10 Best Automotive Scanners

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There’s no need to go into a panic when the Check Engine Light comes on! For ease of diagnostics and troubleshooting, automotive scanners have been a real godsend for mechanics and technicians. This is a quick listing of some of the best handheld scanners around for DIYers and professional technicians both.

1. Donop Professional U480 CAN OBD2 OBD II Car Diagnostic Scanner Engine Code Reader Tool, $14.00

iKKEGOL Mini Scanner Adapter
Image: Donop Professional Car Diagnostic Scanner

This basic OBDII scanner is great for retrieving code information on post-1996 American and Asian vehicles, with an accurate and readable display and no need for batteries. It’s a stand-alone unit that has doesn’t require a laptop connection. While it can’t perform some of the more complex diagnostics of pricier units, it’s great for DIY mechanics.

Buy the Donop Professional Car Diagnostic Scanner on Amazon.

2. iKKEGOL® v2.1 Bluetooth Mini Small Interface OBD2 Scanner Adapter Compatible with Android / Droid Torque, $10.99

iKKEGOL Mini Scanner Adapter
Image: iKKEGOL Mini Scanner Adapter

Simple and inexpensive, this unit uses a wireless connection to communicate with your tablet or Android phone - the device alone can perform the diagnostics. Compliant with OBDII protocols, this scanner gives live engine data and connects to the vehicle’s ECU to retrieve fault codes and clear the Check Engine light.

Buy the iKKEGOL Mini Scanner Adapter on Amazon.

3. INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool with ABS/SRS and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles, $199.99

INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool
Image: INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool

Innova’s ABS + Scan tool is a pro-level product that diagnoses ABS codes, transmission trouble codes, and more. It provides detailed explanations of the trouble codes displayed on its all-in-one screen.

Buy the INNOVA 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool on Amazon.

4. iSaddle WIFI Wireless OBD2 OBDII Scan Tool Auto Scanner, $22.99

iSaddle Wireless Auto Scanner
Image: iSaddle Wireless Auto Scanner

Similar to the IKKEGOL scanner mentioned above, the iSaddle is a Bluetooth interface for OBD-II systems. This scanner is also compatible with Windows and iOS iPhone systems, and comes with a CD for device drivers.

Buy the iSaddle Wireless Auto Scanner on Amazon.

ScanTool 426101
Image: ScanTool 426101

The ScanTool 426101 uses Bluetooth to connect with your Android phone, and also can serve as a trip computer, logger, and real-time performance monitor. It’s also a reliable diagnostic scan tool. It’s especially useful in tracking down and diagnosing intermittent problems in real-time, which can otherwise be tricky to nail.

Buy the ScanTool 426101 on Amazon.

OBDLink SX USB Scan Tool
Image: OBDLink SX USB Scan Tool

A long-time industry standard, the OBDLink SX connects to your tablet or laptop via a USB port, giving you trouble code information and links to an online database detailing trouble code descriptions.

Buy the OBDLink SX USB Scan Tool on Amazon.

7. INNOVA 3040 Diagnostic Scan Tool/Code Reader with Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles, $81.78

INNOVA 3040
Image: INNOVA 3040

For a mid-priced scanner, you can’t go wrong with the INNOVA 3040. Unlike many other OBD-II vehicles, the INNOVA 3040 refreshes its information every 30 seconds, making false positive diagnosis less likely.

Buy the INNOVA 3040 on Amazon.

8. INNOVA 3030 Diagnostic Scan Tool/Code Reader, $56.99

INNOVA 3030
Image: INNOVA 3030

For entry level or medium-skilled techs and owners, the INNOVA 3030 refreshes data every 30 seconds and displays 25 pieces of information and performance parameters at a time, giving a better picture of performance than just a simple trouble code reading.

Buy the INNOVA 3030 on Amazon.

9. INNOVA 3100 Diagnostic Scan Tool/Code Reader with ABS and Battery Backup, $99.99

INNOVA 3100
Image: INNOVA 3100

More versatile and advanced than other INNOVA products mentioned here, the INNOVA 3100 helps read and erase ABS light trouble codes in GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota applications, and provides an all-in-one screen and LED display for state emissions compliance and drive cycle verification.

Buy the INNOVA 3100 on Amazon.

10. Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for OBDII Vehicles, $14.33

Autel MaxiScan MS300
Image: Autel MaxiScan MS300

Don’t be fooled by the low price…the Autel MaxiScan MS300 is a sturdy and modern device that can be used to retrieve VIN number information on 2002 and newer vehicles, and supports CAN protocols, as well as all OBD-II protocols. It also features a complete list of trouble code definitions and a simple two-button operation to read and clear trouble codes.

Buy the Autel MaxiScan MS300 Amazon.

Whether you’re a shade-tree tech, journeyman, or pro-level mechanic, there are lots of choices out there on the market if you’re looking for a scanner or code reader device. We hope this helps narrow down your decision!


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Ramona

21 years of experience
17 reviews
Ramona
21 years of experience
Cadillac Escalade - Check Engine Light is on - Baltimore, Maryland
Very professional answer all questions honestly to the best of her knowledge. Price was reasonable and quiltly of work performed was perfect..would highly recommend.
Dodge Dakota - Check Engine Light is on - Ellicott City, Maryland
Ramona was professional and competent. She explained the situation to me clearly and in detail. I would be happy to recommend her to friends!

Claud

7 years of experience
137 reviews
Claud
7 years of experience
Buick Lucerne - Check Engine Light is on - Detroit, Michigan
Claud was early and got right to work. He was informative and answered all my questions. I would definitely use him again and again.
BMW X5 - Check Engine Light is on - Rochester, Michigan
Claud was a true professional...timely, accurate and knowledgeable mechanic as well as friendly and engaging to talk to. Would highly recommend him to anyone!

Peter

24 years of experience
267 reviews
Peter
24 years of experience
Cadillac Eldorado - Check Engine Light is on - Simi Valley, California
Peter was very knowledgeable and diagnosed the problem using the process of elimination to get my car running again
GMC Sierra 3500 - Check Engine Light is on - Sylmar, California
I will definitely be requesting Peter for future work. He was very knowledgeable and explained things thoroughly. Thank you!

Al

21 years of experience
14 reviews
Al
21 years of experience
Nissan Pathfinder - Check Engine Light is on - Atlanta, Georgia
Al, was cool and very knowledgeable. Being direct and upfront always works. Al, is a credit to the company.

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