It is important to understand the different problems that your vehicle might be facing. Early detection of problems can help you prevent complicated issues with your car and provide you with a quick overview of what to expect in terms of repair timeline and costs. The current market is full of different OBD2 scanners, and the question always remains, what are the best OBD2 scanners?
The OBD2 scanner is a small device connected to your car's computer and scan the different errors to tell you the faulty part in your car. Some OBD2 scanners can provide you additional information about expected repair costs and suggested solutions to your problem.
By understanding the internal problem, you can make an informed decision about whether to take your car to a professional mechanic or resolve the problem yourself if it's not very complicated. While many problems might require a professional mechanic to take care of them, a good number of them can be resolved using simple DIY's.
This article helps you answer the question and make an informed decision about which OBD2 scanner you should choose. The final decision depends on your specific goals, budget, and OBD2 scanner capabilities.
What is an OBD2 scanner?
With the continuous upgrades to the automobiles, it became very hard to detect the vehicle's internal problems. That's why the California Air Resources Management Board came up with a system called the onboard diagnostics II or OBD2.
This system was installed in vehicles after 1996. The system intends to have one device that can read any internal problem in any vehicle designed after 1996.
With the system's invention, professional mechanics can identify the internal problem an additional suggested repair within seconds.
There are OBD2 scanners that can be connected to the vehicle to detect the problem and scan the different errors or internal messages from your car's computer.
This scanner can provide you with a list of possible problems along with suggested faulty parts. In some advanced scanners, you can even get information about parts prices.
What are the different types of OBD2 scanners?
There is a long list of OBD2 scanners in the market, and it's crucial to understand each one's different capability to decide which one is suitable for you.
By going through OBD2 scanners' capabilities, you can compare these capabilities and their prices to your goals.
In other words, you don't have to have the most expensive OBD2 scanner if you want to use it for your vehicle. On the other hand, a professional mechanic might need to use one of the most advanced OBD2 scanners to use it for a variety of vehicles and have the most amount of information possible.
Having an OBD2 scanner handy can help you understand what to expect when you take your vehicle to the mechanic regarding expected repair time and costs.
In the automobile market, there are two types of OBD2 scanners depending on the purpose of this scanner:
OBD2 scanners working as code readers
The code readers are the most traditional type of OBD2 scanners. They look very similar to the electrical voltage testing unit, and they are expected to be connected directly to the OBD port.
These scanners provide very limited information about the problems in your vehicle. Most of the time, they provide you with codes and expect you to figure out what the code means and the different solutions for this specific problem.
Usually, the OBD2 scanners work as a code reader or cheaper than the second type of OBD2 scanners.
OBD2 scanners working as scan tools
The OBD2 scanners that work at the scan tool is an upgraded version that just was introduced in the market to provide additional thorough information about your car's problem period
Those are usually lights, small and in size, and connected to your smart form or computer. The great thing about these OBD2 scanners is that you can gain much information and explain the error code that your vehicle is facing.
For example, some OBD2 scanners will provide you a list of thousands of reasons for your specific problem, and it doesn't expect you to research anywhere else about what your vehicle is suffering from.
Yes, the OBD2 scanners in this category are more expensive, but many people find it worth it to purchase those rather than researching and trying to understand what the error code means.
What are the best OBD2 scanners in the market?
According to thedrive.com, here are the best OBD2 scanners in the market:
The first OBD tools scanner in our list is the Ancel AD310. This scanner is featured for a long list of great features. The scanner does not require batteries because you need to connect it using wires. The scanner also has a large LCD screen, making it very easy and user-friendly for any driver to use and read the earth successfully.
Despite the great features of this scanner, there are a couple of drawbacks. For example, the scanner cannot read every single type of error, making it hard to clear some codes like the oil warning light. Also, if the scanner is wired, you might find it hard to detect live data.
BAFX Products Car Diagnostic Tool
The second great scanner on our list is the BAFX car diagnostic tool. This tool is not very big, and its very user friendly to connect it and leave it in the OBD port. Also, several customers reported that this scanner could read a variety of car errors.
Similar to the previous scanner, there is a list of cons about this OBD2 scanner. The biggest drawback about this scanner is that it requires a certain app to be installed on your phone or computer. Also, if you are using an iOS device, you might need to use only the Wi-Fi version because the tool is only compatible with android devices and computers.
The third OBD2 scanner on our list is the Foxwell NT 301. This scanner has a very large high-tech screen filled with colors making it user friendly and very simple to read.
