected.

The on-board diagnostics (OBD) scanner plugs into an access port near the driver's seat and taps into the car's computer systems. It can tell you whether your Check Engine light is caused by an easily replaceable gas cap or by a faulty catalytic converter that's going to cost $1,000 to fix.

OBD-II scanners, sometimes written as OBD2 scanners, or EOBD scanners as they're called in Europe, also let you see what's going on with your car's engine, transmission and other critical systems — information that normally only your mechanic has access to.

Whether you're taking your ride into the shop for a routine checkup or for a major repair, knowing this vital information will prevent you from being bamboozled into green-lighting unnecessary fixes. 

In fact, once you know everything that's going on with your wheels, you can end up doing a lot of the smaller stuff yourself. That makes the best OBD-II scanners — which range in price from $25 to $200 — pay for themselves.

We've tested more than a dozen OBD-II scanners and rated them based on features, size, warranty, setup, ease of use and — above all — value. The best OBD-II scanners can diagnose thousands of automotive problems. 

OBD-II/EOBD scanners work on almost all passenger vehicles sold in the United States since 1996, in Canada since 1998, in the European Union since 2004, and in Australia, Mexico and New Zealand since 2006. (This site helps you find your car's OBD-II port on North American cars, and this helps you find your OBD-II/EOBD port worldwide.)

Not all the best OBD-II scanners are created equal. There are two general types of devices.

  • Handheld OBD-II scanners come with their own screen and cable to plug into the car's OBD port.
  • Wireless OBD2II scanners plug into the port, but then connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet.

Whichever type of device you choose, there are several high-performance OBD-II scanners that cost less than $200, and a couple are less than $30. One of the best OBD-II scanners is no longer an unaffordable luxury, but something you need to have in your car. 

What are the best OBD-II scanners?

The best OBD-II scanner we used and tested is the Innova CarScan Inspector 5310. It has a color display, delivers a ton of useful data, shuts off the oil-change light and can run your car through a pre-inspection test. Unlike most scanners, it has both a handheld screen and the ability to connect to an app on your phone via Bluetooth.

The Innova provides code definitions to help you easily identify car problems and the Repair Solutions2 app helps you get verified fixes and will give you the exact parts you need, recall info and more.

The Topdon ArtiDiag500 is our second Editor's Choice. It has an unusual horizontal screen, has a full complement of functions and abilities, and is one of the few scanners that can connect to Wi-Fi.

The BlueDriver Pro Scan Tool is our top pick among Bluetooth-only scanners. It's a thick stubby plug that you can leave connected to your OBD-II port, but the app is elegant and well designed.

If you have a GM, Ford, Chrysler or Toyota car from the '80s or early '90s in your driveway, Bosch's OBD 1300 might be a godsend. It comes with specialized cables to connect to those pre-1996 "OBD-I" models.

Ancel's BD310 is another great OBD-II scanner. It does double duty by providing a small but efficient cabled handheld scanner for nosing around under the hood, and it can also wirelessly receive OBD data to serve as an auxiliary gauge inside the cabin to display key engine parameters. It's quite affordable.

See all of our picks for the best OBD-II scanners below.

The best OBD-II scanners you can buy today

1. Innova CarScan Inspector 5310

Cheap, easy to use and offers repair suggestions


Display/size: Color/2.8 inches

Bluetooth/handheld: Yes/Yes

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 9

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 6.9 x 3.4 x 1.2 inches

Weight: 10 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Great value+Resets oil light+Offers repair instructions and part pricing

Reasons to avoid

-Interface can be confusing-Lacks high-end features more expensive scanners have

The Innova CarScan Inspector 5310 beats its predecessor, the Innova CarScan Advisor 5210, by adding the ability to reset the oil-maintenance light. Like the 5210, the 5310 has the ability to provide readouts via Bluetooth as well as through a cable.

At $140, the Innova CarScan Inspector 5310 has all the features you would want from an amateur mechanic's OBD-II scanner. Its 2.8-inch color screen displays everything from live data to fault codes to a pre-inspection I/M readiness check.

