• Best OBD2 Scanner in 2020 - Reviewed

If you don’t know what OBD2 scanner to buy, then you’ve come to the right place

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I am sure you will agree, one of the most dreaded images, for a car owner, is when the check engine light comes on. When that happens, it could be anything from a faulty sensor, to something serious, which is why having a good scan tool may be critical, as it will help determine whether it is a cheap and simple fix or something that may cost thousands of dollars. And although an onboard diagnostics scanner will not fix everything, it will eliminate any uncertainty, as to what problem your car has. This is exactly why we have compiled a short list, in order to help you decide, which is the best OBD2 scanner for you.

Innova CarScan Advisor 5210

Best OBD2 Scanner in 2020 - Reviewed
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The “bang for the buck” factor has always been a strong argument when it comes to any kind of purchase. The same goes for when you are looking for the best OBD2 scanner. This is why, at 99.99 USD, our first entry is considered the best OBD2 scanner for the money. The Advisor 5210 is designed around an extra-large 2.8-inch color screen, which gives more than 20 pieces of vital information at once.

  • Leave it
    • Short cable

Identifix Direct Hit

Not your typical scan tool. It’s actually a cloud-based diagnostics software, which helps professional mechanics identify and fix problems. Direct hit incorporates a rich, ever-expanding database, which allows mechanics to write down every vehicle they’ve worked on, along with every problem encountered, as well as the solution to it. The database allows for all fixes to be collected and stored, for anyone else that may need a solution to a problem. Direct Hit’s database includes not only fixes, but also wiring diagrams, oil, brake, torque specifications, and others.

  • Leave it
    • Some cases of scattered and unrelated information
    • “Busy” interface

Autel AutoLink AL539

Best OBD2 Scanner in 2020 - Reviewed
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We are back with another conventional OBD2 car scanner. Unlike the previous two entries, this is not exactly an all-rounder. However, the AL539 excels at something very few OBD2 scan tools can do: it can check for electrical connections. It does so with a built-in multimeter, which uncovers electrical shorts or burnt-out cables. As this is a stand-alone feature, it cannot be used, while the AL539 is used as an OBD scanner. Although, it’s not an all-in-one OBD scan tool, it’s among the best when it comes to detecting electrical issues and performing battery and fuse tests.

  • Leave it
    • can’t use OBD scanner and electrical meter at once
    • Needs battery recharge

Ancel BD310

Best OBD2 Scanner in 2020 - Reviewed
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The main advantage of Ancel’s compact code reader is that it can be used as a handheld device or paired to a smartphone or a tablet. At 5.4 ounces (0.15 kg), it’s also very light. The screen is smaller, compared to some of the more comprehensive scanners and is not a touch screen. It’s quite rudimentary and, for the most part, it features rather basic information. That said, in addition to featuring live data monitoring and giving you lots of vital information, the BD310 is also surprisingly responsible. The same level of response is translated to the Ansel Mobile app, as well.

  • Leave it
    • Rudimentary interface
    • Small 2.0-inch screen
    • No bi-directional control

FIXD OBD2 Bluetooth dongle

Best OBD2 Scanner in 2020 - Reviewed
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This is a Plug-In diagnostic tool, which you operate through your smartphone. The mobile app interface is pretty straightforward, featuring the vehicle information details on top, a “tap to scan button” and quick buttons for various actions. In addition to giving you all vital information, it also features a 0-60 meter, trip mode, navigation, and other useful features. It’s fair to say the FIXD OBD2 Bluetooth dongle is a multitasker. You can leave the device plugged in, to benefit from real-time monitoring and all its features. The only limitation of the OBD2 dongle is that it does not detect Airbag, ABS, and TPMS lights.

  • Leave it
    • paid monthly subscription (non-essential)

Bosch 3970 ADS 625

Best OBD2 Scanner in 2020 - Reviewed
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Let’s say money is no object and you want the best OBD2 scanner tool you can get. With 4,450 USD, the ADS 625 is by far the most expensive entry on our list. You do get a lot in return though. The ADS625 has full system coverage of all American, European, and Asian vehicles. It consists of two modules. A dongle and a main module with a 10-inch touchscreen. In addition to having full comprehensive coverage of all makes and models, including vehicle specifics like VIN number, it has full internet browsing capabilities, thanks to integrated Wi-Fi and Firefox.

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    • Bulky
    • Expensive

SeekOne SK860

Best OBD2 Scanner in 2020 - Reviewed
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With this scan tool, you get good all-round capabilities, combined with ergonomic design and easy to navigate interface. Although it does not have a touchscreen, the 2.8-inch display gives adequate information. The eight buttons provide easy navigation through the icon-themed menus. The IM readiness features a straightforward, three-button scheme – green (no-fault codes), yellow (intermittent problems), and red (permanent problem-codes). Probably the most appealing trait of the SK860 is its lifetime warranty. There is a downside, however. It weighs 11.2 ounces (0.32 kg).

  • Leave it
    • big and heavy

Autel Maxidiag MD808 Pro

Best OBD2 Scanner in 2020 - Reviewed
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This is one of the best OBD2 scanners from the high-end spectrum. It not only does a great job of diagnosing the engine and transmission of your vehicle, but it also excels at detecting SRS and ABS errors. In addition, due to its fast processor, it takes only six seconds to boot. The color LCD display features an icon-themed menu and has an 800x480 resolution. The hull of the scanner is made of plastic but it has a rubber surrounding for protection. In addition, it has an SD card slot, which is how you update the software.

  • Leave it
    • Heavy
    • Short cable

Innova CarScan Pro 5610

Best OBD2 Scanner in 2020 - Reviewed
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Innova is a consistent player on the OBD scanner market. It shouldn’t be a big surprise, the last entry is another scanner from the brand. The Car Scan Pro 5610 is the top of the line OBD2 scan tool and features the most amount of features from the lineup. The 5610-series is the ultimate tool for DIY mechanics. The design may be identical to the more humble 5210 model, but here you get much more. One of the features is Bi-directional control, or active testing, which allows you to send commands to your vehicle, and test actuators and functionality, e.g. fuel pump, A/C, electronic parking brake, etc. Optionally, you can get the 5610 with an OBD1 adapter, which allows for diagnostics on some pre-1996 vehicles, such as Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, GM, and Honda.

  • Leave it
    • Short cable

Q&A

What is the best OBD2 scanner?

The Bosch 3970 ADS 625 has by far the most amount of features and is the most complete package on our list.

What is the best OBD2 scanner for iPhone?

The FIXD OBD2 Bluetooth dongle is made specifically to work with smart devices, including iPhone.

Are all OBD2 scanners the same?

Although they are very similar in purpose, OBD scanners differ in the range of features they offer.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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