The OBD2 or On-Board Diagnostic-II is arguably one of the best inventions in the automobile industry, as the device made it easier for car owners to check if their vehicles have any internal problems. Moreover, OBD2 scanners allow owners to pinpoint the damages on their vehicle before going to a car repair shop so that they won’t get taken advantage of by greedy shop owners that may charge extra for parts that you actually don’t need.
Most cars actually have OBDs already pre-installed, and these OBDs would automatically tell you if there are any problems with your vehicle. However, older cars don’t have pre-installed OBDs, so for those vehicles, you would need to have an OBD scanner to run diagnostics. If you are looking for the perfect OBD2 scanner, whether it is handheld or wireless, we are providing you with a guide on the best OBD2 scanners that you can buy in the market. Listed below are some of the best ones according to online reviews, but it is up to you if the unique features found in each scanner is suitable for your needs.
The Best OBD2 Scanners
Before we kick off the list of the best OBD2 scanners that you can buy online, we must first discuss how to install an OBD scanner in a vehicle. For the compact scanner, which is the type that should be mounted in the vehicle, the owner needs to install it in the vehicle port that is usually located under the dashboard. Most of these vehicle ports would have small pins inside where the OBD scanner’s rear should be placed. The same installation process also applies to handheld scanners, but the scanner’s cable is that one that should be hooked into the car’s vehicle port. Now that we got the easy installation process out of the way, let us take a look at some of the best OBD2 scanners.
The BlueDriver Scan Tool is arguably one of the best-selling OBD2 scanners on Amazon, and its popularity is actually justifiable, as it allows you to run diagnostic on your vehicle through your iOS or Android phone, which is quite convenient. In order for you to get better access to the BlueDriver’s features, you must first download the BlueDriver app on the Apple Store or on the Play Store, and once you’ve downloaded and opened the app, it will automatically connect to the BlueDriver device, as long as it is turned on. Through the app, you will be allowed to check the vehicle’s engine light, ABS (anti-lock braking system), airbags, and more.
The first handheld OBD2 scanner on the list is the AutelAutoLink AL319, a plug and play scanner that has an easy-to-read interface that is perfect for beginners in vehicle diagnostics. Besides its user-friendly interface, the AL319 also has built-in speakers for audible indication, which is needed for those who may be unable to read what is on the screen due to eye problems. The handheld scanner has a 2.5-feet long cable so that you won’t have to crouch or sit near the vehicle port to use the OBD. If you want to learn more about other OBD2 scanners of Autel, you can read this Autel Scanners review article.
Another handheld OBD2 scanner is the NEXPEAK NX501, which has a similar interface to the AutelAutoLink AL319, but with more buttons that can be used to have better control on the scanner’s menu. The NEXPEAK NX501 is one of the most versatile scanners in the market because of its ability to be compatible with almost any OBD interface for vehicles that are produced from 1996 onwards. Much like the Autel scanner, the NX501 is a plug and play device that doesn’t require any batteries to work, as you simply have to plug it into the vehicle port to turn on.
Similar to the BlueDriver, the VeepeakOBDCheck BLE is a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner that can be utilized using a compatible app on your iOS or Android phone. However, unlike the BlueDriver, the Veepeak is compatible with many OBD apps like OBD Fusion, Car Scanner ELM OBD2, and Torque Pro, making it a very versatile Bluetooth scanner compared to the BlueDriver that is only compatible with the BlueDriver app. Because the Veepeak scanner is compatible with most OBD apps on the Apple Store or Play Store, its interface and usage actually depend on the app that you are using, so make sure that you only stick to one app to have better control of the scanner.
The ANCEL AD310 is a handheld OBD2 scanner that can be used not only in US-based vehicles but also in domestic or import vehicles that comes from different parts of the world, making it a universal scanner. To help with its universal feature, the AD310 also has eight languages built-in, and these languages are English, Dutch, French, Finnish, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. In addition, like most handheld scanners, the AD310 is equipped with a 2.5-feet long cable for ease of use. However, it has fewer buttons than most handheld scanners, although the fewer buttons isn’t exactly a con since the interface is designed to be utilized with only four buttons.
The OBDLink MX+ is another Bluetooth scanner that is compatible with almost all OBD apps for Android and iOS like Torque, AlfaOBD, Carista, and more. However, this device also has an enhanced OEM supports for several brands of cars, including Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Ford, Toyota, and Nissan. In addition to the said features, the OBDLink MX+ has hacker-proof wireless security and an ultra-low-current sleep mode that allows it to remain on sleep mode without draining the car battery.
Those are just six of the best OBD2 scanners that you can easily buy in physical or online stores, but if you are eyeing on a scanner that is not on the list above, make sure that you have read or watched reviews about it before buying. A faulty OBD2 scanner can be dangerous for you and your vehicle, as it may not detect any problems when there actually is one. So, it is best that you buy the ones that have good reviews in order to be sure that what you are getting is safe and reliable.