OBD II scanners were invented in the year 1996. Before then, OBD I scanners existed which were vehicle-specific. The lack of homogeneity made vehicle systems scanning and analysis rather difficult.
OBD II scanners act as the bridge between the vehicle’s ECU and the driver. They are automotive scan tools that can read error codes stored in the vehicle’s internal computer and translate the meaning of these error codes. This makes it easier for the vehicle’s owner to assess the damage to the vehicle and the best actions to be taken.
However, among the OBD II scanners, there are those that stand out from the rest. The three below automotive scan tools are the top three in the market.
3 Best OBD2 Scanners Review
#1. Ancel AD310 Classic Enhanced Universal OBD II Code Reader
This scanning tool from Ancel specializes in the scanning and reading of MIL warning light codes. Ancel AD310 has a very large DTC lookup library. This library contains a large variety of error codes both generic and manufacturer specific.
It is because of this database that the device can accurately scan a large plethora of error codes. It then gives you the results of the error codes helping you decide the best action to take.
Ancel AD310 is compatible with all OBD II protocols. It connects to the vehicle via a 16-pin wire that attaches to the OBD II datalink connector in your car. It only works in vehicles with a 12V battery, therefore, excluding large trucks.
The device comes with several languages encoded. Besides English, Ancel AD310 contains Portuguese, French, German, Spanish, Finnish, Russian and Dutch. This increases its compatibility with a larger audience.
- It has several languages encoded within it. The result is that the device is not limited to a certain group of people. Its universal usability makes the device convenient for all markets.
- The device is easy to use even for beginners. To begin with, the meanings of the error codes read are laid out in plain language. This eliminates the need for the user to conduct more research online.
- Ancel AD310 automotive scan tool comes with a lifetime of free software upgrades. Upgrading the software of your device is simple. You connect the Ancel AD310 via a USB cable to your computer and download the software upgrade.
Then you simply upload it to your device.
- The screen on the automotive scan tool has a clear resolution. This makes it easier to read and decode.
- The inbuilt lookup library means the device can scan a large variety of codes.
- The functionality of the automotive scan tool is limited. It can only scan Engine systems and cannot scan ABS or SRS systems.
- Some car users report that the device does not work on their vehicles.
Who is it built for?
The device is built for beginners and common DIYers. It gives just enough information to know about the status of your car. The information is also presented in a language that is simple enough for a beginner to understand.
However, the device lacks the requisite tools that a professional would want from such a device.
#2. Bluedriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool
This automotive scan tool is one of the more modern OBD II scan tools. It has a wide range of capabilities and, in addition, it is Bluetooth enabled. You need to download the necessary application on your mobile phone.
From here you simply connect your phone to your device wirelessly. This offers the user wireless convenience. The device connects to both iOS and Android operating systems.
Bluedriver automotive scan tool is compatible with all OBD II protocols. This means it can connect with all vehicles produced after the year 1996. It connects to these vehicles via an OBD II datalink connector found under the dashboard of most vehicles.
Bluedriver has access to a large database of error codes. As such, the likelihood of accurate vehicle diagnostics reports is quite high. Additionally, the applications required to use the device are easy to download and are free.
- The automotive scan tool has found a way to merge between functionality and user-friendliness. It gives you a detailed report of the error codes in your vehicle in a language that is easy to understand. This makes it usable even for beginners.
- High-performance software. The Bluedriver software was designed by a team of engineers to put performance above other functions. Bluedriver always delivers accurate analysis based on the enormous database it has access to.
- Wireless convenience. Bluedriver functions via Bluetooth. This reduces all the inconveniences associated with wired connections.
- Bluedriver offers enhanced diagnostics in two spheres. The first is that it can scan several types and models of vehicles. Secondly, it can accurately scan several vehicle systems.
- Bluetooth limits the range of connection to the device
- Some customers complain that the applications stop connecting after a period of time.
Who is it built for?
The device is built for both DIYers as well as experts. It provides information in simple enough manner for normal people to understand. However, it contains enough features to make it of use to an expert.
#3. Autel Maxisys Pro MS908P Automotive Diagnostic Scan Tool
This is an advanced automotive scan tool. It has superior ECU programming as well as coding functions for people with the pro-level version. All the features on the device are advanced and technical.
These features make the device more suitable for technicians. Autel Maxisys offers the maximum possible performance that an OBD II device can. This renders it a worthy investment for any professional.
It is compatible with all OBD II protocols. In addition, it is compatible with a few add-ons.
The device comes with its own display in the form of a 7” tablet. This tablet is of good resolution and the large size makes it easier to read the figures displayed on the device. The tablet connects to the device via Bluetooth thus increasing movability for the user.
- The automotive vehicle scan tool has Auto-Vin technology. This technology automatically detects your vehicle model and make number once the device is connected. This saves you time spent on entering such details.
- It also assures you that the scan will be specific to your vehicle.
- Extensive coverage. The device works on a broad range of vehicle models. These include both domestic models as well as imported vehicles.
- Extensive vehicle diagnosis. Maxisys is equipped with several features that give it several capabilities. These include live data, actuation tests, and ECU information.
- The device uses technical language that is only suitable for an expert mechanic.
- The software updates are expensive as they cost up to $1300 per year.
Who is it built for?
The device is mainly built for expert mechanics. It has several features that make it suitable for more advanced users. Additionally, the language used by the device is best understood by mechanics.
In choosing an automotive scan tool, it depends on the person buying the device and what their needs are.
The Ancel AD310 is best suited for beginners and average DIYers.
For more advanced users, the Bluedriver is most suitable as it even offers wireless convenience.
For expert users, the Autel Maxisys is the most suitable automotive scan tool. It contains plenty of advanced features. These make it most suitable for expert users and mechanics.