If you'd rather use your phone, the Innova CarScan Inspector 5310 can connect via Bluetooth to the Innova RepairSolutions 2 app on an iPhone or Android phone. The app adds maintenance schedules, service bulletins and predictive-failure warnings.

The Innova CarScan Inspector 5310 may not have it all, but it should satisfy most weekend mechanics short on time. It's one of our two Editor's Choices.

Read our full Innova CarScan Inspector 5310 review.

2. Topdon ArtiDiag500

The best sub-$200 OBD-II scanner on the market


Display/size: Color touchscreen/5-inch

Bluetooth/handheld: No/Yes

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 4

Warranty: 2 years

Size: 9.1 x 4.9 x 1.4 inches

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Excellent array of diagnostic tests+Wi-Fi connectivity+Rugged design with soft edges

Reasons to avoid

-Heavy and cumbersome-Short cables

The Topdon ArtiDiag500 straddles the line between amateur and professional users with a large color touchscreen, Wi-Fi and an automotive health report. 

It looks like a rugged portable gaming console, feels like a brick and has a 47-inch cable that won't quite reach the engine bay (and won't fit into the carrying case when attached to the unit). 

Despite that, the Topdon ArtiDiag500 is one of the most capable consumer-grade OBD-II scanners we've seen. It can monitor the brakes, airbags and battery, run an I/M pre-inspection test and also display and graph live car data. The Android-based unit has its own rechargeable battery and can update its own software, two things you don't often see on handheld scanners.

It may be big and heavy, but the Topdon ArtiDiag500 might be the best $170 a car owner can spend on an OBD-II diagnostic scanner.

Read our full Topdon ArtiDiag500 review.

3. BlueDriver Pro Scan Tool

Full-featured and easy to use


Display/size: None

Bluetooth/handheld: Yes/No

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: None

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 2.2x 1.9 x 1.0 inches

Weight: 2.4 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Offers repair suggestions+Can read enhanced codes+Excellent phone/tablet app

Reasons to avoid

-Large transmitter-Specialty monitors don't work with all vehicles

The BlueDriver Pro Scan Tool is one of the most thorough Bluetooth-based automotive scanners, combining access to both basic and manufacturer-specific faulty codes and providing advice on how to fix problems.

The physical device is rather large, but that makes it easy to plug it into or yank out of an OBD-II port. An LED on the device lets you know whether it's in operation or in fault mode.

The BlueDriver mobile app is user-friendly and well laid-out, displaying data in automotive-style gauges and letting you export data to a spreadsheet. There's an I/M readiness test called a Smog Check, diagnostic tests for anti-lock brakes and engine timing, and Mode 6 in-depth diagnostic testing, although the amount of data collection may depend on your car's model and year.

Read our full BlueDriver Pro Scan Tool review.

4. Bosch OBD 1300

The diagnostic scanner to get for older cars


Display/size: Color/3.5 inches

Bluetooth/handheld: No/Yes

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 8

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 6.8 x 2.6 x 1.0 inches

Weight: 10.5 ounces (1.4 pounds with 84-inch cable)

Reasons to buy

+Comes with cables for pre-1996 vehicles+Includes repair suggestions+Can reset oil-change light

Reasons to avoid

-Can get heavy despite small size-No manual or quick-start guide

The Bosch OBD 1300 diagnostic scanner stands out by including cables to connect with pre-1996 Chrysler, Ford, GM and Toyota cars. It can get heavy once the 6-foot extension cable is attached, but the OBD 1300's small size hides its powerful range of abilities.

Unlike many handheld diagnostic scanners, the Bosch OBD 1300 doesn't get power from your car's OBD-II port. Instead, it uses AA batteries or your car's cigarette lighter to power its large color screen, which shows graphing data clearly. 

The scanner's database holds details on 26 million repair suggestions. It can check the anti-lock brakes and air bags on most cars released from 1996 to 2013, monitor the charging system and battery and run a pre-inspection emissions test. You'll need to get the instruction manual from Bosch's website.

