The Best OBD2 Scanner 2023

Rather than visiting a mechanic each time your car has issues, investing in an OBD2 scanner is a great option to consider. Within this article, we list some of the best car diagnostic tools that are suitable for all budgets and experience levels.


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Best OBD2 Scanner
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After using a number of scan tools, we found that the best OBD2 scanner is the Autel Maxisys MS906BT, which is a professional car diagnostic tool with advanced features such as ECU programming and OEM-level functionality. However, if you require a more affordable alternative, the brand’s Autel MaxiDiag MD806 is the best option for most car owners.

Whilst testing the devices, we based our conclusions on their functionality, usability and value for money. If you have never used an OBD2 scanner before, we recommend that you read our detailed guide on how to use them. Whether you use a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner or a basic car diagnostic tool, they are much easier to use than they once were.

Best OBD2 Scanner Overview

Depending on how you wish to use a car diagnostic tool will determine which is best for your requirements. If you are a mechanic or an enthusiast, the premium professional tools offer full system diagnostics as well as advanced features. However, for an average car owner, the mid-range and budget options offer all the functionality you may ever need.

Below is a list of the best OBD2 scanners that allow you to clear codes, reset service lights and so much more.

The Best OBD2 Scanners


1. Best Professional: Autel Maxisys MS906BT Car Diagnostic Tool


For any home or professional mechanic, the Autel Maxisys MS906BT is the ultimate OBD2 scanner. It’s the brand’s flagship model that’s packed with advanced functions such as OEM-level functionality and ECU programming.

In order to improve the usability of this OBD2 scanner, it has an extra large display (8 inches) and runs on an ultra-fast Android operating system. Also included is a wireless Bluetooth VCI device, which connects to the scanner and allows you to move around without having to stay connected to the OBD port.

Pros
  • Covers over 800 different manufacturers
  • Advanced ECU programming
  • Runs on the Android 4.4.4 operating system
  • Large 8 inch display (1024 x 768)
  • Built-in 8 megapixel camera
  • Interactive data logging sessions
  • Online software updates and remote tech support
  • Automatic VIN technology
Cons
  • Very expensive to purchase outright
  • May be far too complex for the average user

Although expensive, the MS906BT is a professional OBD2 scanner that covers all the basics and offers many advanced functions. If you are regularly using OBD2 scanners, the MS906BT is one of the best investments you’ll make.

2. Best Mid-Range: Autel MaxiDiag MD806 Scan Tool


Another car diagnostic tool by the reputable Autel brand is the MaxiDiag MD806. It’s a compact alternative that offers full systems diagnosis and service functions for a wide range of car manufacturers.

As with the more expensive Maxisys MS906BT, this car scanner also comes with free updates. This means it will continue to work with the latest car models that are released in the upcoming years when it’s updated.

Pros
  • Compatible with over 50 different manufacturers
  • Live data and printable diagnostic reports
  • Automatic VIN detection
  • Lifetime free updates
  • Compact and durable construction
  • Supports 13 different languages
  • Supplied with a carrying case
Cons
  • More expensive than alternatives that offer the same functionality

Overall, the Autel Maxisys MS906BT is an easy to use and highly capable OBD2 scanner that won’t disappoint. It’s also backed by the reputable Autel brand and comes with a lifetime worth of free updates for complete peace of mind.

3. Best For Usability: LAUNCH CRP Touch Pro Code Reader


Launch is another popular brand of car diagnostic tools and they offer a wide range of devices. The CRP Touch Pro is their mid-range model that’s not only an OBD2 scanner but also a tablet, which you can download apps onto.

In terms of compatible vehicles, it offers a huge selection that includes anything from a Bugatti Veyron to a Fiat 500. It’s a versatile car code reader that supports multi-lingual functionality and is also very easy to update too.

Pros
  • 5 inch touchscreen display
  • Runs on an Android operating system
  • Extensive coverage of over 76 OEM systems
  • Oil, SAS, BMS, EPB and DPF reset from one button
  • WiFi connectivity and app store
  • 3,000 mAh battery for extended use
  • Real-time graph data and printing
  • Record and playback date
Cons
  • During testing, we felt that it lacked functionality when compared to similar priced alternatives

The Launch CRP Touch Pro is an easy to use car diagnostic tool that’s packed full of intuitive features. However, if you require further functionality such as ECU coding or activation tests, their professional X431 model is the best option.

4. Best All Rounder: ANCEL FX3000 Car Diagnostic Tool


ANCEL is another brand that produces a wide range of car scanners and their FX3000 is one of their most popular models in the UK. It uses a 4-inch TFT LCD and a simplistic user interface, which makes it far easier to use when compared to its predecessors.

In terms of functionality, it offers 5 different reset functions (oil, EPB, SAS, ABS and BMS) and a full system diagnosis, which includes testing the engine, ABS, SRS and transmission.

