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What is the Best OBD Scanner for 2023 - TOP 5
Olga Weis Olga Weis Last updated Dec 8, 2022

What is the Best OBD Scanner for 2023 - TOP 5

If you want to make the right choice and save time, we have compiled our TOP chart. Below you can also find a detailed description, scanners' features, and how to choose the right one.


Best Overall OBD Scanner Launch CRP129E A lot of features at a good price point $258
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Best Functionality OBD Scanner Autel Scanner MaxiCOM MK808 Can perform comprehensive scans, responsive touchscreen. $479
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Best OBD Scanner for the Money Innova 6100P Has the features needed by an amateur mechanic and is very inexpensive $189
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Best Bluetooth OBD Scanner BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro You can use it on the go wirelessly, cheap and easy to use $119
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Best Budget OBD Scanner Autel AutoLink AL329 Has all the basic functions of an OBD scanner for a cheap price $35
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An On-board Diagnostic (OBD) scanner is a device that you can use to self-diagnose your vehicle or access vital information such as your vehicle’s VIN number, battery voltage, RPM, fuel efficiency, speed, and generic diagnostic codes among others.

The first OBD scanner was invented and used back in 1968 by Volkswagen, and through the years, different companies developed their own. The first types were non-standardized, and only in 1988 did standardized OBD scanners come. Until today, OBD scanners continue to evolve through different technological advancements and adapt to developments in the automotive industry. Nowadays, even remote OBD diagnostics is possible.

Remote vehicle diagnostics
Now you can get an insight into the vehicle’s state and identify the problem while miles away from the car. Connect to car diagnostics tools over the internet with FlexiHub.
Remote vehicle diagnostics

OBD Scanners can be used on almost all new cars produced after 1996, as newer cars come with universal connectors.

However, not all OBD scanners have the same level of compatibility. Some OBD Scanners can only be used for new daily drives and can’t process information from heavy diesel truckers.

With an OBD, you can perform tests yourself before or after acquiring a new car. On top of that, you will be able to check if the power-train control module of your vehicle is working, or its electronic control module(ECM), electric power steering (EPS), and even OE-level diagnostics for anti-lock braking systems (ABS), et cetera.

OBD scanners can also be used to keep your car safe. You can check if your airbags are still functional and even your seatbelt’s effectiveness. Lastly, you can even see in an OBD diagnostics whether a vehicle has been involved in an accident in the past or not.

Aside from that, OBD Scanners can also read a variety of problems in your system from transmission issues down to bad fuel efficiency. With an OBD scanner, you can determine whether a second-hand car that you’re looking to buy has been properly maintained in the past. This is important because car cosmetics and last-minute repairs can definitely hide the real condition of a car.

Best Vehicle Diagnostic Scanners TOP 5

We’re essentially looking for the best OBD2 scanners that can fit anyone’s budget but still provide all their needs. Compatibility is also a huge factor when choosing which scanner should be on top of the list. The cream of the crop should be compatible with different makes and models, have a good price point, and have all the necessary features needed to perform all types of diagnostics tests on a vehicle.

Launch CRP129E Best Overall OBD Scanner

Launch CRP129E

The CRP129E OBD scanner is the best overall scanner in this list because of its functionality and price. It’s also a better version than its CRP129 version. When using this scanner, you won’t have a problem selecting modes and using its touchscreen feature because it has a good amount of screen space at 5 inches. In addition, it can also be controlled with a total of 7 buttons that you can use to navigate through the UI, entering and closing windows.

Carrying this device in your toolbox is also no problem. It only weighs a total of 2.69 pounds, and it’s also pretty compact. It has a dimension of 10.8 x 8.8 x 3.1 inches.

This device can process and store a lot of data without any problem with its 1GB RAM and 8 GB ROM. It also runs with a 4000 mAh battery which is basically 15 hours of battery life using this device.

The Launch CRP129 OBD scanner has all the basic and advanced features a professional mechanic will need, including:


  • Engine Diagnostics
  • Transmission Diagnostics
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS) and Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) tool
  • SAS code reading
  • Oil Light Reset
  • EPB Codes
  • Read Engine Light Codes
  • i/M readiness test
  • Diagnostic Trouble Code
  • EVAP Test

What’s great about this device is that it also comes with a few extra tools that you won’t see in other scanners. With the CRP129E, you will be able to read your tire pressure, adjust the throttle body, monitor your car’s battery, VIN auto-detection, and generate a health report of your vehicle.

icon pros Pros:

  • Works in multi-languages
  • Free regular software updates
  • Displays current battery life on screen
  • Has 10 OBD2 modes
  • Compatible with TF cards
  • Has a 5-year warrant
  • Its OBD2 cable is extended

icon cons Cons:

  • It can only run on battery

Autel Scanner MaxiCOM MK808 Best Functionality OBD Scanner

Autel Scanner MaxiCOM MK808

There are a lot of things to like about the Autel MaxiCOM starting from its UI down to its features. First, it has a very responsive screen, and its UI performs without any annoying lag thanks to its quad-core processor. This OBD scanner has both advanced and basic features and it also has a user-friendly design. Even someone who hasn’t used a scanner in the past can operate this device without any problem.

