We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Be Safe with the Best OBD2 Scanners

  1. Actron CP9125 OBD2 Scanner
  2. ANCEL OBD2 Scanner
  3. Autel Color Screen OBD2 Scanner
  4. BAFX Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
  5. INNOVA 3040RS OBD2 Scanner
  6. Buyer's Guide

Every new car today comes with ODB2 which is a federally mandated on board diagnostics computer which is used for service related matters. OBD2-equipped cars have a distinctive port hidden somewhere in the passenger compartment, into which a diagnostic device is connected. When your car is running rough or the check engine light is illuminated, a scan tool is often the first instrument deployed to isolate the issue.

While many auto parts stores will perform a scan for you either for free or for a nominal fee, nothing beats the convenience of having your own scan tool. We’ve chosen the best OBD2 scanners to keep handy in case things ever go wrong.

These selections of best OBD2 scanners in 2022 were based on each scanners overall value, although most are not packed full of features. We've also opted to select well-rated and extremely user-friendly models which allow almost anyone to perform diagnostics on their own vehicle. All of the following selections offer a good balance of features and price, providing excellent all-around choices for even novice users.

Best OBD2 Scanners of 2022 Reviewed in Detail

Actron CP9125 OBD2 Scanner - Best OBD2 Scanner Overall

The Actron CP9125 is a reasonably-priced, no-frills OBD2 scanner that’s dead simple to use. The CP9125 is very small and comes equipped with a single-line screen and two buttons. You won't find complicated multi-modes with the CP9125, just the benefit of a basic design characteristics for straightforward use.
No batteries are required; simply plug the tool in to the OBD2 port of your car and all of the codes are displayed on the screen.

Press one button to scroll through the codes and the other to clear the code. Some users point out the inaccuracy of the included code manual, but this complaint seems rather silly in today's information age where your smartphone can allow you access to the appropriate internet forums full of information regarding your particular vehicle.

The Actron CP9125 is very compact and will easily fit in the glove compartment or door pocket of your car. This is a great tool to have especially if your car is prone to throwing regular CELs that drive you up the wall.

ANCEL OBD2 Scanner - Great Option

This pick is one of the best-selling OBD II scanners on the market because it can quickly read and clear diagnostic trouble codes, check I/M monitor readiness, freeze frames, and collect vehicle data. So, instead of taking your car to a mechanic, you can use it to diagnose problems and decipher codes on your own.

A sturdy scanner with a thick, flexible insulation cable is essential, and this device, with its 2.5-foot cable and compact design, is no exception. Simple, accurate, and easy to use — it supports all OBD II protocols and is an excellent choice!

Autel Color Screen OBD2 Scanner - Runner Up

The Autel AL519 stands out for its large color display at an affordable price, making it even easier to run diagnostics and perform maintenance on your vehicle. This OBD2 scanner displays both generic and manufacturer codes, as well as additional vehicle information, although the extent of the reporting depends in part on your vehicle.

The AL519 can read, record, and play back live sensor data, and codes can be printed when the device is connected to a compatible computer. The device allows for clearing codes, turning off check engine lights, and suggests possible solutions for the problem.

The AL519 uses a 12-volt battery, and comes with both a USB cable and the necessary software to get everything up and running. This is overall an excellent diagnostics and maintenance tool, being compact in size and easy to use.

BAFX Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner - Honorable Mention

The BAFX Products Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tool can be used in conjunction with either an Android smartphone or a Windows laptop. Although the app and programs for each need to be purchased separately, they can usually be had for free or for an affordable price.

This Bluetooth scan tool allows for reading both generic and manufacturer codes, also displaying their meaning and allowing for clearing codes and check engine lights. However, the amount of vehicle information displayed will depend on both the vehicle and the app/software used.

This extremely compact scan tool can easily be kept in the car and can be used as long as your Android smartphone is with you. Along with its one-year warranty, this OBD2 scanner offers tremendous convenience and affordability.

INNOVA 3040RS OBD2 Scanner - Consider

Not all cars are equipped with OBD2 ports so if you drive a 1995-or-older vehicle, it uses a discontinued format of on-board diagnostics instead. Most of these vehicles are fitted with OBD1 ports, which are shaped differently than OBD2 outlets. The Equus 3120 Innova offers the ability to scan codes from older OBD1 vehicles, and boasts a long list of extra convenience features that make this code reader an extremely versatile tool.

The detailed readout explains any pulled codes in plain text (English, French, and Spanish), and the battery allows codes to be stored in the on-board memory for future reference. The only drawback is the higher price - on the other hand, the Equus 3120 Innova is an excellent value if you require the extra functionality.