Pros
  • Suitable for most 1996+ US, 2002+ EU and 2005+ Asian cars
  • Provides a full system diagnosis and 5 reset functions
  • Retrieves general “P” codes and vehicle information
  • View freeze frame and live data
  • Lifetime free upgrades
  • Backed by a 12 month warranty
Cons
  • Offers limited functionality for professionals

The ANCEL FX3000 is an excellent all-round OBD2 scanner that ticks all the boxes and offers great value. Whether you are a home mechanic or professional, it won’t disappoint and it also comes with a lifetime worth of free updates.

5. Best Bluetooth: OBDLink LX Car Scanner


If you want to use your smartphone for car diagnostics, the OBDLink LX uses Bluetooth connectivity to connect your car to an Android device. Although the brand offers other cheaper versions, the LX is their flagship model.

According to the brand, their Bluetooth OBD2 scanner is up to 300% faster than the nearest competitor. It’s also backed by a three year warranty and free firmware updates for complete peace of mind.

Pros
  • Maximum vehicle coverage
  • Compatible with Android devices (not iOS)
  • Highly secure and installs in seconds
  • Automatic sleep and wake up functionality
  • Supports third party apps such as Torque and DashCommand
  • Free firmware updates
  • Backed by a three year warranty
Cons
  • Not compatible with iOS devices

The OBDLink LX is a high-performing Bluetooth OBD2 scanner that’s packed full of functionality and won’t disappoint. However, it’s important to note that it isn’t compatible with iOS devices, which is the main drawback of this scanner.

6. Best Budget: Carista OBD2 Scanner


By far the most popular OBD2 scanner is by the Carista brand, which is a Bluetooth car scanner that’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices. It’s also one of the cheapest options on the market, which is the reason for its popularity.

To use the device, simply plug it into the OBD2 port under the dashboard, download the dedicated application and then connect the two via Bluetooth.

Pros
  • Supports both iOS and Android devices
  • Premium advanced features (additional cost)
  • Easy to setup and connect over Bluetooth
  • Can be stored easily in the glove box
  • Compatible with other third party apps
Cons
  • Further functionality is unlocked via additional costs

Although it’s one of the cheapest, it does have some paid options on the app for features such as advanced diagnostics and much more. Overall, it’s a simple and versatile OBD2 scanner that offers great value for the money.

How We Tested & Rated

Over the years, we’ve used a variety of car diagnostic tools to keep our personal, friends and family’s cars up and running. As the years have passed, we’ve upgraded several times and they get better with every upgrade.

Our favourite OBD2 scanner to use by far is the Autel MaxiSys and as we use it quite regularly, we purchased all the additional connectors to go with it (as shown in the photo). This means that we can use it on a huge range of cars new and old, which is a great bonus. However, as it’s a professional car diagnostic tool, it isn’t the best OBD2 scanner for everyone else to use and this is why we’ve tested a variety of scan tools.

best car diagnostic tool

To keep our commitment to reviewing and testing the latest car diagnostic tools (for this article), we continually update the devices each year. This is made possible by buying the tools outright or brands reaching out to our team.


best diagnostic tools for cars
best professional car diagnostic tool

In the below Instagram post, it shows a selection of other OBD2 scanners that we’ve tested over the years.

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Whilst researching the available OBD2 scanners available in the UK, we based our recommendations upon several factors, which include their functionality, usability, value for money, brand reputation and available add-ons.

As with any technology, there will be new devices released each and every year by the brands, which we intend to get our hands on and test to keep this article updated.

Conclusion

Rather than relying on guesswork or costly trips to a mechanic, an OBD2 scanner is a great investment. Depending upon your requirements, they are available in a range of budgets with functions suited for all experience levels.

To avoid disappointment, we advise that you purchase from a reputable brand that has been producing car diagnostic tools for many years. You should also analyse the compatibility list to ensure that your car manufacturer is listed.

If you require further information with regards to any of the OBD2 scanners listed in our roundup, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

To use a car diagnostic tool, you’ll need to locate the OBD2 port, which is usually located underneath the dashboard near the driver’s seat. It’s worth pointing out that many OBD2 ports are concealed by a plastic cover and this’ll need to be removed to see the port.

As long as your car features an OBD2 port (most vehicles manufactured after 1996 feature an OBD2), you’ll be able to use most car diagnostic tools that use an OBD2 connector. However, certain diagnostic tools may offer additional functionality for certain manufacturers.

Many car diagnostic tools now offer the ability to scan your car wirelessly over WiFi or Bluetooth. This is a great bonus because it gives you the freedom to move around your car rather than being restricted by a short wire. In terms of how they work, they require you to insert an OBD2 connector into the port (as you would normally do), which then connects wirelessly to your tablet scan tool or smartphone (iPhone or Android).

Along with clearing fault codes such as an ABS and SRS light, you can also do a lot more with a car diagnostic tool. For example, you can code certain features such as turning off your headlights after a certain period of time and so much more. If you opt for a professional car diagnostic tool, you can even perform live testing (i.e. measuring the pressure values of your fuel injectors), actuation tests and even program new keys.

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