With the Autel MaxiCOM MK808, you can access the internet wirelessly and let you access online resources through the device itself. This is a good feature, especially for beginners who need the guidance of a repair manual while performing diagnostics tests and repairs on their own.

You can use the Autel MaxiCOM to check your oil life and reset the oil light feature on your vehicle. You can also use it to tinker with your car’s immobilizer sensors or your anti-theft system.

Like the other scanners in this list, you can also use it to check your battery’s life and efficiency, brakes, steering, suspension, and fuel efficiency. This is useful in maintaining and improving the safety of your vehicle.

With your Autel MK808, you can also perform checks on the following components of your car:


  • Fuel efficiency
  • Brakes
  • Emissions
  • Wipers
  • Air condition
  • Transmission

What other users liked about the Autel MK808 is how easy it is to access and read the information on the screen because of its size and style. It's also compatible with most vehicles, including your daily drivers, light trucks, Sports Utility Vehicles, and US-based 1996 and newer hybrids and has J2534 pass-through interface.

Lastly, with its wireless OBD2 feature, you will be able to keep the device in your hand while working on your car from the outside while still having an eye on the displayed live data. This comes in handy for under-the-hood repairs.

icon pros Pros:

  • User interface is simple and responsive
  • Repair manuals are accessible online
  • Its tablet-style design makes it easier to use

icon cons Cons:

  • It is not compatible with some makes and models
  • It encounters problems with keys at times
  • Has trouble detecting some aspects of your vehicle

Innova 6100P Best OBD Scanner for the Money

Innova 6100P

If you’re looking for the best cheap OBD scanner that you can connect to your mobile device, the Innova 6100P can do that for you. It has all the features you expect such an expensive device should have. Priced at 190 USD, it is packed with all the advanced features you’ll need to check every component of your vehicle right in your garage.

Like all the scanners in this list, the Innova 6100P can perform all the basic tasks, such as resetting your oil light, checking your engine, transmission, charging system, fuel efficiency, and battery, among others.

What sets this model apart from the others is its mobile app, which can suggest which repairs you should look into. Having such functional programs has already been known to be the standard for Innova devices. The 6100P is also a great option if you’re looking to buy an Innova scanner but you’re on a budget. It’s right in the middle of their cheaper $30 units and their expensive models that can cost up to $600. For $195, you can get a combination of both features.

The 6100P is also one of their most compact models. It’s only 7.2 x 3.4 x 1.1 inches making it a great handheld tool that is 6.5 ounces light.

Being a compact scanner, it also has a slightly smaller screen compared to the other ones in the list. The 6100P’s screen is only 2.8 inches. However, to compensate for the small screen size, Innova made results reading easier with an LED that lights green, yellow, or red, depending on the results. When performing an I/M readiness test, all you’ll have to do is wait for the LED to shine green to know that your vehicle has passed, red for failure, and yellow for pending failure.

Along with the LED light, you’ll also have nine buttons to press to navigate through the UI. You can use these buttons to check fault codes, browse through the status display on the screen, access live data, and erase fault codes.

The 6100P’s cable is not only extended but is also made with heavy-duty materials. You can pull the device out of the vehicle while it’s plugged in without worrying about damaging the cable.

The 6100P can also connect to Bluetooth and pair with your mobile device. You can download the Repair Solutions 2 app on your phone, and it’ll be ready to use. This application is compatible with android and iOS.

You can take advantage of the scanner’s Bluetooth functionality to transfer the display output to a larger screen, perhaps an Android tablet or an iPad.

The 6100P is a beginner-friendly device that houses both basic and advanced modes. Using the Repair Solutions 2 App, you can perform diagnostics tests on your vehicle, identify the problem and learn what parts are needed for repair. This device can easily turn an amateur into a professional.

The advanced features of this scanner are really one of its best-selling points. However, this does not make the scanner a reasonable purchase at all times. This is because some older makes and models, although compatible with the scanner, may not be able to generate the detailed and complex information that modern vehicles can provide. If you have a vehicle, that is a 2000 model or older, getting a cheaper scanner may be your best choice.


icon pros Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Free mobile application
  • Comes with repair manual

icon cons Cons:

  • Its interface is not too visual
  • Buttons are hard to press

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro Best Bluetooth OBD Scanner

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro

You can use the BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBD-II scanner to run a diagnostics test on your vehicle while on the move. You can pair the scanner with your android or iOS phone and see live diagnostics data while you’re driving.