With a list price of nearly $200, the Bosch OBD 1300 may seem expensive until you see how many cars it can work with. It's the diagnostic scanner to get if you have an '80s or early-'90s car.

Read our full Bosch OBD 1300 review.

5. Foxwell NT614 Elite

Like having a Nintendo Switch to diagnose your car


Display/size: Color/4.3 inches

Bluetooth/handheld: No/Yes

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 7

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 7.8 x 3.8 x 1.2 inches

Weight: 1.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Nearly complete array of diagnostic tests+Rugged design with soft edges+Includes hard case and SD card

Reasons to avoid

-Won't run on battery power-No touchscreen

Foxwell's NT614 Elite diagnostic scanner squeezes a large color screen into a small, rugged horizontal case. It's powerful and can probe many car problems, but we wish it had a touchscreen and could run on battery power.

Like the similar-looking but bulkier Topdon ArtiDiag500, the Foxwell NT614 is aimed at professional mechanics as well as car owners. It can graph data, cancel the oil-change light, and monitor the charging system, air bags, brakes and transmission. 

Two unique features stand out. Like a gaming keyboard, the Topdon ArtiDiag500 has programmable keys that can be set up to do different things with different makes of cars. It also has a microSD card slot for data storage. It may be the OBD-II scanner to have if you do a lot of work on cars from different manufacturers.

Read our full Foxwell NT614 Elite review.

6. ThinkCar ThinkDiag TKD01

Dependable, but you've got to pay an annual subscription fee


Display/size: None

Bluetooth/handheld: Yes/No

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: None

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 3.1 x 2.0 x 1.1 inches

Weight: 2.7 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Reads enhanced codes+Lots of optional abilities available+Comes with hard case

Reasons to avoid

-App subscription costs $40 after first year-Heavy and hard to install

The ThinkCar ThinkDiag TKD01 is among the largest Bluetooth-based OBD-II automotive diagnostic scanners. It can show you extended fault codes or turn off the oil-change light, but be wary of the annual app-subscription plan.

At more than three inches across, the ThinkDiag is so big it won't fit into some OBD-II ports. You may need an extension cable to connect to your car's systems. On the upside, the rugged oval-shaped unit is practically indestructible.

The ThinkDiag app offers profiles for more than 100 automakers, letting you dig deep into manufacturer-specific codes. You get one profile for free for the first year, but after that each profile is $40 per year (and even more for Teslas). If you have multiple cars of different makes, you'll pay for each profile.

The app can turn off the oil-change light, check tire pressure, airbags and brakes, and predict which systems will go south soon. However, it doesn't tell you which replacement parts or repairs might be needed.

Read our full ThinkCar ThinkDiag TKD01 review.

7. Innova CarScan Pro 5210

Puts more car data at your fingertips


Display/size: Color/2.8 inches

Bluetooth/handheld: Yes/Yes

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 9

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 6.7 x 3.4 x 1.1 inches

Weight: 7.7 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Big screen+Lots of data+Repair explanations

Reasons to avoid

-Relatively pricey-Short cable

The Innova’s CarScan Pro 5210’s can tell you more about your car than many of its competitors, which is why it deserves to be among the best OBD-II scanners. 

The Pro 5210 scanner’s 2.8-inch color screen is bright and its narrow and long aspect ratio means it can squeeze in lots of automotive details, from fault codes to live data to a pre-inspection check. Its LED lights glow red for a permanent fault, yellow for an intermittent fault and green for no problems.

The CarScan Pro 5210 goes beyond displaying the expected fault codes with a Bluetooth connection to a phone or tablet and Innova’s Repair Solutions2 free app. The software explains the repairs and even the parts needed to fix the car. 

With a 9-key interface, the Pro 5210 is one of the easiest of the best OBD-II scanners to navigate. It found the fault I introduced to my 2014 Audi AllRoad and turned off the car's check engine light. 