Buyer's Guide

Best OBD2 Scanner Buyer's Guide

Many systems and functionalities work together to keep your automobile at its optimum state. Regular check-ups and maintenance are needed to keep your automobile roadworthy. This is because, like any other machine, automobiles develop faults every now and then. Knowing what is wrong with your car is as important as fixing the problem. Sometimes you end up spending time queueing at the auto-mechanic shop just to fix something you could have fixed yourself. The alternate scenario could happen when you delay in fixing a serious problem because you thought it was nothing serious. An OBD2 scanner can help out in both scenarios. That is why it is crucial to get the best type of OBD2 scanner for your automobile. This buying guide is designed to help you make an informed choice.

What are the tips for using OBD2 scanners?

Though there are different models and designs of OBD2 scanners, they follow the same process. Here are some general tips to help ease your use of OBD2 scanners. The first step is to look for the OBD2 scanner port. It is usually found at the driver's side of the dashboard. Connect your scanner and then turn on the ignition of the automobile. The scanner reads the system and shows the error codes. These codes are then interpreted to understand what is wrong with your automobile system. You can also use OBD2 scanners to clear the error codes after fixing the problem. There you have it, simple and easy.

What are things to consider before buying OBD2 scanners?

To purchase the best types of OBD2 scanners for your automobile, there are some factors that you need to consider. These factors include the OBD2 scanner type, compatibility, and port type.

Types of OBD2 scanners

There are two major types of OBD2 scanners when you consider their mode of operation and program. There are simple types that scan for code errors and interpret them. You also have advanced models that make use of smartphone apps. These apps are compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones. These types scan and interpret codes. Then through the app, they suggest ways to fix the errors detected. It is important to consider the type you would prefer.


You need to consider the model of your automobile and check if the OBD2 scanner is compatible with your automobile brand. This would determine if the OBD2 scanner can adequately diagnose the system and detect errors. You should check the compatibility under the OBD2 scanner description before making your selection.

Port type

The standard port for OBD2 scanners is the 16-pin port. Though almost all of the diagnostic scanners come with cables and cords that fit into this port, you need to be sure. Only scanners with the right cord type can diagnose your automobile system.

What is the price range for OBD2 scanners?

The type of the OBD2 scanner greatly influences the price range. The simple types have prices ranging from $25 to $50 depending on the brand. The advanced models have prices ranging from $99 to $143. Your budget would undoubtedly influence your selection, but there is a wide range of options available to you.

How did we choose our selection of OBD2 scanners?

Our selection has gone through several filters to leave you with the best OBD2 scanners available. To give you the best available, we considered the following factors.


It was important to consider reputable brands before others. With years of experience under their belts, popular and reputable brands have a record of producing the best types of OBD2 scanners that are durable and easy to use. We also considered the fact that some quality brands might be new in the market; they influenced our selection as well.


Another reliable way to select the best is to take a comprehensive look at customers’ reviews. They give reports about the use of the scanners over time. They are useful in noting how the features advertised by the manufacturers are well represented. We used the customers’ reviews and comments to select the best types of OBD2 scanners.


The different prices of the OBD2 scanners were helpful in the selection process. Yes, it was important to select the best, but it was equally important to make sure the prices fit the scanner that you are buying. This factor helped to select quality OBD2 scanners with the appropriate price tag.

What are some features to look out for in OBD2 scanners?

You need to look out for some interesting features if you will enjoy using your purchased OBD2 scanner. These features add to the DIY properties of the OBD2 scanners. They include:

Clear Screen

Most types of OBD2 scanners have a LED screen that is clear and easy to read. This is perhaps one of the most important features because a clear screen allows you to read the codes and detect errors properly.

Retrieve Vehicle Information

The OBD2 scanner should be able to retrieve your vehicle information. Some scanners have an AUTOVIN system that automatically provides your vehicle identification number.

Easy to Operate

With simple buttons that scroll up and down, you should be able to operate the OBD2 scanners easily. The easy mode operation contributes to the fact that these scanners should be part of the DIY tools.

Multiple Languages

It is also important that your preferred OBD2 scanner can operate in multiple languages. You will find that some OBD2 scanners support up to six different languages.

What are the final thoughts about OBD2 scanners?

OBD2 scanners are excellent tools to have for proper maintenance of your vehicle. They can detect errors and turn off your engine light after diagnostics. A glowing engine light indicates the problem is mild and can be easily fixed later, while a blinking light indicates that the problem needs immediate attention. This shows just how useful and intuitive these scanners can be. Surf through our collections and purchase the OBD2 scanner that fits your specification.

What are some OBD2 scanners FAQs?

Q: What is OBD2?

A: OBD2 is known as On-board Diagnostics II. It is a program that was introduced in automobiles manufactured from the year 1996 onward. It was aimed at helping users detect errors in their automobile systems.

Q: What systems are detectable when using OBD2 scanners?

A: The scanner can detect errors in the fuel systems, engine misfires, emission control system, idle control, transmission system, and many others.

Q: What is ABS? Can OBD2 scanner diagnose the system?

A: ABS is the anti-braking system found in the latest models of automobiles. Some OBD2 scanners can diagnose this system, especially the advanced types, while the simple types cannot.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Related Content
Go to top