One of the reasons why people buy this scanner is its wireless capability. You can simply plug it in your car, pair it with your phone and read error codes while you are under the hood of your car or even while the car is running. With the BlueDriver, you also have the option to buy a compatible diagnostic code reader for only $100.

When it comes to reliability, this scanner won’t disappoint. Even professional mechanics use and trust this scanner. It was developed by professional engineers and every detail put into the creation of this scanner aims to contribute to the improved experience of its users.

This scanner can give you important information about your vehicles, such as access recalls, service bulletins, and maintenance schedules.

Besides being able to connect to Bluetooth fast and easily and read error codes while on the go, this device can also give repair suggestions. It can perform an advanced reading of ABS, TPMS, airbag, and SRS errors. Other features include:


  • Diagnostic Trouble Code Check
  • Trouble Code Clearing
  • Report sharing
  • Live vehicle data
  • Smog checks
  • Emissions checks
  • Indicator lights reset
  • Mode 6 data reading
  • Make and model detection

Overall, the BlueDrive Bluetooth Pro can really compete with the other high-end scanners in this list. At its low cost, you can do most of the diagnostics tests you can do with the other plug-in scanners. It also comes with a mobile application that is easy to use, even for beginners. It can determine potential problems in your vehicle and give you repair suggestions that can help you make accurate decisions, even as a novice or beginner mechanic.

icon pros Pros:

  • View live data from your mobile device
  • Its mobile app is user-friendly
  • One-year warranty

icon cons Cons:

  • You can’t use it without a smartphone that is Bluetooth-ready.

OBD2 Scanner Purchase Criteria

With all the different OBD2 brands there are today, picking out what is the best OBD scanner for your vehicle can be confusing for some.But don't worry, because this article is for that. Keep reading as we walk you through everything you need to know to help you decide which OBD scanner is best for you.


Double Check Compatibility

Since 1996, in the US, almost all production vehicles have been designed with universal connectors that are compatible with OBD-II scanners. The same goes for Canada in 1998, the European Union in 2004 and 2006 in Australia, Mexico, and New Zealand.

Before buying an OBD-II scanner, make sure that it’s compatible with your car. Not all cars made after the said years are compatible with all types of scanners and have different OBD connector pinouts from different manufacturers. It’s easier to read the description/manual of scanners before buying one than going through the process of returning one.


Your Mechanical Knowledge

OBD2 scanners both have basic and complex features making them a tool for both beginners and expert mechanics. If you’re only looking to buy an OBD2 scan Bluetooth tool only to read engine codes, it may not be worth the money. If you’re going to use an OBD2 scan tool because you’re performing advanced diagnostics on your vehicle, it sure is a necessary purchase, as this tool can be used to improve or maintain the performance of your car.


App Quality

All OBD2 Bluetooth scanners work in conjunction with an application on your device. To use the features of the scanner, you will have to access its UI in a mobile application. This means that the functionality and ease of use of a scanner depend on how user-friendly and responsive its application is. In most cases, scanners that come with decent applications in terms of UI design, functionality, and overall performance are rated higher.


Data Collection Capabilities

Look for a scanner that can do more than read check engine lights. There are some scanners out there that can only do the most basic diagnostics test but do not have the capability to perform advanced diagnostics for ABS and SRS systems. When choosing which OBD2 scanner is best, look for one with the most useful features.


Warranty

In any type of product, you should always look at the warranty. An OBD-II scanner isn’t a daily use item, so it should last you a pretty long time, even ultimately outlasting your vehicle. It’s best if the OBD scanner of your choice has a lifetime warranty. You should also opt for scanners that have regular software updates, so you can stay in sync with changes in auto tech.


Price

Of course, we’ll also be rating the scanners based on their prices. Is the total cost of the scanner justified by how many useful features it has? If a scanner is priced higher than the others but only has a few basic kits, then it should be scored lower. A scanner with a good balance between price and functionality gets a high score.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

No. You shouldn’t worry about OBD-II scanners damaging your car. Your cars were designed to be read by an OBD-II scanner. Just make sure that you’re properly connecting the scanner to your car with care.
Not likely. Running diagnostics tests on your vehicle with an OBD-II scan tool will not void your warranty.
Yes, performing the diagnostics test yourself and doing the repairs on your own can save you thousands of dollars if you have the mechanical know-how. You can buy an OBD2 scanner to check engine light codes, and with more advanced models, you can check your car’s whole system.
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