On the downside, the CarScan Pro 5210 has a 27-inch cable, which is short, and its overall dimensions feel bulky, particularly compared to the smaller and lighter EDIAG YA-201. While pricey, the Innova CarScan Pro 5210 Pro 5210 is a must-have for those who want to know what’s wrong with their cars.

8. Ancel BD310

The best OBD-II that does double duty


Display/size: Color/2 inches

Bluetooth/handheld: Yes/yes

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 4

Warranty: 3 years

Size: 5.1 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches

Weight: 5.4 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Small and light device+Designed as scanner and supplemental wireless car display+Can work as handheld scanner or with a phone

Reasons to avoid

-Minimalist interface-Small screen

Ancel's BD310 is just as good as a handheld scanner with a screen as it is when connected to a phone or tablet via Bluetooth. It can also augment the car's cockpit with a supplemental display of key engine parameters. Think of it as freedom-of-scanning choice.

Small and lightweight, the BD310 can live in your car's glove box. Its icon-based, 2.0-inch color display is a little skimpy but easy to figure out, regardless of whether you want an I/M inspection-readiness test or performance details, like coolant temperature, engine timing and engine speed. They can be shown as numbers or graphs.

It has a 56-inch cable that makes it just as good for hanging over the hood looking for an engine problem as monitoring the engine while driving. On the other hand, the BD310's rudimentary four-key interface can make navigation awkward. There's also a mode button on the side for selecting Bluetooth and cable operation.  

Read our full Ancel BD310 review.

9. Autel AutoLink AL539

A smart OBD2 scanner pick for diagnosing electrical problems


Display/size: Color/2.8 inches

Bluetooth/handheld: Yes/no

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 8

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 6.7 x 3.6 x 1.4 inches

Weight: 10.6 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Includes electrical multimeter+Battery tests+Includes stand

Reasons to avoid

-Can't use OBD scanner and electrical meter at once-Need to recharge battery

Unlike most OBD-II scanners, Autel's AutoLink AL539 can check electrical connections with a built-in multimeter to uncover electrical shorts or burned-out cables. The device's lithium-ion battery powers it for checking fuses, the alternator's voltage or the gas gauge.  Just note that the multimeter doesn't work when the AL539 is connected as an OBD scanner.

The AL539 not only shows live data, like engine speed, coolant temperature and other items but also can run a comprehensive pre-inspection readiness test. It shows results as three lights for faults: red (permanent fault), yellow (temporary fault) or green (no faults).

Despite its soft rubber bumpers, the AL539 is fairly compact and light at 6.7 x 3.6 x 1.4 inches and 10.6 ounces. It has a unique pull-out leg so the device can stand on its own, as well as a generous 58-inch cable. Its bright, 2.8-inch color display has icons for major functions and an easy-to-follow, eight-key interface.

Read our full Autel AutoLink AL539 review.

10. SeekOne SK860

Get a large color screen and a lifetime warranty


Display/size: Color/2.8 inches

Bluetooth/handheld: No/yes

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 8

Warranty: Lifetime

Size: 7.8 x 3.8 x 1.2 inches

Weight: 11.2 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Lifetime warranty+Rugged design+Icon-based navigation

Reasons to avoid

-Big and heavy-Few features you'll find on pricier scanners

Its large color screen, range of tasks, lifetime warranty and ease of use make the SeekOne SK860 a winner. 

The price for this is a handheld scanner that can feel bulky and heavy. Its soft rubber bumpers and rugged design mean you don't have to baby the SK860, and it comes with a 58-inch cord and bright, 2.8-inch color display. 

Its eight-button navigation scheme and icon-based interface are easier to use than budget scanners. The SK850 has a one-button I/M pre-inspection readiness check along with a green (no-fault codes), yellow (intermittent problems) and red (permanent-problem codes) LED scheme. 

The SK860 does much more than typical handheld scanners and comes with a padded case, but its lifetime warranty makes it stand out from the crowd.

Read our full SeekOne SK860 review.