Using this OBD2 scanner is very straightforward, and you can control the functionality easily.
The biggest drawback about this OBD2 scanner is that it is not suitable, compatible with every make and model. In other words, you can only use it for certain vehicles. Also, you cannot get access to live data using this OBD2 scanner.
Other OBD2 Scanners you might need to check out
While the first three listed OBD2 scanners are the top in our lists, here are additional OBD2 scanners that might be worth your time looking into and gaining more information about them.
- Bluedriver LSB2
- Autel autolink AL319
- Veepeak OBDcheck
- Foxwell NT201
- Launch CR319 Code Reader
- OBDlink MX
- Autel autolink AL519
Depending on your goals, and budget, you might not select the first three OBD2 scanners. In other words, the information that those scanners provide might be beyond your needs, and their prices might not be the most affordable. That's why you might need to sit back and decide on your goals before selecting your final OBD2 scanner.
FAQ about OBD2 Scanners
In this section, we provide you with a list of frequently asked questions about OBD2 scanners that are not only specific to the best OBD2 scanners; It's more of a general idea about these tools.
Why do I need to buy an OBD2 scanner tool?
Many reasons might convince you to purchase an OBD2 scanner and have it handy before spending money and time waiting for a professional mechanic to tell you what's going on with your vehicle.
For example, the meet and primary purpose of using an OBD2 scanner tool is to tell you the general problems your vehicle is suffering from. The scanner would be able to connect to the internal computer, skin the error code, and translate it into a number that you can then research to see what it means.
Other reasons for having an OBD2 scanner include providing use of access to additional information about your car. For example, sometimes we might need to know some information about your car's performance; Especially in newer vehicles, your OBD2 scanner might be able to track and provide you with live data about how your car is running is any certain problem facing it.
Lastly, you might use your OBD2 scanner to change some of the settings in your vehicle. For instance, if you have a check engine light coming up and resolve the problem, the OBD2 scanner can help you reset the check engine light after fixing the problem.
How much should I expect to pay for an OBD2 scanner?
The price of the OBD2 scanner can vary from somewhere under $50 to somewhere above $100.
As we mentioned earlier, you don't have to purchase the most expensive OBD2 scanner because your purposes and goals might not require this expensive scanner as it provides many details beyond your needs.
To make things simpler, we can divide the OBD2 scanners prices into three categories:
- OBD2 scanners under $50. Those scanners can provide you with the basic information about just reading the error code and telling you what it is. Some of these OBD2 scanners might tell you a basic explanation about the error but will not provide you many details.
- OBD2 scanners from $50 to $100. In this category, you might start seeing some advanced information and some wireless models. There are additional extended functionalities and more detailed information.
- OBD2 scanners above $100. Professional mechanics usually purchase these scanners as they provide extensive details about the car's problems, the suggested repair options, and costs. Usually, regular drivers will not need to purchase OBD2 scanners unless they would like to familiarize themselves with advanced mechanical repairs about certain problems.
Where can I find the OBD port in my car?
The OBD port is usually located close to the steering wheel on the driver’s side. Now, if you needed more specific details, your best way is to refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual. If you don’t have a copy of the manual, you can always download a softcopy from the internet or request a hard copy from your professional mechanic.
Some drivers find it easier to simply google the name of their car’s make, model and year to get some images or additional details about the location of their vehicle’s OBD port.
Can the OBD2 scanner tell me everything wrong with my vehicles?
As we mentioned in previous sections, the capability of the OBD2 scanner depends on its type and price. Some of these scanners might be limited to certain cars makes and models. Others might be limited to certain error codes and can not ready beyond these codes.
With the continuous upgrades in the automobile industry, it became a little challenging to identify the internal problem that your vehicle is facing.
With the advanced addition of the OBD2 system, professional mechanics and drivers can easily detect their vehicles' internal problems using an OBD2 scanner tool. If you look into the markets, you will find tons of examples of OBD2 scanners. The question remains, what are the best OBD2 scanners in the market nowadays?
This article helped you answer this question and provide you list of the best OBD2 scanners. Our intensive review concluded that these are the best OBD2 scanners in the market: Ancel AD310, BAFX Products Car Diagnostic Tool, and Foxwell NT301.
While these three OBD2 scanners might be a great recommendation, the final decision should depend on your personal needs, and you might need to sit back and compare your goals of having such an OBD2 scanner to your budget and the scanner's capabilities.