Having a good OBD2 scanner is a must have to troubleshoot vehicle computer codes.
After reading a code it will show what the problem is and narrow down what to do to fix it.
With the many for sale it can be a bit of a question what the best one to get is.
Here is some of our favorite option with links to reviews.
In full disclosure these units have been sent to us from companies to review which we have done with our own honest opinion and results.
*This post contains affiliate links which at no cost to you allows us earn a commission on product purchases.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, forums, here, or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.
Our Picks for The Best OBD2 Scanner
Car Code Reader, Launch CReader 4001 Diagnostic Scan Tool for Check Engine Light & Diagnostics, Support Read and Clear Error Codes, Query DTCs and Support 1-10 Modes
The Launch CReader 4001 is a good low cost scanner with a lot of features.
It has a lot of options including reading codes, erasing codes, I/M readiness, data stream, On-Board monitoring, and vehicle information.
It also erases emission related error codes which is nice option, of course the code will likely come back if the problem is not fixed.
When it comes to cost verse build quality and features the Launch CReader 4001 is a good unit to get.
Read Full Review Here
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Scan Tool
The Autel AutoLink AL319 is a low cost OBDII engine scan tool that has a lot of features.
It can read and clear vehicle engine codes as well as live data, freeze frame, and I/M readiness.
This makes it a good small scan tool for the average vehicle owner to a DIY mechanic.
Read Full Review Here
Latest Version V2.1 Super MINI ELM327 Bluetooth OBD/OBD2 ELM 327 Multi-Language 12Kinds Works ON Android Torque/PC
The ELM 327 is a well known micro-controller that is built specifically to translate OBD2 signals to other interfaces such as USB or Bluetooth.
This means the the ELM 327 controller shows up in a variety of devices sold to convert OBD2 signals.
The devices include Bluetooth, USB, and handheld tools, which can vary in price from very cheap to expensive.
It will require a smartphone or laptop to display the data via a app or program.
There are many programs that can show the output of the ELM327 and do many other things such as clearing codes or even a full display of oil pressure, temperature and so on.
If you need a small quick low cost OBD2 scanner tool a small ELM 327 device is a good option.
Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for OBDII Vehicles
The Autel MaxiScan MS300 is handheld self contained scanner.
It is low cost and requires no other electronics such as a smartphone or laptop to give codes. No batteries are used either it draws power from the OBD2 plug.
It has a simple to use menu system that is managed by two buttons, scroll and enter.
This is a good low cost budget option that is a stand alone OBD2 tool.
MAOZUA VS600 Diagnostic Scan Tool Advanced OBDII/EOBD Scanner Live Data Car Code Reader for 1996 or later US, European and Asian OBD2 Protocol Vehicle
The VS600 Vgate is a nice mid-range scan tool and comes with everything needed to troubleshoot a vehicle computer codes.
The features are too numerous to list from the basic clearing of codes to graphs that show data.
This is unit may have more options than is needed for the everyday backyard mechanic. If you do want more options than this is a good unit.
INNOVA 3100 Diagnostic Scan Tool/Code Reader with ABS and Battery Backup for OBD2 Vehicles
The INNOVA 3100 is a mid-range OBD2 standalone code reader for those who need more than a cheap tool.
A nice feature about the INNOVA 3100 is its ability to read ABS codes which many tools dont do.
It can also clear codes and show pending codes.
Actron CP9690 Trilingual OBD I/OBD II Elite AUTOSCANNER Pro Kit with Color Screen
The Actron CP9690 is a high end OBD2 scan tool that has features most will never use.
It also can give codes for the early OBD1 cars and comes with a variety of cables to fit the all the non-standard plugs for pre-1996 vehicles.
The CP9690 is likely over kill for most but if you want scan tool that can do it all this is a good one to look at.
Buying the best OBD scan tool like any device takes reading and understanding what is needed to fix the job you have on hand.
If you only need to troubleshoot one car a small cheap low cost OBD2 unit will likley be best.
For working on multiple cars a better built unit with more features is likely the better option.
Most any tool will give the codes for any car 1996 and newer since the interface have been standardized on these models.
Once a code is given software is usually included to give more information about the code. While this is OK it is always best to simply Google the code and read through the many forums about the problem, which will give more clarity to the problem and how to fix it.
More expensive units will have more information built into them to give more details about a code without looking it up.
Whichever unit is bought as always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon or elsewhere to be sure it does what you need it to do.