11. ThinkOBD 100

Small but powerful, the ThinkOBD 100 is a bargain


Display/size: Color/1.8 inches

Bluetooth/handheld: No/Yes

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 4

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 4.7 x 2.6 x 0.8 inches

Weight: 5.6 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Small and light +Inexpensive+Shows live Data

Reasons to avoid

-Small screen-4-key interface

Small and inexpensive, the 5.6-ounce ThinkOBD 100 scanner is perfect for a quickie diagnosis, roadside repairs and running a pre-inspection test. However, it lacks the depth to explain deeper automotive problems.

The ThinkOBD 100 can disappear in a glove box and includes a USB cable for updating its firmware. On the downside, the scanner’s 1.8-inch screen is an inch smaller than many competitors and feels cramped. 

Its four-quadrant home screen is simple with entries for Diagnose, Lookup, Setup and Help, but the four yellow circles above do nothing. That leaves the rudimentary four-button keypad as the only way to interact with the scanner.  

In addition to displaying current fault codes, the ThinkOBD 100 shows live car data, like spark advance and engine speed, but it spreads the data over 38 pages. After I introduced a fault in my 2014 Audi AllRoad, this OBD-II scanner diagnosed the problem and I was able to turn off the Check Engine light. Unfortunately, I had to manually type the code into the Lookup section to find its meaning. 

The device offered no explanation or repair options, making it second best to more advanced (and expensive) handheld scanners, like the Innova CarScan Pro 5210.

12. Jethax OBD-II Scanner

Small and light, this OBD-II scanner makes it easy to connect


Display/size: 1 LED

Bluetooth/handheld: Yes/No

I/M Readiness test: No

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: N/A

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 1.8 x 1.7 x 0.8 inches

Weight: 0.7 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Built-in flashlight+Easy to insert and remove from OBD port+Good Bluetooth range

Reasons to avoid

-No status LEDs

One of the easiest OBD-II scanners to install, use and remove, Jethax’s OBD-II Scanner stands alone with a built-in LED flashlight to illuminate the car’s diagnostic port. Its ribbed sides make it a snap to pull out.

The 1.8 x 1.7 x 0.8-inch unit is slightly bigger than Autel’s MaxiAP AP200 but at only 0.7-ounces, it’s significantly lighter. It has a single LED but it was always red.

The Jethax scanner uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to an iPhone, iPad or Android phone but lacks its own app. The QR code on the unit’s box points to several free diagnostic apps, including Torque Lite, which I used with my Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus phone.

After plugging the Jethax OBD2 Scanner into my Audi AllRoad’s OBD port and connecting the scanner to my phone, the app started showing live data. In addition to a series of automotive gauges and fault codes, the system can run acceleration tests.

The Jethax has a 28-foot Bluetooth range, which was on a par with other Bluetooth scanners. It found my introduced fault and turned off the check engine light. 

Don’t let its size or $35 price tag fool you. Jethax’s OBD-II Scanner not only tells what’s going on inside your car but lights the way to plug it in.

13. Topdon ArtiLink 500

With many manufacturer codes, the Topdon ArtiLink 500 is versatile but lacks repair information


Display/size: Color/2.8 inches

Bluetooth/handheld: No/Yes

I/M Readiness test: Yes

Displays live data: Yes

Number of keys: 8

Warranty: 1 year

Size: 6.6 x 3.7 x 1.1 inches

Weight: 10.2 ounces

Reasons to buy

+Big screen+Includes manufacturer specific codes+OBD plug light

Reasons to avoid

-Big and heavy

With many of the abilities of a professional OBD scanner, Topdon’s ArtiLink 500 does a lot for its $59 price tag.

Big and bulky, the ArtiLink 500 weighs 10.2 ounces and its 54-inch cable has a lighted connector at the end that helps with plugging the scanner in. The scanner can be updated using its included USB cable.

The ArtiLink 500’s bright 2.8-inch color screen shows fault codes, a pre-inspection readiness report and definitions of what its fault codes mean. The 8-key interface is efficient and lets you pick from the major categories. This OBD-II scanner shows live car data, can graph it and lets you print it. 


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